“Tis the season!” is heralded throughout the holidays. We toast, we Prost, we Sláinte, and Salute! And what sparks the salutations is the drink! A frizzy, frothy, bubbly, elixir fashioned with a redolent, glittering garnish to top it all off. So why not gild the lily; give the perfect gift, The Art of the Garnish.
It’s said you can judge a book by its cover – and the glamorous, tactile and textured hardcover beauty is a sight to behold – and touch. It’s pretty-in-pink, accessorized by the Garden-to-Glass green garnishes herbs, flowers, and spices that star in my latest book. It’s a great size too (6 x 8ish) – ideal for gracing your bar cart, bar, or island mixing station (or bedside table!).
According to Amazon, as supplied by my publisher, the incredible Cider Mill Press – (who I couldn’t love more) – the Garnish book is described as:
Full of tips, tricks, and instructional illustrations about how to prepare a wide range of cocktail garnishes, The Art of the Garnish is a mixology must-have!
The perfect cocktail is a sight to behold, and it is often enhanced both in flavor and appearance thanks to a garnish. Learn the ins and outs of garnishing your drinks with The Art of the Garnish. Full of tips, tricks, and instructional illustrations on the right way to prepare a dizzying array of garnishes, from herbs and citrus to nuts, candy, meat, and jewelry, this book is a must-have for the aspiring mixologist! Like all the books in the “Art of Entertaining” series The Art of the Garnish offers easy-to-follow recipes and colorful photographs; the beautiful images detail how these garnishes enhance cocktails and will help make you the star of happy hour.
I promise — you will so enjoy the book! I relished researching the cocktail lore: exploring “Where did these drinks originate? Who gave birth to which garnish?” Besides the patina of time, the stories passed on are fueled with booze, not surprisingly, so the true tales are often a bit hazy – but no less intriguing. These are fun stories – the ones you hear from your favorite bar tender who knows her cocktail history.
There are recipes – most of which are my creations – in addition to scores of world-class mixologists and cocktail artists from across the US and England.
I also highlighted drinks from places where I’ve lived and/or worked (more often than not it was work! ha) including Hacienda Cusin in Ecuador, Japan, Cuba, Denmark, and Switzerland – where I went to school.
I based my cocktail recipes and food pairings on the idea that one could enjoy cocktails even more when using natural, garden-inspired spirits that, more often than not, are regional, seasonal, and at one time – gave drinks their special, homegrown panache. For example, Crème de Violette liqueur is made from violet wildflowers native to Austria and Switzerland, adding a light vanilla and floral note to champagne or sparkling wine and cocktails. Moreover, Crème de Violette’s regal color adds more glamour to your drink compositions.
Likewise, the Italian, bitter amaro is an herbal liqueur that started out as a digestif – as did many liquors. I love its regional distinctions; contributing so much flavor due to its artisanal creators. It stands to reason that every amaro is different: it’s a mix of herbs, flowers, aromatic bark, citrus peel and spices—a blend that can include anything from cardamom to elderberry flowers. So each and every cocktail made with this luscious liquor is unique. A rather existential experience, Well, at least true luxury! I love this sense of adventure.
Yet one more example is that of the Boba Pearl drink recipes. Boba pearls are made from tapioca. I love tapioca – and as a kid, asked that my birthday celebrations included either tapioca – or angel food cake – in place of the traditional birthday cake. But what is tapioca? Most shrug. Yet, tapioca comes from the cassava plant. Therefore, I paired the drink with a root vegetable appetizer so that the cocktail and food complement one another in the same way that cooks and chefs admonish, “What grows together, goes together.”
Garnishes that inspired me were in that same lane. For “I’m Nutty for You” I used Cracker Jacks – complete with a prize. Or jewelry: think brooches – perfect for spearing a fruit or candy garnish – or a tie tack. Did you think candy licorice or passion flower blossoms or sesame seeds with a tahini pairing? Or smoke? Or toys? And you thought parasols were the bees knees!
It’s often said that there’s no doggie bag for cocktails. I adore that in-the-moment cocktail experience that cries out for family, friends, community – and conversation; glamour, and style. And you get to do it over again the next evening. In a home bar or in our case, a speakeasy – complete with a hidden door! Or in a local tavern, swanky hotel lounge, a terrace, or a beach, or cocktail lounge or bubble bath! The possibilities of place and garnish are limitless.
The Art of the Garnish – You’ll be equally smitten with the “libation lore,” the history, the food pairings and tablescape compositions, as well as the cocktail style and the glamour…