I’ve followed Maggie Hoffman’s writing (and editing!) about drinks for years. Somewhat recently, we connected on Instagram, and after months of seeing her upcoming book, The One Bottle Cocktail, teased online, the publisher sent me an early copy (probably thanks to my incessant commenting about wanting to get my hands on one).
This book is such a fucking brilliant idea: Fresh, flavorful cocktails made with just one kind of booze. I already think it’s super weird when there’s more than one type of rum or whiskey in a drink, but beyond that, I think that sometimes us “drinks people” make cocktails more for other drinks people (and, of course, for ourselves) than we do for those of you who might not have a fully-stocked home bar. Mine is ridiculous with its 20-something brands of whiskey, every flavor of liqueur you can imagine, probably 17 types of bitters, and weird shit I’m not even confident I can pronounce. I try to make my drinks accessible to the average person, but I like to get creative with all those bottles I’ve collected, so sometimes I go a little overboard. As my sister said about one of my creations, “It reminds me of something I drank back when I could afford fancy drinks.” I was totally flattered until she pointed out to me that most people aren’t going to go out and buy a $45 bottle of liqueur for one recipe — even if it does taste like you bottled the feeling of putting on booties and a cute cardigan for the first time all season.
Anyway, in addition to being brilliant, The One Bottle Cocktail is so gorgeous it almost makes me want to do another cookbook project. (Oh. Did you not know I wrote a cookbook before cookbooks were this cool and beautiful, and before I could take pretty pictures? And now it’s a super-bargain book on Amazon, LOLOLZ. I was also the ghostwriter for a self-help book about how to get a ring on it real quick, LOLOLOLOLOLZ). Except writing a book is a lot of fucking work and I don’t even have time to do my dishes or my roots, so that’s not going to happen any time soon. Instead, I’ll just gaze lovingly at this one some more.
This is really a perfect book (or gift) for someone with a more minimalist (read: normal) home bar, but that’s not to say the recipes are super simple or quick fixes or anything like that. In fact, most require a little work (usually in the form of a homemade flavored syrup) or a surprising ingredient (greek yogurt, mango chutney, even Honey Nut Cheerios). And that’s kind of the point — and the subtitle: “More than 80 recipes with fresh ingredients and a single spirit.” With those unique touches, you get the flavor and feel of a fancy bar cocktail without spending $90 on bottles that are just going to collect dust on a shelf for the next 10 years. The reason it works so well is that the recipes actually are fancy bar cocktails from bartenders all over the country.
For the drink I made yesterday, Police and Thieves from Frank Cisneros, the homemade ingredient was a cinnamon syrup (which made my house smell like fucking Christmas) and three kinds of fresh-squeezed juice: lime, grapefruit, and pineapple. I never would have paired all three of those citrus fruits with cinnamon, and then definitely not with gin, but it just worked so damn well.
Here’s what Maggie has to say about it:
“Frank Cisneros says this is probably the most popular cocktail he’s ever made; it was on the menu at Gin Palace in New York’s East Village for years. Upon first taste, you’ll see why it was such a crowd-pleaser. It’s a sunny, warming drink, thanks to pineapple’s heady tropical flavor and a spicy cinnamon simple syrup, all perked up with grapefruit, lime, and piney gin.”
For the pineapple juice, Maggie suggests muddling fresh pineapple through a fine-mesh strainer. I did that but I used canned pineapple instead (my knife skills are less than stellar and I avoid cutting into big, hard things as much as possible because I want to keep all of my fingers). Other than that, I stuck to the recipe exactly, though my cinnamon sticks were a little squatty, so I used six instead of five. Oh, and I used stemless coupe glasses because I like to be difficult. It also didn’t call for a garnish, but I adorn my shit, okay?
I’m going to assume you want this book, and since I want you to buy it, too, here’s the Amazon link. But I’d rather you buy it from an independent bookstore, like this one, where I used to work! (And no, neither of those are affiliate links, I’m bad at business, you know that.) It’s available on March 6, but you can pre-order now. In the meantime, here’s a little something to wet your whistle.
Police and Thieves
2 ounces gin
½ ounce cinnamon syrup
½ ounce fresh pineapple juice
½ ounce fresh lime juice
¼ ounce fresh grapefruit juice
Combine gin, cinnamon syrup, pineapple juice, lime juice, and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker [or a wide-mouth mason jar!] and fill with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 12 seconds. Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass.
To make the cinnamon syrup, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Break up five [or six!] cinnamon sticks and add to the syrup, then increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 1 to 2 hours. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer set over a resealable container. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.
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