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The Best New Whiskey Books Fall 2014

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

The fall crop of new books includes a great many devoted to one of our favorite tipples: whiskey. How to choose it, how to make it, how to add it to food and drinks and, of course, how to learn all about its rich history. In addition to our established favorites in the whiskey canon (Fred Minnick's Whiskey Women; Clay Risen's American Whiskey, Bourbon and Rye; and Daniel Yaffe's Drink More Whiskey!), here are four nifty newcomers to check out this season.

Pour a dram and enjoy a good read (and check out Drinks Editor Jim Meehan's other favorite new titles right this way).

Whiskey Cocktails, by Warren Bobrow (Fair Winds Press, $23)
"Cocktail whisperer" Bobrow offers 75 classic and contemporary cocktails made with a wide range of whiskeys, and illustrated with thirsty-making photos. I'm ready for a pitcherful of the David Balfour Cocktail right now: Irish whiskey, lemonade, lots of fresh mint and a few dashes of orange bitters.
Ideal for: Home bartenders looking to expand their repertoire.

Fire Water: Experimental Smoked Malts and Whiskeys, by Darek Bell (self-published, $30)
This is the second book by Bell, the owner of uber-experimental Corsair Distillery in Nashville. His first was Alt Whiskeys, which provided "recipes" for making things like Pumpkin Spice Moonshine and Cannabis Whiskey, among others. This follow-up delves into serious (but interesting) minutiae about how to make smoked whiskey—the wood, the herbs, barks and roots, types of smokers and smoking techniques. This is not a book for the average whiskey drinker . . . except for the all-too-brief cocktail section in the back of the book. I can't wait to make a Cold Tot with smoked whiskey, Earl Grey tea and a twist of lemon.
Ideal for: Hard-core whiskey geeks and craft distiller wannabes.

RELATED   Jim Meehan's Favorite New Spirits Books "

Bourbon, Strange: Surprising Stories of American Whiskey, by Charles K. Cowdery (self-published, $23)
Also the author of Bourbon, Straight, Cowdery is at his opinionated best when he's hunting down and debunking myths—and a fair amount of this book is devoted to just that, whether he's flagging which "craft" distillers buy their MGP whiskey from Indiana and, therefore, are not distillers, or disproving the claim that Elijah Craig "invented" bourbon.
Ideal for: Those who love bourbon, history and arguing in equal measure.

Whisky Dreams: Having Your Dram & Eating It Too, by Riannon Walsh (Mill City Press, $19)
As the founder and former organizer of the Whiskies of the World Expo, one of North America's largest consumer whiskey events, Walsh has serious whiskey cred. Although the book weaves in some of Walsh's whiskey-soaked adventures, this is first and foremost a cookbook, with most of the recipes incorporating whiskey. I have mixed feelings about sacrificing even one dram of "sherry-finish single malt" for the Braised Leeks in Mustard Crème, but it does sound mighty tasty.
Ideal for: Ambitious cooks who have a bottle of whiskey on hand.