Next-level cocktail books for aspiring bartenders and mixologists

Impress the heck out of your guests at your next party.

cocktail on a serving tray
Make better drinks at home.K U via Unsplash

The art of mixology combines flavors, scents, aesthetics, and science for truly incredible drinks—and you don’t have to be a professional bartender to appreciate it. Go all-in on advanced equipment, or just start adding bitters and garnishes to your everyday cocktails (ideally served in the right glasses). These cocktail-making books will give you the knowledge and recipes necessary to perfect your drinking needs.

I’m Just Here for the Drinks: A Guide to Spirits, Drinking and More Than 100 Extraordinary Cocktails

I’m Just Here for the Drinks: A Guide to Spirits, Drinking and More Than 100 Extraordinary Cocktails

From the founder of New York bitters bar Amor Y Amargo.Amazon

Sother Teague, a renowned bartender and founder of Amor Y Amargo, a tiny bitters-focused cocktail bar in New York City, has a distinctive voice and approach to cocktails that’s both charming and snarky. His book is full of personality, with recipes that use creative ingredients and generous doses of bitters (of course) and amaros. Cocktails are organized by spirit, and you’ll find classic recipes, as well as Teague’s playful and inventive takes on them.

Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail

Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail

A science-heavy cocktail book for perfectionists and overachievers.Amazon

Okay, this is not a cocktail book for beginner hobbyists (unless your idea of amateur cocktail making involves the use of a centrifuge and liquid nitrogen). It is, however, a riveting, intense dive into the science of the practice, down to the molecular chemistry that underscores a well-calibrated drink. Get it if you’re ambitious or serious, or want to enjoy reading about the expertise of someone who’s pushing the boundaries of what a cocktail can be. The author is Dave Arnold, the founder of the now-closed but still legendary experimental bar, Booker & Dax.

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist

For bookworms who also love drinking.Amazon

Literature and drinking go hand in hand in this whimsical cocktail book that pairs every concoction with a classic novel: Try making a “Romeo and Julep” or “A Rum of One’s Own.” The book is full of puns and illustrations, with recipes for bar bites to accompany your literary creations. It’s a perfect book to gift, or to live on your coffee table for both inspirational browsing and actual cocktail making.

The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails

The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails

A reference worthy book with over 1,000 cocktail recipes.Amazon

For a full-on schooling, you’ll want this hefty book by mixologist and photographer Mittie Hellmich. It has an extensive selection of cocktails, from classics (with many variations and twists) to modern innovations. Illustrations on recipe pages will show you what glasses to pair with what drinks, as well as tips on infusions, garnishes, syrups, hot beverages and more (including, of course, a few hangover cures).

Death & Co.: Modern Classic Cocktails

Death & Co.: Modern Classic Cocktails

Recipes and tips from the guys behind one of the world’s best bars.Amazon

This smart, comprehensive guide by the team behind the legendary bar Death & Co. mixes anecdotes from life behind the bar with classic recipes and original creations. It covers spirits, techniques, and even delves into the best kind of ice to use.