15 Cocktail Books for the Budding Mixologist

Updated 10/21/19

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Want to take your love of martinis and margaritas from the bar to your bar cart? Pick up a few cocktails books. If you want to give mixology a try, the best thing you can do is read, read, read, and practice, practice, practice. Try a new cocktail every night or whenever a friend comes over. Once you master all the recipes in your cocktail books, you'll be ready to concoct signature sips of your very own.

Go ahead, check out the best cocktail books before and get shakin'. Cheers!

The Craft Cocktail Party by Julie Reiner ($16)

Julie Reiner The Craft Cocktail Party $16
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Written by the co-owner of The Clover Club in Brooklyn and The Flatiron Lounge in Manhattan, this cocktail book is endlessly inspiring and downright delicious. Author Julie Reiner organized her recipes by seasonality and occasion, which will no doubt incentivize you to throw a party! She also shares insider tips such as how to batch your cocktails and the best substitution ingredients. Another perk? The images are absolutely dreamy.

American Bar by Charles Schumann ($18)

Charles Schumann American Bar $19
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Want to take your cocktail knowledge to the next level? Check out Charles Schumann's tome. Even if you know the nuts and bolts of mixology, American Bar features 500 recipes, so you're bound to pick up something new. Charles Schumann draws inspiration from his very own bars—like Harry's New York Bar—giving this cocktail book a mix master's seal of approval.

Vintage Cocktails by Laziz Hamani ($32)

Laziz Hamani Vintage Cocktails $32
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Looking for some cocktail books that are equal parts pretty and practical? Laziz Hamani's Vintage Cocktails has beautiful photography, charming illustrations, and hand-written recipes. Since this option does a deep dive into classic drinks like the Dark ’n’ Stormy, French 75, and Singapore Sling, it's a great resource for libation rookies.

The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff ($19)

Dale DeGroff The Craft of the Cocktail $19
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Dale DeGroff is an unparalleled authority on cocktails, universally acknowledged as the world’s leading mixologist, and this is his manifesto. With 500 recipes, it covers tried-and-true classic, trendy originals, and everything in between, packaging them alongside rich cocktail history, interesting anecdotes, and more. We'll drink to that!

The 12 Bottle Bar by David and Lesley Jacobs Salmonson ($8)

David and Lesley Jacobs Salmonson The 12 Bottle Bar $8
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As David and Lesley Jacobs Salmonson prove in this cocktail book, you don’t need a crazy-stocked bar to be able to make good drinks. Twelve bottles are a lot, more than the average person may have at home, but you can definitely acquire them over time, and then you’ll be set to make hundreds of drinks. And then it’s time to restock.

The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart ($15)

Amy Stewart The Drunken Botanist $15
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This New York Times best-seller really shook up the world of cocktail books with something we hadn’t seen before. In Drunken Botanist, botanist Amy Stewart explores the science behind all the herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that are used to make our spirits and cocktail accouterments. It’s fascinating for budding botanists and booze buffs alike.

Bitters by Brad Thomas Parson ($15)

Brad Thomas Parson Bitters $15
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At the risk of sounding dramatic, this book by Brad Thomas Parsons was groundbreaking. Unlike most cocktails books, this tome focuses solely on the ever-so-important bitters, which are an integral part of many cocktails. In it, we learn about the Prohibition-era history of bitters, various uses for them, and of course, plenty of drool-worthy, bitter-infused beverages to sip on.

The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock ($14)

Harry Craddock The Savoy Cocktail Book $14
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Every genre has its string of classics, and the world of cocktails books is no exception. As one of the earliest cocktail books around, this option is a must for anyone interested in mixology. The Savoy Cocktail Book gives you a great sense of cocktail history, drinks that can withstand the test of time, and the origin of some of your favorite beverages.

The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan ($23)

Jim Meehan The PDT Cocktail Book $23
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After reading about so many “classics," it’s fun to learn about what all the cool kids are drinking these days. From the cocktail gurus who brought you the buzzworthy NYC speakeasy PDT (Please Don’t Tell), this option offers behind-the-scenes secrets and trendy cocktail recipes—304 of them, to be exact. It’s a great reflection of the current cocktail renaissance.

Mrs. Lilien's Cocktail Swatch Book by Kelley Lilien ($11)

Kelley Lilien Mrs. Lilien's Cocktail Swatch Book $11
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What's not to love about this cocktail swatch book by design and blogging maven Mrs. Lilien? Her simple, sprightly presentations of cocktail ingredients make anyone feel like they can shake up a new beverage.

Imbibe! by David Wondrich ($20)

David Wondrich Imbibe! $20
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David Wondrich is the preeminent cocktail writer and historian, and this colorful record of classic drinks is his ultimate mixologist’s guide. With lots of historical details, he brings light to the origins of many of our favorite drinks, and of the cocktail itself.

Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold ($24)

liquid of intelligence book
Dave Arnold Liquid Intelligence $24
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For Dave Arnold, the brains behind New York-based bar Booker & Dax, a great cocktail can be whittled down to a science. In fact, Arnold and his team pay close attention to small details like acidity, temperature, and carbonation to make a top-notch cocktail. With chapters on liquid nitrogen and the use of a centrifuge, Arnold applies the same scientific lens to his cocktail book.

Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle ($10)

tequila-mockingbird
Tim Federle Liquid Intelligence $10
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Craving a cocktail and a great story? Feast your eyes—and, okay, your tastebuds—on Tim Federle's Tequila Mockingbird. Federle paired each of the 65 featured cocktails with a classic piece of literature, ranging from The Tale of Two Cities, to Stephen King's Carrie, to The Catcher in the Rye. After all, who wants a Bloody Mary when you can have a Bloody Carrie?

The One-Bottle Cocktail by Maggie Hoffman ($12)

one-bottle cocktail
Maggie Hoffman The One-Bottle Cocktail $12
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Calling all minimalists: This is the cocktail book for you. If the idea of several liquor bottles cluttering your bar cart causes you some serious stress, author Maggie Hoffman proves all you need is just one really good bottle of booze to keep you afloat. It's like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up of cocktail books. Marie Kondo would be so proud.

The Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich ($14)

Ultimate Bar Book
Mittie Hellmich The Ultimate Bar Book $14
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There's a reason Mittie Hellmich's tome is touted as the ultimate cocktail book around. With over 1,000 recipes inside, this option is perfect for beginners and experts alike. Hellmich's divides this book by spirit, so all you and your guests have to do is pick your poison. Overindulged on this book's hefty array of cocktails? Don't worry, Hellmich has a section dedicated to hangover remedies.

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