The Essential Bartenders Guide

by: Robert Hess

Mud Puddle Books
November, 2008
Recipes, Tools, Training,

The Essential Bartender’s Guide is a great overview guide on proper technique, details, recipes, and overall mixology guidance that almost anyone, regardless of their skill level, will find useful.

The Essential Bartenders Guide

I suppose it probably isn't proper for me to review my own book, so instead of a true review, I'll provide an overview of how the book came to pass.

While I've been involved in various degrees to several books in the past, and have written quite a few magazine articles about cocktails and mixology, this is the first book which is essentially all my own.

The genesis of this book begins with a visit to the offices of Greg Bodhm, and Mud Puddle Books in New York sometime in October of 2007. I went there with Jared Brown in order to meet with Greg and discuss some of his upcoming plans for publishing some facsimile reprints of classic cocktail books. Greg had an impressive number of cocktail, and I was excited to learn of his reprint plans, and couldn't wait until the project was done.

I didn't think much more about the visit, until arriving back at home in Seattle, and Greg called to let me know about a cocktail-book project a client wanted him to take care of. They essentially needed a general purpose cocktail guide, but were interested in a fast turn-around. Greg asked if I thought I could have a manuscript done for something like this by the end of the year. I figured it would be a fun challenge and so accepted.

Since I have a "day job" which takes quite a bit of my time, I decided to make it even more of a challenge and do the bulk of the work when I took about a week off during Christmas break. After spending a few weeks preparing some of the basic data and outline during the evenings, I hunkered down the end of December and pulled everything together, and finally shipped it off to Greg. Together we polished up some details over the course of the next couple of months, but the changes were slight, and simply helped fine-tune the content.

For me, probably the hardest part of this project was to keep the overall content as short and tight as possible. The customer was looking for a book of a particular length, and so I had to keep my normal pontifications shorter than normal. As it is, we still had to trim some out here and there to get things to fit properly.

The original plan was to have the book published and available in time for "Tales of the Cocktail" in July, but unfortunately some unavoidable delays at the printers set the release date back a few month, with the final book coming out about a year after I got the initial call from Greg to write the book. One year from start to finish isn't too bad, is it?

Overall, I'm proud of the end result. It presents a lot of the key information that I feel is sometimes isn't quite as well understood as it should be, and hopefully it does it in a way which makes it approachable to both beginning "home mixologists" as well as trained professional bartenders. In addition to my normal repertoire of recipes, which I've collected and tuned up over the years, I also reached out to many of my friends in the bartender community, and asked them if they had some personal recipes they'd like to share. You'll find them, as well as comments from the creators, scattered throughout the book. I thought this was a good way to pepper in some brand new recipes along with the tried-and-true classics.

Hopefully you'll enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it. Now it's on to book #2!

In addition to, you can also buy this book from a special website put up by Mud Puddle Books at, where you can also find the wonderful facsimile reprints that they are providing as well. I HIGHLY recommend picking up some of these reprints; they are valuable additions to anybodies collection.