Explore your passion for wine, food pairings, cocktails, Asian spirits and favorite authors (!) through these pages.
“Pairing wine and food is a lot like falling in love. In true love, we may be blind to color, race, religion and gender, and we find genuine happiness with a lover based on shared values, experiences, interests, and innate attraction….The wine doesn’t care what the dish is or is not, or where it originates. The food could care less if it’s flouting time-honored expectations.” –Evan Goldstein
Daring Pairings: A Master Sommelier Matches Distinctive Wines with Recipes from his Favorite Chefs: While most books penned by master sommeliers take the guesswork out of helping people discover their favorite wines, Goldstein takes the concept beyond the next level. The book not only educates on the key characteristics of wine in plain language, but also creates heavenly matches, pairing different representative wines with easy-to-follow recipes from renowned chefs. EVAN GOLDSTEIN, University of California Press, $34.95.
100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love: The title says it all, especially if your Valentine’s Day plans involve staying home, opening a bottle of wine and keeping the gourmet element intimate. Easy-but-decadent recipes ensure you spend more time enjoying the food/wine experience and each other than in pesky prep mode. JILL SILVERMAN HOUGH, Wiley, $16.95.
Yum! Tasty Recipes from Culinary Greats: Before competing with other couples for reservations at this year’s romantic restaurant-du-jour, check out this book first to see what kind of magic you can create at home. A suitable companion for either of the two books above. JEFFREY SPEAR & DARA BUNJON, Cumberland House, $28.95.
Asian Cocktails: Creative Drinks Inspired by the East: Indulge in some fun and experimentation in your kitchen or home bar with this book. It not only boasts dozens of recipes with flavor profiles that span the Asian continent and available Asian spirits, but also a chapter that enables readers to transform ordinary simple syrup, vodka, rum, shochu or gin into exotic cocktail foundations with finds from your neighborhood Asian market or produce shop. HOLLY JENNINGS & CHRISTINE LEBLONDE, Tuttle Publishing, $16.95.
Whiskey: A Global History: If your special someone is a whiskey enthusiast, here’s the perfect companion (other than you!). In 144 brisk pages, Kosar covers the essentials needed to entertain with finesse, spelling out everything one needs to know about serving, tasting and savoring such diverse expressions as single-malt Scotches, bourbons and Irish whiskeys. KEVIN KOSAR. Reaktion, $15.95
Japanese Cocktails: The delicate flavors, structure and appearance of sushi and other Japanese foods translates to libations made with sake, shochu, Japanese whisky, green tea and melon liqueurs and even beer. While recipes makes the Japanese cocktail aesthetic as accessible as your local market, the book’s informative passages and art direction transports you to Japan in its sexy, post-modern glory. YURI KATO, Chronicle Books, $14.95.