Has there ever been a period of human history when so much published text was devoted to what we drink? We think not. Luckily, it’s a topic we all love, particularly around these parts, and this year’s new releases live up the expectations.
There’s a near endless array of avenues to stroll down when you’re ready to explore such spirituous subjects, too. Some such books are built to educate, deep diving into the history and production of a particular type of spirit, while others are meant to inspire and entertain, providing you with fun new DIY projects. And with everyone now spending a good deal more time than usual on the homefront, stocking up on this year’s latest and greatest releases is an approach you won’t regret.
Be transported to the country or region you’ve been dreaming about visiting (and drinking your way through), study up on your favorite sipper with a matching drink in hand, and become the envy of your friends with your new Instagram-worthy home-cocktailing skills.
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Here are the best new cocktail and spirits books of 2020, including titles set to release this summer. It’s never too early to put in your preorder, after all.
‘Essential 3-Ingredient Cocktails’ by Amy Traynor
“Essential 3-Ingredient Cocktails,” releasing June 9, offers a robust lineup of 75 cocktail recipes united by the wonderful ease in which you can create them at home. That’s the type of knowledge that’s more useful than ever, too, given the stay-at-home ethos we’ve all been doing our best to follow. And while an elaborate, 12-ingredient cocktail recipe will probably be wonderful, why not streamline the process instead? The recipes here are broken down by spirit type, and include both timeless classics as well as modern selections. You’ll come away impressed at how much you can create with just three ingredients at a time.
‘Beautiful Booze’ by Natalie Migliarini and James Stevenson
Building on the platform of her popular @BeautifulBooze Instagram account, VinePair contributor Natalie Migliarini and her managing director, James Stevenson, now deliver “Beautiful Booze,” the book. The release, due out on Aug. 25, includes a far-ranging and creative collection of cocktails, providing background information on every drink, including what it riffs on, pro tips for pulling it off, and what makes the entire concept work. As you’d expect, each of the drinks comes beautifully photographed and styled, providing you with all of the Insta inspiration you need.
‘Camp Cocktails’ by Emily Vikre
When you’re stocking up for a camping trip, you might bring along a few 6-packs of beer, maybe even a flask of whiskey for a nightcap. “Camp Cocktails” by Emily Vikre will have you asking, why not fill that flask with a Boulevardier that you batched in advance? If you’re out in the wilderness, maybe you should treat yourself. Vikre, who co-owns Vikre Distillery with her husband Joel, has the tips and insight you need to take your cocktail A-game on the road, whether your style of camping is pitching a tent out of a backpack, or more at the indulgent “glamping” level. Choose wisely, as the drinks you can produce depend upon your decision.
‘Disco Cube Cocktails’ by Leslie Kirchhoff
The widespread availability of ice was one of the key factors in the initial 19th-century boom of the cocktail. Now, ice presents one of the most exciting, and photo-friendly, areas of cocktail experimentation. In “Disco Cube Cocktails,” Leslie Kirchhoff brings her business of the same name, in which she produces custom ice creations for clients, to life in printed form. The glam-heavy, ’70s-styled book offers more than 100 recipes, each including an elaborate and unique icy innovation, as well as the actual drink it’s served within. You’ll never look at your ice tray in the same way again.
‘Drinking French’ by David Lebovitz
New York Times-bestselling author David Lebovitz has already brought you into “My Paris Kitchen,” and now, he brings you alongside his Paris cocktail cart with “Drinking French.” The tome includes a massive collection of 160 recipes, focused on the iconic cocktails and classic aperitifs of France, with additional sections devoted to liqueurs and infusions, as well as aperitif-friendly snacks. It’s more than a book of recipes, though. Lebovitz further delves into the traditions and inspirations of French café culture and lifestyle. You’ll even get a lineup of his favorite shops to visit in Paris.
‘Drink What You Want’ by John deBary
Somewhere along the way of the modern cocktail revival, things got a bit too serious. Rigid rules were imposed upon the masses, while personal preferences and the laid-back attitude of simply doing what you enjoyed, as long as you did it well, were lost in the mix. Longtime New York bartender John deBary aims to rectify that with “Drink What You Want,” due out on June 2. The former PDT and Momofuku bartender presents cocktails from a foundation of truths, then allows readers to deviate from the norm. “Objective” cocktail classics are presented as a launching pad, each coming with a lineup of subjective riffs and adjacent creations you can explore with to see what you really do enjoy the most.
‘Spirits of Latin America’ by Ivy Mix
When Ivy Mix has something to say about drinking, you should listen. Now, the award-winning bartender and co-founder of Speed Rack is taking on the “Spirits of Latin America,” a far broader and more complex subject than you may originally envision. Her book, releasing May 26, covers major categories of spirits, including agave, sugarcane, and grape, while delving into different countries and classifications, regional specialties, and the lengthy histories and traditions that make each so very special. All the while, she delivers dozens of restaurant-worthy cocktails for each category, ensuring you can put your newfound knowledge to good use.
‘Whiskey Masterclass’ by Lew Bryson
The world of whiskey is larger and more diverse than ever, and there may be nobody better prepared to educate you on the nuances of the subject than whiskey expert Lew Bryson. In “Whiskey Masterclass,” he walks readers through the many categories of whiskey, exploring what defines them and how they’re made. Along the way, he aims to uncover and instruct upon all of the variables that work together to make the whiskey you love, and to make it a unique product: Raw ingredients, type of distillation, maturation specifics, the people, the places, and the oft-overlooked and sometimes misunderstood intangibles of the entire process. The book is best enjoyed with a dram in hand, of course, ensuring that you retain that new insights and use it to understand your own whiskey preferences.
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