by Liz Miller
Last month, Gut Check spoke with Sanctuaria (4198 Manchester Avenue; 314-535-9700) bar manager Matt Seiter about his upcoming cocktail book The Dive Bar of Cocktails: How We Rewrote the Rules and Recipes One Cocktail at a Time based the restaurant's on drink menu. The book's official release date is Tuesday, December 11, with a book-release party, "Cocktails by Candlelight," scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. at Sanctuaria.
Curious to learn more about the cocktail book, recipes therein and book release party, we caught up with Seiter.
What inspired you to write a cocktail book based on Sancutaria's drink menu? I've always wanted to write a book. It wasn't until I got the job at Sanctuaria and developed the Cocktail Club that I had content I was eager to write about.
Any challenges throughout the process? Too many to mention all of them. Time and patience were the hardest to overcome, more so patience.
What can readers expect from the book? How many drink recipes are included? There's over 150 recipes in the book. Readers can expect all those recipes, how to make them, and more. I give away (well, sell away) a majority of our house-made ingredient recipes, tips/tricks we use behind our bar daily, stories and anecdotes for all of our own creations and a bibliography for every classic cocktail on the menu.
How did you choose which recipes to include? Do you have a personal favorite? I chose to highlight the Cocktail Club Menu of 150 drinks. That's a list that will remain stagnant at our bar until certain products become unavailable in our market. That way, when people read about a drink, they can come in and ask for it by name or number and we'll know what you want. We don't have to root through past seasonal menus for the recipe. As far as my favorite, I have two. #110 -- The Prince of Jalisco -- for flavor and how I came up with the drink. And #106 -- All Good -- for the story of its creation (and it's pretty tasty too).
If you had to choose the easiest cocktail recipe in the book for novices to make, which would it be? What about the most difficult? Easiest = #19 - Daiquiri, #21 - Brooklynite, and #32 - Bee's Knees. All are 3 ingredients, shaken, and strained into a cocktail glass. Most Difficult = #89 - Nicole's Dress because of special equipment needed and #117 - Missouri Beach Front Property because of straining off strawberries is a bitch.
Can you give us an example of a tip or trick included in the cocktail book's guide? Perfuming a glass. You'll have to buy the book to find that out.
Tell us about the Cocktails by Candlelight event/book release party. Why the "Southside Backyard Party" theme? What can guests expect? Previous events we've held at Sanctuaria have been formal attire, a little "higher class". We've put a lot of time and effort into this project. We want to celebrate the event, not work it. Besides, the title of the book is The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars. Nothing about that says, "Wear formal attire." Also, I grew up on the Southside. The most fun parties I've been to have been those backyard parties where everyone there doesn't care what you wear, drink, or what your status is. They're just there to have a good time and enjoy each other's company, no matter the occasion. So that theme, as well as concept of the book, is me. Come celebrate with me, just wear clothes.
Tickets for the event are $45 for Sanctuaria Cocktail Club members and $50 for non-members and include food and drink. A preview of The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars will be available at the party and it will be available for purchase the following day through Sanctuaria's website or at the restaurant. It retails for $24.99 before tax. An additional shipping charge is included for online orders.