Book Review: The Artisanal Kitchen: Holiday Cocktails

Disclosure: This is an honest review written by us based on our experience using this book to make cocktails. Although we were not compensated to write this review, this post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure policy here.

About The Book

The Artisanal Kitchen: Holiday Cocktails, written by Nick Mautone, is a 128-page recipe book that’s filled with 41 cocktails. In addition to lots of original cocktails created by the author who has over thirty-five years of experience in hospitality, it includes a few classic cocktails with holiday-themed twists that make them more appropriate for the season. The recipes included in this book are also divided into chapters by type of cocktail—Punches, Bubblies, Classic Cocktails & a Twist, Nogs, Grogs, & Holiday Warmers, and After-Dinner Drinks—so you get to taste a wide variety of recipes that are all great choices for the holidays.

 41 original and classic cocktail recipes with ingredient lists, methods, and brief descriptions of or stories about each cocktail
 Photos of most cocktail recipes
 Descriptions of the different types of cocktails at the beginning of each chapter
 An introduction from the author
 A chapter listing recommended equipment, ingredients, and techniques with descriptions of each
 An illustrated glassware guide
 A table of contents that includes each cocktail’s name listed numerically under the types of cocktails
 An index with cocktail names and ingredients for easy navigating

What We Liked

1. Uniqueness of Recipes: We really liked how unique all of the recipes were and that there were recipes for several different holidays—fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Trying them during the seasons for which they were intended made us feel like we were really making the most of the holidays’ best tastes.

2. Taste of Recipes: Every recipe from this book was delicious. There wasn’t a single one that we didn’t like.

3. Educational Quality: This book is very educational, and the author is definitely an expert at making cocktails. Alex learned a lot from his recipes. And reading through them made us both wish we could attend the author’s holiday parties, especially if he’s serving drinks like the ones in the book.

4. Introduction: The first chapter of this book focuses on explaining the importance of balancing flavors and sharing techniques for making syrups, butters, and more. We referenced this section often when making the recipes.

5. Design & Photography: This is another cocktail recipe book that’s beautifully designed and includes gorgeous photos of most of the drinks. This was especially helpful when making them for the first time.

What We Disliked

1. Size of Recipes: Almost all of the recipes included in this book were batch cocktails that served 10+ people, which is great for holiday parties, but not so much for the two of us who just wanted to try some holiday-themed cocktails at home during the pandemic. We had to pare all of the recipes down quite a bit, which isn’t easy to do if you’re inexperienced.

2. Quantity of Ingredients Required: Most of the recipes called for a lot of ingredients to make them, which was expensive and could be less accessible if you’re on a tighter budget.

3. Labor: The majority of these cocktail recipes were also very labor intensive and called for lots of homemade syrups—many of them different from one another.

4. Not Categorized by Holiday: The way in which we used this book was finding specific recipes for each holiday, which isn’t how it’s categorized. It would’ve been more helpful if they had been so we could quickly find fall cocktails, for example, instead of having to page through each section to find them.

Who Should Buy This Book

In our opinion, The Artisanal Kitchen: Holiday Cocktails is best for readers who:
 Want to make unique batch cocktails for their holiday parties
 Love trying delicious holiday-themed recipes
 Are at the intermediate or advanced skill level in home bartending and know how to make cocktail syrups themselves
 Don’t mind trying recipes that take longer to make than the average shaken or stirred cocktail

This book is a very informative collection of complex original cocktail recipes. We enjoyed working our way through it during the holiday season, but if you are new to home bartending, don’t have a reason to make cocktails in large batches, and don’t want to have to pare them down to smaller sizes, this book may not be for you. Every single recipe we tried from it was incredibly delicious, but we ultimately felt most required too much work or too many ingredients to make again, as much as we really enjoyed trying them.

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