Anyone can make a tasty cocktail. You need to have some basic bartending skills. A crash course in bartending will help you dive deeper into the cocktail world at the bar, whether you are a professional or a home bar.
Beginning aspiring bartenders need to know several things. It is essential to be familiar with everyday ingredients and terms used in the best bars, cocktail recipes, and essential mixing drinks techniques such as shaking, stirring, and muddling. Although it’s overwhelming, it’s not difficult to digest, and you can do it at your own pace. These are their top picks for the best cocktail books 2022 that will help you build your boozy library.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Books for Cocktail Making: Vintage and Modern Classics
- 1.1 The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart
- 1.2 The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock
- 1.3 The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan
- 1.4 Cocktail Codex by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, David Kaplan
- 1.5 The Aviary Cocktail Book by Allen Hemberger, Micah Melton, Nick Kokonas, Grant Achatz
- 1.6 The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff
- 1.7 Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold
- 1.8 Dale Degroff: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks
- 1.9 “Imbibe!” by David Wondrich
- 1.10 I’m Just Here For the Drinks by Sother Teague
- 1.11 Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh
- 1.12 Gin & Tonic by Frédéric Du Bois and Isabel Boons
- 1.13 Meehan’s Bartender Manual by Jim Meehan
- 1.14 The Martini Cocktail by Robert Simonson
- 1.15 Smugglers Cove by Martin Cate, Rebecca Cate
- 1.16 The New Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff
- 1.17 The Dead Rabbit Mixology & Mayhem by Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry, and Jillian Vose
- 1.18 Market Fresh Mixology by Bridget Albert
- 1.19 A Spot at the Bar by Michael Madrusan and Zara Young
- 1.20 The Bar-Tenders Guide, or How To Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas
- 1.21 Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails
- 1.22 Spirits Of Latin America: A Celebration Of Culture & Cocktails, With 100 Recipes From Leyenda & Beyond, Ivy Mix
- 1.23 Batch Cocktails: Make Ahead Pitcher Drinks For Every Occasion, Maggie Hoffma
- 1.24 Craft Cocktails at Home by Kevin K Liu
- 1.25 Death and Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
- 2 Conclusion
Best Books for Cocktail Making: Vintage and Modern Classics
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart
Best Bar Books for Beginners
The Drunken Botanist, a New York Times bestseller, is a guide to botany. Amy Stewart, the cocktail writer, explores the plants, flowers, and fruits that make our favorite spirits, liqueurs, from the rice grain that gives rise to sake to the agave, which turns into tequila.
The Drunken Botanist explains how spirits are made from grains to glass and raw materials to the final spirit. Stewart discusses distilling techniques, including how to grow, what economics is, and how to manage your crops. Part biology, part history, and part mixology, Stewart guides readers through each spirit using a humorous writing style that breaks up complex stories with easy to follow cocktail recipes.
The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock
The Best Classic Cocktails Book
The American Bar was opened by London’s The Savoy in 1889. Since then, it has been a popular spot for cocktail enthusiasts. The bar is still ranked No. The bar is ranked No. 5 in the world.
Harry Craddock, the author of The Savoy Cocktail Book, was one of its most famous characters. In the 1920s, he operated the bar. He created a variety of classic drinks, including the Corpse Reviver. 2 (it should be consumed before 11 a.m. or whenever steam, energy, and are required), he said of the perfect drink.
Gaz Regan once called this book the 20th century’s most significant tome of its type. Craddock includes hundreds of recipes for cocktails, including fizzes, martinis, punches, and other mixed drinks. Many of these recipes are still featured on today’s best cocktail menus.
The 2013 reproduction is a facsimile from the 1930s original. It captures the spirit of that era. This book features full color illustrations of Art Deco cocktails as well as 1920s patrons at the bar.
The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan
Best books for cocktail lovers
Alex Day, co-owner of Death & Co and Proprietors LLC, believes Gary Regan’s Joy of Mixology is brilliant. The text quickly became a guide for modern bartenders after it was rediscovered.
Day says, It’s one of those brilliant works which are timeless in a way that many people aspire to but ultimately will not succeed through the history and evolution of making cocktails, including the methodology, spirit categories, and the classic recipes that have stood up to the test of time. He also co-authored Cocktail Codex and adds, It’s full of insights that blow me to the day.
