Sometimes Chronicle Books just nails it: Case in point, the new yet old-school cocktail book that they just published called Bixology: Cocktails, Culture and a Guide to the Good Life. Written by Doug Biederbeck, the owner of Bix restaurant, and Eve O'Neill, the hardback is a small, brown number (gives the impression of being leather covered) with simple gold writing on it. It's intentionally, somewhat cheekily, representative of another era, just like Bix itself. It imparts a few cocktail eats, some cocktail lore and bar knowhow, jazz recommendations and, of course, recipes for basic cocktails from the Negroni (my new personal favorite) to of course, the martini.
Bixology offers more than a few words of sage advice, but my favorite tip is this: "We are deeply troubled by birdbath-sized cocktail glasses. Martinis must be consumed at Arctic temperatures, and unless you gulp it, a 6- or 7-ounce Martini is bound to be warm by the time you finish. Order a second drink instead."
Yes! Yes! Yes!
But do you know how hard it is to find that size martini glass these days? Hard. For a Christmas present last year, I tried (the perfect ones used to be at Gump's but they were discountinued) but failed. But my mom (who shares my feelings about alcoholic birdbaths) has the perfect ones now and they're made by Riedel. Get Bixology and these glasses for someone and you've got a great gift for your favorite boozer.