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How's Your Drink?
How's Your Drink?
Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well

"A superb guide to the world of the cocktail..." -- Christopher Hitchens


Ever since the Wall Street Journal introduced its new Saturday weekend edition in 2005, one of its most popular features has been the "How's Your Drink?" cocktail column by Eric Felten, which illuminates the culture of the cocktail, showing how it has been an essential part of American life. Now, Felten has created his first How's Your Drink? book—an essential addition to the literature of spirits and cocktails, a staple for the library of any cultivated man, and a fantastic holiday gift title for hard-to-shop for husbands and fathers. How's Your Drink? (the title comes from the phrase with which Frank Sinatra habitually checked in with guests he entertained in his home) is an invaluable, erudite guide to culture, lore, and history of the cocktail.

In the decades after Prohibition, the cocktail was king. Everyone knew the cocktail party's rituals and choreography. A man was judged on his skill as a mixer, and took pride in the elegant austerity of his Martini. But come the Sixties, cocktails went the way of the Man in the Grey Flannel Suit. A generation later, cocktails are back, but the literature and lore of the classics has been missing. These wonderful concoctions have been like puzzling artifacts from a lost civilization – where do they come from? What do they mean?

John F. Kennedy played nuclear brinksmanship with a Gin and Tonic in his hand. Teddy Roosevelt took the witness stand in a celebrated libel trial to testify that six Mint Juleps over the course of his presidency did not make him a drunk. John Updike killed the Old Fashioned—F.D.R.'s drink of choice —when he made it the instrument of infanticide in Rabbit, Run, while Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Chandler both did their part to promote the Gimlet. Drinks find their way into the tunes of Cole Porter and other songwriters. Frank Sinatra preferred Jack Daniels and water with exactly four cubes of ice. There are cocktails immortalizing electoral triumphs and drinks used in buying votes. Fighting men mixed drinks with whatever liquor could be scavenged between barrages, raising glasses to celebrate victory and to ease the pain of defeat too.

Eric Felten's elegant, erudite prose illuminates American culture through the prism of a glass—and based on exhaustive research, he also delivers the authentic recipes for the best drinks, both famous and obscure.


Title How's Your Drink?
Subtitle Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well
Author Eric Felten
Imprint Surrey
Audience 01 General / trade
Title First Published 10 October 2007
Format Hardcover
Nb of pages
ISBN-10 1572840897
ISBN-13 978-1-57284-089-8
GTIN13 (EAN13) 9781572840898
Publication Date 10 October 2007
Dimensions 5 x 7 in.
Weight 9.9 oz.
List Price $12.00
Format PDF
Nb of pages 218 p.
ISBN-10 1-57284-612-7
ISBN-13 978-1-57284-612-8
GTIN13 (EAN13) 9781572846128
Main content page count 218
List Price $9.99
Format Paperback
Nb of pages 205 p.
ISBN-10 1-57284-101-X
ISBN-13 978-1-57284-101-7
GTIN13 (EAN13) 9781572841017
Publication Date 10 April 2009
Main content page count 205
Dimensions 5 x 7 in.
Weight 8 oz.
List Price $8.40

Additional Materials


Press Reviews

Dec 3, 2007
"This brand new book is fun, engaging read and a must-have for any cocktail fan."

- Jimmy Patrick

TimeOut Chicago
Nov 29, 2007
"Felten is like those legendary barflies who always have a good story on hand: He has a casual yet authoritative voice, a relaxing lilt to his sentences, and he always knows where to put the punch line."

- David Tamarkin

About.com: Cocktails
Oct 1, 2007
"The book is a fascinating profile of a few select drinks and a great read for anyone interested in the Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well (a most appropriate subtitle)."
- Colleen Graham

Spirits Review
Nov 1, 2007
"Not only does it supply a wonderful palette of cocktail recipes, but great stories to go with them and clues for research after it - be it the book or a party, is all over."
- Chris Carlsson

San Francisco Chronicle
Nov 9, 2007
"It is a cultural study rather than a technical one, packed with great trivia and hilarious observations..."
- Camper English


“In these desperate times of ‘apple-tinis,’ Red Bull and vodka, and low-carb beer, ‘How’s Your Drink?’ is a welcome and bracing tonic, a triumphant manifesto on cocktailing with style packed with more yarns and lore than a battalion of bartenders. Saluté!”
Ted Allen from Top Chef, Iron Chef America, and Uncorked: Wine Made Simple

Related News

In May, Eric Felten was named the 2007 James Beard Foundation Journalism Award winner in the category, “Newspaper Writing on Spirits, Wine or Beer."

James Beard Foundation Journalism Award Winner, 2007

Reader Comments

Reader comment | Jan 31, 2009, ruth raser
I enjoy Eric Felten's column in the Wall Street Journal very much. I always like to think of "theme" drinks for social events and have collected his recipes for years. Today's WSJ, "Just Add iPhone and Stir"(Feb 1, '09) prompted me to send this commentary suggesting a column that addresses what the 14 bottle liquor cabinet should be comprised of and, perhaps some related cocktails. Not following iPhones much, I would love to have that information in hard copy and, if not the actual recipes, a list of the names of what Eric Felten would consider to be the most demanded drinks (and would there be a regional ion of preferences, say, east coast, mid west, west coast and south)? Reading the WLJ regularly is a passion of mine, however, every once in a while there is a miss and I would love a "heads up" if he were to address my interest with his column.