Unless you are a professional bartender — and maybe not even then?! — Stew Ellington has made more cocktails than you. Like, more than 1,000, as his habit has morphed from hobby to obsession to flat-out para-professional pursuit, starting with a fateful early-Sixties-themed cocktail party, and ending with '901 Very Good Cocktails,' his new Kickstarter Project and, hopefully, self-published recipe book.
"The idea basically started four years ago or so," he told me, "when my wife and I had this cocktail party. After that, I started reading up, and built this kind of historical and cultural interest in cocktails, and eventually started mixing my own." Ellington, an Oakland-based writer, photographer, and consultant, eventually decided to make and photograph 1,00 different cocktails — mostly, he said, "for shits and giggles," but the project quickly grew: Now, Ellington hopes to combine the 901 best drinks into a massive compendium of boozy awesomeness, with drink recipes usefully organized by flavor profiles ("smoky," "salty"); era (Prohibition and henceforth, mostly); ease of preparation (OH HI LAZY PEOPLE); temperature; and more. "What makes this book different is it's a very comprehensive, completest book," he said, "and I have personally mixed and tasted every cocktail in the book." 901 Very Good Cocktails contains recipes for hundreds of classic and not-so-classic drinks culled from books, bars, and websites (with attribution where possible), plus 25 of Ellington's own creations — the idea being, ultimately, that "cocktails aren't this serious thing you need to be intimidated by." (That's an idea we can get behind.) Ellington still needs to raise more than $10,000 by, uh, tomorrow; scoot on over here to his Kickstarter if you're interested.