Skip to Content

15 Best Bartending Books for Beginners

If you want to go into the world of business and you intend to start your own bartending business, you are required to acquire the right knowledge and one of the ways you can acquire the right knowledge is to read the right books.

No doubt, to read is one thing, but to know the types of books to read is a different kettle of fish. This is why in this article, we will ensure that we highlight some books that will help you become nothing less than the very best as an entrepreneur – bartender and owner of a bartending business.

In no particular order, here are the 15 best books we will recommend to any aspiring entrepreneur who wants to start a bartending business.

Best Bartending Books for Beginners

  1. The Art of Mixology: Classic Cocktails and Curious Concoctions by Paragon Books

Become a bartender and create new, delicious concoctions with this collection of artisan cocktail recipes. In addition to craft drinks and techniques, this book also covers traditional mixology methods and features classic cocktails that never go out of style, such as the Mai Tai, Marilyn Monroe, and Zombie.

Are you craving a cocktail but not the alcohol? Try your hand at making mock-tails with recipes for the Ginger Fizz, Long Boat, Sober Sunday, or Cranberry Energizer. Let the cocktail hour commence with more than 200 recipes to choose from!

Price: Kindle: from $4.10, Hardcover: $13.31, and Spiral-bound $37.15

  1. The Bartender’s Manifesto: How to Think, Drink, and Create Cocktails Like a Pro by Toby Maloney and Emma Janzen 

Take a raucous romp through the essential stages of fashioning cocktails and learn the hows and whys of bartending with acclaimed mixologist Toby Maloney and the team from The Violet Hour.

When the pioneering cocktail bar opened in Chicago in 2007, it set a high standard with an innovative training program that teaches not just how to replicate classic cocktail recipes flawlessly, but how to embrace ingenuity, make smart decisions, and create original, inspired recipes from rote.

Like cooks who can peer into their pantry and whip up dinner on the fly, no recipe needed, those who follow the methods in The Bartender’s Manifesto will have the technical foundation and confidence to take their cocktail skills to the next level and fabricate drink from any ingredients at hand.

Price: Kindle: $9.99, Hardcover: $18.39, and Spiral-bound: $30.98

  1. Meehan’s Bartender Manual: [A Cocktail Reference and Recipe Book] by Jim Meehan

Meehan’s Bartender Manual is the first book of the modern era to explain the bar industry from the inside out. With chapters that mix cocktail history with professional insights from experts all over the world, this deep dive covers it all:

Bar design, menu development, spirits production, drink mixing technique, the craft of service and the art of hospitality, and more.

The book also includes recipes for 100 cocktails culled from the classic canon and Meehan’s own storied career. Each recipe reveals why Meehan makes these drinks the way he does, offering unprecedented access to a top bartender’s creative process.

Price: Kindle: $6.99, and Hardcover: $23.99

  1. The Bar Shift: 41 Short Management Lessons You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way! by Dave Nitzel

The Bar Shift is 41 best practices for managing your bar and restaurant specifically targeting concepts and processes that will improve results and work-life.

It is designed to be specific and to the point, which is what the bartending industry requires. The book also allows the reader to jump right to a topic that may be a burning need in the business at the moment without compromising any previous content.

The book is purpose-built for an industry that does not have time for a lot of waste. The Bar Shift targets the Bar Manager as its audience understanding that that role may be played by anyone from an owner to a bartender.

The book ensures there’s content that will satisfy the most seasoned and talented of those involved in the industry from managers, owners, consultants, and distributors alike.

Price: Paperback: $18.95

  1. Bartending For Dummies Paperback by Ray Foley

Bartenders are the life of the party―and it has never been easier to prepare and serve drinks that keep partygoers coming back for more! Whether you want to break into professional bartending or up your ante as a home mixologist, this clear, easy-to-follow guide has you covered.

With tips on stocking your bar and working with the right tools and garnishes, as well as information on the latest liquor trends and popular new cocktails, it won’t be long before you hear, “Bartender, may I have another?”

Price: Kindle: $12.00, and Paperback: $18.62

  1. The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails by Mittie Hellmich

The Ultimate Bar Book is an indispensable guide to classic cocktails and new drink recipes. Loaded with essential-to-know topics such as barware, tools, and mixing tips.

As the mistress of mixology, the author Mittie Hellmich has the classics down for the Martini, the Bloody Mary and dash; and the many variations such as the Dirty Martini and the Virgin Mary. And then there are all the creative new elixirs the author brings to the table, like the Tasmanian Twister Cocktail or the Citron Sparkler.

Illustrations show precisely what type of glass should be used for each drink. With dozens of recipes for garnishes, rims, infusions, and syrups; punches, gelatin shooters, hot drinks, and non-alcoholic beverages; and let us not forget an essential selection of hangover remedies, The Ultimate Bar Book is nothing short of top shelf.

Price: Kindle: $11.99, and Hardcover: $13.69

  1. The Home Bartender, by Shane Carley

You don’t need a thousand-dollar liquor cabinet to impress the company at your next party! Shane Carley has curated a collection of 175+ creative and delicious drink recipes that require only four ingredients or less. Learn how to become a master mixologist, all with just a handful of ingredients required.

In The Home Bartender, Second Edition, you will find beautiful, full-color photography throughout the book, virgin variations on most drinks, simplified classics to innovative new libations, and more!

Price: Kindle: $11.99, and Hardcover: $12.69

  1. Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail Hardcover by Dave Arnold

In Dave Arnold’s world, the shape of an ice cube, the sugars and acids in an apple, and the bubbles in a bottle of champagne are all ingredients to be measured, tested, and tweaked. With Liquid Intelligence, the creative force at work in Booker & Dax, New York City’s high-tech bar, brings readers behind the counter and into the lab.

