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 about forty holiday-inspired 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 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.
• Forty 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
Here’s what we liked about this cocktail recipe book:
Uniqueness of Recipes: We really liked how unique all of the recipes were and that there were recipes for several different holidays, including fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. Trying them during the seasons for which they were intended made us feel like we were really making the most of each season’s flavors.
Taste of Recipes: Every recipe from this book was delicious. There wasn’t a single one that we didn’t like.
Educational Quality: This book is very educational, and the author is definitely an expert on how to make great cocktails. Alex learned a lot from his recipes. 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 this book.
Introduction: The first chapter of this book focuses on explaining the importance of balancing flavors and shares techniques for making syrups, butters, and other mixers. We referenced this section often when making the recipes.
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
Here’s what we didn’t like as much about this cocktail recipe book:
Size of Recipes: Almost all of the recipes included in this book were batch cocktails that served 10+ people. That makes this book a great resource for anyone prepping drinks for holiday parties, but not so much for the two of us who just wanted to try some holiday-themed cocktails at home. We had to pare all of the recipes down quite a bit; that isn’t easy to do if you’re inexperienced.
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.
Labor: The majority of these cocktail recipes were also very labor intensive, and many called for homemade syrups, all of them different from one another and typically not reused in other recipes.
Not Categorized by Holiday: We used this book to find recipes for each specific holiday, and that isn’t how the book is 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.
Our Favorite Cocktails
These are the recipes we liked most from this cocktail book:
Chocolate-Covered Cherry: A brandy cocktail made with dark crème de cacao, cherry liqueur, and a cherry
Apple Crush: An apply brandy and vodka cocktail made with apple cider, lemon juice, simple syrup, maple sugar, honeycrisp apple, and a cinnamon stick
Chestnut Hot Chocolate: A brandy cocktail made with milk, frangelico liqueur, chestnut spread, saline solution, cocoa powder, cinnamon, whipped cream, and a chestnut
Thanksgiving Nog: A dark rum cocktail made with water, heavy cream, pumpkin purée, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground allspice, ground nutmeg, ground mace, whipped cream, and a cinnamon stick
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