I've been trolling the internet for this book for what seems like forever. Not long ago, it popped up on eBay and became my first purchase on that site.
The Jones Complete Bar Guide is the product of a lifetime of experience and research by Stan Jones. Jones had been a lifer in the restaurant management business and involved in nearly every aspect of the beverage industry. The back-jacket pictures show a man in touch with the hilarious fashion sense of the early 70's, huge black-rimmed glasses, an intimidating afro and a chin second only to Dick Tracy's.
Clocking in at nearly 500 pages, this book has nearly everything you could want in a cocktail book: in-depth history of the spirtis industry, backgrounds on major brands, origins of famous cocktails, and approximately 1 bazillion cocktail recipes. Seriously. There are enough forgotten cocktails in this monster to scratch your research itch for years.
Come to think of it, it seems this is close to becoming a forgotten cocktail book, which would be a shame. It deserves a space on every serious cocktail-geek's bookshelf.
Aside from the merits I've just outlined, there is one other aspect I love about this book; the layout. It is large. One thing I dislike about pocket-sized guides is that it's difficult to make a cocktail while reading the recipe at the same time. The Jones Complete Bar Guide is large enough where it can lay on the table next to you while you're building the cocktail that made your mouth water.
In short, were I to write a cocktail guide (something I've been spending a fair amount of time plotting), this is the book I'll use as my model.
Hunt it down, if you can, my fellow cocktail dorks. It is a classic.