Originally Posted by graphix
dmax, anything written by drinkboy (robert hess) is definatly worth reading or trying. He is a truly passionate bartender. I would also recommend either The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan (try his orange bitters also) or The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff.
I was lucky enough to have the head bartender for southern wines and spirits make me a sidecar with Martell XO and Grand Marnier Cent Cinquantenaire. A little over the top as each of those ingredients could have been slowly sipped on their own...but wow was it delicious.
as for your sidecar dmax i bet a touch of fee brothers peach bitters or the orange would be nice. And something you might like, that i consider a sidecar variation is Laird's Applejack/Poire William/Lemon with the similar proportions to however you make your sidecar. mmm so good.
Huntsman let me know what you head to NY i have the current number for Milk and Honey if you are interested. Sounds like you know your way around the the spirits pretty well....it really is a shame how poor most (99%) bars are these days as far as quality cocktails go. I blame it on our tipping culture...if bartenders who were skilled were paid fair wages compared to people who sling highballs all night it wouldn't be this bad. Every bartender out there is trying to do as much volume as they possible can be cause they know thats where the big $$$ comes from. I watch all the time as guys who wouldn't know Bud Light from Crystal tip based on how much cleavage the bartender is showing.
Drinkboy actually has never worked as a bartender. Funny thing that a lot of people don't get is that mixology and bartending are two completely different things. You can be a great mixologist and not know shit about how to bartend or vice versa. A lot of the e-gullet crowd has never actually worked in the industry and just does the armchair quarterback thing without any actual experience; so you get a lot of types who will go to a neighborhood dive bar and bitch and moan about the bartender not being able to make a drink that nobody's ever ordered from him in his 3 years there, and that no non-speciality bar would have the ingredients for (e.g. I remember some poster getting into a hissy fit about not being able to get a "last word" at some neighborhood bar, too bad I've never seen any bar that stocks the ingredients for it).
As for the tipping culture, it's actually one of the best things going for the bartending scene in the U.S. I only am able to make a living as a bartender because of it, and every time I hear someone talk about a "fair wage" (read: what your average retail clerk makes), I cringe at the thought of someone thinking I'd be happier taking a substantial paycut (and that's what it would be, maybe 2-3 times over) just so a few people who don't get tipping can sleep better at night.