Sometimes, you find yourself at a beach where the lifeguards and other employees take their job seriously (read: they stop you from pounding down the six-pack of bourbon and Cokes that you’ve put in soda bottles that morning). When you’re without a way to get your buzz on at the beach, the next best thing you can do is read these books so at least you can live vicariously through the characters and people you’re reading about.
1. The Trip To Echo Spring by Olivia Laing — This is perhaps the best book on the tenuous relationship between writers and alcohol, featuring some of the most notable names to come up when those subjects are broached. Laing handles the topic in an engaging manner that is over before you know it, leaving you wanting more.
2. Bourbon by Dane Hucklebridge — Bourbon is America’s spirit, which means as a patriot, you need to know about it. If this past weekend hasn’t convinced you of this, then go re-watch the USWNT game.
3. Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar by David Wondrich— Wondrich is, in most circles, considered the best cocktail historian out there. If you like cocktails, you need to read this book. Period.
4. The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World’s Favorite Drink by Steve Hindy—Steve Hindy’s book is a wonderful look at what’s happening in craft beer in the United States. If you’ve ever raised a pint to your lips, read this.
5. The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart— A mix of alcohol history and botany, Stewart loads you up with enough interesting information and fun facts to dominate trivia nights for the next decade.
6. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway – Did you really think a list about boozy books would not feature Papa Hemingway? Come on. This, one of his earliest novels, is also one of his most booze-soaked. Misplaced love, bullfighting, and alcohol. ‘Nuff said. (Pick up the newer Library Edition for bonus content that illuminates some of the processes behind the novel.)