Cover image for Liquid intelligence : the art and science of the perfect cocktail
Liquid intelligence : the art and science of the perfect cocktail
Arnold, Dave, 1971- , author.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2014]
Physical Description:
416 pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Preliminaries. Measurement, units, equipment ; Ingredients -- Traditional cocktails. Ice, ice with booze, and the fundamental law ; Shaken and stirred, built and blended ; Cocktail calculus: the inner workings of recipes -- New techniques and ideas. Alternative chilling ; Nitro-muddling and blender-muddling ; Red-hot pokers ; Rapid infusions, shifting pressure ; Clarification ; Washing ; Carbonation -- Little journeys. Apples ; Coffee ; The gin and tonic.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX951 .A675 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In Dave Arnold's world, the shape of an ice cube, the sugars and acids in an apple, and the bubbles in a bottle of champagne are all ingredients to be measured, tested, and tweaked.

With Liquid Intelligence, the creative force at work in Booker & Dax, New York City's high-tech bar, brings readers behind the counter and into the lab. There, Arnold and his collaborators investigate temperature, carbonation, sugar concentration, and acidity in search of ways to enhance classic cocktails and invent new ones that revolutionize your expectations about what a drink can look and taste like.

Years of rigorous experimentation and study--botched attempts and inspired solutions--have yielded the recipes and techniques found in these pages. Featuring more than 120 recipes and nearly 450 color photographs, Liquid Intelligence begins with the simple--how ice forms and how to make crystal-clear cubes in your own freezer--and then progresses into advanced techniques like clarifying cloudy lime juice with enzymes, nitro-muddling fresh basil to prevent browning, and infusing vodka with coffee, orange, or peppercorns.

Practical tips for preparing drinks by the pitcher, making homemade sodas, and building a specialized bar in your own home are exactly what drink enthusiasts need to know. For devotees seeking the cutting edge, chapters on liquid nitrogen, chitosan/gellan washing, and the applications of a centrifuge expand the boundaries of traditional cocktail craft.

Arnold's book is the beginning of a new method of making drinks, a problem-solving approach grounded in attentive observation and creative techniques. Readers will learn how to extract the sweet flavor of peppers without the spice, why bottling certain drinks beforehand beats shaking them at the bar, and why quinine powder and succinic acid lead to the perfect gin and tonic.

Liquid Intelligence is about satisfying your curiosity and refining your technique, from red-hot pokers to the elegance of an old-fashioned. Whether you're in search of astounding drinks or a one-of-a-kind journey into the next generation of cocktail making, Liquid Intelligence is the ultimate standard--one that no bartender or drink enthusiast should be without.

Author Notes

Dave Arnold is a food science writer, educator, and innovator. He hosts the radio show Cooking Issues and runs the high-tech cocktail bar Booker & Dax in New York's East Village, part of the Momofuku restaurant group. He has taught at the French Culinary Institute and at Harvard University and has appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the Today show. In 2004 he founded the Museum of Food and Drink. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The cocktail has roared back to life, but it's not your dad's manhattan. Perhaps it was television's Mad Men that lured a new generation back to the romance of the dry martini, but the contemporary cocktail's renaissance really owes its birth to the emergence of molecular gastronomy. With notable visual and literary acumen, Arnold explains how he has reinvented classic cocktails more intriguing than inebriating. He relies on high-quality liquors, rare bitters, herbs and spices, and, above all, science. Centrifuges extract and purify flavors. Liquid nitrogen works the magic of cryogenics. Other machines produce fizz where bubbles never before existed. Even the physics of making clear ice turns out to be critically important. Arnold guides readers thoughtfully through complex processes, and he encourages creativity while explicitly cautioning his students about some potentially hazardous techniques. Professional bartenders will drink up this remarkable manual, and amateurs will find Arnold's step-by-step guide to gathering requisite hardware both achievable and fun.--Knoblauch, Mark Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Arnold, the chief of New York City's bar/laboratory Booker & Dax, is apparently not kidding when he confesses, "I am okay with spending a week preparing a drink that's only marginally better than the one that took me five minutes." Through a combination of giddy writing, precise measuring, and creative behavior bordering on obsession, he presents a strong case for adding a centrifuge to the home wet bar, molding large ice blocks in the freezer and investing in some liquid nitrogen, all in the name of cocktail bliss. At times, this work reads like a manual to the most deliciously potent science kit ever. For example, the lemon pepper fizz is a mix of lemongrass-infused vodka, clarified lemon juice, black pepper tincture and filtered water. There are also instructions for making peanut-butter-and-jelly vodka (employing coffee filters if that centrifuge is not available). Many of the recipes are presented as experiments, asking the reader, for instance, to study the relation between temperature and dilution by concocting two Manhattans, using two different sizes of ice cubes, with digital thermometers as stir sticks. Arnold also has an appreciation for randomness, no more so than in the final chapter which explores the varieties of apple juice, alcoholic coffee drinks (including one called a boozy shakerato), and the unreachable goal of creating the perfect gin and tonic. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Arnold, the man behind the innovative New York City cocktail bar Booker & Dax, is no mere mixology enthusiast he's a scientist, and his approach to making drinks hovers somewhere between obsessive, and, by his own admission, "preposterous." His book is more than a simple compilation of recipes (although there are plenty here, from classic Manhattans to something called a "Boozy Shakerato"); instead, it's a journey to the furthest frontiers of liquid science. Readers who harbor ambitions to open their own cutting-edge speakeasy will learn how to deploy centrifuges, dry ice, vacuum machines, top-of-the-line blenders, and red-hot pokers to create distinct flavors and presentations without (fingers crossed) killing their patrons. For home drinkers there are useful lessons, too, assuming that time and dedication are no object. Arnold, who is also the founder of a planned Museum of Food and Drink, writes as he mixes: with an attention to detail that is impressive but can be exhausting. VERDICT The book and the drinks are worth the effort for readers who are just as much at home in a lab as a cocktail lounge, but the less technically minded will find Arnold's equations, charts, and relentless experimentation harder to enjoy. Joanna Scutts, Astoria, NY (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.