Author: David Wondrich
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Why It's Essential: To better understand the rich history of mixed drinks.

Wondrich provides a wonderfully detailed history of "the father of American mixology" himself, "Professor" Jerry Thomas, as well as the history of American cocktails. As a piece of non-fiction, Imbibe is a joy to read, a compelling page-turner for bartenders and non-drinkers alike. If high school history was anything like the way that Wondrich writes about cocktails, you definitely wouldn't have slept through class.