The Union Square Holiday Market is in full swing, the 30,000 lights decorating the Rockefeller Christmas Tree will be lit next week, and even without any snow on the sidewalks, retailers have turned Manhattan into a wonderland of tinsel, snowflakes, wreaths, and garlands. If you're not the kind of person that eagerly awaits the Yuletide, then it's probably time for a drink. Egg Nog or hot buttered rum are always solid options this time of year, but maybe you'd rather just have a glass of wine or a pint of beer. That and a good book.
In the current issue of the Village Voice, I choose and review five new books that any beer geek, wine connoisseur, or cocktail enthusiast will want to add to their library. Titles like To Have and Have Another, Allagash: The Cookbook, and How to Love Wine are all great resources for someone planning to throw a party in the next few weeks, but most people with an interest in ales, spirits, or oenology will find at least one of these books worth reading. I agreed with much of Mr. Asimov's wine manifesto and definitely enjoyed the Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene, but I was especially pleased to include a cookbook highlighting craft beer. As far as I'm concerned, a good new beer publication is worth celebrating any time of year.