Sometimes subtitles kill: The Little Green Book of Absinthe is subtitled An Essential Companion with Lore, Trivia, and Classic and Contemporary Cocktails. I'm interested in the history of absinthe, so I thought I would take the book out for a spin. I was curious about how it came to be outlawed in the United States and how—in the Bush administration no less—it came to be legalized again. Though I am always skeptical about gothy, artist types who push the absinthe thing way too hard, it does feel like something different than boring old alcohol.

Unfortunately, Little Green is the furthest thing from "Essential." The history of absinthe is glossed over in the first twelve pages (with a few info-boxes spread through the book later on), and the rest of the book is just a bunch of recipes for absinthe cocktails. This isn't a problem if you're looking to make, say, a G.W.'s Cherry Tree (absinthe, cherry liqueur, cherry sorbet, and cherries). But if you're reading this book to learn about, say, lore and trivia, you'll come away disappointed. If you're looking to read about the history of absinthe, you'll have to look somewhere else. But if you're looking for sickly sweet-looking absinthe cocktail recipes, this looks like a great start. For bartenders and serious party-throwers only.