For some time now I have been wanted to get organized about my cocktail recipes. I have several go-to books (Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails and The Ultimate Bar Book), but then I’m always inventing cocktails and downloading recipes from places like liquor.com, et al., and those especially were beginning to clutter up the kitchen in my “lab” space.
I have a notebook, of course:
It was given to me almost as a joke, but I immediately put it to use:
Now the joke was that the only recipes in it were in the Drinks section.
But I needed something better. What I wanted was a Moleskine-type notebook with tabs in it so I could organize the drinks by name or by liquor, along with some indices in the back.
Of course, no such thing exists in any way. Much web-searching plus visits to Barnes & Noble turned up nothing.
Finally I was struck with a brilliant idea: design stickers that would cover the tabs in my Patio Daddy-O book! I did that thing, making about thirteen tabs for different liquors, plus two sections for “Dale’s favorites” and “Ginny’s favorites.” But I was stopped dead in my tracks: the book didn’t have that many tabs.
Back to square one, i.e., nothing.
Finally, I went back to Barnes & Noble to see what was available and how I might make it work. I ended up with this little beauty:
It’s about the size of a Moleskine notebook, leather-bound, nice paper, and a lot more pages than a Moleskine. (That was a factor—who wants to run out of space and therefore cocktails?) So it fits handily on the bar and in the hand.
I settled on numbering the pages, then reserving pages in the back for an alphabetical index by name, and an ingredient index by liquor plus the two “favorites” sections. That way, I can add drinks willy-nilly as I go along, but always be able to find a specific drink when I need it:
The asterisks by the title indicate a cocktail that I invented.
One thing remained: a cover title. Back in the day, I stamped students’ initials onto the back of their aluminum Accelerated Reader Point Club tags. It made them more personal as well as sometimes coming in handy when a child lost one. I still had the punch set; in fact, I had used it to stamp BOOK OF THE LABYRINTH on the cover of said book back in 2012.
One of the issues involved in doing this is keeping the letters in a straight line, a problem I solved—brilliantly, I thought—by using a rubber band:
Not only did it provide me with a straightedge, but it kept the book from slipping around as well. (Notice the little black dot on the rubber band: I also could measure and mark the center of the cover.)
Clever little device, with the punch heads magnetically insertable/removable into the holder. Each one has an engraved dot indicating the bottom of the letter, which is supposed to help you keep the letters aligned vertically. I guess that’s the theory, because in practice I’ve never been able to keep them upright.
Still, wabi sabi and all that: it’s done, and it’s mine.