Michael Madrusan didn’t want another boring cocktail book. So, The Everleigh’s first publication, A Spot at the Bar, will be a coffee-table book about the joys of hosting, rather than a list of complicated recipes.
“A Spot at the Bar was meant to be more of an extension of the experience inside The Everleigh and its people,” says owner Madrusan. “It was never designed to be a really confusing spec book that only bartenders and people in the industry could understand, but a book people could flick through on a Sunday and see a few recipes they might like to try.”
The book is co-written by Madrusan and his business and life partner, Zara Young. Designed by The Company You Keep, it features photography by Broadsheet regular Kristoffer Paulsen and Thomas Rigeny and is influenced by vintage American hosting books.
“Back in the ’40s and ’50s, hosting was such a common thing. Rather than going out, you’d invite people over to the house and put on a show that welcomed them,” he says.
After helping to launch New York’s respected PDT cocktail bar, and working at Milk & Honey and Little Branch, Madrusan returned to Melbourne and opened The Everleigh on Gertrude Street five years ago. While Melbourne’s cocktail scene has continued to evolve, The Everleigh has remained remarkably consistent.
“We had a look at what wasn’t working in the first week and fixed it accordingly,” he says. “But in all honesty, we haven’t changed The Ev in five years.”
In his opinion, the bar has been part of a bigger movement in Australia.
“The Everleigh’s not a sole runner, she’s part of a group of like-minded people who also really care about service and quality of drinks, and lifting the drinking culture in Melbourne and Australia,” he says. “I think we definitely push the boundaries like no other bar or business does in regards to the money we spend on our R&D and our offering. For example, our ice company [Navy Strength Ice Co] and the quality of our spirits.”
He also believes the offering at The Everleigh has helped encourage people to be more adventurous with their choices. “The knowledge of the drinks has widened,” he says. “People have steered away from just ordering an Espresso Martini or a Cosmopolitan, and they’ve looked into drinks like the Sazerac or a Tuxedo.”
While A Spot at the Bar will feature more than 300 classic-cocktail recipes, tips for hosting a party, and advice on how to dress for the occasion, cocktail tragics will be pleased to know two more books of high-end mixology will be released next year. “The other two books will be very heavy on the specs, quite technical,” he says.
A Spot at the Bar is out November 1, published by Hardie Grant Books.