Cocktail journal and a pen on a table with drinks

12 Best Cocktail Journals for Home and Professional Bartenders: Reviews & Buying Guide

Cocktail journal and a pen on a table with drinks

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Cocktail making is an art, and inspiration could strike bartenders and mixologists anytime. When they think of a new cocktail recipe, they will test it out first to see if the flavor combinations work. Once they perfect the recipe, they write them down in a cocktail journal.

Cocktail journals are great tools for recording and organizing different cocktail recipes, whether original, classic, or drinks from your favorite bars and restaurants.

These notebooks usually have a format so the user can easily write the details of a particular cocktail, from its ingredients to garnishes. Not to mention, they make great gifts for aspiring bartenders. Without further ado, here are the best cocktail journals!

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Betterday Studio Cocktail Recipe Book

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Runner-Up: Michelia Creations Cocktail Recipe Journal
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Best Classic: Freaky Boozin’ Publishing Cocktail Recipe Journal
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Best for Tasting Cocktails: 33 Books Co. Cocktail Tasting and Recipe Journal
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Best for Customization: Mixologists Cocktail Journal with Blank Pages
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Best Details: Cocktail Recipe Books The Best F***ing Cocktails
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Best Splurge: Skinwood Mixology Cocktail Recipe Book
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Best Simple: Bubble Shirley Astra Craft Blank Cocktail Recipe Journal
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Cutest Cover: James Ellis Cloth Bound Cocktail Notebook
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Most Elegant Cover: CS Paper Co. Cocktail Recipe Journal
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Best Value: Papeterie Bleu Cocktails: Recipe & Tasting Journal
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Most Unique: The Wooden Bear Cocktail Recipe Book
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1. Best Overall: Betterday Studio Cocktail Recipe Book

Betterday Studio Cocktail Recipe Book

Why We Think It’s Great

  • PERSONALIZED: Bottom front cover is customizable with a name or initials of up to 5 characters.
  • HARDBACK COVER: Ensures the journal is sturdy, well-protected, and stylish with its textured design and gold accents.
  • FSC® CERTIFIED MUNKEN PAPER: A great resource from well-managed forests that prioritize environmental, social, and economic sustainability.
  • BONUS INFO: Includes a cocktail glasses guide, top tips, and a sample recipe.

What We Don’t Like

  • The number of pages could be increased. 

What Buyers Say

“We like how meticulously designed this cocktail journal is, from the material to the construction. With templated recipe pages, this hard-back cover journal is the perfect canvas for cocktail lovers to unleash their creativity.

The pages are also nice and thick, with a high-quality feel, as expected from Munken paper. We appreciate how the pen ink isn't visible on the other side. And because it’s on the small side, it’s perfect for traveling bartenders.”

Size: 5.5" x 6.7" | Pages: 30 | Manufactured: United Kingdom | Formatted: Yes

Related: The Best Gifts for Book Lovers

2. Runner-Up: Michelia Creations Cocktail Recipe Journal

Michelia Creations Cocktail Recipe Journal

Why We Think It’s Great

  • TEMPLATE PAGES: Write all recipe details easily in an organized manner.
  • 100-RECIPE SPACE: Fits a lot of recipe documentation.
  • GLOSSY FINISH COVER: Makes the journal look eye-catching and sophisticated.
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS: Allows you to find each recipe quickly. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The cover can crease, which may lead to ripping. 

What Our Editors Say

“This makes keeping track of our favorite cocktail recipes easier as it has templated pages. We love how organized it is and that it has plenty of space for us to write in all the details of each recipe.

The glossy finish is a nice touch and looks great on bar carts or bar counters. Although the paperback cover is durable, you can reinforce it with a plastic cover so it will last longer and be protected from spills from drinks.

Size: 6” x 9” | Pages: 104 | Formatted: Yes

Related: The Best Bar Carts

3. Best Classic: Freaky Boozin’ Publishing Cocktail Recipe Journal

Freaky Boozin’ Publishing Cocktail Recipe Journal

Why We Think It’s Great

  • GOOD GRAPHICS: Features a well-thought-out template with great drawing designs.
  • MEASUREMENT CONVERSION CHART: Assists beginners in measuring the ingredients.
  • CREME PAGES The warmer tone reduces the harsh contrast between black ink and white paper, making it easier on the eyes.

