A good bartending guide is essential to both the seasoned professional and the amateur mixologist. Whether you need to know how to make a particular cocktail or you need tips on garnishing with lemon peels, having a bartending guide handy will answer most of your questions in a pinch. These are some of the best books available and are filled with recipes and tips to guide everyone along the path to the perfect cocktail.
When researching a cocktail or some other bartending fact I will often turn to my copy of The Craft of the Cocktail, it is an essential bartending guide in my collection. Dale DeGroff's 2002 book is an amazing reference that will stand up to years of use. The 500 cockatils include many of the most popular and numerous classics that you should be familiar with. He also includes many of his own cocktail creations that have quickly become classics of modern mixology. Learning from one of the best in the business is always a good thing and this book is timeless and valuable.
Dale DeGroff (aka King of Cocktails) is back in another essential hardcover that should be in every cocktail enthusiasts' library. DeGroff is one of the masters of modern mixology and his last book, The Craft of the Cocktail was spectacular, but the new book has a twist. In The Essential Cocktail DeGroff dissects 100 cocktails, showing us how to make them perfectly, then throws in a variation of each with an equal amount of valuable mixing advice. Add this to your wish list because it is the best individual books released this year.
Tony Abou-Ganim is one of the great modern mixologists and after years behind the bar he has turned more frequently to educating bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts. In his first book Abou-Ganim shares 60 of his original cocktails with commentary, tips, background, and very sound advice for the modern mixologist. Many of the drinks are simple, ones that you can make using the average bar and this is a great beginners book or addition to the home bartenders library. Pros will also find valuable, practical tips for making drinks better everyday.
Cheryl Charming has updated one of the most popular bartending guides, The Everything Bartender's Book: 3rd Edition. It now contains 1,000 drink recipes spanning the range of classics, martinis, shots and mocktails. Cocktail recipes are organized by the main liquor involved, so all your vodka, tequila and rum drinks will be with each other, making it easy to use what you have in your bar. Snippets of facts, history and trivia are scattered throughout, keeping you reading through the recipes, and her bartending advice, tips and techniques are, as always, invaluable.
Stephen Kittredge Cunningham brings us over 2800 cocktail recipes (500 of which are martinis) in the Bartender's Black Book. Of course you will find many of the classic cocktail recipes in this bartending guide, but you will also find a lot of "new" cocktails which have gained popularity in the revival of the cocktail culture. If you have no idea what a Mo Jo, Sand in Your Butt, or F.E.D.X. are, you need to check out this book. The Bartender's Black Book is updated on a regular basis, each edition adding the newest cocktail recipes found in bars throughout the world. This is a great easy reference book to hide behind the bar for those times you need to look up the obscure drink a customer has ordered.