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Distilled – A new cocktail book by Adam Handling

Our latest round-up of trends from the top shelf, including a new cocktail book, the definition of aguardiente and a recipe for a refreshing Floradora.

Cooking up a cocktail

Perfect, Three cherries is a new cocktail book from chef Adam Handling of one-star Michelin The Frog, near London’s Covent Garden. Named after his favourite drink – a perfect Manhattan garnished with three cherries – this guide combines recipes with cocktail history and basic tips on technique and kit. But it also explains how Handling’s culinary creativity and zero-waste ethos feed into the drinks served at his bars. ‘This book is based on what I would have wanted to know before I started really learning about cocktails.

It’s the stuff that people don’t see behind the scenes – the researching, the training…’ said Handling, adding that it’s ‘for people that want to learn and do something different’. Alongside staples such as the French 75 and Sazerac, ambitious home mixologists can have a go at recreating original mixes like the Purple Rain (with red cabbage liqueur), Padrón Pepper Gimlet and Adam’s Apple. With plenty of bright ideas for sustainable mixing, this is a smart addition to your spirits book shelf. Available from adamhandling.co.uk

What is… aguardiente?

The Spanish aguardiente – or Portuguese aguardente – is a generic term used to describe a confusingly broad family of spirits in the Iberian peninsula and South America. Based on the Iberian words for ‘water’ and ‘fire’, its literal translation is ‘firewater’. Individual countries have their own definitions and regulations for aguardiente. They include the sugar cane-based spirits of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia; apple-based spirits from the Asturias region in northwest Spain and herb liqueurs from Galicia. In Spain and Portugal the term is legally defined by the EU as a spirit distilled from wine. But aguardiente can also be made from fruit and grains. Like wines, several aguardientes have a protected designation of origin (DO) including Aguardente de Vinho Douro and Aguardente de Vinho Alentejo.

What to drink now… Floradora

This fun, pink, fruity cocktail is named after a hugely popular Edwardian musical comedy (Florodora), which debuted in London’s West End in 1899, transferring to Broadway in 1900. The story goes that one of the cast asked New York bartender Jimmy O’Brien to create a drink for her one night after the show – and this was the result. The recipe first appeared in print in 1913 in the Manual of Mixed Drinks by Jacques Straub. Hendrick’s Gin, infused with rose petal and cucumber, adds a fresh floral flavour (Alc 41.4%, available through Amazon UK).


Ingredients: 40ml gin, 20ml fresh lime juice. 10ml raspberry syrup, ginger beer to top

Glass: Highball

Garnish: Raspberry and lime wedge

Method: Put all the ingredients, except the ginger beer, in a cocktail shaker, shake with ice until your hands are cold. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice, and top with ginger beer. Stir gently to mix, and garnish.

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