BOOK REVIEW: Category is: Cocktails! by David Dodge and David Orton

If you’re looking for a gift for the gay who has everything, then look no further Category is: Cocktails! is the book for you. It’s the light hearted, flamboyant mixed drinks recipe guide that we didn’t know we needed. Written by David Dodge and David Orton, this is a sizeable book that jumps off the shelf at you thanks to its bold neon cover.

Inside, you’ll find all the details you need to start making these delectable concoctions at home. There is an introductory section giving beginners an overview of the different equipment, glasses and ingredients. Then you just need to pick your favourite drag performer – or your favourite flavour – and let your imagination run wild.

This book is actually a who’s who of the US drag community first, and a cocktail book second. It’s a great read to just settle on the sofa and enjoy. Or dip in when you are thirsty! Each page, beautifully and boldly illustrated by Cheyne Gallarde, gives a biography of the performers and then outlines why their drink was chosen. Happily, drag queens, kings and non binary performers come in all flavours and the book really reflects that. There are performers of all colours and ethnicities featured, as well as queens with disabilities, making this as inclusive a book as you would hope to see.

Inside Category is: Cocktail!


The recipe on each page is given in a side box. Each has an illustration, ingredients and short, concise instructions on how to make it. It’s a great book for people just getting into mixing their own drinks, as well as having plenty of quirky inspiration for people looking to up their game. Whatever mood you’re in, from frivolous and fruity to dark and brooding, there’s a drink to suit your mood. There are plenty of recipes bringing a little spice – more than you might normally expect. From Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur to Valentina hot sauce (the most popular brand in Mexico, and drag artist Valentina’s name inspiration) the performers are really bringing the heat.

I was delighted to see a number of alcohol free recipes in there too, but just sprinkled in with the general flow of the book rather than being squirrelled away in their own section. It’s fantastic to see zero proof options being normalised in this way.

If you’re a Drag Race fan, then I think you’ll enjoy finding out more about the stars, and the wider drag community. The recipes are fun and simple to make. All of the text is engaging and occasionally the language is a little spicy! This is a lovely little book to remind you that the world doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Bring a little sparkle to your beverages.

Category is: Cocktails! is published by Prestel and widely available at book shops and websites across the UK and US.

If you like cocktails, why not check out some of my other reviews?

This book was gifted to me by the publisher, but this has not influenced my thoughts on the book. It’s a lovely book!


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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