Perhaps summertime is a when you like to kick back, relax and enjoy a good book. Maybe it’s a time to practice or pick up a hobby. We think it’s a great time to do both. Here are some of our favorite cocktail books to add to your summer reading list and help elevate your cocktail making skills.
The Craft of the Cocktail, by Dale DeGroff
DeGroff dives into the development of the mixed drink and the culture in which it was created, while also sharing anecdotes and charming tales of noteworthy industry professionals. This book gives the history of spirits, details the essentials to set up a bar and will train readers to master key techniques. It contains over 500 recipes listed in alphabetical order for easy navigation. The most helpful section of this book is its glossary of terms to help readers with unfamiliar drink lingo.
About the author: Dale DeGroff, also known in the industry as “King Cocktail”, is a James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award winner. He started his career in the 1960’s in New York City. He tended bar at renowned establishments such as The Beverly Hills Hotel and The Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center. He made his mark in the industry by swapping artificial sour mix for fresh citrus. During his time behind the bar, he reintroduced classic cocktails from his studies of old cocktail books.
I’m Just Here for the Drinks, by Sother Teague
Beginners and seasoned bartenders alike will take away useful knowledge from this book. Teague shares his experiences and expertise in a conversational tone. He delivers modern-day and old-school bar wisdom to the reader. This book delivers a brief history of both classic and lesser known spirits in an engaging style. The recipes are inspired but approachable and categorized by spirits.
About the author: Sother Teague was crowned Wine Enthusiast’s Mixologist of the Year in 2017. He is the Beverage Director of Amor y Amargo, a notable NYC cocktail bar that forgoes juices and syrups in favor of showcasing stirred drinks relying on exacting combinations of spirits, Amari, vermouth and bitters. Teague trains his staff to reflect the same conversational tone of his book to provide a welcoming experience for patrons.
The Joy of Mixology, by Gary Regan
In this original book, the author helps readers understand and demystify cocktails by methodically breaking down recipes and categorizing them in families. Once readers become familiar with the foundation of cocktail families, they will be able to better create their own concoctions. Regan also explains different methods for mixing drinks and how to select the proper spirits and liqueurs, as well as barware. Readers will also learn the origin of many cocktails and have access to over 350 recipes.
About the author: Gary “Gaz” Regan was born to pub owners in England. He started his bartending career in the early 1970’s in New York City and helped pioneer the craft cocktail movement in America. He published his first book in 1991, followed by 17 others. He wrote for established publications such as Playboy, Wine Enthusiast, Food & Wine and had a regular column in The San Francisco Chronicle. He was one of the most visible and beloved voices in the cocktail world. His signature cocktail was a finger-stirred Negroni and he developed his own bitters.
Imbibe, by David Wondrich
Wondrich gives a salute to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, pioneer of the American bar, and American drinking culture with never-before-published stories. Thomas was the bartender who popularized cocktails in the mid 1800’s and was the trailblazer for all of these authors and others. This book is a great resource for readers to discover the origins of many of the cocktails we know today and has over 100 recipes, some exclusively created from today’s top mixologists. The author provides foundational knowledge of the history of making cocktails from which readers could build on with other cocktail books.
About the author: David Wondrich is a James Beard Award Winner. He is a cocktail writer, historian, The Daily Beast’s Senior Drinks Columnist, and contributing editor at Esquire, Wine & Spirits, and numerous other publications. When is comes to cocktail history, Wondrich is one of the world’s foremost authorities.