If you are looking for the perfect gift for your favourite bartender, or just want to treat yourself, there are plenty of great drinks books out in time for Christmas.
Tony Conigliaro, world-leading cocktail specialist from London’s 69 Colebrooke Row and Zetter Townhouse, has come up with a must-read book called simply Drinks. It captures his pioneering exploration into the science of flavours and ingredients, updating 50 classic recipes in exciting and original ways. These range from his own modern classic The Twinkle to drinks based on perfume, such as the Lipstick Rose. It also looks at barrel-ageing of cocktails and the use of savoury ingredients in drinks such as a White Truffle Martini. It is priced £25 from Ebury Press.
More of the world’s leading bartenders feature in a glossy new book published in time for Christmas, World’s Best Cocktails. Alex Kratena of the Artesian Bar, Jake Burger of Portobello Star, Erik Lorincz of the Savoy’s American Bar and Ago Perrone of the Connaught Bar pop up as part of the book’s look at 25 of the world’s top bars, which also includes PDT in New York and Experimental Cocktail Club in Paris.
But, as the title suggests, the heart of the book is its 500 illustrated “couture cocktails” from around the globe, accompanied by entertaining and informative text by author Tom Sandham, a leading drinks writer and one half of The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol shows. It also tells the story of the cocktail from first attempts at distillation in BC China via its golden age in early 20th-century America to the global cutting-edge recipes of today. It is priced £30 from Jacqui Small.
Cocktail heritage is explored in a number of new books this year from Mixellany, the publisher headed by Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller. They wrote one of this year’s titles, Cuban Cocktails, which sheds new light on Cuba’s Golden Age of Cocktails from the 1890s through to the 1930s and its global impact on drinks and the bartending profession.
Rather than simply presenting recipes, this sequel to their 2009 book Cuba: Legend of Rum, delves deep into the history of cocktail culture in Havana and into the lives of the bartenders, the saloon owners and their customers. Containing over 160 recipes, Miller and Brown spent eight years gathering their information through personal interviews as well as public archives and news sources in five countries to disclose surprising new details about the origins of classics such as the Mojito, Daiquiri, Cuba Libre, Presidente, and Piña Colada. It is priced £12.95.
Mixellany has also published two books by drinks writer Gaz Regan. 101 Best New Cocktails 2012 is his annual collection of creative new cocktails from the world’s most talented bartenders. It features drinks from 100 mixologists from 25 countries, including Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Dubai, France Greece, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Spain Sweden, the UK, the USA, and US Virgin Islands. It is priced £8.95.
It is a companion to Gaz Regan’s other book, the 2012 Annual Manual for Bartenders, which is directed specifically at working bartenders, not consumers. It includes sections on “The Mindful Bartender” as well as the list of Bartenders’ Bartenders of the Year featuring the best bar professionals as recommended by their peers and colleagues. It is priced £8.95.
Just in time for Christmas, Mixellany is also bringing out a revised edition of The Mixellany Guide To Gin, written by Geraldine Coates of gin website Gintime.com. She revisits the ever-growing gin category, providing the reader with a concise history, explanation of production styles, botanicals used, and a guide to the newest brands on the market. It is priced £8.95.
Spirits writer Davin de Kergommeaux throws a spotlight on the neglected category of Canadian whisky in his new book from publisher McClelland & Stewart. It takes readers on a journey through how Canadian whisky is made, who makes it, why it tastes the way it does, its history, and the rich, centuries-old folklore surrounding it. It introduces many whiskies that are little-known outside of Canada. Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert is priced £15.99.