The history of cocktails and cocktail books is an interesting one. The first American cocktail book was published in 1862. Written by the grandfather of mixology Jerry Thomas, The Bartender's Guide was the beginning of what would become a popular genre in the world of books. A natural showman, Thomas toured the United States as a celebrity bartender, paving the way for others to follow suit. Suddenly, 'mixologist' was a profession - meaning someone who is skilled at mixing and inventing cocktails.

When Prohibition hit in 1920, bartenders took their pouring skills to Europe, where a new generation of drinkers welcomed them. European book publishers also took up the reins of celebrating bars and imaginatively mixed drinks, and soon came The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock, Cocktails: How to Mix Them by Robert, and Cocktails by Jimmy.

The cocktail book genre survived American Prohibition and World War II, and today cocktails and cocktail books are as popular as ever. Cocktail enthusiasts can choose from an endless list of recipe and guide books, but the modern mixologist should raise a glass to mixology's founding fathers by flipping through an original book or two. While first editions are hard to come by, a resurgence in the cocktail scene has inspired publishers to revive the old books with affordable reprints.


Modern Reprints of Iconic Vintage Cocktail Books

The Artistry of Mixing Drinks by Frank Meier The Artistry of Mixing Drinks

Frank Meier

Originally published in 1936, this book is about cocktails, wines, horse racing, and how to live.

Barflies and Cocktails by Harry and Wynn Barflies and Cocktails

Harry and Wynn

An authentic reproduction of the 1927 edition, featuring an introduction by cocktail aficionado David Wondrich.

# The Bartender's Guide: How to Mix Drinks: A Bon Vivant's Companion

Jerry Thomas

An authentic reproduction of the 1862 edition with a new introduction and appendix by David Wondrich.

Jerry Thomas' Bartender's Guide Jerry Thomas' Bartender's Guide
Another reprint of Thomas' iconic guide to drinks.

Good Drinks by Ambrose Heath Good Drinks

Ambrose Heath

A reprint of the 1939 original, this classic guide offers recipes for drinks to be enjoyed 'to the advancement of the brewer and the wine merchant, and the confusion of all dull dogs.'

The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock The Savoy Cocktail Book

Harry Craddock

When The Savoy Cocktail Book was first published, it not only enriched the style of the times - it became part of it. A reprint of the 1930 cocktail book.

The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book by Albert S. Crockett The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book

Albert S. Crockett

A complete facsimile of the original world-famous Waldorf-Astoria cocktail book of 1934.

The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David A. Embury The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks

David A. Embury

Embury, a 62-year-old tax partner at a Manhattan law firm, put aside his accountancy books and wrote one of the quintessential guides to cocktails in 1948. Here's an affordable reprint.

The Flowing Bowl by William Schmidt The Flowing Bowl

William Schmidt

A reproduction of the 1891 edition with a new introduction by David Wondrich.

Vintage Cocktail Books: A Recipe for Collecting Shop the originals


Today's Amazing Cocktail Books

The Cocktail Lab by Tony Conigliaro The Cocktail Lab

Tony Conigliaro

A collection of 60 revolutionary cocktails, all grounded in the classics but utilizing technologies and techniques from the molecular gastronomy movement.

The Curious Bartender by Tristan Stephenson The Curious Bartender

Tristan Stephenson

Stephenson explores and experiments with the art of mixing the perfect cocktail, explaining the fascinating modern turns mixology has taken.

The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual by Sean Muldon and Jack McGarry The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual

Sean Muldon and Jack McGarry

A book of cocktails from the world famous bar, Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in Lower Manhattan.

Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold Liquid Intelligence

Dave Arnold

In Dave Arnold's world, the shape of an ice cube, the sugars and acids in an apple, and the bubbles in a bottle of champagne are all ingredients to be measured, tested, and tweaked.

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist

Tim Federle

Featuring 65 delicious drink recipes paired with wry commentary on history's most beloved novels.

Gone With the Gin by Tim Federle Gone With the Gin

Tim Federle

The ultimate cocktail book for die-hard silver screen aficionados who prefer to be shaken, not stirred.

Drinking the Devil's Acre: A Love Letter from San Francisco and her Cocktails by Duggan McDonnell and Luke Abiol Drinking the Devil's Acre

Duggan McDonnell and Luke Abiol

A smart, delightful mix of barman's memoir and literary journalism, with layers of spirited history and liquid wisdom.

The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart The Drunken Botanist

Amy Stewart

Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries.

Experimental Cocktail Club by Romée de Goriainoff, Pierre-Charles Cros, Olivier Bon, Xavier Padavoni Experimental Cocktail Club

Romée de Goriainoff, Pierre-Charles Cros, Olivier Bon and Xavier Padavoni

85 very special cocktail recipes that take inspiration from classic American and French cocktails, served with an Experimental Cocktail Club twist.

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

David Kaplan and Nick Fauchald

The definitive guide to the contemporary craft cocktail movement, from one of the most influential bars in the world.

Imbibe! By David Wondrich Imbibe!

David Wondrich

Cocktail writer and historian David Wondrich presents the colorful, little-known history of classic American drinks and the ultimate mixologist's guide in this engaging homage to Jerry Thomas, father of the American bar.

Sherry by Talia Baiocchi Sherry

Talia Baiocchi

Beloved of sommeliers and bartenders in the craft cocktail community, today sherry is being re-discovered and re-appreciated as an incredible table wine and essential component of many classic cocktails.

To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion

Philip Greene

Philip Greene, cocktail historian, spirits consultant, and cofounder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, offers us a view of Hemingway through the lens Hemingway himself preferred - the bottom of a glass.

The Essential Bar Book by Jennifer Fiedler The Essential Bar Book

Jennifer Fiedler

A handsome and comprehensive bartending guide for professional and home bartenders that includes history, lore, and 150 recipes.

Cocktail Culture by Shawn Soole and Nate Caudle Cocktail Culture

Shawn Soole and Nate Caudle

World-class bartenders Shawn Soole and Nate Caudle compile cutting-edge recipes for the experienced bartender and beginner mixologist alike.

Cocktails in Literature Read more


What great modern cocktail books did we miss?