Bar & Cocktail Resources
I use this page to showcase some of the best resources and products that I can find. You should know that everything on this page is something I truly believe is high quality and a good value.
Cocktail & Bar Books
There are dozens of incredible bar and cocktail books out there, going way back into the 19th century.
Many of the really old cocktail books are no longer copyrighted, so you can take a look at them for free thanks to Google Books. I compiled a list of 25 of the classics in this post. Let me know if I missed any!
My Top Three:
I put together a list of my top three Cocktail books for a recent podcast episode. Here they are again!
Contrary to our comments in the episode, this book came out in 2003 and has become extremely well known in the industry. Gary (Gaz) is one of the folks often credited with the resurgence of the Craft Cocktail movement overall – and I’m sure this book had a big piece in that!
The great thing about this book is that it’s not just a list of recipes. Rather, Gaz fills it with stories and concepts that help teach the base concepts of mixology so you will have the knowledge to create and adapt recipes
This one’s the cheater! This book is not actually a cocktail book at all – it’s all about wine pairings. But I think Chris makes a good point in including it in this conversation. Unless you’re out at a bar, chances are pretty good you’ll be enjoying your cocktail with food. So knowing the core concepts of pairing food and drinks is a great skill to have!
This book is a great place to start in learning how to pair food and wine – and to leverage those concepts for spirits and cocktails as well.
Last but definitely not least is Food & Wine’s annual publication, called, simply, “Cocktails”. It looks like the 2014 edition is definitely out and it’s a good one – it’s the 10th anniversary edition!
This book comes out every year and is a great way to really stay current on what’s going on in the world of craft cocktails and mixology. While books can become out of date, this publication is released annually and is constantly updated. It’s not expensive either – As I look now on Amazon I see they start at $0.01 for Used copies, even for the 2014 edition! So it’s definitely worth a look – and an inch on your bookshelf.
The Rest of My Bookshelf:
Those three are great, but I really can’t stop there. Here are several other books that you’ll find on my bookshelf:
- Bitters by Brad Thomas Parsons
- Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock
- Artisanal Cocktails by Scott Beattie
- Raising the Bar by Nick Mautone
- Complete Book of Spirits by Anthony Dias Blue
- Infused by Susan Elia MacNeal
- Imbibe by David Wondrich
- Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart
- Cocktail Techniques by Kazuo Uyeda
- Bon Vivant Guide by Jerry Thomas
- The Cocktail Lab: Unraveling the Mysteries of Flavor and Aroma in Drink, with Recipes, by Tony Conigliaro
- New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines behind a Revolution in Taste
Blogs We Love
These blogs are some of my favorite websites and people – from the scientific to the culinary, I think you’ll like them all!
- Alcademics by Camper English
- Art of Drink by Darcy O’Neil
- The Straight Up – Pre-Prohibition Cocktails & Modern Twists on Classics
- Rated R Cocktails – Tiki meets Halloween
- Stir & Strain – One of the most beautiful Cocktail blogs out there
- BevSpot Blog – Great advice here for folks who want to learn the management side of the business
Online Training and Classes
Somehow “Online bartender Training” has been given a terrible reputation, but not all online training is bad. There really are some great options out there for folks who are looking to learn more and improve their skills without leaving their computer.
Here are our top three.
BarSmarts is unquestionably the industry leader, and I learned a lot from this program. The emphasis is on learning cocktail and ingredient history, as well as getting really comfortable with the classic cocktail recipes that everyone should know. I strongly feel that anyone who’s looking to make a career in the Hospitality industry behind the bar should absolutely take this course
A bit of a shameless plug here, but I do strongly believe that our Mixology Certification is first rate.
We built this program to pick up where BarSmarts ends. Understanding Cocktail components dives deeper into the complexity of cocktail ingredients and how they work together, and Mixology 101 pieces all of that information together into a simple framework for cocktail design. You’ll finish these courses with the ability to look at a shelf of bottles and know exactly what to do with it.