At first, I could not pick up this book without rolling my eyes. You may have the same immediate, visceral response, especially if you live outside of Los Angeles or a similarly health-obsessed area. But let’s face it: L.A. is the zeitgeist du jour—everyone seems to be moving there or visiting there right now. It’s the Xanadu of Sqirl and spa and sun. So I thought, Let’s give this a shot.
Before diving in, a question about the title: Why is it directed at “girls”? (Don’t gents appreciate a good drink?) Also, I couldn’t help but bristle at the chatter about “healthy cocktails” and “drinking healthfully.” This is a book about alcoholic beverages, not smoothies, no matter how many “liver-loving lemon and limes” you squeeze into your gin. And if you’re blending collagen powder into your cocktails “to promote healing,” as this book helpfully suggests, it might be time to rethink some of your life choices.
Yet in between muttering at the pages like a crazy person (“toffee stevia,” grumble, grumble, Jello-O shots made with “grass-fed gelatin,” grumble grumble), eventually I was won over by the enticing photos and the fact that, well, most of the drinks sound pretty good.
In general, they are not in the bitter-and-boozy template that’s fashionable at the moment. Instead, spirits are mixed with a colorful spectrum of fruit and vegetable juices, teas, kombuchas, etc. The resulting cocktails seem especially right for spring and summer drinking, like the celery-spiked Celebratini. This drink occupies a middle ground between Martini and green juice. “Celery juice hydrates and brings in phosphorous and folic acid, while apple juice lends a little hint of sweetness along with a potential reduction of asthma symptoms and cancer prevention,” say the authors. (Side note: I’m not entirely sure why this drink is stirred instead of shaken, as most drinks with juices are, but I’ll defer to the authors on this matter.) Thinking Girls also includes a greater proportion of mock-tails than the typical cocktail book, and these don’t feel like afterthoughts but on-trend drinks that would be at home on restaurant menus.
Clearly, there’s a market for this book. It’s the drink equivalent of those legions of “clean eating” cookbooks currently topping the best-seller lists right now. Personally, I’m not a fan of spiralized zucchini masquerading as pasta. But I can get behind the opposite effect: a decent cocktail disguised as green juice. And there are plenty of those to be found in The Thinking Girl’s Guide to Drinking.