Get to know Andy Shannon
Meet the maestro himself – Andy, the brilliant author of How to Make Better Cocktails. We’re thrilled to bring you an exclusive interview where you can dive deep into Andy’s world of cocktails, creativity, and expertise:
Snog, Marry, Befriend the following 3 recipes from your book? (Clover Club, French 73, Bloody Mary)
I would Snog a French 75, Marry a Clover Club - easily one of my favourite cocktails! And I would befriend a Bloody Mary.
If you had to summarise your book in 3 words, what would they be?
Skills, Knowledge, Fun.
If you had to pick a favourite page in the book, which would it be?
Special shout out to the ‘How to make a Banana Dolphin’ page
If one famous person (dead or alive) that would make you proud they've read the book, how would that be? and why
Personally, I would have loved my grandparents to have read it.
Tell us about “Andy” before he wrote the book and what inspired you to transition from bartending to another take on the hospitality industry?
I worked for years bartending and then managing bars and I loved it. It provided so much opportunity for me and more importantly, allowed me to connect with and build a community of some of the most important people in my life.
However, I wanted to take more control of my creativity both professionally and personally. Becoming an author of a book has allowed me to take more control of my “schedule” for that “Work life balance” we all speak about.
What made you fall in love with our industry?
People and creativity. The idea of talking and mixing with people from diverse backgrounds in what should be a fun or special moment in their week and being able to make that occasion special! Connecting with people in a fun and relaxed environment really makes our industry so unique.
What would be your advice to the young generation entering the industry?
Take your time. Don’t be in a rush for the next move. Learn and develop, find a space with people you respect, work with them, and challenge them to challenge you.
How has Kickology helped you strike a balance?
It has not only helped me strike a balance through the physical side of the programme but it has also helped me build my community and meet a new group of friends.
Pssst: Not discovered Kickology yet? Find out more about it here.
What’s the book about? What inspired you to write it?
We (Seb Hamilton-Mudge and Natalia Garcia Bourke), my business partners and friends have a creative agency called KINA but also an online cocktail companion called Candra - candradrinks.com. Candra is designed to help people make better cocktails at home, with a simplified but not dumbed-down version of recipes, with all the info on how and why you use certain techniques.
Some sites and books speak to consumers from a bartender's point of view and we wanted to give the expert and top-level version of how you make great cocktails but without the industry terminology. Keep it top level, but fun, simplified and not dumbed down.
What was your highlight of the booking writing experience?
Finishing it, ha! There’s a lot of work that goes into publishing a book and we did pretty much all of it, from writing, photography and illustration. So when that first copy arrived with our names on it, it felt really special.
Why should every bartender read it?
We’ve created this for the at-home bartender in style and presentation, but I truly believe there are some fundamentals that would really help a lot of professional bartenders as well.
What are the challenges of writing a book that you wouldn't expect?
Consistency and editing. We have an amazing relationship with our publisher Lucy Pessel at Octopus Publishing and she really helped and pushed us with this aspect for sure.
What is your favourite recipe from the book?
Dry Martini. I drink my fair share (Gin and Dry with a twist or a Gibson if you are asking). This for me is one of the great drinks and so simple in structure but those principles of balance, picking a great spirit and getting the right amount of dilution while producing an icy cold final cocktail take skill. It’s also easy to forget how complicated this drink can seem to a consumer or home bartender/enthusiast.
Which of those classic cocktails do you think is underrated?
The El Diablo - it’s spicy, fruity, refreshing and delicious. I don’t see it around often and it’s a banger.
Of the bartending techniques described in the book, which one is your favourite?
Stirring and Shaking and giving a concise version of the “how” and “why” for those key techniques. Simplifying but not dumbing down those techniques is tough…people write whole books on the subject.