Food & Drink

Book Review: Be Your Own Bartender

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I love a good infographic or flowchart, and I know I’m not alone. For Carey Jones and John McCarthy (a husband and wife team), getting you to your perfect cocktail is a matter of science, and Be Your Own Bartender is built around the idea that if you answer a few simple questions, you can be easily taken down a path that tells you what you ought to be drinking.

Be Your Own Bartender is filled with about 100 recipes, most of which appear to be original, and while the chapters are split up by spirit type, each section offers a sort of Choose Your Own Adventure approach to picking one out. The Rum section asks whether you want a tropical drink, tiki-level or less so, “literally drinking from a coconut?” and finally “dark and spicy or easy drinking?” My answers to those questions took me to the Mutiny on the Bounty, a mix of dark and spiced rum, pineapple juice, orgeat, bitters, and green Chartreuse — all of which sounds like a monstrous delight.

The book’s questions can be a bit kitschy and somewhat forced — “feel like breaking a trade embargo?” has never come up when I’ve studied a cocktail menu — but on the whole it’s fun and designed for easy flippability, even if you don’t feel like working your way through the flowcharts. The book could benefit from more photography — there are only a handful of pictures throughout — but otherwise it’s a fun little way to get the party started, whatever mood you might be in.


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Be Your Own Bartender




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