Bartending Books: The 10 Best Books For Bartenders

Whether you’re a seasoned bartender or a passionate home mixologist, a collection of bartending books can assist you in advancing your cocktail-making abilities. These books are for topics relevant to the history of cocktails, the fundamentals of mixology, and other exciting stories about life as bartenders in general.

But these books about bartending and cocktails are not just about drinks and spirits. You can also explore the coffee table book style about acing interviews, succeeding in your career path, or managing your bar! Books can be educational, but they are also inspiring, motivational and amusing.

We have collected some of the best published bartending and cocktail books and share them with you! So regardless of your plans, you can pick some beautiful insights and learnings from the list below!

1. Meehan’s Bartender Manual (The Best Bartending Manual)

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The bartending community considers Jim Meehan’s James Beard Award-winning book one of the best publications on everything bartending. Meehan’s book examines the contemporary bar business from the inside out and includes global perspectives.

It is the essential guide for anyone interested in mixology and bartending. It comes complete with chapters on the history of cocktails, bar decor, mixing methods, and more. You may explore 100 recipes for beverages that every bartender should know and over 86 definitions of bartending jargon you need to know in the business.

They are all taken from Meehan’s career, and he provides justifications for each decision he makes. The Bartender Manual deserves a place on your shelf whether you’re a passionate amateur or a professional wanting to advance your career.

  • Number of Pages: 488
  • Recipes included: 100
  • Date Published: 2017
  • Pros: History of Recipes, How Spirits are Made, Famous Bartender Insights
  • Cons: Too Complex for Beginners

2. The Joy Of Mixology, Revised and Updated Edition: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender’s Craft (Best Bartender Book for Recipes)

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The Joy of Mixology introduces us to the colorful beginning of cocktails and mixology. It is authored by Gary “Gaz” Regan, a world-renowned bartender and author of several cocktail books on bartending. Gaz begins the book by tracing the roots of mixology to early Egypt and Mesopotamia. He then proceeds to take us through the history of cocktails, from their earliest incarnations as medicinal concoctions designed to ward off malaria and other diseases to their modern-day incarnation as popular alcoholic beverages.

Gaz’s writing is lighthearted and instructive. His method of labeling beverages makes remembering classics and creating your recipes a breeze.

Regan was well-known for organizing bartending seminars, and much of the knowledge he imparted to rising bar professionals are outlined in these pages. There’s valuable advice and insights on the tools and methods that have worked best in his career.

The original book was published in 2003, but a recent reissue has been updated to include different cocktail recipes. It also added modifications to the initial edition and a thorough examination of the drink revival that’s occurred over the last decade. It is an essential text for any bar collection, whether you’re a pro or a hobbyist.

  • Number of Pages: 352
  • Recipes Included: Over 300
  • Date Published: 2003
  • Pros: Recently updated, a cocktail bible
  • Cons: Needs more images, illustrations

3. Tiki: The Modern Tropical Cocktails (Best Bartender Book For Entertaining)

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Whatever the season, a transporting, tropical drink is an exquisite way to unwind. Shannon Mustipher’s “Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails” explores the world of tiki cocktails through island-inspired recipes that are vibrant and tropical in flavor.

Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails, the first cocktail book written by an African-American bartender over a century, helps readers create fresh fruit juices and homemade syrups (such as banana) and bright tastes in a glass.

Mustipher’s cocktail book, released in July 2019, is a handy guide for any tiki enthusiast. Tiki beverages are notoriously difficult to prepare, but Mustipher breaks down the drinks into simple-to-make recipes focused on refreshing tastes and high-quality spirits. There are vodka-based cocktails, soju cocktails, whiskey sips, and more beyond rum.

The vibrant garnishes, from paper umbrellas to pineapple leaves, are vividly portrayed by creative art direction in innovative ways. Put this book on your coffee table and watch guests devour it page after page. Take note of the party-perfect large-format punches that will wow a crowd.

