Here are my favorite cocktail books.
These are the books I learn from, consult, and draw inspiration from. All links are Amazon Affiliate links. If you buy through these links you’ll be supporting Chuck’s work on this site. Thanks!
This book is unique in that it teaches you the techniques and concepts for building cocktails instead of just throwing recipes at you. If you want to learn the art of creating cocktails from scratch, this is the book for you.
This is the book that Sasha Petraske’s wife Georgette put together from his notes after his unexpected death in 2015. Sasha started the legendary Milk & Honey bar in NYC. This is one of the best designed cocktail books I’ve seen. There are great notes from both Sasha and Theo Lieberman on setting up home bars. I can’t recommend this book enough.
Dave Arnold started one of my favorite bars in New York: Booker & Dax. He takes a high-tech, science-based approach to creating cocktails and he distilled his methods into this book. After reading this book you’ll measure, test, and tweak every ingredient in your cocktails until your recipes are perfect.
Speakeasy is the book that started my cocktail journey. I received it for Christmas the year Amanda and I got married and we spent the following year making lots of great drinks from this book. We still pull this book off the shelf when we want a classic cocktail.
This book includes everything you want to know (and more) about bitters. It steps you through sourcing ingredients for and making your own bitters at home and it has some incredible recipes for cocktails that put bitters on delectable display.
The Dead Rabbit was voted the World’s Best Bar in both 2015 and 2016. It was down the block from where Amanda used to work, so we’ve been there a few times. I’ve never had a drink there I didn’t like. The communal punches are my favorite. This is their only cocktail book to date.
This is much more than a recipe book. David Wondrich goes unwinds the intricate history of classic American cocktails and provides stories and detailed mixological notes along with the 100+ definitive recipes for classic drinks. He covers all the bases: Punches, cocktails, sours, fizzes, toddies, and slings.
This is David Wondrich’s follow up to Imbibe! in which he tells the history of the punch bowl. It is filled with fascinating stories, traditional recipes, and modern mixology notes. Pick this up before the next party you throw.
Amy Stewart shines some light on the extraordinary and obscure plants that humanity has turned into alcohol. It shakes biology, history, chemistry, and mixology into one fascinating rectangular cocktail. It also includes some great recipes and growing tips for home gardening imbibers.
Wired editor Adam Rogers breaks down the physics, biology, chemistry, and metallurgy that produce alcohol, and the psychology and neurobiology that make us want to drink it.
If you aren’t drinking sherry yet, pick up this book. I’m not talking about that awful cream sherry, either. Talia Baiocchi teaches us how one of the world’s great wines is made, where to find it, how to drink it, and what to eat with it. This book also includes some of the best collections of sherry cocktails I’ve seen. My favorite is the East India Negroni.