I Wrote a Book!

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So, for the past couple of years I’ve gotten a lot of emails from people who have visited this site, and many of them read something like this:

To: Jeffrey Morgenthaler
Subject: Web Form Submission
From: Some Loudmouth
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
Message-Id: <20140412235755>
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2013 16:57:55 -0700 (PDT)

Hey Asshole

When are you going to post more? I’m tired of not getting free shit on the regular.

Well, have I got news for you: I wrote a book, and now you can see what you’ve been missing over the past two-and-a-half years while I worked on it in my free time, between running two bars and writing a weekly column for Playboy. So let me tell you a little bit about what the book is about.

Whenever I train new bartenders, the first thing I tell them is that there are three things, in equal measure, that make a great cocktail:

  1. The recipe you follow.
  2. The ingredients you select.
  3. The technique you employ.

Now, as I see it, there are a million books out there that have been written about recipes, and the history of recipes. Slightly less so, there are books out there about spirits, liqueurs, and other ingredients. But I couldn’t think of any books that really delved into the technique of making a great cocktail. So I set out to do just that.

This is a cocktail book that doesn’t talk about booze. There’s no chapter on rum, there isn’t a chapter of tequila cocktail recipes, and there definitely aren’t a hundred something recipes of my personal creations, with glossy photos of each one. This is a book that shows you exactly how a professional bartender does every last thing pertaining to the making of a quality cocktail, from handling citrus, to exploring simple and compound syrups, to shaking, stirring, infusing, garnishing, and even using a blender in the proper way.

Throughout the text, I’ve included tips, techniques, and recipes from some of the best bartenders in the country. Folks like Jennifer Colliau, Daniel Shoemaker, Jon Santer, Todd Thrasher, Murray Stenson, Joseph Brooke, and Dale DeGroff all contributed valuable information for me to share with my readers.

The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique is available now, wherever books are sold. I hope you’ll pick up a copy.

50 Replies to “I Wrote a Book!”

  • Cod R Physh says:

    We bought your wonderful book over a year ago. Thanks to it and you, of course, I have ended my 30 years as a drink slinger. I am now crafting better cocktails and my patrons love it. I think it is a must read for anyone who wishes to improve their game.
    BTW I stole your recipe for your Amaretto sour, making sure to always give you credit. You my friend are making me famous in Western Arkansas.

    Love ya
    Cod R Physh (pronounced Fish)
    Bartender/Manager Arlie Muck’s Tavern

  • Jacob Ley says:

    This book is a MUST have. I´ve read it cover to cover, and I will keep it with me, always, and read it again and again. It´s THAT good – I use it all the time, when I tend parties; for inspiration, recipes and…it´s just so good and entertaining to read.

    If you choose to listen to just one great person and bartender; pick this guy, folks.

    Jeffrey, you are amazing. Thank you for giving a s…!

    Cheers from Denmark.

  • Markos says:

    Hey Jeffrey i got your book yesterday!
    Really different from any other out there and i really like your knowledge on the citrus.Helps me a lot being a bartender in Greece.
    I am a big follower of your blog and your small screen network series!
    One thing only that i would like to ask you is where did you read that ‘Persephone’s unwitting consumption of the fruit (pomegranate) resulted to her banishment to the underworld?
    The story we learn from kids here in Greece from our historians is that Persephone got kidnapped by Hades after asking Zeus to have her but he refused.So while she was collecting seeds from the ground,Persephone daughter of Demetra(goddess of the four seasons)Hades appeared and took her to the underworld!
    After an agreement Demetra and Hades had Persephone would spend 6 months in the real world(therefor we have spring and summer) and 6 months down the underworld(therefor fall and winter)
    Anyways if you have a different side of the story i would love to read it!
    Keep it up Jeffrey you are an amazing bartender with a very approachable teaching method.

  • Mike Wilen says:

    I can’t put your book down. I am making a giant shopping list. I dreamt about home made Orange bitters. Damn you.

