The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails

David Wondrich, Noah Rothbaum

The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails

David Wondrich, Noah Rothbaum






6 Jan 2022




$114.95 AUD

$131.99 NZD

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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 and Beer, 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 and mixology to sloe gin and stills, 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.


Foreword Introduction Topical Outline of Entries The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails (A-Z) Appendix I: Timeline of Spirits and Distillation Appendix II: How to Mix Drinks Directory of Contributors Index


Editor-in-chief David Wondrich , USA

Associate Editor Noah Rothbaum , USA

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 the market. 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; Killer Cocktails; 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 Iconic Labels, The Business of Spirits: How Savvy Marketers, Innovative Distillers, and Entrepreneurs Changed How We Drink, and the forthcoming The Whiskey Bible.


"the ultimate tome for the cocktail enthusiast in your life, compiled by the most respected voices in the industry. You'll be able to endlessly revisit this reference piece that touches on every nook and cranny related to libations. Naturally, it's best perused with a cocktail in hand." -- Charles Joly, co-founder of Crafthouse Cocktails, The 44 best holiday gifts for cooks and foodies, according to experts, CNN Underscored

"deftly answers all manner of questions... the scholarship is clear. Footnotes abound and the cross-referencing is Wikipedic in scope." -- , Economist, 'The five essential guides to improved mixology'

"The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails stands out as an authoritative and congenial guide to the world of hard liquor... One can consume its vast and varied knowledge in sips or long deep draughts, using its meticulously organized critical apparatus to steady oneself... the book will make an excellent companion for both the drinker and the bartender, adding savour to the beverage and the craic." -- Judith Hawley, Times Literary Supplement

"Forget Google - for everything you ever wanted to know about the origins, meanings and processes of drinks, plus the facts and stats on the people and places behind them, this bad boy is your go-to." -- , The Cocktail Lovers

"Seasoned imbibers, boozers, quaffers and alcoholics please take note: here is the first major reference work to cover the subject globally. Inebriating, intoxicating, it will definitely keep your spirits up." -- Robert Tanitch, Mature Times

"The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails" is an enormous and authoritative work of scholarship, nearly a decade in the making...You enter as if through batwing saloon doors. Buy a copy for the curious drinker in your life and perhaps he or she will boomerang one back to you." --The New York Times

"A comprehensive guide, an essential addition to the reference bookshelf, to be consulted when researching the history of a spirit, the origins of a cocktail, or indeed when settling a drunken argument on any drinks-related subject, from Cognac to Coca-Cola... Rothbaum and Wondrich have marshalled a huge amount of knowledge to provide a pivotal point of reference. They should be lauded and applauded for their fine work." -- Joel Harrison, Club Oenologique

"This one is a biggie in all senses of the word... Trust us when we say that it's packed with absolutely everything you need to know about the fascinating world of drinks." -- The Cocktail Lovers

"There really hasn't been anything which offers such a comprehensive overview as this book does and it's well overdue... It's a treasure trove of information for anybody with the least little bit of interest in the subject." -- Hayley Anderton, Shiny New Books

"[A] heck of a lot of knowledge about a vast many of the things has been packed into this beautifully illustrated beast of a book that these drinks experts have been toiling over for nearly a decade...[W]hat a pile of riches this volume contains. I wish I'd had it years ago but am glad to have it now." --The Washington Post

"A must-have compendium for any drinks lover." -- Julie Sheppard, Decanter

"Magnificent... I greatly enjoyed perusing this voluminous book and will hugely enjoy owning it." -- Vitali Vitaliev, E&T Magazine

"I have a reasonably large collection of books on the subject, but none is as comprehensive as... Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails" -- Tom Molloy, Irish Independent

"Start on any page of this new, definitive encycolopedia of cocktail history and let it take you on a journey from entry to entry. It's a boozy Wikipedia you can hold in your hands." -- Camper English, Big Issue

"Noah and Dave are extremely knowledgeable individuals in the spirits and cocktails space who, I can only imagine, had the most spectacular time researching, tasting, and perfecting this must-have guide for any spirits buff." --Dan Aykroyd, actor, writer & creator of Crystal Head Vodka

"Get ready to know everything you wanted, and plenty you never knew you needed, about the complex world of spirits and cocktails. Brought to you by two of the greatest minds in tippling, this compendium will impress you, and more importantly your friends, with its depth, breadth, and downright substance. If you're as passionate about spirits as I am, this companion will knock you off your cocktail napkin." --Aisha Tyler, actor, director, Emmy Award-winning TV host and creator of Courage + Stone bottled cocktails

"The world of spirits and cocktails is wide and enduring, and their impact on culture has been extensive; this book acts as a much-needed insight into the true breadth of the subject -- including details beyond the well-trodden products and categories. Shining a light on the multitude of forms, facets and nuances found around the world, this is an essential guide for those new and curious to the world of drinks and for seasoned enthusiasts alike." --Ryan Chetiyawardana

"Leave it to the great minds of Wondrich and Rothbaum to create what the industry has needed for so long, the definitive book on imbibing. From the basics of things you do know like bourbon or martinis, to in depth looks at things you don't, like pisco or Blue Blazers, this book is a MUST have for whetting the whistle and knowing what you need to know the world over." --Ivy Mix

"A tour de force: The new, definitive authority on the history and craft of cocktails and spirits, curated by two of the most experienced and critically acclaimed writers in the industry."--Ted Allen, host of James Beard Award-winning show Chopped and best-selling author

"If I sound a little bit breathless and overexcited about this book - well, I am. There hasn't really been anything like it before which covers so much in one place... if you're looking for a Christmas present for a drinks enthusiast I don't see how you can miss with this book." -- Desperate Reader

"This well-researched and executed volume is a treasure. It's a cocktail dictionary. It's a spirits lexicon. It's a mixology almanac. It's a true drinks companion - and many of us will welcome the company... engaging and often amusing, and above all it is a delightful education." -- Chrissie Walker, Mostly Food & Travel Journal

"With 1,150 alphabetical entries, The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails is the ultimate guide to drinks terminology. It works as a dictionary and a recipe book, or something to dip into and emerge hours later." -- , Waitrose Drinks

"Cocktail fans will quench their thirst for knowledge with this mammoth, authoritative and illuminating guide, written with great wit and astounding scholarship by James Beard Award-winner David Wondrich and co-editor Noah Rothbaum." --Shelf Awareness