Tipples

Whip up 50 classic cocktails at home

British mixologist Dre Masso launched Classic Cocktails At Home recently.
British mixologist Dre Masso launched Classic Cocktails At Home recently.PHOTO: PTT FAMILY
Classic Cocktails At Home
Classic Cocktails At Home

Fans of craft cocktails can now whip up their own drinks at home with the recipes of award-winning British mixologist Dre Masso.

The international bar veteran and director of bars at PTT Family (the people behind Potato Head establishments internationally) has released Classic Cocktails At Home. As the self-published book's title suggests, it highlights 50 classic cocktails - from the Bloody Mary to the Clover Club.

All the recipes, which are simple and easy to follow, have been tested by amateur bartenders, including Masso's family. His friends, who have never made drinks before, also tried the recipes.

The 40-year-old says: "I got friends around to make drinks and there wasn't any coaching or hand holding because it was important to see that the recipes worked."

Masso, who started bartending at the age of 16, has worked at some of London's most famous establishments, including the Atlantic Bar & Grill and Jamie Oliver's Fifteen.

He describes the recipes as his "bible recipes that have stayed with me", each accompanied with a note on the drink's history and origin, an ingredients list as well as the recommended glassware and garnish to go with the drink.

He says the cocktail scene is moving away from overcomplicated drinks. "A person is more likely to go for a gin and tonic instead. An aperitivo, a less potent style of drink, is winning people's hearts as well," he says.

Hence, his recipes are straightforward and aim for "bar quality results with no fuss".

Modelled after a bartender's manual, the book also has a comprehensive section on glassware, essential bar tools and practical advice for home bartenders.

For instance, if the recipe calls for a lemon twist, you can use a potato peeler - common in any kitchen - to peel off the zest of a lemon in a single stroke.

There is also a section on how to prepare garnishes.

While the idea for a compilation of classics had been percolating in his mind for five years, he put the book together only last year.

He previously also released Margarita Rocks (2005) with a British publisher. The book featured 70 bespoke recipes and information on the history of tequila and mezcal.

But unlike that book, he calls Classic Cocktails At Home a labour of love.

"It was personal and done on my own terms," he says.

It was put together on an extremely small budget over a week in a studio last year.

"I paid £100 (S$180) for the studio, paid the photographer not much more and worked over a weekend to photograph everything," he recalls. "I owned all the glassware and bought the ice and most of the ingredients from the supermarket."

He adds: "Everything was shot with natural light. You can probably see some impurities in some of the photos in the book, but I wanted them as they are."

Despite more than 20 years in the industry, he says that no matter how many iterations of drinks he has made, he never stops learning.

"I'm always looking at everything I do to see how I can improve."

The book is available at Potato Head Folk in Keong Saik Road for $15. It can be purchased at the bar or customers can request it from the staff.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 11, 2016, with the headline 'Tipples Whip up 50 classic cocktails at home'. Print Edition | Subscribe