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The Complete Book of Spirits: A Guide to Their History, Production, and Enjoyment Hardcover – Oct 26 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1st Edition edition (Oct. 26 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060542187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060542184
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Many bartending guides provide scant information about drink ingredients themselves. So a Mai Tai calls for rum—what kind? If you’re mixing a Vodka Tonic, how should the vodka smell? Why does a Bombay Sling require bitters? (And what are bitters, anyway?) Blue, who is Bon Appétit’s wine and spirits editor, intelligently answers these questions and others in this full analysis of libations other than beer and wine. He covers vodka, aquavit, gin, rum, tequila, scotch and Irish whiskey, North American whiskey, brandy, liqueurs and bitters, addressing what each spirit is made of, how it’s made, its history, the various flavors that exist and even the numerous brands available. Blue’s historical outlines of each spirit are fascinating; for example, in the chapter on vodka, he tells the saga of the Smirnov (later changed to Smirnoff) family and their exile from Russia to Paris. But with the history comes up-to-the-minute information on popular beverages like the mojito, a rum drink that’s currently "one of the hottest drinks on the club scene." Although the guide isn’t lighthearted, it’s casual enough to inspire page-flipping and informal perusal.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Anthony Dias Blue is the author of several books, including The Complete Book of Mixed Drinks and American Wine: A Comprehensive Guide. For twenty years he has been Wine and Spirits editor of Bon Appétit. His reviews have appeared in magazines and newspapers across the country, including Wine Spectator, Robb Report,, American Way, and Decanter. Mr. Blue's Lifestyle Minute is broadcast several times daily on CBS radio. He lives in California.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent resource on spirits. My only complaint is the print colour of the book's text on all pages a light colour (not black) making it difficult to read in anything less than bright light. Publisher should stick to black print on white pages.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love this book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9e244cc0) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ebb2858) out of 5 stars All you could ever want to know about spirits July 3 2008
By Suzie Riga - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Complete Book of Spirits by Anthony Dias Blue is a marvelous guide for a retail store. It is an easy read, incredibly informative, and can make you an instant expert on all spirits, even includes barware and glasses. I bought it for our liquor managers in each store and they have found it to be an excellent storehouse of knowledge from beginning to end about all types of spirits. I needed this 35 years ago when first became a liquor retailer. Awesome book!!!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ebb2aa4) out of 5 stars This is a great read for the enthusiast, professional or historian. Sept. 16 2013
By KO - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a bartender (among other things) and spirits enthusiast. This book is the basic text for selecting the best possible value in spirits that are common enough to find in most mega-stores.

Dias Blue doesn't venture into esoteric selections that are insanely expensive and difficult to come by. This book is not for the pretentious mixologist. It will, however, be more than adequate for educating the working barman on the selections behind him. Nothing helps the upsell like knowing the rough differences in taste profiles and characteristics of the most commonly used spirits on the top-shelf.

Instead of using the most expensive as the yard-stick of measuring quality, I can now ask questions about my customers' taste and make solid recommendations that they'll enjoy (not to mention reasons why they should stray from the well). This keeps my customers spending more money on both their drinks and my tips, and it keeps my customers coming to me instead of my coworkers.

This book has also come in handy for building a versatile, inexpensive and high quality bar at home and given me lessons on how to organize verticle tastings of spirits I am unfamiliar with. This helps me trust my own palate instead of magazine reviews or tatted jackass mixologists with big belt-buckles and stupid haircuts that are only bartending because it pays the bills until they can find a job in finance.

If you're bartender: educate yourself and don't suck at your job, don't overpour, don't blindly recommend the most expensive selection and understand that the only people that respect the term "mixologist" are idiots.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ebb2a68) out of 5 stars knowledge for a new job Aug. 21 2006
By B. Irvine - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was recently hired as spirit sales person and needed to learn more about the subject i was selling. This book was very useful for me and contains a lot of great information about the history of spirits and how they came about for today's consumption.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ebb2f60) out of 5 stars very informative read Oct. 11 2010
By chris - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
has a wealth of information of production, history, tasting and products. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in all things spirits
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ebb2df8) out of 5 stars Perfect for the business owner! Jan. 11 2009
By Lisa M. Deboer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my dad who owns a liquor store.. He read it from cover to cover and now uses it as a reference.. Tons of information!!