Archive for the ‘Jibba Jabba’ Category

With it being national Margarita Day, usually it would be normal for a few blogs to be posted on the more popular drink sites on the Internet. Recipes and twists abound, maybe with a few photos, and maybe even an anecdote or two about people’s favourite story about how the drink actually came about would all be commonplace.

Unfortunately at A Pint of Green Chartreuse, however, such a notion could not be further from the truth.

While it’s important to acknowledge the popularity of the Margarita – not to do so would be foolish – it’s just one of those drinks that if I tried to care for it less than I do, it would start to verge on ‘hatred’ territory, which I wouldn’t actually mind admitting to.

It’s not even the people who order them; I’ve served all sorts of folk who have ordered them, and they’re pretty easy to knock up together on a busy Saturday night (bar the salt rim, which for me, is one of the most unfathomable parts of a drink I will ever come across). Even Margarita twists are OK; I mean, hell, I’ll drink a Tommy’s Margarita any day of the week, though that’s assuming that someone else is paying.

Tequila as a spirit as awesome, but on it’s own, as a shooter or in a mixed drink, and I’m all about cocktail that are fresh and clean, usually because they’re the best way to introduce people to cocktails, especially those with a sensitive palate. Nonetheless, that mixture of triple sec, tequila and citrus is something my brain fails to recognise as genius

So does that mean that other cocktails with the same DNA are also liquid contraptions that I despise? Afraid so.

The Sidecar is, in my opinion only, a generally crap cocktail, while a White Lady, as close as the drink is to my heart, is maybe just a little overrated, and one of the hardest drinks to balance I’ve ever come across (and there’s only four ingredients if you include the egg white). If anything, the White Lady is the best out a bad bunch, which is by no means a good thing, although my favourite recipe for the drink comes from Jim Meehan’s PDT cocktail book (similarly, his version of the Margarita uses the same ideology when preparing the drink for the modern pallet).

But White Lady’s aside, and in the good form and dry humour of a disgruntled Englishman, I’m going to give you a recipe on how I think they should be made, assuming you want to waste your time in the first place in trying to assemble them for either yourself, your guests or your friends.

Margarita (Recipe taken from Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book, 2012)

  • 50ml White Tequila
  • 20ml Tripe Sec
  • 20ml Lime Juice
  • 7.5ml Agave Syrup

Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake, and double strain into a cocktail/margarita glass – of that you’re that much of a ponce – with a salted rim. Drink apathetically.

It’s at this point that I would usually sign off and tell you to enjoy your Margaritas on this awesome national Margarita Day. But in this case, I’ll just simply sign off.

Slante.

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When my good colleague and Head Bartender Erik stood behind the unfinished American Bar last week, the impromptu gathering that had formed were about to witness something very special.

The American Bar was finally getting the renovation it needed, with the builders fitting new work stations behind the bar, as well as a new bar top, and had left a small section of the front of the bar uncovered. Seeing the opportunity, one of my managers sourced a couple of camera phones and several members of staff to witness Erik deliver a speech about the legacy of Harry Craddock and his famous action of burying  shakers full of cocktails into the walls of the hotel.

Within a few minutes, Erik had made a Norman Conquest – one of his signature drinks, and a drink not unlike the Vieux Carré – had poured it into a Savoy-sloganed hip flask, and placed it inside the bar, along with a dated and signed copy of the current menu. The bar was then sealed up the next day.

A flask filled with 'Norman Conquest' one of Erik's signature drinks, and a signed copy of The American Bar menu.

A flask filled with ‘Norman Conquest’ one of Erik’s signature drinks, and a signed copy of The American Bar menu.

History had been made for the first time since the pre-World War Two era of Craddock, though the magic of the event was emphasized by the impromptu gathering; only a few members of staff were there to witness the whole event, which was recorded on video phones in a place that resembled a building site. No members from the press or on-trade were present, and there has been no official PR with regards to the event.

As we all mused what a great start to the year the even was, both with the event and the renovation of The American Bar, it got me thinking of another influential bar that is also also going through a similar state of refurbishment.

