Best Books, Cookbooks, Nonfiction

The Best Whisky, Bourbon, and Brandy Books

“What are the best books about Whisky, Bourbon, and Brandy?” We looked at 11 sources and came away with 85 of the best books so we could answer that very question.

Part 5 in our 7 part series of Alcohol Articles.

Today we aggregated the best bourbon, brandy, and whisky books. The top 14 books that appeared on multiple lists are ranked below with pictures, links, and summaries. The remaining 71 books and the sources we used are also listed at the bottom of the article.

Be sure to check back for the rest of our alcohol articles on:

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The Top Whisky, Bourbon, and Brandy Books

14 .) Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker by Fred Minnick

Lists It Appears On:

  • Community Table
  • Men’s Journal

In Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker, award-winning whiskey writer and Wall Street Journal-best-selling author Fred Minnick debunks bourbon myths, provides distillery production methods (such as recipes and barrel-entry proofs!) and creates an easy-to-read interactive tasting journey that helps you select bourbons based on flavor preferences and bourbon styles. Using the same tasting principles he offers in his Kentucky Derby Museum classes and as a judge at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Minnick’s Bourbon Curious cuts to the chase, dismissing brand marketing and judging what’s inside the bottle.

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13 .) Classic Irish Whiskey by Jim Murray

Lists It Appears On:

  • Whiskey Wise
  • The Spirits Business

this book on Irish whiskey covers: the history of Irish whiskey making; distillery and brand histories; pot still, pure malt and blended whiskeys; rare vintage bottlings; Irish whiskey liqueurs; poteen; and visitor facilities on Ireland’s whiskey trail.

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12 .) Imbibe! by David Wondrich

Lists It Appears On:

  • Community Table
  • Bourbon Banter

“Cocktail writer and historian David Wondrich presents the colorful, little-known history of classic American drinks–and the ultimate mixologist’s guide–in this engaging homage to Jerry Thomas, father of the American bar.

Wondrich reveals never-before-published details and stories about this larger-than-life nineteenth-century figure, along with definitive recipes for more than 100 punches, cocktails, sours, fizzes, toddies, slings, and other essential drinks, along with detailed historical and mixological notes.

The first edition, published in 2007, won a James Beard Award. Now updated with newly discovered recipes and historical information, this new edition includes the origins of the first American drink, the Mint Julep (which Wondrich places before the American Revolution), and those of the Cocktail itself. It also provides more detail about 19th century spirits, many new and colorful anecdotes and details about Thomas’s life, and a number of particularly notable, delicious, and influential cocktails not covered in the original edition, rounding out the picture of pre-Prohibition tippling.”

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11 .) Malt Whiskey Yearbook 2015 by Ingvar Ronde

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Whisky Wash
  • Scotch Addict

Whisky enthusiasts all over the world look forward to the Malt Whisky Yearbook every autumn. This 12th edition is again fully revised and packed with new and up-to-date information on more than 400 whisky distilleries from all over the world. Distinguished whisky experts contribute with new features written exclusively for this new edition along with details of hundreds of whisky shops, whisky sites and new bottlings. The Independent Bottlers chapter gives you all the details about the world’s most successful blenders and bottlers complete with tasting notes. A comprehensive summary of the whisky year that was and all the latest statistics is also included.

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10 .) Malt Whisky: The Complete Guide by Charles MacLean

Lists It Appears On:

  • Whiskey Wise
  • The Spirits Business

Full color maps locate the key distilleries, while over 150 photographs capture the essence of the spirit and how it is made. Charles MacLean describes how to appreciate and get the most out of tasting malt whisky, and a detailed A-Z directory features all of Scotland’s key distilleries and their whiskies with full color labels. Also included are tips on buying malt whisky, as well as a guide to distillery visitor facilities and the best whisky societies and websites. This book offers all the information any malt lover could ever need to appreciate this magical spirit to the full.

