The Drunken Botanist

Amy Stewart

Extensive background on all of the plants (and some of the bugs!) that play a role in the creation or enhancement of alcohol. Full of anecdotes and recipes, this book will provide you with plenty of cocktail party conversation fodder.


Brad Thomas Parsons

A revealing exploration of the history and components of those tiny dashes that make a cocktail a cocktail.

Wild Fermentation

Sandor Ellix Katz

Katz never claims to be more than an avid home experimenter, but his decades of practical experience and thorough research have turned him into an acknowledged authority on fermentation of food and beverages.

The Art of Fermentation

Sandor Ellix Katz

In his second book, Katz takes us on a tour of fermentation all over the world. The scope is tremendous and the information is comprehensive, noting links between cultures and ideas for variations.

Craft Cocktails at Home

Kevin Liu

Bring a little life hacking to your bar with this in-depth study of why drinks taste the way they do and how you can make them even better.

On Food and Cooking

Harold McGee

The definitive reference when it comes to learning the hows and whys of food and its preparation.

The Compleat Meadmaker

Ken Schramm

A fascinating and detailed history of mead and its variations, with clear instructions that benefit from the author’s years of experience. Schramm also takes care to explain WHY each step in the process is important.

Lucky Peach

Peter Meehan and David Chang

A quarterly magazine on food and culture published by McSweeney’s. The Chinatown issue was where I first learned about jiuniang, fermented glutinous rice wine (in an article by Harold McGee, of course).