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Refreshing reads

With multiple book releases devoted to mezcal, rum and gin, 2017 is less about magical thinking than stiff drinking. Here, a toast to the season's best drinks books

The Curious Bartender's Rum Revolution

By Tristan Stephenson

($37.50, Ryland Peters & Small)

British bar star Tristan Stephenson wants people to give rum the respect it deserves and, as such, has written the colourful (literally) The Curious Bartender's Rum Revolution. It's about rum's production around the world – no mean feat, given that there's a wide range of regional and distillery-specific methods. And those who prefer frosty pina coladas to rum geekery can skip the science and head straight to the last chapter for tasty recipes.

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The Mezcal Rush: Explorations in Agave Country

By Granville Greene

($37.50, Counterpoint)

Mezcal: The History, Craft and Cocktails of the World's Ultimate Artisanal Spirit

By Emma Janzen

($32.99, Voyageur Press)

With two separate releases devoted to mezcal due this summer, it's hard not to wonder if we're about to hit peak agave soon. That's what worries Granville Greene, author of The Mezcal Rush: Explorations in Agave Country. His book is largely about sustainability and heritage, which the gold-rush mentality about this smoky spirit threatens to destroy. Emma Janzen's Mezcal: The History, Craft and Cocktails of the World's Ultimate Artisanal Spirit, addresses this aspect as well as celebrating its unique properties.

The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes

By Ellen Zachos

($28.95, Storey Publishing)

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Those who worry about sustainability will be happy to learn about The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes, a cute little guide to getting your home bar off Big Ag and commercial mixes. Of course, foraged bar ingredients are a lot of extra work, but Zachos argues the results are well worth it.

Gin Tonica: 40 Recipes for Spanish Style Gin and Tonic Cocktails

By David T. Smith

($14.93, Ryland Peters & Small)

Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF

By Camper English

($6.74, self-published)

Who knew that we needed not one but two instruction manuals for the gin and tonic, the world's simplest mixed drink? David T. Smith's Gin Tonica: 40 Recipes for Spanish Style Gin and Tonic Cocktails celebrates Spanish creative arts, while Camper English's self-published Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF delves into the drink's history. Both are fun, quick reads – English's read entertains you while Smith's could inspire you to take your G&T to the next level.

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