The Essential Cocktail Book and How to Make an IPA Beer Cocktail

home bar basics book

Photo by Anne Sterling

As I curate my home bar cart, I’m inspired to write posts on must-have spirits, tools, and glassware, but this post is dedicated to another essential item for the home mixologist—the perfect cocktail book. I recently received Dave Stolte’s “Home Bar Basics (and Not-So-Basics),” a curated handbook on cocktail- making standards and practices that is sure to become your bartending Bible.

Though we all have our favorite go-to recipes imbedded in our head, this book contains 30 traditional and nontraditional ones that will expand your repertoire and introduce you to undiscovered new favorites. Not only are the recipes great, but they include tips from some of the country’s best professional bartenders, including O.C.’s rock-star bartender Jason Schiffer of 320 Main in Seal Beach.

Schiffer offers a cocktail he calls the Detroiter. It’s inspired by his home state of Michigan, which he says he misses—especially in the fall. Stolte notes that the tartness of the drink, which is both bitter and sweet, evokes apple and spice, and reminds Schiffer of the pumpkin-carving parties his mom took him to as a kid.

The critically acclaimed “Home Bar Basics (and Not-So-Basics)” is unfortunately sold out, but the author, who resides in Murrieta, says he’s working on a third edition, to be published next year. “It’s being revised and rewritten from cover to cover—with all new recipes,” Stolte says, “and I’m really excited about it.”

In the meantime, with permission from Stolte, here’s Schiffer’s Detroiter recipe.

Jigger, Muddler, Barspoon, Hawthorne strainer (if using Boston shaker), Fine-mesh strainer
Ice cubes
Rocks glass
Applejack (Laird’s apple brandy 100 proof)
Cynar, Beer (India Pale Ale), Honey syrup (three parts honey mixed with one part hot water)
Juice & Garnish:
Lemon juice, Grapefruit twist

In an empty shaker, add:
1 oz Cynar
1 oz beer (India Pale Ale)
3/4 oz applejack
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz honey syrup

Dry shake briefly to blend and release some carbonation from the beer. Add ice and shake again to chill. Double-strain (to catch small bits of ice and citrus pulp) into a rocks glass over ice cubes. Add an extra: 1 oz beer (India Pale Ale)
Stir to blend. Pinch a grapefruit twist over the drink to express oils onto its surface, then lightly brush the twist around the glass exterior. Garnish with the twist.

Stoltz ends with, “You’ll just have to drink the leftover beer, darn the luck.”

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