Summer is on the horizon, and pretty soon the winter aperitifs and digestifs will be on the shelf as you shake and stir cocktails and mixed drinks on the patio. Here is the ultimate guide to the essential mixed drink recipe books for the home bartender.
Cocktails are a great way to introduce something fun and different into your summer entertaining routine while at the same time controlling the ingredients and time necessary to manage your event. Having a trusted cocktail book on hand is a great way to browse for new ideas or simply manage your budget by picking a few drinks that you already have the ingredients for. Take a look at our picks below.
The Must Have List for the Modern Mixologist
You may have read our guide on the Top 10 Essential Cocktails & Mixology Books which featured the following publications. In this guide, we’re going to take that list and expand on it with reviews of our favorite books and the ones we turn to when in need of inspiration.
The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff
Dale DeGroff is arguably one of the world’s foremost authorities on mixology. This book is his personal list of over 500 recipes that helped chart his career. From classic staples to the more elevated craft cocktails, this book is the bible for bartenders around the world. Click here to get your copy.
Difford’s Encyclopedia of Cocktails by Simon Difford
A legend in the world of professional bartending, Simon Difford is the kind of mixologist who others spend their entire careers trying to emulate. This encyclopedia of 2600 different cocktails is a must have on our list of the absolute best cocktail books. Click here for a copy.
Killer Cocktails by David Wondrich
Forget the trends, this book focuses on scratch made traditional cocktails and helps the aspiring bartender set up the perfect bar and quickly mix a plethora of drinks. An excellent first stop for the new barkeep, this is one book that is sure to be picked up time and time again. Click here to get your own copy.
The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan
A stunningly illustrated book of just over 300 recipes, this book by the celebrated New York bartender is a glimpse into the speakeasy days of Prohibition and a focus on all things alcoholic. This book is more than just a recipe guide. It’s an inspirational story of the history of the American barkeep. Click here to buy a copy.
Speakeasy by Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric
Some of the best cocktails today are from the prohibition era. The Manhattan, the Sidecar, the Martini, the Old Fashioned. These are legendary concoctions and this coffee table style book does each of the recipes justice. Taking inspiration from these classic cocktails, the mixologists from New York’s Employees Only bar put their spin on the classics and show you how to elevate even the simplest cocktail. Click here for your copy.
The Modern Mixologist by Tony Abou-Ganim
After working with legendary restaurateurs like Steve Wynn and Mario Batali, the legendary bartender nicknamed “The Modern Mixologist” has written his own book featuring stunning photography of each of his craft cocktails. A who’s who in the world of bartending, this is one book that you’ll keep perusing even after you’ve made the drink. Click here to buy a copy.
The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan
One of the original bartending bibles, the Joy of Mixology is a classic piece credited with helping modern bartenders create new and improvised craft cocktails. Owning this book is the bartending equivalent of having Julia Child’s cookbooks in your library. Click here for a copy.
Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide by Jonathan Pogash and Rick Rodgers
This is one of the few books that professional bartending schools recommend students read. A beginners guide to bartending, it teaches you the fine art of mixology and shows you the proper technique of mixing drinks. Click here to get a copy.
The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury
Another classic staple, this is more than a recipe book but rather the author’s theories on mixed drinks. It offers an excellent glimpse into the history of cocktails and shows the varying techniques of the classic American barkeep and the modern mixologist and craft cocktail creator. A little different than most cocktail recipe books, it’s still one that has earned a spot on the shelf of must haves. Click here for your copy.
The Savoy Cocktail Book Harry Craddock
From the bartender credited with popularizing the dry martini, The Savoy has a long history of creating some of the most popular cocktails enjoyed today. This classic publication is rich in detail and history providing insight from one of the world’s greatest bartenders in history. If you’re a fan of the 1920s and 30s, the 750 recipes in this book will make it one of your favorite cocktail books in your library. Click here for a copy.
The Professional Bartender’s Library of Books
Ask any professional bartender and you’ll get a standard list of books they contend as an industry has revolutionized the art of the cocktail. These are a selection of books recommended by various top bartenders around the world.
Cocktail Techniques by Kazuo Uyeda
Legendary Japanese mixologist Kazuo Uyeda saw a glaring lack of cocktail books that focused on the unique techniques used in Japan. A superb collection of cocktails with Japanese origin as well as American and British drinks with a Japanese twist, this book is sure to be full of inspiration and recipes when pairing cocktails with various Asian cuisine. Click here to buy a copy.
Cocktails of the South Pacific and Beyond by Greg Easter
If you’re interested in artistic craft cocktails, this book is full of recipes that even seasoned mixologists will have difficulty pouring. A compendium of ingredient-rich drinks, this books isn’t for the faint of heart. Click here to get a copy.
The Cocktail Lab by Tony Conigliaro
Focused on the flavor of the cocktail, this book delves into flavor profiles, aromas and how to pair the right spirits and mix to achieve the perfect cocktail. Click here to get it.
Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em by Stanley Clisby Arthur
Let’s face it; New Orleans is renowned for their unique take on cocktails. This book not only focuses on more down-home drinks, but also the history of mixology in Louisiana and how they’ve become a destination for cocktail aficionados. Click here to get a copy.
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart
Forget the recipes; they aren’t what makes this book so worthy of your attention. It’s the botanical information and the details about what goes into making your favorite spirits. If you enjoy organic and fresh cocktails, this is the book for you. Click here for a copy.
Vintage Cocktails by Susan Waggoner and Robert Markel
If you’re a fan of the classic staples, this will be your go-to cocktail book. Focused on booze-heavy cocktails from the 1920s to 1960s, this book showcases the original recipes and even talks about the history of each drink which is probably the most interesting part of the book. Click here to get a copy.
Imbibe! by David Wondrich
A historical account of some really fascinating cocktails, this is more of an informational read than a collection of recipes. However, if you enjoy mixology, you’ll be sure to enjoy this great read that can be picked up over and over again. Click here to buy a copy.
The Negroni by Gaz Regan
One of the most famous drinks in history is the Negroni, and this book looks at how such a simple drink has had such a profound effect on the bartending industry. It’s the story that’s worth the read and the comparisons between the Negroni and the Old Pal. Click here to get it.
The Art of the Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the Classics by Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz
For formal events and cocktail parties, this is the bible of upscale, premium mixed drinks. These craft cocktails aren’t easy to pour, but the effort is worth the reward. Just expect to need a lot of fresh ingredients. Click here to get a copy.
Cocktails & Amuse-Bouches For Him by Daniel Boulud
One part of a collection of books from restauranteur Daniel Boulud, this book focuses on some fresh summery cocktails. It’s also worth getting the second book in the collection called Daniel Cocktails For Her. Click here to get a copy of the collection.
What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page
The authors of one of our favorite cookbooks, The Flavor Bible have hit it out of the park again with this detailed guide on how to pair drinks with your foods. We also recommend a copy of The Flavor Bible as it will help to encourage the proper pairings of flavors in your drinks and on the table. Click here to get your copy today.
Like cookbooks, there are thousands of cocktail recipe books for budding mixologists and home bartenders. In the world of self-publishing, anyone can write a recipe book. However, there are few that stand out as the iconic leaders in the industry and it’s our hope that we introduced you to a handful of them. What are your favorite cocktails? Do you have a book you can recommend?