Welcome to Back To School Season, Tippler Nation! Oh, I do love drinking holidays and summer vacation but I have just been chomping at the bit waiting for National Read a Book Day to come along so I could share my favorite Boozy Books with all of you! This is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the fantastic literary works on this topic, but it is an extremely solid start to building your spirited library. So let’s dive into some books and booze!
A Little History
Historically speaking, a strong arguement can be made that structured civilization arose due to the necessity of growing grain for beer. Ok, it could’ve also been for bread production but what is beer if not liquid bread? If you enjoy having boozy history notes at your finger tips, these tippling titles are for you!
A History of the World in 6 Glasses
Standage has crafted a fantastic page turner here! Not only does he touch on six liquids that are deeply ingrained in human history, he makes it fun to read. You’ll never look at what’s in your glass the same way again. Grab a different beverage with each section and you have the perfect booze and book pairing at your fingertips!
Girly DrinksA recent James Beard Award Winner, this gem of a book is so necessary. From the goddesses behind the booze, to the women brewing and distilling it, the ladies crafting cocktails, rum running and everything in between, O’Meara touches on it all. This book will make you want to raise a glass to your foremothers around the world and thank them for their ingenuity!
America Walks Into A Bar
This is by far the most history centric boozy book on this list! It chronicals the birth of the country alongside our thriving liquid culture and the hows and the whys behind why the two are so inseparable. Not a quick read but also never boring, just like the good ol’ U.S. of A.
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Before we dive into this chapter below, I would like to acknowledge that there are fantastic reads on specific categories of spirits for every bottle under the sun. For the sake of not over-burdening your backpack (or however you carry books these days), I have chosen to highlight boozy books that are all encompasing. Kind of like the Long Island Iced Tea of the literary set.
The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails
NERD ALERT! Do you need to know EVERYTHING about spirits and cocktails? Do you love reference books and footnotes? Yes? Then this highly anticipated tome of tippling is for you! Note: this undertaking is not for the faint of heart, and you might want to work out before attempting to pick it up.
Thirsty for knowledge on the origins of the cocktail? Liquid historian David Wondrich has you covered. Should this be under my “history” tab? Maybe, it could even fit under “recipes” since there are 120 of them in here, but I’m filing it under “discussions” since that most acurately describes Wondrich’s writing style. I met him once on a plane btw, he was drinking the champagne of beers and I was a very awkward fan girl.
Proof: The Science of Booze
Ah yes, a boozy book all about…well booze! Love to drink it but have no clue what the darn magic elixer is? This is the manual for you! Rogers takes the science of the spirits, distills it, decodes it, and makes it easily digestible (something that isn’t quite so easy to achieve in liquid form).
How about a little spirit tasting to go with that chapter?
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Extra credit never tasted so good…
“Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire.” –David Rains Wallace
The happy accident of fermentation has led to so many delicious moments and yet also somehow sublimely fuzzy memories but I certainly don’t want to know where we’d be without beer and wine. Thirsty for information of grapes and grains? Look no further than this recommended reading my dear! Now pour something tasty in that glass and turn to page one…
A Woman’s Place is in the Brewhouse
May I have a standing ovation for Tara Nurin please?! This book right here y’all! As a woman who has worked in beer for the majority of her adult life, seeing myself reflected in the stories on these pages was truly amazing. Yes there is a lot of global history in here, read it, it’s good for you.
The Brewmaster’s Table
Have you ever wondered what the perfect food pairing is for your pint? Take the guesswork out with Garrett Oliver’s guide on pairing- I especially love the chart in the back for easy reference! I also am obsessed with the stories in this book, it will make you think of the first beer you ever fell in love with and make you feel that way all over again.
Windows on the World
Complete Wine Course
Windows on the World had the first serious wine program in the country! The book is comprised of the lessons Zraly wrote to teach the service staff about the wines curated for the restaurant. It’s broken down in a digestible way for novices, filled with human interest stories, anecdotes, and interesting marginalia.
Wine GrapesAre you a serious oenophile? Evan sure is and this is his go-to reference book right here! Wine Grapes covers every grape humans have made wine with and is a fascinating, in depth read. Knowledge like this has a pretty hefty price tag however, so save your pennies up for this resource.
Want to know where we get all our awesome supplementary beer material? This dude literally wrote the book on how to taste beer and all of those awesome hop and aroma wheels are courtesy of him as well! Learn to be a beer tasting pro with Randy Mosher, this book is a must read for any level.
Need a beer to go with your book?
Build your own sampler pack of craft beers from all over the country at CraftShack!
Library time is just so much more enjoyable with a good book and a great beverage!
Show Me Your Recipes
Bitters, sugar, spirit and a cocktail is born! While it’s been a minute since 1803 when the OG recipe was written and defined, basic recipe structure hasn’t changed all that much and these boozy books prove it. Ok, ok, maybe Jerry Thomas would have a thing or two to say about fat washing…or would he?
Let’s get wierd. Seriously, find those gram scales and induction burners because science class is in session with Mr. Dave Arnold. Want to fat wash? Acid adjust? Know the precisce moment in time for optimal lime juice flavor? This is your roadmap, friend, happy trails.
The Craft of the Cocktail
It’s a classic boozy book for a reason, kids. One of the worlds foremost cocktail experts, Dale DeGroff just put out an updated edition… not that he needed to prove that he’s still King Cocktail. Recipes, technique, stories—this is a libations library must have.
Want to shake (or stir) up some of our fave recipes?
Check out our full cocktail library and get crackin’ on your books and booze pairing.
Technically, alcohol is a solution. These books count towards a science credit.
Raise a glass to reading!
Make every day National Read a Book Day and start your boozy book list right now! All of these make great gifts (hey, you can give yourself a gift too) and they pair oh so nicely with your favorite tipple. Make books and booze pairings your gift theme for this upcoming holiday season…you’ll be the most popular guest around! Unless you work for The Crafty Cask, no one is likely going to give you a pop quiz on the info within, but you never know what fun fact could come in handy in day-to-day conversation or perhaps help you win a trivia night!
If you prefer to gift experiences along with boozy books, contact us to gift a private craft alcohol tasting or mixology class! Or give the gift of a monthly craft alcohol subscription with SipScout.
Behind the Stick or in the Stacks?
Thank you for going on this literary journey with me! All of these fantastic boozy books were hand selected by the team and myself, and we hope you enjoy! I just started the newly released Doctors and Distillers by Camper English, a volume that Alton Brown refers to as “a fascinating book that makes a brilliant historical case…[that] alchohol is good for you.”