Book Reviews

Book Review: The School of Sophisticated Drinking

The favourite alcoholic beverages of Germans happen to be beer and wines. Spirits come next.

Few sophisticated Germans like to enjoy cocktails in hotel or specialized bars. Cosmopolitan German cities –Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Munich, offer many opportunities to enjoy expertly cocktails.

The authors are bartenders and managers, and embarked on a project to compile lectures on the most important spirits that are the foundations of cocktails – brandy, vodka, whisky, rum, gin and tequila. Champagne is also included as a spirit, but doesn’t technically belong to spirits, though it is often used in cocktails. The “lectures” are thorough, meticulously researched, and very informative.

At the end, the authors list 47 popular cocktails in Germany including Rudesheim coffee (which few North American bartenders would consider a cocktail), eggnog (popular only around Christmas and mostly for small gatherings or home parties), Lumumba, Moscow Mule (once popular in North America), brandy crusta, grog, scorpion, to name just a few. This is very entertaining book that should be read while sitting comfortably in an armchair, with a double measure of fine Scotch or cognac, or rum for that matter.

The narrative is as much erudite, as it is hedonistic and charming. All bartender would benefit from the detailed information, not only in the their craft, but also to entertain and educate their regular patrons. It is surprising how many patrons are interested in learning the details pertaining to spirits and wines. Most even share personal information with bartenders and which they wouldn’t with their doctors or priests!

Berlin is a cosmopolitan city that has a rich history in diplomatic activities, international politics, literature, spies from everywhere, and movies just to name a few. In Berlin you can find anything you can think of, or imagine, including sophisticated cocktails mixed by enthusiastic and skilful barn tenders. Whether you are and expert drinker, or a novice barfly, this book will give you plenty to contemplate.

As a bartender, you will gain valuable information that can result in much appreciate gratuities.

Highly recommended.


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