The world is full of cocktail books. Far too many of them, in fact. The shelves of the nation’s bookstores groan with copies of the worthless tripe that’s belched forth by America’s less discriminating publishers. Browsing these books is a dispiriting experience, and after looking at a few witless titles like 1,000,001 Gin Cocktails and The Ultimate Only Cocktail Guide You’ll Ever Need for Dummies, one starts to wonder if there isn’t a book out there that’s better; a book with pluck and a sense of derring-do; a book that is, in a word, exciting.
There is. And that book is The Gentleman’s Companion: Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask, by Charles H. Baker, Jr.
Who is Charles H. Baker, Jr., and what is this mysterious book? I’ll say more in future posts. For now, know that he is in equal parts revered and reviled by America’s bartenders, and that his cocktail recipes are a baffling mix of the divine and the deranged. In fact, many of them are so atrocious that only a nitwit would try them.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am that nitwit.
My name is Jeff Williams, and I’m about to try every single drink in The Gentleman’s Companion.