The beloved bartender godfather Gary Gaz, who categorizes drinks in families, Joy of Mixology, was published in 2003. It was updated in 2019. Day says Gaz changed the way we talk about cocktails. Breaking down methodically, a means to understand them, demystify and then find your preferred flavors while letting his personality and nuances shine through. You won’t be able to stop laughing, I dare.
Day, who read the book for the first time as a barback at 22 years old, says, It contributed greatly to my deep dive in the drinks industry and was, without doubt, a foundation of inspiration [‘Cocktail Codex].
Cocktail Codex by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, David Kaplan
Best Coffee Table Book
The Cocktail Codex is a new addition to the best cocktail book scene. Alex Day, Nick Fauchald wrote it, and David Kaplan from Death & Co. Ari Daskauskas is Nitecap’s head Bartender. He says the book is essential for bartenders (and cocktail enthusiasts) at all levels.
This guide is textbook-like and outlines six simple templates for creating cocktails. These include six classic cocktails books the Old Fashioned (Martini, Daiquiri), Sidecar, Whiskey Hiball, Sidecar, Sidecar, Whiskey Highball, Flip, Sidecar, Sidecar, Sidecar, Sidecar, Sidecar, Whiskey Highball, and Flip. Daskauskas relies on this book for his creative process. It is my No. He says that it is the No. 1 resource for us when we are developing our menus. The templates in the book helped me to put my ideas into an exemptible format.
“It goes a bit deeper into the theory of cocktail categories. They explain to the reader that there are essentially six categories of drinks based on six classic drinks. They then teach the reader how to make each of these classics and then follow up with lessons about modifying them. You can learn what makes the classics tremendous and how to start making your own recipes.” —Robert Kidd, head bartender at Le Cavalier at Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, DE
“There are only six cocktails. So say Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan, the visionaries behind the seminal craft cocktail bar Death & Co. In Cocktail Codex, these experts reveal for the first time their surprisingly simple approach to mastering cocktails: the “root recipes,” six easily identifiable (and memorizable!) templates that encompass all cocktails: the old-fashioned, martini, daiquiri, sidecar, whisky highball, and flip. Once you understand the hows and whys of each “family,” you’ll understand why some cocktails work and others don’t, when to shake and when to stir, what you can omit and what you can substitute when you’re missing ingredients, why you like the drinks you do, and what sorts of drinks you should turn to–or invent–if you want to try something new.” – Book Blurb
The Aviary Cocktail Book by Allen Hemberger, Micah Melton, Nick Kokonas, Grant Achatz
The Aviary Cocktail Book Daniel Thomas, bar manager at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, said that it is the best book ever made. This book is a masterpiece in terms of science, detail, and presentation.
These 440 pages of glossy recipes and techniques are the team behind the high-concept cocktail bar The Aviary, the great cocktail focused sister to Alinea, which is three Michelin starred. The book weighs 8 pounds and is a beautiful gift idea for cocktail aficionados.
Each page contains full-page color photos, along with insight from Grant Achatz (the acclaimed chef behind The Aviary, Alinea), as well as words and recipes from beverage director Micah Melton, co-owner. This book is not a traditional recipe book but a showcase.
The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff
Best Cocktail Books for Your Home Bar
Dale DeGroff is the pioneer of modern cocktail culture. He is also known as King Cocktail. DeGroff has had a profound impact on the modern cocktails era. This makes him the ideal person to write The Craft of the Cocktail, a masterclass on the cocktail world.
DeGroff covers techniques and more than 500 recipes in this book. He also provides a glossary to assist readers who are unfamiliar with drink terminology. All thoughts were derived from DeGroff’s experience behind the bar or his extensive library of vintage cocktails books.
The book begins with a brief history of spirits and how they are made. He covers everything you need to have a well stocked bar, including key techniques and the community of cocktails. The Craft of the Cocktail offers more than just information about cocktail knowledge. The book also offers a 360 degree overview of the industry and charming stories about industry figures that every bartender should be aware of.
It’s a fantastic book to have on hand as a reference. It may be used to quickly check up on cocktail recipes or refresh your knowledge of different spirits categories.
Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold
Best for Creatives
Dave Arnold, NYC’s Existing Condition, rethinks classic cocktails by examining temperature, carbonation, and acidity in Liquid Intelligence.
