Sure, we can go to a wine tasting and act fancy as we mull over how a certain Zinfandel complements a creamy sheep’s milk cheese from France and differs from the floral essence of a semi-dry German Riesling. But that’s not how many of us define a rockin’ Friday night. Still, wouldn’t it be nice if a boozy night out could go hand-in-hand with an informed discussion about history, literature, and science? Three new books on wine, cocktails, and beer provide us with this opportunity. (Just try not to gloat when you kill it at pub trivia.)
The Curious World of Wine: Facts, Legends, and Lore About the Drink We Love So Much
By Richard Vine, Ph.D.
There are plenty of books out there that speak to flavors, boldness, food pairings, and rankings. Vine’s book, however, is a collection of historical facts and legends that provides the perfect combination of trivia and gossip. Did you know that toasting was originally done to exchange a splash of wine into each other’s cup to ensure that neither party was being poisoned? Or that John Hancock was a wine smuggler, and Thomas Jefferson was so obsessed with wine that he nearly went bankrupt trying to produce it? Oh those wild and crazy founding fathers! You’ll also learn the history behind those drinking terms we all use but have no idea what they mean such as “off the wagon” and “three sheets to the wind.”
To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion
By Philip Greene
Ernest Hemingway is one of everyone’s favorite legendary drunks. Despite his alcoholism, he managed to live a life many envy — traveling the world, writing great books, and partying it up with the likes of the Fitzgeralds and Spencer Tracy. Philip Greene, founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail and a cocktail historian (who even knew there was such a thing?), couples the recipes of Hemingway’s favorite drinks with discussions of the books in which they appear and the Hemingway legends behind them. There are more than 50 cocktails in To Have with a related Hemingway story. All are a lot more interesting and impressive than your “legendary night” of tequila shots and beer pong you keep telling dates about.
The Naked Brewer: Fearless Homebrewing Tips, Tricks & Rule-Breaking Recipes
By Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune
Gone are the days when your only choices for beer at a bar are Bud Light, Coors, and Corona. Practically any watering hole you walk into has at least a few craft-beer options. In case you missed it, craft beer is way hip. If you’ve already spent hours discussing with your friends the pros and cons of ale versus lager, then it’s time for you to step it up and fully embrace your inner hipster — start brewing your own! Perozzi and Beaune are here to teach you how to successfully create a stout to rival Guinness or a hefeweizen that surpasses Hoegaarden. The authors tell you exactly where to buy the equipment, what all those complicated brewing words mean, and comparable beers on the market so you can make sure your concoction tastes good. The recipes are even divided by month so you can impress guests with your thoughtful pairing of Cranberry Belgian Ale with Thanksgiving dinner.