by: David Wondrich


David Wondrich artfully blends a historical retrospective of the life and times of Jerry Thomas with recipes and insights into the cocktails of the day, to create one of the best historical cocktail references to date.

The Joy of Mixology
by: Gary Regan

Clarkson Potter

A truly unique guide to the art of the cocktail, one that spends more time investigating the structure of a well made drink then simply regurgitating yet another recipe for one.

The Craft of the Cocktail
by: Dale DeGroff

Clarkson Potter

This, the first book from famed mixologist Dale DeGroff, provides a great collection of recipes which includes historical and background details on many of the drinks it includes.

World's Best Bartenders Guide
by: D. Bain

HP Trade

While this book appears to focus most on the fact that its recipes and contents is derived from "The worlds fifty greatest bars and their bartenders", that frankly isn't what I find the most interesting or useful aspect of this book. What I appreciate the most is that it presents variations on different cocktail recipes, and I feel it is by experimenting with such variations that you can truely learn to appreciate the right way to better understand your favorite cocktails.

Wolf in Chef's Clothing
by: Robert H. Loeb

Surrey Books

In this modern reprint, you'll find a unique approach to a cookbook. Originally published back in 1950, and recently offered as a reprint by Surrey Books, this humorous look at cooking and drink mixing uses easy to follow pictures to provide simple instructions that even a guy can follow.
In addition to a number of classic cocktail recipes, it also provides some great recipes for things such as Welsh Rabbit, Steak Dinah, Crepes Suzette, and several others.

Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktail
by: Ted Haigh


Look through the cocktail books in your library, if you have more then just two or three, chances are good that you've got books that simply repeat, rehash, or contradict each other on how the drinks they include should be made. If you think about it, it really isn't terribly creative to simply reprint the same recipes over and over again. What if somebody was really passionate about cocktails, and carefully located recipes that were exciting, creative, and perhaps just a little bit uncommon. Well, then you'd be Ted Haigh, author of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.

Haigh has been collecting rare and unusual spirits/liqueurs for several years, and because of that has at his disposal the ingredients for making many cocktails that haven't seen the light of day for decades.

Within this well researched volume you will find a collection of recipes that are rare, unusual, as well as representative of the carefully crafted drinks of old. But don't be afraid that these drinks will be impossible to make. Ted has specifically chosen drinks which may use unusual products, but not ones that are impossible to find or substitute for.

The recipes aren't the only things that are amazing within this book. Throughout, you will find wonderful historic insights, from one of the few people truly capable of providing them, that will open your eyes to what the cocktail once was, and with luck could eventually become again. There are also beautiful pictures, of not only the cocktails themselves, but also of historically significant books, bottles, and other related miscellanea.

If you are a bartender who takes pride in your craft, then this book will provide you with a wealth of new recipes that you can use to expand your repertoire. If you are a home mixologist, then this book will open up a whole new landscape for you to discover. The secret adventure, awaits.

The Ultimate A to Z Bar Guide
by: Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst


I always find it interesting to take a gander behind a bar and see what reference materials might be available for the staff to use. With over a thousand different cocktails that might possibly be asked for, these reference guides can be an important source of information and stress relief for even the best of bartenders.
There is a wide variety of cocktail recipe books on the market, and each bartender and bar manager needs to take a little care at choosing the reference material they want to rely on. Often you will find several different books tucked in some discreet location, but there will almost certainly be one that shows the dog-eared signs of frequent use.

I think it would be difficult to identify the definitive recipe book that all bartenders should be expected to be familiar with, but “The Ultimate A-toZ Bar Guide” would definitely find its place on any short-list of such books that I might compile.

From its highly approachable size, to the easy to read text, this book just feels like a great reference manual, even without actually reading any of it. Once you actually dive into the book, and start looking at the wealth of information that the Herbst’s have compiled, you soon realize that your first impressions are well rewarded. There are over 1,000 different cocktail recipes that are presented in alphabetical order, and scattered throughout these you will find almost as many entries that provide concise but highly informative descriptions for a wide variety of ingredients, processes, and terminology associated with bartending and mixology. And just to keep things a little interesting, scattered throughout its pages you will find a variety of quotes, jokes, and proverbs.

Just as an English dictionary isn’t really the best beginners book for learning a language, neither should this book be considered as a tool that will teach you how to be a bartender. It will however be an indispensable resource for you when you find that you can’t remember how to make a Cabaret cocktail, want to learn some background information about the Margarita, or want to find out what Parfait Amour is. All of which makes it perfect to have nearby at all times.