  • Number of Pages: 192
  • Recipes Included: Over 90
  • Date Published: 2019
  • Pros: Doubles as a coffee table book, excellent illustrations, and images
  • Cons: Challenging recipes and hard-to-source ingredients

4. Craft of the Cocktail (Best Overall Bartending Book – An Industry Bible)

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“The Craft of the Cocktail” is often regarded as an industry bible—a must-have for anybody interested in cocktails. Dale DeGroff, dubbed “King of Cocktails,” has taught a whole generation of the world’s best bartenders with this book. He explains many elements of his expertise, including how to perfect your technique, set up a bar, and use your equipment properly.

This cocktail book is a must-have for any enthusiast who enjoys learning about the world of spirits. It’s an excellent reference tool, and it has over 500 cocktail recipes for you to use. Use it to look up cocktail instructions quickly or browse through it for a refresher on spirits categories.

  • Number of Pages: 240
  • Recipes Included: Over 500
  • Date Published: 2002
  • Pros: Covers a wide range of topics
  • Cons: Not updated

5. Spirits of Latin America (Best Single Topic Cocktail Book)

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“Spirits of Latin America” is a cocktail book that also doubles as a travelogue. It details Ivy Mix’s time traveling (and drinking) through Latin America via stunning photographs and a catalog of over 100 recipes. The book includes crowd-pleasing takes on pisco sours and margaritas to original drinks inspired by her travels.

Her journey began in Mexico, where she discusses tequila and other regional spirits. She journeys through the Caribbean, then Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, before moving on to agave and sugarcane spirits. Her colorful descriptions include both people and the soul behind local drinking customs.

Spirits of Latin America is a highly acclaimed book by famous Bar owners and bartenders. It is said to open people to spirits they may not have tried before. It has been a top pick for summer reading lists and is one of the best single-topic cocktail books available.

  • Number of Pages: 256
  • Recipes Included: 100
  • Date Published: 2020
  • Pros: Incredible Travel Stories, Introduction to Latin Spirits
  • Cons: Some recipes are complicated

6. Liquid Intelligence (Best Bartender Book for Experimentation)

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The book “Liquid Intelligence” teaches you how to understand better the physics of mixing and the chemistry of ingredients. It has a lot of valuable suggestions that provide a wealth of inspiration and new possibilities for your future cocktail creations.

In his book, Dave Arnold (co-owner of New York City’s Existing Conditions) takes us on a scientific excursion through the cocktail world, turning classic drinks upside down, doubting correct temperatures, carbonation, measurements, and acidity.

It is written from a scientist’s perspective, wherein you will read research, experiments, explanations, and proof of theory from practice. The book also explores innovations and techniques such as clarification, fat washing, carbonation, and more. It is a bartender book geared towards pseudo-scientist cocktail enthusiasts of all levels!

  • Number of Pages: 320
  • Recipes Included: 120
  • Date Published: 2014
  • Pros: In-depth cocktail mixing knowledge, scientific approach
  • Cons: Focused on techniques

7. Craft Cocktails At Home by Kevin Liu

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“Craft Cocktails at Home” is a cocktail book that will keep you giggling from start to finish. Author Kevin Liu bursts with enthusiasm for this subject and shares his passion for cocktails entertainingly. You’ll learn about eight different ways to make duct tape-infused alcohol and everything you need to know about mixing drinks properly.

The book’s most important sections include: – Preserving ingredients (including juicing cucumbers and increasing freshness in citrus), – The science of shaking and stirring, – How to make water taste the best, and – Making a DIY cold-smoker with just $20. He demonstrates concepts using engaging visuals, diagrams, formulae, and charts.

Liu brought together taste experts, engineers, and seasoned bartenders to deconstruct unique, delectable cocktails to make things simpler. The flavor profiles of classic mixed drinks such as the Sazerac and Martinez (also known as a martini) are explained in his “Classics Hacked” chapter.

This comprehensive guide, designed for amateur and professional bartenders, shows that making boundary-pushing cocktails doesn’t require high-tech equipment—in one part, Liu instructs readers on how to construct sous vide machines with household items. This book is ideal for the cocktail enthusiast on your shopping list.

