Pros: Beautiful photography, easy to follow directions, a variety of drink recipes
Cons: The book is thin and narrow. You may have difficulty keeping it open while making your drinks.
Reviewed by: Rachel Young
When having a gathering for friends or family I usually put a lot of thought into the menu. The beverages on the other hand can sometimes be an afterthought. Opening a bottle of wine can be easier on the host than "shaking" cocktails. I was, therefore, somewhat skeptical when I received this small book. As we all know looks can be deceiving and this book truly delivered.
Author Kim Haasarud is founder of Liquid Architecture. She has had her cocktail recipes appear in publications from The Wall Street Journal to Cosmopolitan. This is her third book.
This thin, 127 page hardcover book is filled with gorgeous photos of delicious libations. It's obvious a lot of attention was paid to the way this book looks. I don't believe there is one white page, most of the recipes are written on soft pastel pages. The page colors seemed to coordinate with the color of the beverage.
The introduction to the book is fairly short, a mere four pages. Hassarud gives directions on what type of wines to use, ways to "cheat", and how to get the most out of your fruit.
The first 44 recipes are dedicated to sangria. The remaining 57 recipes are divided up into a number of categories: sangaree, punches, cups, and a number of recipes where adding alcohol is optional.
The first two recipes I made were for a baby shower I was invited to. I decided to bring Limoncello Fizzy Sangria and Strawberry Basil Lemonade (sans the citrus vodka). Both of these drinks were very easy to put together. The Sangria I made the night before. Right before serving I filled each glass with ice and topped with sparkling wine, which added a nice celebratory touch. The Sangria was light and refreshing, perfect for a spring evening. Everyone loved the Strawberry Basil Lemonade! The guests were pleasantly surprised by the basil and how well it married with the strawberries.
I made the Sangrita at home one Saturday for brunch. Sangrita is the Mexican version of a Bloody Mary. Often it is made without alcohol, but served with a shot of tequila alongside it. My children and I tried it without the tequila. I thought it was quite good. The citrus, spice, and tomato went really well together. My children were not impressed. My husband on the other hand enjoyed his with a shot of tequila and thought it was excellent.
The last recipe would meet some pretty tough critics, my children. My parents are from India, and at most of the gatherings at their home my Mother will make chai after the meal. If she did not there would be protests. This recipe again was very simple to put together and took very little effort. Although not as good as "Amachi's" the children did say it was quite good.
Hassarud states in the introduction that "her aim is to give you a few communal drink ideas to get your creativity flowing and your guests geared up in happy anticipation." She certainly does so! I will most certainly be referring to this book over and over again. I would highly recommend it those that enjoy serving their guests something a little different. This book is also wonderful for those who do not consume alcohol. There are a number of recipes that give you the option of not using liquor.
Recipe: Limoncello Fizzy Sangria
1 bottle dry white wine
2 cups lemonade
½ cup limoncello liqueur
2 lemons, cut into wheels
2 oranges cut, into wheels
1 bottle semisweet sparkling wine (e.g. , Ballatore Gran Spumante)
20 mint springs, for garnish
Lemon twists (or peels), for garnish
Combine the wine, lemonade, limoncello, lemons and oranges in a large ceramic or glass container and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (best if overnight). Serve over ice; fill glasses halfway with the sangria mixture, then top with the Spumante. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon twist.