A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How A Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World – Robert Simonson (Ten Speed Press)
The New York Times has a cocktail writer. Yep you read that correctly; the so-called “Old Grey Lady” reportedly struggling to keep the doors open in the internet age, has a guy whose beat is cocktails. I can’t quite put my finger on whether that is the greatest job ever or the saddest job ever.
The writer in question is Robert Simonson, a bestselling author of books about cocktails. Yep you read that correctly. Maybe it’s my beer drinkers mentality, but books about cocktails…really? And no I am not talking about those handy little guide books that nearly everyone with a home bar, which now seems like an oddly 1970s concept, had tucked away for the occasion when a guest called for something off the beaten highball path.
It turns out that Simonson’s new book, A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How A Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World, is a fine mix of travelogue and bartender tale, with just a splash of drink recipes. Simonson clearly knows his subject and is a fine tour guide on the journey through cocktail-land.
He skillfully mixes the characters, the locales and their concoctions into an entertaining brew. While it won’t shake me off my choice of brew, it was an interesting look at the hipsters and nerds that answer the siren call of alcohol.