Straight Up or On The Rocks
by: William Grimes

North Point Press

Originally published in 1993, this new reprint, by a new publisher is a very welcome entry since the previous edition is very difficult to find.
If you ever had an interest in the historical evolution of the cocktail, then this book is definately one that you want to add to your library. Mr. Grimes has done an amazing amount of research in preparing this book, and it shows in every chapter. Not only is there an amazing amount of detailed information, but it is also presented in a wonderfully readable fashion.

At the end of the book he also includes a section of 103 different cocktail recipes which he feels represents many of the best cocktails that have come through history.

New Classic Cocktails
by: Gary Regan and Mardee Haiden Regan

John Wiley & Sons

My favorite cocktail books are the ones that do more then simply spout off an ingredient list for the recipes they present. In New Classic Cocktails, Gary and Mardee really pull out the stops when sharing with their readers the specifics of the cocktails they list in their book.
Through extensive research and conversations with leading bartenders across the nation, they present 50 different cocktails that represent the cross section of where the modern cocktail has been, and is going. In addition to common favorites such as the Cosmopolitan, they also present some unique recipes that are "specialties of the house" of some of the exclusive cocktail lounges that they have encountered such as the Cinnabar Negroni (From the Cinnabar Restaurant in Los Angeles).

Even though the quantity of recipes in this book is limited, the Quality can't be beat. If you learn to make just a couple of the cocktails presnted in this book, I guarantee you that you will make a splash with all of your friends.

Mixologist: Journal of the American Cocktail (Vol. 1)
by: Anistatia Miller, Robert Hess


The Mixologist is a personal project that I, and other members of The Museum of the American Cocktail have undertaken in order to try to create what we refer to as the "Scientific American" for bartenders.
In this first edition, we've gathered essays from various notable mixologists and cocktail experts in order to provide indepth details on such topics as Punch, the Martini, the Gimlet, the Singapore Sling, the Bellini, the Piña Colada, Peychaud's bitters, Gin, Simple Syrup, modern-classic cocktails, and the art of cocktail research.

I don't mean to toot my own horn on this project, but I think it represents a collection of extremely exciting and facinating information that will be a boon to bartenders the world over.

The Martini Companion
by: Gary Regan and Mardee Haidin Regan

Running Press Book Publishers

Another great book by Gary and Mardee Regan.

This book represents a great deal of research on their part in order to provide us with some exciting information about the Martini. It includes one of the best, and most complete, writeups on the history of the Martini, as well as good solid background information about the importance and production of Gin, Vermouth, and Vodka.

In the back of the book, they include recipes for 52 variations on the Martini, some classic, some original, and many gathered from famous restaurants across the country.

Be prepared to sit down and read this book from front to back. With of course a nice cold pitcher of Martini's at your side.

Beachbum Berry's Grog Log
by: Jeff Berry

SLG Publishing

While the name of this small volume of Tiki Cocktails might not appear to elicit much respect, the amount of work that went into bringing this compilation about should. It was through extensive research and perseverance that Jeff Berry brings to us the truly classic recipe of some of the favorite cocktails from the Tiki craze that is just now coming back into mainstream fashion.

Esquire Drinks
by: David Wondrich


For several years now, David Wondrich has been the cocktail expert at Esquire magazine. In addition to writing articles on cocktails and other strong drinks for the magazine, he writes the “Drink of the Week” column for, and provides appropriate advice to the various other editors of the magazine for their articles.
Recently, Dave felt compelled to dust off the long forgotten tradition that Esquire once had of providing insights and recipes, replete with a little wit and humor, to aid the hobbyist mixologist in better understanding the craft. With his foundations firmly rooted in such greats as the “Gentleman’s Companion” by Charles Baker, “On Drink” by Kingley Amis, and “The Bartenders Book” by Jack Townsend and Tom McBride, he felt the muse within him urging him forward. Of course he also had an ulterior motive of hoping that maybe, just maybe, such a book might increase the likelihood of being able to order drinks that weren’t hiding behind the spirit-obscuring clouds of too much sweetness or fruit juice flavors that were reminiscent of grade school days.

In this, his first book, Dave presents a carefully selected collection of about 250 drinks that he feels reflect the essence of what a cocktail truly is. As he describes it: “A true cocktail should take the pronounced, even pungent, flavor of a liquor and, through careful blending with aromatics, acids, and essences, transform it, without erasing it, into something smooth and bracing and unlike anything else.”

