From the authors of the Death and Co., a book that has become a must for cocktail lovers an enthusiast in recent years, comes another, slightly different but still fantastic book about the spirits we love and enjoy experimenting with. Cocktail Codex (Ten Speed, $40) at first glance seems like a book about six cocktails: the old-fashioned, martini, daiquiri, sidecar, whisky highball, and flip, but, it’s so much more. Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan realized that these are the six drinks that can be used as a template for everything else and that will guide you into your adventure of mixing drinks. Perfectly organized and cantered around the basic six, the book offers a more in-depth overview of everything you need to know: the difference between Gin and London dry Gin, between Whiskey, Scotch and Bourbon, bitters and garnishes, types of glasses and mixing tools, origins, fundamentals and formulas. Every chapter is accompanied with beautiful pictures that will make you want to organize a party for your friends just so you can show off your mixing skills. Just in time for the holidays, treat yourself or surprise an aspiring mixologist friend with this beautiful and useful gem.
Chef Anita Lo’s warm, charming new cookbook Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One (Knopf $28.95) is a warm, charming testament to the pleasures of cooking (and dining) alone. Lo firmly believes that eating alone should be an act of self-love and a celebration of flavor and her recipes are uniformly inventive, elegant, and spare, influenced both by her Chinese heritage and her classical French culinary training. Perfectly accompanied by Julia Rothman’s playful illustrations, each recipe is streamlined for exactly one serving: there are no leftovers, no waste, just one complete, perfect serving. The imagining of desserts-for-one are particularly exceptional: from a caramelized banana with coconut to my favorite, the peanut-butter-and-chocolate pie, I found myself very grateful that I didn’t have to share.
Nestled in an old ESSO station in Warrenton, Virginia, and along the charming main street of Marshall are the two outposts of The Red Truck Rural Bakery. With a mix of nostalgic comfort and fresh forward-mindedness, their cakes, breads, and pies are the joy of many a Washingtonian’s roadtrip west on Route 66. Established by Culinary Institute of America-trained Brian Noyes, formerly art director of The Washington Post, this off-the-beaten path gem has landed a spot on many a list of the best bakeries in America. And now its “vernacular” joys are available to the home cook. The Red Truck Bakery Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, $25) brings together many of the bakery’s most beloved Southern-twinged treats, along with evocative photographs, and stories from Noyes’s flavorful life.