It's Real

Ladies and gentlemen, I can confirm that the book has taken physical form: my copy of Distilled Knowledge arrived this weekend!

I spent months trying to imagine what this moment would feel like. I gave up (often), because I really had no parallel for it. I would often joke that seeing my name on the cover would make me certain that someone had made a mistake, that my name had gotten slapped onto somebody else’s book somehow. I say, “joke,” even though some part of me probably thought that might happen. I really, really had no idea what to expect.

I’m very happy to report that the feeling I actually experienced when I opened the box and saw my copy of my book was absolute, unbridled joy. Have you ever hugged a book? Literally hugged it. Squeezed it into your chest like it would dissolve into your body. I have. Books are harder than people, but it still works.

I could ramble on about this forever, but I won't. Instead I'll answer some of your possibly-burning questions, after which I'll give you the recipe for the cocktail I devised the night I found out my copy of Distilled Knowledge was in the country and on its way to me.

Does this mean I can get a copy now, too?
Not yet! Unless you're reviewing Distilled Knowledge for a publication or something like that. This is a small initial order for reviewers and people who worked on the book.

OK, so when and how do I get a copy?
October 4th is still the landfall date. If you want to pick up a copy at your local bookstore, it should be available from then on.

If you want to order a copy online, you can do that now, although it still won't arrive before 10/4. Distilled Knowledge is available for pre-order through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

What if I want a signed copy? Where can I order that?
You can't order a signed copy per se. If you order a regular copy or buy one at your local bookstore, I'll be happy to sign it whenever you, I, and it are all in the same room.

You can also come to a book signing, and either buy a book there or bring one for me to sign! Our schedule of promotional events isn't out just yet, but I can say we're planning to focus on Boston and New York, where we'll be doing a bunch of events from October until the last drop of interest has been squeezed from those cities' populations. Other events throughout the Northeast are reasonably likely but have yet to be scheduled.

If you live in other parts of the country (or in other countries), I hope we'll be able to do events near you, but it will depend to some degree on how well the book is doing, and I don't expect we'd be there before 2017.

How do I know when promotional events are happening, and where, and whether they're signings or cocktail lessons or something else entirely?
Sign up for the Herzog Cocktail School Mailing list! That is, by far, the surest way to get information about upcoming events. You can even choose to just receive information about Distilled Knowledge.

Sign up here: http://www.herzogcocktailschool.com/contact/

Is there, like, a one-stop shop where I can get any Distilled Knowledge information I could possibly need at once? That will be regularly updated as new information comes in?
You bet! It's right here: http://www.herzogcocktailschool.com/distilled-knowledge/

You said something about a cocktail?
Frequently, yes!

Here you go:

Publication Cocktail
1 1/2 oz. Rittenhouse 100º Rye
1 oz. Angostura Amaro
1/4 oz. Maple Syrup
2 Dashes Crude "Sycophant" (Orange & Fig) Bitters
Shake with ice. Strain into a chilled coupé glass.

Note: This drink is definitely inspired by Angostura's Waffle Shots, which I encountered at Tales of the Cocktail last summer (and which are the primary reason I own Angostura Amaro in the first place). Waffle Shots consist of Angostura Rum, Angostura Amaro, and maple syrup, mixed together in a wide-mouth cup, with a quarter of a waffle dusted in powdered sugar and dunked into it. I can think of no better breakfast item for a tailgate, ever.

The Waffle Shot is a richer, heavier drink than the Publication, which ends up being very whiskey-forward thanks to the Rittenhouse and gets a nice bit of brightness from the bitters. The drinks are also distinguished by the presence or absence of waffles.

 

Bar Staples

What are the workhorse spirits for a basic cocktail bar? What can you buy inexpensively enough to drink in quantity, that will reliably make decent cocktails?

I've flirted with the idea of a blog series dedicated to this problem, but that's as far as I've gotten with it. My own bar is very idiosyncratic these days, a combination of my poor self-control when faced with a truly novel beverage, my desire to stay on top of local spirits production, and my friends' assumption that unusual spirits are the best gift to bring to any social gathering at my house (they're not wrong, but it means I can find myself with, say, three Maine gins with weird botanicals in my house at once, and no bourbon).

There's also my love of rum, which I've allowed myself to indulge in appropriate disproportion for the last year or two. I've probably got ten or so different kinds on hand right now, depending on how you count it. I could actually tally them up right now, but that might discourage me from getting other rums in the future, and we can't have that.

In any case, I've come back to the idea of a series on workhorse spirits because my own personal list is outdated. I can remember a time when Bulleit and Bully Boy were reasonable choices for general-purpose whiskey mixing: pretty darn good and reliably available for thirty bucks, sometimes less. Not so anymore.

Whiskey, in particular, has gotten a lot more expensive in a relatively short time. I don't begrudge the distillers their success one bit, mind you. I adore sipping a nice glass of Whistlepig or Gunpowder, and I believe they're worth every one of the many pennies they cost. But sometimes you want to throw a party, and for that, you need a decent knockaround base spirit that isn't chasing the high-end sipping market.

To that end, I'll be doing a series on spirits that hit the sweet spot for me. How actionable this intelligence is will depend very much on your tastes and where you live. I'll try to stick to brands that are at least theoretically available outside of greater Boston, but there are weird local price fluctuations that may make my recommendations unreasonable (or unnecessary) in other parts of the country. Myers's rum, for instance, is pretty reliably more expensive than Gosling's or Rhum Barbancourt at liquor stores near me, which has to be some kind of Cambridge Triangle effect.

I'll try to incorporate general advice as well, since the particular contents of any list like this will change over time. I'm also creating a new sub-page under "Spirits" where I'll be keeping track of the most reliable workhorses I come up with. Happy drinking!

(This is, incidentally, not the exciting announcement I teased in the Patriots' Day post. It is merely an exciting announcement, and quite unrelated to that one, which is still pending.)