This year gave cocktail enthusiasts booze books that delved deep into everything from creating cocktails while traveling to in-depth bar manuals to an ode to spirited felines. Here are the top cocktail and spirits books of 2017.
Robert Simonson strips away the pretense of overwrought cocktails with approachable yet elegant recipes in his book “3-Ingredient Cocktails” (Ten Speed Press, $18.99). The comprehensive manual “Classic & Craft Cocktail Book” (Rockridge Press, $16.99) by Clair McLafferty is 300 pages full of straightforward, easy-to-follow recipes. Road warriors would be wise to pack fellow traveler Kara Newman’s latest book, “Road Soda: Recipes and Techniques for Making Great Cocktails, Anywhere” (Dovetail, $20), to make cocktails using their hotel mini bar or even while camping. “Distillery Cats: Profiles in Courage of the World’s Most Spirited Mousers” (Ten Speed Press, $14.99) is Brad Thomas Parsons’ ode to 30 hardworking mousers keeping breweries and distilleries pest-free. The book contains hand-drawn sketches of each kitty and 15 cocktail recipes.
Part of a travel-based cocktail book series by the same publishing house, Sarah Baird’s “New Orleans Cocktails” (Cider Mill Press, $20) and Amanda Schuster’s “New York Cocktails” (Cider Mill Press, $20) break down each city’s best present-day and venerable classic drinks in 100 recipes per book. Adrienne Stillman’s “Where the Bartenders Drink” (Phaidon Press, $30) is an industry insider’s guide to sipping cocktails around the globe from some of the world’s best bartenders, including Atlanta’s Kellie Thorn from Empire State South.
Manuals and guides
Master barman and author Jim Meehan has written his most monumental book to date. “Meehan’s Bar Manual” (Ten Speed Press, $40) is filled with nearly 20 years of knowledge and insight about the bar business and cocktails from the legendary bartender and includes 100 recipes — many of them Meehan originals. “The Southern Foodways Alliance Guide to Cocktails” (UGA Press, $30) from Sara Camp Milam and Atlanta’s Jerry Slater chronicles cocktails throughout Southern history. The book contains 80 recipes, including a handful from some of Atlanta’s top bartenders.
Single spirit-focused books
With “Rum Curious” (Voyageur Press, $25), Fred Minnick dives deep into the world of rum in his latest book, which explores the spirit’s Caribbean beginnings through its long, tumultuous history. The last chapters are dedicated to the tasting notes of a wide range of rums as well as an appendix of rum distilleries around the world. In her book “Mezcal: The History, Craft & Cocktails of the World’s Ultimate Artisanal Spirit” (Voyageur Press, $25), Emma Janzen takes readers on a journey from the Mexican spirit’s ancient maguey roots and folklore through the modern era and the families who still honor mezcal’s traditional production techniques. The book includes 50 recipes as well as a guide to choosing mezcals for flights.