A Look at Spring/Summer 2014 Wine, Spirits & Cocktail Books

It may not feel like it, but spring has sprung. In the book world anyway. Here's a look ahead at some of the most exciting drinks books to be released this spring and summer.

It may not feel like it, but spring has sprung. In the book world anyway. We’ve been paging through a stack of forthcoming cocktail and wine tomes a mile high—juicer, jigger and Zalto in hand—in anticipation of rising temperatures (not always the most tidy way to peruse a teetering pile of recipe guides). From Jeffrey Morgenthalers’s The Bar Book and Robert Simonson’s ode to the Old Fashioned to The Riesling Book by Stuart Pigott, the coming season’s offerings are just around the corner, ready to sweep over the drink-nerd world like so many April daffodils. Promise.  Here’s a look at some of the most exciting of what’s to come, in order of release date:

native wine grapes of italyNative Wine Grapes of Italy
Ian D’Agata | UC Press, March 21
For many, the sheer variety of different grapes grown in Italy—which amounts to “a quarter of the world’s commercial wine grape types”—is what makes the country’s wines so difficult to get a complete handle on. But it’s also what makes Italy one of the world’s most unique and varied countries for wine. Ian D’Agata breaks it all down in Native Wine Grapes of Italy, offering a guide to “more than 375 different native Italian grape varieties, from aglianico to zibibbo.” [Purchase]


natural wine bookNatural Wine 
Isabelle Legeron MW | CICO, April 1
Isabelle Legeron aka “That Crazy French Woman” approaches the thorny subject of natural wine, providing not only her own definition, but also an overview of some of the practices to which these wines are opposed. [Purchase]


bourbon bookBourbon: A History of the American Spirit
Dane Huckelbridge | William Morrow, April 8
In his social history of America’s favorite spirit, Dane Huckelbridge chronicles 300 years of bourbon, from the “backwoods of Appalachia” to the “modern multi-billion dollar international industry” it is today. [Purchase]


 alchemy in a glass bookAlchemy in a Glass:
 The Essential Guide to Handcrafted Cocktails
Greg Seider | Rizzoli, April 15
Learning cocktail recipes and ingredients is like learning another language. Bartender Greg Seider, who has created cocktail programs for Thomas Keller and Eric Ripert, wrote Alchemy in a Glass to help home bartenders translate the essentials into balanced cocktails—original recipes for seasonal syrups, mixers and recipes included. [Purchase]


wine with food fabricant asimov Wine With Food: Pairing Notes and Recipes from the New York Times
Eric Asimov, Florence Fabricant | Rizzoli, April 22
The New York Times’ Eric Asimov and Florence Fabricant team up on this user-friendly, but thoughtful cookbook-cum-wine book. They offer 100 dishes linked up with 100 wines, offering practical suggestions and logical advice on how to think about wine and food together, all while avoiding the trap of turning an art into a science. As such, it is less about the bounds of pairing, and more about exploring its possibilities. [Purchase]


 the bar book jeffrey morgenthalerThe Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique
Jeffrey Morgenthaler | Chronicle, May 13
Renowned bartender and cocktail blogger Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s long-awaited The Bar Book is a technique-driven cocktail handbook that “breaks down bartending into essential techniques, and then applies them to building the best drinks.” More than 60 recipes illustrate the concepts explored in the text, ranging from juicing, garnishing, carbonating, stirring, and shaking to choosing the correct ice for proper chilling and dilution of a drink. [Purchase]


the old-fashioned robert simonsonThe Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore
Robert Simonson | Ten Speed Press, May 13
New York Times columnist Robert Simonson pens his ode to the Old Fashioned, one of the world’s most iconic cocktails. In true Simonson fashion it’s chock-full of lore and colorful anecdotes about the drink’s storied history from “its birth as the ‘ur-cocktail’ in the late 19th century, ascension in the 1950s and 1960s (as portrayed and re-popularized by Don Draper on Mad Men), and renaissance as the star of the contemporary craft cocktail movement.” The book also includes 50 recipes for classic riffs and modern updates. [Purchase]


make some beer bookMake Some Beer:
Small ­Batch Recipes from Brooklyn to Bamberg

Erica Shea, Stephen Valand | Clarkson Potter, May 13
The Brooklyn Brew Shop’s follow up to The Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book “includes 30 new recipes with variations for a total of 50 beers inspired by and created with popular craft breweries, including Goose Island in Chicago, Ommegang and Brooklyn Brewery in New York, Ranger Creek in Texas, Brasserie DuPont in Belgium, and many more.” In addition, expect over 30 food recipes alongside a basic guide to home brewing. [Purchase]


proof the science of booze bookProof: the Science of Booze
Adam Rogers | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 3
In Proof, Adam Rogers gets deep into the science behind the production and enjoyment of booze…and the morning after. “The people who make and sell alcohol may talk about history and tradition, but alcohol production is really powered by physics, molecular biology, organic chemistry, and a bit of metallurgy—and our taste for those products is a melding of psychology and neurobiology.” This is an exciting one for the geeks out there. [Purchase]


moonshine book by jaime joyceMoonshine: 
A Cultural History of America’s Infamous Liquor

Jaime Joyce | Zenith Press, June 15
Everything from television shows to white whiskey brands have been conceived in the wake of America’s romance with moonshine, including Jaime Joyce’s Moonshine: A Cultural History of America’s Infamous Liquor. This comprehensive history of the funky stuff explores its roots in home distilling and its effect on America’s craft distilling movement and pop culture. Bet you didn’t know that NASCAR’s first marquee drivers were moonshine runners. Nope, neither did we. [Purchase]


riesling book best white wine on earthBest White Wine on Earth: The Riesling Book
By Stuart Pigott | Abrams, June 17
This consumer-friendly guide to one of the world’s great white wines (hence the title) is by British-born, Berlin-based journalist Stuart Pigott. Not only does Pigott cover the grape’s spiritual homes—Germany and Austria—but he traces the grape and its expressions all the way from America to Australia, charting a narrative that also includes the sommeliers and restaurateurs who have contributed the modern riesling renaissance. [Purchase]


Other Notable Titles:

A Glass Apart: Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey
By Fionnán O’Connor | Images Publishing, March 16 [Purchase]

Whisky: A Manual How to Enjoy Whisky
By Dave Broom | Mitchell Beazley, April 8 [Purchase]

The Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival
By Matt Teacher | Cider Mill Press, April 22 [Purchase]

Food & Wine Cocktails 2014
By Food & Wine | Food & Wine, June 3 [Purchase]

The 12 Bottle Bar: A Dozen Bottles. Hundreds of Cocktails.
By David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson | Workman, July 1 [Purchase]

Of All the Gin Joints: A Cocktail Drinker’s Guide to Hollywood Hijinks and Mayhem
By Mark Bailey | Algonquin, August 26 [Purchase]