A cool new cocktail book honoring Sir Cecil Beaton, the celebrated 20th Century British portrait photographer renowned for his images of artists, aristocrats and high society, is something mixologists of all kinds will want to get their hands on.
Published by London's National Portrait Gallery in conjunction with an exhibition of Beaton's work titled Bright Young Things, the book features Beaton's photographs and illustrations accompanied by cocktail recipes by Denis Broci, who oversees the cocktail program as Claridge's, London's most famous luxury hotel.
Beaton's name "became synonymous with elegance, glamour and style," the publisher notes. He not only documented a "flamboyant and rebellious group of artists and writers, socialites and partygoers whose spirit and style cut a dramatic swathe" through London starting in the 1920s, but was himself one of the group's most prominent members.
Cecil Beaton's Cocktail Book, now available for pre-order on Amazon, celebrates the golden age of cocktails, and in particular the "decadent drinks" favored by Beaton and his socialite set. There are many iconic cocktails and others that Broci has given a modern twist in keeping with Beaton's insouciant spirit and flair.
The primary focus is on gin and brandy cocktails, and several of them can be found on the menu at The Fumoir, Claridge's intimate Art Deco temple of mixology which has been serving fine cocktails to the cognoscenti, and whose clientele included Beaton and his friends and many famous names, since 1929.
While the hotel, which has played host to everyone from Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn to Mick Jagger and Kate Moss, is temporarily closed due to current events, we anticipate it will re-open by the time the book comes out next month, and in any case the recipes will offer many opportunities for experimentation at home.
We'll leave you with a preview of one tasty concoction dating from the 1920s that you'll want to imbibe more than one of:
Between the Sheets
2/3 oz. Havana Club Especial (or similar golden aged rum); 1 oz. Rémy Martin VSOP cognac; 2/3 oz. Cointreau; 2/3 oz. lemon juice; 1/6 oz. simple syrup. Shake and strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon peel. Salut!