Friday, August 13, 2010

Book: Left Coast Libations, Ted Munat/Michael Lazar/Jenn Farrington (2010)

As a transplanted New Yorker I am loath to say this, but the West Coast doesn’t get nearly enough credit for a lot of things. For instance, its role in current cocktail culture. Left Coast Libations pays tribute to the core of dedicated bartenders, particularly in San Francisco and Seattle, who are the heroes of this renaissance.

Featured in this collection of one hundred original cocktail recipes are some of my favorite watering holes. Bourbon & Branch and Alembic in San Francisco, Spur and Tavern Law in Seattle. And of course my home away from home, the Zig Zag Café, reigned over by the man recently declared America’s best bartender by his peers, Murray Stenson.

For the most part, I can’t prepare these drinks myself. I don’t keep a variety of sherries or arrack in my personal bar, and I’m not about to make “smoked cider air” although I now know how to do so. I’d rather let a skilled professional do the hard work for me. Good bartending is an art – equal parts host, teacher and chef – and the book is an incentive to get out and enjoy it firsthand. Plus the photographs are great.