The Maison Premiere Almanac

Cocktails, Oysters, Absinthe, and Other Essential Nutrients for the Sensualist, Aesthete, and Flaneur: A Cocktail Recipe Book

About the Book

A delightful, imaginative, and thoroughly original cocktail compendium and bartending manual with 90 drink recipes from the popular and influential Brooklyn bar and restaurant.

A major player in both the craft cocktail revival and the bar and restaurant renaissance, Maison Premiere offers an immersive experience that channels a time when cocktails were not merely a pleasure but an essential part of daily life in late-nineteenth-century New York, New Orleans, and Paris.

As captivating as the bar itself, The Maison Premiere Almanac is both a visual delight—drawing on photography, illustration, and graphic design—and a detailed guide to the rarefied subjects that make Maison Premiere unique, including deep explorations into the art of the cocktail and cutting-edge bartending techniques and equipment.

There are also primers on absinthe (a Maison specialty) and recipes for highly refined cocktails, including martinis, toddys, punches, and mint juleps. Tutorials on oysters include how to confidently select and prepare them at home and how to eat them with style. And while packed with curious information and useful knowledge on cocktails and bartending for both enthusiastic beginner bartenders and seasoned cocktail lovers, the Almanac is also a visually arresting objet d’art that will make a perfect addition to any bookshelf.
Read more

Praise for The Maison Premiere Almanac

“I remember we were already deep into the development work of what would become the film The Great Gatsby, my team and I decided to take a long walk. That afternoon walk turned into a night-long journey through cocktails and seafood, laced with history and camaraderie, and in many ways, I’m still on that journey. Maison Premiere is a world I escape into; a world full of stories, laughter and many, many memories.”—Baz Luhrmann, director of The Great Gatsby and Elvis

“There’s simply nothing like Maison Premiere: the incomparable cocktails, the delicious food, the meticulous attention to every single detail, the decor, the music, the energy. With this extraordinary book providing every secret inspiration, we can take more than just the wonderful memories home with us.”—Sara Haines, cohost of The View and host of The Chase

“No one is at Maison Premiere by accident, and everyone there (including the winning team) seems to be so pleased with themselves for choosing to spend a portion or all of their evening there. Had I ever heard of sazerac or absinthe before my first visit? Of course. Had I ever had a better version of either? Never.”—Danny Meyer, founder of the Union Square Hospitality Group

“Rarely does one find something that is genuine; not contrived, not based on a trend. Maison Premiere is from the heart. You can feel the magic the moment you walk in. This magic cannot be manufactured; It just is inexplicably there.”—Stephen Starr, founder of Starr Restaurants

“From the moment you walk into Maison Premiere, you are transported to a world that seems lost in time. It is a return to a period in which the food is sublime, each sip feels opulent . . . To be able to bring some of that sensuousness and those elegant offerings home with us is yet another gift from a restaurant that feels like a gorgeous, time-worn piece of art.”—Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah

“This is a truly elegant book from a truly elegant bar. Maison Premiere has always followed a path of its own—sophisticated, historically informed, but never stuffy—and The Maison Premiere Almanac does the same. It’s restrained, focused, and more than a little amusing, all things I wish I saw more of in modern drink books—or indeed books in general.”—David Wondrich, editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails

“Elegance, excellence, and quirky celebration have been the defining characteristics of the magical Maison Premiere in Williamsburg since the bar opened. I’m excited to see these qualities beautifully captured in their new book that highlights oysters, absinthe, and more.”—Dana Cowin, founder of Speaking Broadly and former longtime editor-in-chief of Food & Wine

“Maison Premiere’s ability to reach for the magic in all things has always been what makes it great. I will visit this book when I am homesick for another moment in time, and whenever the current one calls for something truly extraordinary.”—Jordana Rothman, food writer and cookbook author
Read more

The Maison Premiere Almanac


on the almanac form; how to corral a vexingly
diverse subject into a book; and the rare
combination of style and substance

I was first brought to Maison Premiere by a friend who knew I would like the place. At the time, which was a few years after Maison opened, I lived in San Francisco but came often to New York. As I drank an excellent cocktail, marveled at the intricate layers of interior design, perused a shockingly canny wine list (especially for a place recognized as a cocktail bar), and swallowed supremely pristine oysters, I thought to myself, “Where did this place come from?”

