Books / Booze

Steven Grasse and Adam Erace Team Up Again on Backcountry Cocktails: Civilized Drinks for Wild Places

Steven Grasse, Philly native, spirits maverick and owner of Art in the Age and Quaker City Mercantile,has once again teamed up with Adam Erace, award-winning food and travel writer, on an essential new field guide for outdoors lovers and cocktail enthusiasts alike: Backcountry Cocktails: Civilized Drinks for Wild Places.

The book highlights the intersection of craft cocktails with the great outdoors in a vibrant celebration of good times and good spirits, and is bolstered by campside culinary creations, portable and packable recipes, tips, and tricks for surviving the wilderness (including How To: Scare a Bear), commentary from an array of wildlife experts, fun forays into foraging, and more. Penned in collaboration with Art in the Age mixologist and canoe guide, Lee Noble, Backcountry Cocktails will be available everywhere books are sold for $28 beginning on May 9, 2023.  

At its core, Backcountry Cocktails is inspired by the singular natural beauty found in the White Mountains of rural New Hampshire, the picturesque and rural backdrop of Tamworth Distilling (Grasse’s distillery, owned in tandem with Art in the Age and Quaker City Mercantile, both located in Old City). Perfect for enjoying by a starlit bonfire, lakeside at an off-grid campsite, at a ski chalet booked via Airbnb, or on a hike through Valley Forge or the Wissahickon, each of the seasonally apt recipes will carry readers from the vernal buds of spring to the whiteouts of winter, with concoctions purpose-built for camping, traveling, and cabin living. 

Grasse’s previous written works include Brand Mysticism, Colonial Spirits: A Toast to Our Drunken History, The Cocktail Workshop: An Essential Guide to Classic Drinks and How to Make Them Your Own, and moreWith Backcountry Cocktails, Grasse, Erace, Noble and collaborators from several fields of expertise challenge adventurers to literally taste surrounding flora and fauna, with many recipes calling for ingredients found directly in nature. This practice embodies the same essence as Grasse’s acclaimed distillery, Tamworth Distilling, known for its scratch-made ethos, bold experimentation, and production of spirits crafted using ingredients farmed or foraged nearby. 

“The Tamworth approach marries innovation and experimentation with deep interest in and reverence for the land,” commented Grasse. “With Backcountry Cocktails, you’re not just getting a book of recipes. You’re getting an immersive field guide that teaches readers  how to pull flavors and ingredients from the land around you, conveyed with expertise that would benefit any at-home bartender or camping enthusiast. Plus, readers will learn how to survive a bear attack!”  

All recipes require relatively few ingredients, making them pack-able, portable, and batachable, ideal for enjoying on-the-go no matter what kind of adventure (or weather) is on the books. With an array of flavor profiles ranging from sweet to savory, there is truly something for everyone; spanning recipes such as the Maple SlushWhite Mountain Watermelon SangriaAppleseed Sour, frozen fizzes, foraged creations sand more that tie the imbibing experience directly to the surrounding environment. Each of the four seasonal chapters also contain culinary recipes perfect for fireside entertaining, like the Crispy Cast-Iron Trout with Wild Greens or the Hunter’s Stew, in addition to “field guide” how-tos courtesy of outdoors experts in a variety of industries, covering everything from the correct use medicinal plants to preserving fruit, fermenting your own vegetables, or foraging for mushrooms.  

“With the help of our expert collaborators, we’ve painted this picture that lets readers visit the nexus between the old ways of foraging from the land and modern uses for those found ingredients — through mixology,” noted Erace. “Who doesn’t want to gather ‘round a cauldron of Chartreuse hot chocolate?” 

The below list showcases the nature experts who provided insightful guides, tips, tricks, and recipes:  

  • Steve Bartlett, Booty Family Farm  
  • Jamaar Julal, JamBrü Ferments and Honeysuckle Projects   
  • Anton Kaska, Borealis Traders of New England   
  • Eric Milligan, New Hampshire Mushroom Company   
  • Eric Morris, N.onT.ypical Outdoorsman  
  • Lee Noble, Tamworth Distilling  
  • MJ Pettengill, Marigold Moon Wildcraft Apothecary  
  • Denise and Paul Pouliot, Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People  

…And the field guide they each provided: 

  • How to Tap a Maple by Steve Bartlett  
  • How to Ferment Veggies by Jamaar Julal 
  • Field Guide to Deer Tracking by Anton Kaska 
  • Field Guide to Wild Mushrooms, How to Scare aBear by Eric Morris 
  • How to Pack a Cooler, How to Build a Fire, How to Traverse a Beaver Dam by Lee Noble  
  • Field Guide to Medicinal Plants by MJ Pettengill 
  • How to Preserve Fruit  

…As well as a sampling of campside culinary recipes shared in Backcountry Cocktails:  

  • Lion’s Mane “Crab Cakes” by Jamaar Julal 
  • Hunter’s Stew by Anton Kaska 
  • Dandelion Wine by MJ Pettengill  
  • Succotash by Denise and Paul Pouliot 
  • Pemmigan by Denise and Paul Pouliot 

With tenets of fun and flexibility superseding all, Grasse, Erace and Noble encourage imbibers and mixologists of all levels to maintain a spirit of adaptability, creativity, and adventurousness when crafting their own Backcountry Cocktails. Backcountry Cocktails will be available everywhere books are sold, including Amazon, REI, and other retailers for $28, beginning on Tuesday May 9, 2023.  

This newest release marks Grasse, Erace and Noble’s second literary collaboration, following the release of 2021’s The Cocktail Workshop. Grasse is perhaps best known for inventing Gloabally recognized brands such as Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry Rum, founding Philadelphia creative agency Quaker City Mercantile, and owning his own distillery nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire: Tamworth Distilling, celebrated in Food & WineWine EnthusiastRobb ReportForbes, and many more for its scratch-made ethos and bold (sometimes zany) experimentation with viral spirits such as Crab Trapper. 

About Backcountry Cocktails: Civilized Drinks for Wild Places, inspired by the White Mountains

  • By Steven Grasse & Adam Erace with Recipes by Lee Noble  
  • Publication date: May 2023  
  • Hardcover; 7.3 x 0.85 x 9.3 inches; 192 pages; Full-color and black-and-white photos throughout 
  • $28.00 US  
  • Running Press; ISBN: 978-0-7624-8054-8 
  • Also available as an e-book 

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