You just made your first Cuba Libre or Margarita, and you want to expand your knowledge about cocktails? We got you covered. With this list of best cocktail books for beginners, you can start learning about cocktail secrets and improve your bartending skills.
Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Death & Co is one of the best cocktail books ever published. Authors David Kaplan and Nick Fauchald combined over 500 cocktail recipes with beautiful pictures and inspiring stories. Book is named after the famous cocktail bar with the same name and the winner of many awards like Best Cocktail Menu at the Tales of the Cocktail and America’s Best Cocktail Bar.
The only little criticism we can add is that some of the ingredients are somewhat obscure. Other than that this is one of the first cocktail books we recommend to every cocktail enthusiast.
The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique
Written by renowned bartender and cocktail blogger Jeffrey Morgenthaler, The Bar Book is the only technique-driven cocktail handbook out there. This indispensable guide breaks down bartending into essential techniques and then applies them to building the best drinks. More than 60 recipes illustrate the concepts explored in the text, ranging from juicing, garnishing, carbonating, stirring, and shaking to choosing the right ice for proper chilling and dilution of a drink.
With how-to photography to provide inspiration and guidance, this book breaks new ground for the home cocktail enthusiast.
Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail
Liquid Intelligence is not exactly a book for beginners, but we include it anyway since its a great start for everybody who is more interested in cocktail since. Liquid Intelligence is about satisfying your curiosity and refining your technique, from red-hot pokers to the elegance of an old-fashioned. Whether you’re in search of astounding drinks or a one-of-a-kind journey into the next generation of cocktail making, Liquid Intelligence is the ultimate standard―one that no bartender or drink enthusiast should be without.
Winner of the 2015 James Beard Award for Best Beverage Book and the 2015 IACP Jane Grigson Award.
Mr. Boston: Official Bartender’s Guide
Don’t expect great illustrations or photos on this one, but you will get all the information and recipes you need to make timeless classic cocktails. The last version of the book it has 200 new drink recipes and new photography. Overall more than 1,400 recipes range from classic cocktails to today’s trendiest drinks, all presented alphabetically with clear, easy-to-follow instructions.
With the latest lowdown on liquors, beers, and wines, plus savvy advice on equipment, bar setup, and more, Mr. Boston has it all.
The 12 Bottle Bar
The 12 Bottle Bar is an excellent guide for every beginner who has no idea how to set up a home bar. Once you have these 12 bottles, you would be able to make a cocktail that you will enjoy! It’s a system, a tool kit, a recipe book. Beginning with one irresistible idea–a complete home bar of just 12 key bottles. It has more than 200 classic and unique mixed drinks, including sours, slings, toddies, and highballs, plus the perfect Martini, the perfect Manhattan, and the perfect Mint Julep.
Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki
Cast aside your cares and worries. Make yourself a Mai Tai, put your favorite exotica record on the hi-fi, and prepare to lose yourself in the fantastical world of Tiki, one of the most alluring—and often misunderstood—movements in American cultural history.
Martin and Rebecca Cate, founders and owners of Smuggler’s Cove (the most acclaimed tiki bar of the modern era) take you on a colorful journey into the lore and legend of tiki. Its birth as an escapist fantasy for Depression-era Americans; how exotic cocktails were invented, stolen, and re-invented; Hollywood starlets and scandals; and tiki’s modern-day revival.
The Smuggler’s Cove book is beautifully put together. Touching on tiki history with an abundance of drink recipes intermittently placed adds a level of excitement while flipping through the book. One definitely won’t run short on recipes to try at home. The colorful photo collages that occasionally take up full pages are fun to stare at. The entire book feels like a good blend of writing, recipes, and artsy photographs to draw people into the world of tiki. Highly recommended if you’re a fan of tiki or cocktails in general.
Regarding Cocktails is one of the best cocktail books for beginners. Recipes are simple and easy to follow and they are not dependent on bottles which are hard to find. The author of the book is legendary Sasha Petraske owner of famous speakeasy-style bar Milk & Honey.
In the book, you will find 85 cocktail recipes from classic and modern variations. Ingredients, measurements, and preparations are beautifully illustrated so that readers can make professional cocktails at home. Sasha’s advice for keeping the home bar, as well as his musings, are collected here to inspire a new generation of bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts.
The PDT Cocktail Book
To say that PDT is a unique bar is an understatement. It recalls the era of hidden Prohibition speakeasies: to gain access, you walk into a raucous hot dog stand, step into a phone booth, and get permission to enter the comfortable cocktail lounge. Now, Jim Meehan, PDT’s innovative operator, and mixmaster, is revolutionizing bar books, too, offering all 304 cocktail recipes available at PDT plus behind-the-scenes secrets.
From his bar design, tools, and equipment to his techniques, food, and spirits, it’s all here, stunningly illustrated by Chris Gall.
Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails
In this expanded and updated edition of Forgotten Cocktails and Vintage Spirits, historian, expert, and drink aficionado Dr. Cocktail adds another 20 fine recipes to his hand-picked collection of 80 rare-and-worth-rediscovered drink recipes. It also shares revelations about the latest cocktail trends, provides new resources for uncommon ingredients, and profiles of many of the cocktail world’s movers and shakers. Historical facts, expanded anecdotes, and full-color vintage images from extremely uncommon sources round out this must-have volume.
For anyone who enjoys an icy drink and an unforgettable tale.
Do you know about some other amazing cocktail books which we forgot to include in our list? Let us know in the comments.