When cocktail books are seriously downsized, many make up for the quick flip-through appeal by laying on the syrupy (and silly) cute daiquiri umbrellas. Not so in The Cocktail Hour series, where “pocket-sized” can be taken literally. The contents are no-nonsense, straight-up cocktails from primarily Portland-area bartenders and distillers that you might actually want to make on a Friday night — and can.

The benefit of tiny pages: Most of the recipes do not, cannot, rely on 12+ steps as so many modern cocktails inventions do today. You'll find a blood orange negroni with an eye-opening splash of cider vinegar (!), and a whiskey and rum cocktail that gets a dash of honey simple syrup and spiced bitters (easy to make by combining Angostura bitters and allspice liqueur). And unlike so many “pocket-sized” books, these 25 (mini) page paperbacks literally fit in your back pocket to serve as a Gin, Rum or Vodka cocktail hour guide, as the titles attest.

Perhaps one reason why the cocktail version works so well: small paperbacks, note-taking booklets and journals are the entire focus of Portland's Scout Books. Get more, and a “Lost Generation” cocktail recipe, after the jump.

Among the publisher's handful of back-pocket published works: L.A.-based cartoonist Tom Neely brings dark life to Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher and designer David Selden offers up a 33 Bottles of Beer tasting journal. Sounds like our kind of cocktail hour crowd.

Late Night Cocktail Hour Brainstorming; Credit: jgarbee

Late Night Cocktail Hour Brainstorming; Credit: jgarbee

In the gin version, the tiny notebook begins with a gin infusion guide then moves on to cocktails from mixologists and distillers. Evan Kinkkel of New Deal Distillery offers his Lawn Party riff (gin, grapefruit juice, lime juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters), Daniel Shoemaker of Portland's Teardrop Lounge serves up a gin cocktail with homemade, and food processor friendly, kumquat-cinnamon bitters called Unfinished Business.The rum and vodka books follow a similar format (they are sold as a series).

That simplicity makes them more compelling than any tiny 25-page, cardboard-bound pamphlets should be. The sort of thing you might want to keep in your desk drawer for whenever you're having a Lost Generation sort of Hemingway moment during Meyer lemon season.

Lost Generation

From: The Cocktail Hour: Rum (cocktail recipe by Lauren Fitzgerald, Portobello in Portland.)

Makes: 1 cocktail + a bottle of infused rum

2 ounces Meyer lemon rum (recipe below)

½ ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur

1 ounce grapefruit juice

¼ ounce lime juice

¼ ounce Meyer lemon juice

1. Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a fat twist of grapefruit.

Meyer Lemon Rum:

750 ml bottle silver rum (Below Deck silver recommended)

Peel of 6 Meyer lemons

1. Combine in a clean jar, give it a swirl, and put it in a cool place. Wait 2 weeks.

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