Adam Handling Discusses the Finest Cocktails Upon Release of 'Perfect, 3 Cherries'
Photos courtesy of Adam Handling
Upon release of his new cocktail book, chef owner of the Adam Handling Restaurant Group and Michelin-Starred restaurant Frog, Adam Handling, discusses with us the inspiration behind his culinary career and his personal taste on killer cocktails. Perfect, 3 Cherries is the newest addition to three recipe books carefully curated to his own personal taste, with an echo of his sustainable ethos. Named after Adam’s favourite cocktail - a Perfect Manhattan, with 3 Maraschino cherries - the book features various cocktail recipes that are sustainable interpretations of the well-loved classics. Here, Adam shares his influences and love for cocktails with CSP Times.
What influenced you to follow a culinary profession?
Honestly, it was my way not to go to university. My mum gave me an ultimatum - get an apprenticeship and leave school or stay in school and go to university. I really didn't enjoy school, so an apprenticeship was my way out. It sounds cliché but that ultimatum really changed the whole course of my life.
How have you curated your image to stand out from other chefs?
I don’t like to follow trends. I cook what I truly believe in and never give up on that vision.
How did your love of cocktails start?
I have always loved the classics. For cocktails, in the same way as food, understanding the classics enables you to really have some fun with your modern interpretations. For me, creating cocktails is a structured and detailed art, just as is designing a good plate of food. My book is based on what I would have wanted to know before I started really learning about cocktails and before I opened my first cocktail bar.
Why was opening a world-class bar alongside your Michelin starred restaurant so important
Because I'd never opened a bar before, I just thought, what do I want a bar to be? Let's go crazy.
I wanted to build it to be the opposite of Frog. So the "risk and temptation" kind of style - a yin yang effect with the restaurant. Now, Eve Bar means much more than this. Eve Bar's progression from when I first created it to what it is now is incredible and that's because it has grown with the team and their sheer desire for perfection. My goal is to make Eve bar one of the World's 50 best bars, there's no hiding that fact. The synergy between bar and kitchen has become even closer, with transferable techniques and waste management in the design and creation of the new bar menu. This, paired with the incredible skillset and the hard work of our driven team, makes me really excited for the direction in which Eve is going.
Why is the Perfect Manhattan your favourite cocktail?
I think a Manhattan is a perfectly balanced drink. Cherries are my favourite fruit, which is why I created Perfect, 3 Cherries. One cherry just isn’t enough! The cocktail itself celebrates the life of a cherry tree. We harvest the cherry blossom in Spring - from March to May - and distil it in dry Vermouth. We then wait until the summertime - between June and August - to pick our cherries.
Ensuring nothing goes to waste, we use all parts of the cherry. The cherry stones have been lightly toasted to bring out almond notes, then infused into sweet Vermouth. Cherry blossom flavoured dry Vermouth adds a floral touch and 3 cherries - steeped in Whiskey - with a blend of spices provide the perfect boozy garnish.
How does ‘Perfect, Three Cherries’ follow your ethos of sustainability?
In my book, I wanted to show, by using my chef’s brain, that focuses on utilising what we have in the kitchen, or what could easily be thrown away in bars, can inspire readers to look at an ingredient as a whole and to give it as much new life as I could ever do. Understanding food waste is so important - using ingredients or parts of an ingredient that would otherwise have been discarded can enhance flavours and make some incredible cocktails. I hope that my recipes will motivate and inspire and give readers the confidence to be creative and try new things.
What are the steps to creating the perfect cocktail?
I treat my cocktail recipes like food and the foundations of cocktails can be compared to the five 'mother' sauces. From each mother sauce you have so many variations that can form a multitude of dishes. With cocktails, it's the same. The foundations, the style and the reason behind the choice of flavour combinations, glassware and even cocktail names are all steeped in history and, using those foundations as a starting point, allows you to get really creative.
What is your number one fundamental ingredient for cocktail curation?
Ice - it's pivotal for temperature, viscosity and dilution.
Perfect, 3 Cherries is now available to purchase now on the Adam Handling website.