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OP: The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks

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by David A. Embury

Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1961. Paperback. Good.

In a world filled with experts—bartenders, manufacturers’ reps, distillers, and other masters of the trade—it is very rare to encounter someone who has gained the degree of respect earned by David A. Embury. An admitted amateur, he was blessed with the tongue, the nose, and the understanding of what great imbibing is all about. 

His substantial—400 page—contribution to the art of mixology was written in 1948 and is still valued as one of the finest manuals offered to those who take pleasure in creating and consuming mixed drinks. Heavily in demand, with original copies scarce and going high into the hundreds of dollars, it is always a prize find. Even the racksize Dolphin paperback, which we offer here, is hard to come by.

The thoughtful prosy introductions to each of the categories of drink Embury covers take the book far beyond being just another compilation of recipes. His lesson on martinis is an eye opener that will broaden your horizons and guide you in your thinking of what you want to get from that family of sophisticated beverages. 

In writing about sours, for example, he urges trying new combinations and developing your own concoctions. “As a matter of fact,” he declares, “the only difficult feat in foisting new cocktails on an unsuspecting public is naming them.” 

This is all very refreshing, and it is easy to understand why there is continuing demand for a book on this subject that was published 70-plus years ago. Our copy, issued in 1961, is in Good condition—creased spine, dampstaining, missing paper from the rear cover. The interior, happily, is clean and unmarked. Unlike many mass-market paperbacks so often produced on inferior high-acid paper, this edition is printed on quality stock, still white and flexible. The binding is sound.

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