The Ultimate A to Z Bar Guide
by: Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
I always find it interesting to take a gander behind a bar and see what reference materials might be available for the staff to use. With over a thousand different cocktails that might possibly be asked for, these reference guides can be an important source of information and stress relief for even the best of bartenders.
There is a wide variety of cocktail recipe books on the market, and each bartender and bar manager needs to take a little care at choosing the reference material they want to rely on. Often you will find several different books tucked in some discreet location, but there will almost certainly be one that shows the dog-eared signs of frequent use.
I think it would be difficult to identify the definitive recipe book that all bartenders should be expected to be familiar with, but “The Ultimate A-toZ Bar Guide” would definitely find its place on any short-list of such books that I might compile.
From its highly approachable size, to the easy to read text, this book just feels like a great reference manual, even without actually reading any of it. Once you actually dive into the book, and start looking at the wealth of information that the Herbst’s have compiled, you soon realize that your first impressions are well rewarded. There are over 1,000 different cocktail recipes that are presented in alphabetical order, and scattered throughout these you will find almost as many entries that provide concise but highly informative descriptions for a wide variety of ingredients, processes, and terminology associated with bartending and mixology. And just to keep things a little interesting, scattered throughout its pages you will find a variety of quotes, jokes, and proverbs.
Just as an English dictionary isn’t really the best beginners book for learning a language, neither should this book be considered as a tool that will teach you how to be a bartender. It will however be an indispensable resource for you when you find that you can’t remember how to make a Cabaret cocktail, want to learn some background information about the Margarita, or want to find out what Parfait Amour is. All of which makes it perfect to have nearby at all times.