I’m now a published writer! Congratulations to me!
This month marks a very important moment for myself and this blog. As of June 1st, 2016 I am officially a published cocktail writer. Thanks to Sainsbury’s Magazine.
In this month’s issue, I have a two-page feature on summer drinks. These include 6 drinks, 3 alcoholic & 3 non-alcoholic – all of which are my own recipes!
The recipes include a non-alcoholic Ice tea, a beachside-themed rum cocktail, and several others.
The picture below show all the colourful cocktails and their recipes. But if you want to really enjoy these drinks, you should head on down to your local Sainsbury’s and get your very own copy. The Magazine is only £2 and inside you’ll find an abundance of food and drink recipes.
Most importantly, though, you’ll find my recipes on pages 82-83!
I’m extremely proud of this as it shows that you can make it if you keep trying. Never give up and you’ll eventually reap the rewards of doing something you’re so very proud of!
In other news, I’m working on some spicy cocktail posts just in time for BBQ season and also working with a PR rep over at Monin to bring you all some posts that include some of their new products, as well as some of their lesser-known products… Keep your eyes peeled!
I also have a fear of being over open water. So, when I found out that the quickest route to the O2, from my hotel, was via the Emirates Cable car, well, let’s just say that it was a hard few moments deciding on whether to make that trip or go right around the houses on the DLR.
I thought heartily on the matter and settled on the notion that as I’m not in the capital city all that often, I should go for it. After all, for me to miss out on something so far out of my comfort zone, like a cable car trip across the width of the Thames, would be simply ridiculous.
So I did it. I took the Cable car over the Thames, at dusk, and faced two of my greatest fears at once. I dodged a bullet in a manner of speaking as being inside the sealed cable car somewhat negated my fear of falling into the water (it does sound odd but I felt perfectly safe at all times). However, the fear of heights was a little harder to conquer and led to a plethora of nervous and adrenaline fuelled movements including a bit of a heart pounding moment when a gust of wind gently rocked my car.
13 minutes later and I was shaken but in one piece, getting off the car and stepping onto ‘dry’ land once again (it was raining so the term ‘dry’ is used loosely).
After that confidence wobbling trip, the short walk to the O2 Arena was a relative breeze by comparison. Still, seeing the inside of the building once known as the ‘Millenium Dome’ up close for the first time was certainly a sight to behold. A sight that was the perfect end to my lovely week away.
The NY-LON, created as part of a joint venture by Virgin and Delta airlines, is a stylish bar similar to that which you’d find on one of their higher end planes. Under the escalators, about 200m to the right of the entrance, is a wall high sign clad in a purple and red gradient, encrusted with a host of bright LED’s highlighting the name NY-LON.
As you walk up the somewhat lacklustre stairway, you are immediatey greeted with their VIP lounge, a truly luxurious bar with rounded sofas and tables. Turning right, you enter into a corridor lined with large white columns, each with the airport code of two US airports on them.
In the main bar area, you’re met with a wall to ceiling curtain of metal beads, behind which are some rounded seats and tables. Around the outside walls of the room are a collection of booth like round seating areas which carry on up to the bar. The bar itself sweeps across from one end of the room to the other and has a large bulge in its centre. This bulge allows for plenty f behind bar room, perfect for bartenders to entertain some flair as well as some rather exuberant mixing techniques.
This is certainly one of the most luxurious and exciting looking bars in London and the NY-LON is certainly the cocktail venue of choice when at the O2.
Whilst at the NY-LON I sampled 2 very different cocktails. One was on their house list, and the second was suggested by one of the bartenders. Below are the two drinks, and my thoughts on them.
A refreshing yet spicy, alternative to the classic Mojito. Inspired by Delta’s agricultural heritage. Bacardi 8-year-old rum, cinnamon, fresh mint, lime, chocolate bitters, ginger ale, and brown sugar. – this is the recipe as it appears on the NY-LON cocktail menu…
This cocktail was the one I ear marked before heading to the NY-LON, especially seeing as it contains 3 of my favourite ingredients: Rum, lime and ginger ale. It is also significantly different from the rest of the house cocktails; it’s a long cocktail created purely for refreshment. It combines all of the ingredients one would use in a classic mojito and spruces things up with the addition of cinnamon and ginger ale. Two ingredients I certainly do not hate to see in a cocktail.
Whilst I do not have the specific ingredient measurements for this drink, this sort of cocktail wouldn’t be too difficult to experiment with and then replicate at home. It is for those reasons that I certainly recommend trying it. Should you ever find yourself at the NY-LON of course.
Cocktails you enjoy out and about should always be available for you to replicate at your own home. So a cocktail like this on the NY-LON’s bar menu is a welcome sight.
Beachbum Berry’s Don Special Daiquiri
This cocktail was chosen after a lengthy conversation with Mario, the bartender whom served me the first drink. Between me, Mario, and his fellow bartender we discussed their favorite spirits to experiment with, as well as their menu (and its cocktails) in great detail. This drink was a direct result of a suggestion made by Mario. A super-sweet but fragrant tropical take on a classic Daiquiri: Beachbum Berry’s Don special daiquiri…
A passionfruit based drink with rum and lime, the Don Special Daiquiri was garnished with a star anise, the recipe itself was taken from the Beachbum Berry Total Tiki iPhone app. There was a tweak made by Mario himself, and this replaced the honey syrup with agave syrup. The recipe, and picture, below is the drink consumed without reserve…
¾ measure Jamaican Rum
¾ measure Aged White Rum
½ measure Lime Juice
½ measure Passion Fruit Syrup
½ measure Agave Syrup
Garnish: Star Anise float.
