Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Little Pink Book of Cocktails” by Madeline Teachett

A somewhat curious book to review today: The Little Pink Book of Cocktails, an oh-so-pretty-in-pink cocktail recipe book masquerading as a planner. I realize I'm not the intended audience for this book — presumably the publisher is going after a slightly more feminine demographic. However, I do like my share of "girlie" drinks, and the book is definitely cute, colorful and nicely designed.

But how are the recipes?

On that score, The Little Pink Book of Cocktails comes up short. Sorry to say, but this seems like a cocktail book put together by someone who doesn't know a whole lot about cocktails.

It's not that the recipes are bad. Well, some of them are bad. The Tom Collins recipe is to mix gin with Tom Collins mix. (Bleh.) The recipe for the Piña Colada calls for blending together rum and, you guessed it, Piña Colada mix. (Double bleh.)

Most of the recipes are okay, but there's an odd selection of them, with too many simple highballs thrown together with too many complex cocktails calling for unusual ingredients.

So we have pages devoted to the Screwdriver (vodka & OJ), Cape Cod (vodka & cranberry), Greyhound (vodka & grapefruit), Godmother (vodka & Amaretto), Vodka Gimlet (vodka & lime juice, which is not how you make a Gimlet), etc. And there aren't that many recipes in the book, so these simple variations take up a lot of the content.

Contrasting that are some very interesting recipes from noted bars like PDT, Death and Company and The Bourgeois Pig. I experimented with some of these and there are a couple of great recipes. They're almost enough to make the book worth recommending. (I especially like The Ramble, an elegant mixture of Plymouth Gin, lemon juice, and raspberry simple syrup.)

The problem is that most of the proprietary recipes call for ingredients (Sloe Gin, St. Germain Liqueur, Lillet Blanc, Chartreuse, Pear Eau-de-Vie) that most people don't have on hand. Even worse, some of them call for the home bartender to make her own infusions and spiced rum.

I could forgive all of those things. I could forgive calling Cachaça a rum. I could forgive instructing people to make a Martini with "2 drops" of vermouth. I could forgive the useless recipe for a Mai Tai that calls for using a type of rum that costs $50,000. I could even forgive the fact that her recipe for the Cosmopolitan stinks. (You'd think a book like this would at least get that one right.)

I could forgive everything, if only it weren't for the inclusion of recipes for drinks called "Blue Veiny Monster," "Panty Dropper," "Buttery Nipple #1," "Red-Headed Slut," and "Pink Vagina." For that, there is simply no forgiveness.