• 10 Best Cocktail Books in 2022 (Alcohol Expert-Reviewed) 1
  • 10 Best Cocktail Books in 2022 (Alcohol Expert-Reviewed) 2
  • 10 Best Cocktail Books in 2022 (Alcohol Expert-Reviewed) 3
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10 Best Cocktail Books in 2022 (Alcohol Expert-Reviewed)

Are you a bartender trying to extend your repertoire or a bar owner looking give your bar's personality a makeover? Or are you an aspiring bartender looking to make delicious cocktails in the comfort of your own home? Whether you want to start making cocktails, open your own bar, or learn more about the history of cocktails, there is a cocktail book for you.


We researched the best cocktail books available and picked The Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich as our favorite. It has over 1,000 recipes that cater to all skill levels and also will introduce beginners to the equipment and techniques they'll need in their journey as mixologists. We've also chosen our 10 best cocktail books and have a buying guide to help you make your choice.

Featured in this article

Whiskey Richard
mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 09-05-2022
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Cocktail Book - Buying Guide

The pool of cocktail books is so vast that you may find it overwhelming to choose the one that interests you the most. That's why we've made this buying guide to help you understand exactly what is in these books and how to pick the one for you.

Look For a Book That’s Accessible to You

Books aimed at expert mixologists might presume that their reader has a variety of equipment and liqueurs at hand to make unique and complicated recipes. If you're just starting out on your cocktail journey, however, most of this equipment and some of the ingredients won't be necessary. Here's what to look for regardless of your level.

Simple Recipes and Bare Essentials for Beginners

Simple Recipes and Bare Essentials for Beginners

As far as cocktail books for beginners,  there are books that specifically only include beginner or simple recipes. You can even find books full of recipes that only use three ingredients in each recipe.


If you are new to mixing cocktails and want to follow beginner recipes, then there is some equipment you should look into purchasing as even beginner books will refer to them. Most recipes will require you to measure out liqueurs or mixers, so make sure you have a jigger. These look like two shot glasses stuck together and allow you to measure your liquid ingredients.


Another essential is a cocktail shaker. Once all of your liquid ingredients are together they need to be evenly mixed and a shaker is the best way to do this. You can also get shakers that have strainers inside to keep any ice or pulp out of the drink. If your shaker doesn't have one, then add a strainer to your shopping list.

Whiskey Richard
Whiskey and Alcohol Expert
Whiskey Richard

A beginner-friendly cocktail book should offer at least a brief overview of spirits, liqueurs, and mixers. It should also explain the basic techniques and tools you'll use depending on the cocktails you'll be making. Should they be shaken, stirred, or built? 


Also, while some recipes may call for specific brands of base spirits like vodka or gin, remember that experimentation is part of the joy of making your own cocktails!

Specialty Recipes and Equipment for Experts and Mixologists

Specialty Recipes and Equipment for Experts and Mixologists

There is other equipment that can be used to make cocktails that are used more rarely and you may not need them at all. This is the kind of equipment that books aimed at expert mixologists will more commonly call for. 


This can include things like muddlers, which are essential for drinks such as mojitos that need flavors to be released from herbs in an effective but gentle way. Channel knives are used to peel long and thin spirals from citrus fruits and are another tool that beginners won't need.

Keep in mind that recipe books will probably call for a lot of different kinds of alcohol, liqueurs, mixers, juices, and other ingredients. If you want something simpler, look for cocktail books that center around a certain kind of alcohol, such as gin or vodka, for example. 

Whiskey Richard
Whiskey and Alcohol Expert
Whiskey Richard

Specialty cocktail books typically assume a basic knowledge of spirits and cocktails, so they may skip explanations about distillation, for example. Many advanced cocktail books focus not on recipes, but on techniques you can use to enhance the cocktail experiences of you and your guests. 


There are books about all aspects of cocktails: histories, ingredients, modern mixology, clarifying ice, barware, and everything in between.

Decide What You Want to Read About

Cocktail books are far beyond being just a recipe booklet. Nowadays there is so much out there to learn about drinks from history to chemistry, so if you can choose the area you wish to focus on it'll make it easier to find the best book for you.

Learn About the Chemistry of Drinks

Learn About the Chemistry of Drinks

Just like cooking, different liquids and alcohols create flavorful reactions when they interact with each other. If you're interested in the scientific aspect of cocktails and how certain drinks taste, find a book that focuses on the chemistry of drinks. 


Once you have the basics of how different drinks and flavors work together, you can build upon your knowledge to make alterations to other recipes. You can even learn to make your own flavorsome and unique cocktails by using the chemistry that you've learned.

Whiskey Richard
Whiskey and Alcohol Expert
Whiskey Richard

If you know exactly what's going on inside your shaker or how much dilution from melting ice will change the strength of your cocktail, you'll be well-positioned to improve your technique to better match your own preferences and those of your guests. Analysis of ingredients and how they change when making a cocktail is a rapidly developing field.

