Must Read: Sips & Apps

Thanks to shows like Mad Men, it's clear that the ritual of the cocktail hour — a time in the late afternoon where potent drinks are sipped and savory snacks are nibbled — is poised to make a comeback. A recent book, Sips & Apps ($19.95) by Kathy Casey, further promotes the idea by providing happy homemakers with a plethora of modern and classic cocktails, and a handful of incredibly tasty-sounding bar snacks. To learn more about this bartending guide keep reading.


  • This is a small and attractive hardback book that will look sophisticated sitting near a home bar.
  • There are two handy ribbon bookmarks, one for sips and another for apps, that make it easy to find recipes quickly.
  • An explanatory section provides excellent basic tips, like what type of spirits are necessary for a home bar and how to properly cut citrus and use herbs. There's also a glossary of glass types, garnishes, bar equipment, and a very helpful measuring guide.
  • The pages are glossy and all of the pictures are in color.
  • There's a large selection of pitcher drinks — which are my fav!


  • Many of the recipes use obscure ingredients, like peach rum or ruby red grapefruit vodka.
  • It's hard to keep the book open to a certain page.
  • Not every recipe has a corresponding image.
  • Many of the recipes involve complicated steps like syrup making and fruit pureeing.
  • The book is significantly girlie with an entire section devoted to rich, sweet "liquid desserts."

Recipes: The recipes are wildly inventive. When reading the appetizer recipes, my mouth was watering. Some of the drinks, like an edible vodka gelatin or douglas fir infused gin, sound delicious, but it's doubtful I would make them at home. Others are perfectly assessable to the home mixologist or cook. Here are ones I plan to experiment with:

  • Summer bourbon sparkling cider
  • Fresh apple mojito
  • Tuscan rosemary lemon drop
  • Hibiscus rum punch
  • Herbalicious H20
  • Sausage olive poppers
  • Bacon cocktail cookies
  • Greek salsa with pita crisps

Images: The pictures are plentiful and beautiful. The photography is clear and enticing.

Overall: If you enjoy trying out new cocktail and appetizer recipes, this book is for you. It would also make a great hostess gift for those who love to entertain.