In the next couple of weeks in New York, Attaboy will open its doors to the public after taking over the space vacated by Milk & Honey, who have relocated north to Midtown. Sam Ross and Micky McIlroy will head up the bar like they had done over the previous years, only this time without the ‘reservation only’ policy, and with an increased capacity.

Personal opinion it may be, the now ‘old-school’ Milk & Honey was not only important to the neo-speakeasy trend; it also played a fundamental part in the resurrection of both classic and classically-styled drinks in the naughties, in the same way  The American Bar at The Savoy was influential in giving an identity to the American cocktail in Britain and Europe (and, just for the record, anyone who hasn’t checked out the’Bartenders Choice’ cocktail app should so immediately; drinks from Milk & Honey over the last 10 years, as well as numerous drinks from The Savoy Cocktail Book and other old famed drink bibles are modernized and updated).

Though why is the renovation of The American Bar and the opening of an already established premises by two established bartenders such a big deal at the beginning of 2013?

Well for me, a few reasons; two of the most important venues within the history of the drink making profession are having a much-needed facelift in an industry that could see classic drink making return to the fold, alongside the ‘back-to-basics’ rule of bartending.

Is it a coincidence that these two bars are being refurbished at the same time? Absolutely. Though what isn’t a coincidence is that  an increasing amount of thought is being given to the most basic of bartending principles; the ergonomics of the bar set-up, which have an effect on speed of service and the quality and consistency of drinks, are important factors that now more than ever need to  be considered when setting up bars from scratch, as well as working behind them night after night.

Last year saw some great movements within the drink scene; this Cream Gin from the guys behind The Worship Street Whistling Shop helped push the boundaries within the world of an already established spirit, and bottled cocktails became more popular, as much for speed of service as for flavour development. Set against the backdrop of society where consumers are supposedly drinking less but drinking better, it’s understandable to see why the international mixed drink scene is in good shape and heading in the right direction. But in such financially sensitive times, it would be refreshing, if not expected, for 2013 to be the year that simple, down-to-earth drinks make a welcome return to the cocktail scene.


Nowadays, customers want to feel that they’re getting value for their money, whether it be at a cocktail bar in Soho or a five-star venue in Mayfair. People are still flocking to bars during the week and on weekends, but what they perceive to be value for money has changed since the recession. And it’s not just about the liquid in the glass; sure, a pretty garnish and a coupette straight from the freezer make us feel as though that the money we pay for a drink is shown by the love that goes into it.

But, just as importantly, the return of the bartender as a host, as well as the time it takes for a cocktail or a round of drinks to be put in front of them, are both important contributions to the whole package of the customers perception of feeling valued and that the amount of money spent justifies a drinking experience that starts as soon as they step foot on a licensed premises.

Despite the great strides that drink making have made over the last 20 years, especially within the realms of a wider category of products and the arrange of new flavors that have become available, the recession might well be the best to happen to the classically styled cocktail and the way the bartender responds to the fulfillment of a customers expectations.

It’s important that we don’t lose touch with evolutionary elements that have helped propel bartending into a respectable career that has seen it gain an increasing amount of press coverage over the last couple of years. But for the scene to stay fresh and to help newcomers on the path to sophisticated and educated drinking that’s approachable and unpretentious, it’s important that the basics of bartending are always adhered too, and that solid, honest-to-goodness drinks and snappy service are within every bartenders repertoire, regardless of which venue they work at or what kind of style of bartending they chose to follow.

The flask of Norman Conquest will stay within that space in the bar for years to come, maybe decades. Let’s hope that bartenders going into the industry now, and that those who intend to stay in the trade for the foreseeable future, realise the value of the fundamental skills of what makes a bartender good at his or her game, and that they continue to be followed, both once the recession has eased and when that flask is finally opened.

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A week or two ago, I had the pleasure of two customers have a few drinks at The American Bar at The Savoy. It turns out they were both bartenders – whose names and place of work will go unnamed – with one having visited before and the other visiting for the first time.

Like some specialist bars in London, we too are also subjected to the odd visit from industry folk on a Sunday, which is great to see, especially as five of their seven days are spent in bars talking and serving people.

Hosting industry folk on a Sunday has something I’ve always found fun. All kinds of subjects are brought up, from football to films, though the subject of booze talk is always inevitable, and it’s great to share views, opinions and information with like minded people whilst knocking up a few drinks.

