Saturday, June 19, 2021

Pantry Cocktails: Inventive Sips from Everyday Staples (and a Few Nibbles Too)

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Pantry Cocktails is an interesting collection of barcraft recipes made with ingredients which are emphatically outside the normal range of cocktail items. Due out 1st July 2021 from Simon & Schuster on their Tiller Press imprint, it's 176 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats (ebook available now). 

This is an.... eccentric... collection of recipes. The positive aspects for me personally were the spirit of adventure and frugal economy in many of the recipes. The illustrations are charmingly whimsical and attractive. The writing is lightly humorous and full of appeal. I understand the impetus, the year+ of hunkering down and sheltering in place have required a spirit of grit and ingenuity from all of us. I'm willing to make a lot of sacrifices in the name of public safety; I'm not at all sure I'm willing to extend that to my cocktails. 

The ingredients are varied and, in some cases, quite odd. There is a lot to be said for a gin & tonic - gin, tonic, ice, and a lime wedge. This author would have you creating cocktails from mustard, miso paste, and the drained liquid from a can of baked beans (thankfully not in the same drink). There are pickles here, peppers, spices galore, and the juice and/or drained liquid from canned fruits and vegetables. 

More miss than hit in the cocktails for me, but I will say that the author is masterful and gives logical reasons for her choices and blends. There's a fair amount of background and history and it's clear she's knowledgeable and experienced. The food parts of the book were lovely and the small bites, appetizers, and boards are well thought out and beautifully curated and presented. The book contains no photography but the whimsical art suits the style very well. 

Three and a half stars (almost exclusively for the food recipes - very very little for the cocktail recipes). This is one for the avant-garde urban foodies who already have white miso paste in their fridges as a matter of course.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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