The Holidays will be upon us shortly and there is always the question as to what to give to the Bourbon enthusiast in the family. A good book is always a great gift. Since I hope that my books, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage and The Bourbon tasting Notebook are already in their library, let me make some added suggestions.
If the person is a cook as well as a Bourbon drinker, then The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook by Albert W.A. Schmid is a classic. It won the Gourmand Award the year it was published. It is filled with many great recipes for both cooking and cocktails. The recipes are divided by season so holiday classics are found in winter while picnic favorites are in the summer. It is a great book to add to a Bourbon library.
If the person is interested in coming to Kentucky to explore Bourbon in person, then let me recommend Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide by Susan Reigler. The book has all of the information needed to visit the distilleries but also includes many other suggestions such as where to stay in the region, where to eat near the distilleries and locations of Bourbon related businesses such as cooperages or candy makers. The book is excellently illustrated with photographs by Pam Spalding. It is an excellent gift for anyone coming to explore the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
The recipient of the gift might want to learn more about distillation and appreciation of Bourbon. While this book is not about Bourbon, the author Hubert Germain-Robin is a brandy distiller and his book Traditional Distillation: Art & Passion is still an excellent read. He explores the history and process of making brandy in a pot still as well as how to explore and appreciate the taste of the spirit. Everything he writes about can be applied to Bourbon or any other distilled spirit to some degree. This one is an excellent book and an easy read.
Finally I think everyone loves a good history and I have two suggestions. The first is Prohibition in Bardstown by Hibbs and Settles. The book looks at prohibition from many angles. The authors look at the distilleries and brands and how prohibition affected them as well as bootlegging and the other unsavory side of prohibition. It is well illustrated and another easy read.
The other history I suggest is also prohibition themed. It is King of the Bootleggers: A Biography of George Remus by William A. Cook. Remus is an interesting character in the history of prohibition and the book is well written and documented with a few illustrations throughout the book. It will give the reader an idea of the life of a prohibition era crime lord and his murder of his wife that ended his career in bootlegging.
Photos Courtesy of Michael Veach