The picture of a blend called a 4th of July, which has a red, a white, and a blue layer is unbelievable. The ingredients are very simple: Grenadine, Blue curacao, and Batida de Coco. If you pour them into the glass slowly in that order, you will have a drink that is red on the bottom, blue in the middle, and white at the top. Pay attention to the book’s description however: “This is likely to please every American. Whether it also tastes good is another question.”
The grossest-looking drink I have ever seen is also included. It is called a Prairie Oyster. This is one of four mythical “hangover cures,” which also includes that old standby, the Bloody Mary. Here are just a few of the ingredients that go into a Prairie Oyster: one raw egg yolk, Olive oil, ketchup, Tobasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Cognac. Sounds like we should call Eddie Vedder, because it’s time for a hurl-jam.
One of the most amazing bits of trivia I came across in book is where the U.S. fits in on a per-capita consumption level worldwide. Thanks to the massive amount of advertising we are inundated with, as well as the constant reminders about drunk driving, I figured we were way up there on the list. The truth is, we rank number 50 out of 115, with an average yearly intake of 11 pints. In contrast, the Russian Federation is number three, with 42 pints per person. Number one is the Virgin Islands, at a whopping 57 pints, while number 115 is Morocco, with a meager three fluid ounces per person per year.
For drinkers and non-drinkers alike, there is a great deal of fascinating information about these magic elixirs. The book was designed to give the individual all the information they would need to set up the greatest bar ever, a goal it definitely achieves. But The Ultimate Bar Book manages to be more than a simple guide. This is a funny, informative and endlessly interesting tome, and a book I thoroughly enjoyed.