Boozehound is worth the $23
I’ve paged through a lot of crappy cocktail books over the years. Jason Wilson’s Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits is not one of them. Wilson writes about spirits for the Washington Post; I’ve enjoyed his work online, but the book is even better.
Wilson tastes Cognac with F. Paul Pacult, outs a speakeasy and drinks his way abundantly and happily through bars and distilleries in the U.S., The Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, Haiti and who knows where else, as I’m only on page 123. It’s more than a “wish you were here” postcard, though. Wilson offers history, insight, opinion, humor and recipes in his quest to get us to “taste something—anything—that makes you stop for a moment and pay attention and experience.” Maybe oude genever, or Cynar, or Calvados. Maybe in a bar, but home’s fine, too. Just taste something new or strange. Or at least buy the book and read about someone who does.
Wilson’s book is replete with recipes. This is the first I plan to try, just to see if it really is better than a Negroni.
Boulevardier: Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice. Add 1-1/2 ounces bourbon (Wilson recommends Buffalo Trace, Four Roses or Russell’s Reserve), 1 ounce sweet vermouth and 1 ounce Campari. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel twist.