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Book: The Fundamentals of Mixology - The Art of the Cóctelier by Eric Helin-Hultquist

Book: The Fundamentals of Mixology - The Art of the Cóctelier by Eric Helin-Hultquist

categories: Book, Mixology, Original Cocktails, Cóctelier, Bartending, Mixed Drinks, Cocktails

Eric Helin-Hultquist

Author Eric Helin-Hultquistabout this book: I got interested in the subject of mixology back in my early twenties after reading Charles H. Baker's: Gentleman's Companion. The book not only contained an array of largely forgotten, original cocktail recipes but it introduced me to the novel concept that cocktails were not simply a means for inducing inebriation (which always seems to be the prevailing idea among a younger crowd). Instead, cocktails were something to be appreciated and savored rather than downed in a couple of gulps. This early exposure to Baker's insights led to a life-long fascination with cocktails.

The inspiration for the book came from a conversation I had with the chef who headed the culinary program at the community college where I teach. During our conversation he asked me whether I'd be willing to teach a course in mixology; after which, I started looking around for a textbook. All the books I came across were little more than books of recipes. Except for a unique tidbit here and there, with reference to the overall cocktail process, none of them contained any information that went beyond the cocktail basics that any bartender might be expected to know. Having come away from this search empty handed, I decided to write my own book on the subject.

The book took about three years to write. The process of cocktail creation, like any other creative process, is highly intuitive. Asking a cóctelier to explain how he creates a cocktail is akin to asking an artist how he goes about painting a picture. It just kind of happens. At least it does in my case. I just start mulling over the notion of an original cocktail and suddenly this half-formed idea kind of pops out of the primordial fog. In order to write the parts of the book that deal with originating and modifying cocktails, I had to begin observing my own mental process so I could to figure out how I had been going about designing the cocktails. The difficult part was trying to figure out how to logically explain what I'd been doing all along by instinct. Trying to dissect this process and then compartmentalize it was no easy task, so it didn't happen overnight. Designing an original cocktail is much easier than explaining how to do it.

This newly published book gives an entirely different take on the subject of mixology. Its main focus is on the cocktail creation process and the creation of original cocktails. As such, it's not simply another book loaded with recipes but is intended as a practical manual that walks the reader through all of the various aspects of cocktail creation. The few original recipes included in this volume are used for purposes of illustration.

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