Maxime Hoerth looks scarcely old enough to drink, much less be the multiple-award-winning head barman at the luxurious Hotel Le Bristol, in Paris. After winning several competitions that are of interest primarily to those in the trade, in 2011, he also became a Meilleur Ouvrier de France - a "master craftsman" in bartending. That same year, he became head barman at the French capital's Four Seasons Hotel George V - at the age of 25 - then moved to Le Bristol, in 2012.
The book tells us the cocktail is an American invention.
"Originally a cocktail was a mixture of water, sugar, bitters and alcohol. The first ice-making machines appeared in the second half of the century and cocktails developed to become a very chic beverage served in elegant places such as hotels, cruise ships etc.
"At the end of the 19th century, the famous Manhattan and Dry Martini, with dry vermouth and gin, led the parade of the great classics. In France, the Universal Expo held in 1889 saw the opening of bars that drew inspiration from North American establishments; the French took a liking to these 'American drinks'. Strangely enough, it was the nationwide ban on making and drinking alcohol under the Prohibition years from 1920 to 1930 that paradoxically boosted the development of cocktails. Barmen would use their imagination to mix ingredients and blend drinks in which the presence of alcohol was masked …"
Now, of course, there's no need for bathtub gin, and bartenders are using the best ingredients they can find.
"The drinks are prepared using the best fruit juices and the most prestigious spirits to be found on the market. When a product does not exist, the bar team makes it."
The cocktails in the book are divided by season. The ones for spring and summer naturally enough tend to be lighter and more refreshing than the autumn/winter drinks. Each recipe has instructions on the type of glass the drink should be served in, and how the glass should be chilled. There are recipes for the "breakfast martini" (it contains orange marmalade and Cointreau, in addition to gin); several variations on the Bristol old fashioned; Provencal daiquiri; the French sling; Vesper; negroni; kumquat gimlet; fifty shades (although it's pink, not grey); and pornstar martini.