The best cocktail books for armchair travelers

André Darlington Author Of Booze Cruise: A Tour of the World's Essential Mixed Drinks
By André Darlington

Who am I?

I have been researching and writing about cocktails for over two decades. My first book, The New Cocktail Hour, appeared in 2016 and I have since written seven more books pairing mixed drinks with topics such as classic movies, vinyl music, the DC Comics universe, Westerns, and travel. Cocktails are truly global concoctions, invented by using tea from the Far East, sugar from the Caribbean, liquor from Europe, and citrus from the tropics. The best books about mixed drinks transport us to a worldly state of mind wherever we are. 


I wrote...

Booze Cruise: A Tour of the World's Essential Mixed Drinks

By André Darlington,

Book cover of Booze Cruise: A Tour of the World's Essential Mixed Drinks

What is my book about?

In 2020, I circumnavigated the globe expressly in pursuit of cocktails, following in the footsteps of drinks writer Charles H. Baker Jr. a hundred years ago. Because of the recent spread of the craft cocktail revolution worldwide -- and a global distillery boom -- there has never been a better time to imbibe on Earth. I wanted to experience it all for myself and share my adventures. Booze Cruise includes a romp through over 40 of the greatest cocktail cities on the planet along with drink recipes, local intel, food pairing tips, and more. 

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Jigger, Beaker and Glass: Drinking Around the World

By Charles H. Baker Jr.,

Book cover of Jigger, Beaker and Glass: Drinking Around the World

Why this book?

Although a well-known writer in his time, penning columns for Esquire and Town & Country, Charles H Baker Jr. fell into obscurity until the cocktail resurgence of the 2000s. He circumnavigated the globe three times between the two World Wars and recorded his travels in a hilarious travelogue and drinks manual entitled Jigger, Beaker and Glass. The book is a delightful and delicious journey, full of memorable anecdotes and vivid descriptions of his stops around the world. What’s more, the collection reveals Baker’s gusto for life, travel, and imbibing -- he was truly one of history’s great bon vivants. Happily, Baker is now a cocktail-world icon, with the highly regarded Charles H bar in Seoul, Korea, directly inspired by his work. 


The United States of Cocktails: Recipes, Tales, and Traditions from All 50 States (and the District of Columbia)

By Brian Bartels,

Book cover of The United States of Cocktails: Recipes, Tales, and Traditions from All 50 States (and the District of Columbia)

Why this book?

Longtime New York City bartender Brian Bartels makes for an erudite and humorous guide to American cocktails as he surveys the country state by state. Chock full of quotes and quips, plus offering a stunning array of obscure drinking facts along with local lore, the book is not just an amble but a true tour de force. The United States of Cocktails makes for the perfect drinking companion to simply pop open and browse for a drink to make tonight, or to read cover to cover. Educational and transportive, Bartels’ charm keeps readers returning to this impressively researched tome.  


By the Smoke and the Smell: My Search for the Rare and Sublime on the Spirits Trail

By Thad Vogler,

Book cover of By the Smoke and the Smell: My Search for the Rare and Sublime on the Spirits Trail

Why this book?

If the wine world has Kermit Lynch and Neil Rosenthal, merchants who wrote elegant travel memoirs, the cocktail world has Thad Vogler. Both barman and proselytizer of good liquor (i.e. non-industrially produced booze), Vogler tells the story of his time on the road searching for mixed drink ingredients that have meaning, depth, history, and above all -- quality. Personal and engaging, By the Smoke and the Smell is a tale of passion, and is one of those rare industry books that is as interesting to cocktail veterans as neophytes.  


Lonely Planet's Global Distillery Tour 1

By Lonely Planet Food,

Book cover of Lonely Planet's Global Distillery Tour 1

Why this book?

Capturing the excitement of our drinking age, Lonely Planet’s Global Distillery Tour stops in over 30 countries and provides a tantalizing glimpse at what is happening around the world. With photographs of both product and place, the book offers not just information on distilleries but itineraries to start planning those visits. Vast in scope while feeling manageable, the book makes a great introduction to the spirits world -- plus, has readers itching to experience it all for themselves. 


Around the World in 80 Cocktails

By Chad Parkhill, Alice Oehr (illustrator),

Book cover of Around the World in 80 Cocktails

Why this book?

Australian bartender Chad Parkhill tells the origin stories of eighty iconic cocktails, mixing history and geography in this clever book that is at once a resource and drinks manual. Want to know how the G&T traveled from India to England? Or the history of the Kir Royale? This book shares it all so readers are sure to be the smartest guests at the next cocktail party. Vibrant, lush illustrations make the book extra-captivating. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in cocktails, Indonesia, and bartender?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about cocktails, Indonesia, and bartender.

Cocktails Explore 35 books about cocktails
Indonesia Explore 23 books about Indonesia
Bartender Explore 9 books about bartender

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Apéritif, Tequila Mockingbird, and The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, & Song if you like this list.