Are you interested in getting started in mixology? Do you know a bartender or mixologist who has a birthday approaching? Or are you thinking about how to become a mixologist and considering enrolling in an online mixology course? Maybe you're just prepping for some creativity on National Cocktail Day. You could even be getting interested in online liquor sales, and you're looking for some more background.
Whatever your reason, we've scoured our local bookstores and the online market to find the best mixology books. We've also reached out to friends and experts in bartending and mixology to see what they read. This list of top 10 mixology books is the result of our research.
Bartenders, mixologists, bar managers, and other industry experts wrote these and shared their knowledge of all types of alcohol. We found books and guides for bartenders and mixologists of all levels, from beginners to professionals. Read on to see which books we've chosen as our top picks.
Top 10 Mixology Books
Here's our list of the top 10 mixology books for learning classic and contemporary recipes. You'll also discover the history of cocktails, common mixology terms, and why certain ingredients interact well.
1. The Bartenders' Guide: How To Mix Drinks Or The Bon Vivant's Companion
Many cocktail experts regard this book as the best classic cocktail recipe book. Jerry Thomas, the "father of mixology," wrote this book and published it in 1862. It became the first book ever published about cocktail recipes.
Many of the cocktails in his book are classics and make use of the same ingredients today. This book is an excellent choice whether you're a beginner or have been bartending for many years.
2. The Savoy Cocktail Book
Bartender Harry Braddock published this classic with over 750 cocktail recipes in 1930. Rather than work in a speakeasy, he left his native America during Prohibition in the 1920s. He arrived in England and served drinks at The American Bar at London's Savoy Hotel.
The updated edition retains the spirit of the times and includes illustrations with some new recipes. Peter Dorelli, the former Savoy head bartender, added his Millennium Cocktail to the collection. This book covers almost everything you need to know about drinking, including the art of cocktail creation, presentation, and enjoyment.
3. The Artistry of Mixing Drinks
Frank Meier, bartender at the Ritz Bar in Paris from 1921 until 1947, wrote and published the first edition of this guide in 1934. It's a classic book for cocktail lovers, bartenders, and mixologists alike, including some of his secret recipes and unique ingredients.
Meier honed his craft working for Harry Braddock in New York. In 1920, when Prohibition began and selling alcoholic beverages became illegal, he moved to Paris.
During his tenure at the Ritz, he served drinks to Franklin Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, and Cole Porter, among other notable patrons. He put his experiences and knowledge into this book, which contains over 300 cocktail and mixed drink recipes.
4. The New Craft of the Cocktail
Master mixologist Dale DeGroff includes more than 100 cocktail recipes in his book. You'll discover new tools and learn techniques for creating tastier drinks at home. He'll give you advice on stocking a bar and guide you through your bar equipment checklist.
DeGroff gives detailed instructions on how to master the best cocktail recipes. This book breaks down how to make a whiskey sour, a rum runner, a Moscow Mule, and other popular cocktails. He also covers the history and evolution of some cocktails like the classic martini.
5. The Joy of Mixology
There are several books that bartenders and mixologists mention as the definitive guide to cocktails. This book usually comes up in the discussion and for good reasons.
Gary Regan wrote this book in a direct and comprehensive style that makes the art of cocktails simple to learn. He explains concepts and techniques in ways that amateur and professional bartenders can understand. Regan organizes cocktails into categories that help readers navigate the information.
Cocktail historian and writer David Wondrich covers the history of classic American cocktail drinks, including a homage to Jerry Thomas. It's an ultimate mixologist's guide that shares over 100 classic bar drinks and other mixed drinks, including historical and mixological details.
It covers the origins of the first American cocktail, the Mint Julep. Wondrich dates this back to one of the oldest bars in the country and before the American Revolution. In this updated edition, you'll find a new list of delicious and influential cocktails not included in the original publication in 2007.
