If your dad is a cocktail or beer aficionado, a great Father’s Day gift for him can involve a book that can teach him more about their multifaceted histories. Here are some suggested works of nonfiction that can enhance his understanding of these spirits and suds while perhaps pouring a glass of them.
Co-authored by Michael Anstendig and Masahiro Urushido, this book is described as part memoir, part drinking guide, part travel primer and part recipe book. Collectively, Masahiro shares his first-person perspective on his rise in the bartending world, first in Tokyo and then in New York City, culminating in the opening of Katana Kitten. Featuring 90 recipes by Masahiro and top Japanese and American bartenders, along with Katana Kitten’s bar bites, “The Japanese Art of the Cocktail” deconstructs and demystifies Japan’s unique approach to cocktails by showcasing Japanese whiskies, sake, shochu and a range of global spirits.
Em Sauter has created a fun and informative guide to learning more about craft beer. Sauter’s well-illustrated book breaks down this type of beer’s chronology with storyboards on pages and chapters depicting everything from the basics of craft beer, to its history and then on to the brewing process. Other chapters include beer and food pairings, beer styles in cities and destinations around the world and tips on how to further enjoy a beer.
This book by Emma Janzen covers all things about this spirit that can be produced from about 30 varieties of agave. Janzen goes deep into the lengthy history of mezcal and the craft of its distilling. What is sourced to make mezcal is also well-noted, with a guide to the most common agaves used in this process.
A foremost authority on cocktail history and a founder of the modern craft cocktail movement, David Wondrich’s book honors Jerry Thomas, who has been credited as the father of bartending and the inventor of a flaming whiskey drink called The Blue Blazer. While telling more about Thomas’ story, “Imbibe!” also contains recipes for over 100 drinks, with the list including punches, cocktails and fizzes and additional history and mixology notes. An updated version of this book was released in April 2015.
In his book, William Bostwick goes on a beer-laden journey back in time to bring forth the stories of brewers, and recreate their beers, that seem to have been long forgotten about. Bostwick’s research and writing journey led him to locations such as Sonoma County and South Boston and across the Atlantic to learn more about beer’s ties to medieval monasteries and its production at British brewing factories; he also talks with the historian at Mount Vernon about the task of looking after George Washington’s molasses-based home brew.
Authored by Amy Stewart, this botany meets booze book delves into how flora continue to play an integral role in producing alcohol. Herbs, flowers, trees, fruits and even fungi can all have a part in the mixology experience. “The Drunken Botanist” is concocted with over 50 drink recipes and gardening tips and shares insights on plants that have been involved in fermentation and distilling.
“City Cocktails” Series
Each release in this “City Cocktails” book series from Simon & Schuster centers on major destinations, providing a guide to where to go for a drink and what to order, or how to replicate the setting at home through a collection of related recipes. For example, “New York Cocktails” by Amanda Schuster features variations of the classic Manhattan and Negroni plus tips and techniques from the city’s best mixologists. “Miami Cocktails” by Gabriel Urrutia covers the entire city and its cocktail scene while “New Orleans Cocktails” by Sarah Baird lists the best bars and drinks to try in the Big Easy.
Co-authored by Ana G. Valenzuela-Zapata, the leading agronomist in Mexico’s tequila industry, and Gary Paul Nabhan, a respected ethnobotanist, “Tequila: A Natural and Cultural History” goes beyond this glass of this spirit. The co-authors introduce the natural history, economics, and cultural significance behind the plants cultivated for tequila production. In doing so, they have blended together the subjects of agricultural history, Mescalero anthropology, Aztec mythology and nature-related writing.
While including non-alcoholic beverages, the stories of how beer, wine and spirits have shaped our planet in their own respective ways. “A History of the World in 6 Glasses” author Tom Standage digs deep into these libations have seen their share of time, from the Stone Age up through the 21st century. Standage also points out their cultural significances and impactful developments; among them, urban living and emerging technologies.