Judging by the credentials listed in his author blurb on the back sleeve, Dominc Roskrow could certainly lay claim to being an “expert” in his field of study. A veteran writer and author with over two decades of published works, he’s received the Scotch industry’s highest order – Keeper of the Quaich – and was made an honorary Kentucky Colonel in 2010. He had the honor of updating Michael Jackson’s Complete Guide To Scotch and his list of contributing editorships reads like a Who’s Who of Whiskey publications (he currently serves as editor of Whiskeria magazine).
It’s the last great frontier for alcohol: Frozen dessert treats.
Booze is tricky in frozen desserts because it lowers the freezing temperature of whatever you add it to. A bottle of vodka in the freezer doesn’t freeze, even at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Add it to ice cream the wrong way and you get more of a slush than a dense cream.
The premise of The Big Book of Martinis for Moms is straightforward enough and to its credit, is never deviated from through 250 pages and 175-plus recipes. What one sees is exactly what one gets. Authors Rose Maura Lorre and Mavis Lamb (both professional bloggers and highly accomplished cocktail journalists) have painstakingly developed and curated recipes for every demonstrable occasion along the child-rearing process.
Few books could be more appropriate for the celebration leading up to St. Patrick’s Day than a resource guide to Irish whiskey, one of which conveniently just arrived in our inbox.
At a mere 40 pages in length, 27Press’ 40-Minute Irish Whiskey Guide is a brisk read, and could prove debatable as to whether or not it is an actual “book” in the strictest of definitions. But to its credit, the guide gives a surprisingly effective orientation to the world of Irish whiskey. It doesn’t go too in depth with history and long-winded anecdotes, but provides only the bare essentials and fundamentals. It starts with the malting and distillation process and gives a small lesson on Irish whiskey’s origins. The next chapters (described here as “lessons”) prepare the reader for how to properly taste Irish whiskey, a brief tour and overview of such working Irish distilleries as the New Midleton, Old Bushmills, Cooley, and Kilbeggan, and closes with a few time honored recipes for drinks such as an Irish Cream and Irish Coffee.
The effectiveness of the 40 Minute Irish Whiskey guide lies in two key elements: its simplicity and its price point. An informal, almost effortless delivery makes it an easy read, and at a price of $1, it’s hard to find a better value for the content provided. Those already well versed in the world of Irish whiskey, its brands, and distillation processes may find this a thoroughly unnecessary purchase, bereft of any new insights. However, those looking to branch out and find themselves in need of a reference map for their travels could do far worse, especially at such an agreeable price point.
B/ $1 / [BUY IT HERE]
(Note: From March 13th-17th 2013, this guide will be exclusively available on the Amazon Kindle platform free of charge.)
By happenstance, this past February became Booze Book Review month. We had a pretty generous amount of reading material on our desks, which resulted in roughly 1/4 of our book reviews for the entire 5+ years of the site’s history being published in 28 days. Here’s a quick catch up with links to each review:
Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage by Mike Veach
Beam: Straight Up by Fred Noe
Drinkology: Wine by James Waller
The Old Fashioned: An Essential Guide To The Original Whiskey Cocktail by Albert Schmid
Destination: Cocktails by James Teitelbaum
Vodka Distilled by Tony Abou-Ganim
Kentucky Bourbon: The Early Years of Whiskeymaking by Henry G Crowgey
The Smart Guide To Single Malt Whisky by Elizabeth Riley Bell
Bordeaux by Oz Clarke
Extreme Brewing by Sam Calagione
The Kentucky Mint Julep by Joe Nickell
Shake, Stir and Pour by Katie Loeb
Alt Whiskeys by Darek Bell
Historian Mike Veach is no stranger to bourbon history. He got his start fresh out of college at Louisville’s Filson Historical Society, archiving the papers of the famous Stitzel-Weller distillery. Over the last few decades, he has dedicated his career to preserving, documenting, and researching the stories of Kentucky’s greatest exports. He’s won numerous awards and earned the title of honorary Kentucky Colonel for his academic pursuits.
It makes perfect sense that someone with access to the craft’s most intensive information would compose such a comprehensive overview of bourbon’s history with his latest work Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage.
The secondary title of Fred Noe’s memoir could serve as ammunition for contentious debate among scholars and devotees of bourbon culture. “The Bold Story Of The First Family of Bourbon” is a hefty declaration when considering the many families of Kentucky whose heritage calls back several generations — some right down to the Commonwealth’s pioneering days. That said, few families have loomed so large or contributed so much to the advancement of bourbon as those with the surname Beam.
With the verdicts on the previous editions of the Drinkology series split right down the middle, I was curious which way the words would sway in this third Drinkology treatise, devoted to all things involving the almighty grape. Thankfully, it falls under the same category as its beer sibling: an engaging, educational guide about the wine world, crafted in a manner that will appeal to veterans and newcomers alike.
James Waller leaves no vine entangled or bottle uncorked in his detailed history of the winemaking process in Drinkology Wine. There is a lot of territory to cover and explain; so much so that a second volume with greater detail could have easily been authored. But Waller does the best he can to dissect and survey the extensive range of wines available globally. In the span of about 150 pages, he delves into the vocabulary of vino, the methodology of tasting wine, and a very basic history before dedicating close to an additional 100 pages to the different varieties of wine available, and what sets one style apart from the other. The remainder of the book focuses on specific wines from around the world and a brief appendix covering such things as wine etiquette and hardware.
Unlike Drinkology Beer, Waller cuts back on the anecdotal frivolities, most likely for lack of space. However, like Drinkology Beer, it is an entertaining read worthy of a place on any wine drinker’s bookshelf or coffee table.
A- / $22 / [BUY IT HERE]
Given the recent onslaught of titles dedicating themselves to a single spirit or beverage, the bookshelf of the cocktail connoisseur may find itself with a little less room to spare these days. Thankfully Albert Schmid’s paean The Old Fashioned is compact enough at 110 pages to fit right in, leaving room for those massive wine and cocktail tomes we’ve been reviewing as of late.
James Teitelbaum has traveled the globe and has, apparently, seen nothing but its bars. This exhaustive book, subtitled “The Traveler’s Guide to Superior Libations,” takes you through more than 40 cities and hundreds of cocktail bars to let you know, should your travels take you to Austin or Anchorage, here’s where you can get a really good cocktail.
I’m in no position to tell you whether Teitelbaum’s picks in Cleveland or Vienna are solid, but I can vouch for the quality of his selections in the San Francisco Bay Area… although I will note Teitelbaum’s extreme penchant for tiki bars.