Review: Pittsburgh Drinks Book Review

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Pittsburgh Drinks Book Review

There are a lot of cocktail books on the market aren’t there? It’s become pretty trendy and we receive ALOT of books to read in the mail. Shamefully, we received an awesome book, Pittsburgh drinks and in the midst of a big move a while back it was misplaced until just recently. So we’re happy to share our thoughts today.


Some cocktail books we’ve come across focus on a heavy dose of cocktail recipes. In most cases a mix of classic, and original recipes that you may or may not ever try. Others give you stories from their nightlife adventures in drinking. Pittsburgh drinks gives you both, while really introducing the world to something we almost never think about; the Pittsburgh cocktail scene.¬†Pittsburgh drinks takes a deep dive into the history of a town not necessarily known for it’s nightlife, entertainment, or bar scene outside of PA and it’s pretty fascinating.

While we often associated cocktails and cocktail cultures with big entertainment cities many often forget the rich history of what now are mostly blue collar towns in the Northeast and Midwest.¬† These towns really flourished before, during, and shortly after prohibition. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois are home to some of the greatest drink slingers and night clubs in the early 1900’s. Pittsburgh is a perfect example of one of those towns.

Book Sections

Pittsburgh Drinks is separated into two main sections: “What We’ve been” and “Who We Are”. What we’ve been is filled with amazing stories taking you back to the early beginnings through the prohibition era, discussing the different cultural styles that influenced the city over the years as new eras ushered in (speakeasies, jazz, disco)¬† along the way shares some pretty cool cocktails including the Fussfangle; Pittsburgh’s pre-prohibition drink of choice. You really learn about the people places and things that made Pittsburgh’s nightlife what it is and was.

“Who We Are” highlights a half dozen of Pittsburgh’s finest mixologists along with a heavy dose of recipes each recommends. The second half is probably closer to what most expect in a cocktail book, heavy on the recipes, minimal pictures. It’s a great way to finish a book that focuses heavily on past and then builds up to the present.

Final Word: Pittsburgh isn’t glitzy like Miami or L.A., it isn’t one of the heavily cultured mixed melting pot big cities like Chicago or New York; It’s Pittsburgh, a city like no other with it’s own history often forgotten as the people and places pass on. The Pittsburgh drinking culture, as told by Sean and Cody shows a town of innovative, hard working people. The authors do an amazing job of bringing to light Pittsburgh’s history of people and place while keeping your belly full with a few good drinks to try. We enjoyed this book and think you will too, it’s well worth the read and worth adding to the library.

Alex is a full time consultant with 10+ years experience in the wine & spirits + consumer packaged goods industries. He is not a professional bartender, but is BarSmarts certified and makes a mean caipirinha. When not writing, Alex can be found traveling, spending time with his family, or bar hopping.

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