The Maison Premiere Almanac: Cocktails, Oysters, Absinthe, and Other Essential Nutrients for the Sensualist, Aesthete, and Flaneur
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It’s difficult to define Maison Premiere simply as an oyster bar, a hotspot on the Williamsburg scene, or a cocktail bar that evokes New Orleans in Brooklyn. It is indeed all those things, as well as renowned for its wine list and its food.
The Maison Premiere Almanac will be most rewarding to those who seek it out for its cocktails and oysters. This is a book with a strong point of view: it has a section entitled “Notes on House Palate,” which explains the establishment’s choice of liquors in great detail. This is immediately followed by notes on several dramatic styles of service which reinforce the distinctive atmosphere of Maison Premiere.
The drinks evoke New Orleans and the world of classic cocktails, with tipples such as Arnaud’s French 75s (made with cognac as they are at Arnaud’s), Sazeracs, Hurricanes, Ramos Gin Fizzes, and the unassailable Corpse Reviver #2.
Maison Premiere’s own creations appear here as well, redolent of possibly outlandish origin stories and ever-so-slightly decayed elegance, as in the Whiskeytown Regatta, which combines absinthe, creme de cacao, caffe moka liqueur, lemon juice, Drambuie, Four Roses bourbon, and MP’s own oyster stout.
The oyster chapter is informative and passionate, discussing species and the idea of merroir–the ocean equivalent of terroir. It calls attention to locally raised varieties, educates us on the choice of oyster knives as a prelude to teaching us to shuck, and favors enthusiasm in consumption over ceremony.
There are books which will address both cocktails and oysters in greater depth, but no others which capture the Maison Premiere style.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.