Two seasonal cocktail books were released this fall: Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus by Scott Beattie and Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Season by Bridget Albert with Mary Barranco. Excited for a showdown, I made this nifty banner with the seasons slightly out of order.
Beattie's book focuses largely on fresh herbs and spices like edible flowers, fennel, mint, and star anise. Albert's focuses on fresh fruit and vegetables like carrots, beets, zucchini, plums, and figs. Beattie also includes some stranger things like pickled hearts of palm, Fresno chiles, and pickled daikon.
Albert's drinks are relatively simple (though creative), with many of them spin-offs of drinks like the Mojito, Mint Julep, French 75, and Margarita. Beattie's recipes do include some simple drinks like the Dark and Stormy, Gin and Tonic, and Negroni, but they seem more like filler around his complicated creations that call for touches like five-spice syrup and candied citrus peel.
Beattie teaches techniques like how to toast spices, make foams, and salt/sugar rims. Albert has a section on seasonal infusions and making homemade cocktail onions and an apple serving glass.
I think this can all be boiled down to a basic difference: Bridget Albert's drinks come from the farm. Scott Beattie's drinks come from the garden.