In a recent interview with Nick Fauchald about his Short Stacks cookbook publishing revolution, (story to post soon), he revealed himself to be a polymath (this humble publishing titan can hold a candle – or two — to no less than a Guttenberg), including his role as co-author of the now illustrious but still bad-boy, crushing, cocktail bar’s book premiere: Death & Co. Modern Classic Cocktails, with more than 500 Recipes.
Today is the book’s official launch date.
There is also an official book launch party scheduled at the storied East Village cocktail capital that is sure to be epic.
The Classic Cocktail recipe book’s other author’s are Death & Co.’s co-owner, David Kaplan and bartender extraordinaire, Alex Day.
The book is, naturally, perfectly blended: equal parts story, how-to recipes and photographs.
It’s looks fun to read, and the recipes are exciting and on the bleeding edge of cocktail making, yet easy enough to create.
Writing about cocktail and drink making can be intimidating or precious. Here, the authors make the drinks dreamy, kinetic, and mouth watering.
Witness: “Tequila and pear eloped in a classic sour template.” Ahhh…
Photographer William Hereford’s moody, artful images alone are worth the price of the book.
Just like their bar and drinks, the book contains lots of uncharted surprises including a Death & Co. Lexicon (fun), a How-To Read and Enjoy This Book lesson (really?) and an alphabetized index of all the recipes (great necessity).
And what’s the best thing to sitting at a bar besides the exquisite, experience of sipping, slurping, or slugging back a beverage? The conversations, that’s what.
So it’s too perfect that Death & Co. should include some happy bar talk from some of their favorite fans. This is no Cheers!
There’s also a A Night at Death & Co timeline/schedule chronicle that gives a sort of boozy “24” element to the read.
So even committed white wine drinkers (heaven forbid) will find lots to enjoy and learn from this book.
Death & Co. invents cocktails. This is no small feat. The book codifies their process and takes the reader on a cocktail adventure.
The authors’ note the book is written for professionals and home bartenders. Kaplan writes it is “a lesson in passion,” teaching readers how to make and create cocktails, use of tools and ingredients. Adding, each chapter builds on the previous chapter. That’s progress…
Curiously, the one spirit not included is vodka. That ubiquitous, popular white drink seems anathema to Death & Co. They do note they will make a vodka drink if customers ask at the bar but at the same time, their mission is to “introduce new spirits, flavor, and cocktails.”
With an excerpted email cum Foreword by noted New York bartender and Death & Co. guest mixologist Tobey Cicchini (as an author, Cicchini is credited with popularizing the “Cosmopolitan craze” and “Sex & the City” stalwart) irreverently ballyhooing his respect for these fellow professionals who he sees have elevated the art of the cocktail. In a fun and wicked way. He writes that they are “superspiff” guys. They create cocktails that are not pretentious (alluding to those precious drink makers who have to boast and trip up others with their knowledge of “tinctures, ice, or infusions.” Not here. Cicchini says their drinks “are artfully constructed, using the best, freshest ingredients like any great art including “cooking, music, writing.”
Kaplan starts their story at the beginning. It’s fun to read how he selected the nefarious name – no spoiler alert here. Suffice to say the moniker too is a blend. Put a girlfriend, pre-Prohibition propaganda, secret-coded map to Gotham’s speakeasies – and add a dash of well, Dashel Hammett.
Kaplan writes that he and his partners opened Death & Co. just after Christmas in 2007 and then opened to friends and family New Year’s Eve with a cosmic sounding party, stumbling out the next morning, January 1, 2007 (wouldn’t that be 2008? Who cares, it must’ve been one helluva hullaballoo)
It was long before the New York Times heralded Death & Co, which brought curious and adventurous fans.
Death & Co. was at the zeitgeist.
The crowds also brought attention. Not all of it good. There were threats, lawsuits.
But good karma protects good drinks and Death & Co. triumphed.
Cheers to Death & Co.’s forbearance and sheer guts.
Two featured recipes from the book:
Aperitivo Julep, Alex Day
Touted as an example of what a great cocktail should be.
2 ounces Dolin Dry Vermouth (This Examiner highly recommends Dolin – use it every evening in ritual martini – the botanicals elevate it above any other vermouth for a smooth, nuanced taste)
¾ ounce Amaro Ciociaro
1 teaspoon Massenez Crème de Pèche Peach Liquer
Garnish: 1 mint bouquet
Put all the ingredients in a julep tin. Fill the tin halfway with crushed ice. Stir with a bar spoon, churning the ice as you go, for about 10 seconds, holding the drink by the rim so the entire tin can eventually frost up. Add more crushed ice to fill the tin two-thirds full and stir until the tin is completely frosted. Add more ice to form a cone above the rim, Garnish with the mint bouquet in the center of the ice and serve with a straw.
A Signature recipe
1 ½ ounces El Tesoro Reposado Tequila
½ ounce Del Maguey San Luis Del Rio Mezcal
1 teaspoon Agave Nectar
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Garnish: 1 orange twist
Stir all the ingredients over ice, then strain into a coupe. To garnish, flame the orange twist over the drink, then drop it in.
Cheers to the premiere of Death & Co. first book. And to the enlisting ever greater numbers of “Distraction Enthusiasts.” (Read the book!)