Here’s what I’m reading now:
A History of the World in 6 Glasses, by Tom Standage. How beer, wine, spirits, tea, coffee and Coca-Cola changed the world. Walker Publishing, 2005.
How to Make Your Own Drinks, by Susy Atkins. Learn how to make cordials, wine, infusions, syrups and all manner of other drinks (both alcoholic and non) from fresh, seasonal produce. Mitchell Beazley, 2011.
AND HERE ARE SOME OTHER TITLES well worth a read, in no particular order. Please patronize your local independent bookseller whenever possible, otherwise give Powell’s Books a try.
The Joy of Mixology, by Gary Regan. A bartender’s bible. End of story. Clarkson N. Potter, 2003.
Chasing The White Dog, by Max Watman. Watman delves deep into the world of moonshine, befriending folks on both sides of the law to learn exactly how the industry (and it is an industry) works. He even builds his own still, earning his self-imposed amateur outlaw title. Fascinating read. Simon & Schuster, 2010.
The Complete Encyclopedia of Wine, Beer and Spirits, by Robert Joseph, Roger Protz and Dave Broom. Truly an encyclopedia. Want to know where pink gin came from? What Burtonization is? What kind of wines are made in Catalonia? This book is for you.
The Craft of the Cocktail, by Dale DeGroff. The book that touched off the Millennium’s classic cocktail frenzy. Clarkson N. Potter, 2002.
The Essential Cocktail, by Dale DeGroff. More of King Cocktail at his best. Clarkson N. Potter, 2008.
Moonshine!, by Matthew B. Rowley. This book has it all, from the history of distilling in the U.S. to step-by-step instructions for building your own still. No wonder it’s become the home distilling bible for urban homesteaders and others of similar bent. Lark Books, 2007.
On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee. The science behind almost anything you’d care to consume, written in a helpful, comprehensive and appealing way. Scribner, 2004.
Raising the Bar, by Nick Mautone. Fresh, seasonal cocktails for entertaining one or a bunch. Mautone relies heavily on homemade syrups, infusions and the like, but it’s very useable guide for the home bar chef. Artisan, 2004.
Straight Up or On The Rocks, by William Grimes. One of the best explanations of where the American cocktail came from and why we love it so. North Point Press, 2001.
Tequila! A Natural and Cultural History, by Ana G. Valenzuela-Zapata and Gary Paul Nabhan. Agave is their personal and professional passion, and their book takes you into the social, economic, historic and cultural significance of the plant. The University of Arizona Press, 2003.
The Boozy Baker, by Lucy Baker. Cakes, cookies, pies, tarts and other goodies, all made with the good stuff. Running Press Book Publishers, 2010.
Booze Cakes, by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone. Mostly cakes, with recipes for homemade liqueurs, mixers, toppings, frostings and garnishes thrown in. Chronicle, 2010.