It’s that wonderful time of giving—and no, we’re not talking about gift cards. While convenient, they’re terribly impersonal, and when it comes to clothing, one size doesn’t really fit all. That’s why whether your friends are wine lovers, cocktail drinkers, home cooks or entertaining pros, one trip to the bookstore will take care of each and every one of them—and result in the perfect stocking stuffer.
The Four Seasons Book of Cocktails: Tips, Techniques, and More Than 1,000 Recipes from New York’s Landmark Restaurant, by Fred DuBose (Sterling Innovation, $17.95): This book’s title sums up well what you’ll find in this sumptuous bar guide from one of New York’s most iconic restaurants. DuBose and bartenders Greg Connolly, Charles Corpion and John Varriano reveal everything you need to know about stocking your home bar, entertaining and mixing the perfect drink for your family and friends—especially during the holiday season. Available at www.barnesandnoble.com.
The Ultimate Wine Companion: The Complete Guide to Understanding Wine By The World’s Foremost Wine Authorities (Epicure, $24.95): Edited by Windows on the World Complete Wine Course author Kevin Zraly, this book is a beautifully bound collection of 44 wine-themed essays written by experts including Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson, Robert Parker, Gary Vaynerchuk and Wine Enthusiast’s Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen. It’s jam-packed with history, advice and anecdotes for novices, experts and everyone in between. Available at www.amazon.com.
Daisy’s Holiday Cooking, by Daisy Martinez (Atria, $17): Television chef Daisy Martinez, along with her go-to guy, Chris Styler, add some spice to your holiday meals. Loaded with quick tips for cooking plus preparation schedules, this new release is user-friendly and super service-y. Included are 10 easy-to-plan menus that help guide you effortlessly through the season, from a mouthwatering Thanksgiving Buffet, to an Elegant New Year’s Eve Dinner and Daisy’s remedy for the day after: an informal New Year’s Day Linner. Available at www.borders.com.
Let Me Tell You About Wine: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Wine, by Oz Clarke (Sterling, $19.95): In a clear and concise manner, Clarke breaks down some of the great mysteries of comprehending, shopping for and drinking the fruit of the vine. It’s perfect for a new wine lover friend—or pick it up for yourself. Available at www.barnesandnoble.com.
Opus Vino (DK, $75): Editor Jim Gordon and a talented collection of writers (including Wine Enthusiast’s executive editor Susan Kostrzewa) created a coffee-table book that would make anyone’s living room—and their stocking—spectacular. Organized by country and region, this one offers in-depth exposure of some of the best wines and winemakers from around the world. Available at www.amazon.com.
The Christmas Cookie Cookbook, by Ann Pearlman with Marybeth Bayer (Atria Paperback, $15): A follow-up to last year’s delightful The Christmas Cookie Club, Pearlman’s cookbook is sure to please the baker in your family. It’s filled with family recipes, stories and memories—plus she gives you tips on how to start your own cookie club. Available at www.borders.com.
Playboy Book of Shots, by Paul Knorr and the Editors of Playboy (Sterling Innovation, $14.95): Don’t know what to give the overgrown frat boy in your family? Here’s the winner. With more than 1,800 shot recipes—some with names we dare not print accompanied by dubious drawings from LeRoy Nieman—this hilariously risqué guide is great for those who love cocktail culture. Who knew there were so many different Tabasco shots? Available at www.barnesandnoble.com.
Living Art: Style Your Home With Flowers, by Olivier Giugni (Simon and Schuster, $60): For the perfectionist in your life—that special someone who’s already mastered cooking, baking and wine selection—florist Giugni may just have the final element to offer—entertaining excellence. With step-by-step instructions for recreating stunning arrangements (plus a valuable resource guide), it’s literally a gem. Available at www.amazon.com.