July 1st, 2009

The man, the doctor, the legend


Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, originally published in 2004, is the book that made me “get” this whole classic cocktail thing. I’d been dabbling around the edges of that world for years, drinking Martinis, Negronis and the occasional French 75, collecting vintage barware here and there. But most of the books I encountered failed to inspire me: they were either thick tomes listing, without context, every mixed-drink recipe of the last 50 years, or books for the serious bartender, dense with text about tools and techniques.

That’s why I was so thankful when I found VS&FC, with its mere 80 carefully chosen, carefully formulated classic recipes, snappy historical briefs on each drink, and as good a summary of cocktail history — including how cocktails got popular again — as I’ve ever read. The book was fun, accessible and smart. It guided me in stocking my home bar, and when I tasted the mysterious delights of Corpse Reviver 2’s and Widows Kisses, I never looked back.

If you missed VS&FC’s initial printing, don’t worry. The Revised and Expanded Deluxe Edition is now available. Besides a hard cover and a whole new (and improved) look, it’s got 100 recipes (still a quite manageable list), more photos of booze artifacts from the Doctor’s own collection, and added appendices, including one on “the 25 most influential online cocktail pioneers.” Hint: I’m on page 318. Ever seen yourself quoted in a book that influenced you to become that quotable person? It’s freaky.

Speaking of which, several of the bloggers mentioned in the “pioneers” section, including myself, are contributors to the blog for Tales of the Cocktail 2009. I recently contributed a post previewing a seminar on hangovers taking place Sunday, July 12. I’ll be filing additional stories later next week, so stay tuned.

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Permalink | Filed under Books & resources, drinkboston in the news | Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “The man, the doctor, the legend”

  1. Arnold

    “Hint: I’m on page 318. Ever seen yourself quoted in a book that influenced you to become that quotable person? It’s freaky.”

    If Boston doesn’t work out for you in the long term, than Washington, DC awaits.

    Your comment is the definition of the “DC scan” or “DC read.”

    It’s not a bad thing. Just sayin’.

    Plus, if you are admitting to only getting serious in the cocktail game in 2004, then congratulations on being honest. Most people in this town point to the B-Side in the early years, but in my early (only Periodista drinking) days in 2000, the vast majority of the crowd was still ordering High Lifes and not a Martini or Manhattan.

  2. a Drinkboston fan

    Lovely piece on Ted H’s book, LC – and it’s wonderful and fitting that you are mentioned within it’s pages! I’m proud Drinkboston exists in our fair city; it has proven to be consistently entertaining, informative, and endearing, with a generous spirit of boozy comraderie.

    Regarding the last commentator’s non-comment, I’d like to take a moment to digress and say I’m glad Drinkboston, like so many are, is “normal” in that it attracts the regular laughable introvert that has nothing really positive or constructive to contribute (and to others’ blogs too, as has been demonstrated), but wants attention for being provocative! (And this is one of the nicer things I’ve heard about this commentator; another one is misogynist.)

    I might recommend once and for all to Arnold, to think before pressing “send” on all the passive/aggressive, arrogant comments you make on people’s blogs – blogs we try and write and enjoy in a good-natured spirit of comraderie. If you yourself work in this spirit, you will likely be better received, if that is what you want. Otherwise go elsewhere, to a blog you are not bothered by. It’s that easy.

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