In the beginning of this resurgence the information was still a little limited and resources were scant. The cocktail world went from 0-60 on the ‘access to information’ scale. This rapid ramp up has its ups and downs. On one hand, you now have access to a lot of very specific information about techniques, equipment, famous bartenders and bars, both vintage and contemporary cocktails, spirit specific drinks, historical chronicles and so on. On the other hand, all this information can be overwhelming and have you wondering ‘what is the BEST information?’ and ‘how do I choose?’.
I recently visited a local bookstore and the section on cocktails was HUGE! I usually peruse and then decide what I want to purchase now and/or later. Within minutes I found myself juggling at least four new books I was interested in; a book all about Shrubs, another on bitters and an Amari guide, one about cocktails with a literary twist and another about infusing… I wanted them all! So I jot down my list and ask friends and family if they’ve read any and look at reviews. My advice to you is to go with your gut. You are the only person who truly knows what you like and what you really enjoy. Reading is a subjective experience after all!
However, if you are interested in some reviews and/or recommendations, I am happy to share a few of my (recent) favorites.
By Ted Haigh
This book is great for planning parties!
Favorite things about this book:
- Spiral bound, just like a recipe book!
- Great pictures and graphically appealing. I love the nostalgic look about it!
- Entertaining and well written historical notes on each cocktail.
- Resource guide in the back of the book.
- I love that is has a list of RIP cocktail ingredients at the end of the book. A short list of items used in vintage cocktails that no longer exist.
The Drunken Botanist
By Amy Stewart
This book is for learning and creating!
I really enjoyed this book because:
- It will take you back to the very science of your cocktail. Not only did I get a little history, I learned what the spirit is made from and discovered how to make various cocktails, syrups and infusions as well as how to grow my own ingredients!
- Every good drink starts with a plant!
- I really liked how the book was laid out. Each plant has its own section that speaks to its history, where it might grow, what parts of the plant are used, whether it is dangerous or not and then on to a suggested cocktail and maybe even an interesting fact (learning these will never leave you without something to say at a cocktail party).
- In the last section of the book there are growing notes for those that might have a green thumb and want to grow their own ingredients.
- This is a fantastic book for the curious! Reading this book helped me to understand the chemistry of creating a flavorful cocktail. It inspired me to create and set me off on various recipe adventures of my own, some disastrous and some fabulous.
By David Wondrich
A book from a master to increase your knowledge and be the life of the cocktail party!
In homage to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, pioneer of the American bar, this book delves into the little-known history of the great classic American cocktails.
What I love about this book:
- Love the historical aspect, the author had unearthed many historical gems and the book is full of interesting and entertaining anecdotes.
- The how they used to do it vs. how they do it now is pretty cool.
- The book is laid out by cocktail category making it easy to find the prefect cocktail for your occasion.
- I also enjoyed the bitters and syrups section at the end of the book.
Tea Cocktails: A Mixologist’s Guide to Legendary Tea-Infused Cocktails
By Abigail R. Gehring
A book for entertaining on porches and patios!
I loved this book last year and just took it off the shelf and dusted it off in preparation of ‘porch weather’!
This book I loved because:
- It is very focused on a type of ingredient (tea) but had many different cocktails and varieties of that ingredient to be creative with.
- There is a very helpful guide on how to brew tea. I had no idea there were specific brewing times and temperatures that effected the flavors of the different types of tea until I read this book!
- The tips pages were great and included information on everything from tools to glass types.
- The book was divided into flavor type sections, which I loved! Being able to pick a cocktail based on your ‘taste-mood’ is great!
- The bonus is that there is a section of Tea-infused appetizers too! Yummy stuff like ‘Summer Rolls with Green Tea Dipping Sauce’!
The only complaint I have about this book is that it is very heavy on the Teatulia Organic Teas and tea flavors and terms info. However, it is produced by them with the author so despite all the additional (and for me unnecessary information) I made some amazing tea cocktails last summer and am looking forward to making many more this year!
What’s on my wishlist?
Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times
A book all about the vintage drink mixer - Shrubs.
In fact I think I’ll visit my local bookstore right after I post this blog!