the drunken botanist by Amy Stewart

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks

by Amy Stewart

If you're into cocktails and such, or even just into food, plants, and cultural history generally, this is the perfectly nerdy book. Knowing where sake comes from (rice!) or tequila (agave, aka a cactus), and where gin gets its flavor (juniper!) and so on is handy both when you're coming up with drink recipes and when you're entertaining friends with knowledge, both trivial and profound, about what goes into what they're imbibing. 

People have been drinking alcohol for as long as we've been people. It's a part of the human experience, and we all infuse it (haha) with our own cultural experiences, traditions, and norms. This book is full of science, history, etymology, and is really just interesting through and through. It's a New York Times bestseller, which doesn't always make a book any good, but in this case, we recommend it.