100 books like The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails

By Dave Wondrich, Noah Rothbaum (editor),

Here are 100 books that The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails fans have personally recommended if you like The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of When It’s Cocktail Time in Cuba

Anistatia R. Miller Author Of Spirituous Journey: A History of Drink, Book Two

From my list on folklore and fact on spirits & cocktail history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been researching and writing with my co-author husband Jared Brown about spirits and mixed drinks for three decades. After writing more than three dozen books plus hundreds of articles about the history and origins of alcoholic beverages, you could say I am addicted to the topic in a big way. While we’ve travelled and tasted drinks around the world we’ve also amassed a few thousand books on the subject. It’s served as a launch point of our secondary careers as drinks consultants and master distillers for global spirits brands. I'm currently finishing my doctoral thesis on early-modern English brewing at the University of Bristol to put a feather on the cap of my long career.

Anistatia's book list on folklore and fact on spirits & cocktail history

Anistatia R. Miller Why did Anistatia love this book?

Privately published in 1928 by Horace Liveright, British playwright and journalist Basil Woon captured the energy that took hold of Havana during Prohibition in the USA, as Americans flocked by the thousands to drink, gamble, and party served by hundreds of Cuban and self-exiled American bartenders amid the tropical beauty that is Cuba. This book opened my eyes to clues that helped me sort out the true origins of the Mary Pickford, the Mojito, and the El Presidente. While my husband and I travelled to Havana once a year for ten years, this book guided us to the places we wanted to visit to capture the spirit and essence of Cuban cocktails.

By Basil Woon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When It’s Cocktail Time in Cuba as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hardback copy of When It's Cocktail Time in Cuba, by Basil Woon.


Book cover of Thrilling Cities

Anistatia R. Miller Author Of Spirituous Journey: A History of Drink, Book Two

From my list on folklore and fact on spirits & cocktail history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been researching and writing with my co-author husband Jared Brown about spirits and mixed drinks for three decades. After writing more than three dozen books plus hundreds of articles about the history and origins of alcoholic beverages, you could say I am addicted to the topic in a big way. While we’ve travelled and tasted drinks around the world we’ve also amassed a few thousand books on the subject. It’s served as a launch point of our secondary careers as drinks consultants and master distillers for global spirits brands. I'm currently finishing my doctoral thesis on early-modern English brewing at the University of Bristol to put a feather on the cap of my long career.

Anistatia's book list on folklore and fact on spirits & cocktail history

Anistatia R. Miller Why did Anistatia love this book?

My husband and I have spent three decades travelling the world in search of great drinks and great drink stories. You could say this one volume ignited a wanderlust in us both when we first kicked off our drinks writing career. Written between 1959 and 1960, some of the places mentioned don’t exist any longer but brought back fond memories for me. The Musket & Henrickson pharmacy in Chicago which had a late-night café frequented by Playboy Club entertainers and mafiosi is just one example. What Fleming offered in his portrayals of Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna, Geneva, Naples, and Monte Carlo undoubtedly inspired Anthony Bourdain’s portrayals of places in his fabulous TV series.

By Ian Fleming,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thrilling Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On November 2nd armed with a sheaf of visas...one suitcase...and my typewriter, I left humdrum London for the thrilling cities of the world...

In 1959, Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was commissioned by the Sunday Times to explore fourteen of the world's most exotic cities. Fleming saw it all with a thriller writer's eye. From Hong Kong to Honolulu, New York to Naples, he left the bright main streets for the back alleys, abandoning tourist sites in favour of underground haunts, and mingling with celebrities, gangsters and geishas. The result is a series of vivid snapshots of a…


Book cover of Downtown

Anistatia R. Miller Author Of Spirituous Journey: A History of Drink, Book Two

From my list on folklore and fact on spirits & cocktail history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been researching and writing with my co-author husband Jared Brown about spirits and mixed drinks for three decades. After writing more than three dozen books plus hundreds of articles about the history and origins of alcoholic beverages, you could say I am addicted to the topic in a big way. While we’ve travelled and tasted drinks around the world we’ve also amassed a few thousand books on the subject. It’s served as a launch point of our secondary careers as drinks consultants and master distillers for global spirits brands. I'm currently finishing my doctoral thesis on early-modern English brewing at the University of Bristol to put a feather on the cap of my long career.

