It is getting to be that time of the year when people are looking for a good book to read while sitting next to a fire on a cold, winter’s night. It may be something they received as a holiday gift or something they picked up while visiting a distillery last summer. I have some suggestions for those looking to give such gifts or while visiting a distillery this fall.
- The first suggestion I have mentioned before: Bourbon justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America by Brian Haara. This book has finally been published and looks and reads better than I described last time. The legal cases are very interesting and he has done an excellent job of illustrating the chapters with documents and labels from the brands involved. Even better, he has placed some tasting notes for these brands at the end of each chapter. It has something for the history geeks like myself, as well as, the people more interested in the whiskey. It is a great read and should be on everyone’s winter reading list. This book is going to be a classic.
- Next, I would suggest Dead Distillers: A history of the Upstarts and Outlaws Who Made American Spirits by Colin Spoelman and David Haskell. They have visited the grave sites of many distillers and researched the lives of these distillers. They are very short histories that in most cases little more than the distiller’s obituary, but still a very informative and fun read.
- Keeping with the historical theme here the next book I would recommend is Moonshiners and Prohibitionists: The Battle Over Alcohol in Southern Appalachia by Bruce E. Stewart. The author seems to be more sympathetic to the prohibitionists than the alcohol producers, but it is still a very interesting read about moonshining in western North Carolina in the late 19th century. It is well worth reading for those who want to understand more about the Prohibition movement of that period.
- For those interested in tasting notes, you might find The Bourbon Bible: The Complete Low-Down on the Spirit of America by Eric Zandona. This book was published in Great Britain but the author seems to have done most of his research on the west coast of the United States – San Francisco in particular. It is a very well organized book of 140 Bourbons with tasting notes and a brief history of each brand tasted. I like the book and find his notes interesting.
- Finally for those interested in mixology and cocktails let me recommend The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale Degroff. It is a very well organized book that has something for every level on cocktails. It has plenty of recipes but also chapters discussing different spirits and mixers for cocktails and the tools of the trade. I find the glossary well worth the price of the book. When I am unfamiliar with a spirit I can usually find it in this book.
Here are five books to look for this year’s reading. I hope that you find this helpful when looking for something to read, but remember there are many excellent books out there that are well worth reading.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller