Having spent a long time not quite buying this book, this year I got two copes in two formats. I've lost count of the number of times I must have picked it up and then put it back down again, onlybti find next time I looked for it it was out of print or otherwise unavailable. When I wanted to do some more in depth readearch into vintage Cocktails back in the summer it was very hard to find so I ended up with an e-version on my phone, which is an absolutely foul way to try and use a drinks book. Bookmarking or quick flicking through both proved impossible. Nor was it especially cheap, which would have made the inconvenience easier to bear.
When I saw an actual physical copy in Birmingham on Sunday I actually pounced on it (well, grabbed it and held on tight at any rate) because I now know what a gem it is. This edition was printed in 2014 and looks like it's been kicking round a busy Waterstones ever since, Amazon is currently suggesting they have copies half price (they most certainly did not in July/August) it would make a great Christmas present for any drinks lover in your life.
It's not that all the recipes are foolproof, or even particularly good - some judgement, and caution, is required. The instructions are brief to the point of obscurity at times, there are ingredients that are now impossible to procure, and Cocktails that sound suspiciously like other things re-named. There are endless, and extremely subtle, variations on the theme of gin and vermouth... And yet...
There's a lot here for the beginner mixologist that's very simple to make at home in terms of equipment needed, ingredients needed, and skill needed. You can learn a lot exploring the combinations of gin and vermouth - and generally learn a lot from any of the simpler Cocktails. If you're building something around 3 elements there isn't much room to hide poor quality spirits, or a badly balanced drink. Get it right and you'll have an excellent repertoire of classic cocktails for whenever the occasion demands. (When you have that repertoire it's amazing how often an occasion does demand).