Cover Image.The New Cocktail Hour

The New Cocktail Hourwas co-written with my brother Andre Darlington and released by Running Press on April 26, 2016. It’s brimming with 200+ classic and modern cocktail recipes with tasting notes and food pairing ideas — including cheese pairings! Our goal in writing this book? To bridge the craft cocktail bar and the home kitchen. The New  Cocktail Hour emphasizes fresh ingredients, good technique, and quality spirits for entertaining. Plus, it’s organized unlike other bar books — we grouped recipes by era, so you can sip your way through history and trace the progression of the American cocktail!

“Everything you need to know about throwing a successful cocktail party is in this new book.”

— Los Angeles Times

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Back in 2005, I stumbled into Di Bruno Bros. as a homesick Wisconsin transplant in search of sharp Cheddar. What I found behind the counter of Philadephia’s largest cheese house changed the way I viewed dairy forever. I met a hairy band of cheesemongers who were keen to talk about raw milk and lactic fermentation the way some people talk about baseball. Within a few weeks, I committed myself to tasting every cheese in the store and blogging about it.

Over five years, I scribbled notes, played with pairings, and nibbled my way through the entire stock  — first as a customer, then as the store’s resident blogger. Our  mutual affection turned into a book project, and I’m so proud of our collaboration.

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Book Highlights

  • 170 cheese profiles, 30 recipes, and 10 themed cheese boards
  • Pairing ideas for beer, wine, cocktails, and snacks
  • The introduction, “How to Pick a Hunk,” tells you everything you need to know about buying cheese
  • Cheesemonger Notes, by Hunter Fike, offer inside scoop into artisan producers
  • Luscious full-color photos by Jason Varney; food styling by Carrie Purcell


The newest book is a collaboration with the Turner Classic Movies television channel. For Movie Night Menusmy brother André and I selected 30 classic films with great eating and drinking scenes. Then, we developed food and drink recipes for themed entertaining. Filled with entertaining tips and stories about each film, this book offers a culinary tour of movie history, including menus inspired by The Thin Man, The Philadelphia Story, Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, American Graffiti, Moonstruck, and many more.

It’s great for date night. And yes, there is a fabulous cheese board!


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