on November 24, 2002
As titled, Esquire Drinks is INDEED a bar guide with pedigree. Every decade or two, Esquire Magazine takes a stab at the current state of drinks and soirees. As such, Esquire Drinks owes more in its lineage to the magazine of the 30s and 40s (and it's 1949 progenitor, Esquire's Handbook for Hosts) than what it would become later - especially in the 60s-80s. While the Esquire Drink Book of 1956 was essentially a revision of the earlier work, and the Esquire Party Book of 1965 was just plain awful, Esquire Drinks is an entirely new vision - as befits our newish millenium. That said, it maintains the wonderful haughty and judgemental Esquire "voice" of old. As such, it happily trashes much of the wrongheaded "Martini" headset of today whereby virtually all drinks are fruity and sweet with alcohol disguised. Author Wondrich trods imperiously where other guides oft fear to tread. If this sounds intimidating or pedantic, it really isn't. David Wondrich is a hell of a writer and instills great humor and panache in this lovely book. He also cares very deeply about all of the aspects heretofore touched upon... the history, the research, the Esquire connection, and the DRINKS. The drinks are old and new, and some are culled anew from Esquire magazines of the past, but all of the drinks carry the CHARACTER of classic cocktails and related libations. In other words, be prepared to experience subtle and sophisticated drinks and tippling at the hands of this book. Visually, Esquire Drinks owes much to advances in printing arts today. It is a carnival of color on coated stock and would certainly make for pleasant perusal on any cocktail table - providing inspiration and impetus for many an evening's advancement.