“Our man in the liquor-soaked trenches.”
Modern Classic Cocktails
60+ recipes culled from today's modern classics with entertaining backstories from the cocktail revival of the past thirty years, by a two-time James Beard Award–nominated author and New York Times cocktail and spirits writer.
One of the greatest dividends of the revival in cocktail culture that began in the 1990s has been the relentless innovation. More new cocktails—and good ones—have been invented in the past thirty years than during any period since the first golden age of cocktails, which lasted from roughly the 1870s until the arrival of Prohibition in 1920 and included the birth of the Martini, Manhattan, Daiquiri, and Tom Collins.
Just as that first bar-world zenith produced a half-century of classic recipes before Prohibition, the eruption of talent over the past three decades has handily delivered its share of drinks that have found favor with arbiters on both sides of the bar. Among them are the Espresso Martini, White Negroni, Death Flip, Old Cuban, Paper Plane, Siesta, and many more, all included here along with each drink's recipe origin story.
What elevates a modern cocktail into the echelon of a modern classic? A host of reasons, all delineated by Simonson in these pages. But, above all, a modern classic cocktail must be popular. People have to order it, not just during its initial heyday, but for years afterward. Tommy’s Margarita, invented in the 1990s, is still beloved, and the Porn Star Martini is the most popular cocktail in the United Kingdom, twenty years after its creation.
This book includes more than sixty easy-to-make drinks that all earned their stripes as modern classics years ago. Sprinkled among them are also a handful of critics' choices, potential classics that have the goods to become popular go-to cocktails in the future.
Other Books by Robert Simonson
Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails
Indulge your thirst for new ways to enjoy tequila and mezcal with 60+ recipes for agave cocktails from a James Beard Award–nominated author and New York Times spirits writer.
The Martini Cocktail
The first book in decades to celebrate and explore the history of the most iconic of classic cocktails, the martini, with 50 recipes.
“The cocktail book you’ve always wished you had” (Food52), featuring sixty of the most delicious—and elegantly simple—drinks of all time.
A Proper Drink
A narrative history of the craft cocktail renaissance, written by a New York Times cocktail writer and one of the foremost experts on the subject.
A complete history of one of the world's most iconic cocktails—now the poster child of the modern cocktail revival—with fifty recipes for classic variations as well as contemporary updates.
About Robert Simonson
ROBERT SIMONSON writes about cocktails, spirits, bars, and bartenders for the New York Times and is the creator and author of the Substack newsletter The Mix With Robert Simonson. His books include The Old-Fashioned (2014), the first single-drink cocktail book of its kind; A Proper Drink (2016), the first (and so far only) history of the modern cocktail revival; 3-Ingredient Cocktails (2017), which was nominated for a 2018 James Beard Award; The Martini Cocktail (2019), which was nominated for a 2020 James Beard Award and IACP Award and won that year's Spirited Award for best new cocktail book; and Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails (2021), which was nominated for an IACP Award. He was also a primary contributor to The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails (both the 2015 and 2022 editions). Simonson won the 2019 Spirited Award for Best Cocktail and Spirits Writer, and his work, which has also appeared in Vinepair, Punch, Imbibe, Saveur, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, New York magazine, and Lucky Peach, has been nominated for a total of 16 Spirited Awards and four IACP Awards. He is the co-author, with Martin Doudoroff, of two cocktail apps, Modern Classics of the Cocktail Renaissance and The Martini Cocktail. A native of Wisconsin, he lives in Brooklyn.
You can reach Robert for story assignments, interviews and personal appearances at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is on Instagram at RobertOSimonson, on Twitter at @ROSimonson and Facebook at @RobertSimonson.
Modern Classics of the Cocktail Renaissance app
MODERN CLASSIC COCKTAILS
BOOK TOUR EVENTS
“Cocktail Writer Robert Simonson Leads a Spirited Life,” Madison Times, 6/18/19
“The Cocktail Revival in 51 Critical Moments,” Food & Wine, 6/25/2018
“10 Cocktails That Made My Career,” First We Feast, 9/19/2016.
