A couple summers ago Michael and I were visiting New York City one weekend and after a show wandered into a place in the theater district called Bar Americain. It’s a newish Bobby Flay restaurant, and despite the large size of the open dining area, it has a classy unique feel to it with lots of warm lighting and at least a couple bartenders who really know their stuff. Ours that night helped us choose from the rare bourbons, and he talked a lot about how the masses that mix with vodka haven’t tasted great cocktails since vodka doesn’t really have a taste.
I was thinking about that experience tonight as I was reading The Art of the Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the Classics. The authors are two successful bartenders from San Francisco. The recipes are great, but what makes it worth a look are the stories and color that the authors bring to the histories of the concoctions.