Skip to main content

Our man in the liquor-soaked trenches.
–Sam Sifton

The Encyclopedia of Cocktails

The Encyclopedia of Cocktails by Robert Simonson
A lively A-to-Z compendium of the notable drinks, bartenders, and bars that shaped the cocktail world and produced the vibrant spirits culture we enjoy today, from two-time James Beard Award-nominated author and New York Times cocktail and spirits writer, Robert Simonson.

How did the Old-Fashioned get its name, and why has the drink endured? What drinks were invented by Sam Ross? What was the Pegu Club, and who bartended there? In The Encyclopedia of Cocktails, Robert Simonson catalogues all the essential people, places, and drinks that make up our cocktail history in a refreshing take on the conventional reference book.

New York Times cocktail and spirits writer Robert Simonson's witty and opinionated presentation of the bar world is a refreshing look at all things cocktail-related. There are more than 100 drink recipes, from the Adonis to the Zombie, with vivid illustrations throughout. Simonson also includes entries for spirits from absinthe to vodka and illuminates the origins of each. This guide isn't a strictly academic text, nor is it simply a collection of drink recipes—it is an animated, sometimes irreverent historical journey highlighting the preeminent bars and top bartenders of record.

The Encyclopedia of Cocktails is perfect for cocktail nerds as well as anyone interested in learning about cocktail culture. It's both a recipe book and a reference guide to keep near the bar or flip through while sipping your favorite libation.

Buy Now

Modern Classic Cocktails

Modern Classic Cocktails by Robert Simonson

60+ recipes culled from today's modern classics with entertaining backstories from the cocktail revival of the past thirty years, by a two-time James Beard Award–nominated author and New York Times cocktail and spirits writer.

One of the greatest dividends of the revival in cocktail culture that began in the 1990s has been the relentless innovation. More new cocktails—and good ones—have been invented in the past thirty years than during any period since the first golden age of cocktails, which lasted from roughly the 1870s until the arrival of Prohibition in 1920 and included the birth of the Martini, Manhattan, Daiquiri, and Tom Collins.
Just as that first bar-world zenith produced a half-century of classic recipes before Prohibition, the eruption of talent over the past three decades has handily delivered its share of drinks that have found favor with arbiters on both sides of the bar. Among them are the Espresso Martini, White Negroni, Death Flip, Old Cuban, Paper Plane, Siesta, and many more, all included here along with each drink's recipe origin story.
What elevates a modern cocktail into the echelon of a modern classic? A host of reasons, all delineated by Simonson in these pages. But, above all, a modern classic cocktail must be popular. People have to order it, not just during its initial heyday, but for years afterward. Tommy’s Margarita, invented in the 1990s, is still beloved, and the Porn Star Martini is the most popular cocktail in the United Kingdom, twenty years after its creation. 
This book includes more than sixty easy-to-make drinks that all earned their stripes as modern classics years ago. Sprinkled among them are also a handful of critics' choices, potential classics that have the goods to become popular go-to cocktails in the future.

Other Books by Robert Simonson

Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails by Robert Simonson

Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails

Indulge your thirst for new ways to enjoy tequila and mezcal with 60+ recipes for agave cocktails from a James Beard Award–nominated author and New York Times spirits writer.

The Martini Cocktail by Robert Simonson

The Martini Cocktail

The first book in decades to celebrate and explore the history of the most iconic of classic cocktails, the martini, with 50 recipes.

3-Ingredient Cocktails by Robert Simonson

3-Ingredient Cocktails

“The cocktail book you’ve always wished you had” (Food52), featuring sixty of the most delicious—and elegantly simple—drinks of all time.

A Proper Drink by Robert Simonson

A Proper Drink

A narrative history of the craft cocktail renaissance, written by a New York Times cocktail writer and one of the foremost experts on the subject.

The Old-Fashioned by Robert Simonson, Daniel Krieger

The Old-Fashioned

A complete history of one of the world's most iconic cocktails—now the poster child of the modern cocktail revival—with fifty recipes for classic variations as well as contemporary updates.

About Robert Simonson

Robert Simonson

ROBERT SIMONSON writes about cocktails, spirits, bars, and bartenders for the New York Times and is the creator and author of the Substack newsletter The Mix With Robert Simonson. His books include The Old-Fashioned (2014), the first single-drink cocktail book of its kind; A Proper Drink (2016), the first (and so far only) history of the modern cocktail revival; 3-Ingredient Cocktails (2017), which was nominated for a 2018 James Beard Award; The Martini Cocktail (2019), which was nominated for a 2020 James Beard Award and IACP Award and won that year's Spirited Award for best new cocktail book; and Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails (2021), which was nominated for an IACP Award. He was also a primary contributor to The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails (both the 2015 and 2022 editions). Simonson won the 2019 Spirited Award for Best Cocktail and Spirits Writer, and his work, which has also appeared in Vinepair, Punch, Imbibe, Saveur, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, New York magazine, and Lucky Peach, has been nominated for a total of 16 Spirited Awards and four IACP Awards. He is the co-author, with Martin Doudoroff, of two cocktail apps, Modern Classics of the Cocktail Renaissance and The Martini Cocktail. A native of Wisconsin, he lives in Brooklyn.

You can reach Robert for story assignments, interviews and personal appearances at He is on Instagram at RobertOSimonson, on Twitter at @ROSimonson and Facebook at @RobertSimonson.



Modern Classics of the Cocktail Renaissance app

Robert Simonson Old-Fashioned Set



Modern Classic Cocktails

Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails

The Martini Cocktail

3-Ingredient Cocktails

A Proper Drink

Praise for The Old-Fashioned

Stay in Touch

Sign me up for news about books, authors, and more from Penguin Random House.

By clicking Sign Up, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.

Back to top