You cannot learn less in life. But there are a great, many, truly, terrible books about bartending and cocktails on the market. Many of the best books are less well-known, out-of-print, or perhaps not so glossy and impressive as the books you see stacked on tables in a book store. Do not be fooled.
Below we have listed the better books for the professional bartender:
1. Diffordsguide to Cocktails - Simon Difford
Good all-round guide, thousands of recipes, updated quarterly. The book for recipes if you only have one.
2. The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks - David A. Embury (out of print)
The definitive book on mixology theory, written by a non-bartender!
3. The Joy of Mixology - Gary Regan.
Extensive all-round guide, lots of mixology theory and recipes.
4. The Bartender’s Guide - Jerry Thomas
First bartender’s guide ever, contains original recipes.
5. The Savoy Cocktail Book - Harry Cradock
Another definitive recipe book, many recipes, little mixology theory.
6. Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails - Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh
In-depth exploration of extinct and extant liquors and obscure cocktails and their mixology.
7. Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book - A.S Crockett
Journalist and cultural historian Albert Stevens Crockett recorded the classic, old school cocktails of American bartending, with drinks based largely around vermouth and bitters.
8. Drinks - Tony Conigliaro
Tony’s first book combines a compendium of 50 great drinks with an intriguing insight into the journey of one of the world’s most respected bartenders.
9. Bitters, a spirited history of a classic cure - Brad Thomas Parsons
A great snapshot of bitters, bars and bartender’s appreciation of them. A comprehensive coverage of the subject.
10. The drunken botanist - Amy Stewart
An impressively detailed collection of back-stories and explanations about the botanical origins of many of the drinks we take for granted.
11. Punch - David Wondrich
A definitive history of the father-figure of mixed drinks in the hands of Englishmen. Easy to read in Dave’s inimitable style.
12. The Gentleman’s Companion or Jigger, Beaker & Glass; Drinking Around The World - Charles H. Baker
A legendary book by a legendary man, the globetrotting Baker combed the world in the late 1940's and 1950's, returning with exotic recipes from all corners of the globe and a wealth of interesting little stories and drinks from every trip he made.
Curious about what Gary Regan, the writer of The Joy of Mixology, said about the Bols Bartending Academy? Follow the link!