“One Sazerac and He Was In,” The Washington Post, 10/16/2016
“What Are You Drinking, Robert Simonson,” Serious Eats, 7/11/2016
Modern Classic Cocktails
"Cocktail Books: Every Glass a Novelty" Wall Street Journal, 12/30/2022
"What makes a cocktail classic? New book serves up modern classic cocktails," Southern Kitchen, 9/26/2022
"Naked and Famous," Epicurious, 9/27/2022
"Kill Devil Cocktail," Wine Enthusiast, 9/9/2022
"80 New Cookbooks Coming Fall 2022," Epicurious, 9/6/2022
"28 Cookbooks and Food Books to Add to Your Shelf This Fall," Food & Wine, 9/9/2022
"The 11 Most Exciting Cookbooks to Look Out for This Fall," Thrillist, 8/23/2022
"The Clock Starts Now: 46 Fabulous Things to Do This Fall," Wall Street Journal, 9/10/2022
Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails
“Your Mezcal Starter Kit,” Punch, 5/3/2021
“How Tequila and Mezcal Are Shaking Up the Golden Age of Cocktails,” Maxim, 5/5/2021
“Mezcal’s the Thing in a New Cocktail Book,” The New York Times, 4/12/21
“Unmissable Spirits and Cocktail Books for Spring 2021,” Spirits Business, 3/22/21
“Drinking Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails With Robert Simonson,” Forbes, 3/24/21
The Martini Cocktail
“‘The Martini Cocktail’ Wins Spirited Award as Best Cocktail Book,” Spirits Business, 9/22/20
“Book Review: The Year’s Top Tipples,” Wall Street Journal, 12/27/19
“There’s No Wrong Way to Drink a Martini,” Wine Enthusiast, 12/19/19
“This is Your Martini for 2020,” Epicurious, 12/13/19
“Martini Cocktail” Explores Lore of World’s Greatest Drink,” OnMilwaukee, 12/5/19
Gift Guide, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/5/19
“Teeny Tiny Martinis Are Taking Over,” Los Angeles Times, 11/29/19
“Stock Your Bar with 9 New Cocktail and Wine Books,” Atlanta Journal Courier, 11/21/19
Interview in San Paolo, Brazil, newspaper O Estadio, 10/25/19
“15 Gifts to Give Your Father-in-Law,” Town & Country 10/24/19
“Dive Into a Classic Martini,” Boston Globe, 10/7/19
“Why the Martini Has Stood the Test of Time,” Eater, 10/1/19
“A Martini Please, and Hold the Judgment,” Los Angeles Times, 9/25/19
“Everything You Know About the Martini Is Wrong,” Urban Daddy, 9/18/19
“How the Martini Went From Simple Cocktail to American Icon,” Grub Street, 9/17/19
“The Martini: The King of Cocktails and Opinions,” the Daily Beast, 9/16/19
“How to Make a Martini Your Guest Will Love,” Washington Post, 9/11/19
“Drinking Martinis With Robert Simonson,” Forbes, 9/10/19
“Museums and Martinis,” The Tulsa Voice, 9/4/19
“Book Review,” Publisher’s Weekly, 5/30/19.
“10 Cookbooks and Cocktail Books to See You Through Quarantine Season,” Forbes, 4/30/20
“The Best New Cocktail Books to Shake Up Your Happy Hour,” Forbes, 8/18/19.
“Stock Your Bar Shelf With Three James Beard-Nominated Cocktail Books,” The Chicago Tribune, 4/30/18
“James Beard Foundation Announces 2018 Nominees,” Food & Wine, 3/14/18
“New Book Glories the Cocktail Basics,” The New York Times, 10/9/17.
“Loving the White Russian Is as Easy as Making It,” Food 52, 10/6/17.
“Classic Cocktails With Only 3 Ingredients,” San Diego Times-Tribune, 10/9/17.
“10 Killer Cocktails You Can Make With Just 3 Ingredients,” Maxim, 10/24/17.
“Three Ingredients Get You To Alaska,” Boston Globe, 10/19/17
“What to Give: Books on Cocktails and Spirits,” Wayne Curtis, Wall Street Journal, 11/15/17.
“Food Schmooze,” radio interview with Faith Middleton, December 2017.
“On the Joy of Simple Cocktails,” Saveur, 12/6/17.
“How to make easy cocktails, no bank loan or advanced degree required,” M. Carrie Allan, The Washington Post, 3/23/18.
“Stock Your Bar Shelf With Three James Beard-nominated Cocktail Book,” The Chicago Tribune, 4/30/18.
” …my favorite informative, no nonsense, stylistically pleasing boozers’ book of this calendar year…,” Adam Platt, New York Magazine.
“These 3-Ingredient Cocktails Will Get You Through the Summer,” GQ, 6/11/18
A Proper Drink
“These Six Drinks Should Be Considered Modern Classics,” The Washington Post, 3/12/2020
“How TGI Fridays Became the Forefather of the Modern Cocktail Bar. Seriously,” Thrillist, 10/5/18
“The Craft Cocktail Revolution Is Over. Now What?,” 7/19/17, Thrillist
“One Sazerac and He Was In: How One Man Started Documenting a Cocktail Renaissance,” The Washington Post, 10/16/2016
“11 Essential Drinks at 11 Great Cocktail Bars,” The New York Times, 10/4/2016
“How Audrey Saunders Makes a Proper Drink,” excerpt, Eater, 10/2/2016
“Important Lessons From a Cocktail Pro,” Urban Daddy, 9/29/2016
“Top New Spirits Books for Autumn 2016,” Spirits Business, 9/27/2016
“How the Cocktail Got Its Name (and Fame),” Signature Reads, 9/27/2016
“An Interview With Robert Simonson,” Alcademics, 9/26/2016
“The Best Drink Books of Fall/Winter 2016,” Punch, 9/26/2016
“How the Inventor of the Cosmopolitan Learned to Embrace His Most Famous Creation,” excerpt, Grub Street, 9/19/2016
“The 10 Cocktails That Made My Career,” First We Feast, 9/19/2016
“The Biggest New Cookbooks of 2016,” Eater, 8/23/2016
Review, Publishers Weekly, 7/18/2016
Praise for The Old-Fashioned
“Beyond the Brandy Old-Fashioned,” Inside Hook, 9/25/20
“How Ryan Gosling Got His Old-Fashioned Exactly Right in Crazy, Stupid Love,” Esquire, 8/18/20
Stay in Touch