Freelance Food & Drinks Writer

Read, Shake, Sip…

Cocktail book reviews are usually pretty simple. Look over the list of 15 or 20 titles published in the past year, request review copies of maybe a dozen, then quickly trim the reviewable list to half a dozen. Not this go-round.

There are a lot of good writers doing good work out there, and today’s sampling in the Kansas City Star was just that—a sample. Here are some more cocktails and spirits books well worth tracking down:

Spice & IceKara Newman writes and reviews spirits for Wine Enthusiast and contributes to other notable publications, and her book takes the spicy cocktail idea further than I thought it would go. She’s clearly an expert, and a good writer, and nice to boot, as I discovered after meeting her at a conference in Austin earlier this month.

Japanese Cocktails—When I met Yuri Kato during the 2006 Kentucky Bourbon Festival, she mentioned she was writing a book about Japanese cocktails. It turned out to be as educational as it is entertaining. If you want to know what’s going on behind the Japanese bar, and how you can replicate it at home, this is your book.

Rum Drinks—Jessica Harris’s book is packed with history, legend and recipes. These are no umbrella drinks, mind you, even though one or two do sport umbrellas in the photos. They’re full-on cocktails, made with distinctive and stylish rums and fresh produce. Can’t find orgeat or falernum? She’s got recipes for those, too.

Speakeasy—This from the boys at Employees Only, one of those modern-day New York speakeasies you hear people talking about. I haven’t made any of their c0cktails (so much easier to go to Manifesto, or Grunauer, or any one of Kansas City’s other bar do this kind of thing so very well). But the book is fun to read and delivers a measure of insight into the reimagined classic cocktail.

Zero-Proof CocktailsThe book to buy if you want to make fresh, complex craft cocktails without alcohol.