10 March 2012

Weekend Cooking: Review: See Mix Drink by Brian D. Murphy

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I guess my 18/7 work schedule is going to my head. Last week I talked about a documentary film about beer and today I'm talking cocktails. This makes me laugh because, as I've said before, I generally drink red wine or scotch. Oh well, a woman's got to relax sometime when she's working long hours.

Brian D. Murphy's See Mix Drink is a fun and easy-to-use cocktail book that is all about the visuals. Printed on glossy, color-coded pages with fun graphics, this book will have you mixing up a refreshing adult beverage in no time.

In a few short introductory chapters, Murphy explains how to use the book, suggests bar ware and equipment, and describes the spirits that make up the base of the recipes. Then we get to the heart of See Mix Drink, which is the recipes for classic cocktails and modern drinks, divided by alcohol: brandy, champagne, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, whiskey, and liqueurs. The book concludes with two indexes, one by cocktail name and the other by calories.

It's difficult to describe the layout of the book, so I decided to use a illustration. The recipe I scanned is from pages 120-121 and is for the Brave Bull (shown at the right below). (My scanner bed is a little small and cut off the name of the drink, but all other elements are shown.)

My scan doesn't do the page justice; in the book, the type is clear and the icons and colors are fun and cheerful. But from the image (click to enlarge), you can see that all it takes is a glance to determine how to make the drink, the shape and size of the glass, the calories, and the time required to make it. In addition, each recipe includes a photo of the finished drink, a brief description, and a pronunciation key. Tequila is coded yellow, and each spirit has its own shade, so you know immediately what chapter you're in. Fun, yes?

The taste tests: Both Mr. BFR and I thought the cocktails we tried were delicious. The blends were nicely balanced and not too sweet. We aren't giving up our wineglass for a highball glass any time soon but we're happy to have a book we can turn to for a festive occasion or whenever we want to try something a bit different. By the way, the other other drink I photographed is a Kamikaze, made of vodka, triple sec, and lime juice. Cheers!

Buy See Mix Drink at an Indie, at Powell's, at Book Depository, or at bookstore near you. These links lead to affiliate programs
Published by Hachette Group / Little. Brown, 2011
ISBN-13: 9780316176712
Rating: B+
Source: giveaway win (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


jama 3/10/12, 6:28 AM  

I don't drink any alcoholic beverages except for the occasional champagne toast or wine with dinner, but I did want to be a bartender in my salad days :). Looks like a handy book for anyone who likes to entertain.

caite 3/10/12, 6:33 AM  

I don't drink much either. The occasional beer or cocktail when out and about.

well, except last night.
I am at the Flower show and they had a free wine and spirit tasting..oh my.
A fun book about cocktails..can't go wrong!

TheBookGirl 3/10/12, 6:47 AM  

I found that as I got older, hard liquor no longer agreed with me, so I tend to limit my indulgence to wine, though I do still have an occasional after dinner amaretto or frangelico from time to time :)

This sounds like the perfect book for someone like me, who doesn't know alot about cocktails, but would like to be able to serve guests fun drinks.

Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook 3/10/12, 7:24 AM  

I love an occasional cocktail, these days my tastes run to a flavored vodka, but kamikazes used to top my list. I think I would really like this book just to make something different every once on a while!

Chinoiseries 3/10/12, 8:02 AM  

Oh cocktails... Mr Chinoiseries has been trying to expand our liquor "cabinet" for ages, we've been stuck in a cocktail rut for a while. It's usually a mix o' orange juice, vodka, bacardi and sometimes a bit of grenadine added in. Er, not every weekday night ;) But it is nice to relax with a pretty drink :3

So much inspiration in this book :) I love the many images!

Christine 3/10/12, 8:10 AM  

I seem to recall someone reviewing this book for weekend cooking a few months ago.. it caught my attention then but I still haven't picked it up. I could really use a book like this. Wine is my adult beverage of choice, but I have a respectable collection of alcohols and liqueurs--(either gifted to me or bought specifically for cooking or desserts! ha!) and I like to sample a mixed drink now and then when friends are over or for special occasions.

The layout of this cocktail book looks great and an index by calories? How cool is that!

Heather S-G 3/10/12, 8:14 AM  

Oh, this sounds like another good one. I have a few friends and relatives who would get some good use out of this...including myself. Thanks!

Libby 3/10/12, 8:59 AM  

You are right! I like the layout of the book. It looks as though it would be very user-friendly. I like your photos too. I think its funny when we do these booze posts on Saturday mornings :) Say 'Hi' to Mr. BFR for us!

