Links + Resources
It's a great time to be a home bartender.
There are dozens—hundreds, even!—of resources, online and off-, dedicated to all things cocktails. Here are a few of my favorites.
Blogs + Sites
A History Lesson with Booze—Perhaps my favorite part of the (now dearly departed) weekly Dinner Party Download NPR show/podcast, a History Lesson with Booze shares an unusual historical event and challenges a bartender to create a drink to go along with it.
Alcademics—Camper English covers a dizzying array of spirits- and cocktails-related topics on his blog, which also includes links to the many, MANY articles he's written for other websites and magazines.
Apartment Bartender—Elliott Clark humbly calls himself a "semi-decent home bartender," but let's be honest: he's amazing. His cocktails are super-creative, but aren't so fancy that they call for ingredients or techniques out of reach for amateurs.
The Cocktail Post—Modern and classic cocktail recipes from my favorite hometown Oakland market, Piedmont Grocery. (And if you're in the area, be sure to swing by the store to check out their spirits, wine, and beer selection, which is amazing for a grocery of this size.)
Difford's Guide—There's a truly stunning amount of cocktail-related info on this UK-based site, from hundreds of recipes to profiles of bartenders to articles on the history of drinks, spirits, and distilleries.
Drinks with Nick—Nick Petrulakis, manager of the Books Inc. store in Alameda, CA, has a knack for mixing book reviews with creative, unusual cocktails, and he shares both on his blog.
Punch—A home for wide-ranging, well written, in-depth articles on all things cocktails, wine, and spirits, from profiles of all kinds of bartenders to historical deep dives into specific drinks to guides on where to drink in cities across the US. Punch also has a seriously impressive collection of recipes, from the exquisitely simple to the impressively complex.
Stir and Strain—Elana from S+S took the time to mix and photograph a bunch of the cocktails from A History Lesson with Booze (see above), but that's not the only reason she's awesome. Her blog features recipes, recommendations, and a regular column called Monday Booze News, a cheeky look at the week in tipples.
Williams Sonoma Cocktail Recipes—Pick your poison, then use it for one of the dozens of creative drinks gathered on Williams Sonoma’s site.
Books + Magazines
Imbibe Magazine—Dedicated to "liquid culture," Imbibe covers drinks of all kinds, from tea to wine to spirits, with plenty of ink devoted to cocktail history, culture, and recipes.
The New Cocktail Hour—This charming and utterly approachable guide aims to make mixing drinks at home an easier, more pleasant, and less daunting prospect, whether you're just starting out or are already a home bar master looking to up your game. (*)
Conferences + Festivals
Oakland Cocktail Week—This celebration of tippling in the Town has grown from a handful of events to a week of happenings in Oakland and neighboring Alameda.
Paris of the Plains—This Kansas City (MO) festival highlights midwestern bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts.
Sacramento Cocktail Week—A celebration of the cocktail scene in Northern California and the state's capitol region.
San Antonio Cocktail Conference—Started in 2010, SACC is a gathering for industry folks and cocktail aficionados, with a twist: 100% of the conference’s profits go to local charities benefitting children.
Tales of the Cocktail—The heaviest hitter on the cocktail conference front, Tales has grown from its flagship event in New Orleans each July to include Tales on Tour happenings throughout the world and smaller celebrations such as Daiquiri Days and Toddy Days.
Bitters + Bottles—South San Francisco (which proudly calls itself the Industrial City) isn't the first location you'd think of for an awesome bottle shop like this, but that's where B+B began. Visit in person if you're in the area, buy online, or try their super-cool Cocktail Boxes to get drink-mixing smarts and supplies delivered right to your door.
[Note: * indicates an affiliate link, which means I might make a small commission if you click 'n' buy.]