Thursday, November 17, 2022

Midcentury Cocktails: History, Lore, and Recipes from America's Atomic Age by Cecelia Tichy -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


Do you collect books on any particular subject -- gardening, outer space, sports, whatever?

I have a middling-sized collection of books about cocktails. They aren't all recipe books, although some are. They are books about cocktails culture and history, bartending guides, recipe books, books about entertaining with cocktails, and a couple of books about writers who enjoyed their cocktails, sometimes too much. I have a new one to share today on Book Beginnings on Fridays. 

Please share the opening sentence (or so) from the book you are reading this week. Or share froM a book that caught your eye.


America at midcentury was a nation on the move, taking to wings and wheels along the new interstate highways and in passenger jets that soared to thirty thousand feet above the earth.

-- from Midcentury Cocktails: History, Lore, and Recipes from America's Atomic Age by Cecelia Tichy. 

This new book explores icons of midcentury American life -- such as commuter trains, tiki bars, suburban weekends, Playboy bunnies, bachelor pads, and Breakfast at Tiffany's -- and examines how they influenced and were influenced by cocktail drinking. After each chapter, there are recipes for related cocktails. 

The recipes are pretty simple because midcentury was the heyday of straightforward cocktails. Goofy early experiments had died off (for good reason) and today's crazy, anything goes cocktails had yet to be imagined. So there are several recipes in here that are not much more than put "very clear" ice cubes in an Old Fashioned glass, add 1 - 2 ounces of whatever liquor, and maybe stir in 4 ounces of soda water (the "recipe" for Scotch & Soda, for example). That's fine by me, since I live in a house where we consider ice a mixer. 

There are other recipes more elaborate, even frou-frou, especially in the tiki bar chapter. Those can be fun too, just not really my thing. 


Please leave the link to your Book Beginnings on Fridays post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings. 

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Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.


From Midcentury Cocktails:

Page 56 has recipes, so here's one from the chapter on weekends in the suburbs: 


  1. 2 oz blended whiskey
  2. Chilled dry red wine
  3. 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  4. 1 teaspoon sugar
  5. 1/2 slice lemon
  1. Put ample ice in shaker.
  2. Vigorously shake whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar.
  3. Strain into 6-ounce sour glass.
  4. Fill glass with red wine.
  5. Stir, garnish with lemon slice, and serve.
What do you think? Would you try it?

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