This particular evening I convinced one of the guys to try a new drink I’d been working on, and one that may be in contention for the new menu that we’re looking to put out at The American Bar over the next few months (the recipe follows this article). Even though I was only making one drink, I had the attention of both gentlemen, describing the thought process behind the drink and what led me to mix what it was I was mixing.

As it turns out, the chap whom I made the drink for said it was one of the best drinks he had ever tried. I was taken back a little at his forthcoming flattery, though I showed my gratitude nonetheless and thanked him.

However, what followed next left me a little confused.

“Can you tell me the recipe, or are you keeping it a secret?”

Bitches telling each other secret stuff.

Without thinking, I chuckled (or laughed, or humored the situation, or whatever) and told him I would be delighted to give him the recipe, in the hope that he could make the drink for someone else in the future if the opportunity was right.

Sticking to the subject of drinks and new cocktail lists, the gentlemen informed me they themselves were involved in putting together a new drinks list for their venue. However, when I asked outright about the drinks, they said they were keeping it under wraps, and that they weren’t at liberty to divulge any recipes, or give any indication as to what kind of influence of direction the menu would be taking.

The problem with this attitude was not so much the arrogance of the bartenders thinking that their product was better, wanting to keep it for themselves so they can maximize its potential and the effect that such exclusivity might have with regards to their respective audience.

Where the problem lay, however, was that it was an example of what reinforces the social barriers that exist within modern cocktail drinking, the ones associated with those who put the cocktail on a pedestal and therefore put it out of reach of themselves because of its mistaken identity that only those with money and taste consume drinks in such a manner.

When the speakeasies took over the old saloons and hotel bars of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the 18th amendment that brought in Prohibition did one of the greatest things within the history of drink; it brought women right into bar alongside the men. Set against a back drop of illegal alcoholic consumption, the speakeasy became a melting pot for the working and upper classes, and everything in between; no-one was above or below anyone, everyone’s opinions counted for something, including the women, who before the 1920s, rarely, if ever, set foot into the male dominated saloon.

Citizens of Detroit heeding a “last call” in the final days before Prohibition went into effect, 1920.

The Tiki movement that followed the years of prohibition and into the 1970s supplied the world with creative and tropical-themed escapism drinks, a trend that lasted more than 40 years, which in modern day drinking circles translates as several lifespans in an environment which see trends come and go fleetingly.

But the secrecy behind some of the drink-making aspects of the the tiki movement inspired the effect of curiosity amongst the general public, which in turn helped circulate the cult and craze that surrounded the Tiki movement in general. At the heart of the Tiki restaurant and Tiki bar were the drinks they spawned, conducted in such a way that top level secrecy was needed in the form of unmarked bottles and coded recipes. Tiki restaurants tried to outdo each other in terms of exotically-themed drink making, and employed the most secretive tactics to make sure their drinks weren’t leaked to rivals or competitors.

A zombie, holding a zombie.

Some of the most famous bars and bartenders in the world have made their methods and recipes known to all and sundry. A perfect example arose in 2004 when Vincenzo Errico, a bartender at Milk & Honey in New York, created the Red Hook, a 21st Century version of the Brooklyn. Both the drink and the style of the drink became so popular, that it not only spawned another five spin-offs, all of which originated from Vincenzo’s drink, but also prompted Jim Meehan to produce another a twist on the drink, recognizing the popularity that was friendly plagiarism.

Milk & Honey in New York have recently released a new cocktail app with around 400 recipes, some of which have become famous over the last few years because their ability to be recreated and the willingness of the bartenders to share their recipes (and that’s even before you talk about the rife plagarism and recipe lifting that existed during the cocktail books of the 1880s and the 1940s).

The cocktail scene has come a long way in the last 25 years, though for the bartender who see the ‘exclusive’ cocktail as a way to empower their position behind the bar, and thus increase their control over what the customer drinks, seem to miss the point of serving alcohol in an a hospitality-based industry.

