Author and cocktail historian Amanda Schuster presents Signature Cocktails, a meticulously curated collection of 200 drink recipes of the world’s finest libations.

In her third book, Schuster taps into the heart of what makes a cocktail “signature,” then delivers a concise history and whimsical stories about each drink. This includes the bartenders who invented them (when possible) and the great bars from which they came. The book is organized in chronological order, spanning the centuries between the year 1475 with the Atholl Brose to the present day Phaidon 100, a drink created by Connaught Bar’s Agostino Perrone in honor of Signature Cocktails and its publisher, Phaidon, who is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The pages between is a deep dive into the origins of iconic drinks, including ubiquitous sippers like the Bloody Mary, Mojito, or Negroni, to modern drinks like Cab Calloway, Rust + Bone, or Hocus Pocus. There are also personal favorites I serve at my bar, including the Corpse Reviver No. 2, The Last Word, and Mary Pickford, a Cuban rum based sipper by Fred Kaufman during prohibition.

Photography © 2023 by Andy Sewell. Reproduced by permission of Phaidon. All rights reserved.

But what makes Schuster’s latest an “instant classic?” Sure, this slickly designed, beautifully photographed work is an elegant addition to every cocktail wonk’s bookshelf. But that’s not, in my opinion, for whom this book is written. Signature Cocktails should be required reading for every budding bartender serious about their craft. Representing the backbone of mixology through the ages, these are the cocktails on whose shoulders the signatures of the future will stand. Knowing these iconic drinks and the history behind them instills powerful knowledge, not only in executing the recipes, but in sharing their stories with guests. It enhances the customer experience and ultimately increases gratuities. This book deserves to be well-worn, occasionally stained, and heavily dog-eared by working mixologists. That’s what makes Signature Cocktails special.

Amanda Schuster is a freelance writer with over 15 years’ industry experience covering wine, spirits, cocktails and occasionally things you eat with those things. She is a freelance writer, beverage consultant, and the author of New York Cocktails and Drink Like a Local New York: A Field Guide to New York’s Best Bars from Cider Mill Press. She also authored Signature Cocktails by Phaidon Press. With advanced training in both wine and spirits, Amanda likes to think of herself as bi-spiritual.