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OP: Burke's Complete Cocktail and Drinking Recipes

OP: Burke's Complete Cocktail and Drinking Recipes


Harman Burney Burke
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Because drinking makes you hungry, and eating makes you thirsty, it makes a world of sense to combine cocktail recipes with those of hors d'oeuvre and canapes. It’s surprising we haven’t seen this type of book more often.

American bartender Harman “Barney” Burke honed his cocktail-making craft in Europe during Prohibition. In 1934, after returning to the US, he published his book with the name Burke’s Complete Cocktail and Drinking Recipes—future editions adopting the title Burke’s Complete Cocktail and Tastybite Recipes but maintaining the original on the title page.

Burke offers us those savory, salty treats that accompany a proper drink so well, ranging from simple finger foods like anchovy-wrapped olives to chafing dish fare as elaborate as lobster Newburg. He gives us just enough to keep a party going and guests happy.

Burke then guides us on the ins and outs of making crisp, quality cocktails at home with the particular perspective of someone who aims to entertain. By 1934, cocktails popularized in the earliest part of the century were established enough to be both present here but also showing evidence of experimentation and deviation from what would have been the gold standard. Robert Simonson points out that Burke was the first, in this book, to feature the Old Fashioned cocktail with muddled fruit, a controversial take on the classic, no doubt. 

Our copy is a 1941 printing. The original binding was weak enough that we had it recased in blue cloth. The original cover design has been laid on. The interior is clean and unmarked, all in all, a solid Very Good.

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