'Mixology' author helped lead cocktail revolution
British-born bartender Gary Regan helped propel the "craft cocktail" movement of the past quarter century with his convivial and densely researched "The Joy of Mixology" and other books and articles about liquors, mixed drinks and life behind the bar.
"Drinks are not the main reason to tend bar," he told Drink magazine in 2018. "The most important thing a bartender can do is make people smile."
With "The Joy of Mixology" (2003), Regan composed a guide to cocktails that was every bit as comprehensive and influential as Irma S. Rombauer's "Joy of Cooking."
"The Joy of Mixology" sought to raise the job of bartending to a profession built on time-honored standards. The book became a guidepost for the craft cocktail movement that emerged across the country and throughout the world.
Regan died Nov. 15 at 68. — The Washington Post
As Putnam's publisher, Minton took risks
Risk-taking publisher Walter Minton goaded censors and put out a slew of bestsellers during his 23-year run at the helm of G.P. Putnam's Sons.
He released Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita," Mario Puzo's "The Godfather" and works by authors including Norman Mailer and John le Carré.
His publishing house was the first to release U.S. editions of novels including William Golding's "Lord of the Flies," in 1955, and le Carré's "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold," in 1964.
Minton was perhaps best known for taking a chance on novels that, because of their sexual content, no other publisher would touch. He died Nov. 19 at age 96. — The Washington Post
Misaka broke pro basketball's color barrier
Seven months after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional baseball, Wat Misaka came off the bench in Madison Square Garden, scoring two points for the New York Knicks in an 80-65 win over the Washington Capitols.
The son of Japanese immigrants, Misaka had become a fan favorite in college after helping lead the University of Utah to two unexpected titles at the Garden. And while his Nov. 13, 1947, debut with the Knicks made few headlines outside New York, it nonetheless marked another barrier-breaking moment in sports, as Misaka became the first nonwhite player in the modern history of professional basketball.
Standing just 5-foot-7, Misaka had distinguished himself in college with his defensive prowess, up-tempo style and high-arcing hook shot, which quieted some of the racist taunts from crowds. Drafted by the Knicks, he was cut after three games but paved the way for the success of other nonwhite players.
Misaka was 95 when he died Nov. 21. — The Washington Post
Broadway critic known for withering critiques
NEW YORK — Theater and film critic John Simon was known for his lacerating reviews and often withering assessment of performers' physical appearance.
Simon served as the chief theater critic at New York magazine for nearly 40 years. Time magazine called Simon "the most poisonous pen on Broadway."
He called 2000's "Jesus Christ Superstar" "a production so stillborn I defy God himself to resurrect it." In another bit of snark, Few got a pass. He once compared Liza Minnelli's face to a beagle's, and Kathleen Turner to "a braying mantis."
Simon died Nov. 24 at age 94. — AP