  • Ben Shaw says:

    I love the concept of the book. There is so much more to bartending then just knowing recipes. There is an art and professionalism that separates great bartenders from good bartenders.
    Looking forward to reading it. Cheers

  • Ananth says:

    hello Jeffrey
    just want to thank you for your great book.
    I am not a bartender, or maybe just my own amateur bartender at home, and found your book on amazon by chance.
    The word “technique” caught my attention and I wasn’t disappointed. Finally a book which do not contain 95% of cocktail recipes.
    To be honest, I first downloaded your book since it is not available where I live but when I saw the content with chapters such as “how much juice can you expect” or “how to shake a cocktail”, I told myself that I have to own the book ; even if the shipping costs were the same price as the book itself.

    No regret, it was totally worth it and in addition to that, the book itself is really beautiful.

    Anyway, just want to thank you again for the so many things I learnt and still am learning.

    Greetings from Paris !

  • Craig says:

    Have you book in my bar library. I rank it among the very best. Not loaded with drink recipes but those included are great. It is however loaded with information that ever bar tender should know before getting behind the “stick”. Just need you Jeff to drop by my home bar to sign the book and share a drink or two. Ever in Newfoundland drop me an email. Bring along Dale DeGroff as well.

  • PasadenaGlenn says:

    Dear Jeffrey,

    Thank you for all the heart you have put in to your blog and new columns at PB. I really appreciate your nod to homemade ginger beer (beats everything available hands down) and the grasshopper (always delicious if you are in the mood for mint). I would like to say thank you by buying your book… (maybe you should sell t-shirts too, you might be surprised how they sell). Do you have any preference between selling a physical copy or a kindle version of the book? I know you don’t control the selling but if one is counted towards your sales more than an other I would like to choose that one… of course I will tell my friends to buy it as well, they have been drinking the ginger beer after all. Best regards!

  • Stephen says:

    Received my copy last week and love the book! As a non-professional bartender, I had honestly not given much thought to some of the topics (proper shaking technique, ice, etc…), and that embarrasses me a little! Great work!

  • Chris says:

    Recently taken an interest in making my own ginger beer, then just got inspired to make your tonic. had to get your book for the updated recipe! appreciate the blog even though i’ve only really read a couple of articles. you are the reason i’ve bough a juicer, made my own carbonation system, and now produce home made beverages for my friends!

  • Mark L says:

    Love the book brother! Really well done! Keep it up!

  • Harry says:

    You wrote it; I just read it. Thanks for teaching this old dog new tricks – 50 years of drinking, and I STILL learned stuff. Haven’t had this much fun since Jerry T. taught me about glasses and Harry Johnson taught me how to handle employees. Thanks, sincerely, for the update.

  • Alberto Matallana says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a while (with the due lack of publishing periods, but hey…) and I recommended it to many of my bartender fellas, and still do it.

    Just got to know you wrote a book (which makes me feel to go right now to the bookshop and get it by any way… but I will properly buy it). Looking forward for that read.

    And last but not least, congrats for the Tales of the Cocktail award.
    Hope one day I take a plane from Netherlands and visit your bar (and part of the country, actually), but till then, hope you keep on having lack-of-publishing periods to delight people with new releases here or on paper.

  • David Froehlich says:

    Just bought a copy on the Amazon. Can’t wait for it to arrive. Greetings from a colleague in Germany

  • Adrien Suree says:

    You are very right in saying that there was no real cocktail book about technique. Yours is fantastic (although I have to point out that the title is rather dull) and I hope others follow your lead. I’m looking forward to swing by Portland one day — it’s only 5000 miles away, after all…

    One more thing. While your videos with Small Screen Network might not be as in-depth as your book or your articles here I am always amazed at how entertaining they are while still being immensely useful to a hobbyist like me. If you ever feel like making any more it would be greatly appreciated (because, you know, free shit and what not :p).

    PS: Just picked up Kevin Liu’s book, thanks for the recommandation.