Delve Into the History of Mixology

Delve Into the History of Mixology

History doesn’t have to be all about politics; it can also be about drinks! These books can dive into various aspects of history, such as the history of brewing different forms of alcohol, or the stories behind different cocktails. If you've ever wondered how your favorite cocktail was invented or who created it, then these books will have your answer.


You might even discover that the way you've been making cocktails all along is not, in fact, the traditional way. Many recipes change over time as tastes change and they can even be influenced by wider historical issues, such as ingredient shortages or political issues. History books can help you understand the significance of certain drinks in history.

Whiskey Richard
Whiskey and Alcohol Expert
Whiskey Richard

Because of humanity's long relationship with alcohol and mixology, the study of its history provides a fascinating perspective on local cultures throughout the world, their economies, geography/climate, politics, religions, and hardships such as war, famine, and discrimination. 


In many cases, the exact origins of many spirits, liqueurs, and cocktails remain murky and debated, so it's an exciting area of study.

Or, Just Stick With Recipe Books

Or, Just Stick With Recipe Books

Of course, you may not be interested in the history of cocktails or the science behind how to make your own. For many who are looking for a cocktail book, they just want to make their favorite drinks or learn how to make some new ones and that's where recipe books are useful.


Whether you're looking for beginner recipes with simple ingredients or an encyclopedia with hundreds of options, there is a recipe book for you. Some recipe books focus on the common cocktails you will find in any bar, whereas others take a core liqueur such as vodka or bourbon, and list recipes based around that.

Whiskey Richard
Whiskey and Alcohol Expert
Whiskey Richard

Although tons of recipes are easily found online these days, it's great to have a well-curated selection you can refer to whenever necessary. Recipe books also sometimes feature beautiful photography, giving you visual inspiration to try and make a new drink. Plus, recipe books can be great for is discovering drinks similar to the ones you already love.

Get to Know the Authors and Their Credentials

Get to Know the Authors and Their Credentials

The most important thing to look for when looking at the author of a cocktail book is experience and qualifications. If your author has very little experience actually making drinks even though they've done a lot of research, that might be something you want to avoid, especially if you're looking for drinks that taste great. Check out author biographies and reviews from previous purchasers.


There are also many books published by well-known and respected bars or hotels. The cocktails of establishments such as the Savoy Hotel or The Alchemist chain or bars are famous and can be found replicated in recipe official books. Some liqueur brands such as Bailey's have their own official cocktail books too, which are ideal if you're interested in making cocktails with that drink.

10 Best Cocktail Books

Here are our 10 best cocktail books. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Whiskey Richard unless explicitly stated so.

Image
Mittie Hellmich The Ultimate Bar Book 1

Mittie Hellmich

Jeffrey Morgenthaler The Bar Book 1

Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Shane Carley The Home Bartender, 2nd Edition 1

Shane Carley

Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, David Kaplan Cocktail Codex 1

Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, David Kaplan

Sother Teague, Robert Simonson I'm Just Here for the Drinks 1

Sother Teague, Robert Simonson

David Wondrich Imbibe! Updated and Revised Edition 1

David Wondrich

David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald Death & Co 1

David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald

Pippa Guy Let's Get Fizzical 1

Pippa Guy

Jim Meehan Meehan's Bartender Manual 1

Jim Meehan

Dave Arnold Liquid Intelligence 1

Dave Arnold

Name

The Ultimate Bar Book

The Bar Book

The Home Bartender, 2nd Edition

Cocktail Codex

I'm Just Here for the Drinks

Imbibe! Updated and Revised Edition

Death & Co

Let's Get Fizzical

Meehan's Bartender Manual

Liquid Intelligence

Features

Best Collection of Recipes for All Levels

Best for Beginner and Aspiring Bartenders

Best for Beginner Bartenders at Home

Best Book for Experienced Bartenders

Best for a Modern and Approachable Take on Bartending

Best Cocktail History Book

Best for Modern Cocktails

Best Book for Sparkling Recipes

Best Book to Understand the Bartending Industry

Best Book for Advanced Cocktail Chemistry

Price$19.19$17.39$14.51$21.49$15.99$19.47$35.99$12.79$32.05$25.60
LevelAllBeginner to intermediateBeginnerIntermediate to advancedIntermediateAllIntermediate to advancedAllAdvancedAdvanced
FocusRecipesRecipes, bartendingRecipes, at homeRecipes, chemistryHistory, recipesHistoryRecipes, bartendingSparkling recipesBar industryChemisty
Author backgroundCocktails author and photographerBartender and bloggerAficionadoOwners of a hospitality companyBartender, Mixologist of the Year (2017)Cocktail writer and historianBar ownerBartender at The SavoyAward winning bartenderCocktail bar owner, culinary teacher
Number of recipes1,000+60+175+Not specified100+100+500+50+100+120+
Date publishedJune 2006June 2014September 2018October 2018August 2018April 2015October 2014June 2018October 2017November 2014
Available formatseBook, hardcovereBook, hardcovereBook, hardcovereBook, hardcover, spiral-boundHardcoverAudiobook, eBook, hardcovereBook, hardcovereBook, hardcovereBook, hardcovereBook, hardcover
eBook price$10.99$3.99$9.99$19.99-$12.99$5.99$7.99$19.99$20.49
Link

