Cocktail Codex: What does the Tom Collins have to do with the Daiquiri, and how is the Sidecar related to the Cosmopolitan?
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According to Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald and David Kaplan, there are only six cocktails, namely the Old Fashioned, the Martini, the Daiquiri, the Sidecar, the Whisky Highball and the Flip. The rest are merely modifications on these templates.
The follow up to the authors’ first book Death & Co is premised on cocktail families. The book examines each root cocktail in detail and presents variations by substituting one ingredient for another in three main areas: the core (base spirit), the balance (sugar), and seasoning (bitters).
Starting with the Old Fashioned, the book offers a root recipe along with multiplies variations which can be obtained by substituting ingredients. Change the core, ie the base spirit, and the classic Ti’ Punch is essentially an Old Fashioned with agricole rhum in place of whisky. Change the balance, ie the sweetener, and you have the Monte Carlo where Benedictine replaces sugar syrup. Experiment with the seasoning, ie bitters, and you have the Improved Whiskey Cocktail with Maraschino Liqueur, Absinthe and bitters. The book delves further into more variations on the Old Fashioned along with its extended family such as the Sherry Cobbler and the Sazerac.
Each chapter includes ‘next level techniques’ which build in complexity. These include making syrups using a variety of methods including an immersion circulator, sous vide and centrifuge infusions, clarifying juice, carbonating cocktails, using alternative acids, and introducing smoky flavours.
Cocktail Codex has broad appeal be it for bartenders, cocktail enthusiasts or home bartenders. A cocktail novice may find the Death & Co book more approachable until they’re ready to master the six templates in Cocktail Codex. Once the principles are grasped, it inspires creativity behind the bar.
For anyone looking to expand their cocktail repertoire and create their own signature drinks, Cocktail Codex is an invaluable resource and reference book.