What a treat it has been for me to find an old acquaintance of mine had written what I think is the essential bar book, “The 12 Bottle Bar” with her husband, still lives in my neighborhood, and graciously gave me a copy of my own to devour!
Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, who some may remember as one of the first managers of Valencia Wine Company, along with her booze-educated husband David, have put together a book that not only details what to have in your home bar, within your budget, but also delivers clever and insightful short anecdotes you can read aloud to your guests when you try out the innovative recipes.
The 12 Bottles
The 12 bottles, as I know that’s your next question, are: Brandy, Dry Gin, Genever (for wine 101ers this is a more flavorful Gin but you must read the Solmonsons’ description to get the full “flavor” on that), Amber Rum, White Rum, Rye Whiskey (our new favorite), Vodka (under duress), Orange Liqueur, Dry and Sweet Vermouth, Aromatic and Orange Bitters.
The Solmonsons also give their recommendations on “Tools of the Trade” as well as those that prefer to budget their bar to one to four bottles alone. There is more than one index listing out where specific cocktail recipes can be found quickly in the book, garnishes, as well as virgin, beer, wine and cider drinks. There are also indexes on Conversion Tables and where to find the Solmonsons’ own favorite bars.
Teaser on the Cocktails
As I took notes as I read the book, I now have over a dozen recipes – at least – that I’ve tried and are now permanently in my bar program. (The Rye Whiskey Buck is our new favorite!) And with names like this, and killer ingredients, these are next on my list to make: The Fitzgerald, The Collins, French 75, West Indian Cocktail, Wild Rose, Mint Julep, Limoncello Drop, The Vampire…
To Do List
I will be buying at least one Genever as I love the juniper flavor in Gin, I want to learn more about “Jerry Thomas, the Babe Ruth of Bartenders”, I will ask guests their preference (favorite spirit, mood, sweet or tangy and strength) before just giving them my favorite, I’ll be muddling my mint differently, talking to bartenders differently…
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com