Springtime sipping: 5 new drinks books to discover

Stir up a drink and hit the porch with 5 new drinks books.
Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

caption arrowCaption
Stir up a drink and hit the porch with 5 new drinks books. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Credit: Angela Hansberger

From low-proof cocktails, to classic guides on whiskey, and a virtual trip around the world via cocktail recipes, spring has sprung a new crop of sloshy tomes on us. Stir up a drink, hit the porch and flip through these beautiful pages.

ExploreCocktail and beer news

Booze Cruise: A Tour of the World’s Essential Mixed Drinks,” by André Darlington (Running Press, $24)

Dedicated to the bartenders who always made Darlington feel at home while traveling, this pretty-as-a-postcard book, published April 13, is like that slide show of travel photos your grandparents made you sit through, only thrilling. With more than 40 cities represented, he describes the drink scene in each locale, how to navigate it well, and the probable flavors that will make their way into your glass. Start with a kopstoop in Amsterdam and toast with a horilka in Kyiv. Included are snacking recipes to pair with the cocktails you mix at home.

caption arrowCaption
Stefan Gabanyi's whiskey compendium is as thorough a lexicon as it is elegantly handsome. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Stefan Gabanyi's whiskey compendium is as thorough a lexicon as it is elegantly handsome. 
Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

caption arrowCaption
Stefan Gabanyi's whiskey compendium is as thorough a lexicon as it is elegantly handsome. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Schumann’s Whisk(E)y Lexicon,” by Stefan Gabanyi (Rizzoli, $39.95)

The elegant style of this compact book, with black-edged glossy pages and cloth binding, is what first grabs your attention. Inside is a dictionary-esque organization of whiskies — Scotch, single malt, blends, Irish, bourbon, rye, Canadian and world styles — along with charming illustrations. First published 20 years ago, this stunning guide was revamped to include German distilleries, Japanese whiskies, the world’s largest whiskey market in India, and the many small craft distilleries of the U.S. There are 544 pages of detailed descriptions by whiskey expert Gabanyi, of Schumann’s Bar in Munich. The volume is rounded out with a glossary of technical terms, distilling techniques, ingredient variations, and serving and storing tips.

caption arrowCaption
Margarett Waterbury's writing on Scotch is as authentic and transportive as a peaty dram from the isle of Skye. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Margarett Waterbury's writing on Scotch is as authentic and transportive as a peaty dram from the isle of Skye.
Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

caption arrowCaption
Margarett Waterbury's writing on Scotch is as authentic and transportive as a peaty dram from the isle of Skye. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Scotch: A Complete Introduction to Scotland’s Whiskies,” by Margarett Waterbury (Sterling Epicure, $24.95)

This lovely book is mesmerizing from the introduction, when Waterbury writes how Scotch has the ability to “transform a mundane moment into something memorable.” Her writing is approachable, yet extremely knowledgeable — valuable to both the novice and the avid Scotch collector. It is a reference book, but it is written in short bursts that are as fun to explore as the whiskies themselves. The first part focuses on fundamentals — history, whisky-making processes and appreciation, with a timeline spanning from 4000 BC in Mesopotamia to now. The second half showcases 200-plus Scotch profiles and tasting notes, without a hint of condescension. There are no numberings or stars, only frank descriptions. Also included are “playlists,” like essential bottles, those worth the splurge, great values, choices good for beginners, those great with chocolate and gift whiskies.

The Low-Proof Happy Hour: Real Cocktails Without the Hangover,” by Jules Aron (Countryman Press, $18.95)

Holistic health and wellness coach Aron gets the reader to think about stronger spirits as seasoning, building a cocktail using botanicals, spices and even teas. For example, spirits like amari and sherry help to balance high-proof components. Her recipes play off the flavors of classics, to create drinks that are around 20 proof (10% alcohol by volume). Aron breaks up the book with classic low-proof cocktails, and tells how to low-proof favorites and make big batches. Also included are fresh recipes, including some from notable bartenders. You’ll find all the ceremony, with less of a liquor punch. Making Aron’s sakura syrup from cherry blossoms might become a springtime tradition.

caption arrowCaption
Author Jules Aron instructs home bartenders how to build cocktails with less of a liquor punch in her book The Low-Proof Happy Hour. Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Credit: Handout

Author Jules Aron instructs home bartenders how to build cocktails with less of a liquor punch in her book The Low-Proof Happy Hour.
Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Credit: Handout

caption arrowCaption
Author Jules Aron instructs home bartenders how to build cocktails with less of a liquor punch in her book The Low-Proof Happy Hour. Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Zero Proof: 90 Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking,” by Elva Ramirez (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22)

In this thoroughly researched book, published April 13, food journalist Elva Ramirez dives into how we socialize and drink. From the history of temperance to the mocktail and now “zero proof,” drinks, she tracks the evolution of drinking in moderation. Recipes are from renowned bartenders, who make sophisticated nonalcoholic drinks, not just re-creations of cocktails. Recipes are organized by categories, including bright and refreshing, fruity and floral, vegetal and savory, tangy and tropical, and rich and decadent. Vivid photography is paired with recipes, such as beet wine from Eamon Rockey of New York City’s Betony.

ExploreA harvest of fresh drink books

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.

About the Author

Editors' Picks