If you’re like me (current state: tipsy), your library is filled with a multitude of impeccably photographed and researched cocktail books that you’ve never, ever opened.
You won’t have that problem with The Dead Rabbit Mixology & Mayhem.
From the founders and managers of twice-awarded “Best Bar in the World” — New York’s beloved, Five Points-inspired The Dead Rabbit — Mayhem isn’t just an impressive collection of cocktail recipes or the story of the world’s most beloved watering hole.
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It’s all that and an actual, comic-book-styled story, one shaped by real New York history, the creative influence of Scorsese (particularly Taxi Driver and Gangs of New York) and starring a man-rabbit anti-hero.
It’s both a graphic novel and one of the most inventive boozy guides you’ll ever read. And actually use.
The book is actually a set of Volume 4 of The Dead Rabbit’s menu, consisting of six standalone chapters revolving around the bar’s hybrid protagonist John Morrissey, a real-life leader of the Irish mob back in the mid-19th century.
Here, he’s placed in a turbulent 1970s, where he gruffly navigates an unfamiliar landscape and ... well, you can flip through the story yourself, all of which really serves as the framework for the dozens of extraordinary cocktail recipes within.
What we particularly like — besides the drinks — is the presentation. Besides the comic panels, the recipes are laid out in a clean, minimalist style with beautiful photos, a thorough breakdown of all the necessary bar equipment you’ll need (jiggers, strainers, glassware, etc.) and expanded chapters and glossaries on how to make the assorted syrups and tinctures — you know you want to try the pumpkin seed-washed Powers Gold Irish Whiskey.
(One good, time-saving hack: The “general strategies & tips” chapter that ends the book is pretty much a page-and-a-half cheat sheet to crafting Dead Rabbit-worthy cocktails. They have a paragraph called “template recipes” that they suggest you memorize, and you should!)
As well, all the cocktails here are rounded out by the drink creator’s inspiration. Some of those are fun (Jessica Friedman: “I need a tequila cocktail for my boxing debut”) and some are just great descriptors, as you’ll witness from the “Striptease” cocktail, via Dead Rabbit’s bar manager/beverage director (and Mayhem co-author) Jillian Vose, below.
“Think boozy cinnamon Christmas cookies for this one. The rum is split with the cachaça for a bit of funk and extra layers. Becherovka is a Czech herbal liqueur with a strong cinnamon note that’s pretty cool.”
0.5 tsp Cane Syrup *
0.5 oz Yellow Chartreuse
0.5 oz Becherovka
0.5 oz Noilly Prat Ambré Vermouth
0.5 oz Novo Fogo Aged Cachaça
1.5 oz Bacardi 8 Años Rum
Jiggers, mixing glass, barspoon, ½ teaspoon, julep strainer
Nick & Nora
Stir with ice; strain with julep strainer and serve up without ice
*Cane syrup: 2 parts organic evaporated cane juice, 1 part water. Cook the sugar and water in a pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil and then take off heat. Cool and store in the refrigerator.
Excerpted from THE DEAD RABBIT MIXOLOGY & MAYHEM © 2018 by Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry, and Jillian Vose. Cocktail photography © 2018 by Brent Herrig Photography. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.