Summ... Summ... Summertime

There is something about the warmer weather and longer days that always tempts me to up my cocktail game.  I don't know if it is sitting out on the patio enjoying a beautiful Summer evening or just the sheer enjoyment of sipping on a cold cocktail on a hot day that screams "SUMMER!" to me.  But I always find at this time of year, I am perusing my pantry, liquor cabinet, and drink books to find the next perfect beverage adventure for the summer.  It is even more fun to invite a  few friends over to enjoy and imbibe in my colourful and tasty experiments.  So if you are looking to up your own cocktail game this summer season, here are a few suggestions for you. And if you are a literature lover, these books have a little extra something for you to read while you sip away at your latest concoctions.  Cheers, all. Mix, sip, and enjoy! 

The 12 Bottle Bar:  Make 100s of Cocktaills with just 12 Bottles by David Solmonson and Leslie Jacobs Solmonson

It's a system, a tool kit, a recipe book. Beginning with one irresistible idea--a complete home bar of just 12 key bottles--here's how to make more than 200 classic and unique mixed drinks, including sours, slings, toddies, and highballs, plus the perfect Martini, the perfect Manhattan, and the perfect Mint Julep. It's a surprising guide--tequila didn't make the cut, and neither did bourbon, but genever did. And it's a literate guide--describing with great liveliness everything from the importance of vermouth and bitters (the "salt and pepper" of mixology) to the story of a punch bowl so big it was stirred by a boy in a rowboat.

Tequila Mockingbird:  Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle

Pour yourself a drink and brush up on your literary knowledge with this clever guidebook that pairs cherished novels with both classic and cutting-edge cocktails. No B.A. in English required!

Gone with the Gin:  Cocktails with a Hollywood Twist by Tim Federle

We know your type. You love the smell of napalm in the morning, you see dead people, and you're the king (or queen!) of the world. The perfect gift for silver screen aficionados and a terrific twist on movie nights, Gone With the Gin includes 50 delicious drinks -- paired with winking commentary on history's most quotable films -- plus an all-star lineup of drinking games, movie-themed munchies, and illustrations throughout. 

The Artisanal Kitchen - Classic Cocktails:  The Very Best Martinis, Margaritas, Manhattans and More by Nick Mautone

Learn to create these classic cocktails at home. This jam-packed cocktail handbook will teach readers liquor fundamentals, basic mixing techniques, how to prep certain drinks ahead of time, and what drinkware to use for each cocktail. Within the pages are brunch staples like the Mimosa and Bloody Mary, but also cult favorites, including the Cosmopolitan and Margarita, and spirit-forward cocktails that never go out of style, like the Old Fashioned and Sazerac. With all these favorite recipes at their fingertips, home bartenders can rely on Classic Cocktails for foolproof, easy-to-make cocktails anytime.

The Drunken Botanist:  The Plants that Create the World's Greatest Drinks by Amy Stewart

Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, bourbon from corn. Thirsty yet? In The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries.Of all the extraordinary and obscure plants that have been fermented and distilled, a few are dangerous, some are downright bizarre, and one is as ancient as dinosaurs--but each represents a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions a nd our history. This fascinating concoction of biology, chemistry, history, etymology, and mixology--with more than fifty drink recipes and a new section on how to grow your very own cocktail garden--will make you the most popular guest at any cocktail party.

The Infused Cocktail Handbook: The Essential Guide to Creating your own Signature Spirits, Blends, and Infusions by Kurt Maitland

For those of you who loved Chemistry sets as a kid or making potions out of odds and ends, this is the book for you.  The Infused Cocktail Handbook is the essential guide to homemade blends and infusions. The illustrated recipes explain which ingredients and flavors go best when infusing vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, rum, and sherry. Make an infused simple syrup or try out a shrub and spice up your next party! No safety goggles needed. 

Mezcal + Tequila Cocktails: Mixed Drinks for the Golden Age of Agave by Robert Simonson

From riffs on classics such as the Mezcal Mule and Oaxaca Old-Fashioned to new favorites such as Naked and Famous or Smoke and Ice, discover how to use mezcal and tequila to create cocktails in nearly every classic cocktail formula--from flip to sour to highball--that highlight the smoky, edgy flavors of these unique and popular spirits. Robert Simonson, author of The Old-Fashioned and The Martini Cocktail, covers a broad range of flavors with doable, delicious recipes that are easy to assemble, most only requiring three or four ingredients. This comprehensive, straightforward guide is perfect for tequila and mezcal enthusiasts looking for creative ways to enjoy agave spirits more often and in more varied ways--or for anyone who just likes to drink the stuff.