Book Review: Eddie Muller’s Noir Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the World of Film Noir: A Complete Package

Dark corners. Quiet conversations. Secrets that get spilled after a few too many. This could be a scene from a bar or right out of a film noir, and writer Eddie Muller has been witness to many of these scenes as both a bartender and as the host of TCM’s Noir Alley. Now he has combined his love of both bars and noir into his newest work Eddie Muller’s Noir Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the World of Film Noir. 

Like the cocktails in this book, Noir Bar is beautifully crafted and well-balanced. Muller is a marvelous writer, and his introduction documents his training as a bartender in the late 1970s and why he created this companion for those looking to join the stars of film noir in sharing a drink.

Noir Bar not only handsomely documents recipes and photos of 50 cocktails inspired by the world of film noir, but Muller also includes three important sections that takes this book from a collection of recipes to a holistic and very usable cocktail book.

After his introduction, Muller transitions into “The Well-Stocked Bar.” This section details how to assemble an at-home bar which I think can be a challenge for most people especially when it comes to knowing what ingredients to purchase. Once Muller walks you through the spirits you will need, he then teaches you about selecting your barware as well as your glassware in the section, “Tools of the Trade.” And then once you have all your supplies, he includes a basic guide on how to mix a drink in, “How to Make a Cocktail.”

Then we begin “Drinking in the Darkness” as Muller guides us through 50 cocktail recipes that are accompanied by a brief synopsis of the film each cocktail is drawn from. The entire book is filled with stills, quotes, and posters from the various films. And each drink gets its own gorgeously styled spread that makes each cocktail look screen ready and delicious.

The interior design and noir-inspired typography by Paul Kepple and Alex Bruce at Headcase Design are the perfect companions to Muller’s recipes and writings. Combined all together, Noir Bar has a style and sets a mood that will make you want to return to this book again and again. This book is truly a complete package. 

Eddie Muller’s Noir Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the World of Film Noir is new from the TCM Library and available now wherever you get your books. Alcohol not included. 

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Darcy Staniforth

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