A collection of 10 cocktail books that are my favorite and I highly suggest reading honor of World Book Day!
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Happy World Book Day! Gosh, I couldn’t even tell you what the first book I ever read was. I mean…truly sat down and read for fun. Over the years though, I’ve been on a nonstop train of endless reading material and filling my bookcases full of my favorite finds. Yes…bookcases. From Harry Potter to Grey’s Anatomy, there is a variety of all the things I find joy knowing and reading about. Which means you probably guessed it. I have my fair share of cocktail books and a select array of favorites too.
Now I can tell you the first cocktail book I read and it was Shake. It’s still a favorite of mine and is one that opened me up to the craft cocktail world. Oh college Elle, not everything is made from the well. Shake was riddled with stories and memories behind each cocktail. Every cocktail had a season and a important place within that season. A concept I would later start a blog around, telling my stories through food & drink. I still gravitate to Shake, especially when I’m looking to keep the ingredients low, seasonal, and simple. After Shake, I was ready to get my hands on any cocktail book I could get. So in honor of World Book Day, I’ve collected my top 10 favorite cocktail books I’ve read thus far. Whether you’re a professional bartender or just learning home bartending for the first time, these reads will fit any shaker.
10 Cocktails Books You Have To Read
1. Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails – Eric Prum & Josh Williams.
Creators of the Mason Jar Shaker, Eric & Josh together this instructional cocktail recipe book. What I love about this book is how it’s divided into the 4 seasons and aimed at creating cocktails with a social perspective. Shake makes cocktails delicious, approachable, and exciting.
2. Death & Co – David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald, and Alex Day
Death & Co goes behind the bar of the establishment of the same name to share over 500 of it’s well known craft cocktail recipes. With Death & Co’s impressive background of awards and honors, it’s no surprise they have created a book just as well educated, innovative, and bold as they are. Grab yourself a drink and prepare to immerse yourself into a world that will make you approach cocktails in a new light. I know it did for me.
3. The New Cocktail Hour – André and Tenaya Darlington
Another easy to pick up book. The New Cocktail Hour shares drinks from the past with modern elevations. There isn’t a cocktail I haven’t loved but what I love even more is the food pairings so delicately added. It’s a small touch to make a big statement, just like their cocktails.
4. The One-Bottle Cocktail – Maggie Hoffman
This is my most recent adventure into cocktail books and I already love it. After Death & Co I felt a need to own every spirit in the world. Maggie brought me and my budget back down to earth. It’s a simple concept, make fancy and easily accessible drinks using one spirit. It’s clean and to the point which is perfect for when you just want a simple yet tasty drink.
5. Liquid Intelligence – David Arnold
This is one of those books that makes you a better bartender and cocktail creator. Knowing the science behind why we do what we do with cocktails is invaluable. Another book diving deep not only into divine recipes, it will also educate you in all the questions you’ve never thought to question about cocktails.
6. The Ultimate Bar Book – Mittie Hellmich
This is one of those books I would probably never pick up and just read again. However, I reference it at least once a week. This book has everything from hangover cures, garnish tips, and every cocktail recipe you can think of. If you have a question, this little book has all the answers. I would put it on a must have list for a home bartender.
7. Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki – Martin and Rebecca Cate
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you have seen me talking about tiki cocktails lately. This is why! Smuggler’s Cove sails you right into the world of tiki drinks. A handful of pages in and I was reach to throw my own tiki party and Smuggler’s Cove was going to help be do it. From the need to know on rums to recipes that will have you drifting away. This book is fun but if you’re a tiki drink lover, necessary.
8. The Drunken Botanist – Amy Stewart
Another book to dive deep into the understanding of cocktails. Well…in this case more into the things we use to make them. Amy shares how we’ve morphed and created some the greatest alcohols over the years through what? Botany. Garden cocktail lovers take note, you want this one on your shelf.
9. Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas – Brad Thomas Parsons
With the rise in the States of Amaro, this book breaks down everything you need to know about the European liqueurs. Dive into the depths of Amaro as you learn history, recipes, and the variety of different Amaros you can find. Let the mystery of Amaro and digestive uncover itself through the pages of this book.
10. Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes – Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau
Travel with Talia and Leslie through Italy as you learn about the history of the italian Spritz. With Italian food pairings to go with a variety of regionally popular Spritz recipes. You’ll be eyeing not only for your next body of Campari but to jet off to Italy for the happiest of hours.
Each one of these books I love for various purposes. They’re full of fantastic recipes but also a lot of education and suggestion. So whether you are new to the bar or a vet to the shaker, there is still something for each to learn.
I hope you dive into something wonderful to read today and if you try one of these cocktail books, let me know your thoughts! I’m always up for a good book club conversation.