Cookbooks and cocktail books to ask for or gift this Christmas.

Share story

The holidays are about eating and drinking. Carry the theme forward with the gift of a cookbook or drink-themed tome.


It was great year for cookbooks, so here is a narrowed field that would make for terrific holiday gifts for the home cook, whether experienced or new in the kitchen.

Big Food Big Love: Down-Home Southern Cooking Full of Heart from Seattle’s Wandering Goose, $25

Local chef Heather Earnhardt puts the comfort food from her Seattle café down on the page in this lauded new book.

Dinner Made Simple: 35 Everyday Ingredients, 350 Easy Recipes, by the editors of Real Simple, $25

Starting with common ingredients, these dinner recipes will get you through the work week. Many recipes take 20 minutes or less to make.

Cook It in Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does It All, by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen, $27

Cast iron can withstand high temperatures, which makes it ideal for searing steaks and other meats. It’s also very durable and can last for generations. This collection illustrates the versatility of cooking with cast iron and covers appetizers; skillet roasts; seared meats and fish; one-dish dinners; sandwiches, burgers and pizzas; eggs and breakfast; biscuits and breads; and desserts. The introduction includes tips for using a cast-iron skillet as well as recommendations for buying one.

Meals for Me: One Core Ingredient — Two Delicious Meals, by Sam Stern, $30

Cooking for one is different, but this collection of 130 recipes makes it easy and enjoyable. Recipes are presented in pairs that use a core ingredient; so instead of leftovers on the second day, you have a brand new recipe to make.

The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook: 165 Recipes for Eating, Drinking, and Watching Sports, by Daina Falk, $23

Chapters are organized into appetizers; soups, salads and flatbreads; sandwiches and burgers; barbecue and other mains; sides; desserts; drinks, and basics (homemade condiments, dips and sauces).


Thirsting for a good read? Put these five drink-themed books on your wish list, or give them to the imbiber on your list.

The New Cocktail Hour: The Essential Guide to Hand-Crafted Drinks, by Andre Darlington and Tenaya Darlington, $22

This book contains 230 vintage and modern cocktail recipes, along with suggested food pairings; suggestions for putting together a bar, hosting parties and seasonal gardening garnishes.

The New Cocktail Hour; Whisky Japan; A Proper Drink; How to Drink Like a Billionaire
The New Cocktail Hour; Whisky Japan; A Proper Drink; How to Drink Like a Billionaire

How to Drink Like a Billionaire: Mastering Wine with Joie de Vivre, Mark Oldman, $29

Oldman is one of the most well-known experts on wine in the country, and he knows how to distill big ideas into informed but pint-size chunks. That’s no different with “Billionaire,” an engaging guide to just about anything you could want to know about wine: how to pair it with food, why your enjoyment of a certain bottle isn’t proportional to its price and even how to properly decapitate your Champagne bottle without hurting anyone.

A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World, Robert Simonson, $27

New York Times writer Simonson has compiled an engrossing narrative history about the modern cocktail renaissance that brought back the classics and then riffed on them. It features the influential people behind the revolution as well as cocktail recipes.

My Beer Year, Lucy Burningham, $17

Certified cicerone Burningham taps into the essence of why craft beer has caught on so much. Her first-person narrative starts at the beginning of her journey to become a cicerone (the beer equivalent of a wine sommelier), which means readers are learning about beer and the brewers who make it right alongside her.

Whisky Japan: The Essential Guide to the World’s Most Exotic Whisky, Dominic Roskrow, $35

Despite the explosion of craft cocktails, there’s one type of whiskey that still remains elusive, even mysterious. This immersive, coffee-table-book-size tome transports us to the perfectionist distilleries of Japan, making malted whiskies similar to Scotch. The book also provides information on Japanese-centric bars around the world, including in the U.S.