There are, believe me, no shortage of cocktail recipe books. And even someone with no experience with a single one of them could likely guess that most of them are complete garbage.
There are two easy ways to tell. The first is the easiest: generally speaking, the more recipes a book has, the worse those recipes will be. If the cover boasts more than, say, 750 of them, it’s probably an admittedly enormous collection of completely terrible drinks. The second is almost as easy: flip to the recipe for a Margarita. If it calls for sweet and sour there (or really anywhere in the book), throw it away because it is worthless.
What we have left are the histories, the celebrated single-bar books, and the books with no recipe for a margarita (which is a promising sign). Beta Cocktails (formerly Rogue Cocktails) is an example of the latter. Written by Kirk Estopinal and Maksym Pazuniak, Beta Cocktails is a thin little number with about 40 recipes that range from imaginative to bizarre. It’s a fantastic and innovative mini-collection, great to jog the imagination, or just to try something totally new on a Sunday night.
2oz Cherry Heering
0.5oz Bittermans Xocolatl Mole bitters
1 whole egg
1 pinch salt
Add all ingredients, shake with no ice to emulsify, add ice and shake the jesus out of it. Strain over fresh ice. Garnish the egg-foam head with three drops Mole bitters.
Yes, two ounces of Cherry Heering. Yes, a half ounce of bitters. See? Bizarre.
This isn’t so much a dessert drink as it is a dessert course. The nose was a predictable cherry and chocolate, but the first sip evoked chocolate milk and, strangely enough, pie. The egg serves to thicken the already very thick Heering base, and the salt only makes it more savory while offering a bit of sourness on the back end.
The overal impression was that the drink is cooler than it is delicious, but still very drinkable. And strangely balanced – while definitely a sweet drink, it’s not too sweet as the ingredients might suggest. It is, however, exceptionally thick and rich. This is for someone who’s done with their food but still hungry. I will definitely make this again.