Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

5 Boozy Books to Read this Summer

Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s reading season, and what better book to read than one about what is probably nestled right next to you? Booze! Since more than just the spirits industry is paying attention to spirits, there are more (and more amazing) books that explore every aspect of booze you could think of.

Below, check out some of our top picks for boozy books to read this summer. Just be prepared, because you’re going to want a drink before, during, after, or at all times when reading these tomes.

Cocktails Across America – Diane Lapis and Anne Peck-Davis
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A visual-driven book, this one is for the vintage lovers out there. Using vintage postcards, Cocktails Across America paints a picture of what it used to be like to drink in these United States. Whether you’re into the crazy bars and lounges that architects used to devise or the equally-crazy cocktails that were served in those dens of respite, this book chronicles it all. Not only do you get a look at boozy times past, but Lapis and Peck-Davis teach you to make some vintage cocktails too. (Countryman Press, 2018)

Read it

The Golden Elixir of the West – Sherry Monahan with Jane Perkins
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Whiskey has pretty much always been an essential part of the story of American. Whether it’s through the growth, decline, and regrowth of bourbon, our national spirit, or tales of expansion as people helped America find itself, the brown (or clear) stuff has always been there. Golden Elixir looks at how whiskey impacted the West, made it a little wilder, and ultimately shaped what we know as our country today. (Two Dot Press, 2017)

Read it

The Connoisseur’s Guide to Worldwide Spirits – Richard Carleton Hacker
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This book might be more for after the beach (the size and weight are better for a coffee table than a beach blanket), but Hacker’s book explores (in 32 chapters) pretty much every major spirit produced across the globe. While you’ve heard of bourbon, rye, and tequila, Hacker also delves into spirits such as grappa, cachaça, and baijiu (many of which you’ve heard of if you’re a consistent reader of The Manual). This is a solid compendium of knowledge for those looking to one-up their friends in alcohol trivia. (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018)

Read It

A Short History of Drunkenness – Mark Forsyth
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Written by the author of the best-selling book, The Etymologicon (about the English language), A Short History of Drunkenness takes long, hard look at humankind’s connection to booze. From when we first started drinking to today, Forsyth explores the various connections people have had to getting completely tanked throughout time, regardless of whether the reason was religious, royal, sexual, or something else entirely. It’s a fascinating read — you’ll have boozy fun facts for days with this one. (Three Rivers Press, 2018)

Read it

The New Rum – Bryce T. Bauer
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Yo ho ho. With more and more educated drinkers flocking to this tropical spirit, now is a better time than ever before to sit down and get your learning on before you find yourself in a rum bar, babbling about rhum agricoles, when you don’t even know what they are. In The New Rum, Bauer tackles the history of the spirit all the way through to the rum renaissance happening around us today. In addition, a rum guide fills you in on 40 different producers and 10 classic cocktails along the way. (Countryman Press, 2018)

Read it

Editors' Recommendations

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
5 Best Cookbooks About Meat That Every Carnivore Should Read
best cookbooks about meat feat

Grilling season is practically here (not that it ever really goes away if you're intrepid enough), but as you start to take the cover off your grill, the next thing you'll need to do is figure out what to grill. You could keep it simple with burgers and dogs, or go big with a brisket, or -- and follow us on this one -- you could try something new. That's where these books come in.

More Cookbooks

Read more
What are Fat-Washed Spirits and What are They Good For? Two Words: Bacon Bourbon
fat washed spirits intro whiskey32

In an effort to push the bounds of cocktails, bartenders across the world have been experimenting with not only myriad flavor combinations, but also techniques for achieving new flavors, textures, and more. One of those methods is called fat-washing. We sat down with Juan Arboleda to learn more about the method.

Juan Arboleda Maxwell’s Chophouse

Read more
Swap Out Your Eggnog for Milk Punch This Holiday Season
Dirty Habit Florida Man Cocktail Recipe

When we talk about holiday-themed cocktails, one beverage tends to dominate these conversations: good old eggnog. This creamy, well-spiced golden sipper (usually spiked with dark rum, spiced rum, brandy, or bourbon) can be found at parties, family gatherings, and bars throughout the month of December ... but in spite of its popularity, some imbibers balk at eggnog’s thick texture (and the fact that raw egg yolks are a prominent nog ingredient).

If you’re on the hunt for a comforting holiday-season cocktail with eggnog’s flavor benefits but without its heaviness, we’d like to direct your attention to milk punch, a vintage beverage (dating back as far as the 17th and 18th centuries) that’s ideal for entertaining.
What exactly is milk punch?
We asked co-owner Justin Lavenue of The Roosevelt Room in Austin (who includes a milk punch on his bar menu) for a clear definition of this beverage, and he absolutely delivered with the following:

Read more