Build your Imbibrary: Christmas book guide

Imbibe Editorial

Imbibe Editorial

07 December 2016

We all love getting books at Christmas. So why not take this opportunity to ask Santa for the best drinks books to be released in recent years? Here's the Imbibe guide to those essential reads


Proof: The Science of Booze
Adam Rogers, Mariner Books

Ideal for those drinks buffs who understands the basics of alcohol production but want to further their knowledge, Proof drills down into the details without sending you to sleep. Chapters are split into subjects starting with 'yeast' and 'sugar' and going through to 'smell and taste' and 'hangover'.

Read about everything from grape racism to how Jokichi Takamine almost changed the face of whisky production in the 19th century, before shadowy figures who didn't like his work burnt his distillery down.
Laura Foster, Imbibe deputy editor

Andrew Jefford's Wine Course
Andrew Jefford, Ryland Peters

This publication is a great textbook for anyone in the on-trade looking for an introduction to wine without the faff of taking a beginner's WSET course. It gives a sweeping but useful overview of the wine world from glasses to grape varieties and key regions.

And Jefford, as always, writes beautifully. 'Try a blanc de blancs [champagne] against a blanc de noirs: note the lemony finesse of the former and deep, structured apple or green plum fruit of the latter'.
Laura Foster, Imbibe deputy editor

Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Techniques
Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Chronicle Books

Focused on bar technique rather than cocktail recipes, Bar Book is packed with practical, hands-on info. Morgenthaler covers everything, from how to make a simple syrup, to the fashioning of a makeshift centrifuge for juice extraction.

There are recipes for purees and infusions, and detailed sections on ice and garnishes, not to mention geeky levels of detail when it comes to bar equipment.
Clinton Cawood, Imbibe news and online editor

Beer and Food
Mark Dredge, Dog n Bone Books

This is one of the most original beer and food matching books out there. Using his own theory on how to find magical partnerships – bridge, balance or boost (or go local) – Dredge deals with the topic with humour and sense.

Culminating with a bunch of recipes he's trialled along the way, a succession of top beers are matched with a wide range of foods in a fruitful and fascinating quest.
Susanna Forbes, Imbibe beer & cider editor

Cider Enthusiasts' Manual
Bill Bradshaw, Haynes

Following on from his award-winning World's Best Cider, written with Pete Brown, Bill Bradshaw's solo effort is adorned with his evocative images.

Published by Haynes, the car lovers' format works well for cider in Bradshaw’s hands, with everything from history to the different cider apples to understanding flavours.

And if you get completely hooked, there's even a guide on how to build your own scratter and press.
Susanna Forbes, Imbibe beer & cider editor

Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan and Friends
Ryan Chetiyawardana, Frances Lincoln

This cocktail book ranges from twists on classics to original drinks, using vibrant, interesting and fresh ingredients. I like Ryan's laidback approach, his well-structured overlap with cooking and his use of unusual ingredients – aubergine, for instance.

For me it was a welcome departure from the ubiquitous prohibition trends of the last few years. Also the illustrations are marvellous.
Jack Adair-Bevan, The Ethicurean, Bristol

Bitterman's Field Guide to Bitters and Amari
Mark Bitterman, Andrews McMeel

This is the best book I've read on drinks in a long time, covering what bitters and amari are, how to use them in drinks and food, cocktail recipes and a guide to those available on the market.

It's easy to use, informative, beautifully designed and Mark Bitterman writes with a rare wit, making this a book both suitable for beginners and seasoned bartenders.
Charlotte Wood, 33 Cank Street, Cardiff

Hugh Johnson on Wine
Hugh Johnson, Mitchell Beazley

The first edition of his Pocket Wine Book was published back in 1977 and Hugh Johnson has spent an incredible six decades writing about wine.

His latest book is an informed and hugely readable chronicle of the wine industry over the last 50 years, including a few wry observations on notes made by his younger self. A must-read for anyone who is serious about wine.
Julie Sheppard, Imbibe managing editor

The Book of Tea
Louise Cheadle and Nick Kilby, Jacqui Small

Not sure that a decent tea offer can add £££s to your GP and give your drinks list real class?

Well, buy this informative book by Teapigs founders Louise Cheadle and Nick Kilby, and prepare to be converted. We particularly like the 'Tea Geek Speak' section so you can bluff your way like a pro...
Julie Sheppard, Imbibe managing editor

Life's too Short to Drink Bad Wine
Simon Hoggart, Quadrille

The late Simon Hoggart was a 'proper' (and very funny) journalist – political sketch writer for the Guardian – who also wrote on wine. This collection of mini profiles covers 100+ famous wines and general styles, from Henschke to Chablis.

It's not technical, but there are dozens of the kind of stories that make wine interesting – from the winemaker who was shot by his wife to how Pol hid wine from the Nazis. 'Ornellaia – a fake Rolex that would keep better time than a real Rolex'. Genius.
Chris Losh, Imbibe editor

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