What exactly makes a food- or beverage-related book stand out?
Meet Nick Perry and Paul Rosser who both grew up surrounded by food and drink. They met while working in the London kitchen of one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants. It was there that they became friends over a shared interest in spirits, and by experimenting with different flavour combinations that most of us would never imagine.
Imagination is the inspiration for their debut book, Drink Me: Curious Cocktails from Wonderland. They took this rather unique approach to creating their cocktail book because they “always wanted it to follow a theme, rather than being yet another traditional recipe book.” The theme may surprise some as it is based on the beloved children’s classic, Alice in Wonderland. Food and drink play a major role in the story, from the tea party with the Mad Hatter to the cookie jar with the notes that read “eat me,” to the magic elixir with the label that reads “drink me.” These wonderful food and beverages references were the inspiration for this creative cocktail chronicle!
“The vivid imagery and silly nature of children’s stories offers up a huge bank of themes, flavours and aromas to transfer over into our recipes.” And that’s just what they did, working backwards by naming a cocktail and then creating it. When asked about this, both Paul and Nick suggest “it was this challenge which drove us, as we sought to replicate the obscure flavours of Wonderland.”
They wanted the book to be accessible to both professionals and amateurs alike, but not wanting to “patronize the professionals and hobby bartenders that we hope will end up with this book on their coffee table.” While most drinks offer up the same standard, Paul and Nick wanted to create a unique spin. They wanted to include things such as herbal flavours, savoury and sour, even meaty flavours, which “are all massively underused and underrated in cocktails.” Creating their drinks, they both believe that “selecting good ingredients and preparing them well can make all the difference in your final product.”
When asked if they will publish more books using classic stories for inspiration, Paul is quick to say, “Yes, I really hope so, there are a huge array of children’s books which we both cherish and feel can inspire us to create truly original drinks,” while Nick is also keen on the idea, saying, “I think there’s something magical about children’s books that really lends their themes to the alchemy of cocktail making.”
The duo is proud of their accomplishment and rightfully so. Drink Me: Curious Cocktails from Wonderland is a brilliant showcase of their talents. “It’s such a big moment for us, publishing a book is us putting our recipes down in ink, where they will last for far longer than a recipe we put on at a pop-up for a couple of weeks or a bar we run. Also, it’s quite a wonderful sensation to know that someone across the world might be mixing up your creation and enjoying it at any given time.”
So sit back and get ready for a trip down the rabbit hole, it’s one you won’t soon forget! Or maybe you will, if you drink enough of these: The Drink Me Cocktail.