The 13 Best Cocktail Books

Everyone loves a good cocktail, whether it's alcoholic, non-alcoholic, or mixed with other ingredients. There's nothing you can't do when it comes to mixology.

Making cocktails is all about experimentation and learning from your mistakes. So if you're looking for some inspiration on how to get started in the world of mixing drinks, then we've got just what you need. 

We have compiled this list of the best cocktail books that will give you everything you need to know to start making great cocktails at home. From classic recipes to new techniques, these are the essential books every bartender should own.

So let's dive right into our list of the 13 best cocktail books!

OUR TOP PICK


This book covers everything you could ever want to know about cocktails. It contains over 1,000 different cocktails, including ones that are rarely seen in bars today.

You'll find classics like Manhattans, martinis, and old-fashioned cocktails as well as more modern creations such as the Moscow Mule and the Bloody Mary. 

Each recipe has been tested by professional bartenders and includes instructions on how to make each drink. This makes it perfect for both beginners and experienced mixologists alike.

There are also sections covering the history of cocktails, bar equipment, and even the art of bartending. If you love drinking but hate wasting money, this is the ultimate guide for you. 

This is the ultimate bartender's bible packed full of knowledge and cocktail wisdom. This book comes highly recommended to anything who is interested in learning how to make great cocktails. This is also an ideal choice of gift for someone who loves to get creative and entertain. 

Pros 

  • Over 1000 cocktails with a broad variety of categories 
  • Includes recipes and mixology tips 
  • Provides non-alcoholic options 

Cons 

  • More suitable for beginners

EDITORS CHOICE


The Art of Mixology is a must-have on your bookshelf for existing and aspiring mixologists. This book delves into the history of cocktails sharing how they were developed and providing invaluable recipes.

This book comes highly recommended as a gift to those interested in uncovering the secrets of mixology and learning about the history of cocktails.

Not only is this book full of knowledge, but it also provides a broad selection of classic, modern, and unique cocktail recipes for you to try at home.

It also features chapters on bar equipment, spirits, bitters, garnishes, and ice. There is something here for everyone with easy-to-follow instructions.

If you're looking for an engaging read full of interesting facts, this is the book for you.

Pros 

  • History of mixology 
  • Ideal gift for aspiring mixologists 
  • Easy instructions to follow 

Cons 

  • Some ingredients are difficult to source

BEST VALUE


If you enjoy literature, then Tequila Mockingbird is a must-read for you. In this collection of short stories, Tim Federle explores the world of alcohol through the eyes of literary characters from well-recognized stories. 

This book features a fun and playful twist and makes for a great gift. It provides over 65 delicious cocktail recipes each followed by a fun commentary, drinking games, or witty illustration. This is the ultimate book for entertainment. 

All fun aside...this cocktail book also offers a wealth of information on the history of different cocktails and how they came to be.

From this book, you'll learn everything from old and new cocktail recipes, interesting facts about famous authors, and the history of your favorite cocktails.

This is a fascinating and entertaining book that will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading and drinking.

Pros 

  • Fun and quirky illustrations 
  • Great gift idea 
  • Informative and educational 

Cons 

  • No glossary

RUNNER UP


Smuggler’s Cove is a definitive look at the history of rum and tiki culture. The authors share their passion for these drinks and explore the origins of the exotic drinks we know today. They cover topics such as the history of rum, the rise of tiki culture, and the evolution of the tropical drink.

This book comes recommended to anyone who enjoys rum and tiki culture and would like to learn more about the history behind them.

Pros 

  • Excellent history, tasting, and classification of rum
  • Informative and educational
  • A broad range of delicious cocktail recipes 

Cons 

  • Some ingredients are difficult to source

RUNNER UP


David Kaplan and Nick Fauchard have teamed up to create Death & Co. This cocktail book shares their love of all things mixed. 

This book covers everything from the history of cocktails, the art of mixing, and the science behind the perfect cocktail. 

There is a wide variety of cocktails covered including classics, classics with a twist, martinis, margaritas, mojitos, daiquiris, and much more. The book shared over 500 delicious and highly sought-after cocktail recipes consisting of great infographics and easy-to-follow instructions.

This is a comprehensive book covering the basics of making cocktails, and it includes some great tips and tricks along the way.

This is a great option for anyone looking for a cocktail book that will help you put together an at-home bar or anyone looking to start making more advanced cocktails.

Furthermore, this book provides not only a great host of information and recipes, but it also shares tips on bar equipment, ice, mixing techniques, the history of specific cocktails, and tasting tips.

Pros 

  • A large selection of classic and modern cocktails
  • Highly informative and educational
  • Tips on mixing and tasting

Cons

  • Ideal for intermediate level mixologists 

RUNNER UP


Shane Carley has written another fantastic addition to his popular series of bartending books. In this book, he shares his knowledge and expertise in creating a well-rounded home bartender.

