The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury

Originally published in 1948. The sage advice would be not to trust any bartender that does not have this bible under his counter. Although much has changed in the world of fine spirits, the basic principles that Embury lays out in the book hold true today. Furthermore his tongue in cheek tone makes this book a joy to read even for the non-tippler.

In the preface to the first edition, Embury claims, “I have never been engaged in any of the manifold branches of the liquor business.” But goes on to say, “On the other hand, I have always possessed an insatiable curiosity about the whys and wherefores of many things and particularly of food and drinks.” The author’s love of a quality cocktail is clear and his investigation thorough. He was a grubster before his time.

The book is no long in print, but used copies abound for those willing to pay the price.