It doesn’t get much better than sipping on a crisp cocktail after a long day. The delicate combination of flavors, textures, and temperatures in your favorite beverage hits the spot in a way other drinks simply can’t.
Your love of that drink may even inspire you to learn how to make it yourself. Or maybe you’re studying to become a bartender and want to perfect the basic recipe so you can add your unique flair later on.
Whether you want to pursue a career in mixology or have fun mixing concoctions at home, it’s smart to start with the basics. Here are five of the best bartending books for the beginner mixologist!
The Best Bartending Books for Beginners
Talented mixologists have created some wild cocktails over the years, but as a beginner, you’ll want to master the basic techniques before you start adding rare ingredients and lighting your drinks on fire.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can expand beyond them to fashion beverages that no other mixologist has dreamed of.
The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique
The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler – an award-winning bartender who’s been crafting drinks for more than 26 years – is an excellent title for beginners to pick up. Jeffrey starts with a broad view of mixology best practices, including stirring, shaking, carbonating, and juicing techniques.
Morgenthaler takes readers beyond fundamental techniques, however, into the best methods for drink creation. Expect to learn dilution, chilling, and garnishing techniques that boost your beverages from typical to tantalizing.
The Bartender's Bible: 1001 Mixed Drinks and Everything You Need to Know to Set Up Your Bar
Gary “Gaz” Regan’s The Bartender’s Bible is another fantastic resource for new bartenders. Regan was an English bartender who emigrated to the US in 1973 and found widespread success due to his work.
The Bartender's Bible stands out for its simplicity, providing instructions on how to mix hundreds of popular cocktails, including beer and wine drinks. Regan’s title is the perfect compendium to reference when you need a quick solution for a party or busy bar.
The Best Bartending Book for Basic Drinks
While it’s exciting to imagine beverages made from scratch, most mixologists begin their careers mastering basic drinks. Getting a feel for classic cocktails is easier with veteran mixologists guiding your steps.
The New Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Think Like a Master Mixologist
The New Craft of the Cocktail, written by Dale DeGroff and photographed by Daniel Krieger, offers unparalleled insight into the creation, uses, and history of timeless drinks.
Readers benefit from simple recipes for must-have beverages, like the Old Fashioned, martini, whiskey highball, and Bloody Mary. DeGroff and Krieger include beautiful photos and easy-to-implement garnishes, too.
The Best Bartending Books for Budding Mixologists
Taking your mixology skills from zero to hero requires months of practice. You can maximize your knowledge and shorten this timeline with the right strategies. The following two books are great resources for mixologists ready to show the world what they’re capable of.
Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions
Writers and craft cocktail masters Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan argue that only six cocktails really exist: the sidecar, whiskey highball, flip, martini, daiquiri, and Old Fashioned.
The authors identify fundamental ingredients in each cocktail category to educate readers on why specific cocktails work. Day, Kaplan, and Fauchald also write about why certain ingredients fit well together and offer recommendations on how to invent unique drinks.
Meehan's Bartender Manual
The Bartender Manual is another top-shelf book on how to mix dozens of classic cocktails. This title won the Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book award at the 2018 Spirited Awards for its creative and thorough narratives on recipes and the art of hospitality itself. Its author, Jim Meehan, has also been recognized by the James Beard Foundation Awards for his innovative cocktail recipes.
Meehan writes about his own methods of delicious drink creation, giving budding mixologists a rare insight into a seasoned professional’s perspective. Readers will also enjoy additional information on menu engineering, spirits production, and overall bar design.
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