In demand bartenders David Kaplan and Alex Day—along with regular Nick Fauchald—tasked themselves with the ambitious goal of creating the ultimate cocktail book. If detailing the exact recipes of more than 500 cocktails created over eight years at NYC’s Death & Company wasn’t enough, the trio also decided to divulge secret tools of the trade, service techniques and insights into the culture that made the East Village bar such a special place. Filled with evocative images of the bar, drool-worthy photographs of their favorite cocktails and countless drawings by Tim Tomkinson, “Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails” documents the keys to their success.
The tome begins with a rather humorous foreword, by famed barman Toby Cecchini, which was originally formulated as an email sent to a friend detailing Cecchini’s feelings about filling in for a few nights at Death & Co. In the introduction, Kaplan chronicles his days as an amateur bar proprietor in his college dorm, and later a fraternity house. Far from any perceived snobbery coming from the craft cocktail scene, the book collaborators are more interested in self-deprecating humor. As such, Kaplan hopes the foreword and introduction strike a balance between poking fun at themselves and being a haven for cocktail geekery.
When asked about their personal favorite cocktails, Kaplan extols the virtues of the Elder Fashion, while Day calls out Brian Miller’s Conference. “In my opinion, it sums up Death & Co in a single cocktail,” says Day. “It’s an Old Fashioned, but he broke up the booze portion into rye, bourbon, cognac, calvados and bitters. It changed my life.” Or as Kaplan so eloquently puts it: “It’s a ‘holy shit’ Old Fashioned.”
Each Death & Co cocktail recipe leans more towards transformation and small, innovative ideas rather than a massive number of ingredients or fussy details. For Kaplan, Day and Fauchald, the book became a walk through history to understand where they began eight years ago, and where Death & Co has evolved to today. “Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails” book will be officially released 7 October 2014, but is available for pre-order now at Amazon for $26.
Images courtesy of Death & Co