Friday, February 13, 2015

Booknote: The Best Shots You've Never Had

Andrew Bohrer, The Best Shots You've Never Tried: 100+ Intoxicating Oddities You'll Never Actually Want to Put Down. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2012. ISBN: 9781440536175.

Genre: Nonfiction
Subgenre: drinks, alcohol and spirits, recipe books
Format: Print. Softcover.
Source: I bought this cheap (at Ollie's Bargain Outlet). 

After reading this, I can tell you right now that most shots in this book will remain forever untried. What I found is that the recipes call for various exotic or very rare liquors that very few common people are bound to have sitting at home. The author's "comforting" suggestion? Why, use the Internet. I just don't see a lot of people making lists and hopping on the Internet to buy rare booze that may cost a bit in some cases and may not get much use. And that is the other thing: unless you use certain liquors a lot, having a bottle of them in the house is not worth. Maybe this is why some people pay extra and go to the bar, so they can sample stuff they can't make at home.

Even the section of the book entitled "Shots of Last Resort," which reassures us that "most anybody's house has enough fixins to chef up great treats--simply remember that creativity and bravery are a must," is a bit of false advertising. Sure, there are recipes that use items like pickle juice (you all have a pickle jar in the house, right?), some jams (you have to put something on your bread, right?), and even a packet of sweet and sour sauce (left over from that one take out order we guess). But these items are often paired with not so common liquors like Fernet Branca and St. Germain. Overall, there may be a recipe or two that may be viable in this section; others feature stuff that not everyone keeps in the house.

A positive element in the book is the photography. The book features beautiful photos of the shots. They did pick out some very nice glassware to highlight the shots. Also, some of the trivia can be interesting. However, this is a book mostly to look at and move on. If you are a fully-fledged mixologist, you may venture and try to make some of the creations listed, assuming you have a fully stocked bar and a ton of friends to mix drinks for. The average home drinker is just not going to make the vast majority of the shots featured in this book due to just not having the materials or just finding it is not worth the effort to acquire a bottle of something that may be costly and rarely used.

Overall, it is a nice book to look at if you like pretty pictures. I'd say borrow it, except I would not really recommend it to libraries. I just do not see the average public library user borrowing this and attempting to replicate the shots at home. To be honest, the only people I see actually using this book are high end mixologists and trendy bartenders at fancy hipster bars. Oh, and I bet this guy also has a copy of the book:

OK, that was a little snarky but I am being honest. After reading this book, the image of the mixologist who uses tap water from the Library of Congress and went to school in Stockholm to learn how to build a deconstructed martini came to mind.

In the end, the book did have a positive or two, so I am rating it 2 out of 5 stars. It was OK, mostly to look at.

On a side note, if any readers are interested, the author does keep a blog at  It does not seem to be update regularly, and as of this post, it did not have anything new since December of last year. Interestingly, on his section in his blog for other books, which are books he recommends by other folks, he does feature two books that I have read:

If I were you, I'd skip this book and pick out one of the other books this author recommends (written by others) on his list, which does include some basic guides and recipe books that seem a bit more accessible.

This book qualifies for the following 2015 Reading Challenges:

1 comment:

Haze @ Haze in a Happy Daze said...

I don't drink so there's a lot I don't know about the spirit world, but I am intrigued. The two books you've posted about drinking and alcohol fascinates me, though not enough that I would read them. I think I might like to know a little about alcohol and spirits, but I don't think I'd be interested to learn about them in detail. LOL! I probably wouldn't understand most of it anyway.

This particular book sounds interesting though. It reminds me of cocktail recipes and how I could probably get a book about them and make them without the alcohol. Mocktails! =)

Thanks for sharing!