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Lessons In The Sauce: Drink Like A Bartender Book Review

I'm not embarrassed to tell you that my self-bartending history has gone through quite questionable phases.  From almost getting thrown down the stairs at a house party in Astoria after mixing the devil's soup in a 32 ounce sized fast-food cup to sharing a subway bench one New Year's morning with a hobo after delving stomach-empty into a Hennessey-heavy pour your own libations affair, I've learned drink-mixing the hard way.  However, I never wanted to be a bartender, but do enjoy spirits so much so that alcohol-wise I want to at least know my ass from my elbow lest I wind up drunk on either after a night of foolish imbibing.     

The years have matured me and while I now know the my tolerance levels much more than I did 20 years ago, there's always room for improvement.  Enter Drink Like A Bartender by Thea Engst and Lauren Vigdor, 2017 (Simon & Schuster) which not only seeks to make ordering easier for the modern drinker, but also offers to put a cool ease back into how you order by shedding light on many things you may order or never had the wherewithal to try ordering.

Drink Like A Bartender aims to give you insight from the opposite side of the bar.  The book has a delightful air of humor to its delivery of the chock full information for everyone from the Norm of 'Cheers' to the sheltered virgin at her first dive bar.  I think a good way to look at this book is as part   handy-sized encyclopedia, part textbook, part recipe book and part satyrical reference guide to the world of choices behind the bar, on that restaurant menu and out in that vineyard.  In a great modern fashion, Engst and Vigdor aim to give their seasoned veteran bartender POV's to categories of spirits, beers and wines and some histories, hints, tips and opinions involving subcategories of each.  They've also included perspectives from bartenders all over the country on personal pet peeves, individual drinking insights and suggestions on how not to sound like an idiot when ordering.  However, don't think of it as condescending, but rather see it as ways in which a guest can better enjoy their drinking experience by trying new choices, finding new ways to enjoy familiar drinks and quite possibly maximizing flavor while saving dollars.  With the tips learned, impress, and the cash saved, tip your bartender!

Drink Like A Bartender is available now on

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