Making it even more mysterious was the absence of any authorial signature. While a well-dressed gentleman stood at the door to lead us to our table, he was not the owner. Nor, it turned out, was anyone in the room. No one seemingly cared to take credit for this impressive act of creation.

It would be a few years later that I would find myself sitting down at a table over seafood and drinks with Joshua and Krystof, the men responsible for Maison Premiere, talking about the possibility of adapting their precious vision into book form. We parted company that night not with a concept but with the knowledge that we liked one another and the promise of working together.

The concept would take a while to hash out. After all, given the realities of selling a book these days, Maison’s inability to smoothly fit into any category posed a problem. Like the old cities that inspired it—New Orleans, New York, and Paris—Maison is a haphazard collection of diverse influences, whose identity is very much in the eye of the beholder. To seafood enthusiasts it’s an elite oyster bar with good drinks. To cocktail geeks it’s a rigorous bar with oysters. To scenesters it’s a Brooklyn specialty spot with cool design. To summertime bon vivants it’s a sunny garden with pretty cocktails.

Some people swallow an oyster whole; some people chew on it a bit first. I chewed on this oyster a great deal before at last the word almanac somehow came to mind. If you quote the Oxford University Press to point out that this book is not “an annual calendar containing important dates and statistical information such as astronomical data and tide tables,” you are correct. Such were almanacs as they appeared for the couple of centuries following the first printed one in 1457.

As it evolved in the New World, however, the almanac, notes the Encyclopedia Britannica, developed into “a genuine form of folk literature containing, in addition to calendars and weather predictions, interesting statistics and facts, moral precepts and proverbs, medical advice and remedies, jokes, and even verse and fiction . . . [as well as] much incidental information that was instructive and entertaining.” It seemed I could at least superficially borrow the concept to contain all the information I wanted to include but didn’t know how to categorize in the book.

The attempt to wrangle all that is Maison Premiere ultimately proved impossible. Not done justice in this book are the breadth and quality of the food menu (including recipes) and the culinary minds behind it, the full extent of Krystof’s wine vision, and the ever-fascinating and delicious local brews that circulate constantly through the beer taps. Nevertheless, given the challenges of organization, design, and maintaining focus and connection during an exceedingly tumultuous pandemic, I’m happy with how this came out.

Many places you might patronize might be stylish but lacking in food and drink. Conversely, many great culinary destinations aren’t captivating spaces. Maison Premiere is one of those rare places that has both style and substance to a degree that’s almost mind-boggling, given how difficult each is to pull off. We wanted the book to reflect that feat, while hoping that—as properly as it might settle onto your bookshelf—it would also look perfectly natural when observed on the fireplace mantel next to the antique phone, or at the end of the bar within Maison Premiere itself.

—Jordan Mackay

About the Author

Joshua Boissy
Joshua Boissy and Krystof Zyska are co-founders and co-owners of Maison Premiere, as well as co-owners of Premier Enterprises, a New York and London-based design and hospitality firm. More by Joshua Boissy
Decorative Carat

About the Author

Krystof Zizka
Joshua Boissy and Krystof Zyska are co-founders and co-owners of Maison Premiere, as well as co-owners of Premier Enterprises, a New York and London-based design and hospitality firm. More by Krystof Zizka
Decorative Carat

About the Author

Jordan Mackay
Jordan Mackay is a journalist, writer, and co-author of several award-winning books on wine and food, including Secrets of the Sommeliers, The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste, Franklin Barbecue, and Franklin Steak. More by Jordan Mackay
Decorative Carat

About the Author

William Elliott
WILLIAM ELLIOTT is the author of Tying Rocks to Clouds. He devotes most of his time to traveling in his motor home, interviewing spiritual leaders, and giving talks at universities, hospices, churches, and bookstores. When he's not on the road, he likes to play golf and drink coffee with friends. He makes his home in Madison, Wisconsin. More by William Elliott
Decorative Carat