Resources

Difford's Guide For Discerning Drinkers is one of the largest and most visited drinks-related websites. It has a large collection of cocktail recipes but more than that, it has a lot of articles on tools, techniques and ingredients.

Distiller—a website built by sprirts enthusiasts. Bottles are classified, reviewed and assigned a score by a panel of experts. You can find recommendations for bottles all over the web but this is where I go to check them out.

Wikipedia's List of IBA official cocktails is a useful single page list of the classic, contemporary and new era cocktails selected by the International Bartenders Association (IBA) for use in their annual World Cocktail Competition.

Front cover of the book The New Cocktail HourThe New Cocktail Hour: The Essential Guide to Hand-Crafted Drinks
Tenaya and André Darlington
This is the book that got us started. It presents the recipes roughly in chronological order and gives a little background and history for each one. It contains plenty of sections discussing tools, techniques and ingredients too. I particularly like the fact that they give specific brands for the ingredients in their recipes rather than leaving you to guess. We don't always agree with the quantities in their recipes, and always adjust them somewhat to our taste, but this book makes a great start.

Front cover of the book The Essential CocktailThe Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks
Dale DeGroff
Dale DeGroff has earned a reputation for being the mixologist who almost single-handedly brought about the recent cocktail revival. This is a reduced version of his book, "Craft of the Cocktail," more suited for the home enthusiast. I like it because it is organized according to cocktail style. It offers a little of the history behind each cocktail and frequently includes modern variations alongside the classic recipes. He also offers tips based on his many years of bartending experience. I don't think I shall ever flame an orange peel but this is where I learned the best method of salting a margarita glass.

Front cover of the book The Fine Art of Mixing DrinksThe Fine Art of Mixing Drinks
David A. Embury
This classic guide to the cocktail was first published in 1948. The author was a lawyer specializing in income tax and corporate law but he had a passion for mixing cocktails. He was the first to analyze the structure of a cocktail separating them into two basic types: the aromatic and the sour. He separates the ingredients into three basic categories: the base, modifying agents, and special flavorings and coloring agents. His chapter on "Roll your Own" illustrates how all of the recipes are related and brings clarity and structure to a subject that otherwise is just a random pile of recipes with funny names. No one is going to follow his recommended ratios any more but the book is still a delight to read. Long unavailable it has recently been reprinted.

Front cover of the book Liquid IntelligenceLiquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail
Dave Arnold
You may not want to chill your drinks with liquid nitrogen or heat them with a red-hot poker. Perhaps you are not interested in the rapid vacuum-infusion of liquors, vacuum distillation or clarifying your fruit juice in a centrifuge. You may not even want to carbonate your drinks yourself with nitrous oxide gas. Even if you are not interested in the equation for estimating dilution ratio from alcohol concentration, you still want this book. Just for the discussion of ice alone this book is worth it. The details of the physics involved in the simple act of shaking a cocktail with ice are eye-opening. This book is a delight and bears testimony to the near obsessive depths of scientific endeavor possible when a true artist is in pursuit of a really nice drink.

Front cover of the book Imbibe!Imbibe!
David Wondrich
A wonderful romp through the history of the American cocktail from the punches at the time of the Revolution up to the cocktails popular just before Prohibition. It is very well written and full of the larger-than-life characters and their stories that make the journey so entertaining. It begins as a biography of Jerry Thomas, author of the first book of drink recipes published in the USA, but soon digresses into the recipes themselves and the stories behind them. The book is a delightful read even for those with no interest in reviving an authentic early period cocktail.

Front cover of the book The Joy of MixologyThe Joy of Mixology
Gary Regan
This is a book for the professional bartender. Even the history section is more a history of bartending than of cocktails. However, the system of classification of cocktails that the author proposes is very interesting and the family charts of cocktails very useful. Also each cocktail recipe also gives as much of its history as is known and in many cases the name of its creator.

Front cover of the book Smuggler's CoveSmuggler's Cove
Martin and Rebecca Cate
Martin and Rebecca Cate are the creators of Smuggler's Cove a highly regarded modern Tiki bar in San Francisco. Here they give recipes for their interpretations of the classic exotic drinks from the Tiki era and many of their own creations in the same style. They give a detailed history of the growth and demise of the Tiki era and also of the recent revival. Of particular interest is Martin's classification of rum. Rum is a diverse spirit and he is able to introduce the many dimensions of the spirit in a coherent and meaningful manner that I found very helpful, especially as a list of brands and bottles is included.

Front cover of the book Death & Co: Modern Classic CocktailsDeath & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald and Alex Day
This book takes you behind the scenes at Death & Co. a highly influential cocktail bar in New York. It gives you everything from setting up a bar, through a day in the life of a bartender, to the cocktail recipes themselves. While much of the content applies to the professional there's a lot to learn for the home cocktail enthusiast too. I particularly enjoyed the introduction to spirits including selected brands, the techniques section and the recipes they use for the classic cocktails.