Skip to Content

The 10 Best Books for Your Home Bar

The 10 Best Books for Your Home Bar

The rise of craft cocktails has led to a new trend: home bartending. The only thing cooler than discovering a great cocktail bar to boast to your friends about is creating the same cocktail experience in the privacy of your own home. What’s more exclusive than a bar that only you and your friends and family are invited to attend?

You might be wondering how you could possibly decide what to buy to create your dream home bar. You aren’t a trained bartender. You merely enjoy finely crafted cocktails every now and then. These ten books are a good start. From choosing the right bottles to perfecting the proper techniques to wow your friends, these books have everything you need to start a mixology movement in your own home.

The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual: Secret Recipes and Barroom Tales from Two Belfast Boys Who Conquered the Cocktail World

Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry and Ben Schaffer

The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog was named the World’s Best Bar and the World’s Best Cocktail Menu at Tales of the Cocktail in 2015. The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual is chock-full of those recipes as well as the story of how the bar became the best cocktail bar in the world. All of the cocktails at the bar and in the book are contemporary takes on historical, classic cocktails. Some cocktails are from as far back as the 1800s. The book is also full of photos of the drinks and of the iconic bar itself. Link

The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique

Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Released in June of 2014, The Bar Book was written to help bartenders and novice cocktail enthusiasts alike learn the proper techniques needed to craft high-quality cocktails. It was written by well-known bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler (of Clyde Common in Portland). The book gives readers in-depth examples of techniques, including creating garnishes, how to juice, carbonating cocktails, shaking and stirring. Link

The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to be a Master Bartender, with 500 Recipes

Dale DeGroff

Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff is one of the most respected authors and mixologists on the planet. His book The Craft of the Cocktail teaches readers how to design the perfect home bar, learn the techniques to wow your friends and family while explaining the proper use of bar tools like jiggers, strainers and zesters. He doesn’t stop there. DeGroff details the history of every spirit before explaining the tools of the trade that he teaches to real bartenders every day. Link

The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails

Steve Reddicliffe

Owning this book will guarantee you never run out of cocktail ideas. This is a curated collection of over 350 different cocktail recipes from New York Times writers like Craig Claiborne, Toby Cecchini, Eric Asimov, Robert Simonson, Jason Rowan, Melissa Clark, Jordan McKay, and Mark Bittman. You won’t find many books with a more influential collection of contributors. Link

The PDT Cocktail Book

Jim Meehan

Meehan is one of the most respected bartenders in the world. Recently named Best Bar Mentor for 2015 at Tales of the Cocktail, Meehan’s book is the quintessential New York cocktail book. PDT, the prohibition-esque speakeasy, is one of the hidden gems of the city. Entry into the bar is through a small hot dog restaurant. Once inside, you’ll be treated to drinks from some of the most talented bartenders in the country. This book, and its 304 cocktail recipes, is the closest thing to a night out at PDT. Link

Bitters: A Spirited History

Brad Thomas Parsons

You can’t make a great cocktail without great ingredients. Bitters have, at times, been called the salt and pepper of the cocktail world. A few dashes can take your cocktail from basic to special. Parsons explains the history of this oftentimes undervalued ingredient. He notes how bitters are way more complex than just Angostura and even supplies the reader with over 70 different bitters-centric cocktails to try at home. Link

The Savoy Cocktail Book

Harry Craddock

First published in 1930, The Savoy Cocktail Book is a must-have for every cocktail enthusiast. Born in the US, Craddock spent years as a bartender at the American Bar at London’s Savoy Hotel beginning in 1920. There’s a reason this book is still being printed today. It contains countless classic cocktails that are still beloved, including the dry martini, Corpse Reviver and the White Lady. Link

Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar

David Wondrich

David Wondrich is a true cocktail historian. When he isn’t imbibing cocktails, he’s thumbing through classic cocktail books, including Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide. Imbibe! is a look at the histories and recipes of some of the most famous (and not-so-famous) classic American cocktails. On top of all the background on Thomas and the recipes he thoughtfully recorded, Wondrich reveals recipes for over 100 classic cocktails and punches as well as 20 contemporary cocktail recipes from some of the best bartenders working today. Link

The Essential Bar Book: An A-to-Z Guide to Spirits, Cocktails, and Wine, with 115 Recipes for the World’s Great Drinks

Jennifer Fiedler

The perfect book for the cocktail novice in your life, The Essential Bar Book is just that: essential. It’s an alphabetical guide to everything cocktail. From the histories, legends and ingredients that make up 115 of the most popular cocktails in the world. Like people, every cocktail comes with a story about its genesis. Many are fascinating and interesting, but all are accounted for in this easy to use cocktail guide. The small size of the book also makes it perfect for a stocking stuffer. Link

The 12 Bottle Bar: A Dozen Bottles. Hundreds of Cocktails, a New Way to Drink

David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson

You might be surprised, but according to the authors, you only need 12 bottles to create the perfect home bar. They teach you which bottles to buy and how to use these dozen bottles to craft over 200 cocktails, including classics like: the Manhattan, Martini and Old Fashioned. The book explains how everything in your home bar should have a purpose and a reason for its existence. If you don’t want to have to shell out hundreds of dollars to start your home bar, this book is for you. Link