Top 10 drinks books for Christmas 2017
Good Together: Drink & Feast with Mr Lyan & Friends – Ryan Chetiyawardana
Ryan Chetiyawardana – aka Mr Lyan – is the founder of Dandelyan on the Southbank – recently voted ‘world’s best bar’ at Tales of the Cocktail, and Super Lyan in Hoxton.
His second book was released earlier this year and focuses on food and cocktail pairings.
While Chetiyawardana offers many of his own cocktail recipes, he has enlisted the help of some high profile friends to provide some culinary inspiration.
Among the chefs featured are Nuno Mendes from Chiltern Firehouse, James Lowe of Lyle’s, Nieves Barragán Mohacho of Barrafina, the Roca brothers of El Celler de can Roca and Isaac McHale of The Clove Club.
Cork Dork – Bianca Bosker
For anyone that has worked in the wine trade, or has a fascination with the world of the sommelier, Bianca Bosker’s debut Cork Dork is sure to delight.
Bosker, a tech journalist, knew little of the world of wine before delving into writing this novel, making her first impressions of the wine trade and the characters that inhabit it all the more genuine and endearing.
The crux of its premise is Bosker’s real life journey to understand the passion and drive embodied by the sommelier, to discover just why a bottle of wine can spark such interest and ultimately if she too could become a cork dork.
As part of this mission, Bosker boldly ventures into New York City with a neuroscientist’s MRI machine to meet sommeliers at top restaurants, attends underground wine tastings and mass market wineries.
A blast for anyone with even a slight insight into the industry, and for those looking in wondering what it’s all about.
Meehan’s Bartender Manual – Jim Meehan
Since moving to New York in 2002, Jim Meehan has become one the city’s, and indeed the world’s, best known mixologists.
In 2007 he partnered with Crif Dogs founder Brian Shebairo to open PDT (Please Don’t Tell), a hidden cocktail lounge attached to the legendary East Village hot dog stand.
Now, in his new book, Meehan is sharing the knowledge he has acquired over the years, producing a manual for the bartender, filled with words of wisdom, ticks of the trade, with sections dedicated to the history of bartending, menu development, mixing technique and how to best manage and maintain cocktail bar.
The Modern Cocktail: Innovation + Flavour – Matt Whiley
Known for some of the most weird and wacky cocktail garnishes in London, Matt Wiley – AKA The Talented Mr Fox – is the man behind Peg + Patriot and Scout.
Another tome aimed specifically at bartenders, The Modern Cocktail idea for professional mixologists and enthusiasts with a sense of adventure.
Split into section by spirit, The Modern Cocktail features some of Peg + Patriot’s best known serves, including the Marmite Martini and Monster Munch Gisbon, as well as advice on how to forage for cocktail ingredients, make your own syrups and food pairing tips.
Distillery Cats – Brad Thomas Parsons
For the spirit-drinking cat lover in your life, we bring you Distillery Cats – a rundown of the most beloved, charismatic, fearless and photogenic felines, past and present, working to keep the distillery mouse free.
Although those hoping for a picture book stuffed with cats might be disappointed, this book explores the historical role of distillery cats and their evolution to brand ambassadors, with illustrations dotted throughout.
The book features profiles of 30 of the world’s most revered distillery cats, collated by James Beard and Brad Thomas Parsons throughout the use of interviews, hand-drawn portraits and a trading card-style stat sheets.
Among the stars are Sugar Maple from Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery in Nashville and Cooper from Albany Distilling Company in New York.
The Art of Whisky – Jon Purcell
Spiorad Publishing has published what it calls the “ultimate” whisky connoisseur’s coffee table book, The Art In Whisky, with two limited editions.
A photographic collection of the spirits by award-winning photographer Jon Purcell, the book closely examines whisky including its history, traditions and production. From grain to bottle, and all points in between, whisky connoisseurs are taken on an odyssey from whisky’s Celtic spiritual home, then across seas and continents to investigate its production, look behind the scenes and meet the characters involved in crafting the spirit in Japan and Australia.
Each copy is litho printed on vellum uncoated paper, featuring a suite of luxurious finishes. This allows allows every page to lay completely flat, unencumbered by a gutter, no matter where the book is opened.
Available in copper edition and black edition, the former is limited to just 250 hand-numbered copies, the 256 page volume is hand-bound in leather and burnished copper.