The UK isn’t blessed with the talent and infrastructure that is found within literary circles in the US. Sure, the UK can boast talents such as Tony Conigliaro, Ryan Chetiyawardana and Erik Lorincz to match the best of what the US has to offer in terms of drink making and innovation. But when it comes to food and drink writing, bloggers such as Camper English, Darcy O’Neil and Jeffery Morgenthaler have been writing about drink subjects for a number of years in a country that has embraced the concept of quality over quantity, to a point where the online content blossomed due to the dedication of quality research and interesting blog posts.

And even though the cocktail blog boom of the mid to late 2000 era has died off, there’s still very little to suggest that the higher end of print and online media in the UK will even come close to talking about the next twist on The Last Word or how bartenders are working Italian amari into their drinks to give customers new flavor combinations in a contemporary drink setting.

With this in mind, bartenders need to be mindful about what they create and how their drinks interact with the general public’s perception of how the cocktail scene is viewed and judged, especially those who are exposed to cocktails within mainstream popular culture (Mad Men et al).

Secrecy and exclusivity isn’t a trend that is either fashionable or sustainable, especially in a financially soft atmosphere that has been effected by double-dip recessions. The power and satisfaction gained by a bartender that serves a product seen as mythical and en-vogue serves only to restrict the bright future the cocktail scene has, instead of strengthening the already solid foundations that transparency and information sharing has given the modern day drink environment.

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With a pint of green Chartreuse,

Ain’t nothing seems right,

You buy a Sunday paper on a Saturday night.

Sometimes, when you get a bottle of wine, it can go either two ways; you can keep it in the bottle, unopened, and it will get better with time, increasing in value, with the eventuality that when it is opened, it is enjoyed thoroughly.

On the hand, it can cork; it can go off – pretty badly in some circumstances – with the ultimate problem of whether to open it or not becoming a moot point, simply because what lies within is not worth washing your feet in, ultimately becoming a huge anti-climax.

In a strange and peculiar way, online blogs can be the same. They can flourish and grow with time, or they can become boring, sometimes even stale.

Neither of these things have happened on this site, though if it were, it definitely wouldn’t lean towards the former metaphor of getting better with age.

As a new chapter has started within the life of this writer, it seems fit that the sight be modernized a little, even if just to freshen up a project that has stop-stared for two. Like a paint job on your first ever home, however, hopefully it won’t need to happen again – no matter what job or bar the writer works behind next – and that the short attention span that most bartenders suffer from can be kept at bay, at least in terms of content and ‘freshening’ up this particular site.

That said, we welcome you to our new home (the royal ‘we’, that is) at apintofgreenchartreuse, and hope that boredom/enjoyment you have reading these posts will be exaggerated further by the metaphorical lick of paint name change that this sight has received.

Cheers. 

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So Tales of the Cocktails 2012 seems to have been the best one yet, according to friends, friends of friends and colleagues that went this year. Which is great if you were there, not as great if you weren’t there. Still, joy was had for everyone, especially for those who were following the events unfold back home in the UK, celebrating the fact that we’ve won more awards in the US than we’ve collected medals at the London Olympics (oh dear).

But most importantly with the liquid side of things, it’s not really about winning or losing, as long as everyone has an awesome time, that knowledge and information is exchanged, with the aim of being able to give the paying customer who goes into a bar for a great drink and an even greater time. Right? Right…

So, here we go with the criteria’s and announcements, with the winners highlighted appropriately.

 

American Bartender of the Year: From Jerry Thomas onwards, American bartenders have been amongst the most influential on drinks styles and cocktail culture in general. This award seeks to recognize the most influential American bartender today. The winner should be proficient at making all recognized classic drinks and also have created contemporary cocktails that have been copied by his/her peers. Nominees must actively be working behind the bar.

  • Eric Alperin
  • Charles Joly
  • Jeffrey Morganthaler
  • Joaquin Simo

Best American Brand Ambassador: An award which recognizes the importance of personality in the promotion of drinks brands and their creative use of brand communication to engage the trade and their ability to execute compelling education and seminars. This person must be working as an Ambassador full time in the USA. Nominees must NOT be working behind the bar.

  • Erick Castro
  • Elayne Duke
  • Jamie Gordon
  • Jim Ryan

Best American Cocktail Bar: This award recognizes the influence on cocktail trends within the United States and seeks to award the country’s best cocktail bar. Menu, bar teams, atmosphere and cocktail quality are all considered.

