Booze Books

October 26, 2013

Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide

under-the-table-dorothy-parker-cocktail.jpgThis past week we were sent a copy of Under The Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide for review, and we've finally had some time to take a look through it (and whip up a few of the cocktails inside the pages). The book was written by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick, the "founder and president of the Dorothy Parker Society," and the author of another book about Parker. The foreword is by Allen Katz, founder of the distilling company that makes Dorothy Parker American Gin (we'd link but their website appears to be down). We can only assume these two gentlemen know a lot more about old Dot than we ever will, so we probably don't need to comment on that part of the book.

What really interested us was the the glimpse into the cocktail culture of Dorothy's time period. The book contains 75 recipes from the Jazz Age/Speakeasy era, and offers some fascinating insight on everything from Manhattans to bathtub gin. There are also modern takes on some of the cocktails of that age from modern mixers as well. Basically, if you want to have a flapper party, or are just interested in that era of the cocktail, this is the book for you.

Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide

From the Publisher:

A bar book for Parker enthusiasts and literary tipplers alike, Under the Table offers a unique take on Parker, the infamous Algonquin Round Table, and the Jazz Age by profiling and celebrating the drinks that she, her bitter friends, and sweetest enemies enjoyed and discussed. Each entry of this delicious compendium offers a fascinating and lively background of a period cocktail, its ingredients, and the characters associated with it.

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September 18, 2013

Whiskey: Instant Expert Book

whiskey-instant-expert.jpgA review copy of a book called Whiskey: Instant Expert was just mailed to us by the kind folks at Princeton Architectural Press, and it just hit our grubby little hands so we haven't had time to give it a full perusal. We have flipped through the book, however, and we wanted to let you know about it. It will be officially released on October 8, but you can pre-order it on Amazonbefore then.

Written by Whisky Man of the Year (for two years running) John Lamond, the book is aimed at helping you understand, find, purchase, and savor whiskey to its fullest. It offers the spirit's history, discusses distilling, and offers tasting notes on all kinds of whiskeys, including Scotch, American, Irish, Canadian, and other types worldwide.

As we page through the book we really like the info on how to track down great whiskeys (including websites, email addresses and phone numbers for distilleries, as well as good places to look here in the states), we think the tasting notes are right on point, and we love the entries marked "Expert Essential" saying you should go out of your way to pick up a bottle or try it in a bar. With other items including how to buy whiskies at auction, store your bottles effectively, cocktail recipes, and even ideas for societies to join, we think this book is a great gift for yourself or any whiskey-phile on your list.

Whiskey: Instant Expertat Amazon

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August 17, 2012

Destination: Cocktails Book

destination_cocktails_book.jpgLooking for the ultimate craft cocktail experience around the US or around the world, but not sure where to start? We just got our hands on Destination: Cocktails, a book by James Teitelbaum, that might just fit the bill. Teitelbaum traveled to dozens of cities around the world and sampled hundreds of cocktails in all kinds of bars, from dives to five-star hotels.

As we page through the book we see multiple examples of finely-crafted cocktails using top notch ingredients, as well as profiles and information on the bars themselves. Just a few pages was enough to make us want to pack up our bindles and travel the open roads from bar to bar, and we would like to thank the folks at Santa Monica Press for supplying us with this fine book.

Check it at Destination: Cocktails: The Traveler's Guide to Superior Libations
- we dare you to avoid contracting the travel bug too!

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June 21, 2012

The Brewmaster's Table [Book]

brewmasters_table.jpgWe picked up The Brewmaster's Table yesterday on a whim (well actually due to a new and pressing urge to be able to speak intelligently about the pairing of beer and food...more on that later), and we were up until 1 AM reading it. This book, written by Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver, is a treasure trove of information on beer styles, brands, and ways to pair brew with food.

We literally could not put it down until well after our bed time, and it's a must have for anyone interested in beer. The book is a few years old now (it was published in 2005), but even if some of the brands have gone away, the information about styles is still legit, from pale ales to sour beers.

The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food

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June 18, 2012

Smart Guide To Single Malt Scotch Whisky [Book]

smart_guide_scotch_whisky.jpgIn our experience, scotch whisky has long been the domain of men, with most of the women we know wrinkling their noses and opting for something that's not such a chore for them to drink. That's why it's refreshing to see this book, The Smart Guide to Single Malt Scotch Whisky, appear from author Elizabeth Riley Bell. Not only is she one of the first Americans to take a poke at making single malt scotch accessible, she's also one of the first women (though you probably figured that out by our use of the feminine pronoun).

