A Cocktail Library: What Your Book Club Will Actually Enjoy

After college I became a total teetotaler. For years, I had no interest in drinking — didn’t like the taste, and certainly didn’t like the loss of control. But then the great recession hit and I hit the bottle. Now I occasionally enjoy a glass of wine when I cook and when I have dinner with friends.  Especially when my friend Kelly picks the wine.  Thanks to another Kelley I have been introduced to the concept of day drinking. Needless to say, I was grateful.

The Summer Sangria at Cheesetique (Kelley’s and my favorite!) is the closest thing to a cocktail that I get. It’s pretty safe to say that I couldn’t make a cocktail to save my life, at least not without a recipe. That is why we are fully stocked with some of the most amazing cocktail books.  I wanted to share a few of our favorites with you in case your life depended on your cocktail making abilities.

If you like a little history with your Gin Rickey then this is the book for you.  Chock-full of stories from Prohibition – when people weren’t supposed to drink, yet they did in droves – and literary lore, Contraband Cocktails is a great read as well as a great guide to making the perfect Bee’s Knees, Brandy Flip, and Monkey Gland – whatever that is.


The international award-winning bar, Death & Co., in Manhattan’s East Village, has become the most influential bar in the contemporary craft cocktail movement. Not only is their book a definitive work of more than 500 of their unique recipes, it is also a complete cocktail master class.  With a guide to buying spirits, information on drink-making theory, and instructions for mastering key bartending techniques, this book is a must for the professional – and apprentice – cocktail maker.

The folks of Kings County Distillery, New York City’s first distillery since Prohibition, bring you the essential guide to home distilling.  This book starts with the history and culture of whiskey from 1640 to today, then moves into an easy-to-follow guide to making your own whiskey, and ends your journey with cocktail recipes from master mixologists and instructions on how to build your own whiskey collection. That’s what I call soup-to-nuts.


Finally, no cocktail collection would be complete without a set of glasses to hold your masterful mixes.  We absolutely love our Alexandria whiskey glasses from Love & Victory. These beauties are etched in Brooklyn and are the perfect size for anyone’s hand.  Stop by today to get your library started and grab a few of these wonderful glasses.  I think you will agree that they are really special.



  • The latest from Amy
Owner Amy Rutherford started Red Barn because she wanted to deliver a service — to provide both old and new in one place. No longer will busy shoppers be limited to reproductions or forced to shop multiple flea markets for the look or gifts they want. The trick in blending old and new, vintage and modern, classic and quirky, is balance. And Amy’s knack for mixing rustic antiques with urban chic has created a look that is both fresh and familiar.

Red Barn Mercantile opened its doors in September 2007 with a single vision in mind: providing old and new to offer our customers signature whole-room designs at great prices.

We’re more than a furniture boutique and provide more personalized service than a big box retailer. We work hard to bring you the highest quality furniture and gifts, the most unique conversation starters, wall hangings and accent pieces, whether they come from off-the-beaten-track flea markets, or the latest designers.


1117 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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