7. Cocktail Codex
In Cocktail Codex, mixology experts Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan reveal their unique "root cocktails" approach to crafting delicious drinks. "There are only six cocktails," state the authors as they provide valuable insight and tools for cocktail-makers of every level. It uses a true mixologist's approach to creating cocktails through chemistry and understanding the interaction of ingredients to provide optimal flavors.
Day, Fauchald, and Kaplan reveal the six basic cocktails like the Old-Fashioned, Martini, Daiquiri, Flip, Sidecar, and Whiskey Highball. Once you understand the ingredients and methods for each, the authors promise mastery of classic cocktails and the latest drinks.
You'll understand why some cocktails work while others don't and when to shake and when to stir. If you're missing ingredients for your cocktail, you'll know what to substitute and leave out. They ponder why you like your favorite cocktails and what types of drinks you should experiment with if you want to try something new.
8. The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails
The Ultimate Bar Book is an excellent guide to classic cocktails and new recipes. Mittie Hellmich's book covers bar tools, mixing tips, and a few twists on classic mixed drinks. She provides creative new cocktails like the Tasmanian Twister Cocktail and the Citron Sparkler.
The book provides illustrations for visual appeal, showing which glass to use for each cocktail. The Ultimate Bar Book lists recipes for garnishes, infusions, gelatin shooters, and non-alcoholic drinks. Hellmich even provides a selection of the best hangover cure and other remedies to get you back on your feet the next day.
9. The Art of Mixology: Classic Cocktails And Curious Concoctions
This collection of basic bar drinks and new inventions helps you learn how to bartend at home. It covers traditional mixology methods and recipes for many classic cocktails and includes mocktail recipes for nights when you're craving a cocktail without the alcohol.
The Art of Mixology is perfect for all levels of cocktail-makers and captures the art of making visually appealing cocktails with a wide range of alcohols. It includes a beginner's guide to cocktails with an anthology of cocktail recipes, including photographs. This is the ideal mixologist book for bartenders, mixologists, or those interested in the perfect gift for someone in the hospitality industry.
10. The Craft of Cocktails: A Complete Mixology Guide to More Than 95 Artisan Drink Recipes
Craft cocktails have emerged as a growing trend during the past decade. This collection of artisan cocktail recipes also includes traditional mixology methods and classic recipes. You'll discover a classic martini recipe and how to make a gin and tonic. It features recipes for whiskey and bourbon cocktails, summer cocktail recipes, and how to make a cocktail with rum.
A photo accompanies each cocktail to show you how the finished product should look. This guide includes valuable tips on measuring standard liquor pour, when to use proper bar glasses, and new cocktail recipes for each week.
You can also learn about bartending methods for blending, layering, building, shaking, and stirring that create eye-catching cocktail drinks. Learn about muddling, infusing, and adding flames to certain drinks to deliver flair to your drink preparation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mixology Books
What Book Do Bartenders Use?
Many bartenders refer to The Bartender's Guide by Jerry Thomas for classic cocktail recipes. Thomas is regarded as the father of mixology and published this book in 1862. It was the first guide to cocktail recipes ever published and is still relevant to modern bartenders and mixologists.
What Are the 3 Components of a Cocktail?
The 3 components of a cocktail are the base, the modifier, and the flavoring or coloring. The base is generally a single spirit the cocktail builds on, such as types of rum or whiskey. The modifier is the ingredient added to provide the desired flavor and texture, like vermouth or fruit juice. Specific ingredients produce flavor and color, such as angostura bitters or syrup.
What Does Neat Mean in Bartending?
Neat means that a spirit is poured directly into a glass. It's like a shot, but the glass makes the difference in the sipping experience. That's why it's vital to use the proper glassware when you're serving a drink.
Choose the Right Mixology Book
Our list of top 10 mixology books is a good place to start your research. There are many options available in your local bookstore and online, so choose the right mixology book for you and get started making cocktails.
Before you know it, you’ll be behind your bar making drinks like a professional mixologist. Shop around for some bartender tools and purchase some bar liquor, then you’ll be ready to start bartending. Who knows, you might even need to learn how to get a liquor license when you open up your own bar. You may also look into getting the right liquor bottle display case.
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