Transport your glass around the globe with more than 75 cocktail recipes from one of the world's premier bartenders.
Grab your glass and let’s go!
For over 20 years, Lauren Mote has tended bars and traveled the world, often as one of the only women in a male-dominated industry. She's developed cocktail recipes, sought out new ingredients, and gathered stories along the way. Now, in her first book, Lauren is inviting readers and home bartenders to pack their suitcases and come with her on an international cocktail adventure.
Few bartenders can match Lauren’s encyclopedic knowledge of spirits, liqueurs, and tinctures, not to mention her originality for blending them into a perfectly-balanced drink. Once you’ve gotten a handle on the basics of bartending, and gathered your cocktail shaker along with a few other pieces of equipment, you’ll be raising your glass in no time. The recipes are organized by their star ingredients, such as agave, gin, whiskey, rum, vodka, and more. Every drink is given its own designation of standard, mid, low, or zero proof, and you’ll find a whole chapter on nonalcoholic cocktails, because Lauren feels strongly that all drinks should be prepared with care, whether they include alcohol or not. Once you’ve narrowed down the base that you’re in the mood for, let Lauren’s magnetic storytelling and gift of the gab continue to guide you. In each chapter, you’ll find a collection of Mise en Place Recipes to help you build up your bar’s basic ingredients and make Lauren’s techniques your own.
With beautiful storytelling and photography, and cocktail recipes you won’t find elsewhere, A Bartender’s Guide to the World is as much a pleasure to read as it is to imbibe from.
About the authors
LAUREN MOTE is a sought-after consultant and expert in the global spirits industry. She’s a founding partner of the award-winning, internationally-acclaimed cocktail bitters line, Bittered Sling, and Nightcap Media Agency. She’s also the co-founder of Women Celebrate, a social media initiative to highlight women and fem folx and their achievements in the drinks industry. She’s traveled to over 60 countries, trained over 15,000 bartenders, presented at dozens of trade shows and has been a bartender for over 20 years. Lauren divides her time between Canada and the Netherlands. JAMES O. FRAIOLI is an award-winning cocktail author. He has published 40 books, including titles that have been featured on the Food Network, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, People, O: The Oprah Magazine, Vogue and Martha Stewart Living Radio.
Excerpt: A Bartender's Guide to the World: Cocktails and Stories from 75 Places (by (author) Lauren Mote & James O. Fraioli)
I’m Lauren Mote, an award-winning bartender and multiple business owner in the drinks industry. Over the past two decades, I have worked many styles of bars and restaurants in Canada, from dive bars and neighborhood joints to Relais & Châteaux properties and the Four Seasons hotel group. I’ve represented some of the greatest spirits on the planet. In the earlier part of my career, I focused on getting myself through school with jobs in food and beverages before homing in on the industry as my full-time passion. I’ve competed and won international bartending competitions, including World Class Canada and the Grey Goose Iconoclasts series. I’ve developed training programs for Grand Marnier, Heering, Laphroaig, and Chartreuse, and have received accolades from Vancouver magazine, Tales of the Cocktail, the Dame Hall of Fame, and Drinks International. I’ve traveled the world—over fifty countries—and I’m constantly in awe with every discovery of a new flavor, a local custom, and the people behind them. Today, I’m the co-owner of an award-winning, internationally distributed cocktail bitters company, Bittered Sling, founded in 2012 with my husband, Chef Jonathan Chovancek, and we also own a marketing and photography consulting agency here in Europe. I am a sommelier, writer, and spirits educator, as well as the first woman to win World Class Canada before competing at the World Class Global Final in South Africa in 2015, placing in the top twelve globally. Over the last decade, I have represented some of the best spirits in the world, traveling to far flung regions, developing relationships with and education for bartenders of every experience level/
In this book, I’m proud to share stories that have helped me form my positive outlook on the drinks industry over the last two decades. Each story is illustrated with a cocktail that perfectly brings the scene to life, because after all, delicious - ness is best experienced from all the senses. But first, my own story.
I grew up in downtown Toronto. My mom was a single mother of three kids who was putting herself through night school to get a better job. This didn’t leave a lot of money for food, so we often ate canned foods—sometimes from the food bank—along with simple salads, soups, and pasta. That was it. But with great enthusiasm and a spice rack of flavors, Mom made the most of the situation. Generally, I would see my dad at my grandmother Rose’s house for random meals. My brothers, Jake and Sasha, and I would get to enjoy the greatest hits of Forest Hill’s awesome Jewish delis: chopped liver, roasted chicken, matzoh ball soup, kishke, you name it. At my British grandmother Florence’s house, we’d devour home - made party foods, from sandwiches and teatime snacks to a huge roast with a thousand sides, and a dessert course that was even larger than the main: trifle, bread pudding, custards, and more.
