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A Martini Book Trilogy of Sorts

There seems to be an almost eternal debate on Shaken vs Stirred in the Martini Community and a great deal of confusion as to the merits of each. The following has very little to do with any of that. For my views on the subject go to the recipes section of this web site.

This pages contains a trilogy of reviews on vastly different mixology books using the words "shaken" and "stirred" in their title in various ways and the merits of each.

TITLE: Shaken and Stirred
AUTHOR: William Hamilton
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins 2004, 228 Pages
COST : $17.95 US  
TYPE: Mixology/Recipes

William Hamilton was the original writer for the drinks articles in the Style section of the Sunday New YorK Times. He has since, sadly, moved on to other things, ( he did this shortly after the publication of this book)but our hat is off to him for leaving at the top of his form. The book is mainly a compilation of his columns- all of which start with a 2 page (11/2 page really),usually amusing and very visually evocative writing about the history of a particular cocktail along with the venue be it a bar,restaurant or somewhere else,and the personalities involved-usually colorful-where he enjoyed it. Followed of course by the recipe (in good detail unlike some books).

The book has approximately 60 recipes so it is not strictly one of those cookbook type bar books with 100's if not 1000's of recipes. It does, however, compensate with quality and wonderful writing. This book is more of a Cocktail book, rather than a Martini book, in focus as opposed to our next review.

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TITLE: Shaken NOT Stirred
SUBTITLE: A Celebration of the Martini
AUTHORS: Anastasia R. Miller & Jared M. Brown
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins 1997,160 pages
COST: $7.70 U.S.
TYPE: Drinks Recipes (with background/origin/stories), with a martini focus (oxymoron?)

 

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Unlike Shaken and Stirred, Shaken Not Stirred has a narrow but deep concentration on Martinis- Gin and (shudder) Vodka Martinis. There are over 200 martini recipes and several indexes.It also contains a trove of information on many aspects of Martini Culture. A must have reference especially for the recipes.Its small size and cheapness also has much to recommend it- easier to carry than those fancy coffee table sized books when you are going out and want to remember something and cheap enough not to worry about taking it out with you. A martini book is like a handgun- if it is too large and heavy you will leave it at home and you won't have it when you need it.

That being said, it is somewhat dated having come out in 1997 - many bars in the directory are gone, many new ones have sprung up and the gin and vodka selections are much wider today. Go to their web site at: www.martiniplace.com for updates and a wealth of new (and free) information.

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TITLE: Stirred not shaken
SUBTITLE: An Introduction to Wine, Spirits, and Beer
AUTHOR : Chris Seche
PUBLISHER: AuthorHouse
COST : $9.90 U.S.
TYPE: Supposed Reference with Drinks Recipes (See Review)

This book is billing itself as a reference for people new to the industry. I suggest only people with a thorough understanding of the topics listed in this book read it for the humor value. There are any number of mistatements, false information or ignorance throughout the book. Absolute worthless -a waste of money except for humor at the authors expense.

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