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The Architecture of the Shot Book Review

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Note: Thanks to the fine folks at Quarto Publishing for providing us with a copy of The Architecture of the Shot for review and giveaway with no strings attached.

If you walk into a bar these days, you’ll see machines that can dispense chilled shots of Jaegermeister, Fireball, or whatever the local favorite college hangover inducer happens to be. Ask for a shot, and you’re likely to be handed something that smells like cotton candy and tastes like Kool-Aid with a hint of paint thinner. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When skillfully prepared, with layers of flavors, a shot can rival even some classic cocktails as a way to introduce your friends to a world of spirits beyond cheap whiskey and chilled Fireball, and be a drink even the proudest whiskey snob can’t pass up. Paul Knorr provides some assistance with his book, The Architecture of the Shot: Constructing the Perfect Shot from the Bottom Up.

[quote]The perfect home begins with a blueprint and a dream, and your perfect shots and shooters should start the same way.[/quote]

Unlike the 1,001-style recipe books, that have maybe a couple hundred actual shots and cocktails, and then several hundred drinks that sound as if they were made specifically for pledge week, Knorr lays out 75 shots and shooters; from classics such as the Lemon Drop, and Three Wise Men, to mini-cocktails like the Kamikaze, and B-52, to drinks I’ve never even heard of, but want to try, (like the El Vocho), there are more than enough recipes for the home, or even professional bartender to introduce their friends and patrons to. Along with illustrations by Melissa Wood, Paul Knorr also does a wonderful job of breaking down the actual architecture of each shot, from spirits used, to layering techniques that can baffle many first time home bartenders.

Of course, the big question is, is the book worth purchasing?

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The Architecture of the Shot retails for $16, but you can find it on Amazon for around $12. Comparatively, I own three other books with a similar approach, but their focus is on cocktails and mixology; The PDT Cocktail Book, Death & Co., and Shake; Retail/Amazon for PDT is $25/$18, Death & Co. is $40/$25, and Shake is $25/$18 respectively. Considering The Architecture of the Shot focuses solely on shots and shooters, I would say for the price of some well liquors, it is definitely worth it, even if just to add as a quick reference to your library.

Much like the cocktail books I mentioned, The Architecture of the Shot is simple, clean, elegant, and easy to read. At times, I found myself simply admiring the layout of the book itself, and it even caught some eyes at work – there were several times co-workers would notice the book, and start thumbing through it; I even had one request to borrow. All said, at $12, The Architecture of the Shot makes a great addition to any recipe library, and with the holidays quickly approaching, a great stocking stuffer as well.



Would you like to win a copy of The Architecture of the Shot of your own? The book’s publisher was kind enough to provide Bourbon & Banter with a copy to give away to our readers. To enter for a chance to win please complete the form below. We’ll pick a winner on Sunday, December 6th so make sure you enter by midnight on Saturday, December 5th.  Good luck!

About the Author

Jonathan Jones


Being from Louisiana, food and booze aren't just pastimes, they're a way of life. Jonathan considers himself to be a late bloomer to the world of libations, as he didn't have his first drink until he was 25, but he has spent much of his time since then trying to catch up. Since 2011 he has worked in retail alcohol sales, and more recently he has dove head first into the culinary world. When he isn't working, Jonathan enjoys cooking and sitting on the porch with good friends, fine whiskey, and a nice cigar.