Anistatia's book list on folklore and fact on spirits & cocktail history

Anistatia R. Miller Why did Anistatia love this book?

Once again, personal history meets drink history with this book about nightclubbing in New York’s Greenwich Village during the 1980s. Musto escorts readers through the hotspots that made Manhattan’s nightlife tingle and zing. Fuelled on vodka, vodka, and a side of whiskey and beer, Musto races through the Cat Club, Area, Limelight, Max’s Kansas City, Mudd Club, CBGB’s, Indochine, and other hideouts that kept the pre-cocktail revival night culture alive and kicking. 

By Michael Musto,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

very good.


Book cover of New York Cocktails: An Elegant Collection of Over 100 Recipes Inspired by the Big Apple

Anistatia R. Miller Author Of Spirituous Journey: A History of Drink, Book Two

From my list on folklore and fact on spirits & cocktail history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been researching and writing with my co-author husband Jared Brown about spirits and mixed drinks for three decades. After writing more than three dozen books plus hundreds of articles about the history and origins of alcoholic beverages, you could say I am addicted to the topic in a big way. While we’ve travelled and tasted drinks around the world we’ve also amassed a few thousand books on the subject. It’s served as a launch point of our secondary careers as drinks consultants and master distillers for global spirits brands. I'm currently finishing my doctoral thesis on early-modern English brewing at the University of Bristol to put a feather on the cap of my long career.

Anistatia's book list on folklore and fact on spirits & cocktail history

Anistatia R. Miller Why did Anistatia love this book?

Last but certainly not least, Amanda Schuster’s recipe collection spends more time weaving a fantastic fabric of anecdotes and origin stories about a range of famous and infamous mixed drinks made in Manhattan. From familiar concoctions such as the Cosmopolitan’s New York origin stories and the eponymous Manhattan to more contemporary classics such as the Penicillin and the Purple Rain, readers will find inspiration in mixing and conversing about the drinks and the people who mixed them in the city that never sleeps.

By Amanda Schuster,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Covers drinking in New York from every angle...New York Cocktails by Amanda Schuster is a story of the cocktail told through the city."-Florence Fabricant, The New York Times

Far more than just a recipe book, New York Cocktails features signature creations (along with new variations of the classic Manhattan and Negroni), tips, and techniques by the best mixologists in the Big Apple, along with their personal profiles.

From the classic Martini, to the Hanky Panky of the 1920s, to the Penicillin, you will be mesmerized by the characters and history of the New York City cocktail. New York Cocktails features…


Book cover of The Cocktail Lab: Unraveling the Mysteries of Flavor and Aroma in Drink, with Recipes

Lesley Jacobs Solmonson Author Of The 12 Bottle Bar: Make Hundreds of Cocktails with Just Twelve Bottles

From my list on chronicle the history of cocktails.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lesley Jacobs Solmonson has written the book Gin: A Global History and is completing Liqueur: A Global History. Her work has been seen in the Los Angeles Times, Imbibe, Sierra, and Gourmet. She is Senior Editor at Chilled magazine, as well as Cocktail/Spirits Historian at the Center of Culinary Culture in Los Angeles. With her husband David Solmonson, Lesley co-wrote The 12 Bottle Bar, a #1 best-selling cocktail book on Amazon. Named one of the “9 Best Cocktail Books" by the Independent UK, The 12 Bottle Bar is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of the American Cocktail. The Solmonsons’ work has been featured in numerous media outlets.

Lesley's book list on chronicle the history of cocktails

Lesley Jacobs Solmonson Why did Lesley love this book?

