What The Fuck Should I Drink? That’s the question, now made into a cocktail recipe book by author Zach Golden. When it comes to cocktail books there are really two paths one can take to grab attention: a) focus on the mixologists and historians as a craft or b) entertainment and fun. Never the two shall meet… or can they?
Let’s be honest, the concept of a “swear as much as you can just to do it” seems like a silly concept that’s entire purpose is to grab some sales by being loud and crazy. It’s not too far off from using hot women to sell products, grab video views online or as co-hosts to TV shows. However, I like to look a bit deeper into a project like this and ask myself, “Why did Zach Golden really write this book?”
Of course, it may have just been to have a good time and get on a best seller list somewhere. Or, perhaps it was to bring the “college crowd” and those loose to the ideas of mixology into the fold, if only to wet their appetite for real cocktails. Now, I don’t know what is really going on with Mr. Golden’s reasons for the book as the forward is written by Jesus Christ, so I’m going to bet that he created this book as an introduction to real cocktails targeted at a crowd that would probably otherwise never speak the words, “Sazerac.”
How can I establish a motive for the author when I’ve never met him myself? The recipe contents. While the outer trimmings of What The Fuck Should I Drink? are laced with hilarity, silly sayings and a bit of crazy geographic knowledge, the internals to this book utilize real cocktails that a mixologist would be entirely familiar with in their own daily designs.
What The Fuck Should I Drink? could easily be laced with punches, jungle juice and cocktails that all call for everclear but it doesn’t do this at all. The book covers classics like the Vieux Carré, Aviation, Stinger, Between the Sheets, Rattlesnake, Gibson, Gimlet, Gin Mule and even the classic Daiquiri are found within this tomb of swears and foul mouthed insanity. These cocktails, many which can be traced to the late 1800’s or early 1900’s are cornerstones to the craft and contribute to the growth of the industry through the growth of the artists designing todays beverages.
Sure, on the surface this book contains a lot of things that read almost like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” in which one cocktail refers you to another which then sends you down another path to follow and there is no recipe index or table of contents to speak of within its binding. Sure, the opening line reads “To Mom and Dad, I’m Sorry.” These are all true facts that define What The Fuck Should I Drink? But, the recipes within will no doubt give the reader something to think about at their next cocktail party or when they go up to the bar to order a drink.
I think What The Fuck Should I Drink? targets the 21+ crowd whom only know the words Screw Driver and Jack and Coke and allows them to open their eyes to the Sazerac and Monte Carlo. This is a bridge to get people hearing old cocktail names once uttered in dusty bars now lost to the big cities (or re-birthed within them) so that they can begin a life of cocktail drinking with more respect and understanding… even if their first introduction to the Gibson was “There’s an uncertainty as to where the fuck this cocktail got its name, so we’ll just make shit up.” You’ll know the true ingredients of a Gibson while also hearing a story about a pre-post-op transvestite named Barry.
All-in-all, the first place I would think this book will do well is on the coffee table (or cocktail table!) with a close second on the back of the bathroom toilet. This is a book which can be ready lightly and for entertainment with a secondary goal of teaching you a bit about the pillars of true cocktail craftsmanship. Once you’ve finished the roller coaster ride of curses you can file it into that special spot in your house for recipe books and pull it out at your next party. It’s time to show your friends you’ve grown up… a little.
Buy What The Fuck Should I Drink? on Amazon.