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Tantalising Tipples With Fredi Viaud

Mix and muddle creative cocktails for your guests this NYE with expert mixologist and author Fredi Viaud

Out with the old and in with the new – 2018 is nearly here and why not welcome it in style with some cracking cocktails? Here expert mixologist, bar manager and author Fredi Viaud teaches us how to mix and muddle tantalizing tipples like a pro and shares one of his own brilliant recipes that is perfect for New Year’s Eve!



It’s safe to say that Fredi Viaud knows a thing or two about cocktails; he has been mixing up creative concoctions for over 15 years now, and has even written a book on the subject. After completing catering college in France and working in dozens of restaurants and bars across the world, Fredi can now be found mixing and muddling, shaking and stirring in a trendy corner of West London; he is currently in charge of the bar at new food and drink hotspot Home SW15 in Putney, where his carefully created cocktail menu is going down a storm...

“It’s a blend of well chosen classics and signatures – there are only 15 cocktails on the list, nothing too intimidating, but it’s well balanced. I like to think that there is something for everyone on it” he explains.

And looking at the list – I think he’s right. From a Cherry Tequila Sour to a Pisco Punch, a good old Dark ‘N’ Stormy to a refreshing Gin Fizz – it’s a crowd pleasing cocktail list for sure, but Fredi tells me that there is one thirst-quencher in particular that his customers just can’t get enough of.

“The Gin & Tea Party - some people are obsessed with it! I remember a group of ladies coming in to have one and telling me they were thinking about it all day and then dreamt about it all night! Once I had a couple emailing me on their honeymoon to ask me for the recipe because they missed it so much! It’s green tea infused into gin, vanilla sugar, rhubarb bitters and lemon juice – it’s very tasty!”

Gin Tea

(Image: The Gin & Tea Party)

Fredi can of course rustle up the classics like a pro, but his specialty lies is creating new and wonderful combinations, much like The Gin & Tea Party, that come together to create seriously delicious cocktails that no one will forget in a hurry.  

‘As I gain experience, I aim for simplicity and originality. Finding the fine balance between taste and flavours” he explains. "A good cocktail should let you wonder why nobody has thought of it before, it should sound familiar by its simplicity, but surprise you with its originality”

The irony is, that despite being a master at making them, Fredi doesn’t actually drink cocktails very often himself. He tells me that if he had to, it would be a Negroni because apparently it’s pretty hard to mess that one up. His book A First Understanding of Mixology is - as Fredi describes it - ‘an invitation for creativity’ and aims to prove that anyone can make cocktails, which is of course great news for us all!

“I started working on the book after a conversation I had with regulars at the bar – they would comment on my creativity, and say how they would love to be able to craft cocktails themselves’ Fredi explains.

“So I started to think about a cocktail handbook that would demystify the term mixology. I wanted it to be approachable and, once again, simple and original. And fun, because making drinks has to be fun!”

The book, beautifully illustrated by Jennifer Kirkham, is an indispensible handbook for anyone interested in making cocktails – from novices to more experienced mixologists alike, and for just taster of Fredi’s cocktail-making wisdom then read on, as he shares his top tips and advice for making cocktails like a pro this NYE, and beyond.

Mixology

(Images: A First Understanding of Mixology Kindle Edition by Frederic Viaud (Author) Jennifer Kirkham (illustration)

 

INSPIRE ME: CREATE COCKTAILS LIKE A PRO THIS NYE

Get The Kit

First of all there are two types of people - those who buy expensive tools and never use them - their shaker ends up on the top shelf in the living room and it’s seen as art deco. The second one buys practical tools and uses them often, making their money worth it! What I’m saying is that it’s easy to find a shaker nowadays - it won’t cost you much and it works just fine. The essentials you’ll need are; a shaker, a Hawthorne strainer and a double jigger.

TOAST TIP

Berties Direct has been supplying the catering industry for over 20 years and their basic bar range is both cost efficient and effective. They sell all the required bits and bobs individually, but also offer comprehensive kits in stainless steel, trendy copper and a rather chic gun metal grey. Oliver Bonas also do a super stylish Marble and Copper Bar Tools Set, and for a cocktail shaker with wow factor then check out Tom Dixon’s futuristic copper-plated version. Becky Broome’s personalised cocktail shakers are also fun and make great gifts.

