Drinks illustrated: ‘The Architecture of the Cocktail’

"The Architecture of the Cocktail" by Amy Zavatto, illustrated by Melissa Wood.
(Race Point Publishing)

Stumped over what to get a cocktail fan for the holidays?

Here’s a fun book with incredibly detailed drawings called “The Architecture of the Cocktail: Constructing the Perfect Cocktail from the Bottom Up” by Amy Zavatto, with illustrations by Melissa Wood (Race Point Publishing, New York, 2013, $16).

Wood draws each of the 75 cocktails herein that make the book. White on black, they show in what order and in what proportion each element of the cocktail should be added.

Wood has even devised a graphic pattern for each element, whether it’s fresh grated horseradish, Angostura bitters or fresh passion fruit juice. Embellishments all have their visual representations, too. And the various verbs used in constructing a cocktail — muddle, shake, stir.


Curiously, there’s no introduction to explain the concept of the book. It just starts right in with a diagram/drawing of the Abbey — gin, Lillet Blonde, orange juice and orange bitters embellished with orange peel. The text explains the history of the drink, and in the notes you’ll find the actual recipe.

In some 143 pages the book charges on in alphabetical order through Aviator, Bellini, Corpse Reviver 2, Gin Rickey, Ramos Gin Fizz, Sazerac, all the way to Zombie, sticking mainly with the classics.

A nice little stocking stuffer for beginning mixologists and graphic designers. Surely you’ve got a couple of those in your crowd.


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