"A superb guide to the world of the cocktail..." -- Christopher Hitchens
Ever since the Wall Street Journal introduced its new Saturday weekend edition in 2005, one of its most popular features has been the "How's Your Drink?" cocktail column by Eric Felten, which illuminates the culture of the cocktail, showing how it has been an essential part of American life. Now, Felten has created his first How's Your Drink? book--an essential addition to the literature of spirits and cocktails, a staple for the library of any cultivated man, and a fantastic holiday gift title for hard-to-shop for husbands and fathers. How's Your Drink? (the title comes from the phrase with which Frank Sinatra habitually checked in with guests he entertained in his home) is an invaluable, erudite guide to culture, lore, and history of the cocktail.
In the decades after Prohibition, the cocktail was king. Everyone knew the cocktail party's rituals and choreography. A man was judged on his skill as a mixer, and took pride in the elegant austerity of his Martini. But come the Sixties, cocktails went the way of the Man in the Grey Flannel Suit. A generation later, cocktails are back, but the literature and lore of the classics has been missing. These wonderful concoctions have been like puzzling artifacts from a lost civilization - where do they come from? What do they mean?
John F. Kennedy played nuclear brinksmanship with a Gin and Tonic in his hand. Teddy Roosevelt took the witness stand in a celebrated libel trial to testify that six Mint Juleps over the course of his presidency did not make him a drunk. John Updike killed the Old Fashioned--F.D.R.'s drink of choice --when he made it the instrument of infanticide in Rabbit, Run, while Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Chandler both did their part to promote the Gimlet. Drinks find their way into the tunes of Cole Porter and other songwriters. Frank Sinatra preferred Jack Daniels and water with exactly four cubes of ice. There are cocktails immortalizing electoral triumphs and drinks used in buying votes. Fighting men mixed drinks with whatever liquor could be scavenged between barrages, raising glasses to celebrate victory and to ease the pain of defeat too.
Eric Felten's elegant, erudite prose illuminates American culture through the prism of a glass--and based on exhaustive research, he also delivers the authentic recipes for the best drinks, both famous and obscure.