In my early years as an adult of drinking age, I made terrible choices. I drank many an amaretto sour or green apple martini before eventually coming to my senses. Slowly but surely, I found my way to a small handful of cocktails that I enjoyed, were designed to be sipped slowly, and didn’t make me feel like I’d spent the evening licking a Jolly Rancher.
The bulk of this short list featured drinks made with a member of the whiskey family. Over time, I’ve also found myself gravitating towards the same array of spirits in when preserving peaches and cherries. There’s just something about those flavors that speak to me.
So, now that you know that I have something of a weakness for the world of whiskey, it will make perfect sense that today I’m writing a post about a lovely new book called Whiskey. Written by Michael Dietsch (he is also responsible for Shrubs, a most fabulous book), this volume offers its reader the history of whiskey, helpful instruction on making cocktails, and 100 pages of the most popular whiskey cocktails of all time, arrayed in chronological order.
Half compelling history and half instructional volume, this book begins with a dive into whiskey’s history (known today as distilled spirit made from a grain mash, though that wasn’t always the case) and an explanation the differences in spelling (whiskey/whisky) and where they appear geographically.
From there, Michael traces its international heritage and deals with the history of production around the world. Finally (because the first half will make you thirsty), we get to the nuts and bolts of cocktail crafting and the recipes.
It’s a wonderfully crafted book, written with skill, humor, and enthusiasm. The photography is gorgeous and the whole thing is presented in a very pretty package. If you have a family member who is a fan of whiskey (Father’s Day is just around the corner!), it would make a lovely gift (particularly if paired with a nice bottle).
Thanks to the kind folks at The Countryman Press, I have both a recipe from this book to share, and a copy to give away. The recipe is for a Whiskey Cobbler, which speaks to me thanks to the presence of berries. Here’s how to enter the giveaway.
- Leave a comment on this post that has something to do with whiskey.
- Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, May 21, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, May 22, 2016.
- Giveaway open to United States and Canadian residents. Void where prohibited.
- One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.
Disclosure: The Countryman Press sent me the copy you see pictured above for photography and review purposes, and is also providing the giveaway unit. Both are being provided at no cost to me. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
The cobbler is one of the oldest drinks in a bartender’s arsenal, and once upon a time, it was the most popular drink in the United States. It’s fallen from popularity somehow, and other writers (David Wondrich, in his Imbibe!, for example) have tried to resurrect it. I wish more people would try the cobbler. I had a sherry cobbler in Boston while promoting my first book, and I fell in love. The sherry cobbler, in fact, is the oldest version of the drink, arising in the 1830s. It’s a refreshing tipple—low in alcohol, icier than a julep, and very mildly fruity. The whiskey variation is, of course, a stronger, more bracing drink. But sometimes that’s what you want.
- 4 ounces rye whiskey (high-proof, like Rittenhouse)
- 1 tablespoon simple syrup
- 3 orange slices
- Berries (optional; ideally, fresh, local, and seasonal—so if you’re making this in winter,
- I wouldn’t bother)
- Crack a whole lot of ice. You want something like little pebbles. Best bet: Fill a gallon-sized zipper bag with ice, place a towel over it, and wallop it with a rolling pin, meat mallet, or saucepan.
- Fill a shaker with the cracked ice, as much as you can fit. Add the whiskey, simple syrup, and orange slices.
- Shake vigorously to combine.
- Pour unstrained into a collins glass. Add more ice if you want and stir.
- Garnish with berries, if using.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Whiskey © 2016 by Michael Dietsch, The Countryman Press.