Over the years, I would stand at my grandmothers’ side while they cooked. I know this is cliché— yes, another story about grandmothers cooking— but the foods they exposed me to changed my life. Food wasn’t just something required for energy; it was everything. It was the entertainment, the creativity, the calculated recipe creations. I loved it all. At a very young age I stopped socializing with my family in the living room and helped in the kitchen. We’d celebrate later, watching The Simpsons and eating Cadbury chocolates with my Auntie Carol. These meals linked me to two very different sides of my family— my ancestral homes, the lands we came from, the traditions of our past— all handed down over the ages on the plate and in the most memorable places. I would find recipes for burdock wine written on the back of grocery receipts or cocktail napkins from a long-ago soirée, preserved in the stacks of old TV Guide magazines, or the scribbled recipes for poppyseed moon cookies in my great-grandmother’s diary, which she published in 1994, on her 100th birthday, for the entire family to read. I cherish my copy.
I was destined to end up in food and drinks, because that’s what made me happiest. And I needed the distraction. I was often bullied during this time, first for not being Jewish enough in one neighborhood, and then for being too Jewish when we moved to a new area. My salvation was cooking, and my biggest reward was the smiles on people’s faces as they ate my creations. When I was eighteen, I opened a catering company called Mademoiselle Chef to support my dream— it was my therapy as a teenager and well into my twenties.
My first experience with alcohol as a young adult was a $3.85 bottle of Olde English malt liquor with my pals from school. I remember the awkward moment sitting outside the school portables in the Beaches neighborhood of Toronto, having my first sip and being absolutely disgusted. “Is this what I’ve been waiting for? Gross.” After trying a few more sips, I figured the feeling was worth the horrific taste. When I found my mom’s stash of mixto tequila and my uncle’s spiced rum, the flavors improved, but not that much. I longed for the togetherness, and what looked like happiness, that my mom, stepdad, and their friends enjoyed around the dining room table after we went to sleep. I listened from the staircase late at night to crazy stories of adventures and general chitchat, complemented by billows of smoke and the sound of wine corks popping and glasses clinking late into the night. Wine was instantly interesting to me— the thousands of wine labels were rooted in culture and heritage from far-flung places around the world. I also hoped that the more I learned about wine and food, the more I was destined to meet other people like me.
After high school, I took two years off and worked a number of jobs to learn as much as I could. I had the gift for gab and the ability to listen and contribute at a high level— and a photographic memory to boot! I was a strong public speaker, comedic, creative, and energetic. When I took my first bar job at eighteen, I was able to bring all of these traits, as well as my understanding of people, customer service, passion for flavors, and excellent time management together. I saw it all as a swan dance with a lot of mathematics on the business side, and I loved the challenge and triumph of finishing a service of endless chits, delivering perfect drinks in a timely fashion, chatting with and entertaining my guests, taking orders, and settling payments, all simultaneously.
One night, after several lychee martinis at Hey Lucy in Toronto, I had an epiphany: I was ready for a new adventure. I decided to go to university and wound up at the University of Waterloo, and then Toronto, studying and attending classes during the day, and working at night at Le Select Bistro, a high-end, popular restaurant in downtown Toronto. But the academic honeymoon didn’t last— school was complicated and my job was amazing. I wasn’t living at home, and the pressure at school was heavy. I couldn’t really relate to anyone there, either. I relied heavily on the family of misfits at work who made me feel so comfortable. They challenged me on a different level, and I blossomed into an even more eccentric version of myself. I felt like I had arrived.
I’ll always remember standing on the university campus, with the bright sunshine beaming down on me, on the phone with my mom, bawling my eyes out at the thought of leaving school. It felt like I had failed. She said, “Lauren, you’re brilliant and talented, and being happy is far more important than being tormented. You’re obviously meant to do something else. These are lessons, expensive lessons, that you needed to learn the hard way. We all do.” (For more about my mom’s awesomeness, see Dancing Queen on page 128.)
Over the next year, I took my $45,000 in student loans, made a new plan, and hit the road west for Vancouver.
In 2010 I met my now-husband, Jonathan Chovancek. It was love at first sight and first conversation. Jonathan was an accomplished chef, and the possibilities for two young gastronomy-obsessed lovers like us were wide open. We opened two companies, Kale & Nori Culinary Arts (a boutique catering and events company) and Bittered Sling (our cocktail bitters company). Within the first year of dating, we blended our lives, cutlery, and cookbook collections and set about bringing our vision of great food and beverage culture to life through events across Canada and around the world.
