Adam Handling launches cocktail book
Michelin-starred chef Adam Handling has released a cocktail book of sustainable recipes called Perfect, Three Cherries.
The book has launched as part of Handling’s luxury box set collection: a definitive compilation of books that tell his story, the journey of his restaurant group, his favourite cocktail recipes, and the ethos of sustainability.
Speaking to The Spirits Business, Handling explained the recipes of the book were compiled from six years of menus at his central London-based bar, Eve, which sits beneath his Michelin-starred restaurant, The Frog.
“The British inspiration, the drinks that contain zero waste, they were pretty much on our menus already,” he said. “The exciting thing for me was I had to study so much. I bought every single cocktail book that was on the market. And when I say that, I mean, I really did. My house is ridiculous,” he continued.
“I wanted to read and I wanted to see what everyone was doing. But pretty much 70% of the cocktail books that I got were the exact same, just done by a different writer, a different bartender, and some different artwork inside of the books. And I thought, ‘OK, wonderful, at least I know that I’m on the right path of what everything’s doing’. But then from there, I wanted to create something with all the other information.”
The book is named after Handling’s favourite cocktail – a ‘perfect’ Manhattan garnished with three Maraschino cherries – and features sustainable takes on the classics.
Despite being written by a chef, where possible Handling has been careful to avoid recipes that utilise techniques that can’t be recreated by the reader.
“We do things that, for the most part, you don’t need a lab to do them,” he said. “For instance, the one little trick that I’ve got in the book is instead of vac-packing, slow-cooking and compressing, put it in a glass water bottle, or a Kilner jar, put it in the dishwasher, wash the dishes, and you basically super compress the flavour in your alcohol. So then when you just open your lid of your glass water bottle, pass it through a coffee filter, you’ve got an infused flavour of something. You know, so it’s these little things.”
Treating drinks like food
In addition to Handling’s tips, the recipes in Perfect, Three Cherries are presented in three variations. “We’ve got the five categories of spirits, and then from there we have the classic cocktail recipe, which is the classic, you can’t really change it. And then the next one from there, we have an alternative, or a modern version of that classic cocktail. And then the third one is a sustainable zero waste version of that cocktail.”
Handling says he treats his recipes like food, comparing the foundations of the drinks to the five ‘mother sauces’, which are composed of béchamel, espagnole, tomato, velouté, and mayonnaise. “From each mother sauce, you have so many variations of such mother sauce. You know, hollandaise is the base one and then you’ve got then you’ve got bearnaise, and you’ve got lots more other little sauces that changed from that.
“I wanted to do a book – bearing in mind it’s written by a chef – that not just a bartender can understand, and hopefully everyone will be able to understand it.
“One thing about me is because I’m not a bartender, I want to know everything I possibly can. So I had to study so much to write this book and I had so much fun doing it. And it’s basically what I what would want to get, and what I would want to read. So it’s packed full of information more than just the gimmicky lab equipment and fancy words, which no-one but a bartender would know – it is pretty much broken down nice and easy.”
Handling added: “There are some really ‘out there’ recipes that do require some equipment, like a centrifuge, but I would say there’s probably only a handful inside the whole book. It’s more about information, education, inspiration. I think it’s super beautiful.”
The foreword has been written by Anna Sebastian, Agostino Perrone, Erik Lorincz and Mark Sansom.
Perfect, Three Cherries is flexibound with more than 200 pages, and is now available to purchase for an RRP £30 (US$36.90).
It is also available as part of the limited edition luxury box set containing, Frog by Adam Handling; Why Waste?; and Perfect, Three Cherries, which is is priced at £160 (US$196.80).
Handling was assisted in the writing of Perfect, Three Cherries by the team at Eve Bar, which he confirmed would be closing for renovations this week.
The work, which will take place until 3 February, will be the bar’s biggest cosmetic overhaul since it opened six years ago. “We’re going to refurb the whole place, and make it cooler than it is now, to mirror the classiness of upstairs [at The Frog].”
However, Handling confirmed the biggest change would be in the style of service.
“We’re not going to have any bookings anymore. It’s going to be walk-in only, and the reason is that I want people just to stay there and melt into the seats and just get really submerged with everything that’s happening there,” he explained.
“One thing that we found last year with bookings is guests book for an hour and a half slot, and you don’t want to leave, but you have to because someone else is on your table next. And all that hard work that we’ve done to basically make that hour and a half really great so that you don’t want to leave, you kind of feel a little like ‘ugh, really I have to go now?’ and well, yeah, you only booked an hour and a half table, and it’s just not nice.”
Handling said this change would add more luxury to the Eve Bar experience, as guests can “forget the time and enjoy the experience with the person you’re with.”
In addition, Handling hopes the move will allow guests to “really focus on Britain”, which he notes is what “the whole building is really is all about”.
While the bar undergoes its refurbishment, the bar team will work on the new menu, which will continue to focus on British ingredients, utilising waste and by-products from the restaurant upstairs.
“All of the drinks that go on Eve Bar’s menu go through a huge process,” Handling added. “So first, it’s a discussion point of using by-products and what we’re going to have. And it’s the whole team, me and my head chef, sous chef and the whole bar team. We discuss what’s going to be happening, the volume that we’re forecast to be getting, what can we do for our new menu, and then we give them a week, they’ll have a play around, make small batches. And it’s like a five-person job for about two weeks solid, just to play around. So hence closing the restaurants, we are able to do that.”
Eve Bar will reopen on 3 February.
Last year, Eve Bar launched a collection of NFT cocktails.