It’s a GFR holiday tradition to publish Dean Tudor’s annual list of the best new cookbooks and food and wine related tomes in bookstores now. Click here for the series. Watch for a new category of book every week. And please support your friendly neighbourhood Good Food Fighter, and expertly curated, book shops: The Cookbook Store and Good Egg. – Malcolm Jolley, Ed.


Stocking stuffers are at the top of everybody’s gift list: something affordable (under $10, up to $20) that can also double as a host gift, something small and lightweight. Most of the books here are paperbacks. And of course, they can stuff an adult stocking. Typical for drinks books are…

THE HOME DISTILLER’S HANDBOOK; make your own whiskey & bourbon blends, infused spirits & cordials (Cider Mill Press, 2012, 144 pages, $14.95 US paper covers) is by Matthew Teacher. The title is a bit of a misnomer – it doesn’t tell you how to distil your own booze, but it does tell you how to blend and re-use it, once you have bought it from an alcohol store. And there is only one recipe for blending whiskies. The rest of the book deals with infusions such as lavender liqueur, pineapple basil cordial, and jalapeno & lime vodka.

THE CLASSIC COCKTAIL BIBLE (Hachette, 2012, 176 pages, $10.99 CAN hard covers) includes 200 recipes for all the tried and rue (daiquiri, dry martini, margarita, mojito,  manhattan, and comopolitan. Very good drink illustrations and techniques, pleasant layout. Covers wines too.

BEER COCKTAILS (Harvard Common Press, 2012, 104 pages, $15.95 CAN hardcovers) is by Howard and Lesley Stelzer who want to liven up your ales and lagers. There are 50 preps here, including a warm ale flip from the Colonial period and the Black and Tan, snake bite, bee sting, and shandy gaff. They make up most of them, and the book is arranged by style: pale and US beers, Belgian-style, brown ales, and porters/stouts.

HAIR OF THE DOG AND OTHER HANGOVER CURES (Dog ‘n’ Bone, 2012, 64 pages, $14.95 CAN hardcover) has 27 sure-fire cures, such as Atholl Brose, Bull’s Penis Soup, Elvis Sandwich, The Sauna). There are recipes for a restorative cocktail, for non-alcoholic remedies, and for comfort food. There are some drastic remedies too, so read the book.

THE BOOK OF BEER AWESOMENESS (Chronicle Books,  2012, 204 pages, $15.95 US paper covers) is a guide to party skills and 40 drinking games. There are some history and trivia here, plus even some culture. Included are Beer Pong rules and Cornhole, and the book is loaded with tons of illustrated detail in case you cannot read.

DRINKING GAMES: ONE BOOK, 25 GAMES, JUST ADD BOOZE (Dog ‘n’ Bone, 2012, 64 pages, $14.95 CAN hardcover) emphasizes that the major problem with drinking games is that you forget the rules by the end of them. Fear not, for here they are written down. For those who can read. Included are Beer Pong, Edward Ciderhands, Cereal Killer, Boatrace, and Monkeys. Just don’t lose your derring-do.

BREWERIANA (Shire Publications, 2012, 56 pages, $11.95 CAN paper covers) deals with American beer collectibles. Authors Kevin Rious and Donald Roussin are beer researchers. Here is the story of the evolution of the beer can, with paper advertising, packaging, signs all nicely reproduced. Prohibition is detailed. There are colourful reproductions of cans, posters and adverts. This is a good introduction, brief and affordable as a stocking stuffer.

MEAN MARGARITAS (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64 pages, $9.95 CAN hard covers) gives us 40 different kinds of Margaritas using the base of tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice.

MR. BOSTON OFFICIAL BARTENDER`S GUIDE (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 322 pages, $11.99 CAN paper covers) is based on the 68th edition with about 150 new recipes. Here then are 1000 cocktail recipes. Just about all that you would ever need to know, without the flashy illustrations. A great database at a rock bottom price.

GATSBY COCKTAILS (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64 pages, $9.95 CAN hardcovers) is a collection of some 24 recipes from the bygone Prohibition era. Cocktails became the height of fashion in order to mask many homemade booze flavours. The sweeter the cocktail the better the mask. Classics include Gatsby’s Mint Julep, the Manhattan, and more.

LET`S BRING BACK: the cocktail edition (Chronicle Books, 2012, 208 pages, $21.95 CAN hard covers) is a compendium of older cocktails which have disappeared over the course of time. And they should be brought back, according to author Lesley Blume. Long forgotten drinks, from the Ancients to the 1960s, with clever illustrations, are noted. Many are fizzy and sweet, and go by such illustrious names as Angel’s Tit, Monkey Gland, Runt’s Ambition, and my fave, the Bee’s Knees. 144 recipes in all.