The book includes a forward by Master Distiller, Richard Paterson, who says: “This book should be part of every art lover and whisky connoisseur’s collection.”
The copper edition comes in a bespoke, handcrafted, calfskin leather clamshell case with suede interior, and sells for £1,250 a copy. The black edition is limited to 1000 hand numbered copies and sells for £450 a copy.
The Cocktail Guy: Infusions, Distillations, and Innovative Combinations – Rich Woods
The inimitable Rich Woods, the man behind the cocktail list a SushiSamba and Duck and Waffle, graced us with his debut release this year.
The Cocktail Guy features 70 of Wood’s own creations, and a section devoted to homemade bitters and infusions, making it one of the most original and exciting releases of the year.
Among the quirky cocktail recipes on offer are a Pine Needle Aperol Spritz, Celery Gimlet, Milky Bar Snowball, Clarified Bloody Mary and Truffled Negroni.
3 Ingredient Cocktails: An Opinionated Guide to the Most Enduring Drinks in the Cocktail Canon – Robert Simonson
Breaking cocktail mixology down to its most basic components, this book, from New York Times journalist and cocktail historian Robert Simonson, is a revelation.
For anyone that has thought about hosting a cocktail party, only to be put off by a long list of spirits, mixers and bitters needed to pull off only a handful of favourites, this is for you.
Simonson’s collection of 75 recipes ranges is split into five categories: Old-fashioned cocktails; improved cocktails; sours; highballs; and other.
From the historic to the contemporary, Simonson covers with bases with advice on the classics, which include the Martini, Rob Roy and Negroni, to the Grasshopper, White Russian and Brandy Alexander.
Volcanic Wines – John Szabo
The winner of this year’s André Simon drinks book award, Volcanic Wines – Salt, Grit and Power, comes from the pen of Canadian Master Sommelier and wine critic John Szabo, and is thought to be the first of its kind, focusing on wines made from grapes grown on volcanic soils.
As well as introducing the subject of how volcanoes are formed and providing a glossary of volcanic and geological terms, Szabo focuses on eight distinct geographic regions of the world, introducing specific wineries from each region.
The regions chosen are the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Chile, Macaronesia, Alsace and Germany, Italy, Santorini and Hungary.
Blending science, personal history and commercial considerations, Volcanic Wines covers topics ranging from geology to volcanism and the correlation between soil type and wine composition.
A wide range of photographs also highlights the dramatic visual appeal common to volcanic wine regions, while a collection of maps and wine labels take the reader further on a visual tour of these remote areas of the globe.
The Wine Dine Dictionary – Victoria Moore
For anyone flummoxed by the what to serve with one’s wine, this is the book for you.
The Telegraph’s wine columnist Victoria Moore released her debut book this year, focusing on untangling the sometimes confusing world of wine and food pairing, enlightening readers on some classic combos and imaginative pairings alike.
The book is separated by food and wine, both listed from A-Z, allowing you to navigate to either component for a considered assessment of what will pair best with the other.
Have a bottle of Gruner Veltliner but not sure what to cook with it? Moore suggests asparagus. Cooked yourself a Chile con Carne but not sure on the wine? Perhaps a Chilean Carmenere, suggests Moore. Moore doesn’t just explain what pairs with what, but why the combination works.
Interspersed with recipes and insights from winemakers across the globe, The Wine Dictionary is genuinely insightful and entertaining – a bible on taste that will stand the test of time.
Wine List Confidential
And finally, why not try something a little different, from the drinks business itself. This year we published the first Wine List Confidential – a guide to the very best restaurants in London for wine lovers.
Wine List Confidential is a unique, transparent and straightforward way to connect wine lovers with restaurants. Using a numeric rating system, Wine List Confidential allows wine lovers to quickly compare the wine offer in restaurants, no matter what the food or format. Employing a simple 100-point scale, it scores restaurants on all aspects of their wine offering – from pricing and service, to its size, range and originality – which is then used to give each restaurant reviewed an overall score.
Restaurants featured in our one to sixty-one guide represent the very best wine lists in London, those that scored highly across the board.
Inside you will find reviews on all restaurants that made the cut, expert wine picks from their list, insider tips, interviews with the city’s top sommeliers and analysis on London’s fine dining scene. A perfect stocking filler.