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The Best Drink Books of Spring and Summer 2018

From a portrait of New York’s dive bars to a cocktail-focused spotlight on gender equality, here’s a look at the most important drink books of the season.

Best Drink Cocktail Books Spring 2018

This season brings with it an abundance of top-notch reading on topics across the board, each signaling larger shifts across the drinkscape. 

Reflecting a growing trend across the country, low-proof cocktails finally get their due, with new single-subject books focused on the aperitif and vermouth, as well as our very own book, Session Cocktails, with Drew Lazor and our publisher Ten Speed Press. Likewise, a number of releases aimed at at-home bartenders, such as The One Bottle Cocktail and Batched and Bottled, mirror a shift away from the baroque style of drink-making that defined recipe books only a few short seasons ago.

From Ron Cooper’s personal tribute to mezcal to Joshua Bernstein’s chronicle of the world’s leading homebrewers, here are our picks for the best books of the coming season.

Bars, Taverns and Dives New Yorkers Love: Where to Go, What to Drink 
By John Tebeau

Within the pages of John Tebeau’s guide, Bars, Taverns and Dives New Yorkers Love—illustrated by the author himself—you will not find a collection of the city’s “best” bars. What Tebeau, a longtime Brooklynite and former Fort Defiance bartender, offers instead is a map to the five boroughs’ harder-to-find places—those known to locals and a few others. They are each accompanied by history and lore, plus firsthand accounts from longtime regulars and a valuable breakdown of when to go, where to sit and what to drink. The result is a charming portrait of the special places that make such a big city feel small. April 10, $24 | Rizzoli [Buy]

Julep: Southern Cocktails Refashioned
By Alba Huerta

If you haven’t had the pleasure of drinking at Houston’s renowned Julep, you can now get close via Julep: Southern Cocktails Refashioned, from the titular bar’s owner Alba Huerta and her co-author Marah Stets. It spans Southern drinking through the lens of cultural themes (“The Saltwater South”; “Trading with the Enemy”) that have often been reflected in the changing menu at the bar. Huerta’s drinks are wholly original while being true to the region’s flavors, and almost always convey a story about the place. A section of classic Southern drinks closes it all, with Huerta’s gentle reminder that “these classics are my roots and the roots of the bar.” March 13, $18.99 | Lorena Jones Books [Buy]

Best Drink Cocktail Books Spring 2018

Julep: Southern Cocktails Refashioned | Lorena Jones Books

Drinking Like Ladies: 75 Modern Cocktails from the World’s Leading Female Bartenders
By Misty Kalkofen and Kirsten Amann

Drinking like Ladies reads like the cocktail book version of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. It spotlights notable women in history with 75 cocktail recipes contributed by female bartenders. The drinks themselves are an eclectic jumble that span updated classics, house creations and over-the-top tiki. (Disclaimer: If you are looking for a utilitarian collection of recipes, this may not be for you.) However, as a project, the book represents a timely reimagining of the cocktail book; drinks have long been a lens through which to view, and grapple with, larger issues like representation, gender, equity and more. The authors—both founding members of the Boston chapter of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC)—manage to spotlight important women without sacrificing their tone to saccharine “girl power” cheerleading. Instead, they let women, contributing bartenders and recipes speak for themselves. June 19, $19.95 | Quarry Books [Buy]

Batched and Bottled: Cocktails to Make Ahead
By Max Venning and Noel Venning

Among the most lauded drinks on the menu at London’s Three Sheets has been the pre-bottled French 75, a force-carbonated mix of gin, verjus, clarified lemon and moscato. So it’s fitting that the bar’s owners, brothers Max and Noel Venning, should come out with a book on the very subject of bottled drinks. Designed to demystify processes like fat-washing, clarification and fermentation for the home bartender, Batched and Bottled is certainly not an entry-level offering. But it does an admirable job of presenting both technique and recipes in an approachable way, allowing those that are more ambitious (like the rhum agricole-driven Palm Milk Punch) to live alongside simpler drinks that rely on easy-to-make, infused spirits and cordials. August 7, $24.99 | Hardie Grant [Buy]

Best Drink Cocktail Books Spring 2018

Batched and Bottled: Cocktails to Make Ahead | Hardie Grant

Aperitif: A Spirited Guide to the Drinks, History and Culture of the Aperitif
By Kate Hawkins

In her deep dive into the history and culture of the aperitif, Hawkins neatly unifies France, Italy and Spain, exploring how the ritual manifests in each place. It’s easily the most comprehensive book on the subject and the ingredients that have become central to our understanding of aperitif—and the canon of the drinks that have grown up around it. If there is any criticism it’s reserved for the recipes chapter, which casts a perhaps overly inclusive net vis-à-vis what can be considered an aperitif. Here you’ll find the usual suspects—spritzes, sherry-based drinks—but tucked in between are cocktails like the Manhattan and the Pink Gin that feel disconnected from the thesis and the genre’s aesthetic. But it’s a minor quibble for a book that goes long on a subject that is ever more relevant to how we drink today. September 4, $22.99 | Hardie Grant [Buy]

