Learn & WatchSubmitMagazine
- Breakfast Brunch
- Appetizers Snacks
- Lunch /Dinner
- Side Dishes
- Sauces & Stuff
ShopWe independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products-learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
- Current Issue
- Digital Issue & Back Issue Library
- Online Extras
- FREE Newsletter
- Give a Gift
- Online Education
- Manage My Account
- Contact Us
The Best Cocktail Recipe Books for Bartenders
Experts are aware that bartending is an art and you need to take your time and learn in order to master the craft. You cannot become a good bartender just by learning how to mix a few drinks. You need to learn the right techniques because every step requires a specific skill, and without it, you will not be able to stand out. Even though there are several recipes available online, you cannot become a skilled bartender without diving deep into cocktail recipe books.
Due to the wide variety of books available in the market, it is easy to become overwhelmed. In order to assist you, we have shortlisted the most premium cocktail recipe books of 2023, which will not only provide innovative recipes but will also unleash bartending secrets.Show contentsComparing the Top Cocktail Recipe Book of 2023
- The Essential Bar Book for Home Mixologists - Best Overall
- The Art of Mixology - Ideal for Non-alcoholic Drinks
- Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails - Most Aesthetic Cover
- The Home Bartender - Easy to Understand
- Cocktail Codex - Ideal for Learning Improvisation
A Buyer’s Guide to Cocktail Recipe Books
A Buyer’s Guide to Cocktail Recipe Books
Cocktail recipe books are one of the best ways to start if you are planning to become a bartender. They are designed to help you learn the art of bartending without having to memorize recipes including the quantities of ingredients. This brief buyer’s guide is designed to provide you with all the information you will need to purchase one for yourself.
What Features Should a Cocktail Recipe Book Have?
Since there is a wide variety of books available in the market, it can become difficult to choose one. It goes without saying that you need to analyze your specific needs before investing in one. We have highlighted a few important features that you should consider when browsing cocktail recipe books.
Suited to your expertise level
It is important to make sure that the cocktail recipe book you are planning to purchase matches your expertise level. If you are a complete beginner and you purchase a book with advanced terminology, you won’t be able to benefit from it. It will take you a long time to search for the meaning of every word, so it is better to start with a book that uses easy-to-understand terminology.
The important thing to remember is that cocktail recipe books should not just include recipes. You can easily find a lot of recipes on the internet as well, so you may wonder why you need to invest in a book. Most cocktail recipe books are designed to include cocktails that have a connection to the history of cocktails along with tips that you may not find on the internet. The information provided on the web is all over the place and you cannot expect to learn the art of mixing drinks just by watching YouTube videos or reading bartending blogs.
A lot of people like to display their cocktail recipe books either on their at-home bar or on their coffee tables. For this reason, it is important that the covers of these books are aesthetically-pleasing and meet the decor of your house. Look for hardcovers as they have a more artsy and vintage feel. Even though these are more expensive than paperbacks, they will be worth the investment as they will serve as both cocktail recipe books and decorative pieces.
Written by experienced authors
It is easy to tell the difference between a book that has been written by an experienced individual versus someone who only has surface knowledge on the topic. When you purchase a book that has been written by experts, you will be able to learn from their experiences and apply their knowledge to your own life. If the author has opened their own bar, for example, it means that they are more aware of the world of bartending than someone who has just learned techniques from the internet. The best authors are those who encourage you to improvise and start trusting your gut rather than memorizing ingredients, their quantities, and their techniques.
Any cocktail recipe book that consists of just text can get boring because these books are not just recipe books, but they are meant to inspire. Look for books with colorful illustrations along with infographics so that they can be used as coffee table decorations as well. Make sure the pages are high quality because they can make all the difference when it comes to reading the book and grasping its content.
