Friday, November 28, 2014

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NY1 teams with contributors from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Slate.com and Essence Magazine to review the latest books and book-related trends.

The Book Reader: ‘Death & Co’ & ‘Liquid Intelligence’

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Bari Weiss of The Wall Street Journal reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."

With Thanksgiving upon us and more holidays just around the corner, there is a good chance that you are bracing yourself for long meals with second cousins and great-aunts you see once a year. Never fear, there is a solution to your woes: cocktails.

I am happy to report that there are two hefty new books that will teach you how to make delicious drinks, and perhaps, convince you that mixology really is a science.

The first of the two books comes from the people that run the beloved East Village cocktail bar, Death & Co. Their book, "Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails," is the more beautiful book of the two, and feels more personal thanks to essays from bar regulars that are interspersed throughout.

The book contains recipes for hundreds of cocktails and credit is given in each case to the bartender that created the formula. You may have thought that a daiquiri was simply rum, lime juice and sugar, but a full six pages are devoted to variations on the drink.

As obsessive as the authors of "Death & Co" are, they look relaxed compared to Dave Arnold, whose book "Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail" urges the reader to "think like a scientist" when making a drink. Mr. Arnold is partner in Booker & Dax, a bar named after his two sons that’s part of the Momofuku culinary empire, and he is upfront about his compulsive methodology:

"I prefer to go to absurd lengths to gain minute increments of improvement. I am okay with spending a week preparing a drink that's only marginally better than the one that took my five minutes...I am never satisfied. There's always a better way," he writes.

This is a guy who uses a centrifuge to turn strawberries into juice. But rest assured, he makes it clear that liquid nitrogen and rotary evaporators aren't necessary if you just want to make some good drinks. Jump to the back of the book for a recipe for a perfect gin and tonic.

Happy Thanksgiving, and bottoms up!

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