The first section explains how to measure ingredients and gives Arnold’s opinions on all the tools and ingredients. The book’s meat is divided into two sections covering traditional cocktails and new techniques: the first discusses how to improve a traditional cocktail, while the second covers modern techniques like hot pokers and nitro muddling.
This book is sure to appeal to the science minded, but Arnold also lays out simple (and sometimes not so simple!) cocktail recipes for drinkers of all levels.
Sum up: This book is the definitive guide to the science and art of the cocktail. Do you want to learn why cocktails work or don’t? This book is for you. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to learn the art of making drinks.
“In Dave Arnolds world, the shape of an ice cube, the sugars and acids in an apple, and the bubbles in a bottle of champagne are all ingredients to be measured, tested, and tweaked. With Liquid Intelligence, the creative force at work in Booker & Dax, New York City s high-tech bar, brings readers behind the counter and into the lab. There, Arnold and his collaborators investigate temperature, carbonation, sugar concentration, and acidity in search of ways to enhance classic cocktails and invent new ones that revolutionize your expectations about what a drink can look and taste like. Years of rigorous experimentation and study botched attempts and inspired solutions have yielded the recipes and techniques found in these pages. “ – Book Blurb
Dale Degroff: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks
King Cocktail is known for being the first bartender to revive the art and vintage crafting cocktails at Rainbow Room in the late ’90s. His two cocktail related books on the subject are essential must reads. They offer practical insight into the way bartenders approached the art of cocktail making 15 years ago.
The Craft of the Cocktail focuses on tools and techniques, while The Essential Cocktail dives straight into the recipes. It is divided by style (highballs, sours, classics, punches, innovations, etc.). Degroff’s work is simple and offers a perspective on the evolution of the cocktail scene since his inception. It’s been a long time since then.
“Imbibe!” by David Wondrich
Best Cocktail History Book
We asked Justin Lavenue (owner of The Roosevelt Room, one of Austin’s top cocktail bars), his favorite go to cocktail book. The book Imbibe is more like a novel and takes you back in time to when cocktails were still being discovered. This book is for you if you are a history buff who loves the food and beverage industry. It includes a vivid description of vintage spirits as well as Prohibition-era classics.
Imbibe is a coffee table book that also features neutral colors. It could also look great on an island bar cart. We also try to keep the period intact as our restaurant group includes eateries in different parts of New York. Fee Bakhtiar is the bar manager and general manager at JaJaJa Group, New York City, NY.
David Wondrich is a crucial figure in any conversation about spirits or cocktail books. David Wondrich is affectionately known as the Historical Oracle. He stays up late to research the history of cocktails and spirits.
This 2007 edition of the first book won a James Beard Award because it provides a rich insight into Jerry Thomas’ life and works. He is credited with creating popularizing cocktails in the mid 1800s.
Have you ever wondered where your favorite drinks came from? This book will be a great read.
I’m Just Here For the Drinks by Sother Teague
Best Cocktail Book for Bartenders
Even though it was published only a few years ago, Sother Teague’s drinks compendium has become a classic. Teague’s knowledge comes from his many years of owning Amor y Amargo, as well as his extensive experience running bars. He was also awarded Wine Enthusiast Mixologist of Year in 2017.
Teague is a friendly, approachable bartender who can help you navigate a variety of spirits and cocktail recipes with ease. Teague’s original and rejigged classic recipes include milk punches, bucks, Rye Tais, and more. He often calls upon industry friends to share recipes and techniques.
This book will help you with helpful information, no matter if you have been bartending for years or are just starting.
Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh
Cocktail fans know that many of the best classic recipes date back to hundreds of years—for example, the Sour and the Martini. Ted Haigh, also known as Dr. Cocktail delve deeper into the history of cocktails by handpicking 80 rare cocktail recipe, from the Brandy crusta to Alamagoozlum and the Fog Cutter.
He breaks down the recipes with historical facts and anecdotes and full color vintage ads and illustrations. The fantastic recipes are well worth the effort, but you will also enjoy looking through the pages.
Although some ingredients can be challenging to find, the book covers gin and whiskey and brandy, Scotch, Scotch, brandy, and rye. It’s still an excellent book for all levels of drink makers.
