Anthropologists and historians have confirmed the central role alcohol has played in nearly every society since the dawn of human civilization, but it is only recently that it has been the subject of serious scholarly inquiry. The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails
is the first major
reference work to cover the subject from a global perspective, and provides an authoritative, enlightening, and entertaining overview of this third branch of the alcohol family. It will stand alongside the bestselling Companions to Wine
, presenting an in-depth exploration of the world of
spirits and cocktails in a groundbreaking synthesis.
The Companion covers drinks, processes, and techniques from around the world as well as those in the US and Europe. It provides clear explanations of the different ways that spirits are produced, including fermentation, distillation, and ageing, alongside a wealth of new detail on the emergence of
cocktails and cocktail bars, including entries on key cocktails and influential mixologists and cocktail bars. With entries ranging from Manhattan
to sloe gin
, the Companion combines coverage of the range of spirit-based drinks around the world with clear explanations of
production processes, and the history and culture of their consumption. It is the ultimate guide to understanding what is in your glass.
The Companion is lavishly illustrated throughout, and appendices include a timeline of spirits and distillation and a guide to mixing drinks.
David Wondrich is a James Beard Award winning author, cocktail historian, mixologist, and educator, and one of the pioneers of the current renaissance in the art of mixing drinks. He is an acknowledged authority on spirits and their production, having written extensively on most categories in themarket. A former English professor, his long-time interest in the arcana surrounding spirits and cocktails led him to leave academia to become Esquire Magazine's drinks correspondent, and later senior drinks columnist at the Daily Beast. David has written four books on drinks: Esquire Drinks; KillerCocktails; Imbibe! (the first cocktail book to win a James Beard award); and Punch. Noah Rothbaum is the editor of the Daily Beast's Half Full section. Under his leadership, the site won the 2018 and the 2020 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication. He also hosts the podcast Life Behind Bars with legendary cocktail historian David Wondrich, which won the 2018 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best Podcast Series and, according to the New York Times, is a perfect comfort listen for the curious drinker. His publications include The Art of American Whiskey: A Visual History of the Nation's Most Storied Spirit Through 100 IconicLabels, The Business of Spirits: How Savvy Marketers, Innovative Distillers, and Entrepreneurs Changed How We Drink, and the forthcoming The Whiskey Bible.