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Dumbed Down
Bartending for Dummies

By Ray Folley
(For Dummies, $17)

Reviewed by Sylvie Greil

Despite the fact that their self-deprecating titles always make us cringe a little, we’re actually generally very impressed with the quality of information and research in the “For Dummies” line of reference books. To our chagrin, Bartending For Dummies doesn’t live up to the usual standards of excellence in this tremendously popular John Wiley & Sons series (this one’s out in its third edition in paperback October 2006). It doesn’t include as many of the fascinating trivia, fun facts and tips we’ve come to expect. Cure for a hangover: sleep and drink lots of water? Who came up with that brilliant idea? Author Ray Foley knows a thing or two about stocking a bar and creating cocktails (he’s received kudos from Allied Domecq Spirits and Wine USA, Inc.) but we know a thing or three about “perfect martinis” and “consummate cosmopolitans.” And quite frankly, a few times the recipes depart from what’s generally considered the classic edition. We also don’t understand the suggestions for pouring what we consider inferior vodka or tequila brands. We don’t want to step on anyone’s toes here (so they shall go unmentioned), but could there be a correlation between the ingredient suggestions and the big list of big spirits manufacturers at the back of a book? We’re merely speculating, but we did wonder why was deemed a crucial resource in the book. Aside from these drawbacks, Bartending For Dummies is indeed chock-full of useful information for a novice lounge lizard, budding bartender or anyone who just wants a quick and handy recipe list for creating more than 1,000 shooters, cocktails and more. And after all, every expert started off, in the sober baby shoes of their career, as a dummy.


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