It doesn’t always have to be booze, a good (home)bar is also stacked with knowledge, and it wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t include a book in this series of Holiday Rec’s. Luckily, right in time for the Holidays, Ten Speed Press has published an absolute must-have, a work so encompassing that you’ll ‘make’ room for it, rather than consider whether you ‘have’ room for it!

THE HOLIDAYS BY SOBERON: COCKTAIL CODEX by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald and David Kaplan

‘Death & Company’ is a renowned name in the bartending and homebartending community. The bars (in New York City and Denver, USA) are must-visits when you get the opportunity, at least if you enjoy meticulously executed cocktails, served with the highest level of hospitality in a most beautiful setting and the team’s first book, ‘Death & Company: Modern Classic Cocktails‘ published by Ten Speed Press/The Crown Publishing Group in 2014, has been devoured by anyone remotely interested in the current wave of cocktail culture. Anything from bottle recommendations and hundreds of recipes, to beautiful photos and amusing storytelling can be found between the two covers, the perfect balance between a work of reference and a book to actively use.


With ‘Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas and Evolutions‘, their newly published book (and today’s recommendation for that matter) they return with a BANG; shaking the foundations of ‘the art of coktail creation‘ once again: David, Alex and Nick carefully break everything down back to ‘the basics’, teaching us in a transparant way how to understand the ‘root cocktails‘, as they call them.

And that’s exactly why this book is a must read for all cocktail enthusiasts: whether you’re new to the game or been doing it for years, every one will find a way to utilise the knowledge found in the Codex, broaden his or hers horizons and learn new techniques along the way.

“There are only six cocktails.”

The trio lays out a very convincing ground plan, in which each cocktail is (or can be seen as) a variation on either the Old-fashioned, Martini, Daiquiri, Sidecar, Whisky highball, or Flip. This ‘system of families‘ is a key part of how they’ve trained and taught bartenders allover the US, now made accessible for all of us to consult.

They teach you about the why’s and how’s, about the do’s rather than the don’t’s: “Overdilute your drinks! Just see what happens, taste what happens, and learn to understand what dilution exactly does to the taste of your ingredients“, they guide you rather than just holding your hand. And while your brain might melt faster than crappy refrigerator ice while reading, you’ll learn so incredibly much with each page turned.

Don’t be afraid, the book also comes with a plethora of recipes (350+!). The cocktails are categorized under each of the ‘root cocktails’ and come in groups of variations, with clear instructions and specifics about which ingredients and techniques to use.

For the occasion, I made the Codex’s recipe of the classic Martinez, (which belongs to the family of the Martini), a personal favorite, often overlooked.


Personal Note: Making yourself a drink while reading through the book is something I strongly recommend. Not only will you get thirsty, you’ll be able to use it to digest the info you’re taking in :D. 

Cocktail Codex can be found in book stores like Bookz&Booze in Gent, De Standaard Boekhandel or online webstores like, and comes both in hardcover and e-book.

Stay tuned, more Holiday Recommendations coming!

Disclaimer 1: All pictures and text are property of Matthias Soberon / Served By Soberon. Nothing can be used or copied without written permission of the author and the addition of credits.

Disclaimer 2: These ‘Holiday-Recommendations’ are entirely personal and all chosen by me. While some items might have been gifted for the purpose of reviewing, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations that were chosen for me in stead of by me.

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