Twitter
Powered by Squarespace

Library

This is a partial list of the books and magazines in my cocktail library.  I do not list all of the books in my library for a couple of reasons:

  1. I get a cocktail book on pretty much every gift-giving occasion from some member of my family; and
  2. So many of the cocktail books out there cover the same ground in a very un-interesting way.  The last thing that a beginning home mixologist needs is a bunch of Amazon links to buy 1,001 Cocktail Recipes for Beginners or Cocktails for Dummies.  

Rather, this list focuses on the cocktail books and magazines that I have found most helpful in building a cocktail repertoire and in understanding drink preparation.  All of these books are amongst my favorites - so there's no fair way to rank them below.  I have ordered them loosely in order of their usefulness to  someone starting a home bar.  

  • Imbibe
    Imbibe Media Inc

    This is a great magazine about all things booze - it covers cocktails, spirits, beer and wine.  Its very nicely produced, written and edited - and the photography is top notch.  Imagine a high-end food magazine for tipplers, and you're pretty close.  They usually include 10-15 excellent cocktail recipes in each issue, which is worth the price of admission in itself.  Great for beginners as well as experienced hands.  

     
  • The Art of the Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the Classics
    by Jeff Hollinger, Rob Schwartz

    A great book written by two guys who used to tend bar at Absinthe - an excellent bar & restaurant in San Francisco.  Jeff Hollinger is a helluva nice guy and now runs Comstock - one of the best bars in San Fran.  This book has a number of great cocktails, BEAUTIFUL photography and shares great little details about the history of the cocktails included in the book.  They also give plenty of instruction on preparation of each cocktail, share their insider secrets, bartending philosophy, etc.  A really great read and a fabulous starting point for a beginner home mixologist.  

     
  • Jigger, Beaker and Glass: Drinking Around the World
    by Charles Baker

    My personal all-time favorite cocktail book.  It contains hundreds of cocktail recipes, usually accompanied by highly entertaining stories of Charles Baker's bon vivant life.  Many of these recipes are still highly relevant today.  Similar to the David Wondrich book, it can be hard to follow if you don't know some of the more obscure spirits like Holland Gin or Amer Picon, but its such an entraining read that it motivated me to learn what the hell all these spirits were.  Once you decide to move past the 10-bottle bar to expand your horizons this is the first book I would buy.

     
  • Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits
    by Jason Wilson

    Just got this book as a gift from Mrs. The Ace (its true - I married well).  I jumped ahead to the chapter on amaro and loved it.  Mr. Wilson has a great voice and a lot to say.  He loves to rail against the evils of spirit marketers, and he also mixes in a number of modern-day bon vivant stories that recall Charles Baker.  I tried a couple of his recipes for the Boulevadier and Cyn-Cin and was VERY impressed.  I can't wait to read on...

     
  • Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus
    by Scott Beattie

    This is an excellent resource for what you might call the new classic cocktails.  The book is written by Scott Beattie, who made his name originally at Bar at Cyrus - a wonderful little restaurant in California's Sonoma County.  This book will speak to anyone out there that is into the locavore food movement - he splits his recipes up by the season so that you make each drink when the necessary ingredients are available locally (at least in Northern CA).  Scott also explains the preparation of each ingredient for each drink in incredible detail.  Made it so that evenI couldn't crew things up (much).  

    This was my first foray into the type of fresh cocktails being made today, and it really changed how I think about cocktails.  The Thai Boxer and the Waverly Place Echo are near the top of my money drink list to this day...

     
  • Sippin' Safari: In Search of the Great
    by Jeff Berry

    This is the first Jeff Berry book that I bought, so I am still partial to it.  Jeff "Beachbum" Berry is hands down the #1 Tiki historian/mixologist out there.  His books are full of great photos, stories and recipes.  He's the man.  

     
  • Beach Bum Berry Remixed
    by Jeff Berry

    A revision of two of the Beachbum's classic Tiki books - Grog Log and Intoxica! - with a number of new recipes thrown in for good measure.  Good stuff.

    Note:
    The 'Bum has a number of other great Tiki books for sale on Amazon and on his blog as well.  Suffice to say that his books are highly entertaining and that you can't really go all that wrong with any of them.  

     
  • Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to
    by David Wondrich

    David Wondrich is generally recognized as the authority on Jerry Thomas - one of America's pioneer barmen of the 19th Century.   As it happens, David's a brilliant writer and a great story teller as well.  He does a really nice job of breaking down 19th-Century spirit culture in an entertaining way.  If cocktails from the 19th Century through Prohibition are your thing then i highly recommend starting with this book.   

     
  • Kindred Spirits 2
    by F. Paul Pacult

    This book is an amalgamation of the tasting notes from F. Paul Pacult, the founder and editor of The Spirit Journal, something of a spirits tasting handbook.  Mr. Pacult can lay claim to have tasted several thousand different spirits in his time - which makes him a highly credible reviewer of spirits.  

    Mr. Pacult comes across at times a bit like a wine snob.  Some of his tasting notes defy logic (REALLY, the smell of dough in a whiskey?) and you may occasionally disagree with some of his reviews.  But this book is a tremendous reference if you are facing a wall of new, unknown spirits and you want some clue as to which bottle on that shelf  is worth dropping you hard-earned cash.  

    Furthermore - Mr. Pacult's writing style is often worth the price of admission.  Lets just say that when Mr. Pacult doesn't like something, it is easy to tell.  

    A fun read, a great resource for all a handbook for the home mixologist.  What more could one ask for? 

     
  • The Savoy Cocktail Book
    by Harry Craddock

    One of the standards in classic cocktails.  One drawback is that it uses 1930s language and can be a bit hard to decipher.  Its also a bit thin on mixing instructions at times.  But it is a beautiful book that gives you a solid sense of how people drank when Prohibition ended in America.  

     
  • Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide 1887 Reprint
    by Ross Bolton

    If you like David Wondrich's Imbibe!, then this is the next step for you.  This is basically a reprint of an 1887 book from Jerry Thomas himself, so keep in mind that cocktail tastes (not to mention the availability of certain spirits) have changed pretty dramatically in the past 130 years.  I personally recommend this book more for its historical context and its entertainment value moreso than its modern mixology.  

     
  • The Bartender's Guide: How to Mix Drinks: A Bon Vivant's Companion
    by Jerry Thomas, David Wondrich

    If you like David Wondrich's Imbibe!, then this is the next step for you.  This is basically a reprint of an 1862 book from Jerry Thomas himself, so keep in mind that cocktail tastes (not to mention the availability of certain spirits) have changed pretty dramatically in the past 150 years.  I personally recommend this book more for its historical context and its entertainment value moreso than its modern mixology.