Inspired, but still do-able, cocktails
Recently I got a copy of "Mix Shake Stir," cocktails for the home bar from Danny Meyer's New York City restaurants (The Modern, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, etc.) The book has gorgeous photography, great tips and quotes. But most importantly, the recipes are not at all overwhelming for the home bartender looking to impress friends or just mix up something different. There is a definite focus on fresh ingredients like fruits, veggies and herbs, as well as high end and new liquors (Domaine de Canton, St. Germain), but most of the recipes are blessedly brief, making them perfect for entertaining. Here's a great example:
Thai Basil Bliss
Courtesy of Mix Shake Stir
5 fresh Thai basil leaves
4 1-inch cubes fresh pineapple
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. silver tequila (preferably Patron)
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
Splash of Champagne (optional)
Muddle 4 of the basil leaves and the pineapple in a cocktail shaker. Add ice to the shaker and then the simple syrup, tequila and lime juice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and add the splash of Champagne, if desired. Garnish with the remaining basil leaf and serve.
You can get "Mix Shake Stir" for $19.89 on Amazon.