Book Review and Giveaway: Cocktails Step By Step

I seriously love cookbooks. I particularly love cocktail books– though often, the books aren’t groundbreaking, I love the different approaches different bartenders have, the history, everything.

Step By Step Cocktails: The Perfect Guide to Cocktail Making, which is part of Parragon’s Love Food line of books, is great for someone who is a very visual learner– there are pictures for every step, a picture of a mise en place, and a picture of the finished drink, so you can read the instructions and see exactly how to make the drink. The list is pretty wide– standards like Manhattans and Cosmopolitans, as well a few recipes that are a little more interesting: a bourbon milk punch, a Boston sour. I really love that though the book is basic, they don’t take shortcuts: fresh juices and fruit are all over this book. They also don’t specify many brands, unless it’s something like Pernod, which is fairly distinctive. So many cocktail books are so specific, you feel like you have to spend $100 before you make a drink (trust me, I’ve done it).

My only complaint is that the portions are huge– the recipe for the Cosmopolitan calls for 7 1/2 ounces of liquid, and that’s before shaking– when I prefer a 3 oz cocktail. Those large sizes just get warm and become unpleasant to drink. I’d just advise using most of the recipes for two cocktails.

Here’s what the recipe looks like in the book.


Want your own copy? Simply comment here and tell me your favorite cocktail. This contest is open to readers age 21 and up (for obvious reasons) and residents of the US only. I’ll pick a winner on Friday and ship you your book!

  • Amy

    I love a Manhattan. I’m visual, so this book sounds right up my alley.

  • Leah Schlosser Geckle

    My favorite cocktail has to be a B52! You can’t go wrong with Bailey’s, Kaluah, and Grand Marnier all in one glass!!

  • Guest

    My favorite cocktail has to be a B52. You can’t go wrong with Bailey’s, Kaluah, and Grand Marnier all in one glass!!

    • Julie

      Hey there, guest! Can you provide an email address so I can track you down if you won?

  • Lisa Steele

    My favorite cocktail this summer is a STRAWBERRY MOJITO made with our fresh-grown strawberries and mint from the garden!
    Fresh Eggs Daily

  • Jen

    Well, when I was 21 my favorite cocktail was a Whiskey Sour! Now my favorites are seasonal: margaritas in the summer and Brandy Alexanders in the winter.

  • runnergirlcinci

    My favorite cocktail is called a giraffe. How fun is that?! But I hope I win so I can learn to make new cocktails!

  • Madeline

    I love a Tom Collins in the summer! Would love more summer drink ideas. :)

  • Glenda Jordan

    Love a Paloma – Fresca, tequila and lime. MMMMMMM

  • Matt

    Old Fashioned is the way to go, especially a brandy old fashioned.

    • Julie

      Hey Matt! YOU are the winner! I’ll email you shortly to get an address so I can get this in the mail to you!

      • Matt

        Thanks Julie…Love the blog and brandy – need to bring more brandy drinks to Cincinnati.

        • Lindsay

          Matt: I AGREE! I love brandy and cognac cocktails, and would love to be able to go out and have some really great ones to order in the city.

  • Deb G

    My favorite drink (today) is a Pomegranate Martini

  • Kamaria

    Favorite drink especially in the summer is a BOHEMIAN! It’s made with St Germain Liquer, a little bit of sour mix, and topped off with a splash of champagne! Refreshing, and light! I could drink this all day!!

  • Traci Clancy

    I see I’m too late….but love a lemon drop martini!!