8 Alcohol Books that Make Great Gifts

We compiled a number of noteworthy books about alcohol that you should checkout this holiday season — or gift to that special drinks enthusiast in your life.

Cocktails of the Movies

Prestel, October 2015

By Will Francis and Stacey Marsh

$19.95

Drink like your favorite movie characters with Cocktails of the Movies. From Groundhog Day, it’s Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks with a Twist. From A Clockwork Orange, a Moloko Plus. Imbibe a White Russian like the Dude, Jeff Bridges, from The Big Lebowski, or kick back and savor some Mississippi Punch with Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This journey through 64 cocktails of the silver screen is ideal for both movie buffs and mixologists, or anyone looking to pair an occasion with a fine beverage. Featuring recipes and original illustrations, this book also serves up trivia about the genesis of each drink and its role within each film’s plot. It also covers the basics of preparing, garnishing and serving cocktails in style.

Gin: The Manual

Michell Beazley, October 2015

By Dave Broom

$19.99

Author and whiskey expert Dave Broom has turned his attention to gin for this book. In recent years, gin has shed its old-fashioned image and been reborn as a hot, hip spirit, the author says. The number of brands increases every day as bartenders and consumers are now beginning to re-examine gin as a quality base spirit for drinks both simple and complex. Gin: The Manual looks at what makes the spirit special, and how to get the most out of the brands you buy. It explains what gin is and how it’s made; the botanicals typically used and how they impact flavor; and the difference between Dutch, London, Scottish, Spanish and American gins. The book covers 120 gins, and includes myriad drink recipes.

Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2016

Michell Beazley, September 2015

By Hugh Johnson

$16.99

The 39th edition of the iconic, best-selling book has been fully updated and expanded with the aid of Hugh Johnson’s many trusted global contributors. The guide, which includes a color supplement that focuses on riesling, provides news on more than 6,000 wines, as well as regions, vintages and growers from around the world. The 2016 Pocket Wine Book also offers maps, grape varieties, tips on foods and wine pairings, a report on the 2014 vintage, a closer look at the 2013 vintage, as well as notes on China and the Old Russian Empire. It also features recommendations on top wines to seek out, and what to cellar and what to drink now, suggestions based on taste preferences and grape types, along with Johnson’s top 200 favorite wines from the past two months.

Cuban Cocktails

Sterling Epicure, October 2015

By Ravi DeRossi, Jane Danger and Alla Lapushchik

$24.95

From the Cuban rum bar Cienfuegos in New York comes this collection of 100 recipes that celebrate the island’s rich history and culture. Cuban Cocktails naturally covers classics such as the Cuba Libre, El Floridita Daiquiri and Mojito; plus a bevy of punch recipes; new takes on familiar favorites, like the Isla Tea, Por Avion and Rum Old Fashioned; and modern craft concoctions, including the Havana Harbor Special, Imperial Fizz, and One Hundred Fires. With images of the drinks and details on where they were created, the book sheds light on Cuba’s cocktail history, its legendary bars and the famous cantineros who ran them. The notes, tips and tricks also help readers create a taste of this once-forbidden Caribbean Island. Bienvenidos a Cienfuegos!

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The Craft Beer Bites Cookbook

Adams Media, September 2015

By Jacquelyn Dodd

$19.99

Jacquelyn Dodd presents 100 gourmet recipes that use craft beer as a main ingredient. Her previous work, The Craft Beer Cookbook, has been featured on Parade.com, MensFitness.com, CraftBeer.com, and Paste magazine. The Craft Beer Bites Cookbook brings brewpub grub right into readers’ kitchens with recipes and four-color photographs. From Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Dip, to Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Chocolate Stout Cream Cheese Frosting, every recipe captures the complex notes and flavors of a perfectly balanced brew, the author says. Other recipes include Hawaiian IPA Pulled-Pork Sliders, Belgian Ale Marinated Steak Crostini with IPA Chimichurri, and Peanut Butter Stout Mousse-Topped Brownies.

The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All

Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

October 2015

By Richard Betts

$22

Craft distilleries are popping up every day, offering a wealth of great choices to consumers—and just as many puzzlements. Does the introduction of a simple “e” to go from whisky to whiskey mean anything? What’s Canadian whisky anyway? And what about the whiskeys of Scotland, Japan and Ireland? Betts boils down his know-how, cooling our “brown-sweat” anxieties and dividing whiskey into three simple categories: Grain, Wood and Place. Betts makes the learning easy, through a nasal romp, helping us figure out which kinds we love best. The guide’s illustrations and scratch-and-sniff scents (such as vanilla, sandalwood, grass) help would-be conoisseurs learn their personal whiskey preferences.

The Wine Bible

Workman Publishing Co., October 2015

By Karen MacNeil

$16.99

Karen MacNeil’s wine guide has been completely revised for its second edition, with updates on every wine region, hundreds of new wines and all new maps and photos. While researching the second edition, MacNeil traveled the world and tasted more than 10,000 wines. She discovered new trends and explored emerging wine regions, such as China, along with new wine producers in Europe and South and Central America. At over 1,000 pages, The Wine Bible delivers history, geography, grape varieties and how they profoundly affect a wine’s character; how to taste with focus and build a wine-tasting memory; traditional, tried-and-true food pairings for the varietals of every major wine region. It also covers choosing glassware, how to read a label and the right way to store wine, and more.

The Beer Bible

Workman Publishing Co., August 2015

By Jeff Alworth

$10.99

The Beer Bible is the result of years of research spanning more than 17,000 miles, six countries and 52 breweries. Complete with detailed photographs, maps, infographics and lively writing, The Beer Bible weighs in at just under 700 pages. Author Jeff Alworth covers the four beer famlies—ales, lagers, wheat beers, and tart and wild ales—each with in-depth profiles of more than 100 styles, from IPA to lambic, porter to pilsner, sahti to saison. A helpful “if you like X, try Y” feature directs readers to new beer discoveries based on preferences. The Beer Bible also includes virtual tours of 18 of the world’s most fascinating, innovative and storied breweries; and a primer on food pairings that includes the “three Cs”—complement, contrast or cut.

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