Four months and counting of quarantine has inevitably led us to become the household bartender (opens in new tab) at one point or another to kick back after a long week of work, or simply take an hour to forget about the global pandemic we're living in. To help take you from bartender to startender (sorry!) start by using any of these cocktail books (opens in new tab), ahead, to upgrade your at-home happy hours. Some of them will even double as a great piece of coffee table decor next to that spicy marg you just made. Cheers to that!
Assouline 'Vintage Cocktails'
Consider this curated list of over 60 vintage cocktails, a.k.a. recipes from the Prohibition era, the coffee table book you didn't know you needed.
Whether you're an amateur or a pro, the Cocktail Codex is guaranteed to teach you something you don't know—whether it's what to omit in a recipe, or why only certain ingredients work with specific drinks.
'Cocktails Made Simple'
For the people who are brand new to the home bartending scene, Cocktails Made Simple will eliminate the fear of not knowing how to make a traditional cocktail, like an old fashioned. You'll totally know what you're doing by the end of the book.
'The 12 Bottle Bar'
Listen, not all of us have enough room in our cabinets to keep a stocked bar—especially during a pandemic. The 12 Bottle Bar teaches us how to make more than 200 recipes with 12 bottles of alcohol. Warning: Tequila and bourbon don't make the cut, so you'll have to make do with martinis and mint juleps.
'The Joy of Mixology'
The Joy of Mixology has been praised as the model classic cocktail guide for mixologists and bartenders alike who want to learn the cocktail basics while also exploring their own concoctions.
Bethenny Frankel, former cast member of Bravo's Housewives of New York, combines 100 easy recipes to mix with her low-calorie Skinnygirl cocktail brand in this fun guide.
Okay, so maybe the great outdoors constitutes as our patio these days, but that doesn't mean these outdoor cocktail recipes found in Camp Cocktails won't make for a refreshing happy hour drink (or three).
'The Mini Bar'
Cocktail recipes, but make 'em into notebooks. This set of eight mini journals features whisky, rum, gin, vodka, tequila, champagne, sherry, and amaro recipes, each labeled by their base ingredient.
'The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails'
The New York Times Book of Cocktails, curated by Steve Reddicliffe, the “Quiet Drink” columnist for The Times, is organized by cocktail type and features notable essays throughout. It's truly a book of cocktails.
'Fancy AF Cocktails'
Who better than Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval of Vanderpump Rules to give us tips on how to create cocktails for fancy gatherings or for those days when you just want to kick back on the couch and get a good buzz going? If you aren't taking your bartending skills too seriously, Fancy AF Cocktails is ideal to have in your collection.
'Spritz: Italy's Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes'
This book cover screams, "Take me to Italy!" with a focus inside on the history of spritz cocktails and how they made their way around the world. There is, of course, plenty of recipes to learn as well.
'The Mixology of Astrology'
The Mixology of Astrology is the perfect gift for your astrology-loving best friend who's clueless about how to make herself a martini. Aliza Kelly Faragher matches the drink to the occasion for every sign.
'Free the Tipple: Kickass Cocktails Inspired by Iconic Women'
Each cocktail recipe in Free the Tipple is based on the style and personality of iconic women throughout history from Frida Kahlo to Rihanna. Yes, I'll have what Beyoncé is having.
'The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book'
Downton Abbey fans will appreciate The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book, which features a collection of cocktail recipes that represents the characters and customs from the film.
'Meehan's Bartender Manual'
Jim Meehan's Meehan's Bartender Manual is widely known as the book for cocktail nerds who truly want to perfect their craft. Expect a mixture of history, spirits production, drink technique, and recipes in this ultimate cocktail manual.
'The Drunken Botanist'
Yes, you read that title correctly. Amy Stewart's The Drunken Botanist shows us how our favorite alcohol originated from plants (tequila from agave! rum from sugarcane!) and became the beloved cocktails they are today.
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Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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