According to our brothers from another mother at CocktailGoGo, Bell has "...been to over 100 distilleries over 25 summers to put together this compendium of Scotch knowledge." That's a lot of knowledge, and we're excited to check out her book.

Smart Guide To Single Malt Scotch Whisky

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December 13, 2011

The Perfect Drink for Every Occasion

perfect_drink_any_occasion.jpgIt may not come as a shock to you that we like to drink, but you may not know how much the Liquor Snob staff likes to read. We're only asking for books and booze this Christmas, and not in that order. That's why we dig the title of the book we just found - The Perfect Drink for Every Occasion. We like the way it just rolls off the tongue.

This book features 151 cocktail recipes, and claims its cocktails "complement every situation imaginable . . . and then some." We're doing our best to come up with 5 situations that probably aren't included in this book - though we suppose you'll have to buy it to find out if we're right. Here's our list we'd like to drink to, though we imagine we'd be on our own for pairing a cocktail:

  • Toasting your grandma's marriage to her parole officer
  • Remembering the first time you heard Wilfred Brimley say Diabeetus
  • Eulogizing Mr. Ed
  • Commemorating your narrow escape from those cannibals
  • Celebrating a successful squirrel hunt

At The Perfect Drink for Every Occasion

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December 12, 2011

Bitters: A Spirited Look at a Classic Cure-All

bitters_book.jpgIf you're looking for the perfect gift for the cocktail nerd on your list, you could definitely do worse than a book on bitters. An ingredient in many cocktails - and some say a requirement for most - bitters is finally getting its time in the limelight. With the resurgence of cocktail culture over the past few years there's definitely been an uptick in interest, but we haven't seen such an in-depth treatise.

Gone are the days when a lonely bottle of Angostura bitters held court behind the bar. A cocktail renaissance has swept across the country, inspiring in bartenders and their thirsty patrons a new fascination with the ingredients, techniques, and traditions that make the American cocktail so special. And few ingredients have as rich a history or serve as fundamental a role in our beverage heritage as bitters.

This book has it all - history, curative applications, and even recipes to make your own bitters, including Apple, Coffee-Pecan and Root Beer varieties. There are even tips for cooking with bitters in both sweet and savory dishes.

At Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All

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October 11, 2011

The Rum Diary [book]

rum_diary.jpgHunter S. Thompson. Puerto Rico. Johnny Depp in underpants. Copious amounts of mini bottles. A mermaid from Connecticut. Those are the images we can dredge out of our booze-soaked brains about the trailer for upcoming film The Rum Diary. We do recall that the movie looked kickass, and we always love reading a good HST yarn, so we do believe we'll pick up the novel.

"Disgusting as he usually was," Hunter Thompson writes in this, his 1959 novel, "on rare occasions he showed flashes of a stagnant intelligence. But his brain was so rotted with drink and dissolute living that whenever he put it to work it behaved like an old engine that had gone haywire from being dipped in lard."

We always knew Mr. Thompson was magical, but it's kind of uncanny how he peered into the future to describe the entire Liquor Snob staff.

At The Rum Diary: A Novel

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October 3, 2011

The Happy Table of Eugene Walter (Book)

eugene-walter.jpgWe've received a copy of a book entitled "The Happy Table of Eugene Walter: Southern Spirits in Food and Drink," and being the bourbon enthusiasts we are, we jumped at the chance to review it. If you're not familiar with Mr. Walter, he was, according to his Wikipedia page, a "screenwriter, poet, short-story author, actor, puppeteer, gourmet chef, cryptographer, translator, editor, costume designer and well-known raconteur." Sounds like someone we'd like to get to know.

As we page through the book, we find all kinds of recipes, from cocktails (including more variations on the Julep than you might know existed) to a wide variety of Southern-influenced foods. Not all of the recipes feature liquor, but the ones that don't are deep fried and bacon-inclusive enough to make even Paula Deen blush - and we're pretty sure she wears a Camelbak full of melted butter. From Caribbean Flank Steak to Pensacola Shrimp to Hangover Punch, there's a little something for everyone in the book.

