For those not in the know, Death & Co. is both a world-renowned craft cocktail bar located in NYC and Denver, as well as the name of a definitive spirit-mixing book containing over 500 recipes — helmed and written, respectively, by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan. Needless to say, they know a thing or two about alcohol. While their first written work is a monolithic tome of information, their second, Cocktail Codex, elegantly pares down their expertise into something a bit more digestible.
According to the trio of liquor mavens, “There are only six cocktails.” That is to say, every cocktail that exists (or likely will ever exist) can be classified into one of six different families: the daiquiri, flip, martini, old-fashioned, sidecar, and whiskey highball. Everything else is just a permutation therein. This book breaks down each of those six root beverages — through flowcharts, family trees, informational charts, and more — to help mixologists everywhere understand the how, why, and when of each drink. It also offers tips and tricks like ingredient substitutions and omissions to improve the overall bartending skills of the reader. The mixologist’s equivalent to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, this $26 hardcover should be on the coffee table of every cocktail enthusiast.