  • Anvil Bar & Refuge – Houston, Texas
  • Clover Club – Brooklyn, New York
  • Columbia Room – Washington, District of Columbia
  • The Varnish – Los Angeles, California

Best Bar Mentor: Not everybody who is having an impact on the quality of the cocktails we drink are working behind the bar as bartenders. There are many people who are creating fine bar programs, training the next generation of great bartenders, and playing an active role in designing the bars we all love to drink in. This award is to recognise those individuals who, in their professional life, play a crucial role in raising the quality of bars, bartenders, and cocktails without currently working as a bartender. Nominees must NOT be working behind the bar.

  • Bridget Albert
  • Wayne Collins
  • Francesco Lafranconi
  • Steve Olson

Best High Volume Cocktail Bar: Awarded to the bar that consistently delivers top quality cocktails at bars with 100 seats or more. This award celebrates those bars that deliver cocktail culture to the masses efficiently. Cocktails, lists, bartending and service are all considered.

  • Beretta – San Francisco, California
  • Clover Club – Brooklyn, New York
  • Eastern Standard – Boston, Massachusetts
  • La Descarga – Los Angeles, California

Best Cocktail Writing: Great journalism is one of the best ways to communicate to the general public the value and significance of great cocktails and related products. This award is for any non-book journalism (Magazine, Newspaper, Website, etc) that promotes bars, bartender, or cocktails in general. Please attach samples below. This award is split into two sub-categories: non-book author and non-book publication. 

Non-Book

  • BarLifeUK
  • Liquor.com
  • ShakeStir.com
  • Time Out NY

Authour

  • Gary Regan
  • Robert Simonson
  • Dave Wondrich
  • Naren Young

Best International Brand Ambassador: An award which recognizes the importance of personality in the promotion of drinks brands and their creative use of brand communication to engage the trade and their ability to execute compelling education and seminars. This person should work in an International capacity or in a country other than the USA. Nominees must NOT be working behind the bar.

  • Jacob Briars
  • Ian Burrell
  • Claire Smith
  • Angus Winchester

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book: The best book published in 2011 regarding cocktails, liquor, bars, bar design or bartending in general. New editions of existing works may also be nominated.

  • The American Cocktail by the Editors of Imbibe
  • Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-all
  • Gaz Regan’s Annual Manual for Bartenders 2011
  • PDT Cocktail Book

Best New Product: This is awarded to what the judges consider to be the best newcocktail ingredient (spirit, liqueur, syrup or juice) or piece of cocktail equipment (muddler, shaker etc.). To qualify products must have been launched after March 2011 and must be on general retail sale in at least three US states as of March 31, 2012.

  • Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum
  • Cognac Pierre Ferrand 1840 Formula
  • Lillet Rose
  • Perlini System

Best Restaurant Bar: This award is for the restaurant bar that is dedicated to creating a great cocktail experience for their dining guests. Considerations will go to the approach they have to aperitif and digestive drinks, how well they work with the kitchen to pair cocktails with food as well as general bartending and mixing excellence.

  • Bar Agricole – San Francisco, California
  • Rivera – Los Angeles, California
  • Saxon + Parole – New York, New York
  • Slanted Door – San Francisco, California

International Bartender of the Year: The absolute best drinks mixer in the world. The winner must have received international recognition of their work with their own recipes crossing borders to appear on cocktail menus in numerous countries. (US citizens are not excluded.)

  • Zdenek Kastanek
  • Alex Kratena
  • Sam Ross
  • Dushan Zaric
World’s Best Cocktail Bar: Only truly world-class bars will be considered for this illustrious title. Some bars attain worldwide recognition and this award recognizes the very best of the best.
  • 69 Colebrooke Row – London, United Kingdom
  • Black Pearl – Melbourne, Australia
  • The Connaught Bar – London, United Kingdom
  • The Varnish – Los Angeles, California

World’s Best Cocktail Menu: The judges seek to reward innovative and thirst inducing cocktail menus. Both the design and content will be considered. Nomination requires inclusion of PDF or JPEG copy of the menu being nominated. Please attach samples below.

