Seattleite Book Club: January 2012

Dear “Seattleite” Readers,

Welcome to the Seattleite” Book Club – the only virtual book club that spotlights the Pacific Northwest’s own authors and publishers!

Last month we featured “Can I Come With You?” by Amanda Koster, a social documentary photography book that, through Koster’s experiences in Brazil, Kenya, Romania and Morocco, helps the reader along the path to traveling with the intention of making a connection with culture and the people of their stops and destinations, rather than just being a tourist. If you have any “Seattleite Book Club” comments, please e-mail us.

January Selection: “Left Coast Libations: The Art of West Coast Bartending: 100 Original Cocktails” by Ted Munat with Michael Lazar and Photography by Jenn Farrington

Let’s start by toasting the New Year! To match this month’s theme, our selection of “Left Coast Libations (2010)” is a slight stretch (since it seems no one in the Seattle area recently published a cocktail-themed book), but this one sure gives us room to shake things up!

With a slightly sarcastic, enthusiastic and all-around relatable tone, Seattle’s own Ted Munat explains why and how he compiled “Left Coast Libations.” The massive volume contains 102 cocktail recipes, a how-to-guide for necessary homemade ingredients, various bartender techniques and backgrounds on each of the 51 featured mixologists from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C.

“Some of the finest bartenders in the world have graced us with the creations of which they are most proud,” Munat writes. “Each recipe has been painstakingly created and tested. Every effort has been made to ensure that each recipe in this book is clear enough to be re-created as intended by anyone with the tools, ingredients, and gumption to try it.”

The book has combinations that thrill the taste buds, concoctions to make you forget about dinner just to spend a little more time in the bar — an an approach to mixology that could quite possibly to turn a hater into an enthusiast.

“While newspaper and magazine articles tout the accomplishments of bartenders,” Munat writes, “the bartenders themselves are often misrepresented, their drink recipes butchered … It is with these continued slights in mind that we offer this book, of and about bartenders, but for us all.”

“Left Coast Libations” is a tribute to the skill, craft, dedication and mixology philosophies of some of the world’s finest bartenders, as well as a showcase for their magnificent liquid creations.

While we assume that the recipes and features contained within “Left Coast Libations” are all wonderful, we skipped right to the Seattle section for this review. Featured from our neck of the woods, in order of appearance, are: Keith Waldbauer, Andrew Bohrer, Casey Robison, David Nelson, Robert Rowland, Jay Kuehner, Jim Romdall, Anu Apte, Zane Harris, Tara McLaughlin, Andrew Friedman, Erik Carlson, Erik Hakkinen, Jamie Boudreau, and of course, Murray Stenson.

These kings and queens of the bar have gained experience, recognition, and careers from some of Seattle’s best bars and restaurants, including The Zig Zag Café, MistralKitchen, Tavern Law, Oliver’s Twist, Vessel, and Rob Roy.

“So read the recipes, make or buy the ingredients required to make them, and enjoy,” writes Munat. “But please, do go seek out the women and men featured in this book, have a drink, learn from them, and tip them. Big.”

They deserve it. As stated in the book’s foreword — penned by our very own Paul Clarke of “The Cocktail Chronicles” — each bartender featured in the book’s “greatest accomplishment lies in their abilities to suit each of their customers.” Well, ours certainly do!

“Left Coast Libations” is available on Amazon (starting at $15.87). Be sure to read the section “On Reading the Recipes and Making the Cocktails” first — you’ll find valuable tips for your bartending test runs!