Sother Teague I'm Just Here for the Drinks
Photo by Eric Medsker

Let the record show that 2018 proved to be a banner year for cocktail books. From recipe collections by respected industry figures to wonky deep dives on particular spirits, these tomes provided countless hours of good reading and attractive visuals. So, if you want to shake up your reading list or pass the time on a cold winter night, these books are here for you.

But considering that now is the season of gifts, these fine reads can also help you cross some people off your holiday shopping list. So below, you’ll find 12 new gift-worthy books that deserve a place on every drinker’s bookshelf—even if that drinker is you.

I’m Just Here For The Drinks by Sother Teague

I'm Just Here for the Drinks by Sother Teague

Sother Teague, beverage director at NYC’s Amor Y Amargo, stamps his personality onto every page of this energetic tour through spirit categories and cocktails old and new—including the one pictured at top. The recipes it contains are accessible enough for greenhorn drinkers to attempt, but feature twists that will capture the imagination of seasoned bar hands too.

The Aviary Cocktail Book by Grant Achatz, Nick Kokonas and Allen Hemberger

Aviary Cocktail Book

It was only a matter of time before the budding Aviary empire found its way into print, and its 440 glossy pages are as close to art-book territory as it gets. The book covers 115 cocktail recipes, including 20 recipes from bar-within-a-bar The Office.

Drinking Like Ladies by Misty Kalkofen and Kirsten Amann

Drinking Like Ladies

This tribute to women behind the stick comes from Misty Kalkofen and Kirsten Amann, two Boston-area bartenders and cocktail writers. The duo’s volume collects recipes from female mixologists across the world, accompanied by toasts to great (yet not always known) women throughout history.

Nightcap by Kara Newman

Nightcap by Kara Newman

In her latest book, prolific drinks writer Kara Newman covers more than 40 cocktails to close out the evening. You know the kind—those drinks that taste best when the sun’s down, whether you’re hoping to end a meal, drift off to sleep, or keep the night going until the next morning. Classics like the Brandy Alexander are featured alongside original concoctions, and it’s all contained in a very gift-friendly package, complete with gold foil accents.

Meehan’s Bartender Manual by Jim Meehan

Meehan's Bartender Manual

We don’t care that it was technically published in late-2017, because Meehan’s Bartender Manual—pitched as a modern update to Jerry Thomas’s The Bar-Tenders Guide—is one of the best books about making, serving, and consuming drinks. The book’s intended audience is those who work in or operate bars (for instance, there’s a 42-page chapter on bar design), but laypeople who take the dive will never look at a bar the same way again.

Aperitif by Kate Hawkings

Aperitif by Kate HawkingsThe ascendance of the low-ABV cocktail continues with Aperitif by Kate Hawkings, which details the history of the pre-meal cocktail and includes 50 recipes to craft your own. The author also looks at the science of why these drinks work so well as appetizers, explores everything from amaro and Campari to classic spritzes, and provides serving suggestions for each kind of booze.

150 Bars You Have to Visit Before You Die by Jurgen Lijcops

150 Bars to Visit Before You Die

This memento mori from Antwerp-based sommelier Jurgen Lijcops is light on prose but heavy on eye candy. Gorgeous photos of glitzy bars from Venice to Mumbai may have you working on your bucket list—or lingering over the coffee table. It’s not all glam, however: you’ll also find a smattering of cocktail recipes accompanied by similarly beautiful photography.

Japanese Whisky by Brian Ashcroft

Japanese Whisky by Brian Ashcraft

Whether you’ve got a bottle of Nikka 21 stashed away or just picked up your first bottle of Suntory Toki, you’ll find something new in Japan-based journalist Brian Ashcroft’s tour through Japanese whisky. In addition to covering the industry’s history and methodology, the work also features first-hand accounts from its major figures and newly translated scorings from whisky blogger Yuji Kawasaki.

Northern Hospitality by Andrew and Briana Volk

Northern Hospitality Book | Bevvy

Anyone who’s ever passed a night at the weird and wonderful Portland Hunt + Alpine Club can try bottling the Maine-meets-Scandinavia magic at home, thanks to this new release from owners Andrew and Briana Volk. It’s as much a cocktail book as it is a cookbook, covering everything from their signature Espresso Martini to gravlax, plus digressions on oyster pairing, bonfire building, and—of course—Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy.

The Joy of Mixology, Revised and Updated Edition by Gary Regan

The Joy of Mixology updated edition

Since The Joy of Mixology’s 2003 publication, the cocktail world has passed through what feels like several epochs. The golden-fingered Gary Regan has updated his now-classic text accordingly, revising existing recipes, adding new ones, and opining on what’s happened since the craft cocktail movement reached critical mass.

Cocktail Codex by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald and David Kaplan

Cocktail Codex Book

The Death & Co. team returned to print with Cocktail Codex, a graph-heavy volume organized around “root cocktails” and their variations. For instance, flip to a page about the Old-Fashioned, and you’ll find a visual connecting it to more than three dozen cocktails, plus the page numbers where you can find each recipe.

Drinking With Saint Nick by Michael Foley

Drinking With Saint Nick

Michael Foley is a Catholic theologian at Baylor University, which happens to be a dry school. Understandably, he escapes all that piety by heading off campus to research and write about drinking. His first work matched up drinks to all the major saints and liturgical seasons. His newest book, Drinking with Saint Nick, pairs drinks (beer, wine, and spirits) with every day of the advent calendar, the 12 days of Christmas, and even the Epiphany season. Take the Smoking Rosemary Old-Fashioned, which he suggests for December 18, the traditional Feast of the Expectation of the Virgin Mary in Spain. It’s a cocktail made with Redemption Rye (for a little extra deliverance) and a flamed sprig of dried rosemary. — Jeff Dufour

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