3 Cocktail Books to Read This Summer

Whether your summer reading takes place sprawled out on a beach blanket or en route to a far-flung locale, some downtime with a good book is the ultimate exercise in leisure. There’s plenty of literature out there to enlighten your mind while you kick back this summer, but for inspiration to mix up new drinks, check out these recently released tomes. Best to read them with a cocktail (or beverage of your choice) in hand.

Spritz by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau
Baiocchi and Pariseau give a full breakdown of Italy’s bitter and effervescent aperitif, made a home bar staple in recent years with the Aperol Spritz. Their envy-inducing research takes them from Venice to Turin to find variations of the category, which typically combines a sparkling wine and/or soda with a bitter liqueur for a low-alcohol pre-dinner sipper. Try one of dozens of recipes perfect for those warm summer evenings when you want to slow down and soak up the moment. Ten Speed Press, $18.99.

Smugglers Cove book

Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki by Martin and Rebecca Cate
Some day I’ll tell my grandchildren how lucky I was to live in a time when tiki drinks were no longer a fad, but a respectable and adored cornerstone of cocktail kitsch and culture. Since opening in 2009, Cate’s San Francisco shrine to rum, Smuggler’s Cove, has become an icon of the category’s revival. Here, Cate and his wife, Rebecca, offer more than 100 original and traditional recipes, a heavy dose of tiki and rum history, and a loving guide to living your own Polynesian fantasy. Ten Speed Press, $30.


The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book by Frank Caifa
While the future is uncertain for the bar and restaurant program at the Waldorf Astoria in light of recent news that most of the iconic institution will become condos, the historic beverage program is sure to live on in Caifa’s new edition of a rare bar guide. Based on two classic cocktail books by Albert Stevens Crockett, 1931 Old Waldorf Bar Days and The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book (originally published in 1934), Caifa, who has managed the hotel’s Peacock Alley bar since 2005, has updated the bar bible for modern times. Sift through this impressive compendium of 800 recipes—a mix of refined pre-Prohibition classics, celebrity favorites, and Caifa’s own originals—for a taste of New York’s spirited past, present, and future. Penguin Books, $25.


File Under: Party Tricks

Espolón Tequila, a new tequila featuring a label inspired by 19th Century Dia de los Muertos-style imagery, is a table centerpiece itself.

Sweater weather, whiskey weather–whatever you want to call it, October is a sobering season. The gray sky, the leaves making their colorful exodus, the temperature dropping–it’s all about ch-ch-changes, baby. If you’re like me, you crave the comfort of pumpkin, maple, apple cider, cinnamon, dark rum, and of course, whiskey. And then there’s the ritual of Halloween–an excuse to look ridiculous and get ridiculously plastered. Most Americans will probably be too hungover to mark Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on Nov. 1 and 2, but if you’re up for it, the Mexican holiday honors the dead and celebrates the living–with a splash of tequila, of course.

Looking for some killer party accessories and cocktail recipes to whip up for your epic bash? Well, looky here, just what Dr. Feelgood ordered:

 Apple Maple Manhattan

2 oz. Finger Lakes Distillery Maplejack liqueur
1 oz. walnut liqueur
3/4 oz. Drambuie

Combine ingredients in shaker over ice, shake vigorously and pour into a chilled coupe glass.

Ashes to Ashes by H. Joseph Ehrmann, Elixir, San Francisco

1.5 oz Espolón Tequila Reposado
.5 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry
1 oz lemon juice
1 tsp sweetened cocoa mix
.25 oz agave nectar
1 pinch cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a mixing glass, fill with ice, cover and shake well for 10 seconds. Strain up into a cocktail glass. Garnish with cinnamon dust.

Appalachian Flip by Al Sotack, Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., Philadelphia

2 parts ROOT liqueur
1/2 part rich demerara syrup
1 whole egg
Pale ale

Dry shake (without ice). Then shake again with ice, and double strain. Pour into a pint glass and top with pale ale.

Great Pumpkin Fizz, Burritt Room, San Francisco

1 1/2 parts aged rum
1/2 part velvet falernum
1/2 part cream
1/2 egg white
1/4 part lemon juice
Barspoon of maple pumpkin butter
Dash of Fee Bros. Old Fashion Bitters

Fill shaker with ice, shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Mulled Apple Cider by Rev. Michael Alan, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Philadelphia

1/2 gallon apple cider
Zest and juice of an orange
1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
6 anise pods
1 tbsp of whole cloves
SNAP liqueur

Combine all the ingredients except for the Snap in a pot, cover and heat over medium-low for about 20-30 minutes. Pour a shot of Snap into a heat proof glass and top off with the warm mulled cider.

SNAP, a new liqueur based on the 12th Century recipe for the ginger snap, makes a sweet and spicy mulled cider.

Skull napkin rings at Sur La Table, $2.49 each.

Cauldron punch bowl and cups, $39.99, Pottery Barn.

Mad science bar set, $35.90, Amazon.com.