BOOK REVIEW:

The Cocktail Garden
Botanical Cocktails for Every Season

By Ed Loveday

Illustrations by Adriana Picker

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The generally wondrous weather summertime blesses us with, is ripe environment for being outside and having people over.  You can serve beer and wine coolers, but why not up your game with some dazzling drink concoctions and have your friends hailing you as the new cocktail master?
 
This book grew on me.
 
Being visually-oriented I staunchly require beautiful photographs of the end result from all the books I use that require me to make something from a recipe. It assures that MY end result will actually BE what the book intended.  Otherwise, it can sometimes be a disaster.
 
The Cocktail Garden is an illustrated book, and therefore graphic and not photographic.  I have been left blind....
 
...and surprisingly didn't turn into a disaster.  Interesting alcohols and mixers abound in this book and most are tethered to ingredients you might find in your garden.  You may finally find more uses for your persimmons by using them in the Persimmon Pisco Sour or use your Rhubarb in more than pie by adding it to a Rhubarb Cooler or a Rhubarb Spritz.
 
In that I hail from Norway, and my Christmas alcohol of choice is Aqvavit, I was won over immediately when I found the Kiwi Collins recipe in the book that included my ancestral hearth-warmer. (There is a Scandinavian tradition that includes locking arms and eyes and downing a shot of Aqvavit, which I used as the cost of entry at the front door to all my earlier Christmas parties.  It helped get the fun going a bit quicker.)
 
Recipes like the Mango Matcha Margarita let you know the book is not stodgy smoking jacket cocktails of the Mad Men age.
 
All of the recipes are organized according to season and are easy to make, as long as you stock the bar.   (Start by checking out our Shop The Look page here.)
 
All the bar information is what interested me most and helped up my game.  Things like what shape glasses work for what matters less to me than learning there are three different kinds of shakers and the why and what for of that!  My favorite piece of bar gear may be the Muddler...just saying the word makes me happy.
 
Overall, if you drink, it's a good book.  You'll feel a bit like you're working over a witch's cauldron crafting the most delicious and joy-making concoctions that will look great in the glass and dazzle your friends.
 
Enjoy!  And thanks again for being a part of our book-loving community.
 
Review by Siri Jostad

KEY TAKEAWAYS 

The Cocktail Garden has relatively little 'reading' to be done.  Catch up on understanding the gear and ingredients then you get to browse the cocktail recipes dedicated to fruits, herbs and flowers to find one with the elements that light your fire.  Here's what you have in store, in this book:.

 

  • 60 Recipes for spectacularly interesting cocktails--you will wow your guests

  • 8 Recipes for Hot-Processed Syrups (Honeysuckle Syrup, Rhubarb Syrup, Sugar Snap Pea Syrup)

  • 6 Recipes for Cold-Processed Syrups (Strawberry & Tarragon Syrup, Kaffir Lime Syrup, Grapefruit Syrup)

  • 4 Recipes for Purees (Spiced Pumpkin Puree, Pear & Green Tea Puree, Preserved Lemon Puree)

  • 3 Recipes for Tinctures (Walnut Tincture, Fig Leaf Tincture, Cardamom Tincture)

  • 7 Recipes for Infusions (Beetroot Gin, Pear-Infused Scotch, Tea-Infused Vodka, Butter-Washed Vodka)

  • An understanding of the differences between the various cocktail serving glassware

  • Bar equipment list (or you can check out our Shop The Look page and click through to buy what you need)

  • Description and List of the Mixers and other ingredients your Bar Cart needs

    • things like Bitters, Soda Water, Egg Whites, Tonic Water

  • Description and List of the more unique spirits, liqueurs and other alcohols you'll encounter in the recipes

ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR

Ed Loveday is a cocktail master. He has developed award-winning wine and cocktail lists for ACME and Bar Brose in Sydney (the latter being awarded Best Wine List in the 2016 Australian Liquor Industry Awards). At Bar Brose, he has established a late-night drinking venue known for its French-inspired menu, natural wines, and cocktails made with seasonal produce.

Adriana Picker is a New York-based commercial illustrator. Adriana has also worked as a costume illustrator on feature films, such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Gods of Egypt, and most notably, The Great Gatsby.  At the heart of Adriana's work is a lifelong passion for botanical and food illustration.

*  Our Book Club pages are not sponsored.  They do however include some affiliate links.  That means if you buy a book or product by clicking through our links, we may make a small commission, but at no extra cost to you.  All opinions are our own.  We DO appreciate your loving the books that we do and thank you for your support.

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