I love books on drinks, not only because most of them are very readable, but because many are now fantastically well illustrated. Like recipe books, of which I have a fair few as well, drink books understand that the design & presentation is equal to the importance of the words, and so most now are visually impressive, cleverly laid out and beautifully printed.
My library now includes the following books, all of which I recommend. If you would like further details, click on the link text, which will take you to my Amazon associates page for each book.
American Bar, by Charles Schuman
The Savoy Cocktail Book, by Harry Craddock
Bitters, by Brad Thomas Parsons
The Curious Bartender, by Tristran Stephenson
The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Whiskies, by Tristran Stephenson
Apothecary Cocktails, by Warren Bobrow
Speakeasy, by Jason Kosmas & Dushan Zaric
Shrubs, by Michael Dietsch
Experimental Cocktail Club, by Bon, Cros, de Goriainoff & Padovani
Bitterman’s Field Guide to Bitters & Amari, by Mark Bitterman
The Spirits, by Richard Godwin
The Drunken Botanist, by Amy Stewart
The Cocktail Keys, by Rob Cassels
Cosmopolitan, by Toby Cecchini
Cocktails, by Robert Vermeire
The Malt Whisky Companion, by Michael Jackson
69 Colebrooke Row, by Tony Conigliaro
Any of these would make a fine start to a cocktail collection, but if I had to choose just one, then Schuman’s American Bar would win the spot; it is a brilliant guide to how we drink, why we drink & what we drink. It was the first book on drinks I ever owned, and I refer, and defer, to it still.