Book Review: “Cocktails, Cocktails & More Cocktails” by Kester Thompson

I love reading books filled with cocktail recipes. Some of them are fun because they're so bad — every other drink calls for sweet and sour or pina colada mix or some other vile bottled substance. But the good ones are good because they contain real recipes for delicious drinks that a person with a little knowledge and enthusiasm can make at home.

Cocktails, Cocktails & More Cocktails, I'm happy to say, falls into the latter category. Kester Thompson is a brand ambassador for an Israeli winery and a consultant to bars and restaurants. It's clear from the recipes and commentary in this book that he's a man who knows his stuff.

As the title would suggest, Cocktails, Cocktails & More Cocktails is composed mostly of recipes. There's a little bit about bar tools and technique, but not much. The book also isn't heavy on photographs, so if you want to see pictures of all the drinks, this isn't the book for you. (Note: the book does have some photos. But not of each drink.)

There are recipes for a hundred or so cocktails, including all the classics (Martini, Manhattan, Daiquiri), along with some nice Tiki drinks (Zombie, Planter's Punch), and even a handful of drinks using cachaça, which was nice to see. (I still haven't mixed up any cachaça drinks, but I'll get around to it one of these days.) He also has a solid recipe for the Mai Tai, a drink that most people butcher.

I didn't find anything that was new or exciting in this. But to be fair, I've read a lot of cocktail books. For those with less experience, there are plenty of good recipes contained in Cocktails, Cocktails & More Cocktails that you will enjoy making.

Here's one I whipped up last night:

Painkiller

Shake with ice:

2 oz Dark or Navy Rum
2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Coconut Cream

Strain into a collins glass filled with crushed ice. Sprinkle grated nutmeg on top. 

A solid recipe for a delicious drink. I did change it a little, upping the rum a touch and using two different types of rum in order to get a more complex flavor. I also added a little cinnamon on top along with the nutmeg. But as written, this is an excellent cocktail.

The main drawback to this book is its size and format. This isn't a book that you want sitting on your counter so you can flip through it and mix up a cocktail. It's too big and too nice for that. This is a book that sits on your shelf. So if you want to make one of the recipes, you're probably going to have to copy it down first.

Other than that, this is a useful, well made volume that deserves a place in your collection.

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