Crack open most modern craft cocktail books and you’ll find a beautiful collection of drinks—all of which require upwards of 10 ingredients apiece, including special homemade syrups and obscure liqueurs. These types of recipes are great for professional bartenders but can prove disastrous for amateurs, which is why spirit and cocktail writer Kara Newman’s latest book is such a relief.
Published in September by Chronicle Books, Shake.Stir.Sip.: More Than 50 Effortless Cocktails Made in Equal Parts is a collection of cocktails that are at once beautiful, sophisticated and easy. The book ranges from absurdly simple two-ingredient drinks like the 50/50 Martini to effortless five-ingredient drinks like The Morning Star, an author original (recipe below), and it includes many other classic recipes and originals from bartenders across the country.
It’s clear that Newman’s equal parts evangelism has hit a nerve; the book has already sold out of its first run and remains in high demand. This is Newman’s third book of cocktail recipes, following Spice & Ice (2009) and Cocktails for a Crowd (2013).
We caught up with Newman at New York’s Sons and Daughters to talk about the challenges of writing Shake.Stir.Sip. and its impressive success among professional and home bartenders.
Supercall: What made you want to write about equal part cocktails?
Kara Newman: What I love about equal parts drinks is that I can’t screw them up. It was a revelation when I realized that “equal parts” existed as a drink technique, and that it extended beyond just the Negroni. Bartenders have been working with equal parts cocktails for a long time—they’re in The Savoy Cocktail Book published in 1930. Lots of classics are made in equal parts. Lots of modern bartenders are creating new equal parts drinks. I became obsessed with them, and that turned into the book.
SC: Did restricting yourself to equal parts cocktails create any challenges?
KN: So many equal parts drinks are the bitter, boozy, stirred variety, like the Negroni and the Sharpie Mustache. That’s great and I love drinks like that, but one of the biggest challenges in putting together the book was balancing the mix of drinks, so it wasn’t all boozy and bitter-style drinks.