Required Reading
For Bartenders & Cocktail Enthusiasts

Not educating yourself as a bartender or cocktail enthusiast will lead to certain personal embarrassment and possible unemployment. So do yourself a favor and just RTFM! ☺️ Really, read as many as you can!

If you had to pick just one book to read as a new bartender or enthusiast I’d tell you to go read this one. It’s really covers the elements of cocktail technique and it does so in a really approachable manner. It’s fun to read, full of anecdotes, and balances the practical with in depth explanations very well!

Jeffrey Morganthaler’s blog was one of the first places I was exposed to the craft of bartending and even though he doesn’t update it very often these days it’s still an exceptional resource. If you find yourself wanting more you can also check out his weekly column for Playboy.

If you’re new to whisk(e)y but eager to learn this book is your best friend. It explains things like the difference between whisky and whiskey and why you’re not supposed to call Japanese whisky scotch even if they’re single malts. It lays down some guidelines and helps you understand the basics about Bourbon, Rye, Canadian, Japanese, and Scotch.

Well written and deeply informative this book was a pleasure to read. It’s your entertaining and easy to understand roadmap to the world of whisk(e)y.

The Joy of Mixology

Gary Regan

Out of all my books this ones got the most scraps of paper and dog eared pages. Not only does it talk about technique but it also teaches you about what it’s really like to be a bartender. It covers history, theory, technique, and the real practicalities. A lot of it reads like a good novel and less like a instruction manual; something I really enjoyed!

Gary also does an exceptional job breaking down cocktail classifications for new bartenders and makes it easy to remember for those struggling with wrote memorization. The Joy of Mixology is a must have in any bartender or cocktail enthusiasts library.

Death & Co. – Modern Classic Cocktails

David Kaplan, Alex Day, Nick Fauchald

This is an obvious one; I know! Of course it has awesome recipes and some serious street credit courtesy of it’s namesake bar Death & Co. but I think the real gem in this book lies in the strategies they present for creating new drinks. It really helped me start to develop a process for getting what was in my head out into the real world.

When you read this book pay special attention to their notes on tasting and evaluation cocktails! It’s an important skill that’s often underdeveloped.