What We Don’t Like

  • The glass section has limited designs.

What Our Editors Say

“With its compact size, this cocktail journal is perfect for on-the-go use or home bars. The pages provide ample space to jot down over 100 awesome cocktail recipes, so we don’t have to replace it as often.

Furthermore, the measurement conversion chart comes in handy, especially when trying out new recipes that are not in our usual measurement system. While the glass illustrations are great, we wish that some glasses, like for tiki drinks, should have been included.”

Size:  6” x 9” | Pages:120 | Manufactured: USA | Formatted: Yes

Related: The Best Cocktail Recipe Cards

4. Best for Tasting Cocktails: 33 Books Co. Cocktail Tasting and Recipe Journal

33 Books Co. Cocktail Tasting and Recipe Journal

Why We Think It’s Great

  • INFORMATIVE TEMPLATE: Includes sections for notes, ingredients, mix method, visual rendering, flavor wheel, and more.
  • COMPACT: Can easily fit into a purse, backpack, or even a pocket
  • RECYCLED MATERIALS: Pages are made entirely of recycled materials, while the covers are made up of 85% post-consumer recycled content. 
  • SOY-BASED INK: Made from a renewable resource that produces sharper and brighter colors.

What We Don’t Like

  • It doesn’t include a space for directions.

What Our Editors Say

“Looking at the format of this cocktail journal, we’d say it’s perfect for reviewing cocktails. But you can also use it when creating your recipes and examining them further afterward. It also makes sense why it is small so you can easily carry it anywhere whenever you’re in bars.

We also like how the cover design has a vintage vibe to it with its thick kraft paper with a citrus-colored print. And, surprisingly, each edition has a secret ingredient added to the ink - a bit of freshly-mixed drink!”

Size: 3.5” x 5” | Pages: 33 | Manufactured: USA | Formatted: Yes

Related: How To Use A Whiskey Taste Chart

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5. Best for Customization: Mixologists Cocktail Journal with Blank Pages

Mixologists Cocktail Journal with Blank Pages

Why We Think It’s Great

  • PU LEATHER COVER: Sleek and sophisticated, that can give your cocktail journal a more high-end feel.
  • SATIN BOOKMARK: Allows you to quickly find the page where you left off. 
  • 192-PAGE NOTEBOOK: Plenty of space to record many recipes, tasting notes, and more.
  • DOTTED BLANK PAGES: Allows the user to be creative and sketch out their own format. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The spine feels a bit flimsy.

What Buyers Say

“This journal is great for recording when a cocktail goes well or not so well, which allows you to assess the flavor combinations of a cocktail to improve it. We love the feel and design of the cover, which matches our decor perfectly.

This also makes a fantastic gift for anyone passionate about cocktails. You can also throw in other bar tools like copper mugs or cocktail shaker sets or even cocktail books to complete the perfect gift.”

Size: 7” x 9.5” | Pages: 192 | Formatted: No

Related: The Best Copper Mugs for Moscow Mules

6. Best Details: Cocktail Recipe Books The Best F***ing Cocktails

Cocktail Recipe Books The Best F***ing Cocktails

Why We Think It’s Great

  • VISUALLY APPEALING: Features beautiful illustrations and readable fonts.
  • ORGANIZED FORMAT: Allows you to record the spirit, cocktail name, ingredients, mixing method, garnish, etc.
  • ADEQUATE SIZE: It is easy to carry around and fits in small bags.

What We Don’t Like

  • The paper is a bit thin.

What Our Editors Say

“The cover of this journal may catch your attention with its bold and eye-catching title. Aside from looks, the matte cover is semi-waterproof, sufficiently thick, and has a waxy mat.

We also admire the level of detail provided in each recipe template. It includes pre-designed pages for ingredients, measurements, preparation steps, etc, and all are fitted on one page so it’s easier to navigate each recipe.”

