The ten best Cocktail and Liquor Handbooks and Encyclopaedia

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Books are essential

There are good books and there are books worth nothing more than a place on the coffee table, mere decorative pieces. Of course, each book has its own place in our lives, but there are some that are considered bibles for their respective subject and genre.

So is the case for mixology and the history of alcoholic beverages, too. And the list is quite interesting. Here is one list in no specific order of importance.

Here are the ten best Cocktail and Liquor Handbooks and Encyclopaedia that all home mixologists and professional barkeeps consider as must haves for their bookshelf


The Curious Bartender

A rare gem - 501 Questions Every Bartender Should Know How to Answer, a Unique Look at the Bar Business by Robert Plotkin

The 1993 edition is rarely available and if you have one, you are already one of those masters who knows his drinks and mixes well. Old book, so, some of the data is outdated today, but it?s a collector's item nevertheless and is a treasure trove of information on liquors, and mixology in general.

Champagne Cocktails, Including recipes, quotes, lore, and a directory of the world's poshest lounges by Anistatia Miller, Jared Brown and Don Gatterdam (1999)

A nice book although lacking photos and illustrations to accompany, cocktail recipes accompanied by anecdotes, trivia, folklores and stories around the recipes and is a wonderful read, if you are interested in history and stories around the evolution of fermentation and distillation, especially during the medieval era.

The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender, with 500 Recipes

First published in the 70s this book by Dale Degroff is still in circulation and is not just a mere collection of a huge collection of classical cocktails, it is a book of history, stories and personalities surrounding each cocktail.

New Classic Cocktails ? 1997 by Gary Regan and Mardee Regan

Cocktails are back in style and classic cocktails are being reinvented, old fashioned American cocktails and bright sunny tropical drinks are living together now, and this handbook is a nice collection of classic and new classic cocktails with some engrossing anecdotal and historical information including who invented the cocktail, where and why. The background of a cocktail means a lot, since cocktails, unlike straight drinks, are social creations and have a social backdrop evident in it?s name, composition and style.


The Official Mixer's Manual ? by  Patrick Gavin Duffy, 1940

The big daddy of all cocktail books, this one is from the era when modern cocktail was not a word known to many, and yet cocktails have been part of the American culture and American cinema for a while. This book is a collector?s item that is all about the early cocktails encompassing the Prohibition Era and more. Pages after pages of recipes and commentaries. No fancy photographs or illustrations just pure facts, Originally published in 1934, if you can get a 1950 print for your shelves, you are lucky.

The oldest book of all - Bar Tenders Guide or How To Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas printed in 1862

If you are a cocktail history enthusiast, this book is a must have, even photocopies are rare and as and when some publisher decides to bring out a rare reprint, they are gone soon. Amazon seems to have a reprint now, grab a copy if you are interested, before it?s gone again.

The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book, by Albert Stevens Crockett, published 1935

This is a book of historical importance, it?s not just a book of classic cocktails, being published right after the end of the Prohibition, it tells stories about drinks that were served to famous people during those days. The new re-print has an introduction by Ross Bolton.

A.S. Crockett in his book, laid out the history of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel's bar and a historical view of how drink recipes changed before and after prohibition. A book for the afficionado, indeed.

The Savoy Cocktail Book ? yet another classic cocktail book from the same era, first published in 1930.

The hardcover re-print faithfully reproduces all the colour illustrations and this is an exact Facsimile of the original and not a digital re-production that uses text recognition in images and thus, retains all those old typography and drawings in their original.

?Craddock's "The Savoy Cocktail Book" was published in 1930, and is still in print today. Craddock invented a number of classic cocktails, including the famous Corpse Reviver #2 and possibly including the White Lady, and popularised the Dry Martini. Lavishly illustrated with all illustrations reproduced in color.? ? Amazon Books

Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century ? 1998, a book by Paul Harrington

The expert mixologist on Wired magazine's "Cocktail" Internet site pours his wit and wisdom into an illustrated book of three hundred recipes for traditional and contemporary cocktails, with complementary information. A rather modern book by a contemporary expert, a book to keep as a reference.

The Gentleman's Companion: Being an Exotic Drinking Book Or, Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask ? 1939, by Charles Henry Baker.

2017 facsimile reprint of the 1939 Edition, is another historical book of exotic food and drink that brought artists, sportsmen, musicians, scientists and vagabonds together in the quest of a good food and drink. This book is more than just recipes, it is a memoire of a culinary genius?s journey across the country over the years, looking for unusual specimens that he would bring back home scribbled behind a bar napkin.

A good book that is not actually about recipes but is about recipes at the same time.


Please Note All Recipes and Articles on this site are for entertainment and general information only. None of it is to be considered final or absolutely correct or medical in nature.
However, we have embarked on a journey of manually updating the relative strength of cocktails, their flavour profile and in the future aim at providing approximate calories per drink too.
Blue Tick Project:We aim at manually validating and verifying each cocktail in their current context and mark them as valid, where, a blue tick would mean that the recipe has been verified and is 100% accurate while an orange tick would mean the recipe has low confidence.
Where as a grey tick would mean that the recipe has not yet been manually validated or verified recently.

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