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9 .) North American Whiskey Guide From Behind the Bar by Chad Berkey

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Spirits Business
  • Community Table

“A Must-Have Guide for Every Whiskey Lover
Whiskey has become one of the most popular spirits, and with so many different kinds it’s hard to keep track of them all and select great new ones to try. With reviews of 250 different whiskeys, the historical background of each type, 30 of the best cocktail recipes and even the perfect cigar pairing, this guide has everything a person needs to find some of the most interesting whiskeys available.
Chad Berkey is the general manager of The Aero Club Bar in San Diego, which boasts one of the largest collections of whiskey of any bar in America, with over 900 different kinds. With his help, you’ll discover the best whiskeys to try; many that won’t break the bank.
Top bartenders blind taste-tested every whiskey, so you get real, honest comments for each listing. Not only will this help you find whiskey similar to ones you already like, but it will also allow you to pick the best tasting whiskey for your palate and preference.
Packed with all the information you’ll ever need on whiskey, this book is what every whiskey enthusiast should have in their library.”

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8 .) Peat, Smoke and Spirit by Andrew Jefford

Lists It Appears On:

  • Scotch Addict
  • The Spirits Business

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7 .) The Bourbon Tasting Notebook by Susan Reigler and Michael R. Veach

Lists It Appears On:

  • Bourbon Banter
  • Men’s Journal

“The Bourbon Tasting Notebookis an essential logbook for any bourbon enthusiast. With a record amount of bourbon whiskey aging in warehouses and visits to Kentucky’s bourbon distilleries topping half a million annually, it is obvious that bourbon is enjoying unprecedented popularity. This logbook will give the bourbon lover the perfect way to track their samplings, with over 200 featured brands.
Authors Susan Reigler and Michael Veach sampled every brand featured, documenting the flavors, tastes and smells they experienced, along with the proof, age, type, style, mash bill, color, price, nose, taste, and finish for each bourbon, and full-color photos of each bottle for easy reference. They did not assign ratings, letting readers make their own determinations. The bourbons are also indexed by proof and style, along with a checklist so each person can keep track of what has been sampled and record his or her preferences.”

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6 .) Whiskey Distilled: A Populist Guide to the Water of Life by Heather Greene

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Whisky Wash
  • Alcademics

“Whiskey is in the midst of a huge renaissance. Ten years ago, the United States housed sixty-nine craft distillers; today, there are more than four hundred. Exports of Scotch whisky grew 12 percent just last year. Sales are skyrocketing, and specialty bars are popping up around the country, from New York City to Chicago to Houston.

Yet whiskey drinkers—especially novices—are more confused than ever. Over the past decade, whiskey expert Heather Greene has been bombarded with thousands of questions, including Can I have ice in my whiskey? Why is it sometimes spelled “whisky”? What makes bourbon different? As New York City’s first female whiskey sommelier, Greene introduces audiences to the spirit’s charms and challenges the boys’ club sensibilities that have made whiskey seem inaccessible, with surprising new research that shows the crucial importance of “nosing”whiskey. Through lively tastings, speaking engagements, and classes such as the popular “Whiskey as an Aphrodisiac,” Greene has been demystifying whiskey the way Andrea Immer did wine a decade ago.

In this lively and authoritative guide, Greene uses bright visuals, an easy-to-read format, and the familiar vocabulary of wine to teach readers about whiskey and encourage them to make their own evaluations. Peppered with wry anecdotes drawn from her unusual life—and including recipes for delicious cocktails by some of today’s most celebrated mixologists—Whiskey Distilled will be enthusiastically greeted by the whiskey curious as well as by journeymen whiskey drinkers thirsty to learn more about their beloved tipple.”

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5 .) Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch and Irish History by Fred Minnock

Lists It Appears On:

  • Bourbon Banter
  • The Spirits Business

Without women, whiskey may not exist. In Whiskey Women, Wall Street Journal-bestselling author Fred Minnick tells the tales of women who have created this industry, from Mesopotamia’s first beer brewers and distillers to America’s rough-and-tough bootleggers during Prohibition. Women have long distilled, marketed, and owned spirits companies. These strong women built many iconic brands, including Bushmills, Laphroaig, and Maker’s Mark. Until now their stories have remained untold.

