Some credit a return of the cocktail culture (though many doubt it ever went away). Others credit an improving economy, new interest in American-made distilled spirits and the next logical step after our enchantment with wine and craft beer. Whatever the reason, Americans are drinking more distilled spirits, and with this abundance of bottles comes an abundance of books about them, their backgrounds and suggestions on how best to enjoy them.
The revised and expanded edition of American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye by Clay Risen includes the history and ratings and tasting notes for more than 300 American distilled spirits, all with color photos, what to look for in each and how best to enjoy them. It’s a thorough, up-to-date guide. ($24.95, 400 pages).
British authors of The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol, Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, take on beer, cider, whiskey, tequila, vodka, rum, gin, aperitifs, digestifs and nightcaps with fact and a grain of humor. A quote from Gérard Depardieu, for example: “I’m happy with very little on this earth, but I do like a lot in my glass.” Add anecdotes about Peter the Great, Vincent van Gogh, Pancho Villa and others woven in with excellent explanatory material about each spirit ($24.95, 224 pages).
Dominic Roskrow concentrates on one spirit in Whiskey: What to Drink Next. Arranged by country with an introduction on how to taste and the best glass to use, he goes on to explain single malt whiskey, blended whiskeys, American whiskeys and more, with photos of each bottle and even graphs of each style’s atomic structure ($19.95, 224 pages).
Bartender Salvatore Calabrese puts it all together with Classic Cocktails. “Making a cocktail is an art,” he says, and explains the origin of the word cocktail, its history, what essentials to include in the home bar and a wealth of clearly explained recipes, both classics and originals ($19.95, 256 pages).
And for anyone contemplating a trip to Cuba, there is Cuban Cocktails. One hundred classics, punches and new versions of old favorites by three people involved in the New York City Cuban bar Cienfuegos are featured ($24.95, 256 pages).
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Swiss-Belhotel International boasts an impressive portfolio throughout 22 countries, including 10 ASEAN member countries. This growth is continuing with the group’s new plans to debut four properties in Thailand.
One of Palm Desert, California’s, signature hotel properties recently finalized its biggest-ever redesign. The JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa is home to 884 guestrooms and nearly 250,000 square feet of event space. Every facet of the property has been redesigned ahead of the property’s grand re-opening in January.