Size: 6" x 9" | Pages: 120 | Formatted: Yes

Related: How To Name Your Cocktail

7. Best Splurge: Skinwood Mixology Cocktail Recipe Book

Skinwood Mixology Cocktail Recipe Book

Why We Think It’s Great

  • PERSONALIZED TOUCH: Free personalization on the covers, making sure the journal reflects your unique style.
  • STRAP CLOSURE: Easily opens and locks, keeping your notes and recipes secure.
  • PEN HOLDER: Conveniently stores pen, ensuring you always have a writing tool available.
  • LEATHER COVER: Durable enough to withstand wear and tear.
  • FREE COLOR DIVIDERS: Allows you to organize your recipes in a category you prefer. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The space for ingredients and instructions may be too little for complex recipes. 

What Our Editors Say

“We like the binder style of the journal as it allows us to add or remove pages as we please. Aside from the cover designs, we can also choose the size, number of pages, and style we like.

Meanwhile, the strap closure adds an extra layer of security and ensures that all the pages stay in pristine condition. We also love the pen holder, which is a thoughtful detail to prevent the user from losing their pen.”

Size: 5.5” x 6.5”; 7.5” x 9”; or 9.8” x 12.2” | Pages: 70, 140, or 210 | Manufactured: Ukraine | Formatted: Yes

Related: The Best Cocktails In The World

8. Best Simple: Bubble Shirley Astra Craft Blank Cocktail Recipe Journal

Bubble Shirley Astra Craft Blank Cocktail Recipe Journal

Why We Think It’s Great

  • INDEX PAGES: Shows the names of cocktails with their ratings. 
  • EASY TO CARRY: Lightweight and doesn’t take up too much space.
  • COCKTAIL RECIPE IDEAS PAGE: Allows you to jot down ideas that you may have so you won’t forget them. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The papers don’t have page numbers. 

What Our Editors Say

“We like how you can write the owner’s name and email on the first page of this journal but also the start and end date so you can be reminded of your journey from start to end. It also has a strong binding and a thick kraft cover.

The index pages are useful for navigating cocktails and their ratings, and they also act as a table of contents. However, you would need to write the page numbers on each paper yourself since they are not already printed.”

Size: 6" x 9" | Pages: 110 | Formatted: Yes

Related: The Best Whiskey Books

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9. Cutest Cover: James Ellis Cloth Bound Cocktail Notebook

James Ellis Cloth Bound Cocktail Notebook

Why We Think It’s Great

  • FABRIC COVER: Helps protect the pages from spills and gives the journal a stylish look.
  • RIBBON BOOKMARK: Allows you to easily flip to the page containing the recipe you're looking for.
  • FSC® CERTIFIED PAPER: Comes from responsibly managed forests and is typically thick enough to prevent bleed-through from ink.
  • STYLISH: Features a cute, minimalistic design that comes in various color options. 

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s hard to remove dirt and marks from the cover. 

What Our Editors Say

“With its elegant and durable cloth-bound cover, this journal is functional and has a dash of sophistication. You can have it personalized by adding your name on the cover and choosing between pink, blue, green, and gray.

It has lined pages that provide ample space to record all the details of your cocktail creations. Because the pages are blank, there are no limits to the information you will input!”

Size: 6” x 8.5” | Pages: 192 | Manufactured: Italy | Formatted: No

Related: The Best Alcohol Infusion Kits

10. Most Elegant Cover: CS Paper Co. Cocktail Recipe Journal

CS Paper Co. Cocktail Recipe Journal

Why We Think It’s Great

  • SEPARATE NOTES: Allows you to write tips and tricks in creating cocktails. 
  • INFORMATIVE REFERENCE PAGE: Includes helpful information for beginners, such as basic tools, must-have glassware, and measurements.
  • GIFTABLE: Sleek black cover with gold touches, perfect for a mixologist or beverage director. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The cover could be thicker. 

What Buyers Say

“We like the sleek and classy cover with its matte finish and texture. Meanwhile, the recipe pages have enough lines to put all the ingredients and steps we need, and the handy conversions and table of contents are useful features that help us make the best of the journal.

