Drink Up! New Book Explores South’s Cocktail Culture

Square Books celebrates publication of "The Southern Foodways Alliance Guide to Cocktails" at City Grocery on Wednesday.

southern-cocktails
A new book from the Southern Foodways Alliance offers nearly 100 cocktail recipes and fun essays on the South’s drink culture.

Southerners like their booze almost as much as their bible. A new book, “The Southern Foodways Alliance Guide to Cocktails,” examines that paradox in between easy-to-make recipes for everything from juleps to Watermelon Sangria.

Sara Camp Milam, one of the book’s editors and managing editor at Southern Foodways Alliance, will sign copies at 5 p.m., Wednesday, October 11, at City Grocery Bar in a free event presented by Square Books.

“The South’s relationship with drinking is complicated,” the Square Books website notes. “Although religious and legal mandates discourage the sale and consumption of alcohol, the region has a robust drinking culture. As the home of NASCAR, a sport that arose from the high-speed antics of bootleggers, and Tennessee Williams, a man notorious for both his literary genius and his propensity to imbibe, the Bible Belt has a booze-soaked background. In the recipes and essays in ‘The Southern Foodways Alliance Guide to Cocktails,’ Jerry Slater and Sara Camp Milam and their cocktail cabinet of contributors bridge the gaps between the culture, history, and practice of drinking in the South.”

The book features nearly 100 easy-to-follow recipes for the home bartender, “whether they be light tipples or potent bell ringers,” the site says. It covers everything from day-drinking classics like the Michelada and the Ruby Slipper to juleps, cobblers, shandies and the Sazerac, plus a final set of recipes that will tell you everything you need to know to spike the punch bowl.

cocktails-guide

The book also contains 15 fun, informative essays on drink culture, including a profile of white whiskey whisperer Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton and a piece on the kitschy pleasure of collecting figurative decanters.

Oxford’s own Vishwesh Bhatt, the James Beard Award-nominated chef at Snackbar, even bellies up to the bar to share recipes for cocktail snacks like Catfish Rillettes, Deviled Pickled Eggs and Sweet Potato Biscuits.

The book can be preordered for $29.95 at Square Books.

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