I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a nerd. I like to learn, especially when it is about something that I enjoy immensely, such as whiskey. You might not think that there is much to learn about liquor, but that’s where you’re wrong. While the best education in whiskey would be to sit yourself down and enjoy a glass–or two or three–your liver might eventually need a bit of a break.
The second-best way to further your whiskey education is to read about this storied adult beverage. And luckily, there are some very good books out there on this very subject. In fact, I’ve narrowed down the top ten best whiskey books I’ve come across and would recommend them to anyone looking to learn more about whiskey.
These books are written by people with extensive whiskey knowledge who have spent many hours researching, visiting distilleries and bars, and (luckily) tasting many, many varieties of this delicious libation.
If you enjoy whiskey, or you know someone that does, you’ll likely find this list of the best whiskey books a great resource to extend your knowledge and even impress even the most snobby whiskey drinkers you know at your next get-together.
Top 10 Best Whiskey Books I Recommend
The best books on whiskey are going to be the ones where the author has some experience in the field. This list of the top 10 best whiskey books has authors who know their drink of choice and enjoy spreading their knowledge. If you’re looking for a new book on whiskey, consider these top 10 choices:
Whiskey Master Class by Lew Bryson
Lew Bryson was the former managing editor for the Whiskey Advocate and is a senior drinks writer for The Daily Beast who has had the pleasure of drinking and writing about alcohol since 1995.
Bryson knows his whiskey stuff and in the Whiskey Master Class, you’ll learn about different ingredients, barrelling, and even how the environment can affect the taste, just to name a few subjects in this excellent book. You won’t feel like you’re being lectured in a boring classroom either; Bryson talks to you like a well-versed buddy from the local pub.
- Whiskey Master Class: Lew Bryson
The Complete Whiskey Course: A Comprehensive Tasting School in 10 Classes by Robin Robinson
Don’t let the title fool you, there aren’t “classes” per se. Instead, Robinson, who helps new distillers learn the ropes, teaches classes all over the country, and does a stand-up comedy/whiskey routine, breaks his book up into the history of whiskey, goes into the varieties of the world, gives his recommendations, and does it all with graphs, illustrations, and pictures.
Hacking Whiskey by Aaron Goldfarb
Aaron Goldfarb is a whiskey geek and I say that with the utmost respect and admiration. Goldfarb has taken regular whiskey and helped those of us who don’t spend their entire lives sipping liquid gold to think outside of the bottle. You’ll learn how to use different techniques to flavor your whiskey, including smoking, infusing marijuana flavor, and using ramen broth for fat washing.
- Hacking Whiskey: Aaron Goldfarb
Beginner’s Guide To Whiskey by Sam Green
Everybody starts at the beginning on any topic, whiskey included. Sam Green’s Beginner’s Guide to Whiskey is a great book to use in the beginning of your whiskey journey. You’ll learn about the ingredients that distillers will use, how this drink is made, and how you should enjoy it. You’ll go from knowing it’s a “dad drink” to being able to distinguish between Scotch, Irish whiskey, and even a bourbon from a rye.
- Beginner’s Guide to Whiskey: Sam Green
Whiskey: A Tasting Course: A New Way to Think and Drink Whiskey by Eddie Ludlow
Truly, the best way to learn about whiskey is to drink it. And, the best way to do this is in a hosted tasting event. Well, right now with this plague going on, we’re not able to do this, so the next best thing is Eddie Ludlow’s book about whiskey tasting.
Ludlow hosts whiskey tasting events for his main job and his book teaches you to use all of your senses to appreciate the color, aroma, taste, notes, and flavors of various types of whiskey.
A Field Guide to Whiskey by Hans Offringa
Hans Offringa’s book A Field Guide to Whiskey will take you on a journey through whiskey, Scotch, and bourbon in a question and answer formatting that intersperses interesting quotes throughout. It’s definitely a handsome book and quite easy to read.
- A Field Guide to Whiskey: Hans Offringa
Drink More Whisket by Daniel Yaffe
Whiskey has an “air” about it, making it seem like a drink only grandfathers and snobs drink. Daniel Yaffe’s book takes that mystique and pretentiousness away from this liquid gold and instead encourages you to drop any preconceived notions you might have about whiskey and just drink more of it.
- Drink More Whiskey: Daniel Yaffe
The North American Whiskey Guide From Behind The Bar by Chad Berkey
Chad Berkey had an awesome idea with this book. He took a group of bartenders and had them go wild on 250 bottles of whiskey, bourbon, and Scotch and then had them give him their honest opinions on each. Not only that, but The North American Whiskey Guide from Behind the Bar also gives you some recommendations for cigar pairings and different recipes for mixing your whiskey into cocktails.
- The North American Whiskey Guide from Behind the Bar: Chad Berkey
American Whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Favorite Spirit by Clay Risen
If you want an A-to-Z guide on over 300 whiskies, you’ll love Clay Risen’s book on American’s favorite alcohol. Risen is an industry expert, historian, and an editor for The New York Times, so he definitely knows his stuff.
Dead Distillers: A History of the Upstarts and Outlaws Who Made American Spirits by Colin Spoelman and David Haskell
Whiskey wasn’t always a legal drink in the U.S. Spoelman and Haskell take you through the dark times of whiskey by highlighting fifty stories of outlaws, rebels, and pioneers in the whiskey world who were the forefathers that created the most popular adult liquor that we know and love today. When you’re ready to sit down with your next whiskey on the rocks, reach for Dead Distillers and learn about where your drink of choice came from.
- Dead Distillers: A History of the Upstarts and Outlaws Who Made American Spirits: Colin Spoelman and David Haskell
Conclusion: Read These Books About Whiskey!
We’ve been in lockdown for a very long time. It hasn’t always been easy and yes, it’s led to some of us picking up a glass or two of an adult beverage. For many, this drink has been whiskey.
If you’ve grown to love whiskey in whatever form it comes in, you’ll likely enjoy learning about the history and mystique of this golden beverage. And, if you’re ready to become a whiskey aficionado, you’ll love this list of the ten best whiskey books. Now, pull up a chair to the nearest roaring fire you can find, prop up your feet, pour yourself a drink, and become a little more learned.