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One of my pre-pandemic joys was sitting in a cocktail bar reading a book. I was able to enjoy the atmosphere of the bar, a delicious cocktail and a wonderful book. Even better if it’s outside on a night that’s a bit too hot…
Between the pandemic and my 2020 pregnancy, cocktails were no longer on the table. Now I’ve started trying to make some at home, starting with my favorite cocktail, the Pisco Sour. As a result, cocktail books are golden for trying to replicate my favorite cocktails or trying to find exciting new flavors at home. Plus, it’s a great way to learn more about the history of mixology. Here’s a list of five recent cocktail books to sharpen your palette.
The Alchemist’s Cocktail Book: Master the dark arts of mixology by The Alchemist (01/09/21)
I’m really excited about this cocktail book because it’s from my favorite cocktail bar in the world: The Alchemist in London, England. Imagine all the best parts of molecular gastronomy applied to beverages, but in a much more affordable and accessible way. They enjoy creating exciting and delicious drinks, using the many chemical tools in their arsenal to make drinks fun. My favorite involves something that looks like a Bunsen burner, smoke, and two teacups. I’m excited for what they’re going to share in the book. There will be a chapter on chemistry and drama, so that’s exciting. I may not use torches at home, but it will be fun to see what we can do!
The Japanese art of cocktails by Masahiro Urushido (6/01/21)
Award-winning Urushido shares his incredible knowledge of Japanese cocktails in his first cocktail book. He was behind Katana Kitten, a Japanese cocktail bar in New York that won awards for its work. This book contains 80 recipes that highlight the incredible Japanese cocktails. It also contains discussions of beverage making techniques and beautiful photographs.
Gotham City Cocktails: Official Craft Food and Drinks from The World of Batman by André Darlington and Ted Thomas
Some people want to be Batman, while others want to drink like him. Or rather drink like us too in the world of Gotham. This is the first official cocktail book and has just been released with 70 recipes based on characters from the world of Batman, including Commissioner Gordon. I didn’t know I wanted Rose Mojito from Poison Ivy or The Batman. Enjoy your love of the DC world with these delicious cocktails.
Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails by Shannon Mustipher
This award-winning book is for all tiki lovers. It’s a combination of drink recipes, beautiful photography, tech tips, and even mood-setting. Mustipher said in a Alcohol interview: “The main objective of the book is to demystify Tiki by focusing on ingredients and flavors. I want the reader to feel confident in their knowledge of the ingredients and how to apply them in a cocktail. Mustipher was the drinks manager at Gladys, now closed. It is also advertised as “the first cocktail cookbook written by a working African-American bartender and published by a major publisher in over 100 years” by the Los Angeles Time 2019.
Spirits, sugar, water, bitters: How the cocktail conquered the world by Derek Brown and Robert Yule
The book takes its name from Harry Coswell, editor of several Federalist newspapers: “The cock’s tail, then, is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of every kind, sugar, water and bitters” in 1806. If you can’t tell, this book really likes to dive into the history of cocktails, dating back from the Paleolithic era to the present day. Most chapters end with a period-specific cocktail like Fish House Punch, a popular drink of President George Washington and his contemporaries. Full disclosure: Derek Brown is the teacher for my Atlas Obscura class and it has been quite enjoyable. As a historian, I appreciate getting a lesson in the history of cocktails in America.
Want more cocktail books? Here is a list of the best books for finding summer drinks and 10 books for alcohol-loving nerds.