March 24, 2004


Another update on what I’ve been reading lately: I just finished reading Colin Peter Field’s The Cocktails of the Ritz Paris.

As many who know me know (and as is evident from my postings on food & drink), I am a bit of a cocktail aficionado. This is due largely to the fact than my wife and I, along with our former housemate Madhava, have hosted an annual fancy-dress cocktail party (already alluded to here). Since there’s no official Cocktail Party web site yet, you can get a pretty good idea of what these parties are like by looking at the pictures in the appropriate sections of my photo album and Madhava’s photo album.

As a result of this interest, my sister and her husband gave me and my wife the book The Cocktails of the Ritz Paris for Christmas. This book, written by the head bartender of the Bar Hemingway of the Ritz Paris, is not just a list of cocktail recipes; it is in fact more of a history of cocktails at the Ritz Paris.

The book starts off with a brief history of the bar and then moves into a more philosophical discussion of cocktails: the psychology of mixing drinks and the practical techniques involved. Field certainly has his own well-established views on the subject. Then Field gives not only the recipes of cocktails invented at Ritz Paris but also the stories behind their creation. It’s really quite an entertaining read. The focus in mainly on the cocktails invented by Field himself, but also listed are some of the classic cocktails invented at the Ritz Paris, including the Mimosa. I haven’t tried any new cocktails from the book yet, but they look quite good. And the book itself is quite fun and beautifully illustrated.

If you’re interested in more classic cocktails, I would recommend Vintage Cocktails: Authentic Recipes and Illustrations from 1920-1960 by Susan Waggoner and Robert Markel. The classic recipes in this book are accompanied by the history of drinks and illustrations and poster art. Also a good read.

Next up on my list of readings is another book given to me as a gift, Kevin Jackson’s Invisible Forms, which was given to me and my wife ages ago by my sister-in-law. My wife read it right away, but I’m only now getting around to reading it. One of the nice things about being finished my dissertation is that I’m finally able to catch up on my pleasure reading!

Posted by Mark at March 24, 2004 04:24 PM