We also love the glass type icons on each page because they remind us what glass to use for different recipes. We’re looking forward to transferring the recipes that we wrote from various notecards and scraps of paper in this notebook!”

Size: 6" x 9" | Pages: 64 | Formatted: Yes

Related: The Best Gifts for Home Bartenders

11. Best Value: Papeterie Bleu Cocktails: Recipe & Tasting Journal

Papeterie Bleu Cocktails: Recipe & Tasting Journal

Why We Think It’s Great

  • MATTE COVER: Provides a soft and smooth feel.
  • SECTION GROUPS: Cocktail categories make it easy for users to find and organize their recipes.
  • SIMPLE FORMAT: Includes the drink name, its ingredients, notes, and instructions.

What We Don’t Like

  • The binding could be stronger. 

What Buyers Say

“This notebook is fantastic because not only does it have enough room for all your recipes, but it is also neatly divided into sections (Ancestrals, Sours, Spirit-Forward, Hot Drinks, Tropical, Punches, Highballs, and Other) so you can easily locate the types of drinks you're looking for.

Appearance-wise, the premium matte finish cover design is visually stunning and feels great to the touch. Moreover, the bright-white thick paper stock gives the pages a clean, crisp look that's easy on the eyes.”

Size: 5" x 9" | Pages: 200 | Formatted: Yes

Related: Tropical Sunset Cocktails

12. Most Unique: The Wooden Bear Cocktail Recipe Book

The Wooden Bear Cocktail Recipe Book

Why We Think It’s Great

  • PERSONALIZATION: The cover of the book can be etched with the owner's name.
  • DURABLE PACKAGING: Makes a great gift for cocktail enthusiasts and ensures the book is well-protected during shipping.
  • WOOD COVER: Adds an element of natural beauty, making it a great conversation starter.
  • FREE ECO-FRIENDLY BAG: Can be used to store the notebook or other items.

What We Don’t Like

  • It is expensive. 

What Our Editors Say

“We adore the cover of this book because it's rare to see one made of wood, which also sets it apart. The cover also functions just as well as a hardcover, and the binding makes it even more durable.

Furthermore, binder rings are used for the pages, and if you want more than what’s included, you can purchase additional template pages and add them to the journal. There is also a wide variety of paper designs and styles.”

Size: 8.3” x 9” or 10.2” x 12.2” | Pages: 150 | Formatted: Yes

Related: How To Use Dry Ice In Cocktails

Final Verdict

Your cocktail creations deserve to be remembered and shared with fellow cocktail lovers. One way to make them last and get recreated is by recording them in a cocktail journal.

Who knows? Maybe one day, you’ll be the next Jerry Thomas who will dominate the American bar scene and beyond, and win awards like the James Beard Award.

You can start journaling with the Betterday Studio Cocktail Recipe Book, which is simple to use, has high-quality pages, and is sure to last.

What recipes will you be writing in your cocktail journal? Leave your comments below!

Best Cocktail Journals Buying Guide

Bartender writing new cocktail ideas

Cocktail journals have different styles which cater to different people’s preferences. Allow the following factors to help you narrow your choices and ultimately pick the best one. 

  • Construction 

When assessing a cocktail journal, check how it is constructed, from the type of cover to the binding and if it has extra features. Paperback covers are prominent because they’re lighter, easier to carry, and more affordable.

Some journals are hardbound, similar to the best cocktail books like Cocktail Codex, Liquid Intelligence, etc. These are durable and can keep your notes safe from spills and other accidents.

Covers made of cloth are also a good choice because they are not prone to tearing, and they often come in many different colors and styles. In the same way, wooden covers are also a unique and durable choice for a cocktail journal.

Next, you need to evaluate the binding. The way your journal is bound can affect how long it lasts and how easy it is to use. Some journals have glued bindings, which might not last as long. On the other hand, binder rings tend to be more durable and can stand up to regular use.

And for more convenience, choose a journal with useful features like a pen holder and a built-in ribbon bookmark.  

  • Pages 

What makes a journal useful is the paper's quality. To avoid problems with ink bleeding and to preserve the legibility of your writing, select a high-quality paper with a GSM of at least 90.