Mittie HellmichThe Ultimate Bar Book

$19.19

LevelAll
FocusRecipes
Author backgroundCocktails author and photographer
Number of recipes1,000+
Date publishedJune 2006
Available formatseBook, hardcover
eBook price$10.99

Jeffrey MorgenthalerThe Bar Book

$17.39

LevelBeginner to intermediate
FocusRecipes, bartending
Author backgroundBartender and blogger
Number of recipes60+
Date publishedJune 2014
Available formatseBook, hardcover
eBook price$3.99

Shane CarleyThe Home Bartender, 2nd Edition

$14.51

LevelBeginner
FocusRecipes, at home
Author backgroundAficionado
Number of recipes175+
Date publishedSeptember 2018
Available formatseBook, hardcover
eBook price$9.99

Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, David KaplanCocktail Codex

$21.49

LevelIntermediate to advanced
FocusRecipes, chemistry
Author backgroundOwners of a hospitality company
Number of recipesNot specified
Date publishedOctober 2018
Available formatseBook, hardcover, spiral-bound
eBook price$19.99

Sother Teague, Robert SimonsonI'm Just Here for the Drinks

$15.99

LevelIntermediate
FocusHistory, recipes
Author backgroundBartender, Mixologist of the Year (2017)
Number of recipes100+
Date publishedAugust 2018
Available formatsHardcover
eBook price-

David WondrichImbibe! Updated and Revised Edition

$19.47

LevelAll
FocusHistory
Author backgroundCocktail writer and historian
Number of recipes100+
Date publishedApril 2015
Available formatsAudiobook, eBook, hardcover
eBook price$12.99

David Kaplan, Nick FauchaldDeath & Co

$35.99

LevelIntermediate to advanced
FocusRecipes, bartending
Author backgroundBar owner
Number of recipes500+
Date publishedOctober 2014
Available formatseBook, hardcover
eBook price$5.99

Pippa GuyLet's Get Fizzical

$12.79

LevelAll
FocusSparkling recipes
Author backgroundBartender at The Savoy
Number of recipes50+
Date publishedJune 2018
Available formatseBook, hardcover
eBook price$7.99

Jim MeehanMeehan's Bartender Manual

$32.05

LevelAdvanced
FocusBar industry
Author backgroundAward winning bartender
Number of recipes100+
Date publishedOctober 2017
Available formatseBook, hardcover
eBook price$19.99

Dave ArnoldLiquid Intelligence

$25.60

LevelAdvanced
FocusChemisty
Author backgroundCocktail bar owner, culinary teacher
Number of recipes120+
Date publishedNovember 2014
Available formatseBook, hardcover
eBook price$20.49

Whiskey Richard's Recommended Cocktail Book

David Wondrich, Noah RothbaumThe Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails

$44.67

LevelAll levels
FocusRecipes, techniques
Author backgroundCocktail historians, mixologists
Number of recipesNot specified
Date publishedNovember 2021
Available formatsHardcover, eBook
eBook price$46.36
Whiskey Richard
Whiskey and Alcohol Expert
Whiskey Richard

This recently-released reference book is comprehensive, overwhelmingly informative, and it has become a must-have for anyone interested in spirits and cocktails.

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to reviewing and commenting on our buying guide, Whiskey Richard also took the time to answer a commonly asked question about cocktails.

What cocktail recipes should everyone know?

Whiskey Richard says, "Rather than trying to memorize specific recipes, a great place to start is with what's called the Golden Ratio. It means 2 parts liquor (60ml, for example), 1 part sweet (30ml), and 1 part sour (30ml). 


You'll find the same ratio used in drinks like the Margarita (Tequila, triple sec, and lime juice), Gimlet (gin, simple syrup, and lime juice), and Cosmopolitan (vodka, triple sec, cranberry+lime juice)."

Time to Mix Those Drinks!

Now that you're one step closer to getting your new cocktail book, you might want to start looking into the equipment you will need in order to start bartending. Take a look of these recommended products that will be useful in your adventure to making your very own cocktails.

Amazon's Best Selling Cocktail Books

If you're looking for some more suggestions for cocktail books, then check out the best-sellers on Amazon.

Buying Guide Reviewed by Whiskey and Alcohol Expert Whiskey Richard

Whiskey Richard
Whiskey and Alcohol Expert
Whiskey Richard

This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary, as well as extra tips and advice. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.

Author: Anel Carmona

Updated by: Kellie Lacey 1/19/2022


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