Liquor lore

illustration By MARK STIVERS

If you fancy yourself a true cocktail connoisseur, a whiskey whiz-bang or just someone who knows how to handle a bottle of crème de violette, then a book you should be reading right now is Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits. Jason Wilson, a spirits columnist for The Washington Post, stirs together an excellent blend of history, personal experience and liquor lore in a book that not only educates but entertains.

His laments about the faux-speakeasy trend and the glut of flavored vodkas on the market are humorous. Expect a tutoring in the art of the Manhattan and the martini—a serious divide in the cocktail world. Furthermore, you’ll glean enough knowledge to gain more appreciation for your drinks and those who mix them. Lastly, the next time you swing over to the Shady Lady Saloon, you’ll have more confidence in your order and be able to—perhaps—keep up with the bartenders when you talk gin.