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4 .) Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2016 by Jim Murray

Lists It Appears On:

  • Men’s Journal
  • The Spirits Business
  • The Whisky Wash
  • Scotch Addict

The most comprehensive whiskey guide ever written, now further expanded. The world’s best selling ratings guide to all types of whiskey including Scotch single malt, blends, vatted malts, single grains, Irish bourbon, rye, Japanese, Canadian, Australian, European and many others. Detailed, professionally analyzed and easy to understand tasting notes on over 4,500 of the World’s leading and lesser-known whiskies. Specially designed for quick and easy reference in any liquor store or supermarket. Each whiskey evaluated by whiskey guru Jim Murray in his unique, forthright, honest, amusing, fiercely independent and non-Pretentious style.

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3 .) The World Atlas Of Whisky by Dave Bloom

Lists It Appears On:

  • Scotch Addict
  • The Spirits Business
  • About
  • Alcademics

Award-winning author and whisky expert Dave Broom explores over 200 distilleries and examines over 400 expressions. Detailed descriptions of the Scottish distilleries can be found here, while Ireland, Japan, the USA, Canada and the rest of the world are given exhaustive coverage. There are tasting notes on single malts from Aberfeldy to Tormore, Yoichi (and coverage of the best of the blends). Six specially created ‘Flavour Camp Charts’ group whiskies by style, allow readers to identify new whiskies from around the world to try. This extrensively updated and extended edition features new material on burgeoning areas, including detailed coverage of many recently opened US craft distilleries, new distilleries in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and discussion of the growing whisky scene in Latin America. With over 200 beautiful colour photographs and 21 colour maps locating distilleries and whisky-related sites, this is a stylish celebration of the heritage, romance, craftsmanship and versatility of whisky.

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2 .) Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide by Michael Jackson

Lists It Appears On:

  • Whiskey Wise
  • Scotch Addict
  • Business Insider
  • The Spirits Business

From grain to glass, “Whiskey tells you everything and anything you’ll ever want to know about whiskey, from storing and serving whiskey, whiskey cocktails, to pairing whiskey with food. Whether interested in the story behind aromas and flavors, what makes certain distilleries unique or how weather and environment influence taste–this is the most fascinating illustrated examination of whiskey on the market.

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1 .) American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye: A Guide to the Nation’’s Favorite Spirit by Clay Risen

Lists It Appears On:

  • Bourbon Banter
  • The Whisky Wash
  • The Spirits Business
  • Red White and Bourbon
  • Business Insider

Organized in an A-to-Z directory by distillery, then brand, this second edition of American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye features more than 330 whiskeys, including more than 120 new entries. Each section includes a brief history of the maker, along with its location, followed by a full account of each bottling, including details on age, proof, nose, color, body, palate, price, as well as an overall rating. A comprehensive primer provides a short history of the spirit, how it’s made, and how to enjoy it, including tips on organizing tasting sessions. Also included are a glossary of terms, a selection of top whiskeys by value and ratings, a handy checklist, and two helpful indexes. With this book, choosing from among the many whiskeys, bourbons, and ryes made in America has never been easier.

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71 Additional Best Whiskey Books


