Cookbook Review: Mr. Boston: Platinum Edition, Edited by Anthony Giglio

by Emily Bell
March 2012

Mary Macs Tea Room

Cookbook Stats

The original was compiled by Leo Cotton, a purchasing agent for Old Mr. Boston Distillery, formerly of 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, Roxbury, Massachusetts

Difficulty Level: Appropriate for Professionals, Armchair Mixologists, and Newbies alike

New Edition Additions: Dale DeGroff’s “Five Commandments for Bartenders,” intermittent (and inspiring) quotes from contributors, and, oh yes, Vodka recipes

Recipes: Classics, Brandy, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Vodka, Whiskies, Cordials and Liqueurs, Shooters, Frozen Drinks, Hot Drinks, Eggnogs and Punches, Wine in Mixed Drinks, and Nonalcoholic Drinks (“If you’re under the legal drinking age, our nonalcoholic drinks chapter is the only one for you.”)

A Few Choice Cocktail Names: Poop Deck Cocktail, Orang-a-Tang, Tijuana Taxi, Robert E. Lee Cooler, Purple Hooter, Shavetail, Goober, Oh My Gosh, and Irish Charlie

Maybe unsurprisingly, the Platinum Edition of this post-Prohibition “cocktail bible” has less historic charm than the 1935 original. In place of the warm leather and gold of the first edition, platinum Boston is a simple binder done up in black and silver, with only a dime-sized visage of marketing fabrication “Mr. Boston” (the “everlastingly young” Betty Crocker of cocktails) peering out from its glossy cover. But that’s apt, because even in its first printing, Mr. Boston wasn’t for collectors, but producers (history hoarders can, however, salvage first editions from the eBay jungle).

A self-described “authentic and accurate” solution to the “avalanche of cocktail books” that descended upon bartenders post-Repeal, Mr. Boston was, and remains, soberly professional, gathering tools, techniques, and hundreds of recipes for quick and easy reference. But unlike previous incarnations, the Platinum Edition discards all pre-fabricated mixers and reorganizes itself for the “current cocktail renaissance” according to scrupulously reevaluated recipes. The results span the gamut from the purist’s classic Daiquiri to the frozen improbability of a Creamy Gin Sour. And with contributions from cocktail disciples like Tony Abou Ganim, Misty Kalkofen, Jim Meehan, Phil Ward, Audrey Saunders, Gary Regan, Scott Beattie, Toby Maloney, Dale DeGroff, and more, the re-jiggered Mr. Boston is like a New Old Testament for the spirit(s)ually inclined.