Dartmouth Medal for excellence in reference awarded to The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails

Chicago — The winner of the 2022 Dartmouth Medal for most outstanding reference work, an annual award presented by the expert reference and collection development librarians of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of ALA, is the The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, edited by David Wondrich with Noah Rothbaum and published by Oxford University Press.

Nine years in the making, The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails is the first reference book to cover the history and trends surrounding distilled spirits. With a diverse team of contributors including bartenders, distillers, anthropologists, historians, and food and drink writers, the editors have compiled a rich blend of information on drinks, distilling, mixers, garnishes (including fascinating articles on citrus and olives), and important locales and people. The book takes the reader from the basics of producing distilled spirits to the complexities of mixed drinks, and along the way corrects a number of myths, legends, and mistaken notions of drink origins. It is an essential work of research that will be valuable to bartenders, historians, and cocktail fans alike. The editors have selected an excellent mix of illustrations in both color and black and white to support the text, and the two appendices, a timeline of the development of spirits and distillation and a guide to mixing drinks, offer useful insights.  The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, produced with careful research and academic rigor, will remain an important reference work for years to come and sets a high standard for future explorations of drink and culture.

Honorable mentions were:

Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English (University of North Carolina Press) represents over eight decades of research into the words and usage in nine states covering southern Appalachia. It is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in language and how it reflects communities.

Habitats of the World: A Field Guide for Birders, Naturalists, and Ecologists (Princeton University Press) offers a fascinating and well-illustrated introduction to 189 world habitats that would be valuable for students and anyone interested in developing a better understanding of the natural world.

The Dartmouth Medal, established in 1974, honors the creation of a reference source of outstanding quality and significance. The award is given to the best new reference source published in the previous year.

The Dartmouth committee, made up of reference subject experts from academic, public, and sometimes school and other libraries, receives nominations from librarians, editors, and publishers and spends countless hours reviewing copies throughout the latter half of the year.

The Dartmouth Medal selection committee is: Barry Trott, Library of Virginia, chair; Donald Altschiller, Boston University; Brian E. Coutts, Western Kentucky University; Lauren Seegmiller, Denver Public Library, and Kaite Mediatore Stover, Kansas City Public Library.

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more at www.rusaupdate.org.