7 Best Cocktail Recipe Books & Why

Choosing a favorite cocktail book is a bit like selecting your go-to drink – it's highly personal and subject to individual tastes. So, in the spirit of inclusivity, we're sharing our favorite cocktail recipe books. We hope you find these selections as enjoyable as we do. Here they are, not in any particular order of preference:

1. "Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails" by Mattie Hellmich

We often recommend this book to budding cocktail enthusiasts. It's a James Beard nominee for Best Wine and Spirit Book. "Ultimate Bar Book" is your ultimate home bar companion, offering a treasure trove of classic cocktails and innovative drink recipes. Packed with essential knowledge on barware, tools, and mixing techniques, it's also an excellent value. This book houses all the cocktail classics and their historic variations. It's compact and nearly indestructible – if we could only have one cocktail book, this would be it.

2. "Black Mixcellence: A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology" by Tamika Hall and Colin Asare-Appiah

"Black Mixcellence" is your go-to guide for delectable drink recipes from renowned mixologists and a fascinating exploration of the historical influence of Black people in mixology. This book is a must-read for wine and spirits connoisseurs who appreciate the diversity and excellence of the craft.

3. "Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All with Cocktails, Recipes, & Formulas" by Brad Thomas Parsons

This book was our starting point over 11 years ago. Gone are the days when a lonely bottle of Angostura bitters sat quietly behind the bar. A cocktail renaissance has swept across the country, kindling a new fascination with the ingredients, techniques, and traditions that make American cocktails special. Few ingredients hold as rich a history or as fundamental a role in our beverage heritage as bitters.

4. "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails" by Ted Haigh aka "Dr. Cocktail"

While it may not be your everyday reference, this book offers a captivating journey into the history of spirits and cocktails that may or may not be still available. You'll find a treasure trove of recipes and a wealth of information about a bygone era. In this expanded edition, Ted Haigh widens his exploration of the 1920-1933 period during National Prohibition, celebrating the cocktail's rise and expansion during this time of transformative change.

5. "Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails" by David Kaplan and Nick Fauchald

Considered the definitive guide to the contemporary craft cocktail movement, this book delves into the world of Death & Co, one of the most influential and lauded bars in the craft cocktail scene. It's a must-read for those looking to understand and appreciate the evolution of modern mixology. Use this link to get a signed copy. These authors have two more books out which we are sure are quite good, we just haven't read yet. 

6. "Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki" by Martin Cate and Rebecca Cate

Martin and Rebecca Cate, founders of Smuggler's Cove, the most acclaimed Tiki Bar of our time, take you on a vibrant journey into the world of tiki. You'll explore its origins as an escapist fantasy during the Great Depression, the invention and reinvention of exotic cocktails, Hollywood starlets and scandals, and the modern revival of tiki culture. This James Beard Award-winning book is the ultimate guide to contemporary craft Tiki cocktails. Use the above link to buy a signed copy directly from SC SF. 

Have we missed a great one? Cool, which ones? There are so many! 


Where to Buy the Books? 

Notice that we did not hyper link these to Amazon? That was intentional. We encourage you to support your local bookstores whenever possible. Most can easily order these books from their distributors and will be more than happy to assist you. If you're in need of a recommendation, consider checking out Napa Valley Book Mine, an exceptional family-run bookstore located in our hometown, Napa, CA. Cheers to exploring the world of cocktails through these fantastic reads!