We ask Eau de Vie owner and Shaken, Stirred, Flamed & Thrown author Sven Almenning why we should buy his book.
Why should we buy your book, Sven?
I think anyone who likes entertaining, or hosting friends and guests at home should be able to mix up a few killer cocktails. This book is for them. Whether you simply want to experiment with your favourite Eau de Vie signature drinks at home, or are looking for a great classic recipe this book is for you. Unlike most cocktail books we're not just rehashing old classics, but mostly offering our own drinks alongside beautiful photography to help guide you towards cocktail perfection.
Where's the best place to start?
It doesn't get much easier than the classics; a Martini, Martinez, Manhattan and Old Fashioned are great places to start. Then move on to our suggested variations for a bit more fun and added challenges.
What's the toughest recipe?
Mixology really is fairly simple once you have step-by-step recipes, so I'm not sure anything is too hard, especially if you're handy in the kitchen. I'd say the toughest recipes would be those that call for homemade ingredients such as the lager syrup in the Bloomsbury Bitter or the smoked cola syrup in the Fancy Jack & Cola. Those looking for a challenge, however, may have fun learning the throwing technique used for making our signature Blue Blazer.
Does the home mixologist need specialised gear and ingredients?
A lot of the recipes are fairly straightforward and can be made with readily available ingredients. However, as we feature a number of our signature drinks there are, of course, a fair few that require you to make your own syrups, purées and sodas; we often offer instructions on how to do this. As far as specialised equipment, there aren't many drinks in there that can't be made using a cocktail shaker, a bar spoon and a strainer. However, we're big fans of using vintage and fanciful equipment to add an element of theatre.
Best part of the book?
The caricatures of our staff! I think the final chapter on how to make your own, where we talk about the processes that go into creating your own signature cocktails, is pretty neat. Otherwise I think the photography is the best I've seen in a cocktail book, although, of course, I am biased.
The final push?
If you're not sold already what can I possibly say? If it's not for you then surely you have a friend or two who could use a beautiful and banging guide to awesome cocktails. Kapow!
Shaken, Stirred, Flamed & Thrown by Sven Almenning (self-published, $49.95, hbk) is available from Berkelouw Books, Ariel Booksellers, Oscar & Friends Booksellers, Macleay Bookshop and Gleebooks, as well as over the bar at Eau De Vie in Sydney and Melbourne, and online via Eau de Vie's Facebook page.