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To try a classic cocktail from Derek's new favorite book, click here.
When I bought my first copy of Ted "Dr. Cocktail" Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails in 2004, it was as if I had discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls. Vintage Spirits was a godsend for those of us in the wilderness of classic cocktails. The cocktail had enjoyed at least 200 years on the planet, but by the early part of the millennium it had virtually faded into obscurity with the exception of a few true believers. It was no wonder then that Haigh titled his introduction "Cocktail Archaeology."
So far were cocktails entombed behind the vault of history that bitters, which once defined cocktails, were scarcely to be found on a cocktail menu. If they were spotted, they enjoyed the life of a "mathlete" at the prom--staring from the sidelines as triple sec and blue curacao frolicked.
The new, deluxe edition of Vintage Spirits marks the full ascendancy of a genre that's previous heyday had passed by the mid-20th century. Haigh exults, "It is hardly possible to grasp all of the changes that we've seen in the past five years." It's nearly as remarkable as the rebirth of an extinct language from an ancient civilization. And there's more to be discovered.