THE CRAFT OF THE COCKTAIL Everything You Need to Know to Be A Master Bartender, with 500 Recipes by Dale DeGroff Photographs by George Erml, Clarkson Potter/Publishers 2002, Hardcover $35.00 Highest Recommendation NOTES: Upside is Dale DeGroff himself, America's pre-eminent cocktail-meister/historian and the decades of bartending savvy, insight and wisdom that he brings to the table. DeGroff's grasp of cocktail lore and history makes this the best record of mixed drinks that I know of. Yet he doesn't dwell completely on the past when it comes to his recipes. DeGroff is the consummate mixologist who is constantly aware of the newest and most exciting spirits and other ingredients entering the marketplace. With his recipes, DeGroff often explains what the ingredients are, how they evolved, and why he's using them. Craft is a bartending clinic. Not only is Craft practical reading, it's fun reading. Without any doubt, the new gold standard of cocktail books and one which I personally doubt will ever be equaled, much less surpassed. This is the cocktail culture equivalent of Joe DiMaggio's 56 game record. A classic already. Downside - None, other than not owning a copy.