He covers everything from the basics of mixing and serving cocktails to the finer points of garnishing and pouring. 

This book is ideal for any aspiring home bartender or those wanting to expand their skill set. It contains over 175 recipes ranging from classics to experimental concoctions with some non-alcoholic options to suit everyone.

There are even sections dedicated to how to make your own bitters, syrups, and liqueurs.

This book provides a great introduction into the world of bartending and offers plenty of inspiration for anyone thinking of starting as it shares in-depth information on bar tools, mixology terminology, additional tips and tricks for getting started, and obviously...amazing drink recommendations. 

Here, we have a book that is an ideal choice of gift for anyone who values entertaining or wants to turn it into a more serious hobby. 

Pros

  • Ideal for aspiring bartenders
  • Over 175 cocktail recipes
  • Additional information on bar tools, resources, and terminology

Cons 

  • Mainly consists of widely recognized cocktails 

RUNNER UP


Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan have teamed up to write a new book on cocktails. They share their joint passion for the subject and their extensive knowledge of the industry.

They aimed to provide a practical guide to the fundamentals of cocktails, explaining the science behind them and providing step-by-step instructions for making cocktails at home. 

This book focuses on the fundamental aspects of the art of mixing drinks. The authors cover the different types of spirits available, how they work and what makes them unique. They then go on to discuss the importance of ingredients, measurements, shaking, and stirring.

This book provides a thorough overview of all things related to cocktails and mixes. From the history of cocktails to the chemistry behind them, there's something here for everyone.

The best thing about this book is how easy it is to follow. The book is based on 6 seminal cocktail templates that are simple and easy to follow. The recipes available also vary in complexity making this a must-have for both amateur and pro mixologists.

Pros

  • A comprehensive look at the basic principles of cocktails
  • A broad variety of easy-to-follow cocktail recipes
  • Ideal for all levels

Cons

  • Soft spine 

RUNNER UP


Amy Traynor has compiled her years of experience working in bars and restaurants to create a definitive guide to the equipment needed to get started in the craft of mixing cocktails.

She includes detailed descriptions of the various pieces of equipment used in the industry and explains their uses and benefits. Her advice covers everything from choosing a glassware set to understanding the differences.

She also gives clear explanations of the most common techniques used in the industry including shaking, stirring, straining, chilling, and garnishing. 

This book will be useful for those looking to start with a good selection of quality cocktail equipment. It can also help experienced bartenders improve their skills and techniques.

There are over 100 pages of helpful illustrations and photographs to accompany each chapter with over 70 great cocktail recipes that only require a handful of ingredients to make. 

The author has included plenty of tips and tricks to make sure you master your chosen drink.

Pros

  • In-depth coverage of the resources required
  • Easy recipes requiring only a handful of ingredients
  • Ideal for beginners 

Cons 

  • Not ideal for expert mixologists 

RUNNER UP


Paul Knorr is one of America’s leading experts on cocktails. This book draws together his vast knowledge and expertise into an accessible format.

He offers more than 1,500 recipes using classic and modern ingredients as well as some unusual and innovative recipes. His approach is laid back, but he does not shy away from explaining the science and history behind each recipe.

This book is ideal for anyone who wants to learn more about the world of cocktails or simply enjoy experimenting with new flavors.

The recipes are divided into chapters covering the basics, classics, seasonal drinks, mixed drinks, and alcoholic beverages. 

Each section contains several recipes ranging from the simplest to the most complex. The majority of the recipes are accompanied by easy-to-follow instructions and tips.

This book also features a handy glossary of terms which should prove invaluable when reading through the text.

Pros

  • Over 1,500 recipes
  • Range of simple to complex recipes
  • Includes a glossary of terms

Cons

  • The book is quite small

RUNNER UP


This comprehensive guide to cocktails provides a thorough explanation of the different types of spirits available and how they work to create delicious cocktails.

It explains the different methods of preparing them. From making ice cubes to shaking and pouring, covering all aspects of creating a perfect cocktail.

It also features 150 recipes which include both classic and contemporary cocktails. These are broken down into categories such as shaken, stirred, blended, frozen, and non-alcoholic drinks.

Pros 

  • Professional and at-home cocktails 
  • Over 150 recipes
  • Casual and informal reading

Cons 

  • Not a lot of history 

RUNNER UP


T-Pain and Maxwell Britten have teamed up to write this entertaining and informative book. They explain how to choose the right bar tools, how to use them properly, and what makes a good bartender.

They offer practical advice on how to look after the bar and how to avoid common mistakes.

Furthermore, they also cover topics such as selecting the best glassware, selecting the right bottle, and understanding alcohol levels in cocktails.

They have created a collection of 50 recipes that feature different spirits, liqueurs, and juices. All of these can be made easily at home and will provide you with plenty of inspiration for your next drink.