  • Chucky says:

    Just picked up the book Monday. I am not a bartender. Just a person who picked up the classic cocktail hobby in the last few years. I truly wish I had this book when I first began down this road. I have spent many hours watching those behind some of the best bars in Houston. I have learned everything I know from watching them. Now I have what I believe will be an essential read for anyone who aspires to become a bartender behind any respectable bar. Thank you for the book. It is very well written and organized. I appreciate the tool tips and recipes. I plan on working through each recipe over the next year. Will have to scale down a few recipes as I am making cocktails for two. Of course, I could just drink more!!’ Thank you for sharing this book with the world!!

  • Jake says:

    Why not link to Powell’s instead of Amazon. #supportland

  • Erin says:

    Love the book! Really dig that it’s technique-driven, but still includes some great recipes. Plus the whole structure of the book being set up like you’d make a drink definitely made this former English major swoon! Can’t wait to visit Clyde Common and enjoy a cocktail or two.

  • Joshua Gonzalez says:

    Jeffrey –

    Thank you so much for this book – I’ve collected most of the cocktail books that I can get my hand on and I must say that your contribution is simply my favorite. Your writing is excellent and concise, and delves into the science in a way that feeds the nerdy brains of readers like myself. Most importantly, you haven’t just slammed us with a tome of recipes that use ingredients and spirits onto which the average reader will rarely get their hands – instead, you teach us HOW to make a great drink, which is infinitely more useful. I used to tell people to get a copy of the Savoy or PDT books – you’re the only recommendation I’ll make now.


  • Rip Georges says:

    Binge read your book from the moment I unwrapped it! You are like the Jacque Pepin of cocktails. High praise and well deserved. Congratulations!

  • Tony C says:

    You’ve been a big help to me and my restaurant. I started bartending two years ago, and I’ve learned some great tips from you. I’m taking vacation and coming to Portland with my girlfriend next week; the Clyde Common is definitely one of our first stops. Congrats and thanks for the inspiration!

    195 Restaurant
    Southern Pines, NC

  • Andrew Ennis says:

    Hey Jeffrey,

    I first came across your skills from a web series on ‘Small Screen Cocktails’ and thinking this guy is a bit different from the other mixologists (Or Professional Bartenders, if the former term is annoying) out there. I was delighted to hear you had announced a book, which I have subsequently bought, and read it front to back in a day. Excellent stuff, it has to be on every bartenders list.

    One thing. The Irish Coffee.The Buena Vista bar didn’t invent it either, it was brought there by an American journalist (who later worked at that bar) who had it at it’s birthplace ; Foynes Port near Shannon Airport in Ireland. It was created by an Irish bartender by the name of Joe Sheridan.

  • Dave Grier says:

    Loving the book so far, I appreciate the level of detail with each topic. It’s as detailed and thoughtful as your blog posts, so it’s awesome to have it all categorized. Also I’ll echo praise for Kevin Liu’s book, you both clearly have similar approaches to thoughtfulness in your writing and you’ve both helped be hone my craft!

  • mari says:

    It’s like Christmas eve everytime I check out this site and there’s a new post, and the book news is Just awesome. Gotta check out amazon noe and see if I can find a copy that ships overseas.

  • Sam says:

    The book is beautiful Jeffrey. Just got my copy yesterday and can’t wait to get through it all. Been reading this blog for years and I’m happy you finally got the book out. I hope you make a huge pile of money… You deserve it!

  • Jesse says:

    Congratulations! Just put the order in for a copy. You’ve been so generous with what you’ve learned in the bar biz over the years, that this purchase was an automatic yes. I wish you much success and remuneration for your efforts. I’m sure the book will be great and useful when I’m training new staff (or even better: “oh fuck, I’ve been doing that wrong!”). Cheers man.

  • Kevin Liu says:

    Jeff, to say I am stoked is a complete understatement. I can’t wait to devour this tome, man. Cheers to all your hard work.