Berties Mixology Kit  Berties kits start at £28.97, accessories from £2.20 www.bertiesdirect.co.uk

Oliver Bonas Cocktail Marble Copper Bar Set

Oliver Bonas Marble and Copper Bar Tools Set £60 from www.oliverbonas.com

Tom Dixon Mixology Kit Plum Cast Jack Scent

Tom Dixon Plum Cocktail Shaker £100 from www.tomdixon.net

Becky Broome Cocktail Shaker

Becky Broome shakers from £28 www.beckybroome.com

 

Do The Maths

When entertaining it can be very difficult to calculate how many cocktails you’ll need as it depends on your guests and how much you want the cocktails to be involved in your party; if the cocktails are made to welcome your guests, 1-2 each should be enough, but if the cocktails are available all evening (alongside wine and beer) I would probably batch it beforehand and kept it refrigerated, 2-3 per person should be enough.

Keep it Cool 

Ice is a key element when making cocktails so you need to be sure that you have enough, plus back up! Let’s say that 1kg of ice cubed will make about 5 to 7 cocktails. Note that if you are serving over ice you will need more!

Glass Over Garnish 

I’m not so much into big garnishes, but I like the idea of nice glassware. If I am making a martini style cocktail for example, the Nick and Nora glass is a much nicer and more elegant option, it’s a bartender’s favourite. Choose your glasses based on your cocktail.
 

TOAST TIP

For TOAST’s top picks of the best attention grabbing glassware then head over to TheEDIT, or if you’d like some stylish Nick and Nora glasses as Fredi suggests, then Drink Stuff’s selection should do the tasty trick.

Nick And Nora Glassware

Nick & Nora glassware from £39.99 for 6 from www.drinkstuff.com

 

Something For Everyone

To make sure there is something that all your guests will enjoy try and make two cocktail options - one built short on ice involving a spirit such as whisky, brandy or rum with a bitter and a sweet element, and the other a fruity sour style served in a martini glass, involving gin or vodka.

Turn Up The Volume

If want to make large volumes of a drink that will easily feed a crowd then there are a few cocktails that are more appropriate for large scale, such as Punch or Sangria. You can make these in advance and serve in a dramatic large bowl.

 

TOAST TIP

We love Sophie Conran’s understated yet impressive glass punch bowl set, complete with ladle and 6 glasses - the ultimate way to get the party started! For cool and contemporary then you can’t go wrong with LSA’s gorgeous IVALO punch bowl, complete with its Scandi-chic wooden lid, or John Lewis also have a rather genius punch bowl that doubles up as a cake stand, cake dome, and chip and dip serving tray too! Talk about multi tasking.

Sophie Conran Punch Bowl

Sophie Conran’s £49 from www.sophieconran.com

LSA Punch Bowl

IVALO Punch Bowl Set & Ash Lid by LSA from £125 available from www.lsa-international.com

John Lewis Punch Bowl

John Lewis' punch bowl from £32 available from John Lewis www.johnlewis.com.

 

Make It Personal

A Negroni is a great drink to play around with. It’s usually made with a London dry gin, a sweet vermouth (red) and Campari. Change any of its components with a different gin, vermouth or amaro (Italian herbal liqueur, like Campari) and you get a different cocktail each time, so you can really personalise your Negroni, which is great!

Get Inspired

In my book there’s a chapter called ‘signatures, twisted and inspired’ where I explain how the idea for each cocktail is generated. The point is that inspiration can be anywhere! It can start with a conversation with the chef, a seasonal ingredient, a new spirit or a challenge sounding like “I dare you…”! We are surrounded with flavours and talented people - all we need to do is to keep our senses aware.

FREDI’S TOP TIPS

  • Keep It Simple: Don’t make it too complicated for yourself.

  • Pre-prepare: Be ready, As we said in the industry. Get your mise en place, prepare your garnishes in advance. You don’t want the cocktails making to be a stress, you want to enjoy it and spend time with your guests.

  • Keep It Cold: Make sure your ice stays solid - if you shake half melted ice it’ll bring too much water into your cocktails.

  • Measure For Balance: Use the measure. It may sound cheap but it’s very important that the balance for each cocktail is the same - consistency is key.


Fredi can be found behind the bar at Home SW15, 146 Upper Richmond Road
London SW15 2SW and his book is available to purchase on Amazon.

Check out TheEDIT for Fredi's NYE Margarita Recipe!

 
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