The New Cocktail Hour is not your standard book on mixology. It’s historically contextualized, contemporary, and relentlessly fun. The Darlingtons cover everything from how best to stock your liquor cabinet to the ideal food pairings for each craft cocktail, which the authors define as “a mixed drink in which all of the elements—from spirits to mixers and garnishes—have been selected with care to create visual appeal, seductive aroma, balanced tastes, depth of flavor, appropriate mouthfeel, and above all, some pizzazz.”
The authors also include the fascinating backstory of each
cocktail. For instance, one of the drinks (Moral Suasion) was created by a Boston bartender as a direct mockery of temperance activists. This compilation is further enhanced by detailed, colorful photographs that demonstrate just how aesthetically enjoyable cocktail hour can be.
The Darlingtons are siblings, whose mother is Beloit College Professor of Education Sonja Darlington. The duo bring culinary talents and reporting skills to Cocktail Hour. In fact, they like to joke that they are “drinkers with a writing problem.” Tenaya, a professor of writing at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, is an acclaimed cheese writer and blogger under the pseudonym Madame Fromage. (Her 2013 book, Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese, was reviewed in this magazine’s spring 2014 issue.) André is co-owner of Field Table, a new farm-to-table organic restaurant in Madison, Wis., and a restaurant critic and cocktail and wine columnist for the Isthmus, an alternative weekly newspaper, also in Madison, Wis.