For years the NoMad has been one of my favorite destinations.
Yes, the entire hotel, a destination, not just a place to rest your head.
I’ve been to the NoMad Bar over a dozen times. It’s about as central a location as it gets in NYC, it’s big enough to be able to meet friends without worrying about getting a drink, and the drinks, oh man, the drinks.
The hotel itself is everything you’d expect from the group that opened Eleven Madison Park. It’s elegant, luxurious and a stay there feels like an experience rather than just a place to sleep. The atrium in particular, which houses their Michelin starred restaurant is particularly breathtaking.
But today we’re not here to talk about any of those things.
Rather, we’re here to look at the NoMad cocktail book.
I’ve made it a bit of a hobby collecting books and menus from the bars we’ve visited on our Top 100 Quest, so when I found out Bar Director Leo Robitschek had written a book with hundreds of the NoMad recipes? Clearly, I had to have it.
First Impressions of the NoMad Cocktail Book
First off, unlike other
There’s some obligatory history, and notes on bar service, but most of what you’ll find in this book are a collection of wonderful drinks categorized by light spirits, dark spirits, and classics.
A quick flip through the book shows you that while a handful of the drinks have nice illustrations, this is a purists book.
It’s a beautiful canvas black, with green at the edges of the pages.
Give it a few more years, and well, that’s exactly what you’ll find.
Each cocktail has a short description of what the drink is like, and usually this ends up being spot on.
Right now this NoMad book is my favorite cocktail book. But it’s very much not for everyone.
I still believe that Cocktail Codex is the best all around cocktail book for delicious recipes, and also learning a little bit more of the why behind cocktails.
Related: See my full list of the best cocktail books out there.
The NoMad is a cocktail book for the home bartender that wants to up their game. The person who isn’t afraid of a challenge, or frankly, to open up their wallet to purchase some of the more obscure ingredients the recipes call for.
While books like PDT, Cocktail Codex, and plenty of others focus a lot on simple drinks and classics, the NoMad doesn’t.
Most of their drinks are complex. Very rarely will I open up the book and just randomly have every ingredient I need. If you’re going to make drinks from the NoMad cocktail book, you should be prepared to do some advanced planning.
But let me tell you, in nearly every case, you’ll be glad you did.
I’ve had many of the drinks I’ll talk about in a second in the bar, and making them at home is such a treat. They’re unique, and Robitschek comes up with flavor combinations you’d likely never think of.
The result in this book, is for the person who wants to dig in and explore their cocktail hobby with a little more vigor. And if you’re willing to go down the rabbit hole? You’ll be handsomely rewarded – and so will your dinner guests.
Drinks from the NoMad Cocktail Book
I’ve written about a couple of these already, but I wanted to give some insight into the drinks I’ve made from the book.
The Repossession Cocktail: A Twist on a Tequila Sour
This was the first drink I made from the book, and one of the more simple original drinks they’ve included.
It’s a twist on a tequila sour, that introduces nutty amontillado sherry to create something that at once feels familiar, but also like something entirely new.
This was the first sherry drink I ever made, and it’s one I’ve gone back to at least half a dozen times. This is a good starting point for those who purchase the book.
Here’s my full breakdown of the Repossession Cocktail.
When you look at the ingredients in this, you think to yourself “huh?”
Blended scotch, pineapple rum, cachaca, and coconut water, among other ingredients…
The coconut water helps explain the detox side of things, but I couldn’t believe how good this drink was the first time I made it (and this is another one I’ve made many times now).
I was surprised how much the coconut water mellowed things out without watering it down or ruining the complex balance of flavors.
One of my favorite aspects of this drink is the fact that with the addition of 1.5 oz of coconut water, its a drink you can savor a bit longer than a typical old fashioned.
After dilution you might have a 3oz drink with a standard old fashioned, but this is upwards of 5, so you can linger with it a bit longer. And trust me, this is exactly what you’ll want to do.
This was a drink I had to go out and buy a few ingredients for, and boy am I glad I did.
In the book this is described as “a stirred tiki drink with the flavors of a Jungle Bird cocktail.”
Without pineapple juice, or some of the other ingredients that typically scream “tiki” to me, I was curious how this would turn out.
Sure enough, tiki! The blend of rums added a wonderful tropical note, to an otherwise very dark stirred drink. No umbrellas here.
The two major ingredients I had to buy were Creme de Cacao and Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole bitters – which have both been wonderful additions to the bar.
Along with all of their wildly inventive original drinks, there is a solid selection of common and more uncommon classics.
You’ll find the classic recipes in the book to be among the best variations of these drinks that you’ll find.
For instance, if you’ve got some of the wonderful Plantation Pineapple Rum and you’re looking for a fantastic pineapple daiquiri? This book has you covered.
The first classic recipe I tried was a Bijou, which is kind of a fringe classic. Meaning, unless you’re a cocktail snob, there’s a good chance you aren’t familiar with it.
But it’s a rich, herbal, funky, martini style drink that turned out fantastic.
If you’re into green chartreuse, you’ll love this.
Final Thoughts on the NoMad Cocktail Book
This isn’t the book you open up on a Tuesday night looking for a quick drink to whip up (trust me, I’ve tried).
Unless you always stock obscure ingredients, many of the drinks (but certainly not all) will take a bit of work to prepare.
That said, and what I love about this book, is they aren’t out of reach.
With many of the NoMad drinks, they’re well within reach of the average home bartender, you just have to put a little forethought into the process.
But the book has you covered with anything you need. Fruity drinks, boozy drinks, tiki drinks, stirred drinks, non-alcoholic drinks, and a plethora of home made syrups and ingredients that you can experiment with for days.
When I’m looking for something new, maybe a little exotic, and that I know will be delicious? This is the book I turn to.
The NoMad Cocktail Book hits that perfect balance of wildly unique drinks, that are still accessible for home bartenders to make at home. There are some simple classics, and some that are more involved, and it's this balance that makes it one of my favorite cocktail books out there.