The best cocktail books for armchair travelers

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

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The books I picked & why

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

André Darlington Why did I love 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. 

By Charles H. Baker Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jigger, Beaker and Glass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of lively liquid masterpieces from around the world. Unusual alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages discovered by the author on every continent. From Mint Juleps to Shanghai Cossack Punch.


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

André Darlington Why did I love 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 Brian Bartels,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The United States of Cocktails as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An exploration of the beloved cocktails, spirits, and bars that define each state in America

The United States of Cocktails is a celebration of the cocktail history of every state in America. After traveling around this great nation and sampling many of the drinks on offer, cocktail authority Brian Bartels serves up a book that is equal parts recipe collection, travelogue, historical miscellany, bartender's manual, and guide to bar culture today-with bar and drink recommendations that are sure to come in handy whether or not you are crossing state lines. Delving into the colorful stories behind the creation of drinks…


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

André Darlington Why did I love 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.  

By Thad Vogler,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked By the Smoke and the Smell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spirits expert Thad Vogler, owner of the James Beard Award–winning Bar Agricole, takes readers around the world, celebrating the vivid characters who produce hand-made spirits like rum, scotch, cognac, and mezcal.  From the mountains of Mexico and the forbidden distilleries of Havana, to the wilds of Scotland and the pastoral corners of France and beyond, this adventure will change how you think about your drink.

Thad Vogler is one of the most important people in the beverage industry today. He’s a man on a mission to bring “grower spirits”—spirits with provenance, made in the traditional way by individuals rather than…


Book cover of Lonely Planet's Global Distillery Tour 1

André Darlington Why did I love 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. 

By Lonely Planet Food,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lonely Planet's Global Distillery Tour 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explore the exciting world of spirits with Lonely Planet. Featuring the best distilleries and bars in over 30 countries, we'll tell you where to go and what to taste - from gin, bourbon and whisky to vodka, cachaca, tequila and more. Includes unmissable regional drinks from South Africa, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, France, Italy, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Within each of the 33 countries in Lonely Planet's Global Distillery Tour, we've organised the distilleries alphabetically by region. Each distillery has a suggested must-try drink or tasting experience and also recommended local sights so you can explore…


Book cover of Around the World in 80 Cocktails

André Darlington Why did I love 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. 

By Chad Parkhill, Alice Oehr (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Around the World in 80 Cocktails as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ever since its invention in the late 18th century, the cocktail has been a global traveller. Born in England and raised in America, a cocktail can take influences from all over the world and mix them up into exciting new combinations. This book celebrates this globe-trotting history through 80 cocktails - each with its own story to tell.

Bartender and writer Chad Parkhill takes you on a whirlwind global tour, with recipes designed to be made at home. You'll learn about the surprising military history behind the bubbly Venetian Spritz; how the G&T moved from India to England (and why…


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The Truth About Unringing Phones

By Lara Lillibridge,

Book cover of The Truth About Unringing Phones

Lara Lillibridge

New book alert!

What is my book about?

When Lara was four years old, her father moved from Rochester, New York, to Anchorage, Alaska, a distance of over 4,000 miles. She spent her childhood chasing after him, flying a quarter of the way around the world to tug at the hem of his jacket.

Now that he is in his eighties, she contemplates her obligation to an absentee father. The Truth About Unringing Phones is an exploration of responsibility and culpability told in experimental and fragmented essays.

The Truth About Unringing Phones

By Lara Lillibridge,

What is this book about?

When Lara was four years old, her father moved from Rochester, New York, to Anchorage, Alaska, a distance of over 4,000 miles. She spent her childhood chasing after him, flying a quarter of the way around the world to tug at the hem of his jacket. Now that he is in his eighties, she contemplates her obligation to an absentee father.




The Truth About Unringing Phones: Essays on Yearning is an exploration of responsibility and culpability told in experimental and fragmented essays.


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