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

The Books I Picked & Why

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. 


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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.  


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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.  


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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. 


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Around the World in 80 Cocktails

By Chad Parkhill, Alice Oehr

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. 


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