We’re officially in the midst of holiday gift-giving season and the perfect present for the drinks connoisseur in your life is the brand-new Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails, edited by Half Full’s own award-winning team of David Wondrich and Noah Rothbaum.
The nearly 900-page book took almost a decade to research, write and edit, and is part of Oxford University Press’ acclaimed series of Companions, which includes the Oxford Companion to Beer and the Oxford Companion to Wine.
The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails features more than 1,100 entries from 150 expert contributors located around the world, including Charlie Maclean, Garret Oliver, Audrey Saunders and Ana G. Valenzuela-Zapata. The tome is comprised of dozens of drink recipes, bartender biographies, fascinating histories of spirits brands and spirits categories, and more.
The oversized book contains a wealth of fascinating facts perfect for dropping at cocktail parties or for pairing with delicious drinks of all sorts. For instance, according to the Hennessy entry, Irishman Richard Hennessy started the brand in 1765. In 1870, the company created the XO (extra old) designation, which later became a standard for the entire category and is still used today.
Scotch drinkers will find a tremendous trove of information on the history of the whisky and how it is produced, including an in-depth discussion of the use of peat, which features Islay stalwart Ardbeg Single Malt Scotch.
Award-winning Scotch expert Dave Boom delivers a detailed piece on the origins of finishing whiskey in a second, different type of barrel. It highlights the pioneering role of Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s head of distilling and whisky creation, in creating the technique that is now popular with whiskey distillers around the world.
Whether the book is a gift for yourself or for a friend, it will surely be a hit with anyone who is curios about the world of drinks.
Cheers and happy holidays!