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Shaken and Stirred: Through the Martini Glass and Other Drinking Adventures    by William L. Hamilton order for
Shaken and Stirred
by William L. Hamilton
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The title's fitting, the topic fizzes, and over sixty recipes are included by the author of the New York Times column of the same name, Shaken and Stirred. Hamilton speaks of his first cocktail, a 'boyhattan' at age six, and of the recent cocktails renaissance, coinciding with an increasing interest in socializing more casually, and incurring less expense than dinner involves.

Hamilton offers us 'a drinker's guide to drinking', including both anecdotes on nightspots (mostly in New York) where various cocktails were encountered, and recipes for them. Occasionally he waxes lyrical as when he tells us that 'a well-made cocktail can make your life fall away behind you and leave you with only the future glittering in your eye.' The 'French 75' (Cognac, Cointreau and champagne) appeals to me, but then I'll try anything with champagne. And 'Sangria' is always my first choice at a sidewalk café (the recipe here has white wine with seasonal fruit). Some cocktails sound pretty weird, like the 'Jell-O Shot' or the 'Sir Francis Drake' (Clamato juice and dry sherry?) Some use cayenne pepper and there's even one with wasabi paste! The 'Shanghai Cosmo' intrigues, as does 'Raspberry Gin Fizz', 'Adam and Eve' (great name as well as ingredients) and 'Ginger Daiquiri'. I like plain sake enough to give a 'Sake Sunrise' a go, and then there's 'Blue Moon' - with blueberries, it must be healthy.

I used to enjoy the occasional Kir Royale, but have stuck to wine lately. After reading Shaken and Stirred, the prospect of cocktails intrigues again. The only problem is which to sample first?

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