Book Review: The Whiskey Cookbook

Book Review: The Whiskey Cookbook

For those who want to throw a whiskey-themed dinner party, there are few books available to guide the way. Several bourbon-focused cookbooks have hit the shelves in recent years, but no cooking guide, to my knowledge at least, has attempted the kind of wide-ranging approach that Richard Thomas’s recent The Whiskey Cookbook admirably undertakes.

Over the course of more than 75 different recipes, Thomas highlights dishes as classic as traditional southern barbecue to the considerably more exotic, like bison and yellowtail tartare or Spanish tequenos. While plenty of the recipes call for the incorporation of whiskey, the primary focus of this cookbook is the whiskey-pairing itself. Most of those well-reasoned recommendations come courtesy of Thomas, who holds ample credibility in the wide world of whiskey by way of his long-running review blog, The Whiskey Reviewer, and his own print guide, American Whiskey, now in its second edition. But where the cookbook really shines, and could shine even brighter, is in those recommendations reinforced by the chefs from whom the recipes are borrowed.

The book is organized into accessible and obvious categories like Desserts and Entrees, each with a wide variety of recipes but also the occasional cocktail pairing, short distillery profile, and essay on regional cuisines. While all of that context is appreciated, it can be a bit distracting when attempting to focus on the recipes themselves. Still, it’s the breadth of the whiskey explored that redeems this book and sets it apart from others in the category. Plenty of bourbon and rye, unsurprisingly, factor into many of the recipes, but there are also recipes using or pairing single malt whiskeys from Japan, Ireland, Australia, and even Spain. Understanding the nuances in these very different whiskeys and how they complement or enhance a variety of unique dishes should give plenty of whiskey-lovers a leg up at their next party.


The Whiskey Cookbook




Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

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