The One Bottle Cocktail
By Maggie Hoffman

Longtime drinks writer Maggie Hoffman’s new book is the antidote to complicated-recipe fatigue. Based around the idea that delicious at-home cocktails needn’t be complex—and can even be based on one single spirit—Hoffman’s approach to drink-making is at once culinary and refreshingly simple. Both accessible and smart, it appeals to a wide range of enthusiasts, from those just building out their home bars to those who have an extensive collection but are unsure what to do with it. March 6, $22 | Ten Speed Press [Buy]

Homebrew World: Discover the Secrets of the World’s Leading Homebrewers
By Joshua Bernstein

In 2008, beer writer Joshua Bernstein set out—on bike—to explore the under-appreciated world of homebrewing, first in Brooklyn and eventually across the globe. His travels have culminated in Homebrew World, an exploration of the best homebrewers and brews, from Emma Christensen in San Jose, California, to Kevin Ryan in Johannesburg, South Africa, told through firsthand accounts and accompanying recipes. April 7, $24.95 | Sterling Epicure [Buy]

Best Drink Cocktail Books Spring 2018

Homebrew World: Discover the Secrets of the World’s Leading Homebrewers | Sterling Epicure

Drinking Distilled: A User’s Manual
By Jeffrey Morgenthaler 

Having thoroughly outlined the proper way to make cocktails in his first book, The Bar Book, Jeffrey Morgenthaler turns his attention to how to properly drink cocktails with his latest. Cutting through the abundance of misguided drinking rules (shaking bruises gin; tip a certain number of dollars per drink), the longtime Portland bartender offers an opinionated guide to drinking in every scenario, from a bachelor party to brunch. April 10, $16.99 | Ten Speed Press [Buy]

Godforsaken Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey Through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Under Appreciated Wine
By Jason Wilson 

Author Jason Wilson’s follow-up to his much-loved Boozehound takes him on a journey to the outer fringes of popular wine culture in search of the undiscovered. Part travelogue and part journey to realize his own taste preferences, Wilson offers a spirited, highly personal argument for drinking more adventurously. April 24, $26 | Abrams Press [Buy]

Finding Mezcal: A Journey into the Liquid Soul of Mexico
By Ron Cooper and Chantal Martineau  

When artist Ron Cooper founded Del Maguey in the mid-1990s, mezcal was practically unheard of outside Mexico. In light of its meteoric rise, Cooper’s book, equipped with 40 recipes from bartenders and chefs, serves not only as a guide to the spirit—from its production methods to the botany of the plants from which it’s distilled—but as a personal memoir as well. Alongside lush photographs of the Oaxacan landscape, Finding Mezcal considers the spirit’s place in the modern world, as those like Cooper seek to balance the challenge of sharing it, while preserving its unique heritage. June 12, $30 | Ten Speed Press [Buy]

More To Look For

Barrel Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch and How Craft Beer Became Big Business
By Josh Noel

Chicago-based beer writer Josh Noel explores Goose Island’s 2011 purchase by AB-InBev as a test case to understand how the American craft beer landscape became dominated by multinational beverage brands. June 1, $18 | Chicago Review Press [Buy]

Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor and the Search for the Origins of Wine
By Kevin Begos

With a cast of characters that includes archeologists, botanists and historians, Kevin Begos offers a lively account of his journey to find the origins of wine, debunking a number of the wine world’s long-held beliefs along the way. June 12, $26.95 | Algonquin Books [Buy]

Whisky Rising: The Definitive Guide to the Finest Whiskies and Distillers of Japan
By Stefan Van Eycken

With a foreword by Jim Meehan, Whisky Rising offers a timely overview of the booming world of Japanese whisky. April 4, $19 | Cider Mill Press [Buy]

The Book of Vermouth: A Winemaker and a Bartender Celebrate the World’s Greatest Aperitif
By Gilles Lapalus and Shaun Byrne

A comprehensive look at the cocktail world’s most important aromatized wine, The Book of Vermouth follows its subject from the antique era through the industrialized era, to today’s ever-expanding landscape of brands and styles. August 7, $29.99 | Hardie Grant [Buy]

Napa at Last Light: America’s Eden in an Age of Calamity
By James Conaway

For the third volume of his trilogy about the rise (and fall) of Napa Valley, New York Times bestselling author James Conway zeros in on the wine region’s more-is-more era and how it fell victim to its own success. March 6, $26 | Simon & Schuster [Buy]

Booze and Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks
By André Darlington and Tenaya Darlington

Inspired by the bygone practice of “listening parties,” the authors of The New Cocktail Hour offer a personal distillation of the “most appealing albums ever recorded” and dead-simple recipes to go along with them. April 17, $21.90 | Running Press Adult [Buy]

The Cocktail Guy: Infusions, Distillations and Innovative Combinations
By Rich Wood

In his debut book, London-based bartender Rich Wood offers a guide to making drinks with his signature flavor-boosting style. April 1, 2018, $23.95 | Pavilion [Buy]

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