The cold months of winter are not far in the future. Christmas presents need to be purchased and a good book is always a welcome gift on those long dark evenings sitting by the fire with a Bourbon. While I do hope that you will consider adding my books, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage and The Bourbon Tasting Notebook to your library, I have several other suggestions as well. Everybody should have a large library of books dealing with whiskey and other spirits. They make the cold dark evenings of winter a bit more tolerable while adding to your education about your favorite distilled spirit.
The first book I want to recommend is Fred Minnick’s Bourbon: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of an American Whiskey from Voyageur Press. This book is a great read filled with well researched history and many great photographs and other graphics. As I was reading this book there were many times I said to myself, ‘I wish I had put that in my book”. This is a fantastic Read by one of my favorite writers and a great book to give as a gift to any Bourbon enthusiast.
Next I have to recommend Tasting Whiskey: An Insider’s Guide to the Unique Pleasures of the World’s Finest Spirits by Lew Bryson. Lew has long been one of my favorite writers on spirits and beer. His book is an excellent guide to learning about many different types of whiskey, how and where they are made and some cocktail recipes for using these whiskeys should you decide that you wanted more than a whiskey neat. It is a very good book and an easy read. It is informative yet not a dry read. Lew is a master of the subject and an entertaining writer.
Next, if you want to learn more about Bourbon cocktails, then I have to recommend Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler’s More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails. This is the sequel to their first cocktail book and contains new recipes created by Joy Perrine with a few recipes submitted from a few other people. In addition to cocktail recipes they have a chapter on using Bourbon in other foods, with recipes for every course of a meal. This is a great book for the mixologist and the chef on your Christmas list.
If you are into something more of the biographical nature for your winter read, then let me suggest Beam Straight Up: The Bold Story of the First Family of Bourbon by Fred Noe with Jim Kokoris or Reflections of Isaac Wolfe Bernheim by I.W. Bernheim. The first book is Fred Noe’s perspective on his career at Jim Beam. I have not finished this book yet but I am finding it both informative and entertaining. The second book is a reprinting and combination of the two autobiographical books I. W. Bernheim wrote in his life time. This is available through the Bernheim Forest gift shop for those wishing to purchase for their library or as a gift. Bernheim lived a long life spanning almost a century. It gives the reader a feel for life in both the 19th century and the early 20th century. From his childhood in Germany to starting business in Paducah, Kentucky to the onset of prohibition and life after the distilling business, it is an interesting read.
I do hope that this list will aid you in your winter reading and gift-giving during the holidays. These are all great books and with the exception of the Bernheim book, readily available in most book stores. Your purchase enriches your knowledge and helps support whiskey writers. Enjoy your books.
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl and Michael Veach