Punch by David Wondrich
Wondrich writes some of the most comprehensive treatises on drinking today. He has a few books under his belt and commits a regular column to Esquire. I always learn interesting tidbits from him. Like from this book: bartending was traditionally a woman’s job in Eighteenth Century England; the term “pop-in” meant a shot of booze dropped in a mug of beer. I’ve written before how punch is a great way for party hosts and caterers to serve many people quickly. It’s also effective in bars where a seasonal or rotating punch is a great conversation piece, not to mention profit center. (There are a number of bars doing it now including 327 Braun Court in Ann Arbor.) Punch originated in Southeast Asia, quickly moved with sailors to the West Indies and, while it’s now relegated to a special occasion drink, before the age of the cocktail it was the most common blended drink in America.
PDT by Jim Meehan
Jim owns what some think is the best cocktail bar in the world . He may have studied lit at Wisconsin but it’s clear his tendencies run more toward lit crit. His attention to particulars is staggering. He’s also wide open with his information which is good for us. The book has maps and drawings, including details on how he built the back bar. Drink recipes are exacting. He’s tested individual liquors and how they fit a cocktail. A Mint Julep is not made with Bourbon, but Booker’s. A gin and tonic has Tanqueray. I haven't seen a book quite like this before and I don't expect there will be another, at least for a long time. Jim also made an iPad app that looks interesting.
May 11-15 in New York City. Tickets go on sale March 15. Sign up now and you can get early access to tickets, something that can be helpful for the more popular classes.
Garden and Gun's 50 best southern bars (much better in print if you can get a copy).