Culture / Entertainment

Mark Addison, the King of Cocktails, Heads to Houston and Dallas

Serving up Deft Advice on Cocktail Ware and Vermont’s Mountain Mule Libation

BY // 11.09.19

Invites to entertaining expert Mark Addison’s parties are highly coveted by those swirling through the New York and Palm Beach social sets. After all, Addison is known as the Cocktail Chameleon — he always conjures up the right ingredients for both a good cocktail and a great party alike.

His award-winning Assouline book, Cocktail Chameleon, makes for a fabulous hostess gift.

Addison is touching down in Texas for two appearances to celebrate The Fine Art of the Cocktail with Christofle, with cocktail tastings and book signings at Christofle Houston this Tuesday, November 12, from 6 to 8 pm (RSVP to Tessa Eubanks, t.eubanks@christofle.com) and at Christofle Dallas on Wednesday, November 13, from 6 to 8 pm (RSVP to Annabella Kiehl, a.kiehl@christofle.com).

We grilled Addison on essential cocktail ingredients and how to get the glassware right.

Essentials for a Great Cocktail

The three most important aspects of cocktail making:

(1) A good recipe with quality ingredients: A truly successful cocktail is all about proportions and requires a deft hand with sweet, tart, bitter and spirits. The right balance is about flavors that complement — and never overwhelm — one another.

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(2) Proper glassware: Part tradition, part common sense, and part personal style, your choice of glass should never be incidental. It’s a key element in the presentation of a carefully considered cocktail.

(3) The name says it all. A good name will not carry a poor drink to success, but a good name attached to a good drink will catapult it to the greatest heights of popularity. Tell it like it is: This is a very literal approach to naming drinks. Personal experience: A memory that the cocktail evokes. The locale: Naming a cocktail after a geographical location. Pop culture and events: Movies, Literature, holidays, and other timely events, both past and present. The namesake: A person (yourself) or celebrity past or present.

Favorite Christofle Glassware

The Graphik crystal glassware is my favorite style of glassware offered by Christofle Paris. The modern and refined design of the collection enhances the cocktail experience with sophisticated silhouettes for all types of cocktails.

The Importance of Getting the Glass Right

The cocktail glass is the attire for your cocktails and is as important to the enjoyment of the libation as the drink itself. And, as in fashion, there are rules to adhere to and rules to be broken. The rule that must be adhered to is form versus function — meaning you wouldn’t serve something over ice in a champagne flute or a cocktail straight up in a rocks glass.

The single most important decision in determining the style of the glassware is the style of the occasion — stemware versus stemless, ornate versus simple, cut crystal versus glass. Clear glass is always preferable over colored glass. You wouldn’t want to serve a beautiful red Bordeaux in anything but a clear glass, as the color is a big part of the enjoyment of the wine.

The same is true of cocktails, whether it is a crystal-clear martini or a ruby-colored Bloody Mary. The color is an essential aspect of the experience.

Best Cocktails for Texas

Here are four guaranteed crowd-pleaser cocktails for Southern holiday celebrations:

Cranberry Sauce Punch: While the turkey’s in the oven, offer a round or two of this elegant punch — the perfect herald of delicious things to come. Based on a jammy swirl of cranberries, spices, and orange juice, it’s reminiscent of everyone’s favorite holiday condiment. Top it off with good champagne, and the gratitude will flow. Recipe, click here.

Marktini: This signature martini is never out of place at a cocktail party. It’s ideal to scale up for a pitcher and can even be made into a punch with the addition of champagne. Use this recipe as a point of departure to come up with your own variation and name it after yourself. Recipe, click here.

Mountain Mule: This variation on the popular Moscow Mule was dreamt up in the Green Mountains of Vermont and inspired by flavors from around the world. Mark Addison’s homemade Vermont maple syrup adds a faintly smoky swirl of sweetness to the spicy Northern Italian amaro and vibrant Polish rye vodka for a cocktail with a worldly twist on the classic. Recipe, click here.

Cranberry Champagne Cocktail: This cocktail makes a wonderful welcome at Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations. Prepare it ahead, and all that’s required is to add chilled champagne as your guests arrive. Create a tart infusion by soaking frozen cranberries in vodka and orange liqueur, then use the drunken cranberries as a garnish. Recipe, click here.

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