Back to school isn’t just for students. This fall, fill your backpacks and bookshelves with a mountain of new-release cocktail books, from lighthearted volumes that pair astrology with drink recipes to authoritative whiskey guides. Plus, bartenders continue to invite readers behind the stick with new compilations from NYC’s Sother Teague and London’s Max and Noel Venning hitting shelves. These are nine new cocktail books to add to your reading list.
Tim Federle (Running Press, $15)
From the author of “Tequila Mockingbird,” this roundup of literary-inspired drinks is interspersed with puns, drinking games and duo-toned illustrations. Beyond the title, other recipes include Of Mice and Manischewitz, The Handmaid’s Ale, Little Soused on the Prairie and Banana Karenina—you get the idea.
Max and Noel Venning (Quadrille Publishing, $25)
As the title suggests, look for make-ahead, prebatched cocktails to be funneled into bottles, suitable for serving at parties and other group events. Recipes are created by Max and Noel Venning, two brothers behind Three Sheets, a London café/bar that serves batched cocktails. While some of the techniques are complex—carbonating, fat washing, clarification—they’re still doable for the adventurous home bartender.
Ben Robinson (Workman Publishing, $17)
This slim volume is illustrated in the mock-serious style of an airplane seatback emergency card. Clever tips for opening a beer bottle when you don’t have an opener (luckily, this book comes packaged with one) and easy beer cocktails are mixed with bro pro-moves like how to master beer pong and shotgunning and the art of the shower beer.
Sother Teague (Topix Media Lab, $25)
This is a must-have for cocktail enthusiasts. Penned by the high-profile barman behind NYC bitters bar Amor y Amargo, this book, written entirely on an iPhone, overflows with entertaining stories, solid spirits info and cocktail recipes laden with encouragements and helpful pro tips.
Aliza Kelly Faragher (Simon & Schuster, $16)
Here’s a fun gift for the friend who checks their horoscope daily. Categorized by astrological sign, the cocktails are mostly familiar easy-to-make classics, including some “modern classics” like the Gold Rush and Cosmopolitan.
John Schlimm (Citadel Press, $26)
Even if white lightning isn’t your jam, this book offers an enjoyable journey through the history of the spirit, with plenty of photos sourced from various historical societies. The second half of the book focuses on recipes, including a fun section on candy-infused moonshine—jelly beans, Skittles—and cocktails that feature infused ’shines.
Hope Ewing (Unnamed Press, $24)
First-person observations and personal reminiscences in the age of the #MeToo movement are interspersed with interviews with female luminaries in the booze world, from distillers and bartenders to writers. Overall, it makes for a breezy, engaging read but also pulls back the curtain on an industry in turmoil.
Clay Risen (Quercus, $30)
This book contains 330 expressions selected from more than 100 active distilleries in Scotland, plus a directory of distilleries. Expect plenty of tasting notes and authoritative discussion. However, don’t look for your favorite blended scotches—this book focuses solely on the single malts.
Editors of PUNCH (Ten Speed Press, $20)
Hot, spiced, buttered—all the cocktails needed to fortify against the cold, including updated riffs on traditional toddies, punches, nogs and spiced coffees. The drinks are straightforward to make and on-trend, so you can whip up a Chai Milk Punch for a party or an adventurous Hot Daiquiri to sip as a solo warmup.
Mixing your cocktail