  • Black Pearl – Melbourne, Australia
  • Callooh Callay – London, United Kingdom
  • Clover Club – Brooklyn, New York
  • Mayahuel – Manhattan, New York

World’s Best Drinks Selection: A venue stocking an outstanding range of spirits and liqueurs. The judges will favour discernment as well as sheer number of bottles stocked.

  • Artesian Bar at The Langham – London, United Kingdom
  • Death & Co. – Manhattan, New York
  • Eau de Vie – Sydney, Australia
  • Salvatore at The Playboy – London, United Kingdom

World’s Best Hotel Bar: The classic ‘American Bar’ played an important role in the history and development of cocktail culture. The judges are looking for hotel bars that uphold this tradition (but are not necessarily old) and offer five-star service and consistently well made drinks.

  • Artesian Bar at The Langham – London, United Kingdom
  • Clive’s Classic Lounge – Victoria, British Columbia
  • Clyde Common – Portland, Oregon
  • The Zetter Townhouse – London, United Kingdom

World’s Best New Cocktail Bar
Criteria: Only bars which opened after March 31 ,2011 may be nominated. This award aims to reward new creativity and ideas as well as well executed drinks.

  • Aviary – Chicago, Illinois
  • Candelaria – Paris, France
  • Canon – Seattle, Washington
  • The Zetter Townhouse – London, United Kingdom

An extended congratulations goes to Alex Kratena and the Artesian Bar at The Langham, to Gaz Regan for picking up the Helen Davie Lifetime Achievement award, and to the rest of London that both  represented and won in their respected catgeories. Until next year folks, when I may or may not be there. Cheers!

PDT Cocktail Book: Best Cocktail Book

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Throughout the last 150 years or so of documented drink making, there are some cocktails that are synonymous with either the bar in which they were born within or from the person that gave birth to them.

Fred’s Club doesn’t go down as the most memorable bar in Soho in the last 30 years, but Dick Bradsell’s creations there, namely The Bramble and the Espresso Martini will always be synonymous with the man, even if we forget the venue.

The Penicillin, for example, will forever be tied to Sam Ross and his time at Milk & Honey, while the Singapore Sling will always be remembered for being created at Raffles hotel in the early part of the 20th Century, even if the drinks creator tongue-twisting name Ngiam Tong Boon is a name that we sometimes fail to commit to memory.

But when Harry Craddock released The Savoy Cocktail book back in the 1930s, little did he know how much the book and its recipes would resonate throughout the ages.

Loads of drinks.

The book is an important piece of cocktail history in terms of bridging together drinks both sides of Atlantic in a period that stretches more than 40 years.

There’s no doubt that the book is a well-constructed manuscript of accepted plagiarism; not only were the recipes featured a reflection of modern drink trends at the time, but they also had some new drinks, too. The Corpse Reviver No.2 is probably the most high-profile drink to make it’s way from weird obscurity to modern day forgotten classic, while the Blood & Sand makes it’s first English-print debut after being named following the film release of the same name eight years previously.

But apart from giving us a glimpse into drink trends of the early 1900s, it does something else; it ties together some of the most popular drinks of the era, penned by one of the most famous bartenders of the 20th century, with a reputation that is firmly rooted in both the history and the premises of The American Bar at The Savoy.

Other cocktail books that are from the era, such as Hugo Enslin’s Recipe for Mixed Drinks, which was one of the main books that Harry Craddock took inspiration from, or Stanley Clisby Arthur’s Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ’em, are just as important recipe wise but are based more on specific drinks and unique ingredients or individual recipes from a specific city.

The reputations of some drinks, such as the White Lady, were made at The American Bar, even if the drink wasn’t created there. Other drinks, such as Ada Coleman’s Hanky Panky, will always be synonymous The American Bar and The Savoy Cocktail book, even if the drink was before Harry’s time.

Modern drink trends and contemporary cocktails, especially from the US and York in specific, have shown us how being influenced by old formulae can still lead to new styles of drinks and different flavour combinations. But it’s still great to dive into a cocktail book over 80 years old to catch a glimpse of drinks from that time, even if not all of them are applicable to today’s pallets.

And the best thing about The American Bar in the modern era? They’ve just given a bartending position to a heavily tattooed, slightly rough and most definitely northern accented guy.

