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The Nightstand | November 2014

Editor-in-chief at Kirkus Reviews shares some great ideas for buzzworthy books that are great for holiday gifts.

If the coverage of Austin's nightlife in the rest of this month’s issue just isn’t enough for you, continue the party with the lavish 320 pages of cocktail recipes in Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails ($40), the exhaustive new cookbook from the New York bar that’s been named the Best Cocktail Bar in America (see below for a recipe from the cookbook). For those of you thinking about holiday gifts, here’s a smattering of some new, buzzworthy style books and cookbooks.

Drink Up

Death & Co. is known for tweaking, reinventing, and injecting standard old cocktails with new life. The Conference is “a tiki drink disguised as an old-fashioned,” devised by bartender Brian Miller, who serves as Death & Co.’s “resident scalawag and expert on all things Polynesian.”

CONFERENCE

  • 1/2 ounce Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof
  • 1/2 ounce Buffalo Trace bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce Calvados
  • 1/2 ounce H by Hine cognac
  • 1 teaspoon demerara syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters
  • Garnish: 1 lemon twist and 1 orange twist

Stir all ingredients over ice, then strain into a double rocks glass over 1 large ice cube. Garnish with the lemon and orange twists.

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Camille Styles Entertaining: Inspired Gatherings & Effortless Style

Camille Styles, who lives in Austin, is well known as a lifestyle blogger, and her first book is just out. The emphasis is on making entertaining as free of neuroses as possible. Entertaining is structured around the seasons, with accessible recipes and party-giving tips spread throughout. The book is well stocked with photos that demonstrate Styles’s advice (including beauty tips) and recipes for anyone wanting a thoughtful, comprehensive education in Entertaining 101.

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Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life

Erin Gates says she was a major tomboy as a child and sported a mullet through most of the ‘80s, so when the popular designer behind the Elements of Style blog writes in her first book that a sense of style is accessible to everyone, you tend to believe her. Divided into chapters specific to various rooms of the house (e.g., bathroom, kitchen), Elements of Style is nicely detailed, with advice for all living areas, based on Gates’s own hard-won insights. Heartfelt but also quirky, Gates is a knowing guide to designing your own space.

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Prune

Gabrielle Hamilton is the unflinching best-selling author of Blood, Bones & Butter, her memoir about the struggle to form some semblance of family. Her new cookbook is composed of recipes from Prune, her hotbed of a restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village. The New York Times wrote that Prune has "mirth to spare, moxie to burn” and so does Prune, which reimagines what a cookbook should be—with no pithy headnotes describing the chef’s inspiration for a particular recipe, Hamilton’s pared-down style lets the recipes speak for themselves. Her directions for making “Canned Sardines with Triscuits, Dijon Mustard and Cornichons” specify that you should “stack the sardines on the plate the same way they looked in the can—more or less. Don’t crisscross or zigzag or otherwise make ‘restauranty.’” Prune is the perfect gift for a cook who likes unadorned, non-“restauranty” dishes.

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