Laurence Maslon’s “I’ll Drink to That!,” $27.99
The back story
In this column, we typically write about all things boozy, as in spirits, wine and beer. But we’re making an exception this weekend to write about a book — for good reason.
It’s a big weekend for Broadway, with the Tony Awards set for Sunday night at 8 (the main ceremony is being carried by CBS and Paramount+). And this is a Broadway-themed cocktail book. Maslon, an arts professor at New York University and host and producer of the NPR radio series “Broadway to Main Street,” has taken his love for a good drink and a good show and combined them into one.
The book offers dozens of cocktail recipes and ties each to a particular show. In some cases, it’s a fairly obvious tie, as in the recipe for a Vodka Stinger tied to the classic Steven Sondheim musical “Company” — the drink is referenced prominently in a song from the show.
In other cases, Maslon has come up an entirely original cocktail that fits the spirit of a particular show, such as the Italian-inspired cocktail La Passeggiata (with prosecco and an Italian bitter known as Ramazzotti) that is tied to the set-in-Rome musical “The Light in the Piazza.”
Maslon told me that he’s made the connection between Broadway and cocktails ever since he was a teenager: His parents once took him to New York’s Algonquin Hotel, with its famed bar, before seeing a show nearby — and he heard tales there about many a Broadway legend.
After that, he says, “stories about sophisticated drinking and Broadway hot-wired themselves together in my subconscious.”
Much of Maslon’s book focuses on shows from Broadway’s Golden Age, a period decades ago when the musical became a mighty art form. But he does make some nods to contemporary Broadway: For example, he has a “Hamilton”-inspired drink made with rum.
What we think about it
If you’re a big Broadway fan (like, ahem, myself), you’ll delight in this book. But even if you’re not, there’s some good cocktail-making info and tips here — and plenty of drinks that look tasty enough (Joan Marcus’ cocktail photography will indeed wet your whistle). Needless to say, I’d suggest making a cocktail or two while watching the Tonys on Sunday night.