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Best Cocktail Book?

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.


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  1. "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

      I have both of them, they are absolutely wonderful.

    2. 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. 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

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

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


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

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: critter1

                        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. 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. 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. 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.