Whether you’re looking to up your current cocktail skills or are just starting your mixology journey, the best cocktail books are sure to leave you inspired. When it comes to learning a new skill, you really can’t beat knowing how to make an awesome drink. For starters, you’ll likely save you a ton of money that you’d otherwise be spending at the bar. Say goodbye to dropping $15 dollars on that watered-down mojito.
Second, crafting a delicious cocktail is a very cool skill to have — especially at dinner parties or during dates. And even if you never open one of the books, they still make for a great coffee table book.
From award-winning publications with professional recipes to simple 3-ingredient cocktail books, there’s a book on this list that’s sure to help enlighten you during any and every stage of your cocktail journey.
1. How to Cocktail: Recipes and Techniques for Building the Best Drinks
Whether you’re a novice or a pro, this how-to book has enough recipes, ideas and inspiration for everyone. Featuring a kitchen-tested approach to making (and enjoying) cocktails, How to Cocktail includes tons of fun and interesting recipes and techniques to help hone your mixology skills and add a little more life to your next cocktail party. Perhaps even more impressive, it features inside tips and tricks from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen paired with beautiful imagery so you can sip whatever truly speaks to you.
2. I’m Just Here for the Drinks: A Guide to Spirits, Drinking and More Than 100 Extraordinary Cocktails
BEST FOR NEWCOMERS
Written by Sother Teague, a popular New York-based mixologist, I’m Just Here for the Drinks is easily one of the most popular mixology books of the last decade, and for good reason: chock full of classic recipes, hidden gems and more, this handy how-to guide is sure to offer more than enough ideas and guidelines to help keep even the most mastered mixologists intrigued. Once you get through this cocktail book, you’ll never look at your bartender the same way.
3. Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist
Looking for a coffee table book that’s sure to garner a few glances and help strike up an interesting conversation? Tequila Mockingbird mixes some of the world’s most popular drink recipes with hilarious and witty commentary on some of history’s most classic novels. With more than 60 drink recipes, you’ll be exposed to such wry greats like The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose, The Last of the Mojitos and Love in the Time of Kahlua. And if you know a voracious reader who’s very into cocktails, then this is the gift for them.
4. Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks
BEST FOR MUSIC LOVERS
Talk about taking rockin’ cocktails to the next level, Booze & Vinyl will make you want to sip, stir and dance the night away. Broken down into different genres, this rock and roll cocktail guide features different drink recipes that pair perfectly with some of history’s greatest rock albums. Want to know what drink pairs with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club? You’ll just have to read it to see.
5. The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails
Great for the guy or gal who has every book on cocktails and already knows how to make a mean Ramos Gin Fizz, this uber-comprehensive guidebook includes 1,000 different cocktails for every occasion. It may not feature the same pizazz as some of these other guidebooks, but this one features highly organized, perfectly succinct recipes that are sure to stir up a few flavorful tastes. It’s definitely a nice book to have on hand.
6. Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
BEST FOR CLASSIC COCKTAILS
A refined book to match a rugged taste, this guide to modern classic cocktails features more than must-have recipes for every type of taste—and occasion. Like its namesake bar located in New York City, Death & Co. breathes passion into each and every one of its recipes, giving readers more opportunity to try a few new drinks while helping encourage and harness their passion for the craft. A few chapters even give you a glimpse behind the scenes of what makes the Death & Co. bar run successfully, so if you’re looking to open your own local cocktail haunt, this book is a great primer.
7. Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions
BEST BEGINNER’S GUIDEBOOK
From the same great minds who gave us Death & Co, (which we included above), Cocktail Codex is a wonderfully comprehensive guidebook that focuses on the fundamentals, as well as the formulas. For readers who are just starting to test their cocktail creations, the Codex is a must as it breaks down the requirements needed to help you craft the perfect drink.