Work in Progress
Mixologist Julie Reiner
Mixologist Julie Reiner.
Photo © Danny Miller

Here, fun and sometimes hilarious behind-the-scenes tales from authors working on forthcoming cookbooks.

A constant stream of emails from family members and friends asking, “What cocktail should I make for my party?” inspired Julie Reiner to write a book. “I didn’t want to write something for the cocktail geeks of America (although they will find fun things too) but for people mixing drinks at home,” she says. Rather than separating the chapters by spirit, she’s organizing it by season and the events that occur within them. Here, she talks about addressing one ingredient that most craft bartenders abhor—sugar substitutes.

“I email back and forth a lot about cocktails with my sister-in-law. Sometimes I’ll give her a recipe and then she tells me how she simplifies it. She’s also really conscious about sugar and excess calories and will sometimes substitute Splenda in the simple syrup. Everyone in the cocktail world would turn their noses up at this, but there are a lot of people who want a cocktail and would use these substitutes to trim back the calories. I’m thinking of doing some tests with sugar substitutes and discussing them somehow. If people make their own syrup with a sugar substitute, and then squeeze their own fresh juice, I feel like it’s still a much better drink than using a store-bought mix.”

Reiner’s book will be out in spring 2015, published by Grand Central Life and Style.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: Star Mixologist Julie Reiner's Tips for Crafting Perfect Cocktails
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America's Best Speakeasies and Cocktail Lounges

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