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Best Cocktail Book?

JeremyEG Jul 17, 2006 07:17 PM

Hey guys,
Can anyone recommend a good book for someone without a lot of cocktail making experience? I cook a lot and I would like a book with some trendy ideas but that also covers the basics as well. Thanks so much in advance for your help.


  1. Alcachofa Jul 17, 2006 07:29 PM

    "The Craft of the Cocktail" by Dale DeGroff fits what you're looking for. A beautiful book, with nice pictures, cocktail history, classic cocktails as well some more trendy ones.

    "The Joy of Mixology" by Gary Regan is more hardcore, but definitive.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alcachofa
      JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Jul 18, 2006 05:25 PM

      I have both of them, they are absolutely wonderful.

    2. warrenr Jul 18, 2006 05:09 AM

      Esquire Drinks is another thorough introduction to cocktails and how to make them. It has plenty of new cocktail recipes while at the same time avoiding the juvenile abominations being passed off as adult beverages today.

      1. b
        bogie Jul 18, 2006 08:43 PM

        I really enjoyed Grady Spears "Cowboy Cocktails".

        Lots of interesting versions of standards, cool garnish ideas, munchie recipes and some great non-alcoholic drinks too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bogie
          warrenr Jul 19, 2006 12:48 AM

          From my experience of cowboys (mostly from movies), the most popular cocktail would be whiskey, straight up (my favorite cocktail too!). What else did they drink?

        2. g
          gromit Jul 20, 2006 03:40 PM

          I *strongly* recommend:
          Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century, by Paul Harrington and Laura Moorhead

          Yeah, the one that used to be on hotwired.com.

          By far my favorite, and I either own or have read all the others listed here. It doesn't even attempt to be a complete list of every possible concoction you could dream up; very selective in the recipes featured. However, I think this really gives a good understanding of what makes a good cocktail. DeGroff's book is far more comprehensive, but I find Harrington/Moorhead's book to be more entertaining and probably a better choice for a newer mixologist since you don't have to sort through lots of extraneous recipes (oh no i didnt!) to get at the "true classics".

          Sadly, it's out of print and can be tough to find. I ordered one "used" through amazon a while back to give as a wedding gift to a friend, and it turned out it was the author selling signed copies. Maybe he's still got a few...?


          1. t
            TomSwift Jul 20, 2006 05:29 PM

            It's old, but The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury is one of the seminal texts on mixology.

            1. s
              Schveinhund Jul 21, 2006 03:30 PM

              Another vote for Dale's "Craft of the Cocktail". Thorough and well-written.

              1. m
                MIKELOCK34 Jul 21, 2006 05:58 PM


                1. i
                  industry worker Jul 25, 2006 05:05 PM

                  The best book I have seen is a UK based company that does Sauce Guides. I think they are available in Canada and the US as Diffords Guide.
                  Full color pic of evry cocktail.

                  1. g
                    gymbeaux Jul 30, 2006 12:24 AM

                    Can't really believe there's a "best". In adding to the other great suggestions, take a look at Nick Mautone's "Raising the Bar". Also Gary Regan and his wife have other books. As well as Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller
                    Good Resources

                    1. c
                      critter1 Jan 4, 2007 03:43 AM

                      How do you get in contact with the author Paul Harrington?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: critter1
                        gromit Jan 4, 2007 12:21 PM

                        He's selling a few more copies of his book right now on Amazon. To find him:
                        - Search for the book
                        - Click "Used & New"
                        - Click the "Collectible" tab
                        - Gasp at the price
                        The seller "Southhenry" is Paul, or at least a proxy for him. I imagine if you purchase a copy from that seller, the book will be signed. I'm sure Paul's supply has dwindled over the years, hence the steady increase in price. But hey, first(only?) edition?


                      2. b
                        bethd127 Jan 5, 2007 03:34 AM

                        I have been a bartender for over twelve years, and I highly recommend "the ultimate a to z bar guide" by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst; The same people who authored "The Wine Lovers Companion". It not only has drink recipes but information on liquors and techniques that other guides lack.

                        1. n
                          negronilover Jan 5, 2007 05:21 AM

                          While it's not a book, a reference that I use quite often when I'm either stumped behind the bar or looking for new inspiration is www.cocktaildb.com . It allows you to either search by cocktail name or by ingredient (something I like to use when I'm needing a bit of inspiration.) It's especially useful when you are simply looking for recipies. For books about creating and mixing cocktails I endorse Degroff and Regan as well.

                          1. b
                            BHAppeal Jan 6, 2007 04:59 AM

                            Trader Vic's Bartenders Guide. Out of print but available online. The definitive work on rum and rum drinks, but good recipes for the classics and many drinks from a bygone era that have fallen out favor, but still pack plenty of flavor -- and punch. Fun to read too. Vic was very opinionated. ("This drink stinks, but for some reason some people like it.") Well worth getting if you can find it.

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