The team behind The Dead Rabbit cocktail bar doesn’t half-ass things. Since the New York City institution opened in 2013, it has won countless awards (the “World’s Best Bar,” among other accolades). The brand’s first cocktail book, The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual, is a necessity for anyone looking to up their home mixology game (or for those just looking to learn about the drinks that make a bar the best in the world). Now, the team is back with the second cocktail book — except this new release, Mixology & Mayhem: The Story of John Morrissey and the World’s Best Cocktail Menu, is so much more than just another cocktail book.
The book itself is really two books in one. On one hand, you have more of the bar’s cocktails — perfectly-crafted creations that reveal their genius with every sip. No matter what type of drink you like, you’ll find something that all but makes love to your palate. In addition, the appendix also details how to make the various tinctures, syrups, and shrubs that are used in the cocktails.
These recipes ensure that you’re not only going to get a good cocktail, but you’re getting a mixology education at the same time. Like a good cookbook, Mixology & Mayhem breaks down high-level ingredients into manageable, and repeatable, processes.
The second book contained within Mixology and Mayhem is the graphic novel that follows The Rabbit, a badass antihero that harnesses the spirit of John Morrissey, the leader of the 19th-century Irish mob named the Dead Rabbits. Morrissey was the inspiration for the bar’s second menu, “Warren Warrior,” and Dead Rabbit owners Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry wanted to bring that type of character back in a new form. The story is told in six chapters, which coincided with six menu releases.
After a brief introduction (the “Mise en Place” section), the book dives headfirst into both the cocktails and the story. Each cocktail — there are 100 in total — is paired with a page of the graphic novel. We found it easiest to read the entire graphic novel first, then go back to dig into the cocktails. Reading linearly and trying to do one page of the novel and one cocktail can quickly become overwhelming, though it isn’t impossible.
The art, created by illustrator Mark Reihill, is crisp and the attention to detail is superb. As McGarry and Muldoon write, “In each chapter, we knew the streets and dives that were there. We learned the names of the players, we knew what they wore and ate and drank, the cars they drove, the music they listened to, the way they spent their money and other people’s.”
As we said before, the team doesn’t half-ass anything.
For an added bonus, the comic incorporates many real-life mixologists and industry veterans into the narrative (all dress in period-appropriate attire, of course). They didn’t need to do that, but it is a nice touch and a great nod to the people that either help make Dead Rabbit or any number of other cocktail bars as great as they are.
Overall, this book not only solidifies The Dead Rabbit’s legacy as one of the best bars in the world, but it does so in a way that not many other bars can (or have attempted). Whether you like graphic novels, cocktails, or both, this book is for you.
Now, to give you an idea of the types of cocktails in store, check out this recipe for Eidolon, which was created by Gregory Buda.
Gregory’s inspiration: “Initially inspired by the Army & Navy Cocktail. This ended up being the template for many drinks to come.”
- .75 oz Alvear Pale Cream Sherry
- .75 oz Plantation 3 Stars Rum
- .75 oz Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin
- .75 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz orgeat***
- 2 dashes mace tincture*
- 2 dashes house cardamom bitters**
- 1 egg white
Tools: Jiggers, shaker tins, fine strainer, Hawthorne strainer
Method: Dry shake, shake with ice; fine strain and serve up without ice in a punch glass. Garnish with lemon oil and discard the peel.
- 500 ml Everclear (or another high-proof neutral spirit)
- 3 tbsp mace blades (crushed)
- 500 ml water
Equipment: Airtight container, whisk, cheesecloth or coffee filter
Method: Mix the Everclear and mace in an airtight container and let sit at room temperature for 72 hours. Strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and mix with the water. Bottle, label, and store at room temperature. Yields one liter.
**House Cardamom Bitters
- 3 parts Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6
- 1 part Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters
Equipment: Measuring cup or jiggers, airtight container
Method: Add both bitters to the container, seal the lid and give it a good shake. Transfer to a dasher bottle, label, and store at room temperature.
Purchase here or use this less clarified recipe.
- 250 g blanched almonds
- 600 ml hot water
- 600 g fine sugar
- 1 tsp orange flower water
- 25 oz Everclear (or another high-proof neutral spirit)
Equipment: Scale, measuring cup, teaspoon, stainless steel pot, induction cook-top, fine mesh strainer, food processor, airtight container, cheesecloth, whisk
Method: Place the almonds in a pot and add water to cover. Simmer at 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and process the almonds in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container, add the hot water and let sit for 2 hours. Strain through cheesecloth and place the resulting “almond milk” (approximately 450 ml) into the pot with the sugar (adjusted to be a 4:3 ratio to the almond milk) and orange flower water. Cook at 70 degrees C (158 degrees F), stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and mix in the Everclear. Cool at room temperature. Bottle, label and refrigerate. Yields one liter.
Eidlon is excerpted from THE DEAD RABBIT MIXOLOGY & MAYHEM © 2018 by Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry, and Jillian Vose. Cocktail photography © 2018 by Brent Herrig Photography. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.