The Best Spirits Books For Fall 2014

Jim Meehan curates 2014's best spirits books

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

It's Spirits Month! Get in on all the booze-filled fun.

2014 represents a watershed moment for wine and spirits books, with cocktails taking center stage. Never before have this many great books been released during the same calendar year, with so many anticipated titles in the works: The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, by David Wondrich; The NoMad Cookbook with a cocktail guide, by Leo Robitscheck; The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual, by Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry; The Craft Cocktail Party, by Julie Reiner; and Amaro, from Brad Thomas Parsons, are all slated for release between 2015 and 2016.

On the heels of a bumper crop of bar books in 2013, including Jeff Berry's seminal tropical cocktail overview, Potions of the Caribbean, and Amy Stewart's best-selling reference on the role plants play in the glass, The Drunken Botanist, the frame of reference has expanded: Books are covering new categories such as James Rodewald's survey of the pioneering players in craft spirits, American Spirit, and focused even more closely on the drinks themselves, as Robert Simonson does in The Old-Fashioned.


Besides the sheer quantity of books published this year, the quality of the new material is remarkable. Publishers have cast generic overviews of the ABC's of mixing drinks aside for detailed manuals explaining everything from the science behind bar techniques in Dave Arnold's Liquid Intelligence to the systems prolific bars use to write a menu in David Kaplan's Death & Co. Though many were written by and for the pros, guides such as Jeffrey Morgenthaler's The Bar Book are destined to become go-to's for amateurs moving forward.

Cheers to an excellent vintage!