If a year of lockdowns and limited travel taught us anything, it’s that there’s an almost unlimited supply of streaming options available at our fingertips. But now, as many of us take our first steps onto sandy beaches for the first time in almost two years, there’s nothing we’re craving more than a nice, good book to flip through as the sounds of crashing waves and chirping birds fade into the background.
Many drinks lovers have long lamented the lack of good drinks shows on TV, but lucky for us, the literature space is full of delightful options ideal for everyone from history buffs to aspiring mixologists.
Tired of Netflix asking if you’re still watching? Put down the remote and quench your thirst for knowledge with some of the best drinks reads of 2021 so far.
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“Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization”
By Edward Slingerland
Written by philosophy professor Edward Slingerland, “Drunk” explores not only the history of drinking, but also offers a philosophical take on why individuals enjoy being tipsy in the first place. From dispelling misconceptions to citing scientific data and case studies, Slingerhand takes a 360-degree approach to the complexities of intoxication. Release date: June 2021.
“American History Through a Whiskey Glass: How Distilled Spirits, Domestic Cuisine, and Popular Music Helped Shape a Nation”
By Harris Cooper
This newly released book tells the fascinating story of how whiskey shaped America as we know it today. From the Mayflower voyage to Prohibition, author Harris Cooper, Ph.D., a psychology and neuroscience professor at Duke University, explains how whiskey influenced some of the most important moments in U.S. history. The book also includes historical recipes and music playlists for readers to enjoy along with a dram. Release date: June 2021.
“The Big Book of Amaro”
By Matteo Zed
From Aperol to Campari, amari are vital ingredients in some of the world’s most popular and beloved cocktails. This history and recipe book will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about the Italian liqueur, including its origins, how it is made, and how to use it when mixing up drinks. Release date: August 2021.
“A Woman’s Place Is in the Brewhouse: A Forgotten History of Alewives, Brewsters, Witches, and CEOs”
By Tara Nurin
Written by beer guru and VinePair contributor Tara Nurin, this book dispels the masculine stereotypes around beer and details the long history of female brewers throughout time. With gripping prose, Nurin’s celebration of the many historical accomplishments of women in beer goes down as easily as a cold summer lager. Release date: September 2021.
“A Journeyman’s Journey: The Story of Jim McEwan”
By Jim McEwan and Udo Sonntag
Legendary whiskey distiller Jim McEwan tells his life story in this autobiography, which traces his path toward popularizing single-malt whisky and becoming one of the most famous figures in Scotch whisky. Witty, inspiring, and gripping, this makes a great gift for history geeks and whiskey connoisseurs alike. Release date: June 2021.
“The Japanese Art of the Cocktail”
By Masahiro Urushido and Michael Anstendig
This is the first-ever cocktail book from Masahiro Urushido, head bartender at the legendary Greenwich Village bar Katana Kitten, and Michael Anstendig, editor in chief of Hanna Lee Communications.. The new release explores the art of Japanese cocktail-making from the perspective of one of the category’s most acclaimed mixologists, and includes 80 recipes from Japanese bartenders across the globe. Release date: June 2021.
“Art Boozel: Cocktails Inspired by Modern and Contemporary Artists”
By Jennifer Croll
For a fun take on cocktails from the perspective of fashion and art author Jennifer Croll, “Art Boozel” offers unique and inventive recipes inspired by some of the art world’s most famous names. From a tomato-topped Andy Warhol drink to a floral and femme Georgia O’Keefe concoction, this book plays with flavors as much as it does with color and design, making it ideal for topping a coffee table or gifting to the friend with a MoMA membership. Release date: August 2021.
By Robert Simonson
From Robert Simonson — author and drinks writer for The New York Times (and contributor to VinePair) — comes this agave-focused recipe book that’s sure to inspire your next home-bartending experiment. With variations on classic cocktails and inventive, easy-to-craft recipes, this recipe book has something to please any tequila and mezcal enthusiast. Release date: April 2021.
By Chris Colby
By now, you know that hard seltzer is a booming category that’s here to stay. Lucky for homebrewers and enthusiasts, the beverage is surprisingly simple to make. This book, by chemist and pro homebrewer Chris Colby, includes instructions on how to brew your own hard seltzers, plus cocktails and mocktail recipes to make with them. Release date: September 2020.