Gin & Tonic by Frédéric Du Bois and Isabel Boons
It won’t be easy to find a more quintessentially preppy drink than the famous gin and tonic. Frederic Du Bois, Isabel Boons, and Isabel Boons discuss which tonic brand is best with which gin brands.
They also discuss the history and best garnish for this classic cocktail. They provide detailed descriptions of more than 60 gins and 20 tonics and give suggestions for recipe pairings and bars worth visiting around the globe.
Meehan’s Bartender Manual by Jim Meehan
Best for Bar Owners
According to The Roosevelt Room’s Revenue, Meehan’s Bartender Manual is essential for anyone who wants to open a bar or run their own business. Jim Meehan is a bartender and journalist who also founded NYC’s Please Don’t Tell. The book covers topics like bar design, functionality, space planning, and building drinks rounds.
The spirit section covers all types of liquors and other liqueurs. It also includes information about how they were made and where they can be found. The cocktail section explains the history of every classic cocktail and provides 100 recipes, including Meehan’s favorite riffs.
Meehan also asks for advice from other industry leaders throughout the book, such as Existing Conditions’ Don Lee, Havana Club’s Rasmus Lomborg, and cocktail historian David Wondrich.
This is a personal favorite of mine and the first book I would suggest for a new bartender. It’s incredibly meticulous and thorough while being surprisingly approachable to newcomers. It goes through everything from building out a home bar or commercial bar to the intricacies of how different spirits are produced and the histories of some of your favorite cocktails. —Troy Ali
The Martini Cocktail by Robert Simonson
Best Bartending Books
Robert Simonson’s James Beard Award winning recipient, his first award winning book on cocktails is a classic in any cocktail lover’s library. His most recent book, Martini Cocktails, is also a classic. The Martini Cocktail book contains 50 recipes and the first ever published martini recipe. The original recipe is from 1888. However, the book offers both traditional and modern variations by famous bartenders.
Smugglers Cove by Martin Cate, Rebecca Cate
Best Tiki Cocktail Book
I love tiki cocktails.
It is possible to argue that they all taste the same, with that combination of citrus and rum and spicy falernum common amongst many.
However, we all sometimes need some escapism. A nice umbrella drink is a great way to get it.
Although Smugglers Cove may not be my favorite tiki bar (that honor goes to Hale Pele from Portland), it’s a great bar.
Their book? This is the only book you will ever need on tiki cocktails.
It not only goes deep into the history and origins of the tiki beverage but also has some of the best classics books you will find anywhere.
Our house is always pleased with their Hotel Nacional.
The New Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff
Best Cocktail Recipe Book
Dale DeGroff, King Cocktail’s bartender, wrote one of the earliest modern books on bartending. Dale DeGroff’s contributions to bridging the gap between dark times in adult beverages and the modern cocktail era cannot be overstated.
No one is more influential in New York’s drink making revival than he. Many of us have been fortunate enough to learn directly from him or his many students. He’s also documented his place in history through this book.
There’s more to cocktails than ingredients: There’s as much recollection as recipe and as much tale as technique. This volume situates modern drinks and drinking culture in personal history. —Rob Krueger, master mixologist at The Loyal in New York City, NY
The Dead Rabbit Mixology & Mayhem by Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry, and Jillian Vose
This book shows how the top bars create some of the most creative cocktail menus in the bar and spirits world. This book is a must read not only for bartenders but also serves as a beautiful book for coffee tables that anyone can enjoy.
Honestly, this book has been a massive source of inspiration for me. [It] really has been one of my favorite pick-ups. Bar goals. —Deke Dunne, head bartender and beverage director at Allegory in Washington, D.C.
Market Fresh Mixology by Bridget Albert
Bridget is a mentor and teacher to many of the current rock stars in the industry. This book is a whimsical and fun way of making cocktails. Bridget Albert is a firm believer in the garden to glass approach to creating great cocktails.
A Spot at the Bar by Michael Madrusan and Zara Young
I think this has to be one of the most creative and playful approaches to a bar book I’ve read in a while. The Everleigh team collected recipes from their favorite cocktail bars worldwide and had them written out on napkins, dollar bills, and coasters which they then photographed and printed in the book. I think this book probably has the best recipes for classics and modern classics out there. —Troy Ali
The Bar-Tenders Guide, or How To Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas
It’s like going back in time by flipping through the original go to cocktail recipe book before Prohibition. It’s incredible how impressive and profound America’s cocktail choices were at that time. The book’s author, Jerry Thomas, America’s first celebrity bartender, compiles a variety of slings and cobblers. This includes drinks like the Mint Julep and Philadelphia Fish House Punch.
Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails
Tiki drinks are famously difficult to make, relying on difficult to find tropical ingredients and requiring up to seven components per drink. Shannon Mustipher breaks down the category in an easy to digest fashion in her new book (the first cocktail book authored by an African-American bartender in over 100 years), leading readers through making fresh fruit juices, homemade syrups, and quick to execute recipes.
She goes beyond rum in her Tiki drinks, creating whiskey based tropical cocktails, vodka choices, and even Tiki inspired soju cocktails (plus plenty of party ready large format punches). Add it to your coffee table and spend hours flicking through the spreads of high-octane, intensely vivid pictures.
Spirits Of Latin America: A Celebration Of Culture & Cocktails, With 100 Recipes From Leyenda & Beyond, Ivy Mix
Spirits of Latin America, part cocktail book, part travelogue, chronicles Mix’s time-traveling (and drinking) through Latin America through stunning photographs and a catalog of over 100 recipes, ranging from crowd pleasing takes on pisco sours and margaritas to original drinks inspired by her travels.
Her journey begins in Mexico, where she experiments with tequila, mezcal, and other regional drinks. She travels the sugar path from the Caribbean through Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, stopping along the route to learn about agave, sugarcane, and grape spirits. Her creative writing portrays the people and the essence of local drinking traditions, in addition to native spirits.
“I have a lot of respect for her understanding of Latin American cultures and spirits”, Fishman says. “Many people will be introduced to ghosts they have never seen before as a result of this book.”
Batch Cocktails: Make Ahead Pitcher Drinks For Every Occasion, Maggie Hoffma
Most hosts and hostesses don’t want to spend the whole evening making handcrafted drinks for each visitor. Batch cocktails come in helpful in this situation. Maggie Hoffman, a long time food and drink journalist, collaborated with bartenders to create 65 make ahead pitcher recipes.
Craft Cocktails at Home by Kevin K Liu
If you think the bar world is all suspenders and serious cocktails, think again. Kevin Liu’s Craft Cocktails at Home mixes it with duct tape, odd recipes, and plenty of chuckles along the way.
The book includes sections on preserving products (such as juicing cucumbers and optimizing the freshness of citrus), the mechanics of shaking and stirring, how to produce the finest water, and how to construct a DIY cold smoker for under $20. He illustrates his arguments using amusing images, graphs, calculations, and charts along the way.
Liu enlisted the expertise of taste experts, engineers, and seasoned bartenders to deconstruct unique, delectable drinks. The taste characteristics of classic drinks such as the Sazerac, Martinez (also known as a martini), and mojito are covered in his Classics Hacked chapter.
This in-depth guide illustrates that you don’t need costly instruments to produce boundary pushing cocktails in one part, Liu tells readers how to assemble a sous vide machine out of common household objects. When it’s time to buy a present for the cocktail connoisseur in your life, consider this book.
Death and Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Before I received the original Death and Co book, I bought Cocktail Codex, which I described above. But, having just obtained a copy, I’m just as pleased with it as I am with its younger sister.
There are some amazing recipes, but it also does an excellent job of teaching the reader.
It takes a somewhat different approach than Cocktail Codex and is less focused on instruction, but I found several of its formulas for generating amazing original cocktails to be really helpful — and they generate fantastic creative drinks!
I especially like the material around the matrix, which described how they assisted customers in finding the appropriate drink even without a menu.
This is one book that I feel every home bartender should own, since it has a nice mix of recipes that are simple to prepare as well as some that need more preparation and skill.
You can learn the art of bartending from various books, whether you are a professional or an amateur, increasing sales and catching people taking alcohol from many bars. To get the best out of these drinks, make sure you use cheap recipes. These drinks make great conversation starters and shelf decorations for your next party.
Are there any cocktail recipe books you’re a fan of in your cocktail library? Drop me a line in the comments. I would love to hear all about them. Thanks for reading these best books to improve your cocktail making skills!
Last update on 2022-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API