July 2023

The Book of Cocktail Ratios

By Michael Ruhlman
Review by
Even if you’re not much of a numbers person, this guide to the ratios involved in six classic tipples goes down easy.
Share this Article:

In a follow-up to his fascinating Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, multifaceted writer and chef Michael Ruhlman applies that concept to cocktails. Even more so than culinary creations, boozy drinks “are fundamentally defined by their ratios, rather than by a unique combination of ingredients,” he writes in The Book of Cocktail Ratios: The Surprising Simplicity of Classic Cocktails.

Ruhlman explores this thesis through six classic tipples—the Manhattan, the Negroni, the Daiquiri, the Margarita, the Martini and highballs, with a few outliers thrown in for good measure (the Paper Plane, the Hot Toddy, etc.). For example, a Martinez, which likely predated the Manhattan, swaps gin for the Manhattan’s bourbon or rye in a 2:1 ratio of spirit to vermouth. Sub bourbon in for gin in the 1:1:1 ratio of a Negroni, and boom, you’ve got a Boulevardier—or try mezcal, if you dare.

I’m not much of a numbers person, but this simplification of the sometimes-arcane world of mixology goes down easy and pairs well with sweet watercolor illustrations by Marcella Kriebel. Ruhlman suggests that the art of the cocktail is rather forgiving, a place to mess around and find out. Just commit a few basic ratios to memory first.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

The Book of Cocktail Ratios

The Book of Cocktail Ratios

By Michael Ruhlman
ISBN 9781668003398

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our newsletter to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres every Tuesday.