PORTLAND'S ENDLESSLY bubbling small-press scene just produced two new booze-based zines that pair as well as gin and olives, bourbon and soda, or vodka and just about anything. One is an irreverent, illustrated how-to guide to making classic cocktails; the other, a bartender's-eye view of one Southeast Portland bar.
Drink Primer is David Cooper's cheat sheet of cocktail recipes, from the Aviation Cocktail to the White Russian, each featuring a charmingly offbeat illustration. (I like the illustration for "The Dogs: Greyhound, Salty Dog, and Whippet," in which lazy canines enjoy a few grapefruit-based beverages.) It's a handy little bar guide, thorough and respectful of its recipes while maintaining a lighthearted tone; Cooper even finds room, among the gimlets and sidecars, for a Flaming Dr. Pepper: "Not really a classic," he writes. "Fuck it. Whatever."
In volume one of the autobio comic Adult Babysitting, illustrator/cartoonist Maryanna Hoggatt offers up a slice of bartending life that'll be familiar to anyone who's spent time behind a bar, and enlightening to anyone who hasn't. One story highlights wisdom accumulated during years in the service industry, like "Never ask a girl why she's crying" and "A drunk customer is never right." (She also makes the accurate observation that crazy things happen when the moon is full—call me a hippie, but she's right.) The best part of the book is a pretty, eight-page color spread depicting the changing of the seasons as witnessed from her perch behind the bar; not only are the colors perfectly evocative, but the fixed perspective captures the faint melancholy of watching the world go by while you're stuck standing in one place.