Spirited New Year’s Celebrations!

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys

A raft of new titles provides loads of inspiration for mixing up intriguing and tasty cocktails to ring in the new year!

Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs,
with Cocktails, Recipes and Formulas

by Brad Thomas Parsons
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

Brad Thomas Parsons, author of the James Beard and IACP Award–winning title Bitters, explores the world of amari. Italian for bitters, amaro is a key ingredient in many popular cocktails. Parson starts with a tour of bars, cafés, and distilleries in amaro’s spiritual home of Italy, then offers more than 100 recipes for amaro-centric cocktails, DIY amaro, and amaro-spiked desserts. With handsome photos of drinks, snapshots from Italy, and loads of detail in recipe headnotes, Parsons discusses the dizzying range of amari available—from familiar favorites like Averna and Fernet-Branca to the growing category of regional, American-made amari.

Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes
by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

Talia Baiocchi is the editor-in-chief of Punch and the author of James Beard Award–nominated book Sherry. Leslie Pariseau is the former deputy editor of Punch. In their introduction, the authors explain that the word “spritz” generally refers to an easy, casual “bubbles and bitterness drink” served as an aperitif, but the word may have evolved from “sprezzatura,” which doesn’t have a direct English translation. An old term coined in the 16th century, it implied “the sort of effortless grace that royal attendants of that gilded era embodied.” Spritz explores the history and revival of spritz cocktails with 50 recipes, including both historical classics and modern updates. It also includes a guide to building a spritz bar and a collection of food recipes for classic Italian snacks to pair alongside.

A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders
Saved the Civilized Drinking World

by Robert Simonson
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

Robert Simonson, an award-winning New York Times writer and expert on the subject of craft cocktails, describes the contemporary craft cocktail revival. He interviewed more than 200 key players from around the world to produce this story of the characters—bars, bartenders, patrons, and visionaries—who in the last 25 years have changed the course of modern drink-making. The book features a curated list of about 40 cocktail recipes, 25 modern classics, and an additional 15 to 20 rediscovered classics and classic contenders.

Drink Like a Woman:
Shake. Stir. Conquer. Repeat.

by Jeanette Hurt
(Seal Press, 2016)

Jeanette Hurt is the award-winning author of eight culinary and drink books. In her latest, she’s out to debunk the myth that women only drink sweet, fruity cocktails. Hurt exposes the surprisingly sexist history of cocktail culture and offers more than 50 recipes, crafted by top women bartenders around the country. She shares basic techniques, cocktail classics, hangover cures, drinking games, and more in this light, spirited guide. 

Smuggler’s Cove:
Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki

by Martin Cate & Rebecca Cate
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

Martin and Rebecca Cate, founders and owners of Smuggler’s Cove (the most acclaimed tiki bar of the modern era), take you on a colorful journey into the lore and legend of tiki: its birth as an escapist fantasy for Depression-era Americans; how exotic cocktails were invented, stolen, and re-invented; Hollywood starlets and scandals; and tiki’s modern-day revival. A substantial book filled with history and featuring more than 100 delicious recipes (original and historic).