The 13 Best Cocktail Books


As a cocktail enthusiast, I have spent countless hours exploring the world of mixology and experimenting with different flavors and techniques. One of my favorite ways to enhance my knowledge and creativity behind the bar is by diving into cocktail books. These literary wonders not only provide a wealth of recipes but also offer insights into the history, art, and science of mixology. In this article, I will share with you my personal list of the 13 best cocktail books that have inspired and expanded my cocktail-making journey.

The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff

The Craft of the Cocktail is a must-have for any aspiring mixologist. Dale DeGroff, also known as the “King of Cocktails,” shares his vast knowledge and experience in this comprehensive guide. From classic recipes to modern twists, this book covers it all while providing valuable tips and techniques for crafting the perfect cocktail.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald, and Alex Day

If you’re looking to delve into the world of modern mixology, Death & Co is the ultimate guide. This book showcases the innovative and boundary-pushing cocktails from the legendary Death & Co bar in New York City. With stunning photography and detailed instructions, it’s a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.

The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan

Jim Meehan, the award-winning bartender, shares his expertise and favorite recipes in The PDT Cocktail Book. This book not only provides a collection of delicious cocktails but also offers insights into the art of hospitality and bar management. It’s a delightful read for both cocktail enthusiasts and industry professionals.

Imbibe! by David Wondrich

For those who are curious about the fascinating history of cocktails, Imbibe! is the go-to book. David Wondrich takes you on a journey through time, exploring the origins of classic cocktails and the characters behind them. With well-researched stories and recipes, this book is a treasure trove for cocktail history buffs.

The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan

If you’re looking to enhance your mixology skills and expand your repertoire, The Joy of Mixology is the perfect companion. Gary Regan breaks down the essentials of cocktail making and provides a comprehensive guide to ingredients, techniques, and recipe creation. It’s a must-read for those who want to elevate their home bartending game.

Regarding Cocktails by Sasha Petraske

Regarding Cocktails is a tribute to the late Sasha Petraske, the pioneer of the modern craft cocktail movement. This book combines Sasha’s wisdom, personal anecdotes, and a collection of his most loved recipes. It’s a heartfelt read that captures the essence of his influential contributions to the industry.

The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart

The Drunken Botanist takes a unique approach to cocktails by exploring the botanical ingredients that make up our favorite drinks. Amy Stewart dives into the world of plants, herbs, and spices, uncovering their rich history and their flavors’ role in mixology. It’s a fascinating and educational read for both cocktail enthusiasts and gardeners.

Meehan’s Bartender Manual by Jim Meehan

Jim Meehan makes another appearance on this list with his Bartender Manual. This comprehensive guide covers everything from bar layout and equipment to advanced techniques and recipe development. It’s a valuable resource for professionals and enthusiasts alike, offering a wealth of knowledge in one beautifully crafted book.

The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique by Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s The Bar Book is a practical and user-friendly manual for mastering cocktail techniques. From muddling and shaking to juicing and garnishing, this book covers it all in a clear and concise manner. It’s an indispensable tool for anyone looking to refine their skills behind the bar.

Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki by Martin Cate and Rebecca Cate

For those who want to embark on a tropical cocktail adventure, Smuggler’s Cove is the ultimate escape. Martin Cate, the owner of the renowned Smuggler’s Cove bar, shares his passion for Tiki cocktails and rum in this beautifully illustrated book. It’s a celebration of Polynesian-inspired drinks that will transport you to a sun-drenched paradise.

Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan

Cocktail Codex is a groundbreaking book that breaks down cocktail recipes into six essential templates. Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan explain the fundamental building blocks of cocktails, empowering readers to create their own unique variations. It’s a must-have for those who want to understand the art and science behind cocktail creation.

Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean by Jeff Berry

If you’re a fan of tropical cocktails and the history of Tiki culture, Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean is a must-read. Jeff Berry uncovers the forgotten recipes and stories behind the iconic Caribbean cocktails of the mid-20th century. It’s a fascinating deep dive into the world of exotic libations.

Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by Dave Arnold

For those who are curious about the science behind cocktails, Liquid Intelligence is a captivating read. Dave Arnold, a renowned cocktail scientist, explores the physics and chemistry behind various techniques and ingredients. It’s a fascinating journey that will change the way you approach cocktail making.

These 13 cocktail books have been instrumental in my cocktail-making journey, expanding my knowledge and inspiring my creativity behind the bar. Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or just starting, I highly recommend adding these books to your collection. Cheers to endless cocktail adventures!