Another aspect is the journal's page count, which establishes the duration for which it can be used. Having more pages means you can store more information and go longer before needing a new notebook.

Consequently, if you frequently create notes, we recommend getting a journal with more than 100 pages.

  • Format/Details

A well-organized layout includes relevant information, such as ingredients, measurements, and instructions.

Some also have a table of contents, a reference guide, a place for notes, and a section to add your distinctive touches to recipes, such as the date they were created or a memory associated with the drink.

When a template isn't well-thought-out, it can cause confusion, making it difficult to identify important details and decreasing the likelihood of continued use.

For beginners, we recommend a cocktail journal with a simple template. Primarily, it should consist of the cocktail name, ingredients list with measurements, and directions. If you want to make your own format, opt for a blank or lined journal.

  • Size 

A cocktail journal's ideal size can vary from person to person. Keeping a large diary can be a pain if it doesn't fit in your purse or bag and can be a nuisance when you want to write in it while you're out.

A small book, on the other hand, would not provide enough room to record all the details of a complex cocktail recipe or detailed tasting notes.

Those who want to come up with and keep track of their own recipes might find a large journal with plenty of room for writing ingredients and steps to be most useful. This is also great if you have a co-founder or co-author with your journal.

But if you just intend to scribble down some tasting notes or a summarized version of recipes, a smaller, more portable journal may be more your speed. 

  • Price

Price determines the level of quality and features available. A higher-priced journal is likely to have better-quality paper, a more durable cover, and more extensive sections for tracking recipes, tasting notes, and ingredient lists.

Additionally, a more expensive journal may offer customization options or come with additional accessories such as a pen or bookmark.

On the other hand, a lower-priced journal may be more basic in design but still useful. After all, a lot of people prefer practical options. Ultimately, the price should be considered in relation to the buyer's needs and intended use of the journal.

Best Cocktail Journals FAQ

Barman stirring cocktail with a bar spoon

1. What is a cocktail journal used for?

A cocktail journal is a notebook dedicated to the documentation of cocktails and the experiences one has while preparing and enjoying them. It can be used at home, in a bar, restaurant, and even when on the road.

Whether you’re among the top bartenders, home bartenders, mixologists, or cocktail connoisseurs, a cocktail journal is perfect for recording your drink recipes, notes, and overall impressions of the cocktail.

2. How do you document your recipes in a cocktail journal?

    For each cocktail you make, record the name of the cocktail, ingredients, measurements, and preparation steps in your cocktail journal. For the recipe to work in the future, the amounts of each ingredient must be written down precisely.

    You can also put remarks on how the final product tasted and looked. Suggestions on measurement variations are also helpful in catering to different people’s tastes. 

    The cocktail's preparation instructions should be straightforward and brief; it's also important to highlight any specific skills or tools that will be required.

    3. How do you organize a cocktail journal?

      It's helpful to divide the notebook into sections, so it’s easier to find and reference specific recipes when needed. Here are some ways to categorize your drinks:

      • Alphabetically: A straightforward way to organize your recipes according to the first letter of their name.
      • By alcohol base or spirits: Group the recipes that use gin, then all the recipes that use tequila, and so on. This can be helpful when you have a particular ingredient on hand that you want to use in a cocktail.
      • By type of cocktail: Some classic cocktails have become broad categories thanks to the many variations they have. Some examples include Martinis, Old Fashioned cocktails, sours, punches, Mules, or tiki drinks.
      • By occasion: Some cocktails are best consumed during a particular season or event. You can group holiday drinks, Halloween drinks, summer cocktails, or party punches. This can be helpful if you are planning a particular event and want to choose drinks that are appropriate for the occasion quickly.
      • By difficulty level: Most classic cocktails are made using simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions. Others may involve complicated components and procedures that may take more than one day to complete. This method is great if you are practicing and honing your skills.

      Why Trust Advanced Mixology?

      We believe that our readers should have access to unbiased, well-informed reviews when deciding which products to buy, and we work hard to provide that type of content. Our editorial team is experienced and passionate about mixology and bar equipment. In addition, we often consult with industry professionals when gathering information, which gives us an insider's perspective on the products we're reviewing.

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