Almost ten years ago, two boys from Belfast opened one of New York’s iconic cocktail bars. Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry took a dilapidated five-story townhouse against advice, teamed up with one of the best bartenders in the world, Jillian Vose, and with any Irish luck, The dead rabbit is born. Despite a few setbacks – a fire, a hurricane and a global pandemic – The Dead Rabbit continues to push the boundaries of cocktails with traditional Irish hospitality.
After writing their first beverage manual and A Whiskey Lover’s Guide to IrelandMuldoon and McGarry recently published Paddy Drinks: the world of modern Irish whiskey cocktails. Just like their other books, Rice drinks has a deep intro section filled with a rich history. With a beautiful foreword by David Wondrich and lots of information, Rice drinks presents everything in an understandable way and keeps the reader engaged.
Rice drinks is a great book if you want to expand your knowledge of Irish whiskey or dramatically up your cocktail game. Even as a bartender myself, I find myself overwhelmed with the cocktails. Mainly because I would have to add a significant number of bottles to my home bar to concoct them. Most cocktails contain seven to ten ingredients. They all look delicious, but I don’t even like being a bartender at home. If I have to mix more than three or five ingredients, I’m eliminated. I’m going to use a pure whiskey instead.
However, each recipe is clearly written, simply organized, and accompanied by gorgeous photography. Each cocktail has a signature of three quick notes or descriptors, so whether you want a rich or tart cocktail, you can easily choose the right flavor profile. Alongside, the drink’s creator explains the inspiration and thought process behind it. The instructions are easy to follow, but you must have all the ingredients prepared, especially if it’s one of Dead Rabbit’s homemade syrups, tinctures, or infusions.
My favorite section of Rice drinks corresponds to the last 39 pages excluding glossary. This section is filled with homemade syrups, tinctures, and infusions from The Dead Rabbit. Although I don’t want to make super complex cocktails, I will take the time to make a delicious ingredient to elevate the cocktails. The good thing is that you can store or use the syrups, tinctures, and infusions in different ways. This section is the least intimidating and the most inspiring.
Rice drinks is not for everyday cocktails at home, but is ideal for special occasions. It might not be worth spending $28, but it has its uses. Given its comprehensive historical sections, anyone can host an Irish whiskey tasting with friends and family. Some cocktails have overlapping elements, so you can try several different ones. Cocktails rebel against preconceptions of Irish cocktails. Rice drinks is not for the novice cocktail maker, but if you already enjoy making drinks and are ready to go beyond the basics, then this is the right cocktail book for you.