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3 new drinks books to enjoy this summer

Quench your thirst this summer with these three stunning volumes to guide you.
Quench your thirst this summer with these three stunning volumes to guide you.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Dive into fresh reads about wine, tiki culture and cocktails

The weather is sultry, and we are spending lots of time at home these days. Quench your thirst and up your bartending game with three new books that offer fresh views of wine, the magical world of tiki drinks, and how to make cocktails.

Learn to pair wines with life in "How to Drink Wine," by Grant Reynolds and Chris Stang.
Learn to pair wines with life in "How to Drink Wine," by Grant Reynolds and Chris Stang.

Credit: Courtesy Clarkson Potter

Credit: Courtesy Clarkson Potter

“How to Drink Wine: The Easiest Way to Learn What You Like,” by Grant Reynolds and Chris Stang (Clarkson Potter, $16.99)

Equal parts silly and purposeful, “How to Drink Wine” is a manual for pairing wine with life.

Award-winning sommelier Grant Reynolds and writer Chris Stang (of the Infatuation, a restaurant recommendation service) created this highly readable primer for the novice and veteran wine drinker alike.

Whimsical illustrations and a casual tone accompany origin stories, lists of essential wine terms, favorite producers, relatable pairings, and information on how to decipher a label. You can learn what to bring to a pizza party, a campfire in sweater weather, or the beach, and which wines to pair with spicy food.

From albarino to vermentino, the duo walks you through wines you need to know to possess the confidence to order, and to find your flavor zone. What comes through is that you don’t have to study to enjoy wine. Even so, those who study wine would love to be given this adorable tome.

Tiki drinks don't have to be complicated, as author Chloe Frechette demonstrates  in "Easy Tiki."
Tiki drinks don't have to be complicated, as author Chloe Frechette demonstrates in "Easy Tiki."

Credit: Courtesy Ten Speed Press

Credit: Courtesy Ten Speed Press

“Easy Tiki: A Modern Revival With 60 Recipes,” by Chloe Frechette (Ten Speed Press, $18.99)

With its stunning and vivid photographs, “Easy Tiki” makes a lovely coffee-table book, but it is much more than beautiful.

Chloe Frechette details tiki culture from its inception in the 1930s with torchbearers like Donn Beach (aka Don the Beachcomber) to the modern revival. She instructs how to create the escapist atmosphere at home, and how to build your bar with necessary potions and syrups.

The best part is Frechette’s clever way of demystifying tiki cocktails, with uncomplicated recipes that require no more than six ingredients. She even walks the reader through fashioning the dramatic flourishes and exotic garnishes of signature tiki classics, as well as modern versions, like a Kentucky mai tai with bourbon, mezcal and peach liqueur.

And, with almost prescient timing, the book includes a recipe for a drink known as a quarantine order, with a blend of rums, lime and passion fruit. Until you can visit her list of places to tiki, this book helps you bring the tropical flavors to your home bar.

John deBary's illustrated drinks guide offers clear instructions and a conversational tone that guide the reader looking for an objectively good cocktail.
John deBary's illustrated drinks guide offers clear instructions and a conversational tone that guide the reader looking for an objectively good cocktail.

Credit: Courtesy Clarkson Potter

Credit: Courtesy Clarkson Potter

“Drink What You Want: The Subjective Guide to Making Objectively Delicious Cocktails,” by John deBary (Clarkson Potter, $25)

Veteran New York bartender John deBary (Momofuku, PDT) is on a mission to get people comfortable with drink-making, and becoming a part of the cocktail world. To him, a good cocktail is both objectively and subjectively delicious, and he provides tips on stirring or shaking one.

With illustrations so striking that they first appear to be photographs, clear instructions, and a conversational tone with zero condescension, it’s easy to build the foundation of a cocktail lexicon. The author breaks down objectively good cocktails (think daiquiri, Manhattan) into chapters, from “Classic” to “Lazy” to “Adventurous” (drinks that get you out of your comfort zone).

With deep understanding of how a balance of ingredients makes a delicious drink, deBary also shows how each technically good cocktail has terrific riffs. If you like an Old-Fashioned, try a woodsy mountainside, or a zero-proof Lapsang tea version (there is an entire section on alcohol-free drinks). He even shows a foolproof way to batch martinis that keep in the refrigerator for two weeks.

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