  • Bo says:

    My pre-ordered copy arrived yesterday. Can’t wait to read this bitch!

  • Andy says:

    I received my pre-ordered copy from Amazon this afternoon. So far, it is honestly the best cocktail book I’ve read. I’m a very inquisitive person and you seem to have answered most of the questions that I’ve had. I’ve only scratched the surface at this point, but… Kudos! I imagine the rest of the book will be just as informative. Thank you sir! I hope you already have plans on a second one.

  • Steve says:

    Congratulations! More importantly, when does the book tour hit Southren California/Los Angeles?

  • Atalanta says:

    Ok, so when does your book tour hit the east coast?

    Probably not soon enough. So how can I order an autographed copy? 😉

  • Bob.E says:

    Been reading your blog for years! I learned some great things. Got the book today, it’s good man! I talked my owners into buying a few copies for the staff to read(mandatory reading for barkeeps).
    I learned how to tend bar 12 years ago from some old school dudes…the morganthaler method helped me become more polished and I thank you for that. So far my favorite idea in the book has been the mason jar cream technique. I do the same thing when doing gomme syrups…Arabic gum & hot water in the mason jar…then add to syrup.

    Oh yea! Homemade orgeat is a bitch to make, but if you do it right there is nothing like it(my orgeat crushes others)

    If your in napa come by!!!

  • Kevin says:

    Ordered the book immediately after seeing this post, and I can’t wait to read it. I really appreciate your blog and all the insight you have provided.


  • Ozeal says:

    Look forward to checking out the book. Glad to hear it’s not another recipe book. My library will reject any of those. Congrats and Cheers from Houston!

  • Preordered it and started reading on kindle today (so i could read it right away)

    I just graduated with a degree in architecture and i work at a restaurant (wolf peach, mke, wi) and i’m going to start training as bartender (currently server) this weekend and… this book couldn’t have come at a better time.


    i love so much the detail it goes into the process not just the recipes.

  • Hoofdpijn says:

    I don’t even know who the hell you are and I ordered the damn thing.

  • Paul says:

    Congrats on the book mate,

    Preordered but it seems it won’t be delivered for 7-10 days !

    Look forward to receiving it,

    Love the show and the website,

    Thanks for the all the effort !

  • Andy says:

    That piece of junk is miiiiinneee!

  • You are the man, and I pre-ordered the hell out of it. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Good luck at the Spirited Awards!!!

  • Gregory Rodriguez says:

    Jeffrey congratulation on the book, I want to personally thank you for your blog and your contribution to the bar tending community. I beleive that if it was not for that random google search i made years ago and stumble upon your work, I would of never thought bar tending would be a career worth pursuing. Thank You.

  • Randy says:

    It’s a great book, happily purchased at the book signing the other night. The personal insight from the podium was nice to witness. It’s great to be able to give something back in buying it–Thanks for so many details you’ve shared over the years!

  • Morgan Burgess says:

    Appreciate all the great “free” information/knowledge you’ve passed on bought your book today can’t wait to read it. Thanks

  • Rafe says:

    Congratulations. What great news! I’m glad all the hard work will pay off!

    I’m an avid home bartender. I have learned more about technique from your blog than any other resource, but I had never truly put my finger on the fact that I was learning technique, rather than just recipes. Sign of a great teacher. Thanks so much for all your posts over the years.

  • I’m really looking forward to reading your book. I pre-ordered my copy months ago, so I hope it arrives tomorrow, as I’m ready to dive in.

  • Adam Patrick says:

    Great, now I can hand this to new bartenders at my place and go out for a drink whilst they teach themselves. It’s like cartoon parenting, bar style! In all seriousness, congrats. You deserve it.

  • Michael Dietsch says:

    Glancing through the preview. I love that you call bullshit on that San Marzano tomato brand. That stuff’s nasty.

  • Steve Boatright says:

    I’m gonna buy this piece of shit immediately.

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