I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Tony Conigliaro’s Drink Factory laboratory in London where I found a mad scientist’s lair filled with complex, technical equipment, dry erase boards covered in formulas, and shelves of esoteric, bottled ingredients. While The Cocktail Lab finds a logical home in the era of molecular mixology, it is far more than that, showcasing its author as part chemist, part bartender, and part magician. First and foremost, the book captures what Conigliaro calls his “love affair with liquids”. The book’s cocktails – many of which I have tasted – are sensory experiences that capture not only flavors, but aromas, textures, and even memories. While modernizing many classic recipes, Conigliaro simultaneously pushes the definition of what a cocktail is and can be. For me, The Cocktail Lab celebrates the ever-evolving possibilities of liquid pleasure in the modern world and how a cocktail can be a transformative…

By Tony Conigliaro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the U.K.'s preeminent bartender and one of the leading authorities on "modernist mixology" comes this collection of 60 revolutionary cocktails, all grounded in the classics but utilizing technologies and techniques from the molecular gastronomy movement.

The right cocktail is more than just a drink. It's the perfect combination of scent, color, sound, and taste. Utilizing a broad spectrum of influences—including gastronomy, perfumery, music, art, and design—Tony Conigliaro has established himself as one of the most innovative and thought-provoking mixologists in the world. In The Cocktail Lab, Tony presents his best and boldest creations: drinks like the Vintage Manhattan, Dirty…


Book cover of The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, & Song: A Spirited Look at Catholic Life & Lore from the Apocalypse to Zinfandel

Michael P. Foley Author Of Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner's Guide to a Holy Happy Hour

From my list on culture and booze.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of my fondest childhood memories is the holiday parties that my parents threw. Lying in bed I could hear roars of laughter crash the silence and gently ebb as the grownups shared stories and made merry. Later in life, I came to realize how different that kind of drinking is from the frat-boy binging of college and the anxious bracers at singles’ bars. As an adult, I became a Catholic theologian, got married, and had a family of my own. My wife Alexandra and I have relished an evening cocktail together in order to unwind and catch up on each other’s day (Alexandra has homeschooled all six of our children, which is itself a compelling reason to drink daily).

Michael's book list on culture and booze

Michael P. Foley Why did Michael love this book?

This could be the most bizarre monograph you will ever have on your bookshelf. The subtitle is no lie: for every letter of the alphabet, Zmirak has assembled an entertaining assortment of food recipes, drinking songs, history lessons, wine suggestions, or one of the Ten Commandments impishly explained. In the dedication, Zmirak and contributing author Denise Matychowiak list as their inspirations Pope Benedict XVI, food authors Paula Wolfert and M.F.K. Fisher, and Weird Al Yankovic. Need I say more?

By John Zmirak, Denise Matychowiak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, & Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This sequel to the highly-praised Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living allows you to view Catholic life from a unique perspective. Starting with the wines, beers, and liquors made around the world by monks, the authors explore everything from Irish history to the secrets of the Knights Templar, with drinking games, food, and cocktail recipes, and rollicking drinking songs.


Book cover of Cocktail Boothby's American Bartender

Lesley Jacobs Solmonson Author Of The 12 Bottle Bar: Make Hundreds of Cocktails with Just Twelve Bottles

From my list on chronicle the history of cocktails.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lesley Jacobs Solmonson has written the book Gin: A Global History and is completing Liqueur: A Global History. Her work has been seen in the Los Angeles Times, Imbibe, Sierra, and Gourmet. She is Senior Editor at Chilled magazine, as well as Cocktail/Spirits Historian at the Center of Culinary Culture in Los Angeles. With her husband David Solmonson, Lesley co-wrote The 12 Bottle Bar, a #1 best-selling cocktail book on Amazon. Named one of the “9 Best Cocktail Books" by the Independent UK, The 12 Bottle Bar is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of the American Cocktail. The Solmonsons’ work has been featured in numerous media outlets.

Lesley's book list on chronicle the history of cocktails

Lesley Jacobs Solmonson Why did Lesley love this book?

William T. Boothby’s bartending guide was published 29 years after the first cocktail recipe book written in 1862 by American barman/impresario Jerry Thomas. In my opinion, Cocktail Boothby’s offers a more mature vision of cocktail culture in the 19th and early 20th century’s Golden Age, serving as a boozy time machine back to the era when many classic cocktails – the Manhattan, the Martini, the Mint Julep, to name a few – were born. Along with a thorough compendium of recipes, the book includes Boothby’s “Valuable Suggestions” to bartenders (“Do not serve a frosted glass to a gentleman who wears a mustache”) and his “Ten Commandments” of bartending, as well as a selection of old advertisements and various handwritten recipes. The author’s celebration of, as he calls it, “the art of mixology”, never fails to delight me.

