Tagged With: cookbooks

How to Host with the Most!

Bartender Harry Craddock makes potable magic at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1926. Craddock popularized the 'Corpse Reviver,' one of the drinks featured in "Let's Bring Back: Cocktail Edition." Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

There exists an old spice merchant proverb dating back to the early 21st century which, roughly translated, advises that “the better the cocktail; the better the party. The better the party; the better the friends.” E’er here to help, we’ve compiled some of our favorite reference materials on the topic. Serve these delicious, humorous, and historical (and of course, spicy!) signature potent potables at your holiday soiree for insurance on a years’ worth of favors from your party-goers.

Let's Bring Back: Cocktail Edition

“Let’s Bring Back; The Cocktail Edition” touts itself as a “compendium of impish, romantic, amusing, and occasionally appalling potations from bygone eras.” The recipes hail from two-hundred year-old sources, right up to the archives of 1950’s iconic restaurant bars. From chuckles to laughs-out-loud, the history and suggestions accompanying each cocktail will have you and your guests tittering for hours, a la, “think only pure thoughts while sipping [The Bishop],” or consume a Scofflaw to give you the courage to “Wear white after Labor Day… Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on Seafood Pasta… and all sorts of comparable acts of insurrection.

“Savory Cocktails” is a slender little tome; an ode to all things sour, spicy, herbal, umami, bitter, smoky, high, and strong. These drinks are undeniably sexy – what a modern-day Don Draper might imbibe. They’re interesting and nuanced, and legions away from fru-fru – no neon-hued appletinis here! Sophisticated foodies only need apply. Try a subtle Green Tea Gimlet (I’d pick jade green Mao Feng to offset the lime), or a Dog’s Nose, made with, of all things, powdered porcini mushrooms in combination with porter and shaved nutmeg.

Winter Cocktails

Though we love classic Mulled Wine and Eggnog, there’s so much more to winter-y cocktails than these two standbys. Enter, “Winter Cocktails.” Learn how to give hot chocolate a grown-up twist with lavender flowers and Earl Grey tea, or elevate your ski-lodge lounge with a “Rosy Cheek,” sprinkled with the rosy cheeks of cracked pink peppercorns. In addition to inspired beverages, this book also has a fabulous section on infusing alcohols at home – rose infused gin, anyone? Pair any one of these liquors or cocktails with their suggested finger foods. This is a one-stop-shop for great winter entertaining.

No list of cocktail books would be complete without a mention of the “Drunken Botanist,” shop best-seller and staff favorite since spring. As the name implies, this book unites the best of science and insobriety, leading an alphabetical nature walk from Agave to Strawberry and hitting all the best booze-making plants in between. Learning and jubilating skip hand-in-hand in this volume, the pages dotted with recipes for classic cocktails, as well as tips for updating old favorites in single servings and “pitcher” fulls.

Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails

Out of a workshop in Brooklyn comes “Shake,” self-described as “one part instructional recipe book, one part photo journey, and one part inspirational pep talk” for mixing spectacular cocktails at home. The approach is seasonal and straightforward, focused on simplicity, socializing, and, above all, fun! Our copy in the shop comes with the sweetest Mason jar cocktail shaker, pictured on the front of the book, for an automatic out-hipster of just about any one. (Pair with the “Art of Fermentation”– pickle it! for the win.)

Categories: Cookbook Club, Holiday, Hot Topics, Notes from the Field, Spice Notes, Tea, Wet Your Whistle | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Friendly Cookbooks

grilled vegetables, grilled veggies, slow cooker, the gardener and the grill, kitchen garden

Our selection of cookbooks here at World Spice Merchants is vast, and can possibly be a little daunting. Since summer is in full swing, we’ve thrown together a handy guide to cookbooks you can add to your shelf to use all summer long without breaking a sweat:

The Gardener And The Grill

I don’t know about you, but folks in my family are a little, well, garden crazy.  My brother is one of the few folks I know who will go for a hike in the mountains and come home with a salad. My mother prefers the tame vegetables that she plants every year like clockwork, but her garden still gets a little out of control.  From spring to early fall she commands an abundance of asparagus, tomatoes, onions, several varieties of squash, swiss chard, string beans, and snow peas.  There’s a whole segment of her garden devoted to herbs.

How she is able to coordinate all these delicious plants with the proper time to plant, water, and harvest is beyond me.  However, how she is able to swiftly convert this vegetable matter into a delicious meal is not so hard to understand with the help of  The Gardener And The Grill.  This book will give you plenty of ideas for what to do with this years crop. It may even have you making plans for what to plant next year.

Personally, after checking out the prosciutto wrapped asparagus spears, I’ve got my own plans for the neighborhood p-patch. Make your own plans for your garden, and enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labors!


Plenty is a more than just a word that brilliantly describes the produce of the summer season, it’s also an inspired book of vegetable cookery by Yotam Ottolenghi. Perfect for the time of year when all of our figures beg for lighter fare, the recipes are so succulent that even the most devoted carnivore won’t miss the meat at the barbecue.

Ranging from simple techniques like poaching, to more beautiful and complicated frittatas and tartlettes, veggies are taken to new levels with Ottolenghi’s focus on featuring the best ingredients and pairing them with unique spices and flavors. A hands-down favorite of nearly every spice merchant, Plenty is a must-have for spring and summer cuisine.

Campfire Cuisine

This handy book by Robin Donavan offers more than 100 recipes for the earnest camper. Once you get your paws on this book, you may want to plan a camping trip just for the express purpose of trying some of these simple and delicious recipes out.

While I understand that you probably don’t want to go camping 100 times in a year, the good news is the old backyard is a fine place to practice the craft of outdoor cooking as well, so you can keep whipping up your favorites well into fall.

Campfire Cuisine also contains practical guidance on menus, shopping for those fresh ingredients, and the best equipment that won’t break the bank or your back. Chefs of every skill level will enjoy this travel sized camping companion.

Categories: Cookbook Club, Notes from the Field | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment