If you’re here, you’ve likely been experimenting with making cocktails a lot over the past year. Thanks to many talented bartenders and photographers, we’ve been entertained with great YouTube videos, virtual cocktail classes, and cocktail blogs. While it was a challenging year, 2020 provided us with some incredible cocktail books. Many of them went beyond great recipes and shared cocktail and spirit culture with us. My library has grown so much over the past twelve months. I even invested in some pineapple bookends to keep them together! The new year often starts by looking ahead, so let’s check out the cocktail books that will be released in 2021.
Gin O’clock: A Year of Ginspiration by Craft Gin Club
Releases February 2, 2021
What better way to transition from Gin-uary into February than with a new cocktail book! The team behind Craft Gin Club, the largest gin club in the UK, is releasing their first book. While they also publish a monthly magazine, Gin O’Clock will provide you with year-round ways to celebrate gin. The book is packed with cocktails, food pairing suggestions, and craft projects. Gin truffles anyone? And, if you are looking for new ways to host friends on Zoom this year, the book provides tips to host a gin tasting.
The Wildcrafted Cocktail by Ellen Zachos
Releases February 16, 2021
Last year, I got very into Camp Cocktails, and the chapter on foraging. (I mean, into enough that I drove from Kansas City to Duluth this summer to visit the author’s distillery.) I discovered some other books at my library like Backyard Foraging written by Ellen Zachos. When I saw that she was releasing a new cocktail book in 2021 I added it to my list. The Wildcrafted Cocktail features cocktails and cocktail syrups and mixers made from foraged ingredients. I am most excited to learn how to make chanterelle-infused rum and quick pickled daylily buds.
Cocktails, Mocktails, and Garnishes from the Garden by Katie Stryjewski
Releases on March 16, 2021
Speaking of the garden, the Garnish Girl (aka Katie Stryjewski) is bringing us a cocktail book in 2021! If you don’t already follow her on Instagram, you should. Cocktails, Mocktails, and Garnishes will cover everything from cocktail gardens to creating gorgeous garnishes. Plus, friends of mine often ask me for mocktail recipes, and this book has you covered with those too. Described as “botany” for bartenders, I have no doubt that this book will be a great addition to any cocktail library.
Negroni by David T. Smith and Keli Rivers
Releases March 9, 2021
If you are into cocktails, you have likely seen the resurgence of the negroni. While it’s a drink that’s been around for more than 100 years, it’s on the rise. Heck, it even has its own week! So, it comes as no surprise that we’ll all be treated to Negroni as one of the new cocktail books of 2021. Made with three ingredients (campari, gin, vermouth), this drink is easy to make but comes in a complex variety of flavors. The book brings to life a variety of gin and non-gin versions of this amari-forward drink. One of the book’s authors, David T. Smith, has written five other books about gin. His deep knowledge will no doubt be key in expert flavor pairings throughout the book.
Cocktails of the Movies by Will Francis and Stacey Marsh
Releases on March 16, 2021
If there’s one thing we love in my house, it’s movies. My husband was a film major and now works for the largest movie theater company in the world. When I saw Cocktails of the Movies was being released in 2021, I was excited. This is an expanded edition of the book that was released by the authors in 2015. The book contains illustrated scenes from iconic movies with an accompanying cocktail recipe. While the 72 recipes are easier than some typical craft cocktail books, this book would make a great gift for the movie buffs in your life.
Tokyo Cocktails by Nicholas Coldicott
Releases on March 30, 2021
Ever since I visit Japan in 2016, I’ve wanted to go back. I was newly getting into cocktails at the time and I missed out on SO many incredible bars. (We did make it to a magical speakeasy in Kyoto.) If you follow the World’s 50 Best Bars list, you may recognize The SG Club, Bar Benfiddich, and High Five. All three are currently in the Top 50 and are in Tokyo. I mention this to highlight just how high the level of cocktails are in this incredible city. Tokyo Cocktails will take you inside the best bars and share the history and culture that makes Tokyo a must-visit city. You’ll be drinking like a local in no time, and without a plane ticket.
Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails by Robert Simonson
Releases on April 6, 2021
Two years ago I read Understanding Mezcal and included it as one of the best cocktail books post that year. Then in 2020 I was supposed to travel to Oaxaca to experience mezcal firsthand. (We all know how that turned out.) But then I saw that Robert Simonson was writing another cocktail book, and focusing it on two agave sprits I love! I also own his 3-Ingredient Cocktails book, which I really enjoy. Mezcal + Tequila Cocktails explores the flavors and classic recipes that highlight what is most unique in these liquors. Knowing how to balance smoke, spice, and sour in cocktails is an art and this book will help show you how.
Gotham City Cocktails by André Darlington and Ted Thomas
Releases on April 13, 2021
I’m not a huge DC Comics fan, BUT I have always been a fan of Batman. At the mention among a group (friends or strangers), the conversation easily dissolved into which Batman was best. I think it depends on when you saw your first movie. As a kid, reruns of the Batman television show were on after school. But, it was Val Kilmer’s Batman poster that hung over my bed in junior high. I know, you have opinions about that! When I caught wind of Gotham City Cocktails coming out, my childhood memories came back. (I don’t love super scary movies, so the newer ones are not my thing.) This cocktail book is the first official book of its kind. The 70 cocktail and bar snack recipes are inspired by characters from Poison Ivy to Commissioner Gordon and the Joker.
The Curious Bartender: Cocktails At Home by Tristan Stephenson
Releases on April 13, 2021
Another great Instagram account to follow belongs to The Curious Bartender. I first discovered the work of Tristan Stephenson on an episode of Bartender at Large, episode #211 to be exact. In the episode, he talked about his work with Diageo Bar Academy to educate bartenders. In addition to being an educator, he’s an author with at least ten other books and a bar owner. It’s safe to say that Tristan knows cocktails. In his newest book he’ll share the fundamentals of at-home bartending along with 75 cocktail recipes. You can bet that anything you make out of this cocktail book will be the best version you’ve ever made.
The Japanese Art of the Cocktail by Masahiro Urushido and Michael Anstendig
Releases on June 1, 2021
Katana Kitten has been on my list of NYC bars to visit since it opened in 2018. While travel to the city is still a bit impossible, Urushido will transport us there with this cocktail book in 2021. He’ll share what he’s been doing at Katana Kitten and previously, Saxon+Parole. The book includes 80 recipes that highlight The Japanese Art of the Cocktail through the authors’ experience and other mixologists around the globe. Promising incredible photography (look at the cover!), the book will also share techniques to craft the perfect drinks.