Now, my NY friend Mitch has an enviable cocktail book collection. Let me rephrase this, I covet Mitch’s Tiki cocktail book and he should hide it when I visit. Seeking out arcane cocktail books became a sort of passion after attending David Windrich’s workshop last fall at the Astor Center. So, I confess that I am looking forward to Mitch’s look of lust when he sees this book.
Rizzoli published the book in Milan in 1963 and it is an amazingly complete guide for making cocktails, there is an index (the concept of an index is something that Italians are genetically unable to grasp), easy to understand codes for what kind of drink it is, what sort of glass, etc. But, the real kicker is that it has many of the original liquor bottle labels pasted into the book. It must have been assembled by hand as I can’t think of any other way that these labels could have gotten pasted into the book.
It has all the classic drinks and then whole categories that I’ve never heard of. No, we won’t be going all “Julia and Julia” like Julia Powell who made every single recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I have no intention of making and tasting every cocktail in this book.
Signor Veronelli is incredibly precise in his measurements and instructions, except that he continually refers to “1 bicchiere” as a unit of measure, or “1 glass”. There are no explanations for the size of the glass, so we’ve decided as most of his recipes are for 2 drinks, he must be using a standard 3.5 oz cocktail glass, and one glass means one cocktail glass. Any other theories would be happily entertained. And Mitch, if you keep your hands in plain sight at all times, I’ll show you my treasure.