This fall welcomes a bumper crop of booze books that may represent the most diverse range yet. On one side of the spectrum, you have titles with heft and gravitas: a narrative about the cider revival, deep dives into Tiki, weighty ruminations from bartenders about their ideal final pour. On the other side, this may be the year of the pop-culture cocktail book, whether that takes shape as homage to the 1990s or science-fiction-inspired “geek” drinks.
Smack in the middle are plenty of books with entertaining in mind, ranging from breezy pink cocktails spiked with rosé to more irreverent holiday treats that encourage aspiring hosts to set menorah “shots” on fire or age Eggnog for questionable spans of time.
We’ve stacked up a dozen of the latest and greatest booze books of the season. Mix yourself a drink and start reading (or vice versa).
Sam Slaughter (Andrews McMeel, $13)
No Nick & Nora glasses here, no fussy rare amari—this is all about fun pop culture references and “Saved By the Bell”-era graphics. Think drinks like the Kimmy Gimlet, Pickelodeon and French 75 variation, Windows 75.
Ashley Rose Conway (Weldon Owen, $20)
Straddling the line for wine and cocktail lovers, this colorful book is a breath of fresh air. Find approachable cocktail recipes and crafty entertaining tips that may surprise, such as instructions for making bottled cocktails as take-home party favors or DIY gradient glassware.
Jason Wilson (Abrams Press, $26)
The author of “Boozehound” and “Godforsaken Grapes” tackles another category: cider. This book provides a similar narrative romp, this time through orchards, cideries and all manner of bars serving appley delights. It’s engaging and ideal reading for a long flight, provided you’re also packing a little cider to sip.
Robin Robinson (Sterling Publishing, $27.95)
Educator Robin Robinson has delivered a hefty tome, but it's not at all weighty to read. Production info and lore are broken into manageable, readable chunks and interspersed with plenty of photos and infographics.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
Jeff Cioletti (Mango, $19.95)
It has been a great year for pop-up bars that pay homage to science fiction with themed menus and crazy décor, and this book feels like a visit to one of those bars. It dives deep into “Star Wars” prequels, “Doctor Who” (the blue-hued Gin & Tardis) and superhero culture (a Midori-spiked Hulk Smash), so a specific audience will love this book.
Sarah Baird (Chronicle Books, $16.95)
This compilation of portable drinks that can be transported everywhere—planes, camping, the beach—has vivid infographics detailing drink recipes for six- and 17-ounce flask sizes.
Aaron Goldfarb (Dovetail Press, $20)
This irreverent book may start with crowd-pleaser punches, but it’s different from the usual holiday cocktail guidebook. Celebrate Mardi Gras with king-cake-flavored Old Fashioneds chilled with plastic babies frozen into ice cubes or a baby shower with color-changing “gender reveal” cocktails. There are also some of the most creative cocktail vessels seen in a book, including popcorn containers, flowerpots and hollowed-out chocolate Easter bunnies.
Albert W. A. Schmid (Red Lightning Books, $15)
This sleek, petite volume is part cocktail book, part gangster history lesson. The drinks skew classic, sprinkled with film and book references and mobster lore—ideal for someone who owns a well-worn copy of “The Godfather.”Continue to 9 of 12 below.
Brad Thomas Parsons (Ten Speed Press, $35)
This beautifully photographed coffee table book includes bartender profiles, portraits and cocktail recipes centered around a specific question posed to bartenders: What is the last thing you’d want to drink before you die?
Robert Simonson (Ten Speed Press, $19)
This deeply researched history of one of the world’s most popular cocktails, with recipes sourced from classic and modern bartenders, is ideal for gifting with a favorite bottle of gin.
Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith (Wonkpress, $35)
Despite the problematic title of this self-published book from the duo behind the Cocktail Wonk blog (some interpret the word “wonk” as derogatory), the book has an authoritative but welcoming voice that pays homage to rum producers and Tiki practitioners around the globe. Of particular note, the “Tiki Thirty” in the back of the book is a well-edited, user-friendly short list of recipe classics.
Natalie Jacob (Page Street Publishing, $22)
Bartender and blogger Natalie Jacob brings together the best drinks from the midcentury period, the original era of cocktail parties, Tiki bars and Martini lunches.