There, Arnold and his collaborators investigate temperature, carbonation, sugar concentration, and acidity in search of ways to enhance classic cocktails and invent new ones that revolutionize your expectations about what a drink can look and taste like.

Price: Kindle: $19.25, and Hardcover: $25.60

  1. Bartending Basics: A Complete Beginner’s Guide (The Thomas Morrell Bar Management Series) by Thomas Morrell

Bartending is a great career path. You can work in resorts, casinos, cruise ships, tropical islands, and many other fun and exotic places. You can go just about anywhere in the world and find a job working as a bartender and make good money.

This book will help you unlock the door that leads to a rewarding and profitable future. Inside this book you will find lots of information on beer, wine, distilled spirits, mixing drinks, maximizing tips, working in a bar, being a professional, responsible bartending, customer service, tools and terminology, and finding a bartending job.

The author has spent over thirteen years in the industry and has filled this book with relevant information and time-tested tips and tricks. This book can help you start your bartending career.

Kindle: $2.99, and Paperback: $9.95

  1. The Bartender’s Black Book Spiral-bound by Stephen Kittredge Cunningham

This bestselling bartending guide, now in its 10th edition, is the most comprehensive and user-friendly drink recipe book for the aspiring, and professional bartender.

With more than 2,500 recipes, including 150 new drinks such as low-calorie concoctions and six pages of sake selections, The Bartender’s Black Book details serving etiquette; flavor profiles; food matching; and the history and lore behind various wines, beers, and spirits.

  1. Can I Mix You a Drink?: A Cocktail Book of 50 Drink Recipes Inspired by T-Pain’s Music by T-PAIN, Maxwell Britten, and Kathy Iandoli (Contributor)

Working with James Beard Award-winning mixologist Maxwell Britten, T-Pain sets cocktails to his music. Showcasing a variety of flavors (and potencies), each drink has been carefully curated to reflect a sentiment from one of his hit songs. Can I Remix You a Drink? includes:

  • 50+ creative cocktail recipes—both classic and new—for parties, local bars, pre-gaming, and quiet nights at home
  • Hilarious personal anecdotes about T-Pain’s life and lessons while inebriated
  • Glossy gold and jet-black pages featuring high-end drink photography
  • Luxurious faux leather cover with gold foil and an embossed monogram of T-Pain himself

Considering T-Pain is known for unorthodox mixes in his music, you can expect the same from his drinks, along with some classic cocktails modified by T-Pain himself. Whether you’re a longtime fan or simply a fan of drink-making, Can I Mix You A Drink? is the cocktail book for you.

Price: Kindle: $12.99, and Hardcover: $15.67

  1. The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique by Jeffrey Morgenthaler (Author), Martha Holmberg Alanna Hale (Photographer)

Written by renowned bartender and cocktail blogger Jeffrey Morgenthaler, The Bar Book is the only technique-driven cocktail and bartender book out there. This modern cocktail book breaks down bartending basics into essential techniques and then applies them to mixing the best drinks.

Bartending and mixology techniques include the best practices for Juicing, Garnishing, Carbonating, Stirring, and shaking, Choosing the correct ice for proper chilling and dilution of a drink, and much more

Featuring how-to photography illustrating the basic elements of mixed drinks, plus more than 60 recipes with step-by-step instructions for making craft cocktails that employ these essential bartending techniques, The Bar Book is an indispensable manual for home cocktail enthusiasts.

Price: Kindle: $14.99, and Hardcover: $17.39

  1. The Essential Bar Book for Home Mixologists: Tools, Techniques, and Spirits to Master Cocktails by Amy Traynor

There is an art to crafting the perfect cocktail—balancing flavors, choosing the right glassware, and even the garnish matters. This easy-to-use bar book will show you what you need to master mixology and create delicious libations from the comfort of your own home.

This book breaks down the tools, ingredients, techniques, and other bar essentials you will need to stock your home bar and start making cocktails from scratch.

You will find a wide selection of classic and contemporary cocktails to enjoy, each complete with the story of its creation and history. Discover the ingredients to keep on hand to complement specific spirits such as gin, rum, whiskey, and more.

Price: Kindle: $9.79, and Paperback: $9.79

  1. The New Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Think Like a Master Mixologist, with 500 Recipes by Dale DeGroff (Author), Daniel Krieger (Photographer)

The renowned cocktail bible, fully revised and updated by the legendary bartender who set off the cocktail craze—features over 100 brand-new recipes, all-new photography, and an up-to-date history of the cocktail.

Named one of the best cookbooks of the year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Craft of the Cocktail was the first real cookbook for cocktails when it was first published in 2002, and it has had a remarkable influence on bartending.

With this new edition, the original gets a delicious update, bringing expertise from Dale DeGroff, the father of craft cocktails, to the modern bar for a new generation of cocktail enthusiasts.

Price: Kindle: $10.99, and Hardcover: $19.29

  1. Big Bad-Ass Book of Cocktails: 1,500 Recipes to Mix It Up! by Running Press

This comprehensive collection of cocktail recipes will be an essential resource for both professional bartenders and the average party host.

Want to serve up perfect martinis at your next social gathering? Cosmos for the classy ladies? Sex on the Beach for those who want to sound Shirley Temple for the thirteen-year-olds counting down the days to twenty-one?

Big Bad-Ass Book of Cocktails is the complete guide to these classic drinks as well as trendy concoctions featured at bars and nightclubs.

Price: Kindle: $9.99, and Paperback: $15.21