  • Number of Pages: 254
  • Recipes Included: 65
  • Date Published: 2013
  • Pros: Entertaining, Answers Burning Questions About Bartending
  • Cons: Very Technical presentation

8. The Cocktail Codex by Death and Co Bar Family

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This Cocktail Codex is Amazon Bestseller from the Death & Co Bar family. The popular bar has branches in Los Angeles, Denver, and New York.

This cocktail book is meant for bartenders and drink-makers of every skill level. It reads like a textbook (albeit one that’s beautiful), with sections breaking down the six basic templates for creating cocktails: old fashions, martinis, daiquiris, sidecars, whiskey highballs, and flips.

The cocktail book contains an in-depth guide for each cocktail and riff. “The Cocktail Codex” offers readers the skills to comprehend, create, and innovate classic cocktails and their original concoctions when they learn these templates. Illustrated representations help illustrate contextualized facts.

It has been called a modern classic and was the first cocktail book to win the James Beard Book of the Year award. This book is ideal for showcasing thanks to its beautiful, glossy photographs of each drink.

9. The Drunken Botanist – Amy Steward

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Do you have a lot of questions about liquours and mixology? Do you have difficulty recalling terms such as fermentation or whether it’s whiskey or whisky? Do you realize what whisk(e)y is produced from, or that it’s possible to make a decent liquor from banana juice?

To properly serve their customers, bartenders must have a firm understanding of the wide varieties of liquor. They’re the main components we utilize when creating mixed drinks, and they’re what our guests expect us to be familiar with.

The Drunken Botanist is a book that will help you address the questions above. It’s different from other cocktail books, yet it is fascinating, amusing, and easy to digest. What makes it most unique is that it will teach you much about alcohol.

The author discusses more than 300 ingredients, ranging from bananas to agave, that can be used to make liquor. She explains their production, flavor characteristics, histories, quirky facts, recipes, and more.

10. The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler

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Jeffrey Morgenthaler says there are three components to a fantastic cocktail: the recipe, the substances used, and the bartending technique.

The Bar Book was the first of its kind to thoroughly cover the third element in this equation, bartending techniques. Many cocktail books have been written on the first two elements, but The Bar Book was the first to comprehensively cover the third – bartending skills.

This book will become your bible if you work in a bar because the recipes and ingredients we use aren’t up to us, for the most part. Our bosses control them. However, we are solely responsible for how we utilize different bartending techniques at our disposal.

The Bar Book is highly recommended if you are done with The Joy of Mixology. It lays down the fundamental techniques that bartenders need to master, how they are done and why it is done.

What to Look for When Choosing Books About Bartending and Cocktails

bartender reading book

When you are looking for cocktail books, there are three things you should keep in mind – variety, quantity, and illustrations.

Variety

The finest bartender book will cover a lot of ground, from learning about different liquors to refining your technique to creating a wide range of cocktail recipes. You’ll also want the recipes to span the gamut, from classic cocktails to stirred and shaken to sour and powerful. Recipes should ideally include most, if not all, of the bases unless the book is a deep-dive on one particular liquid type.

Quantity

Choose a cocktail book that is brimming with recipes and information. While you won’t be able to read them all in one day, the reader may be a helpful companion for repeat happy hours. A few hundred recipes are a good starting point; cocktail books with 500 or more recipes is not uncommon.

Illustrations

Nowadays, it’s all about pictures. A book with quality photos or illustrations can be just as helpful as one with in-depth written instructions. After all, seeing is believing (or, in this case, understanding). Look for bartending and cocktail books with clear, concise photos depicting each recipe-making step.

With these three factors in mind, you should be able to find a bartending book that meets your needs and helps you improve your technique.

Conclusion

Cocktail books provide a wealth of natural information that would take years to acquire. You could be so interested that you want to enroll in beer keg sizing and alcohol server training. These materials can help you master the trade as a professional or an enthusiast. You may learn how to boost restaurant sales or detect people stealing alcohol from many of them if you own a bar.

Use good recipe costing to make the most of these beverages. They’re also ideal for serving as decorations or starter topics at your next party.

Make sure you’ve mastered the basics, such as pouring an ordinary wine, to back up your new knowledge with more sophisticated topics like aphrodisiac cocktails. If that sounds appealing, consider watching a sommelier documentary instead.

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Last update on 2023-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API