The Best New Cocktail Books To Shake Up Your Happy Hour

Food & Drink

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From classic bar recipes to sophisticated new twists on old techniques, there are plenty of drinks to sample if your cocktail routine is in need of some shaking (or stirring) up. Beyond offering tasty recipes to experiment with at your home bar, these new cocktails books are also a source of entertainment and even education. So sit back and pour yourself a drink—it’s five o’clock somewhere—and check out these new cocktail books that deserve a place on your shelf and in your bar.

Gin Austen: 50 Cocktails to Celebrate the Novels of Jane Austen by Colleen Mullaney

For lovers of gin and classic Regency-era English literature, there’s Colleen Mullaney’s highly civilized new book, Gin Austen. Expect a smattering of historical tidbits, Austen quotes galore, and plenty of punny boozy tipples like: Just A Dashwood, Cousin Collins and Fizzy Miss Lizzie, which is a mix of elderflower liqueur, apricot nectar, vodka and sparkling wine. Elizabeth Bennet would certainly approve, and these drinks will be sure to shake up any book club.

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Nightcap: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening by Kara Newman

Kara Newman, spirits editor at Wine Enthusiast magazine, pours out 40 unique recipes for your personal last call in Nightcap. From cocktails that double as dessert to drinks that will soothe your stomach after a big meal (or send you right to sleep), this charming guide will help you end any night on a high. And keep your eye out for Newman’s upcoming book, Cocktails with a Twist: 21 Classic Recipes. 141 Great Cocktails.

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Happy Hours: Bar Stories and Famous Cocktail Recipes by Mira Eitan

Happy Hours by bartender and spirits and wine writer Mira Eitan is a gorgeously styled book of iconic cocktail recipes and the anecdotes, history and myths behind them. The book is largely broken down by famous spirits, covers the famous cocktails made with them and shares stories along the way. When used correctly, Happy Hours will give you an education—and many very happy hours.

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Romantic Cocktails: Craft Cocktail Recipes for Couples, Crushes, and Star-Crossed Lovers by Clair McLafferty

Romantic Cocktails by bartender Clair McLafferty would make a great gift for drinks lovers—or the regular kind. There are more than 100 romantic recipes that riff off the classics and, alongside, loved-up readers will find quotes and toasts written up in the margins. Romantic Cocktails is divided into sections like Vintage Romance (classic cocktails) and Love Potions (ones packed with aphrodisiacs), and there’s even a section for Modern Craft Cocktails, which features exclusive drink recipes contributed by master mixologists from around the world.

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Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails by Shannon Mustipher

For the past few years, the ’60s tiki bar has gotten a 21st-century upgrade. In this stunning cocktail guide by rum expert Shannon Mustipher, you’ll find a wide array of both new and classic tropical-style drinks that are anything but kitschy. There are many special ingredients required, and the recipes aren’t always basic, but these chic cocktails without tons of sugar and artificial ingredients are worth the extra effort.

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Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald and David Kaplan

This multiple-award-wining book by Death & Co master mixologists Alex Day, Nick Fauchald and David Kaplan reveals a “root recipe” template from which all cocktails can be crafted, making it a must-read for any aspiring bartender or drinks enthusiast. In addition to providing background on spirits and specific brands, Cocktail Codex offers classic recipes broken down and then augmented with variations, making this read equal parts informative and amusing,   

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Floral Libations: 41 Fragrant Drinks + Ingredients by Cassie Winslow

Everything about Floral Libations is insanely photogenic: The highly stylized book would make a welcome addition to any chic coffee table, and the botanical cocktails are dreamy enough to make it on any influencer’s Instagram. These drinks are perfect for social gatherings: start with the nonalcoholic iced lavender café au lait and then move on to the blooming orange blossom Moscow mule.

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3-Ingredient Cocktails: An Opinionated Guide to the Most Enduring Drinks by Robert Simonson

If you’re after a strong drink that’s also light on effort, then this is your book. A finalist in the 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Awards, 3-Ingredient Cocktails by Robert Simonson is a gorgeously photographed collection of the world’s most seminal—and most basic—classic cocktails like the Tom Collins, Revolver and the White Negroni. If you’re a fan, you’ll be pleased to know that Robert Simonson has a new book coming out soon: The Martini Cocktail: A Meditation on the World’s Greatest Drink, with Recipes.

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