The real appeal for us is the colorful way in which the commentary and recipes are written, making it a real treat compared to your typical recipe book. For example, the "Maryland Julep" recipe calls for you to "gather the mint while the dew is still on it" and gives very explicit instructions on how to handle it next. We think cocktail enthusiasts and gourmands alike will find something for them in in this book.

At The Happy Table of Eugene Walter: Southern Spirits in Food and Drink

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March 14, 2011

Quotable Drunkard Book For All Your Drunken Quoting Needs

quotable_drunkard.jpg"I'm not a heavy drinker. I can sometimes go for hours without touching a drop." - Noel Coward

We've always called alcohol our favorite social lubricant, that thing that untrips our tongues and helps free the witty social butterfly that lives inside us. There are some moments, however, where our wit fails us and we wish we had a reference to find out what some other drunk might have said. That's where The Quotable Drunkard book comes in.

Just think - you'll be able to pre-memorize multiple quotes for your next St. Patrick's Day toast, Best Man speech or parole hearing. We've been thumbing through the review copy we were sent and we've found quite a few good quotes, both short quips and longer passages, along with cocktail recipes and other tidbits.

The Quotable Drunkard: Words of Wit, Wisdom, and Philosophy From the Bottom of the Glass (Amazon)

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January 6, 2011

Absinthe & Flamethrowers

absinthe_flamethrowers.jpgDid that title get your attention? It certainly got ours when we saw it emblazoned across the cover of a book (the full title of which is Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously). Most of the books we cover feature cocktail recipes and other quasi-safe ideas but this one we love because it's DANGEROUS. We have a feeling you, our debonair yet thrill-seeking reader, will love it too.

Written for reasonable risk takers and suburbanites who want to add more excitement to their lives. This daring combination of science, history, and DIY projects explains why danger is good for you and details the art of living dangerously.

Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously [via Makezine]

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December 16, 2010

Fix The Pumps: Bridging the Gap Between Soft and Hard Drinks

fix_the_pumps_cover.pngWe haven't read Darcy O'Neil's Fix the Pumps yet, but you can bet it's on our Christmas list now that it's on our radar. We're fans of Mr. O'Neil's Art of Drink website, and this book sounds like a fascinating account of how soda jerks were the ancestors of modern mixologists, and offers solid advice on how to integrate their techniques into your own bar.

Here's a description from Ed Hamilton over at Ministry of Rum:

Fix the Pumps peers into the history of the American soda fountain and the fascinating connections it had with bars and cocktails, including raising the ire of the Temperance League. Many of the unique ingredients and techniques, employed by the pharmacists, are explored in-depth including production of in-house seltzer water, soda acidulents and 450 pre-prohibition soda recipes.

The thing that really caught our eye was this query we found over at Art of Drink - "What happened in 1885 that made the cocktail go from being the preferred morning bracer to an evening nightcap?" Inquiring minds want to know.

Buy Fix the Pumps

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December 15, 2010

Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl

punch_book.jpgWe've made no secret of the fact we enjoy getting a little punchy during the holidays, and we're always going online to look for punch recipes. Cocktail luminary David Wondrich has released a whole book on the subject, and you can get it just in time for Christmas - or your next holiday party. We haven't read it yet, but you can expect we will.

Acclaimed cocktail expert and historian David Wondrich takes readers on a raucous guided tour of all things punch-a tour that starts with some very lonely British sailors and swells to include a cast of lords and ladies, admirals, kings, presidents, poets, pirates, novelists, spies, and other inimitable characters. And of course, authentic recipes appear throughout, with notes for the modern punch-maker.

Buy Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl

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December 14, 2010

Sacred & Herbal Healing Beers Book

sacred_herbal_healing_beers.jpgOur Editor-in-Chief is continuing on his DiY kick, and he just picked up a book called Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation. Most of the book is just as new agey as you might expect, but there are some hidden gems in there we really want to try to make. From discussions of historical beer ingredients and the history of brewing to recipes for all kinds of meads and beers, this book has plenty of information to feed your inner beer nerd.

One chapter that might be especially interesting to our readers is the one entitled "Psychotropic and Highly Inebriating Beers." In it you will find recipes for ales containing everything from wormwood to rosemary to sage to something called "gruit." One thing we found interesting about this book is that many of the recipes will send you to your grocery store (or more likely health food store) rather than your local brew shop.

On top of everything else, this book posits that beer can actually be healing and sacred, rather than just a social lubricant and sorrow-drowner, as our society often treats it. Kickass!

At Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation

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