The collection begins with what he refers to as “The Four Pillars of Wisdom”: The Old Fashioned, Martini, Manhattan, and Daiquiri. These four drinks are what Dave uses as examples of what a finely crafted cocktail should aspire to. Instead of simply dropping the recipes onto the page, and letting you try to sort it out for yourself, he also presents compelling and useful information that covers various aspects of each drink that can help you better appreciate them and their place in your repertoire.

From this start, he continues on with a parade of drinks that are equally presented with carefully tuned recipes, and a personal dissertation regarding their purpose and stature. This list will include many drinks you will of course recognize (Cosmopolitan, Sazerac, Caipirinha, Sidecar) as well as many you may not (Asylum, Esquire, Batiste, Dulchin). Throughout the book you will find luscious and entertaining photographs and graphics, as well as titbits of general cocktail lore and wisdom. Especially fun are the random appearances of “Rules” that are peppered throughout the pages. (Rule #57: A cocktail should not take you back to your childhood, unless of course you grew up in a bar)

The focus of this book is probably aimed more toward the home, or hobbyist bartender, but the information it contains can definitely provide even the seasoned bartender with some background and appreciation of classic recipes that might have fallen by the wayside in the last few years. It also provides an entertaining read.

Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century
by: Paul Harrington


Have you ever picked up one of those massive tomes of cocktail recipes simply trying to find a new and interesting drink that is actually worth trying out? If so, then you know that few books make such a task easy for you. This book on the other hand, breaks out of that mold and provides a very good examination of the cocktails that are truely worth your time.
In their new book Cocktail : The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century, Paul Harrington and Laura Moorhead share with us the same great information that we have grown so fond of on their popular web site CocktailTime. Yes, that same web site that has been giving us a great cocktail recipe each week is now in print, and by all apperences it has made the Low Tech transition extremely well.

Included with the obligatory collection of cocktail recipes (275), and the introductory information on the art of bartending, is a special section that delves into the details and nuances of 64 specific drinks that are truely worth making. Such drinks as the El Floridita, the Lemon Drop, and the Satan's Whiskers just to name a few.

This is one cocktail book that no bartender should be without, hobbiest or professional.

The Book of Bourbon
by: Gary Regan and Mardee Haiden Regan

Houghton Mifflin

Unlike some of the other compendiums of Bourbon tasting notes available, Gary and Mardee provide a view of this spirit that is not only educational, but highly entertaining as well. They bring a lot of their own personal spirit into this volume, with a wry sense of humor that allows you to enjoy your reading every time you pick this book up. The result is what feels like actually joining the Regans as they travel through Bourbon country, not only tasting the spirit, but learning about the history and culture of this classic American product as well.
I was pleased to see that in addition to providing the requisite tasting notes for each of the brands discussed, they also included an entire chapter which describes how the reader can approach the tasting process for their own personal edification and participation.

In the back of the book, they include a wealth of recipes that make good use of the whiskey's they have just introduced you to. In their section on cocktails, they not only include very good recipes for such classics as the Mint Julep, Old Fashioned, and the Sazerac, but they also include a recipe for homemade Orange Bitters, a classic ingredient in many cocktails but almost impossible to find now days. In addition to cocktails, they also list a very enticing handfull of cookery recipes that use bourbon in various ways.

I do however wish that they had made a point of including pictures of the individual bottles or at least labels of the whiskeys being discussed, after all, when you are looking at a crowded shelf in the liquor store, it can often be difficult to carefully read every label.

The Bartender's Best Friend
by: Mardee Haiden Regan


This book provides a great collection of recipes that include both the best of the old, as well as those on the edge of becoming tomorrows hot new drink.

The Bloody Mary
by: Christopher B. O'Hara

The Lyons Press

The Bloody Mary is fairly unique drink, unlike most other drinks it is one where diversity is embraced and expected. In this wonderful book, Christopher O'Hara provides a brief recounting of some of the details that are known about the origins of this drink, and then dives straight into a wide variety of recipes that illustrate the flexibility that should be applied on a regular basis.

Mr. Boston Platinum Edition
by: Anthony Giglio


Over the years, the Mr. Boston's recipe guides have gotten tired and out of touch with the modern resurgence in classic cocktails. Fortunately, Anthony Giglio took the bull by the horns and was able to implement a refreshing update to this popular classic. In addition to refining all of the recipes with a focus on fresh ingredients, this Platinum edition also includes a details examination of a handful of classic recipes and provide indepth information on how to make them properly.

