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Best new spirits and cocktail books for winter

From a Bourbon country guide to a history of coffee and alcohol, this season’s book launches are here to help you brush up on your booze knowledge.

Cosy up with a good book in the new year

If you’re looking to expand your expertise on spirits and cocktails, there are a variety of new books coming out this winter that have you covered.

Cocktail lovers searching for a general introduction to essential recipes and techniques can learn the ropes in a new read from drinks expert Olly Smith.

For those hoping to dive into specific spirits, the founders of New York bar The Dead Rabbit share their knowledge of Irish whiskey, while a new guide to mezcal and Tequila gives insight into all things agave.

Read on to discover our picks of the top spirits and cocktail books launching this season – and for more recent releases, check out our picks from autumn.

Home Cocktail Bible by Olly Smith

Release date: November 2021
Price: £20 (US$27.46)

Drinks writer and presenter Olly Smith aims to demystify the art of cocktail making in his latest book. He outlines all the essentials of a great mixed drink, from the best spirits to use, to mixers, syrups and equipment. The book contains clever ‘flavour wheels’ for each spirit, highlighting which ingredients and profiles best suit specific types of booze, and a wide array of excellent cocktail recipes. The guide’s striking photography is the cherry on top.

Spiritual Coffee by Martin Hudak

Release date: November 2021
39 (US$44.65)

Who better to write the book on the intersection of coffee and booze than bartender Martin Hudak? As the co-founder of beloved Sydney bars Maybe Sammy and Maybe Sammy Junior and the ambassador for coffee liqueur brand Mr Black, Hudak is a master of caffeinated cocktails. His new book showcases how coffee and alcohol are inextricably intertwined, delving into their joint history and providing a multitude of creative cocktail recipes marrying the two liquids.

Wildsam Kentucky Bourbon Country

Release date: December 2021
Price: US$20

Travel brand Wildsam’s new guide to Bourbon country is a treat for whiskey lovers. It features stories and reflections on the spirit from top writers; interviews with notable names from the region; and an in-depth plan for the trip of a lifetime through 10 cities. You’ll also find a guide to the Bourbon trail in its pages, and a variety of other must-visit attractions and wonders in the state. This one’s worth a read whether you’re in the midst of planning a whiskey-themed trip, or you’re simply looking for a bit of escapism through the pages of a good book.

Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails by Emanuele Mensah

Release date: December 2021
Price: US$19.95

If your New Year’s resolution is to brush up on your knowledge of agave spirits, Emanuele Mensah’s new book is here to help. The tome explores the intricacies of all things agave, walking the reader through the history of these spirits, their cultural significance, production methods and regulations. Then there’s the recipes – featuring agave-based riffs on classics like the Mezcal Negroni, as well as a wide variety of tinctures and syrups created to bring out the complexities of Tequila and mezcal.

Paddy Drinks: The World of Modern Irish Whiskey Cocktails by Jillian Vose, Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon

Release date: February 2022
Price: US$28

The team behind world-renowned New York City bar The Dead Rabbit – which recently revealed plans to open a third venue – is sharing its secrets to Irish whiskey cocktails in a new book. Paddy Drinks starts with the fundamentals of how Irish whiskey is made, breaking down the spirit’s production method in an illustrated guide and providing insights into the spirit’s different styles and flavours. It then dives into some of the bar’s most beloved Irish whiskey cocktail recipes, so you can make the most of the spirit at home.

The Bartender’s Ultimate Guide to Cocktails by Cheryl Charming

Release date: February 2022
Price: US$22.95

Cheryl Charming has led bar teams and written 15 books on spirits and cocktails – and her latest guide serves as a culmination of her experiences. The bartender’s bible is designed for both cocktail newbies and seasoned experts, featuring everything from basic recipes to little-known anecdotes about mixed drinks and their history. It also boasts a foreword by late bar expert Gary ‘Gaz’ Regan, who authored a number of influential cocktail books himself, including The Joy of Mixology. Charming’s new work is an ideal read for someone looking to immerse themselves in cocktail culture.

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