Book Review: The Professional Bartender’s Handbook

Book Review: The Professional Bartender’s Handbook

What a strange little tome we have here. All business, this book claims to offer “a recipe for every drink known–including tricks and games to impress your guests.”

Do professional bartenders engage in tricks and games? For most that I know, scowling is as close as they get to anything approaching a tabletop diversion.

The book begins with one oddity after another: Sections on what liquors you need to start a bar are fine (if limited — any professional bar will need far more than is listed here)… but it segues there from a section on wine and cheese pairings. For a book that includes two recipes for “Flirtinis,” it’s quite the strange addition to the book.

The meat of the tome, however, is the 1,500 recipes mentioned on the cover, and indeed The Professional Bartender’s Handbook is pretty comprehensive. Recipes are presented alphabetically, with no separation based on primary alcohol or other arbitrary categorization. This is a book for “looking up a drink quickly,” with 8 or 9 recipes per page. No photos, no history lessons on how the caipirinha came to be.

Overall the quality of the recipes are good, and the breadth is solid. That said, some key ommisisons make this book a tad suspect. One might conceivably be forgiven for including only a “Manhattan (Dry)” in the book, leaving the reader to figure out to sub in sweet vermouth for the dry vermouth in that recipe to make a regular Manhattan. But how a book like this omits any recipe for a Martini, well, that one even I can’t explain.


The Professional Bartender's Handbook




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.