Mixologist Oskar Kinberg on his new tome, Cocktail Cookbook

The head barman at Oskar's, part of Michelin-starred restaurant Dabbous, spills his secrets in a new book of easy-to-follow recipes


Oskar Kinberg is the co-owner of Dabbous, one of London's best-reviewed and consistently inventive restaurants. Its popular basement drinking den, Oskar's Bar, is known for innovative cocktails crafted from house-made syrups and infusions. In time for London Cocktail Week, Kinberg has now launched his first book, Cocktail Cookbook, to show keen home mixologists how to craft their own cocktail ingredients to create masterful concoctions. We spoke to him about spirits, syrups and the simple satisfaction of cooking from scratch.

What prompted you to write a book?

I wanted to show how easy it is to make tastier drinks if you spend a little more time on the preparation.

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How did you start making your own syrups and infusions?

My old boss, Andreas Jansson [at The Cuckoo Club], used to make his own. It's actually very easy to do, but he opened that door for me, so to speak.

Do you think this is something you need to learn in order to be a truly proficient cocktail-maker?

Not at all, but I think anyone who likes to potter around in the kitchen will find more satisfaction in making their own ingredients, and the finished result is always better.

What would you say to home cooks who find the idea a little intimidating?

Think of it as no more complicated than brewing tea.

And those who think making cocktails like the ones in your book is too difficult?

None of the drinks in the book is technically difficult to make - and there's no need for fancy kit, just the basics: a shaker, a jigger and some ice.

Aren't you worried about giving away your trade secrets?

Not at all. I just hope people will try these at home and hopefully enjoy them.

What five ingredients should every home cocktail-maker have in their bar?

Gin, Cocchi Americano, Cocchi di Torino, American whiskey and Campari. With these ingredients, you can make a lot of tasty drinks - negronis, Manhattans and so on. And if you're a lucky owner of my Cocktail Cookbook, you can learn how to make a few simple ingredients to use with these five bottles.

What pieces of bar equipment could you not live without?

Shaker, strainer, bar spoon, knife and measure.

Do you have a favourite cocktail from the book?

I love all my drinks equally.

Is London Cocktail Week important to you?

Yes, it's a great opportunity to try to impress new customers who may not have been to your bar before. It's a week full of great atmosphere and good times.

London Cocktail Week runs to 9 October. Cocktail Cookbook by Oskar Kinberg (Frances Lincoln, £18); dabbous.co.uk

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