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5 Reads For The Mixologist In You

You like to entertain, but maybe foie gras and bouillabaisse aren’t your cup of tea. Instead, consider wowing your guests with your Tom Cruise-like skills behind the bar with five great reads for the mixologist in you. Just do us a favor and don’t jump on any couches.

“The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender’s Craft” by Gary Regan offers a revised and updated hardcover edition that makes a fantastic gift for both home and professional bartenders alike. Regan’s book, referred to as the bartender’s bible, offers a system for categorizing drinks that makes it easy to remember recipes.

“Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail” by Dave Arnold takes a more scientific approach to mixology. The book gives tips for preparing drinks through a problem-solving approach and helps the reader refine their skills by understanding how temperature, sugar acidity, carbonation, clarifying and infusion, to name a few, can make a cocktail go from sweet to sublime.

In “Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions,” co-authors Nick Fauchald, Alex Day and David Kaplin maintain that there are only six root cocktails, and they offer a simplified approach to mastering them. Once you learn the basics of the old fashioned, daiquiri, martini, sidecar, whisky highball and flip, you’ll crack the cocktail codex and understand that much like the Six Degrees of Separation (or Kevin Bacon), you’ll be able to trace all drinks back to the original six.

“The Drunken Botanist” by Amy Stewart has been called the “essential, New York Times-bestselling guide to botany and booze.” Stewart takes the reader through a wide array of plants, fruits and even fungi that have been used to create alcohol over hundreds of years. The book is more an evolution-of-beverages book than a recipe book, but the gardener in us is here for it.

Finally, for a contemporary take, try “Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails” by Shannon Mustipher.

If you’ve taken a cruise or gone to a tiki bar, this refreshing manual on tiki is a great resource for those ready to try their hand at mixing drinks using Caribbean rums. You’ll also find out a tiki drink can be more sophisticated than one might think.