Mark Addison, author of Cocktail Chameleon, believes that life is a series of special occasions meant to be celebrated in high style. As an award-winning designer and producer, he has created extraordinary environments, from celebrity events and major product launches to destination weddings and international galas. His uniquely creative vision has earned him an impressive client list of celebrities, top consumer brands, and Fortune 500 companies. Splitting his time between New York City, Palm Beach, and Vermont, he is always energized by his shifting environment and inspired by the natural beauty of his surroundings. This brings a fresh perspective and contagious optimism to all his work, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.
You are a TV personality, successful event planner, designer, award-winning producer, and, entertaining expert. You are now adding “author” to your long list of accomplishments! Why now and why cocktails?
I’ve always knew I would publish a book and funny enough, when I made my first appearance on national TV as an entertaining expert, the host ask what the name of my book was… I didn’t have one and though “I’ve got to get busy!”
For the last two decades, I’ve produced award-wining celebrations all over the world and appeared on national television as an authority on design and entertaining. Along the way, I created hundreds of signature cocktails to toast special occasions, product launches, celebrities and Hollywood films.
Why Cocktails? They are what get the party started so it was a given that first book should be about cocktails, and earned the nickname Marktini because I would go to friends’ houses and mix up cocktails with whatever they had at hand.
But making cocktails can seem daunting to the uninitiated, especially when it’s referred to as “the art of mixology.” And that’s the main reason I decided to write a cocktail book. I want to demystify cocktails by providing an understanding of the classics and show how, with that basic foundation, everyone can join in the fun and excitement of creating their own signature drinks. I also created a cocktail Chameleon section on my website as an extension of the book, which includes glossaries on the glassware, spirits, bar tools, ingredients, garnishes and techniques as well as a comprehensive list of resources with direct links where to buy each item.
Your mantra is: “it’s called entertaining for a reason; you get to have fun while you do it”, what’s the trick to getting “out from behind the bar” and enjoying ones’ own party?
I think the biggest problem people face is over complicating their party plans (and I’ve been there). You want to try new recipes and give your guests lots of options (just in case they don’t like something) and this is where the fear of throwing a party comes in and why many people just don’t do it!
I have a 50/50 rule for home entertaining and it applies on many levels
- 50% pre-prepared (homemade or not, who’s to know) and 50% that you must prepare the day of your party. Keeps you from overloading yourself, because life always gets in the way of best laid plans – am I right?
- 50% of your party plan must be in your entertaining repertoire and you can turn it out in your sleep (you may just have to) and 50% new(ish) to keep things fresh. Taste test at least a week before to work out any kinks.
I can answer that in two words for you SIGNATURE – COCKTAIL! It is what the book is all about finding your signature cocktail with understanding the basics of the classics cocktails.
What’s exciting in the cocktail/mixology scene today?
Shaken or stirred, made of at least three ingredients and often multiple spirits, cocktails are a thing of glamour and sophistication that transcends the average bar drink. Though it has come in and out of vogue, the cocktail has never disappeared and is currently enjoying a roaring resurgence sparked by a new appreciation for artisanal craft and traditional techniques with a modern flair.
There is an ever-expanding world of resources available to home cocktail enthusiasts that were once known exclusively to master mixologists; from professional-style barware and tools in luxurious finishes and materials designed for the home mixologist to esoteric ingredients and international wines and spirits are only a click away through online shopping sites from around the world and in your own home town. So, your imagination truly is the only limit.
What is a signature cocktail and why is it important have and serve one at parties?
Signature cocktails are part creative expression and part calling card, alluding to your style as much as your handshake or favorite perfume. It’s wonderful to be able to host a themed evening and mix up a batch of something tailored just to the occasion. The result is a signature cocktail that is as unique as you are. It also simplifies your stock of liquor and gets you out from behind the bar to enjoy your own party.
Girls – the glass = the perfect silhouette, garnishes = perfect accessories where sometimes more is more or remove one item, cocktail recipe = the notes of a fragrance. Everything equals your personal style
Guys – the glass, like the shape of a sports car = cool and sleek, garnish is the fine finishes = simple yet effective, drink = power under the hood – strong but smooth. The result are cocktails as unique as you are.
I have created a world of cocktail resources on www.CocktailChamelon.com (www.markaddison.com/cocktailchameleon) where readers can find detailed information on the glassware, spirits, resources used in the creation of Cocktail Chameleon. The site includes glossaries on techniques, garnishes, an extensive glossary defining glassware types and style and a complete breakdown on all the beer, wine and spirits used. There is even a resource list of esoteric ingredients and hard-to-find suppliers with direct links on where to buy each item.
Anti Gravity Martini