15 Best Cocktail Books in 2022
Regardless of the preponderance of e-readers and online resources, nothing can replace the tangibility of a well-composed book. Whether it’s beautiful images or highly sought-after content you won’t find anywhere else, physical media is an extension of your own passions and your thirst to know and understand them better. Cocktail books are perhaps the most essential of all. As well as looking great on your kitchen shelf or behind your bar, these compendiums often contain invaluable recipes and information from some of the industry’s most respected personalities and institutions.
In recent years, the number of pounds of cocktails has increased significantly. Long gone are the days when home bartenders and mixologists only had 3 or 4 proven literary options. Today, in this modern cocktail revolution, the alcohol has (largely) stayed the same, but the innovation hasn’t stopped yet. We’ve compiled for you a guide to the best and in some cases the most important compendiums for those aspiring to get into mixing for the first time or experts looking to broaden their horizons.
Aperitif: French Cocktail Hour
For the French and Italians, aperitifs have long been enjoyed before a big meal to stimulate their appetite. And although these types of alcohol have been served in the United States for more than a century now, their traditional use has not yet been widespread, and perhaps ever. However, for those curious to dig deeper, Rebekah Peppler’s book on the subject serves as a definitive introduction and essential breakdown of the aperitif, with the basics of popular types such as Lillet, Vermouth and Campari. , among others. When it comes time to give recipes, the author also separates his beautiful 200+ page book into four sections: Warm, Hot, Cool and Cold, referring to the weather, not the drinks themselves.
Bitters: An Animated History of a Classic Remedy
Everyone who ordered their fair share of cocktails drank bitters, even if you didn’t know it. From Manhattans to old fashioneds to negronis, many of the most popular staples are regularly served with a dash or two of Angostura or Peychaud’s. However, a large majority of drinkers take this surprisingly diverse ingredient for granted. Not Brad Thomas Parsons, the author of this comprehensive reference book on the world’s most underrated spirit, which includes an in-depth history on the subject, plus a cocktail guide featuring over 70 recipes, classics and new.
I’m just here for the drinks
If you like all the main types of spirits but don’t know where to start, choose I’m just here for the drinks by Sother Teague, which is divided into easy-to-digest sections on whiskey, gin, tequila, rum, brandy, amaro, and vodka, each of which gives the basics on alcohol, offering some notable brands, and also some recipes In the process. This is a book for beginners, with plenty of room to take it to the next level. Teague also includes a reference section on beverage making basics, which includes a brief overview of types of mix, serve, bar, and even ice.
To drink! Updated and revised edition
First published in 2007, David Wondrich’s award-winning and comprehensively researched book To drink! has been cited by almost every bartender for the past decade and a half. It delves into the life of the father of the American bar, Jerry Thomas, who wrote history’s first cocktail book in 1862, to whom he also serves as a crafty companion. Wondrich offers recipes for over 100 classic cocktails and explores the history of each. This revised 2015 edition adds even more content and updated historical information.
Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum and Tiki Cult
If Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s were the hotspots of the heyday of the tiki craze, then San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove, which opened in 2009, is just the ticket for this modern revival. . Founders Martin and Rebecca Cate released their own book in 2016, which features over 100 tiki recipes from the pages of history or their own bar’s menu. This beautiful bible also explores the tiki culture as a whole and its history, as well as the origins of one of the most famous bars of this century. Despite its 354 pages, Smugglers’ Cove is one of the easiest reads.
The Bartender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks
If you’re more interested in American cocktail history and mixing up a few early iterations of concoctions before they were really perfected — like the mint julep, gin fizz, and whiskey sour — then grab Jerry Thomas’ groundbreaking . Bartender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks. This complete reprint of the very first cocktail book is only a few years old and is sold at a moderate price. However, if you wanted to snag an original print from 1862 (or even 1876 – which published Tom Collins’ versions first – or 1887), it would cost you a pretty penny.
The Curious Bartender’s Whiskey Road Trip
Tristan Stephenson’s Curious Bartender book series is among the best in the game, but its Whiskey Road Trip is easily his most fascinating – as well as greatest. Through his entertaining prose, the author tells the story of American whiskey making through his 10,000 mile tour through 28 states, where he visits 44 distilleries and showcases the regional differences of each region, from Kentucky to Texas. to Indiana, and more. It also offers plenty of cocktails, with beautiful photographs permeating the nearly 400-page compendium.
Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions
Transforming David A. Embury’s concept of the “six basic drinks,” which he promoted in his legendary 1948 book The art of mixing drinks, Cocktail Codex breaks down the fundamentals of mixology on an atomic, if not rudimentary level. Using this updated six-drink model, Alex Day, Nick Fauchald and David Kaplan’s follow-up to their groundbreaking Death & Co. provides us with over 350 recipes to prove its case. In a new era of experimentation, Cocktail Codex takes a science-based approach that can then be applied to the countless spirits and mixers available.
The pleasure of mixology
There are plenty of great guides available for intermediate bartenders and countless options for beginners, but Gary Regan’s The pleasure of mixology is for those who yearn to dig much deeper. Discussing concepts such as mixology theory, drink density, and how to handle angry customers, this book serves as a masterclass that teaches at a granular level from the most basic concepts to advanced ideas. First published in 2003, the revised 2018 edition overhauls the recipe section and updates its content to fit even better with this ever-changing cocktail industry.
Meehan’s Bartender’s Handbook
Approaching bartending from an industry perspective, Meehan’s Bartender’s Handbook dives into hospitality and the business side of owning a bar and making drinks. From mixing techniques to barware to customer service, Jim Meehan’s award-winning guide not only looks great on your bar cart with its memorable green minimalist cover, but it’s a must-have for serious enthusiasts. of cocktails. Head mixologist at New York’s iconic Please Don’t Tell (PDT) bar, the author follows up on his previous guide (The PDT Cocktail Book) with one who delves into the history of mixology, explores the layouts of famous taverns around the world, and serves up 100 recipes from his own experience and career in this industry.
Beach Bum Berry remixed
If you’ve read our cocktail content, you’ll see Beach Bum Berry remixed appear quite often. And for good reason. Jeff Berry is easily the contemporary authority on tiki drinks, researching exhaustively and continually adding to his ginormous Rolodex of recipes. Here he combines his two most famous books – Intoxication! and grog logboth of which played an important role in the resurgence of today’s tiki culture – in one tome, with over 200 cocktails and tons of history, providing plenty of insight into the key players in early tiki -dom, such as Donn Beach and Vic Bergeron.
Death & Co: modern classic cocktails
Whether you play the occasional home bartender or are dead serious about mixological crafting, Death & Co: modern classic cocktails is an essential addition to any home bar. From the owners of legendary East Village bar, Death & Co., who helped usher in this modern cocktail revolution in 2006 with a uniquely expansive bar menu featuring up to 50 drinks at any given time, this essential compendium features over 500 recipes for a manual-style approach that offers plenty of information for the casual or expert blender.
The craft of the cocktail
Before compiling The craft of the cocktail in 2002, Dale DeGroff rose to prominence in the beverage world as head bartender at the Rainbow Room in New York City. His years of accumulated expertise heavily influenced his groundbreaking tome, which transformed cocktail books from previous eras from mere lists into a more immersive cookbook experience. Around his 500 new and vintage drink recipes, DeGroff informs the reader with bartending philosophy, fascinating stories, fun historical facts, and advice for the home mixologist.
The United States of cocktails
Fusing the idea of a cocktail manual with the modern revival of the coffee table book, The United States of cocktails by Brian Bartels takes the time to explore each of the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) and its cocktail history, with beautiful illustrations to accompany over 100 recipes that have each played a big role in the gastronomy of their respective region . You wouldn’t think every state contributed to cocktail culture, but Bartels’ well-researched travelogue tells us otherwise. This leather-bound version also looks great on your café – er, cocktail table.
The Tequila Ambassador
If you can find yourself a copy of Tomas Estes The Tequila Ambassador in nature, consider yourself lucky. A new copy will cost you a few hundred dollars. This Grail book had a limited circulation ten years ago and now owners of the tequila handbook aren’t too keen to give it up. Estes, the co-founder of Ocho Tequila, takes readers through a comprehensive guide to the Mexican spirit, from its history to an exploration of agave nectar, and all the minutiae in between. It also offers nearly 100 tequila recipes to wet your whistle.
30 classic cocktails you should know
If you want to discover the most essential concoctions in bookless history, check out our informative guide to these 30 classic cocktail recipes.