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suggestions for a classic/craft cocktail book

I am looking for suggestions for a cocktail recipe book listing some classic cocktails beyond basic martinis etc. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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  1. Well discussed here:

    I think you probably have to narrow your interest down more. What you like -- Gin Martinis or Aviations or Long Island Ice Teas or Earl Grey MarTEAnis or Zombies or whatever -- will strongly influence the books that you might like.

    More recipes aren't better. Fewer high-quality recipes of the type you like will probably be the best reference.

      1. re: wineguy7

        We were pretty impressed by her book. While it has classics that have been modified for more modern tastes, for a book of its type, it is a rather good one. I would also put Salvatore Calabrese in this category.

        Robert Hess or Dale Degroff's books would be my first suggestions (as already suggested by YAYME, and nickles) though.

        1. Vintage spirits and Forgotten cocktails by Ted "Doctor Cocktail" Haigh.

          The Craft of cocktail by Dale Degroff

          The joy of Mixology

          1 Reply
          1. re: YAYME

            These 3 are a perfect starter set.

            I also frequently open _The Art of the Bar_, and Wondrich's _Imbibe_, although thumb through a copy of it first to see if it's what you're looking for as it's quite different than most recipe books.

            I would also seriously take a look at the Savoy Cocktail book and then check out the Underhill Lounge blog. Good stuff.

          2. The Essential Bartender's Guide by Robert Hess.

            I found it to be a great first cocktail book as it has a lot of information as well as recipes, nice pictures, spiral binding. Also has a nice mix of classics and newer drinks.

            1. Regan's The Joy of Mixology has very useful charts in the middle which organize disparate cocktails into understandable patterns. I think its a great book for seeing how cocktails relate to each other (e.g. Sidecar versus Margarita, two drinks that a non-enthusiast might never compare).

              1. I have a very good assortment of cocktail books and the ones I use most frequently are:
                (1) Joy of Mixology - Gary Regan
                (2) two by Dale Degroff - The Essential Cocktail and Craft of the Cocktail.
                (3)Art of the Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the Classics - Jeff Hollinger/Rob Schwartz.
                Some others that I use are 'How's Your Drink" - Eric Felten and 'Imbibe"- David Wondrich. I have the Ultimate Bar Book,but haven't used it much.Based on the recommendations here I'll have to take a closer look at it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: TooLooseLaTrek

                  I've been using the same three. In general I find DeGroff's is best for overall mixing technique, I use Regan as the definitive answer on ingredients if there's different opinions and I haven't informed my own yet and I like Art of the Bar for new ideas I may not have tried yet.

                2. thanks for all the input. I have a well stocked bar and bar tools and glasses but when guests come I am often stumped at what to offer them and often end up letting them help themselves to the drink the want. I would love to have a few specialty drinks to offer up next time.

                  1. I'll also have to add two books that you can get used on Amazon, Half.com, eBay, or other for about $8-10 shipped.

                    1) Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide. We have the 1948 and the 1970-something editions. Both are rather good. The older edition seems to be a lot more valuable, but the later one can be had for a decent price.
                    2) Patrick Duffy's The Official Mixer's Manual . Ours is a 1974 or so edition. Very solid as well.


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                    1. re: yarm

                      There is always my beloved "Gentleman's Companion" 1939 Derrydale (Crown 1946) Volume II The Exotic Drink Book...that'll give you PLENTY of strange things to throw at them.

                    2. I have several of the suggestions mentioned.

                      I also have a copy of the '09 Food & Wine Cocktail Guide. I see there's one for this year too. More of a modern take on craft cocktails. Be forewarned, though, the buddy who got me the '09 F&W book also went on a buying spree stocking up on the obscure stuff that's used in the recipes.


                      1. Besides the perfect suggestions by Yayme for Dale and Gary's great books, and the 2nd/deluxe edition of Ted's Vintage and Forgotten, (of course I have to mention that page 153 is all about me) I would also add the latest editions of Mr. Boston. The ones edited by Jim Meehan. He went over every single one of the 1500 recipes in the book and adjusted them for accuracy and quality. Also he got feedback from the top 100 bartenders/mixologists in adding new recipes, and fine tuning. Also great sections on stocking a bar, making cocktails, etc. If you only had one book, this would be the one.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: JMF

                          Wow, that's interesting to hear. Because, until probably these most recent editions, Mr. Boston has been pretty horrible for the past few decades.

                          I'll have to check out p. 153 when I get home. ;-)

                        2. For the past couple of weeks I have been going through a new purchase " Mix Shake Stir:Cocktails for the Home Bar", a cocktail book based on recipes from Danny Meyer's excellent NYC restaurants.In addition to wonderful service and food,his places are known for their cocktails.This book has quickly become one of my favorites to flip through.The presentation is great with chapters such as Classics,New Classics,Elegant Sips and it has a chapter on cocktails for a crowd/party as well as recipes for interesting bar snacks.Most recipes are accompanied by beautiful photos.Along with "Art of the Bar",it is the most visually inviting cocktail book I own.It doesn't have the breadth of recipes that Joy of Mixology does,but it certainly has enough recipes to keep you happily mixing for a long time.I can't recommend this one highly enough for someone looking to entertain creatively at home or someone who wants to greatly improve their ability to put together delicious drinks.The only drawback is that some of the more creative recipes require homemade syrups or infused liquor or some not commonly owned liqueurs/ingredients. The homemade recipes are pretty easy to follow ,but there are enough other recipes that don't require anything too esoteric.I think this one has something for just about everyone.

                          1. My favorites are Robert Hess, see his site: Drink Boy & catch him on small screen network and Salvatore Calabrese's book "Classic Cocktails". My wife got me the latter as a birthday present and we have been using it a lot lately.