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A Classic? Or Merely Rare?

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Four decades ago I bought the book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, by David Embury. It was a paperback. I paid $0.95 for it.

My copy has become tattered and yellow over the years, so I idly wondered whether I could pick up a fresher copy through a used-book store.

Imagine my shock upon finding these listings.

Why would anyone hope to sell an obscure, out-of-date book at such prices?

Yours truly,

Dave Morefield

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That book is widely regarded as a classic. The past decade has seen a growing interest in classic cocktails and, along with the drinks themselves, folks seem to love digging in to the old cocktail manuals and comparing recipes across time and across the spectrum of writers from a given era. So older cocktail books are very much in vogue.

Ted Haigh, author of a book called Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (a classic in its own right and full of dusty-bottle porn), has been public about considering the Embury book a favorite, and Gary Regan has written highly of it, too. Throw in the fact that it's out of print and, well...

If you want to part with your tattered copy, just let me know.

P.S. David Wondrich put out a book a few years back called Esquire Cocktails, based on his columns in Esquire. It's a good book, has about 250 recipes and lots of historical info, etc. It's out of print, and used copies of that regularly go for $80+ on Amazon (and that's only been around since 1992!). Any good cocktail manual (i.e. not Mr. Boston's, etc.) that's not widely available will bring big bucks from the classic cocktail crowd. What some people won't pay for liquor and liquor paraphernalia.:grin: BTW, I got a copy of Esquire Drinks two weeks back for $1 at a used bookstore.

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