Danny Childs is the author of the phenomenal new cocktail book Slow Drinks. It’s a book about incorporating the ingredients that are growing around you into the bar. I was sent an advanced copy of the book in the Spring and it has been one of my most used recipe books. Maybe ever. First of all, Danny, prior to becoming a bartender, has done a lot of ethnobotanical work with indigenous communities such as the Shipibo and Mapuche in South America, and that has influenced how he thinks about making cocktails, so he already had my interest there. But applying that knowledge to where he lives in New Jersey with local flora is really something, I think, is quite revolutionary. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think this is where the world of cocktails is heading. Some cocktail bars will be run more like restaurants rather than nightclubs and rather than just relying on branded spirits, the bartenders will make their own, not to mention all of the other pieces that go into making a cocktail, using the flavors they are growing all around wherever they are. It will lead to cocktail bars with a sense of place.
Danny took over the drinks program at a tavern in the suburbs of New Jersey at The Farm and Fisherman Tavern in Cherry Hill, not far from Philadelphia, and did this very thing. His work there has received a lot of attention and that’s why he wrote Slow Drinks, which is as much of a foundational book about building your bar as it is a collection of recipes. He’s no longer with the restaurant and building a bigger concept around the idea of Slow Drinks, so I expect to see him giving lectures and leading workshops, among other things. Follow @SlowDrinks on Instagram to stay up to date with everything he is doing.
When I say it’s building a foundation for your bar, it’s not just syrups. It’s seasonal amaros. It’s spruce beer. It’s making amaretto from peach pits or root beer from sassafras. It’s a transformational cocktail book and I hope a lot of people read it. Danny is by no means the only person doing these things, but creating this book is something that allows a lot of different people to do them. People like me, for instance. You don’t have to live in the northeastern United States for the recipes to make sense either. They are flexible enough that you can swap in ingredients from wherever you are.
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