I don't have a huge collection of cocktail books, but I have several and I thought I'd like an encyclopedic type of book. I like to start with a cocktail book's introductory sections, and this book has very good sections on bar tending basics, the bartender's kit, glassware, garnishes and key ingredients.
This is a huge collection of recipes, presented in alphabetical order by the name of the drink; i.e., not broken down into sections by type of cocktail or main ingredient. Each recipe includes a small color photograph of the drink and a short, straightforward description of its ingredients and preparation. Following that, the editors give a star rating, their one-sentence assessment under the subhead "We Say" and, in some cases, a one-sentence description of the drink's origin.
If all you're looking for is a quick reference, the book is fine. There are 3000+ recipes, so you're likely to find most drinks whose names you know. But considering that I can find any drink recipe and a lot more in an instant on the internet, I really wanted the book to offer something more; something of the magic and romance of mixology. But there is little of that here.
What's more, there is a serious and surprising negative. I would expect an encyclopedic treatment to include a thorough index, but all this has is an index by specific brands of liquor with whose proprietors the editors have partnered. That's advertising, not indexing. The text makes it clear that there is an ingredient index at the editors' online site--and there is--but that begs the question why to buy this book at all, rather than just rely on the internet.
I was also surprised to find a number of inconsistencies within the text and between the book and the website when it comes to drinks' star ratings. For example, the Young Man Cocktail is rated 4 stars in the book, but only 1 star on the website; the Amatitan Twist is rated 4 stars in the main part of the book, but 5 stars in the back, under the Luxardo Maraschino Originale heading in the featured brand index.
If you really feel the need for an encyclopedic cocktail book, I'd say this is a decent choice, with the highlight being the introductory sections and the lowlight the lack of an ingredient index. But I'm a lot more likely to stick with the DiffordsGuide website.