Drinks: Books for tipplers

The bookshelf is heavy this year. Here are some gifts for your imbibing associates, each to be enjoyed with a good drink at hand.

You'll be sipping along with "The Oxford Companion to Beer" (Oxford, $65), edited by Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver; it's an authoritative work that's also a lot of fun. Dip in anywhere and savor. For devotees, it's the book of the year.

"A Toast to Bargain Wines" (Scribner, $15) by George M. Taber is a guide of the moment. When budgets tighten, finding good wines still can be easy. Best buys, market analysis, for this "golden age of wine."

"1000 Great Everyday Wines" (DK Publishing, $25), edited by Jim Gordon, stands out with recommendations about what to pour, country by country, without overspending.

"Unquenchable" (Perigee, $24) by Natalie MacLean is a personal, engaging trip around the world looking for bargains. It includes top values and some suggestions for menus and pairings.

"The Vineyard at the End of the World" (W.W. Norton, $26.95) by Ian Mount traces the full-bodied history of winemaking in Argentina, from the 16th century on, starring Malbec.

"Summer in a Glass" (Sterling Epicure, $19.95) by Evan Dawson takes you on an informed, easygoing tour of the Finger Lakes region and its wineries. Very accessible. Have Riesling nearby.

"The PDT Cocktail Book" (Sterling, $24.95) is by Jim Meehan, who concocts and tends with the best. You'll want more than one beverage. It's like having the right seat at a party.

And to ensure you have something to nibble, there's DK Publishing's "Ultimate Food Journeys" (DK Eyewitness Travel, $40), to guide you from dim sum in Hong Kong to deli in New York. Small world, big plate.

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