Pros 

  • A great introduction to bartending 
  • Ample selection of recipes
  • Tips, tricks, and information on mixology techniques

Cons 

  • Complex ingredients 

RUNNER UP


Many of us enjoy making cocktails, but we want to do so without having to use every single ingredient under the sun. 3-Ingredient Cocktails offer a solution to this problem.

With just three ingredients, it is possible to create a wide range of delicious and interesting cocktails. They include classics such as Manhattans, Old Fashions, Mint Juleps, Mojitos, Margaritas and so much more.

Simple doesn't always mean boring, simple can be delicious, elegant, and infused with potential. 

This book allows the reader to dip into the history of the most famous and loved classic cocktails. What makes it stand out is that the whole book is centered around three basic ingredients. 

Pros

  • Simple recipes made with just three ingredients
  • A variety of different types of drink
  • Ideal for beginners 

Cons

  • Suited to beginners 

RUNNER UP


This book is aimed at people who love cocktails but don’t know where to start. It contains over 600 recipes too! It covers everything from classic cocktails to modern concoctions. There are also chapters dedicated to mixed drinks. 

If you're looking for a book that offers tricks and tips on learning the craft of bartending, then this is the book for you as it covers every aspect of cocktail making. 

Pros

  • Over 600 recipes 
  • Written by renowned mixologists
  • Ideal for beginners

Cons 

  • A simple read 

Buyer's Guide 

The 13 Best Cocktail Books

When it comes to shopping for a book on cocktails, there are many options available.

You may be interested in purchasing books that offer advice on how to make cocktails at home, books that focus on specific regions of the world, books that cover the history of cocktails, books that provide information on the best tools to buy, and books that contain recipes for cocktails. 

There are plenty of cocktail books available, and they all have their own unique qualities. If you are looking for a particular type of book then you will need to consider your budget, what you are looking for, and whether you prefer to read print or digital versions. 

Some books are written for the beginner while others cater to the experienced bartender.

Some books are aimed at people who like to experiment with different flavors and combinations while others are designed to teach you how to make the perfect cocktail.

A good cocktail book will give you an insight into the culture surrounding cocktails and help you understand why certain drinks were created. It will also provide a great selection of different types of cocktails and easy-to-follow recipes that give you the confidence to branch out and experiment on your own.

The options of the different types of cocktails in the world are endless, but there are certain classics that everyone knows and loves.

Whether you're a fan of something sweet or something savory, there really is something available for everyone. The following will share some must-know cocktail categories.

Classic Cocktails 

Cocktails are a type of drink that has been around since ancient times. They were originally made using alcohol as a preservative, and they also have a lot of history behind them.

Today, they are enjoyed by people all over the world. Some of the most popular cocktails include the martini, margarita, mojito, and the cosmopolitan.

These are often served chilled, so they are perfect for summertime drinking.

Savory Cocktails

Savory cocktails are usually made with herbs, spices, vegetables, and fruits. They tend to be more light-hearted than their sweeter counterparts. 

Mixed Cocktails

Mixed cocktails are generally made with spirits, juices, liqueurs, and sometimes even eggs. Popular mixed drinks include the piña colada.

Non-Alcoholic Cocktails

There are many types of non-alcoholic drinks out there. Most of them are based on fruit juice, but some are based on tea, coffee, or milk. Many people enjoy non-alcoholic drinks and alcohol isn't always needed to have fun. 

Fizzy Cocktails 

If you want to make an interesting cocktail, try adding fizz to it. This is done by shaking the mixture until bubbles form or adding an alcoholic beverage such as champagne.

It adds a nice touch to any drink. Fizzy cocktails are perfect for parties and events where guests don't necessarily want to consume too much alcohol.

Creamy Cocktails

These are similar to milkshakes. Some consist of adding a sweet liqueur whilst others are alcohol-free.

There is plenty of potential with creamy cocktails with some served hot making them the perfect autumnal beverage and others served chilled for a luxurious and cooling summer beverage. Some favorite creamy cocktails include the chocolate martini.

Sweet Cocktails 

Some people have an incredibly sweet tooth and prefer something sticky, sweet, and satisfying. Sweet cocktails can be made with anything from candy to cotton candy.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Is The Most Famous Cocktail? 

This question is hard to answer because there are so many kinds of drinks out there. However, the most well-known cocktail is probably the martini.

What Is Mixology? 

Mixology is the art of creating delicious cocktails. It involves mixing complementary ingredients to create a unique taste.

Final Considerations 

It's important to remember that not every recipe works for everybody. You may need to experiment with different recipes until you find one that you like.

The list of the best cocktails books we've shared with you will give you the head start and confidence you need to explore the world of mixology.

Whether you're an aspiring bartender or an experienced mixologist, there's always more to learn.

Mandy Winters
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