The Cocktail Lab

There are plenty of suitable resources out there if you want to learn to mix up a cocktail — but if you care about more than just the proper proportions, the right bitters to use in a Manhattan, or whether a Martini calls for gin or vodka, then check out The Cocktail Lab: Unraveling the Mysteries of Flavor and Aroma in Drink, with Recipes ($22). While it certainly contains plenty of drink recipes to keep you and your friends buzzed, it also goes deeper into the art and science behind mixology. It promises not only to teach you how to mix drinks, but to change the way you think about making cocktails.

  • Campfire Cuisine

    Just because you're out in the wilderness, doesn't mean you have to eat like a wild animal. With details on gear, stocking a pantry, and building a menu, Campfire Cuisine: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors ($12) is more than just a recipe book — though it has those too. The over 100 recipes range from sauces and dressings such as yogurt mint sauce, breakfast items like skillet scones, sandwiches including hot-and-spicy California grilled cheese, full-on entrées like bourbon-glazed chicken, even deserts and sides. So get rid of the dehydrated, packaged food, and start eating like a person when you're under the stars.

  • Paddle Your Own Canoe

    Nick Offerman, perhaps better known as Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, is the ultimate man's man. When he's not playing the manliest man on television, he's running his own wood shop — so when he offers advice on how to be a man, we're inclined to listen. Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Principles for Delicious Living ($20) is a book of just such advice, from growing a mustache, and seducing a woman, to grilling meat, and appreciating nature. We're not sure reading it will make us half the man he is, but it's worth a try.

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