33 Drams Of WhiskeyRed White and Bourbon
A Little Book of Scotch WhiskiesDerek CooperWhiskey Wise
A to Z of WhiskyGavin D. SmithWhiskey Wise
Appreciating WhiskyPhillip HillsWhiskey Wise
BoozehoundJason WilsonCommunity Table
Bourbon: The Evolution of Kentucky WhiskeySam CecilAbout
Brandy: A Global HistoryBecky Sue EpsteinAlcademics
Caesars: The Essential Guide to Your Favourite CocktailClint PattemoreAlcademics
Classic Blended ScotchJim MurrayWhiskey Wise
Classic Bourbon, Tennessee & Rye WhiskeyJim MurrayWhiskey Wise
Classic Malts. The Scottish CollectionCarol P. ShawWhiskey Wise
Collins pocket reference on WhiskyWhiskey Wise
Craft CocktailsCommunity Table
Distilled: From absinthe & brandy to vodka & whisky, the world’s finest artisan spirits unearthed, explained & enjoyedNeil Ridley and Joel HarrisonAlcademics
Four Roses: The Return of a Whiskey LegendBusiness Insider
GEM Whisky BookWhiskey Wise
How to Mix DrinksJerry ThomasAlcademics
Jim Murray’s Irish Whiskey AlmanacJim MurrayWhiskey Wise
Let Me Tell You About WhiskyNeil Ridley and Gavin SmithScotch Addict
Locally BrewedAnna BlessingCommunity Table
Malt Whisky FileJohn LamondScotch Addict
Malt Whisky. A Contemporary GuideGraham MooreWhiskey Wise
Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky CompanionLisa Minsky, Roddy CraigWhiskey Wise
Modern Cocktails: Dozens of Cool and Classic Mixed Drinks to Make You the Life of the PartyJimmy DymottAlcademics
Oh Beautiful BeerHarvey ShepardCommunity Table
Scotch Missed. The Lost Distilleries of ScotlandBrian TownsendWhiskey Wise
Scotch Whisky. It’s past and presentDavid DaichesWhiskey Wise
Single Malt ScotchBill Milne & Roddy MartineWhiskey Wise
Single Malt Whiskies of ScotlandJames F. Harris & Mark H. WaymackWhiskey Wise
Tasting Whiskey: An Insider’s Guide to the Unique Pleasures of the World’s Finest SpiritsRed White and Bourbon
Tequila MockingbirdTim FederleCommunity Table
The American Cocktail: 50 Recipes That Celebrate the Craft of Mixing Drinks from Coast to CoastBusiness Insider
The Art of American Whiskey: A Visual History of the Nation’s Most Storied Spirit, Through 100 Iconic LabelsNoah RothbaumMen’s Journal
The Art of WhiskyWhiskey Wise
The Best ScotchWhiskey Wise
The Book of Classic American WhiskeysWhiskey Wise
The Classic Whisky HandbookIan WisniewskiWhiskey Wise
The Complete Beer CourseJoshua M. BernsteinCommunity Table
The Complete guide to WhiskyJim MurrayWhiskey Wise
The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All: Know Your Booze Before You ChooseRichard Betts, Crystal English Sacca, and Wendy MacNaughtonMen’s Journal
The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine ExpertRichard BettsCommunity Table
The Field Guide to Drinking in AmericaNiki GanongCommunity Table
The Kings County Distillery Guide to Urban Moonshining: How to Make and Drink WhiskeyColin SpolemanBusiness Insider
The Making of Scotch WhiskyJ.R. HumeThe Spirits Business
The Malt Whisky AlmanacMichael Moss and John HumeWhiskey Wise
The Malt Whisky file. The connoisseur’s guide to malt whiskies and their distilleriesRobin TucekWhiskey Wise
The Original Malt Whisky Almanac. A tasters guideWallace MilroyWhiskey Wise
The Scotch Whisky BookMark SkipworthWhiskey Wise
The Single Malt Whisky Companion. A Connoisseurs GuideHelen ArthurWhiskey Wise
The South American Gentleman’s CompanionCharles H. BakerAlcademics
The Story of Canadian Whisky, 200 years of traditionLorraine BrownWhiskey Wise
The Whisky Distilleries of the United KingdomAlfred BarnardScotch Addict
The Whisky TrailsGordon BrownWhiskey Wise
The World Whiskey GuideJim MurrayWhiskey Wise
The World’s Best WhiskiesDominic RoskrowAbout
Whisk(e)yWhiskey Wise
Whiskey Cocktails: Rediscovered Classics and Contemporary Craft Drinks Using the World’s Most Popular SpiritThe Whisky Wash
Whiskey OpusDominic Roskrow, Gavin Smith, Juergen Diebel and Davin de KergommeauxScotch Addict
Whisky and Scotland. A Practical and Spiritual SurveyNeil M. GunnWhiskey Wise
Whisky Map of ScotlandBartholomewWhiskey Wise
Whisky MichellanyIain SlinnWhiskey Wise
World WhiskeyCharles MacLeanScotch Addict
You Suck at DrinkingMatthew LatkiewiczCommunity Table

11 Whisky, Brandy, and Bourbon Book Sources

About 3 Essential Books for Whiskey Lovers
Alcademics Eight New Drink Books On Whiskey, Brandy, Cocktails, and History
Business Insider 23 Perfect Gifts For Anyone Who Loves Whiskey
Community Table 12 Best Books for Boozehounds
Men’s Journal The Best New Books for Whiskey Lovers
Red White and Bourbon Books
Scotch Addict Best Scotch Whisky Books
Whiskey Wise Whiskey books – read about your favourite drink


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