"The ultimate goal in any drink is balance."
Name: Jordan Kaye & Marshall Altier Location: NYC Occupation: Authors, How to Booze: Exquisite Cocktails and Unsound Advice Website: How to Booze (on Facebook)
In their irreverent and witty book about boozing (yes, it's a verb), mixologist Marshall Altier and lawyer Jordan Kaye team up to provide a look into our complex relationship with alcohol. Not only do they want to help steer you towards the right cocktail to suit any particular occasion, but they want to improve the quality of your boozing.
Part home bar guide, part recipe collection, and part glimpse into the human psyche, it's a fast and funny read, and a welcome addition to any bookshelf (or bar). How to Booze hits the public next week, and the boys are throwing a launch party on May 19th at powerHouse Arena in DUMBO, from 7:30 - 9:30, complete with readings and, of course, cocktails. Be sure to join them and raise a glass!
Why is it important to find the appropriate cocktail for any given situation? JK: Sipping the perfect drink is no different than wearing a shirt or a pair of shoes you feel great about. You don't do it to impress anyone else so much as to give yourself a private boost, to feel comfortable in the moment and just get the most out of it. But the biggest takeaway from our book is having an expanded set of options: lots of informed choices rather than just one or two overused favorites.
You've focused on finding the perfect cocktail for some of life's most interesting moments—meeting one's in laws, a first date, and saying goodbye to the household pet. What's the perfect cocktail for getting one's book published? JK and MA: That would have to be the Last Word: equal parts dry gin, green chartreuse, maraschino and lime juice.
In addition to providing cocktail recipes, you've given readers tips about cocktail history, glassware, and home bar basics. What are three things that Serious Eaters should keep in mind as they're creating cocktails at home? MA: First, use fresh ingredients and quality spirits. One of the skills in that is knowing what you don't have to spend a lot of money on—there are great gins and whiskeys that are toward the bottom of the price range—and knowing what is worth shelling out more for. Cheap orange liqueur? Why bother?
Second, the ultimate goal in any drink is balance. Be flexible and open-minded and experimental to discover what balance means for you and your audience.
Finally, as a necessary part of that experimentation, you have to taste, taste and taste. Taste your ingredients separately, taste them mixed before they are chilled, and then taste after. Then adjust, and taste again. Taste at every stage of the process.
What tips do you have on selecting the perfect cocktail? JK and MA: Although How to Booze offers a separate drink for every situation, of course the truly perfect cocktail for any situation is always in flux. The perfect cocktail is the one that surprises and delights, so keep an open mind!
What's your "blank scrabble tile" cocktail—the one that works with everything—if there is one? MA: The Old Fashioned has converted many a non-whiskey drinker into a believer. The same goes for the Southside, which can sway the mind of anyone who thinks they don't like gin.
When you're not drinking at home, where do you like to booze in NYC? JK: I live in Carroll Gardens which has somehow (to my great fortune) become rich in terrific choices. But please, no big struggles just to get a damn drink!
When you're not boozing in NYC, where are some of your favorite places to eat? MA: Lately, La Barra Cevicheria, with great Mexican ceviche, tacos and obscure Mexican beer. JK: I am a huge Sake Bar Hagi fan.
Are you attending the upcoming Manhattan Cocktail Classic, and if so, what are you looking forward to the most about it? MA: I will be working several events and it is always a pleasure to see my peers and learn from them and celebrate. I can't wait for the "Three Hour Tour" cocktail cruise—I am working on my Thurston Howell III outfit.
It's your last day living in NYC, and you're having a drink to bid our fair city adieu—what do you drink and where? JK: Really, Laren. Do you have to ask? A Manhattan. MA: As to the location, we always trust the boys and girls at Death & Co. to serve it up right.
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