Cocktails are back, but we're not talking about your Perfect Martini or saltfringed Margarita. What keeps the cool types coming back to the most stylish bars on both coasts are drinks like Squashed Frog, Fuzzy Pierced Navel, Einstein's Brain, or Tango in Bolivia.
"In today's scheme of high-tech mixology and trend-setting fashion drinks, ordinary elixirs like Gin and Tonic and Vodka Martinis Just don't cut it," says Adam Rocke, peripatetic Hollywood bartender and author of Atomic Bodyslams to Whiskey Zippers: Cocktails for the 21st Century (Surrey Books, $9.95). "You have to serve the newest, the wildest, the most outlandish concoctions you, or 1, can dream up."
Rocke should know. Growing up at his family's full-service Catskill resort, he learned first hand from ace bartenders how to make a guest feel like an adventurer and a big shot. After Cornell and the University of Arizona, Rocke moved to Los Angeles to break into stage, screen, or television, all the while "mixing and pouring godforsaken potions" three or four nights a week in trendy, bars. "Night after night," says Rocke, "it amazed me to see what some people put into their bodies."
When business is slow, bartenders invent drinks. PMS Special, Horny Monkey, Baby Godzilla, Fig Leaf Flip—those are some of the tamer ones Rocke conceived while on—and off—duty. Eventually, he was bored enough to create the thousand and six recipes that constitute his book.
Although Atomic Bodyslams is absolutely "not your father's bar manual," Rocke hasincluded a chapter of traditional favorites called "The Usual Suspects," so that the party hound won't be caught short when Dad asks for a Manhattan or a Stinger. Chapters are organized by potency rather than by ingredient. The more innocent "Low Toxicity Fun and Party Drinks," "Slam 'Em and Get Hammered," and "I Drank What?" include recipes like the Key West Cocktail, the Godfather, and the Atom Bomb. Themorevigorouschaptersbeginwith"IDon'tWanna Remember a Thing," followed by the challenging "You Don't Expect Me to Drink That, Do You?" Potions like the Delta Warlord and Morning Breath are guaranteed to pack a punch.
To make sure his disciples are well prepped for any situation, Rocke adds "Hot Drinks for Cold Bodies," non-alcoholic "Drinks for the Designated Driver," and for the morning after, some "Surefire Hangover Remedies," including a Hangover Omelette and Sleep ("Take one mattress...").
Just to show he's really serious about helping the host or hostess do the right thing, Rocke lays out the necessary groundwork for any well-stocked bar in "The Basics," a chapter describing the different utensils, glasses, measurements, mixers and garnishes, as well as the special extras, chosen according to personal taste.
Atomic Bodyslams to Whiskey Zippers will lead any Earth-bound host or intergalactic bar hopper into the 21st Century with unique mixtures and combinations even connoisseurs never thought possible. Adam Rocke now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona, his bartending days in L.A. well behind him. Adam is completing his first novel, which he hopes to produce as a feature film. There will. Of course, be a part for a bartender.
Atomic Bodyslams to Whiskey Zippers
Cocktails for the 21st Century
by Adam Rocke
Surrey Books; $9.95
208 pages; 1997
Publicity information provided by the publisher.
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This page created October 1997 and modified October 2007
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