“This book is not a comprehensive guide to bartending. It is specifically tailored to making drinks at home, with an eye toward entertaining.” – The Craft Cocktail Party.
This book starts out with exactly the same premise of the very blog you’re reading, so I was hooked with that line. To begin, the photography in this book is wonderful – bravo to Daniel Krieger for that! The layout and typography is also very attractive.
The recipes in the book are varied, ranging from simple classics like a Moscow Mule to newer recipes like Clover Club’s Palo Negro. A warning to Simple Cocktails readers, though: some of these recipes in TCCP are downright complex, requiring you to make an infused syrup a few days before your party.
I struggled with the organization of The Craft Cocktail Party, because I felt it didn’t echo the premise of the book itself. I found this home bartender’s guide to be strangely organized into the four seasons of the year, and then further into sub-categories, some with a clear party theme, but others were just drink categories. For example, the Fall section has a “Thanksgiving” chapter, which makes perfect sense as a craft cocktail party occasion, but then it also contains a chapter called “The Classics.” What occasion is that, and why reserve it for the Fall?
Sprinkled throughout the book are entertaining tips, sticking true to the original premise the book promised, appearing in grey boxes throughout the book. But there was maybe one tip for every 30 recipes in this book, so it ends up weighted much more heavily towards cocktails than entertaining.
Overall, TCCP is a beautiful book with jaw-dropping photography and some really good content, but the organization of it seems to waver between a garden-to-glass cocktail book, party drink menu ideas, and a straight-ahead cocktail reference book.