Shopping for the family drunk, or picking a gift if that’s you, can be tough. If you don’t want to buy actual alcohol, these five books for boozehounds will make anyone happy once the Christmas Eve hangover clears. There’s something for everyone, from those seeking to learn beer basics to people trying to step up their home cocktail game. There’s even something for all you drunken world travelers.
1 For the drunken doctors
Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today
Medicine has played a vital role in the history of alcohol, most notably the Gin and Tonic spreading worldwide due to the British Navy using it to fight malaria. Cocktails have been used as medicine in homes all over Europe and America though, and Warren Bobrow explores 75 of these recipes said to have restorative properties. There are plenty of beautiful photographs along the way for those of you too drunk to actually read.
2 For the beer novice
The Complete Beer Course: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes
Most guys wished they knew more about beer, but you can’t exactly audit Beer 101 at Greendale Community College. This book by Josh Bernstein will teach you everything you need to know and make it interesting all the while. It’s not packed with technical details, but rather history, styles, and stories. It’s perfect for a novice or anyone looking to learn everything short of the science.
3 For the whiskey lover
American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Favorite Spirit
Scotch takes most of the glory when people think of gifts, but American whiskey has so much to offer. The trouble is that unlike Scotland’s peat, American whiskey has no singular characteristic to tie everything together. Clay Risen successfully navigates the expansive array of spirits, giving interesting details about select distilleries and color/body/palate breakdowns of over 200 whiskeys. This is one book in which you’ll actually want to read the introduction, too, as if gives the history and essential knowledge every serious drinker should have.
4 For the home bartender
Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails
Cocktails aren’t just for bars anymore, but you’ll need to mix more than a rum and Coke if you’re going to impress friends. Ted Haigh, aka Dr. Cocktail, explores 100 vintage cocktail recipes and the stories behind them. While knowing the legend behind a drink seems unnecessary, there’s something innately enjoyable about being able to turn a tale while getting drunk. This book is also the perfect way to try fancy cocktails without spending $20 per drink at the local speakeasy.
5 For the traveler
The Pocket Beer Guide: The Essential Handbook to the Very Best Beers in the World
There is no shortage of beer guides on the market, but the newest iteration of The Pocket Beer Guide by Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb may be the best one yet. It’s clear, concise, and comprehensive, along with several other c-words. It features must-see destinations, breweries, and over 3,000 beers from six continents. It also serves as a reminder that Antarctica really needs to step its game up. The wide range of countries and regions covered make it perfect for anyone who likes to drink when he travels.