- In the late 19th and early 20th century, bars went from being seedy spots hidden in alleyways to popular gathering spots. Bartenders began dressing up to work and following set recipes.
- Jerry Thomas published the country’s first cocktail book, "The Bon Vivant’s Companion," in 1862. Thomas worked in the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, and nicknamed himself the "the Jupiter Olympus of the bar."
- Black bartenders, prohibited from going into white saloons, founded the exclusive “Colored Mixologists Club" in 1898. Black bartending in white saloons remained uncommon.
- Women, meanwhile, barely worked as bartenders. A rudimentary census in 1895 found just 147 women working as bartenders, compared to nearly 56,000 men. Source: The Wall Street Journal.
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There are countless cocktail books out there, but few are as laser-focused on the bartending trade than those we’ve chosen for this list. Within this particular subset, we’ve selected bartending books exclusively written and/or recommended by iconic and hyper-talented industry pros, making it difficult to choose one over the other in terms of calib...
If you’re starting truly from scratch and are looking for a crash course in the basics, you’ll find that there’s no shortage in books just for that—however, it is perhaps more wise to invest in a book that you can grow with, such as Death & Co’s “Cocktail Codex” or “The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.” These books are comprehensive enough to jump into as a beginner, but are written by serious experts and will continue to serve as reliable guides as you become more and more proficien...
There are so many incredibly talented bartenders past and present who have written books on the subject, so if you’re torn between two or more different options, look for some background details on each author to see which one speaks to you the most in terms of style, voice, and experience. If you choose a cocktail book based on the author’s approach and personality, chances are you’ll connect more with the writing, which can only be a good thing when learning.
What makes a good bartending book?
A great bartending book is thorough, well-written, and thoughtful, and is, above all, penned by someone who knows their stuff. Bartending is a craft that requires serious dedication and time in order to become proficient, and generally speaking, good books on the subject can really only be written by those who have put in their time behind the bar (we’re talking years).
What’s the difference between cocktail books and bartending books?
Cocktail books are typically recipe books, which sometimes feature helpful tips and insights on best bartending practices. Bartending books often contain cocktail recipes but are much more focused on the ins and outs of making and serving great cocktails in a professional or home setting. Many cocktail books are written by bartending experts, although they can also be written by experts who have not spent much (or any) time behind the bar, whereas bartending books require an intimate knowledg...
What do bartending books cost?
Bartending books can cost anything from a few dollars into the hundreds—original copies of, say, the “Jerry Thomas Bartender’s Guide” or “Shake ‘Em Up” can get quite expensive. On the higher end of the physical quality spectrum, books like “Meehan’s Bartender Manual” and “Cocktail Codex” will run you between $30 to $40 new. Used copies of modern cocktail books are, of course, more affordable than new copies, so try going that route if you’re hoping to save a few bucks on a book that’s out of...
Céline Bossart is a longtime wine and spirits writer who has amassed quite the collection of cocktail and bartending books written by her industry peers. Her favorite bar-related books are coffee table books that you actuallywant to read (”Cocktail Codex” is a prime example). Read Next: The Best Wine Books
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Mar 10, 2023 · In this article, we discuss how to become a bartender, the general responsibilities of this role, the average salary and frequently asked questions about this career path. What does a bartender do? A bartender is a professional who works in a restaurant, bar, hotel, club or other establishment mixing drinks and serving them to customers.
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