Beachbum Berry's Intoxica!
by: Jeff Berry


In his second collection of Tiki-inspired libations, Jeff Berry continues to provide us with great recipes which have been carefully selected to reflect the "Exotic Drinks" which were once commonly found across America.

Sippin Safari
by: Jeff berry


Having already stunned us with several great collection of Tiki-inspired recipes, Jeff Berry now takes the gloves off an provides us with the historical background which leads us through how Don "The Beachcomber" Beach built up a culinary legacy and not only gave us the often duplicated "Tiki" restaurant, but also re-introduced Hawai'ians to their own past.

Bartender's Guide
by: Trader Vic


By his own admission "There's nothing very original about this volume." It does however provide a great way to see not only a glimpse of the cocktails where were popularly being served throughout the 1940's, but also how these drinks may have been promoted directly by Victor Bergeron, founder and owner of the Trader Vic chain of restaurants.

The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks
by: David Embury

Mud Puddle

This highly valueable examnation of how to properly make a cocktail has long been out of print, with volumes often exceeding $400 on auction sites. Thankfully it has now been reprinted, and can once again inspire bartenders and home mixologists.

Jones Complete Barguide
by: Stan Jones

While this book has been out of print since the 1970's, it is no doubt that at it's time of publishing it's over 4,000 recipes were an accurate accounting of most, if not all, of the recipes that had come before it.

The recipes are presented in a rather sparse and jumbled fashion, with little in the way of details that might explain the tips and tricks as to how to make them properly. The well trained mixologist however will be able to ferret out the good from the bad, and be able to come away with a new collection of recipes that they can add to their repitoire.

Bartender's Guide
by: Jerry Thomas

Mud Puddle

The first bartender's guide was published in 1862, and included over 200 drink recipes provide by Jerry Thomas. There have been a number of reprints of this book over the years, the most recent, and perhaps the most impressive, is this one produced by Mud Puddle books in 2008, including a new introduction by famed historian David Wonrich.

How's Your Drink
by: Eric Felten

Agate Surrey

Presenting a compendium of his articles from the Wall Street Journal, Eric Felten provides a well rounded examination of many of the countries best cocktails. He wraps around these recipes an entertaining glimpse of historical details and personal insights.

Bartender's Guide
by: Jerry Thomas

Dick & Fitzgerald

Following up on the 1862 edition, this book presents an updated collection of recipes. The number of cocktails presented in this book have doubled, from 10, to 20.

The Complete Book of Spirits
by: Anthony Dias Blue

William Morrow

Providing a details guide to a wide variety of spirits, this book includes historical details, production methods, tasting notes, as well as a variety of recipes for cocktails and other mixed drinks.

Famous New Orleans Drinks and how to mix'em
by: Stanley Clisby Arthur


Since it's initial publication in 1937, this book of New Orleans drinking culture and recipes has proven so popular as to be regularly reprinted. While some of the history it contains has to be taken with a grain of salt (for example, the Sazerac is NOT the drink that originated the term "Cocktail"), it is still an excellent snapshot of the drinks that were being served in New Orleans soon after Prohibition.

Beachbum Berry's Taboo Table
by: Jeff Berry

SLG Publishing

Following up on his successful "Tiki" cocktail guides (Grog Log, Intoxica), Jeff Berry this time presents an array of food recipes from many of the nations best known Tiki restaurants. He also of course includes a collection of drink recipes as well.

Hawai'i Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine by Don the Beachcomber
by: Arnold Bitner, Phoebe Beach

Mutual Publishing

Don the Beachcomber was the originator of the famous "Tiki" restaurnat craze which spread across the nation in the middle of the 1900's. This book contains a variety of food & drink recipes which Don Beach featured in many of his restaurants. Arnold and Phoebe also provide a variety of interesting historical insights and observations about who Don Beach was, and how his ideas sparked a culinary phenomenon.

The Essential Bartenders Guide
by: Robert Hess

Mud Puddle Books

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.

DIY Cocktails
by: Marcia Simmons, Jonas Halpren

Adams Media

DIY Cocktails provides a step by step guide to understanding why the "classic" cocktail recipes work, and then encouraging the reader to try their own modifications in an effort to become more comfortable with coming up with their own recipes.

The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails
by: David Wondrich, Noah Rothbaum

Oxford University Press

An extremely important encyclopedic compendium of information on virtually everything related to cocktails and spirits.