inside americancocktails.com: a q&a with robert plotkin
Drink know-it-all Robert Plotkin has written a raft of books on drinks, drink development, bartending and beverage management, and for a while he has been in the process of reorganizing a lot of the material so it’s more useful for the 21st century — online. He’s just rolled out Americancocktails.com, so it seemed like a good time to check in with him.
NCB Mix: Explain what the Americancocktails.com website is all about.
Robert Plotkin:AmericanCocktails.com is dedicated to the proposition that premium spirits make the finest cocktails and that life's way too short to drink anything but great cocktails. So the features review many of the world's best spirits — how they're made, what they taste like and why they're worthy of their lofty reputations — and there’s a library of more than 2,000 extraordinary cocktails created by exceptionally gifted mixologists. All of the material on the website is free of charge and accessible to anyone with a desire to learn and appreciate advanced mixology. The good folks at BarMedia and I have been developing AmericanCocktails.com for about three years, and we're pleased with the progress we've made, so much so that we decided to launch the site the day after tax day. Kinda appropriate, wouldn't you say?
NCB Mix: How have you organized these recipes? By spirit, era, occasion?
Plotkin: We've organized the drink recipes in a number of different ways. Visitors to the site can access recipes alphabetically, by type and by spirit. Also, drinks can be searched by name, by drink category and base spirit. The website has extensive information about each major category of cocktails, including tips, hints and advice on how to best make the drink, and it discusses about every innovative twist that can be creatively applied to the drink. Part of that content discusses when to best serve the drink with respect to day part, season or occasion.
NCB Mix: Bartenders do not live in recipes alone, however. What else is there?
Plotkin: In addition to the nearly 150 product reviews and ever-expanding catalog of cocktail recipes, the site offers visitors extensive information on responsible service, alcohol awareness, drink preparation techniques, garnishing tips, glassware options and a glossary of professional terminology.
NCB Mix: There are a lot of very creative mixologists in the field today — will you be adding recipes from them?
Plotkin: There are indeed many highly trained and extraordinarily talented bartenders and mixologists — and their numbers are increasing as we speak. AmericanCocktails.com is loaded with drink recipes and cocktail creations submitted by many of the best. Their contributions carry their names and the name of the bar or lounge where they created the drink. We're proud of the extensive cast of characters who've contributed to the site's drink catalog. No one person could come up with so many genuinely fabulous recipes, even given three years to try.
NCB Mix: Are there other ways for bartenders to participate?
Plotkin: They can send us money if they'd like. We also accept gold coins, platinum bars, precious gems, bearer bonds, shares in Google and the exact whereabouts of what's-his-name bin laudanum.
NCB Mix: Is there something in particular you'd like to accomplish with the site?
Plotkin: Good question, thanks for asking. One of our goals for AmericanCocktails.com is for it to eventually include the reviews of a thousand spirits, liqueurs and bitters. We are also determined to continue adding the finest and most creative drink recipes we can get our hands on. Between e-mail and social media, that seems to be an attainable goal as we receive recipe submissions on a near-daily basis. Also just between us, our mortgage holder is rather insistent that AmericanCocktails.com generate enough revenue to keep our payroll checks — paltry though they may be — from bouncing.
NCB Mix: What's your favorite cocktail right now?
Plotkin: What's my favorite cocktail? The one in my glass, Jack.