North London Food & Culture

Last minute gifts? 3 books with local connections

From cocktails to Saint Etienne, a trio of worthy options for North London culture vultures

The Cocktail Edit: Alice Lascelles.

DRINK: The Cocktail Edit by Alice Lascelles

This new hardback is a brilliant review of the current vogue for a bespoke libation, written by broadsheet drinks writer Alice Lascelles (main pic, above), a self-confessed “lifelong” Kentish Towner, no less. Her mission is to get back to basics to help you recreate your favourites at home: with gorgeous photography, it’s clearly laid out, built around a ‘capsule collection’ of 12 classic cocktails, with simple instructions and all manner of twists, tips and inspiration. And fancy learning how to make a Coffee Negroni? Read on. Hic. Published by Quadrille, £16.99

How We Used Saint Etienne To Live. Photo: SE

MUSIC: How We Used Saint Etienne to Live by Ramzy Alwakeel

Long term readers will know how much we’ve written about seminal 1990s band Saint Etienne over the years: group founder Bob Stanley even wrote this on the myth of Mario’s Cafe back in 2013. This personal new book by thirtysomething LGBTQ+ writer Ramzy Alwakeel is a fresh take on a still-underrated band going strong after three decades. There’s lots of Camden, Kentish Town and Tufnell Park name-checking – as you’d expect – and it features original interviews with all three band members. The launch took place this week at top NW5 watering hole the Rose & Crown. Published by Repeater, £10.99

The Writer's Journey
The Writer’s Journey: Travis Elborough.

FICTION: The Writer’s Journey by Travis Elborough

Acclaimed North London writer Travis has also written for Kentishtowner on and off over the years (read his fascinating story of Angler’s Lane here). In his appealing new hardback book he accompanies 35 of the world’s most famous authors on specific journeys “spending time away from their typical surroundings”: take your pick from F Scott Fitzgerald on the Riviera to Bram Stoker in Whitby – and the account of Agatha Christie’s adventure on the Orient Express. Published by White Lion, £20.

Don’t forget to but your books from Owl Bookshop, or any independent local bookstore.


Main image: Alice Lascelles by Wallace Wainhouse

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About Kentishtowner

The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.