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The Best Cocktail Recipe Book

Last updated on October 12, 2022

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Our Picks For The Top Cocktail Recipe Books

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Parragon Books The Art of Mixology

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Parragon Books

The Art of Mixology

When it comes to mixology books, this one really has it all. You'll find plenty of old favorites between these covers, as well as lots of exciting, new or unusual beverages to try.

Overall Take

Drinks, A to ZIf you're seeking a one-stop shop for a cocktail book, this is the one you should buy.

 Runner Up

Shane Carley The Home Bartender

Shane Carley

The Home Bartender

Want to learn bartending at home, but don't have the time, space or budget to invest in many types of liquor or other components? This is the recipe book for you. These instructions promise delicious drinks with 4 or fewer ingredients.

Overall Take

For the MinimalistSip delicious drinks with less effort when you use these simple recipes.

 We Also Like

Day, Fauchald & Kaplan Cocktail Codex

Day, Fauchald & Kaplan

Cocktail Codex

This book takes you on a journey, instructing you in the elements of mixology before teaching you more complicated recipes. The authors believe you need to first get a handle on the "root cocktails" that all others stem from.

Overall Take

The Basics FirstThis James Beard award winner will school you in the most important drinks. From there, the sky's the limit.

 Strong Contender

Paul Knorr Big Bad-Ass Book of Cocktails

Paul Knorr

Big Bad-Ass Book of Cocktails

If you want one book with as many recipes as possible, this is the one for you. With over 1,500 drinks included, chances are very high that your favorites are included. If you often host or are studying to become a bartender, this is an excellent resource.

Overall Take

More Recipes to LovePlease everyone you make drinks for when you have this mixology bible at your side.

Buying Guide

A cocktail recipe book is a great way to learn how to make drinks at home. There are many different cocktail books available, so it is important to choose one that suits your needs. Which one to select can be tough to decide, but there are some key things to look for when choosing a cocktail recipe book.

First, the number and variety of cocktail recipes included is important. A good cocktail book will have recipes for both classic and modern cocktails. How the text is laid out matters, too. Cocktail books should be organized in a way that is easy to follow. Look for a book with clear instructions and step-by-step photos.

Beyond just modern and vintage beverages, a cocktail book should offer a wide range of drinks to make. From simple mixed drinks to more complex cocktails, there should be something for everyone. This includes after-dinner drinks, brunch cocktails and non-alcoholic options, too.

Shopping for someone else? Cocktail recipe books make great gifts for cocktail lovers and entertainers. They are also excellent housewarming gifts.

There are many themed cocktail recipe books on the market. If you have a particular interest, such as tiki cocktails or holiday drinks, there is likely a book that specializes in those recipes. There are even books with mixology surrounding television shows, classic literature or famous places. Finding something catered to your favorite hobbies or interests in this way can make learning to make drinks even more enjoyable.

Some cocktail books include mocktails, or non-alcoholic beverage concoctions that are still fun and are a bit fancier than typical sodas or juices. This is a great option if you are hosting an event where not everyone will be drinking alcohol. If you are planning to gift a book with drink recipes to someone you don’t know well, you should be sure it contains plenty of non-alcoholic options. After all, you don’t know what someone’s history with alcohol or preference for consumption might be.

There are a lot of fun ways to package your cocktail recipe book if you are giving it as a gift. You can pair it with a cocktail shaker, cocktail glasses or even a bottle of liquor. If you really want to get creative, you can create a gift basket with all the ingredients needed to make one of the recipes from the book.

What to Look For

  • When buying a cocktail book, make sure it has plenty of recipes that involve ingredients you or your gift recipient like. For instance, if you hate gin, don’t buy a book that has mostly gin drinks.
  • If you have any allergies, vet your cocktail recipes carefully. If possible, make a note on the offending pages so you or a guest never accidentally make a drink that you’d be allergic to.
  • Keep your drink books near your liquor cabinet or old-fashioned glasses. When you’re having a fancy night in and are looking for something a bit different to try, this reminder can help you spice things up.
  • Be willing to experiment! The best cocktails may not always be the ones that sound good on paper. Part of the fun of mixology comes from the ways flavors meld and yield delicious beverages in ways you might not expect.
  • If you find a drink you really like, make a note or mark your book. (That goes double for ones you dislike!)

More to Explore

The first written mention of cocktail as a beverage appeared in The Farmers Cabinet, published in 1803 in the United States. The earliest known book just for these beverages was published in 1869 in London and was titled “The Bartender’s Guide.” This book contained recipes for over 500 different cocktails.

Since then, cocktail books have become popular among bartenders and home drinkers alike. Today, there are many different cocktail recipe books available, each with its own unique take on classic and modern drinks. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced cocktail drinker, there is sure to be a cocktail book that is perfect for you.

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