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Gatsby Cocktails: Classic Cocktails from The Jazz Age

Sturdy little page-turner shakes up some winning drink recipes
Gracie Salem, 12:30pm, Sat. May. 11, 2013
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” —The Great Gatsby
courtesy Ryland Peters & Small

It’s near perfect irony that the highly crafted cocktail came of age during the time when our country tried its hardest to get people not to drink. During the era of Prohibition, spanning the years 1920 through 1933, cocktails came into the height of fashion in the underground speakeasies and at private parties, when strong flavors were imparted to cover the harsh tinge of bootleggers’ bathtub booze. And, of course, these very kind of parties were the centerpiece of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. With a new film treatment of the iconic jazz age novel just out from director Baz Luhrmann, Gatsby and cocktails are once again in the public consciousness.

In Gatsby Cocktails: Classic Cocktails from The Jazz Age (Ryland Peters & Small, $9.95) we find sixty-some pages of beautiful illustrations, succinct history lessons, terrific quotes from The Great Gatsby, as well as a solid list of timeless recipes for truly delightful drinks.

Nearly any good bar these days will have a Sazerac and a Sidecar on their cocktail list, but making these at home is another feat all together. Here, drink recipes are specific and easy-to-follow, and each comes with a small bit of history about the drink, this reader’s favorite aspect of the little book. For instance, the Silk Stocking, a frothy pink drink, was named such in a decorative and distracting effort to hide from curious authorities the fact that it was made with alcohol.

The “Julep and Smashes” chapter is especially fun with concoctions such as the Bourbon Cobbler, where pineapple, orange, and lemon are muddled and then topped with bourbon, orange curacao, and ice: a truly crafted drink. (Recipe below) While it's true that most of these drinks would benefit from fancy chipped ice, instead of the clunky cubes most home bars might use, a terrific cocktail is easily achieved.

Gatsby Cocktails is a fun must-have for any drink connoisseur, bartender friend, or die hard Fitzgerald fan.

The Bourbon Cobbler
courtesy Ryland Peters & Small

(reprinted by permission of Ryland Peters & Small)

For a deliciously tropical alternative to a mint julep, try a refreshing Bourbon Cobbler. Gently ease the juice out of the fruit for a sharp citrus flavor.

a pineapple slice

an orange slice

a lemon slice

50 ml. or 2 oz. bourbon

15 ml or ½ oz. orange curacao

mint sprig, to garnish

Gently muddle the fruit in a rocks glass, add the bourbon, curacao and ice and stir well. Add more ice and stir again, garnish with a sprig of mint and serve with two short straws. Serves one.

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