I'm looking for a variety of books on mixology/spirits. I do not want books to tell me how to stock my bar- my bar is well stocked. I'm looking for classic cocktails, modern cocktails, the history therein, the back story of a variety of spirits, etc.
Here are some must haves, in no particular order:
The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan
The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale Degroff
Straight Up by William Grimes
The complete book of Spirits by Anthony DIas Blue
The Savoy Cocktail Book
Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh
The Bartenders Bible by Gary Regan
The Martini Companion by Gary Regan and Mardee Regan
Classic gin by Geraldine Coates
The Ultimate A-Z bar Guide by the Herbst's
Jigger, Beaker, and Glass: Drinking Around the World by Charles H. Baker, Jr.
The Bartenders Black Book
I want to add a few since you said you wanted the back story on spirits. There are several books on gin and the gin craze in London.
Gin: The Much Lamented Death of Madam Geneva the Eighteenth Century Gin Craze
Craze: Gin and Debauchery in an Age of Reason
The book of Gin and Vodkas by Bob Emmons
Then there's Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch
Rum by Dave Broom
Whiskey by Michael Jackson
Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century by Paul Harrington.
Unfortunately, it's out of print and the available copies are really expensive. Really good book, though.