For different reasons, though in the same way the previous two blogs were, this is dedicated to the people I’ve worked with over the last two years at Bramble, especially Paul Graham and Terri Brotherstone, and in particular Mike Aikman and Jason Scott, all of whom are responsible for helping become the bartender and the man I am today.

Before I sign off, however, I’ll leave you with a recipe for the Hanky Panky, and a video of my new colleague Erik Lorincz(!) preparing one that’s made been chillin’ hard in a barrel for a few weeks.

At The Savoy, we prepare ours with Bombay Sapphire and Punt E Mes, though my preferences leans towards a more flavourful gin and a less bitter vermouth, especially as I see this as a soft gateway to spirit-driven drinks.

Hanky Panky  

  • 37.5 ml Gin
  • 37.5 ml Sweet Vermouth
  • 7.5 ml Fernet Branca

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, and stir, thinking how awesome it would be to have been served by a female bartender in the early 1900s. Then strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist. Serve.

NB – Use a good gin, and, depending on your preferences, go a little heavier on the gin side. This was the original recipe, and, unusually, I’m quite a fan of this equal part ratio. The drink should be soft yet slightly rich, with the botanicals of the gin, vermouth and Fernet mingling together nicely. The finish should be warm and inoffensively bitter.

Ada Coleman, possibly or possibly not making a Hanky Panky.

Slante!

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So. Nostalgic sentiments and memories of the many Miss. Venezuelas I met aside, the trip to South America did at least serve a few purposes.

Hell yeah.

Coupled with tours and talks with the award-winning blender Tito Cordrero – only the third master blender in the history of the distillery – and hanging out and making drinks for owner, proprietor and ambassador-at-large Jose Ballesteros, there was a another matter that needed attending to whilst on foreign soil…

A photo shoot had been organized in the almost-opened Martini’s Bistro in the Jirahara hotel where we were staying in Barasquimento. Along with Daniel Baernreuther, the current beverage manager at American Bar at The Savoy, who was showcasing the recently-revised ‘Savoy Daisy’, the two of us made our drinks as part of a photography event organized by DUSA and Diplomatico for their forthcoming cocktail book, which is to be released later this year.

The idea of the book, which came from Alfonso ‘The Host with the Most (The Fonz, for short)’, is to showcase the drinks that have been made with Diplomatico over the last few years years, with references to the bartenders, their current place of work and the reasoning behind the drinks.

With 21st century cocktail books becoming more common these days, from bars like PDT in New York to brands like Diageo releasing drink and cocktail-orientated books – Diageos book, for example, showcased the drinks and challenges from the World Class 2010 final in Athens – the Diplomatic cocktail book is there to pay homage to those on the frontline who have helped bring their style of rum to a wider audience by showcasing the most inventive and intricate drinks that have appeared within the cocktail scene over the last few years.

Such sentiments are rare in the bartending world. Indeed, while some brands use it as a marketing tool to promote and forward their brands, it’s nice to see an independently owned company to pay their respects to those who have worked with brand on consistent, daily basis.

And so with that, this blog, like the last, is dedicated to those who have helped work together to bring the Diplomatico cocktail book from a concept to a literary conclusion.

Emisario

  • 50ml Diplomatico Reserva Exclsuive
  • 15ml Coffee-infused vermouth
  • 10ml Nardini Amaro

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Stir with ice until well mixed and well chilled, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with three cherries on a pick, twist an orange peel over the surface of the drink, and serve.

Coffee-infused Vermouth

  • 125g whole coffee beans
  • 500ml sweet vermouth

Fill a storage jar with coffee beans. Add vermouth until the liquid covers the beans, and store in a cool place for 24 hours. Strain, bottle and refrigerate.

The Emisario. Hells Yeah.


Savoy Daisy

  • 60ml Ruby port
  • 30ml Lemon juice
  • 25ml Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva
  • 15ml Muscovado sugar
  • 2 barspoons grenadine
  • 2 barspoons Bacardi 8

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake, strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

Daniel Baernreuther’s Savoy Daisy.

Like the one before, this post and the drinks are dedicated to those who looked after us during our stay in Venezuela. Sláinte!

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