The Best Whiskey Books that Aren’t About Whiskey

We like it.

Not every book deserves to be read by the fire with a heavy rocks glass full of a decent bourbon. But the best whiskey books do.

Maybe you’re reading Technical Details of Load Bearing Tray Facilitators (March 1973), and you’re asking yourself, should I be drinking a wheated bourbon or a grain forward rye with this riveting tale?  To which we would reply, Fred, you’re at work. This is the copy room. You set the recycling bin on fire again.

Maybe you’re turning the last page of a book that really took you there. The author gave you room in the story to walk around. The characters sat down at the table with you and told you stories. It was transcendent.

Maybe you’ve been thinking you should dial back your regimen of frilly-blouse-men-in-kilts romance novels and pick up something you can sink your literary teeth into.

We got you covered with a list of the best whiskey books.

Your intrepid content writer (hi there) is also an author and has been to the library more than a few times and knows just enough about literature to be a dick at a party. He put together a list of 13 books he feels are really, really worth investing a little of your valuable time in.

These are classic American books (except for two) by authors who tore through whiskey like there was no tomorrow. By authors who were fastidious drinkers but wrote characters who drowned in a bottle of rye. These are writers who became vessels for language, who understood the importance of an author getting the hell out of the way of their words. These are the back of the bus writers. The night shift. The mad, crazed, knife-wielding genius kitchen crew. These authors will fuck you up right.

However, these are not the most popular titles

You’ll recognize most of them—or you’ll know the author at least. But maybe you didn’t know about this one book they wrote that never makes the cut on best-of lists. A book like Bukowski’s Factotum, which is really his best novel, his most perfunctory prose. Or a book like Hunter S. Thompson’s Generation of Swine, where the drug and whiskey-fueled gonzo journalist is at his most acerbic, his angriest, and it’s fucking amazing.


You can’t go wrong here. It has everything: booze, murder, famine, vicious wit, drugs, guns, murder, and laugh-out-loud passages that’ll get you kicked off a jury; also murder.

Here. We made this video about it. Seriously, we’re busy.

Oh, My GOD! How do we get this incredible pamphlet?

I’m so glad you asked. Just click on the book in the image below or on the button below the image if image-clicking isn’t your thing.

Author: Bull Garlington
Bull Garlington is an author and columnist in Chicago who writes about the madness of travel, analog tools, food, wine, and whiskey. Garlington lives with [his attorney], smokes black cavendish, hikes the easy trails, and makes a mean gumbo yaya.