There are few Instagram accounts that live up their name as well as Beautiful Booze. With mouthwatering cocktail images often set in stunning locations, the account (and its corresponding website) are known for taking viewers on a journey through drinks across the globe.
Now you can bring a little of that journey home as the creators behind the account, Natalie Migliarini and James Stevenson, launch their first book entitled, as you would imagine, Beautiful Booze.
Continuing the journey that the pair started online, the printed book brings together everything that the duo believes is important about making cocktails at home. Migliarini wants to stress that making amazing drinks is not about brands but instead about making drinks that work for you.
“The message that I really want to send is that you should use what you have at home,” Migliarini explains. “It’s important to feel comfortable to enjoy a cocktail how you like to enjoy it. If you use the spirits or brands you like, then your cocktail is probably going to taste good as well.”
Although as Migliarini explains she had been approached by a number of publishers to create a book, she really wanted the creative freedom to really make this book an extension of her Instagram account and website.
“I just held out and did my thing, and I wasn’t super focused on writing a book until that opportunity presented itself,” she said. “The publisher gave me total creative freedom, so I felt like it was worth it to make something that was really on-brand for me.
“It was important for me not to take on something that would divert from the core message of Beautiful Booze, which is simplistic cocktails to make at home. And while I’ve been doing this for seven years and the level of cocktail skills that people have at home has increased, I do feel like I was able to follow that exact pathway with this book.”
And that pathway is all about taking the mystery out of the cocktail making process. Migliarini comments that although cocktails can look intimidating when you’re sitting at a bar, they are actually a lot more achievable at home than a lot of people think.
“I actually went to a bar early on and got an egg white cocktail, and I was really fascinated by that. I thought there’s no way I’d be able to make this at home. I Googled it and watched a YouTube video, and I did it while I was watching the YouTube video. I was actually surprised at how easy it was to make an egg white cocktail.
“A lot of the skills that you see in bars, people think aren’t possible to recreate at home, but it’s actually a lot easier than they think,” Migliarini continued. “The more you make cocktails, the easier they become.”
Bringing assessable cocktails and recipes to the home bartender has always been what the Beautiful Booze is all about. “For me, I wanted this to be more about the experience of making the cocktail.”
“I’m not going too deep into spirits and cocktail techniques, and things like that,” Migliarini explains. “I think there’s a lot of books out there, especially written by bartenders that know a lot more than I do and can talk to specific techniques and specific spirits.”
And for Migliarini and Stevenson, that experience is not restricted to the recipes themselves but also to a few tricks and tips that they believe can take any cocktail to the next level. “I think one of the biggest things is having enough ice. That presents a problem with diluting your cocktail or getting it to the right temperature. Ice is important in that way.
“Another thing that during this whole period of COVID-19 I’ve been telling my audience is to use fresh citrus. I like to emphasise that if you are using fresh citrus, you’re going to get a better cocktail.”
As well as fresh citrus, Migliarini also believes that using local seasonal ingredients can make all the difference in a drink. No matter where in the world she and Stevenson have found themselves, experiencing what every area can bring to a drink has been important.
One of her favourite ways of doing this is with her favourite cocktail the Daiquiri. Over the past couple of years, Beautiful Booze has run a series called Destination Daiquiri. In the series, she has asked bartenders from around the world to make her a Daiquiri that really represents the place where they are
“Some of those recipes are in the book. There’s one from a bar in Madrid that has some sherry added to it. In France, they made me a daiquiri with Calvados. There’s also one that, in Prague, it had some dill, or pickle juice, or something in it. So that’s where I like trying people’s creations all over the world. Can they make me some kind of twist on the classic daiquiri?”
Through experiments like Destination Daiquiri, Migliarini wants to show that its not the brands you use or sticking to an exact recipe that makes a drink but rather the combination of flavours, fresh ingredients and what you have on-hand.
To highlight this point, the beginning of the book demonstrates a variety of classic drinks, like the French 75, the Negroni, and the daiquiri. Migliarini and Stevenson then show how each of these classics can be adapted by demonstrating two twists on those classics.
But don’t assume that this book is simply for beginners. “I think there’s a wide range of cocktails for a wide range of abilities,” Migliarini continued
“There is a chapter called Beyond the Bar Cart, which is going to be for people that want to go next level and buy some other types of spirits that aren’t your base spirits, like Chartreuse or Licor 43 to experiment with.
“There is a chapter called Take Me Somewhere Tropical, which is going to be tropical-inspired drinks. Those drinks tend to have a little bit more ingredients because there are drinks with several types of spirits, some pineapple juice, some lime juice, and some different syrups.”
While making drinks that can easily look just as good as they taste has been the mission for Beautiful Booze, Migliarini is also keen to ensure that people remember why they are making the drinks in the first place.
“Even if it’s not a special occasion or a weekend, I think that you can still make a beautiful cocktail for yourself. Having a really nice cocktail is a celebration not only of the every day, but also a way to celebrate yourself.”
The Beautiful Booze book is now available on amazon