Best Cocktail Books 2023

by RJ Peristere

Since Jerry Thomas first wrote the Bartender's Guide in 1884, cocktail lovers from around the world have searched for the perfect manual to craft beautiful cocktails for their friends while often displaying the cocktail book as a piece of art on a coffee table. To find the balance between aesthetics and quality of recipes is a real challenge. We did our best to find the most beautiful cocktails books that not only contain classic cocktail recipes but also modern incarnations of classic cocktails.

Spirited : Cocktails from Around the World

Our first choice, Spirited : Cocktails from Around the World is the perfect addition to your cocktail book collection or a great place to start, With over 600 recipes from all over the world, this comprehensive guide fulfills the need for the classic cocktail recipes, like Old Fashioneds or Manhattans, while also introducing new cocktail recipes that focus on desert cocktails or tropical style drinks.

Cocktail book, craft cocktails, cocktail history

We also appreciate that Spirited breaks down into six distinctive chapters based on flavor profiles.

  • Refreshing

  • Sour

  • Spirit Forward

  • Tropical

  • Coffee

  • Dessert Based and Punches

As you can see there is something for everyone. Also Spirited dives deep into cocktail culture itself and why certain regions and towns drink the way that they do.

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Price : 49.95

Death & Co : Modern Classic Cocktails

A New York classic cocktail bar, Death & Co recently released their how to guide on some of their most famous cocktail recipes. They have a ton of fun recipes to try and go so far as to credit the individual bartenders who created the specific cocktail. The photography is stunning and looks great on your coffee table.

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Death & Co also gets a bit esoteric and dives into the theory and philosophy behind cocktails and making drinks. This is one of the best cocktail books for people with a true love of the craft of the cocktail. Death & Co breaks down key bartending techniques and why bartenders do the technique in that specific way. I.e Why do we a shake a cocktail? And the best techniques for doing so.

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Price : 40.00$$

Cocktails for Drinkers

Another great option is Cocktails for Drinkers. The difference between this book and the others is the size. This is less a coffee table cocktail book a more-so a regular old book. In fact it's pocket sized so you can bring this cocktail book with you anywhere and become the star of the party when you start whipping up something special.

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We love the artwork on the inside. The line art is simple yet elegant an almost Parisian. This cocktail book is like a cocktail codex with instructions on mixing drinks with a variety of different liquors and styles. Cocktail making just got easy!

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Price : 14.95 $$

The Best Cocktail Recipe Books

Sometimes the best cocktail books are the original. Cocktail history and classic cocktails had to start somewhere.

Historical Cocktail Recipe Books

The oldest confirmed cocktail book was/is Jerry Thomas' Bartenders Guide. While this is slightly up to debate (there are some similar aged cocktail books) this guide lists as the oldest. in fact, you can find the original Manhattan recipe inside.

head bartender, classic recipes, mix drinks

Interested in Other Cocktail History?

We have dedicated research and articles that break down some the world's most famous drinks and glassware and why we choose to use them. Like who invented the Bloody Mary?

Fernand Petiot


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