WILLIAM YEOWARD’S AMERICAN BAR (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 144 pages, $28.95 US hardcover) is by interior designer William Yeoward. He visits his favourite American bars and selects some cocktails from each. Presentation is paramount here, so the photography adapts well. There are over 60 recipes, with tips and advice for each.

And so on to the wine annuals…

The two leaders are HUGH JOHNSON’S POCKET WINE BOOK 2013 (Mitchell Beazley, 2012, 336 pages, $17.99 CAD hard bound) and OZ CLARKE’S POCKET WINE GUIDE 2013 (Pavilion, 2012, 368 pages, $17.95 CAD hardbound). Both are guides to wines from all around the world, not just to the “best” wines. Similarities: Johnson claims more than 6000 wines are listed, while Clarke says more than 7000, but then recommends 4000 producers. News, vintage charts and data, glossaries, best value wines, and what to drink now are in both books. The major differences: Johnson has been at it longer – this is his 36th edition (Clarke is celebrating his 22th anniversary) — and has more respect from erudite readers for his exactitude and scholarliness. His book is arranged by region; Clarke’s book is in dictionary, A – Z form (about 1600 main entries). It is really six of one, or half a dozen of another which one to use. Apparently, Amazon.Com reports that many people buy both, for about $20 US total. Both books have notes on the 2011 vintage and some details about 2012, along with a closer look at the 2010. It is fun to look at the two books and find out where they diverge. As a sidelight, Johnson and Oz are moving more into food: there is a 16 page section on food and wine matching in the former, while Oz has 6 pages. Johnson also has a listing of his personal 200 fave wines and a special chapter on Champagne and sparkling wines. Both books could profit from online accessibility or a CD-ROM production. What I don’t like about both books is that they come out too early. Johnson was available August 15, while Clarke was released on October 2. I guess that this gets them off the hook about having to comment on the 2012 harvest and vintage in the Northern hemisphere!!

Other wine annuals – mostly paperbacks — deal with “recommended” wines, not all of the wines in the world. They can afford the space for more in-depth tasting notes (TNs) of what they actually do cover (usually just wines available in their local marketplace).

THE 500 BEST-VALUE WINES IN THE LCBO 2013 (Whitecap, 2012, 250 pages, $19.95 CAD paper back) takes a more determined run at the wines at the LCBO. This fifth edition (now biennially issued?), by Rod Phillips (wine writer for the Ottawa Citizen), has wines arranged by wine colour and then by region/country with price and CSPC number. Each value wine gets a rating (the basic is three stars out of five), and there is an indication of food pairings. A good guidebook, but I’m afraid most people will just look through it for the 5 star selections and leave it at that. Turnover in Ontario is enormous because this update claims over 150 new wines for a book that deals with just 500. Coverage is limited to LCBO General Purchase wines and LCBO Vintages Essentials, the wines that are available (if only by special internal order) in every LCBO store.

BILLY’S BEST BOTTLES; wines for 2013 (McArthur & Company, 2012, 240 pages, $19.95 CAD soft covers) by Billy Munnelly is back for another round (23 ed), creating more emphasis on wine and food pairing, party planning, and some social manners. There’s some info about country trends and frequently-asked questions about wine. Plus data on Ontario winery tours. His whole concept of wine is organized by Mood, with sections on wine colour and style/weight, and the wines are usually those available at the LCBO. Most should be available across the country. He has over 400 best international wine buys, with most under $20 and many under $12. And there is a wine index at the back where wines are listed by region. Check out

HAD A GLASS 2013; top 100 wines under $20 (Appetite by Random House, 2012, 170 pages, $19.95 CAD paper covers) is now by James Nevison alone, the co-author of 2003’s “Have a Glass; a modern guide to wine”. He reports regularly at Had a Glass (now in its sixth edition but with a new publisher) showcases top inexpensive wines available with national distribution. He tries to pick wines available to match any occasion, and along the way he provides tips on food and wine pairing and stemware. The first forty pages present all the basics. I am not sure why it is here since the book is really about the top 100 wines. Most readers/buyers will head straight for the listings which follow, one per page, for whites, roses, reds, aperitifs, dessert wines and sparklers. This year, in view of rising prices, he has enlarged his scope to cover some “splurge” wines. For Ontario, this is just at the very time that the LCBO is concentrating on the $15 to $19.95 spread. There are indexes by countries and by wine/variety. Tasting notes are pretty bare bones, but each wine does have a label, description of the product, a price, and some food matches.

Dean Tudor is a Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus, The Treasurer of The Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada and creator of Canada’s award-winning wine satire site at Visit Dean’s websites at and His motto: “Look it up and you’ll remember it; screw it up and you’ll never forget it.”