It’s such a blur, but fast-forward to 2019, when, with over 600 books in our shipping container, we moved across the ocean from Canada to the Netherlands to live in Amsterdam for a new adventure. Our library has helped us define our journey, and books have become markers on our timelines, always bringing us back to a certain place or event. Hard-cover encyclopedias and reference books; philosophy texts; atlases of both geographical and wine regions; food science tomes; books about cooking, drinks, foraging, and farming. They feed my obsession with the oceans, mountains, outer space, and the unknown cosmos, as well as my love of color synesthesia (the psychology of color), art history, and fragrances. I’ve always wanted to write a book that captured my journey on paper— I don’t want to forget the special moments that shaped my life.
I started bartending because I longed to feel like part of a family, one whose members accepted me unconditionally. Over the last two decades, I have been a college and university student, a songwriter/burger-dresser, a bookkeeper, a server, a bartender, a hostess, a sommelier, a cook, a caterer, an event planner, a (multiple) business owner, a manager, a marketer, a consultant, a writer, an educator and a mentor. The road to this point has swayed from side to side— a clear path on some days, roadblocked on others— but each role and experience added to my toolbox. I love the challenges around every corner and, more importantly, the treasure trove of people I’ve met along the way. It’s the courage to fail as well as succeed that’s allowed me the opportunity to shine in my different roles, expand and evolve existing positions, and broaden the scope of my process, both creatively and analytically. My bartending, storytelling, and cocktail-making style is an amalgamation of all of it. And each person I meet is an amalgamation of their experiences and personality, making each interaction with each person so special. It’s my honor to chronicle these moments with a drink, a story, a recipe, and a tribute.
The stories in these pages are an amalgamation of key moments from my last twenty years, including a few from 2020, the year we are still trying to make sense of. It was a complicated year for many reasons, not least of which was a global pandemic. I saw friends and colleagues struggle and lose so much, and others find beauty and calmness in the chaos. As I write this, the pandemic continues, and impacts everything we do. But through it all, my community has stayed together and grown stronger. Their perseverance has pushed me to move faster and work harder in the moments when it was most challenging. Blending and creating flavors is my life, but developing friendships through flavor is my life’s work.
Bartenders are in the business of serving at the pleasure of their guests and teammates, while making drinks on time and on budget. Please support local bars, restaurants, and businesses where possible— from those who provide you with the beautiful products to make the drinks to the neighborhood bar and the local coffee roaster.
This book is meant to take you away on a journey to flavor town, inspired by my travels as a bartender and with bartenders around the world. From central meeting places, cafés, and social events, socializing, food, and drink, what I’ve learned is that great conversations and good company are the zest of life and the very essence of our being. Cocktail making doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, serving a light highball with delicious snacks, vacation-inspired drinks midweek, or ice cream floats and zero-proof spritzes are all part of having fun. You choose the occasion, and I’ll provide the recipe and feel-good story that brings it all together.
“A well-stamped passport of a debut, with every cocktail inspired by Lauren’s travels and grounded in an evocative sense of place, that reads like a spirited collection of transportive short stories.”
—BRAD THOMAS PARSONS, author of Bitters, Amaro, and Last Call
“Lauren Mote has traveled the globe inspiring bartenders and drinkers alike. Her book is full of unique cocktails and exciting stories of the people she has connected with and the drinks they have shared. Get out your passport and prepare for a trip around the world in your glass.”
—JULIE REINER, author of The Craft Cocktail Party: Delicious Drinks for Every Occasion
“Travel is a wonderful way to explore cultures and flavors, and to expand your drinking repertoire. Here, Lauren calls on her experiences to guide readers through her inspiration and share insight into places to explore for yourself, or to recreate at home.”
—RYAN CHETIYAWARDANA, author of Good Together: Drink & Feast with Mr Lyan & Friends
“A Bartender’s Guide to the World shares bar secrets that have never been documented, techniques and tips learned behind the best bar counters in the world. It’s the story of a woman in a masculine environment who reaches the top. Her resulting cocktails are full of fun, science, and passion.”
—CHEF MANU BUFFARA, Restaurante Manu, Brazil
“Lauren Mote has been a shining example of innovation in the cocktail and spirits industry for years. This book will certainly become a must-have for cocktail enthusiasts and professionals alike, and deserves a permanent place in the pantheon of notable cocktail books.”
—JENNIFER AKIN, rum authority and world-renowned bartender of Rumba