|Image courtesy of Amazon/Octopus books|
The book is very sensibly divided into sections by spirit – Vodka, Rum, Gin, Whisky, Tequila, Brandy and other wines and spirits. This makes it extremely easy to use as you can look through the sections and decide on which drink to make based on preference or what you have available.
Leafing through the pages provides plenty of inspiration to explore new cocktails – I have made a few (the Cherry Julep is a real winner!) and earmarked several more to try. All the classics are included and each comes with many variations (Pink Mojito anyone?). The book includes over 200 recipes so there’s certainly lots of scope for experimentation. Although not all recipes are illustrated, the photography is inviting and aspirational. Interspersed amongst the recipes are spreads on blending, muddling, layering, shaking and stirring so you can mix like a pro.
I do have a small niggle. The index is not very comprehensive – it doesn’t include the secondary spirits, so if you wanted to use Triple Sec or Cointreau you have to look through entire book to find a suitable recipe.
The verdict? This would be an ideal book for a budding mixologist and a very good reference bible for someone with more experience.
Seeing as it’s sensible to serve a bite to eat with cocktails (I speak from experience) I thought I would share this recipe for Kreatópitakia (small meat pies). These are so crisp and addictively moreish that they disappear faster than the Mojitos they pair very nicely with.
Lamb & feta filo bites
1 packet fresh filo pastry
500g lean lamb mince
200g Greek feta, cut into small cubes or crumbled
3 shallots, finely chopped
1-2 large handfuls of fresh mint, chopped
1-2 large handfuls of fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tbsp dukkah
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
80g pine nuts
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Melted butter or olive oil for brushing over pastry
These can be served warm or cold and can be reheated in the oven if prepared in advance. Served with a salad, these also make an excellent light lunch.