Comparing the Top Cocktail Recipe Book of 20231– Best Overall
The Essential Bar Book for Home Mixologists by Amy Traynor is designed specifically for amateurs or home bartenders. It is very easy to understand and includes all the information you will need to master delicious recipes from the comfort of your home. The book highlights the importance of flavors, choosing the right glass, and even garnish. It will be ideal for beginners as it includes all the tools, techniques, ingredients, and other essentials that you will need to keep your home bar stocked and impress your family and guests.
A total of 70 recipes are included ranging from both classic and contemporary cocktails. The drinks range from gin and whiskey to rum, which means they are tailored to all tastes. Due to the experience of the author and the large number of unique recipes and techniques included, we chose this cocktail recipe book as our top pick.2– Ideal for Non-alcoholic Drinks
The Art of Mixology by Parragon Books is another one of our favorite cocktail recipe books because it is designed for all expertise levels including beginners, intermediates, and experts. It includes both traditional and contemporary recipes, which makes them ideal for different occasions like parties, dates, holidays, and different celebrations. This cocktail recipe book includes non-alcoholic drink recipes as well like Ginger Fizz, Sober Sunday, or LongBoat so that it can cater to a wider audience.
There are a total of 200 recipes to choose from, including unique drinks that will make you stand out from other bartenders. The alcoholic drink recipes range from gin, vodka, and whiskey to rum and brandy. The cover is extremely stylish and will be a good addition to your coffee table or bar area. A hardcover option is also available if you are feeling extra fancy.3– Most Aesthetic Cover
If you are looking for a classic cocktail recipe book, you should consider Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails by David Kaplan. The book is based on real recipes from the award-winning bar Death & Co. Death & Co has been an industry award winner several times because it houses some of the best bar staff, which means that it is the birthplace of some of the most iconic drinks in the world.
This book is very extensive because it comes with 500 recipes along with a comprehensive history of cocktails. This includes the theory and philosophy behind drink making along with step-by-step instructions for practicing bartending techniques. Despite being long, it is not boring because it includes bright and evocative illustrations along with infographics and charts.4– Easy to Understand
The Home Bartender by Shane Carly is a cocktail recipe book that utilizes simple terminology so even beginners can understand it easily. This book focuses on the notion that you do not need to spend a lot on expensive liquor and bar tools to create the perfect drink. As long as you have a few quality ingredients along with a select few recipes, you can learn the art of bartending. It includes a total of 175 recipes which include non-alcoholic drinks as well.
Drink recommendations for different occasions are provided and a few necessary tools are listed. Additionally, the book also includes resources that will provide guidance about where to buy bartending essentials. It is 368 pages long, which may seem a bit too extensive to some people, but it includes basic recipes as well for absolute beginners.5– Ideal for Learning Improvisation
Last but not least, the Cocktail Codex by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan is another one of the most famous cocktails recipe books. This is because it is written by experts who are very experienced in the bartending field. They have adopted a very simple approach by stating that you just need to know the six root recipes, and the rest is just improvisation. This means that instead of learning a range of different recipes, you just need to memorize a few basic ones. Once you understand the science behind each of these recipes, you can understand what you are doing wrong and fix your mistakes easily.
The authors encourage trying new things and using your own drinks as well. What sets this book apart from others is that instead of just listing down recipes, it tries to teach you the art of bartending by encouraging creativity.
People Also AskedQ: Will a cocktail recipe book make me a bartender?
A: A cocktail recipe book will not make you a bartender unless you end up working behind a bar. But, these books can turn you into a mixologist. A mixologist is someone who studies the history of mixing drinks and does not hesitate to create new drinks after gaining enough knowledge about the different techniques and ingredients.Q: Can I find cocktail recipe books that contain non-alcoholic drinks?
A: All cocktail recipe books do not contain non-alcoholic drinks, but you will find some authors who include a list of non-alcoholic drinks as well to cater to a larger audience.Q: Do I really need to buy professional equipment to make cocktails?
A: Having the right equipment and tools at hand will not only make your job easier and faster, but will also ensure more efficiency, which will be appreciated by customers. A lot of people judge the quality of a bar and the expertise of the bartenders by the tools they are using.