Here’s 9 of this year’s best boozy books


2014 has been a great year for boozy reading, with a number of great books that ought to find their way to your bookshelf. Here’s nine of the best that we looked at this year.


Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean

by Jeff Berry

The definitive guide to all things tiki can be none other than Mr Jeff “Beachbum” Berry —  he’s singlehandedly uncovered more lost and forgotten tiki recipes than we’ve had Mai Tais (and we’ve had a few).


He’s turned his efforts in his latest book to the drinks of the Caribbean in particular. We’ve heard him describe the creator of the Swizzle as none other than Christopher Columbus, because it was he who introduced sugar and lime to the Caribbean.

The book seeks to chronicle some 500 years of boozy Caribbean history and puts it in its own place and time.

We’ve also heard that the Bum is setting up a tiki bar in New Orleans which, with any luck, will be open for the annual pilgrimage to Tales of the Cocktail.

To pick up a copy visit 


The Old-Fashioned: The story of the world’s first classic cocktail

by Robert Simonson

It is the simplest of cocktails — and the oldest — but arguably one of the hardest to master. And thanks to the likes of one Donald Draper, the Old Fashioned has gained a new currency in the popular imagination.

Drinks writer Robert Simonson explores the history of this esteemed drink in The Old-Fashioned: The story of the world’s first classic cocktail. He traces its story, from the early days of the drink all the way through to Prohibition and beyond. He writes that his first introduction to the drink was through his mother, as it was her drink of choice, and includes a slew of different recipes for it.

Simonson writes about drinks for The New York Times, Imbibe, and GQamong others, so he’s got a pretty good grasp on what makes a good drink (you may have seen him interviewed in the movie, Hey Bartender, too).

Buy it online at


Liquid Intelligence: The Art & Science of the Perfect Cocktail

by Dave Arnold

Over the years, there’s been one website we’ve referred to more than most when it comes to settling drunken arguments about whether this shake is better than that one, which ice to use when, etc, etc. That site was a blog called, and was written by Nils Noren and Dave Arnold.

Arnold has since moved away from the more cheffy aspects of his previous work at New York’s French Culinary Institute tech blog, and has taken his scientific approach and tech-wizardry to set up Booker & Dax, next to Momofuku’s Ssam Bar in the NYC’s East Village.

And now he’s turned his experience and expertise into a book on booze, called Liquid Intelligence: the Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail.

Arnold gives tips on equipment, the science behind ice and chilling cocktails, rapid infusions, nitro muddling, and a whole lot more.

It’s guaranteed to be an indispensable book for those bartenders looking to explore the high-tech world of contemporary drinks.

You can get it at


Shaken & Stirred, Flamed & Thrown: Cocktails Done the Eau de Vie Way

by Sven Almenning & the Eau de Vie Team

With leading bars in both Melbourne and Sydney, the guys from Eau de Vie certainly know a thing or two about cocktails. You can now get your hands on a bit of that knowledge — along with some killer cocktail recipes and cracking photography — in the handsome form of Shaken & Stirred, Flamed & Thrown: Cocktails Done the Eau de Vie Way.

You can grab a copy online at


The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique

by Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Jeffrey Morgenthaler is a name that is familiar to most bartenders who have been around a while and have browsed, googled and scraped the interwebs for precious nuggets of cocktail history, recipes, and tips. He is behind the informative blog, jeffreymorgenthaler.comin which he writes about everything to do with drinks — from recipes to history, to more utilitarian topics like the best shoes to wear on a long bar shift. He is also the bar manager at Clyde Common in Portland (which, incidentally, took out the win for Best American Hotel Bar at this year’s Spirited Awards) and writes a drinks column for Playboy. See, we really do read it for the articles.

And now, figuring there was a dearth of material on bartending technique (as opposed to the great ocean of recipe books out there), he has written and released The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique. On his website, Morgenthaler describes the book as ”a book that shows you exactly how a professional bartender does every last thing pertaining to the making of a quality cocktail, from handling citrus, to exploring simple and compound syrups, to shaking, stirring, infusing, garnishing, and even using a blender in the proper way.”

You can pick up a copy on Amazon (of course) or through Cocktail Kingdom’s American site.


Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best-Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes  

by Talia Baiocchi

You know that sherry is a thing, right? Well, to be more precise: sherry has returned. And a new book, Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best-Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes by Talia Baiocchi, not only charts the return of sherry to its rightful place in the bartender’s armoury, but also delves into the history of this unique wine.

In the book, Baiochi outlines how sherry is made and the different styles of sherry you can sip on; she’s also spent time in Jerez (and to read more about Jerez, take a look at Tim Philips’ account here) and in the book explores the three sherry producing areas of Jerez. It’s the kind of knowledge — written without the winewank, by the way — that’s difficult to pull together by just cruising the web.

To get a copy of the book, try hitting up Amazon.


Proof: The Science of Booze

by Adam Rogers

You’re a bit of a booze geek, right? So it makes sense to show you this new book from Wired magazine writer Adam Rogers. Proof: The Science of Booze, looks at booze as would a scientist, delving into not just how your favourite fermented beverages are made, but also the science and psychology behind taste and why we drink. It’s science.

Available at good book stores, or online at Amazon.


Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails

There’s a few New York bars that can lay claim to influencing the bartending industry globally, and this one, Death & Co., is one of the most famous.

The East Village bar has been a favourite of bartenders from around the world and long been a required stop on the bartending pilgramage to New York. They’ve had some pretty influential bartenders step behind the stick since they opened, with names like Phil Ward, Joaquin Simo, Thomas Waugh and Toby Cecchini all passing through.

Both New York’s PDT and Employees Only have spawned cocktail books, and the trend of New York bars releasing their own cocktail books continues with the release of Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails.

Boasting some 500 recipes, stories from the bar, and all the info on technique and tips you could hope for, the book is now available for sale from


Tasting Whiskey: an insider’s guide to the unique pleasures of the world’s finest spirits

by Lew Bryson

Bryson has written for Whisky Advocate in the US for the better part of two decades, and he sure knows his stuff. The great thing about this book, though, is the accessible way in which he writes and the clear way the book is structured.

If you want to get geeky about things, Bryson can do that. He gets into what barley really is, gives you a good insight into why peat tastes different from different places (it’s the different plants that grow in different places that imparts their unique character), and discusses the attributes of rye and corn. He steps the reader through fermentation, cooking the mash, and each step in the whisky-making process.

Tasting Whiskey has something for those new to whisky because of the way Bryson writes. It’s accessible, conversational, and doesn’t seek to intimidate the novice. Yet if you’ve already got an interest in whisky there’s so much in here that even more hardened whisky fans will come across things they didn’t know. We certainly plan to spend some more time with the book over a few drams.

You can pick up a copy of Tasting Whiskey at bookstores around the country or online at

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