By William T. Boothby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cocktail Boothby's American Bartender as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of two National Best Book Awards!

"If one had to pick a single name to stand as dean to the whole tribe of San Francisco bartenders, it would be the Honorable William T. Boothby, head bartender at the Palace Hotel and author of one of the most useful bartender's guides of the golden age of American drinking. This exceedingly scarce little volume is a surpassingly sound effort, full of well-considered recipes with a real West Coast flavor."-David Wondrich, author of Imbibe!

"The bartending community is rejoicing! The new Anchor Distilling Edition of Cocktail Boothby's American Bar-Tender, based on the…


Book cover of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique

Carey Jones Author Of Every Cocktail Has a Twist: Master 25 Classic Drinks and Craft More Than 200 Variations

From my list on books for home bartenders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing about cocktails and spirits for over a decade, often in collaboration with my mixologist husband and co-author, John McCarthy. Our mission is to create delicious, practical cocktail recipes for the home bartender. There are a number of cocktail books out there, but they usually fall into two camps. Novelty books, which are often silly and untested. Or books written by professionals, for professionals, impractical if you don’t have a centrifuge, dehydrator, and 300-odd liqueurs in your home bar. What about the vast middle ground–people who love cocktails, want to make them at home, and learn something while they’re sipping? We believe in finding the best books for them. 

Carey's book list on books for home bartenders

Carey Jones Why did Carey love this book?

I’ve spent more than a decade immersed in the cocktail world and writing about bar culture, mixology, and technique; John is an award-winning bartender himself. And yet when we have questions on cocktail technique, we always, always reach for this book.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler is a legend in the industry and, what’s more, he has a gift for clear instruction. Whatever our question, we’ll find an authoritative answer here. 

Book cover of The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks

Susan Reigler Author Of Which Fork Do I Use with My Bourbon?: Setting the Table for Tastings, Food Pairings, Dinners, and Cocktail Parties

From my list on cocktail books from a bourbon/whiskey expert.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a spirits writer, educator, and judge specializing in bourbon and other American whiskeys based in Louisville, Kentucky. I have authored or co-authored six books on bourbon (including two bourbon cocktail books) and among the publications for which I am a regular contributor are Bourbon+ (where I focus on the biology and chemistry of whiskey making) and American Whiskey Magazine, for which I write whiskey tasting notes and ratings. I am also the past president of The Bourbon Women Association. When I am not writing or conducting private, customized bourbon tastings, I present seminars at bourbon festivals and other bourbon events around the United States.  

Susan's book list on cocktail books from a bourbon/whiskey expert

Susan Reigler Why did Susan love this book?

Quick, name a beverage that has not been derived from or flavored by a plant? Not surprisingly, only water and milk leap to mind. Bestselling author Stewart delves into the natural history and cultivation of scores of plant species with witty and authoritative accounts of how they have been used in coffee, tea, all manner of spirits, wine, and beer. Cocktail recipes are included throughout as well as invaluable cultural context. I loved the bit about sorghum-based baijiu which figured in Nixon’s famous China trip. – “Alexander Haig had sampled the beverage during an advance visit and cabled…’Under no repeat no circumstances should the President actually drink from his glass in response to the banquet toasts.’” 


Nixon drank it anyway. Impressive since Dan Rather said it tasted “like liquid razor blades.” 

By Amy Stewart,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Drunken Botanist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This quirky guide explains the chemistry and botanical history of over 150 plants, trees, flowers and fruits, showing how they form the bases of our favourite cocktails. Amy Stewart offers gardeners growing tips and provides cocktail enthusiasts with 50 drink recipes, as well as a rounded knowledge of the processes and plants which go into popular concoctions.


Book cover of Lonely Planet's Global Distillery Tour 1

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

From my list on 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. 

André's book list on cocktail books for armchair travelers

André Darlington Why did André 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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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