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Best Cocktail Books: Recipes for Beginners and Pros

By
Joshua Weatherwax
Table of Contents

Whether you're learning how to become a bartender or are already a world-class sommelier, there's always more to learn about cocktails. From books for beginners to books for old hands to books for enthusiasts looking for recipes, bartending books for every occasion!

Each year, hundreds of books are published with their own take on cocktail recipes, bartending practices, and more. It can be difficult to find the books that offer the best bang for your buck.

We've collected nine of the best cocktail books on the market for you below.

Best Cocktail Recipe Books Of All Time

BinWise’s Big Book of Easy and Profitable Cocktails

BinWise's Big Book of Easy and Profitable Cocktails

We're not just blowing our own horn here. After extensive (and delicious) research, we really believe our team has put together the best cocktail recipe book of all time. It's a simple, easy, and entirely free eBook of the easiest cocktail recipes you can add to your repertoire. If you're looking for a comprehensive set of cocktails to add to your seasonal lists of spring cocktails, summer cocktails, fall cocktails, or winter cocktails look no further. They're great for boosting bar profitability and keeping your sales strong year-round.

Not to mention we have our own inventory management system and accompanying barcode scanner app, which can help you manage your beverage program more effectively and successfully getting even more of a return for each of the cocktails you sell. Contact us to learn more about BinWise Pro and how it can help your bar.

Best Cocktail Book For Beginners

The Home Bartender, Second Edition

The Home Bartender, Second Edition

Our first pick for the best cocktail book for beginners is The Home Bartender. The book includes more than 175 recipes including non-alcoholic ones, as well as a guide to bartender tools such as a wine opener, wine pourer, aerator, decanter, and more. It is a must-read book for the beginner and at-home bartender. You can even learn the basics, like what is 1 part. A few quality ingredients, along with his carefully selected collection of recipes, are all you need!

Cocktails Made Simple

Cocktails Made Simple

As the name implies, Cocktails Made Simple is an easy-to-understand resource that does a great job of breaking mixology down for every reader. It includes 40 classic recipes along with some easy-to-understand illustrations that break down the parts. This way, each standardized recipe is even easier to follow. There's even a handy breakdown of all the tools you should have on hand and what they're used for, so there's no more guessing.

The Essential Bar Book for Home Mixologists

The Essential Bar Book for Home Mixologists

Books aimed at the home mixologist tend to be the perfect choice for beginners because they avoid using complicated descriptions and lingo. The Essential Bar Book for Home Mixologists definitely fits the bill and includes 70 easy-to-learn recipes for cocktails and mocktails. There's even some fun trivia about famous bartenders, great drinking songs, and more in this home bar book. If you've got some club soda on hand and you're not sure what drink to mix, you'll have more than enough options here. 

Best Classic Cocktail Recipe Book

The Art of Mixology: Classic Cocktails and Curious Concoctions

The Art of Mixology

Also on our list of the best bartending books, the Art of Mixology is a classic cocktail recipe book suited for all levels of expertise. Whether you're a bartender or a drink enthusiast, you'll find at least a few recipes you'll love. Classic cocktails like the Mai Tai, Marilyn Monroe, and Zombie all make an appearance as well as alcohol-free cocktails like the Ginger Fizz and Sober Sunday. The book is packed with more than 200 recipes, separated into sections by types of alcohol like gin & vodka, rum, whiskies, and brandy. You'll find all of the drinks every bartender should know in this one, so it's a definite must-have for anyone just starting out or looking for a refresher.

The Joy of Mixology, Revised and Updated Edition: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender's Craft

The Joy of Mixology, Revised and Updated Edition

Rounding out the list of the best classic cocktail recipe books is Gary Regan's classic cocktail guide, The Joy of Mixology. For the book's 15th Anniversary, the recipes have had some interesting changes added and there's plenty of information regarding the drink-making revival of the past decade. It makes the cut for our best cocktail recipe books not because it has the most popular cocktails, but because they are some of the tastiest, most thoroughly vetted, and modified recipes around. This is a book by a master of mixology that may be the only cocktail reference you need.

Best Craft Cocktail Books

The New Craft of the Cocktail

The New Craft of the Cocktail

If you're looking for a comprehensive, in-depth look at mixology, The New Craft of the Cocktail is the book for you. Featuring 500 different cocktail recipes, this tome of bar knowledge has something for everyone. The book covers drink histories, culture, tips, and tricks alongside beautiful photography and straightforward recipes. It even includes author DeGroff's favorite liquor recommendations, so you know which gin or bourbon will mix just right. With all the new recipes at your fingertips, you might need to pick up some more well liquor to keep up.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails

Craft cocktails and innovation go hand-in-hand, and nobody knows that more than New York City's famed Death & Co. bar. Using their extensive knowledge and experimentation, authors David Kaplan and Nick Fauchald have collected more than 500 of the bar’s most innovative and sought-after cocktails. This book includes guidance on buying and using spirits, step-by-step bartending techniques like how to upsell, beautiful photography, infographics, and more. It may one day be considered a definitive guide to cocktails as the market continues to shift away from the classics.

The Craft Cocktail Party: Delicious Drinks for Every Occasion

The Craft Cocktail Party

Our final selection for craft cocktails, Julie Reiner's The Craft Cocktail party will help you prepare drinks for every occasion. The author is the co-owner of The Clover Club in Brooklyn and The Flatiron Lounge in Manhattan, so you know the recipes have been perfected in a fast-paced environment. The book is organized by season and occasions, with cocktails picked for different events and themes. Whether you're looking for a holiday drink, popular cocktail recipes, or a modern take on a classic, you can find it here.

Cocktail, More Than a Bad Movie

Experienced bartenders, beginner mixologists, party hosts, and more can all benefit from having some cocktail books on their shelves. These books take the guesswork out of making drinks and can excite even the stodgiest of alcohol fans.

To become even more of an expert, make sure you have mastered the basics like the standard pour, so you can back up your new knowledge with advanced stuff like aphrodisiac drinks. You can even pick up one of the best bartending books, best wine books, or watch a sommelier documentary if you're so inclined.


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