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