Allie 3/10/12, 9:08 AM  

I think that would be a great book to have on hand, especially for parties and the like!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 3/10/12, 9:11 AM  

I like the large crisp display of the book (good for mixing more after you've already mixed a few!).

Thanks for sharing some of your test results :)

Sheila (Bookjourney) 3/10/12, 9:42 AM  

I like the layout of the recipe... I dont know how to mix a thing! We made Harvey Wallbangers for book club last month (I blame Adriana Trigiani as it was from our very of Very Valentine...lol) , it was scary trying to make a pitcher of this and trying to get the ingredients to the right amounts so I didnt kill anyone ;)

Shelley Munro 3/10/12, 9:51 AM  

I'm more of a wine drinker too, but this book looks interesting. They've obviously gone to a great deal of trouble with the layout.

Esme 3/10/12, 10:34 AM  

This sounds like it has lots of great information. I just do not really drink. Not that I wished I did , there are some fun books and recipes for alcoholic beverages out there.

Peggy Ann 3/10/12, 10:38 AM  

I am not normally a drinker so would really have no use for this book but it sounds like a must have for those who like cocktails! Although I did just buy a bottle of Scotch whiskey to have a Scotch Neat! I've been reading too many Scottish books lately:)

Linda 3/10/12, 11:23 AM  

I think it good to have a few cocktail recipes in your repertoire. You never know when they'll come in handy.

Joy Weese Moll 3/10/12, 11:40 AM  

What a fun book. We're on vacation and I had a drink this week called a California Gimlet, the feature at the bar that night. I don't remember all the ingredients, but it included lime, cucumber, and lavender -- very refreshing!

(Diane) bookchickdi 3/10/12, 11:50 AM  

I love a good cocktail book! With Mad Men making its return, this is the perfect time for this fun book. (BTW, my cocktail is a Scarlett O'Hara- Southern Comfort and cranberry juice- pretty and tasty.)

Nan 3/10/12, 11:58 AM  

Sounds like a great book! I am a cocktail fan but am giving them a rest for a while for both weight and money reasons. I've been having a glass of wine in the evenings but it cannot compete with the taste of a cosmo or a margarita!
My post this week is my personal homage to pasta.

Belle Wong 3/10/12, 12:06 PM  

I love the visual nature of this cookbook! We're not big on cocktails either but this looks like such a fun read.

Lisa@ButteryBooks 3/10/12, 4:28 PM  

I need this book! I like to try out new cocktails when we have get togethers. I would also love to be able to whip up a custom drink when someone asks for one.

Carole 3/11/12, 1:05 AM  

Hi Beth - I have put up a post about making what you call jelly and I call jam. Hope you and your readers enjoy it. Thanks for the opportunity.

Julie Goucher 3/11/12, 3:53 AM  

Looks an interesting and fun book. I am not much of a drinker - I prefer tea! Actually, when did I last have an alcoholic drink? It was last July for our Wedding Anniversary. I would normally have had one at Christmas, but the painkillers for my back don't mix well with alcohol!

Heidenkind 3/11/12, 4:03 AM  

You know how I love cocktails. :) This does look worth checking out, although I've generally had more luck just looking for cocktail recipes online than in books.

Uniflame 3/11/12, 8:14 AM  

Oooh cocktails! :) There are a few cocktails that I like very much :)

Tam Linsey 3/11/12, 1:04 PM  

How fun! I don't generally drink mixed drinks, but for parties, this book would be fun. I do make my own beer and fruit liqueurs and love it.

Karen White 3/11/12, 1:10 PM  

Did he have a section on cocktails for parties in big batches? We have to host the cocktail hour of a progressive dinner for a school fundraiser. Looking for a fun cocktail recipe we can make in bulk...

Beth F 3/11/12, 1:14 PM  

Karen: no big batch recipes per se, but he gives you proportions as well as ounces. So in the recipe shown, you could make a pitcher by using the percentages shown in the circle next to the photo on the right-hand page. Seems like it'd be pretty easy to do.

Marg 3/11/12, 5:17 PM  

I don't have much of a selection of spirits so never actually make any cocktails. That's one factor - the other main factor is that I don't really drink at home by myself.

It does look like it could be a useful book for those who do indulge

Leslie @ This is the Refrain 3/11/12, 8:32 PM  

Mmm that drink sounds so good. I love the easy to read instructions with the great design.

Vasilly 3/11/12, 9:53 PM  

I don't drink at all so this book isn't for me. I like the pictures.

Julie P. 3/12/12, 7:33 AM  

I love the format! It's a new twist on making cocktails -- HAHA!

Serena 3/12/12, 11:42 AM  

This sounds like the "cook" book for me. LOL Or at least my husband to learn a few things.

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