If you like reading as much as you like enjoying a drink, there is a world of the best whiskey books and cocktail books out there for you to peruse. Some are focused strictly on whiskey, others on beer, and there is a whole range that provides information on how to make new and classic cocktails.
The authors behind these tomes are experts in the field and the photography is top-notch, making these great choices to keep as coffee table books.
Here are nine of the best whiskey books (plus a few others) that you should check out now.
BEST BOURBON BOOK
This beautifully packaged box set from author Clay Risen, who also works at The New York Times, details the history of Kentucky bourbon through photos, bottle labels and meticulous research. What’s more, it comes with a pull-out drawer in which you can find things like distillery maps, photos and more. Risen is an expert in the whiskey field, and his new book is great for seasoned whiskey drinkers as well as newcomers to the category.
2. The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails
Spirits experts and writers David Wondrich and Noah Rothbaum compiled this reference book that is both informative and entertaining. It’s not just whiskey included here, as virtually every type of spirit and cocktail are covered, as well as the methodology and process behind them. This is an excellent book that answers any questions you have about the world of booze. Read it from start to finish and count yourself an expert too.
3. Rare Whisky: Explore the World’s Most Exquisite Spirits
BEST FOR COLLECTORS
Interested in expensive, rare whiskey? This book by Patrick Mahe details the world of fine, rare, elusive spirits, with entries ranging from the USA to Scotland and Japan. This beautiful hardcover book comes in a slipcase and includes lovely photographs of the pricey and highly coveted whisky (and whiskey) covered in the book, giving you a chance to live vicariously.
4. World Atlas of Beer
BEST FOR BEER LOVERS
If beer is more your speed, the World Atlas of Beer: The Essential Guide to the Beers of the World by Tim Webb is the best whiskey and cocktail book to check out. Webb covers everything here, including beer from Belgium, Finland, Australia and the USA, of course. This updated third edition includes information on brewing techniques, different styles of beer and even pairing suggestions that will solidify your knowledge and help you become a beer expert.
5. Death & Co: Welcome Home
BEST COCKTAIL BOOK
There are so many whiskey and cocktail books out there to choose from, but the one with the name Death & Co on it is a sign of quality. The NYC bar, which has expanded to other cities in recent years, is famous around the world as being a bastion of cocktail culture. Authors David Kaplan, Alex Day and Nick Fauchald take you on a journey to explain how to select ingredients, mix drinks and why certain spirits work better than others. There are many different recipes in this book, with accompanying photographs to which you can try to match your creations at home.
6. Westland Distillery: Our West is Whiskey
BEST AMERICAN WHISKEY BOOK
Interested in the American single malt category? If not, you’re missing out because this is an utterly fascinating, up-and-coming whiskey style. Seattle’s Westland Distillery is one of the best and is celebrating its 10th anniversary with this new book. Esteemed whiskey writers like Dave Broom and Becky Paskin contribute to the text, which covers the history of Westland and the future of American single malt in general.
7. A Sense of Place
BEST SCOTCH BOOK
Award-winning whiskey writer Dave Broom returns with this excellent new book, subtitled A Sense of Place: A Journey Around Scotland’s Whisky. That sums it up nicely, as Broom travels around Scotland visiting distilleries around the country, including Islay, Harris, Orkney and Speyside. In addition to a depth of knowledge about whisky that few can match, the book contains really beautiful photographs of some of Scotland’s most iconic whiskies and distilleries.
8. Black Mixcellence: A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology
BEST FOR COCKTAIL RECIPES
This book, by Colin Asare-Appiah and Tamika Hall, pays tribute to the many Black and Brown bartenders and mixologists who have contributed so much to the craft. Some high profile people in the industry like Ian Burrell (Equiano Rum cofounder) and legendary bartender Franky Marshall are featured, along with recipes you can make at home and great photos.
9. Sammy Hagar’s Cocktail Hits
BEST NEW COCKTAIL BOOK
Sammy Hagar has had his Cabo Wabo tequila brand for many years, making him one of the first celebs to get in on the spirits business. And now he has a new cookbook, with 85 personal favorite recipes. Guy Fieri wrote the forward (the two also have a tequila called Santo), and James Beard award-winning writer James O. Fraioli contributed to the text as well. There are some really fun cocktails to try in this book, and all are simple enough to make at home with just a few ingredients.