Combine all ingredients and shake well.
Double strain into a coupe cocktail glass, garnishing with a star anise float.
This bar radiates luxurious class, and the cocktails maintain that amazing feat. From classics like the Negroni and Manhattan to contemporary cocktails like their very own Cropduster, the NY-LON at the O2 is a bar that is far enough off the beaten track that, some nights, you can have a friendly chat with your bartender as you ingest the liquid masterpieces they place in front of you.
It was the quietest of the 3 bars I visited, but also one of the most luxurious bars I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing! I whole-heartedly recommend it for anyone who finds themselves within travelling distance as well as in need of enthusiastic libation.
Located in the heart of Mayfair, a short walk from Green Park underground station, there is a place of wonder and intrigue; a portal to a world long forgotten: Mr Fogg’s residence.
I’ve always wanted to visit Mr Foggs’ Residence. For years, I’ve dreamed about seeing the inner sanctum of that famous drawing room. I also don’t get to visit London very often. As I finally get to spend some decent time in the English capital, it would be rude not to make my way through the glitz and glamour of Mayfair to this mysterious and intriguing bar…
Mr Fogg, the fictional adventurer of Jules Verne’s 1873 novel ‘Around the World in 80 days’, is an eccentric adventurer and the theme behind Mr Fogg’s Residence – a bar located in Mayfair, London.
Having looked forward to this London city break for the best part of 3 months, I have no qualms in telling you, unequivocally, that it was by far the highlight of my week!
Having used this outing to meet with an old university friend and his girlfriend, this night was made even great via the nostalgic catch up. Great bar, great company, fantastic cocktails. There was even a little bit of magic thrown in for good measure!
To reach the establishment I had to pass through the Ritz’s walkway, past several other high-end hotels and restaurants before finally turning down a rather ominous looking alleyway; only then was I within sight of the large, towering, one-way door.
As you pass the fresh hold, the door shutting behind you makes you turn back, but like some 1930’s film you spin on your heel and are met with the glorious, time-defying drawing room pulled straight from the novel itself. With leather-clad, lavish wood seating, fanciful stools, and tables, scattered about the place, you feel utterly cut off from the outside world – in the best possible way.
The bar itself is a tall solid beast, behind which stands one of the tallest collection of spirits I’ve ever seen. The seating me and my friends were taken too was amongst the plethora of stools and tables in an area directly in front of the bar. All of this in the midst of the Victorian led décor.
From stuffed reptiles and tiger skins to mounted guns and ancient leather-backed books, the décor is brilliant and that brilliance is, remarkably, not halted when you finally decide on a cocktail to order…
The cocktail list is inspired by the novel ‘Around the world in 80 days’ and is called ‘Around the world in 80 cocktails’. There are 80 cocktails on the list and they’re split into their base alcohol (all the whisky based cocktails are together, and then the Gin, vodka, rum etc.) and whilst this makes it easier to single out those that contain ingredients you may not favour (for example I kept away from any whisky cocktails) the waitress that served our table brought us a rather cute foldout map that had overlaid the different cocktails to where they’re supposed to be inspired by. Different areas of the map reflected certain aspects of the cocktails they inspired.
But what about the cocktails themselves I hear you say! Well, look below at 3 of the cocktails we had that night… There will be no measurements as they were not included on the menu, neither would I want to supply them as these cocktails are all unique to Mr Fogg’s residence and, to truly appreciate them, you’d have to go there yourself…
Cocktail #1: No.8 Maidens Blush
Ingredients: Tanqueray number 10 gin, raspberry jam, fresh lemon juice, sugar, drop of absinthe.
This cocktail was fragrant, as well as being exactly as advertised: sweet, fruity & Sharp. You lose the sting of the alcohol (the thing I hate the most about some stronger spirits) and yet you get the full aroma of the base spirit as well as all the flavours introduced by the other ingredients.
The vivid deep red of the drink, combined with the low-lit ambience of this Victorian speak-easy, really suited its title and made for a well-balanced cocktail.
Sarah, my friends’ girlfriend, liked this one – it was ordered more than once, and she seemed to really enjoy it.
Cocktail #2: No.34 Dewdrops of the Samurai
Ingredients: Ketel One Vodka, Isake classic Sake, shiso & mint Leaves, pomegranate seeds, pomegranate juice, fresh lime juice, and house made sugar syrup.
This was my first choice, having spent a long time looking at the menu, and, after not being able to decide, I went with the one drink that really stood out. Shamefully I have to admit it jumped out at me for two main reasons: its name, and the fact that it used Sake.
I’ve never had sake in a cocktail before, nor have I tried it on its own. So to me, this drink, seemed like the perfect starting point for a place as wonderful as Mr Fogg’s Residence.
As the drink was placed before me I was not disappointed, it sat in a small bowl like glass that looked as though it would suit a bramble perfectly. Upon it’s crushed ice sat a dried piece of peel (I assume pomegranate peel, although it could have been grapefruit) and, like a boat used to cross the Nishiki River, the pomegranate seeds used the peel to protect them from a sea of exotic flavours.
It was an extremely well-balanced drink, a fact making itself known among all our drink choices, and really allowed the flavours and fragrances of the ingredients used to fill your nostrils as well as your taste buds.
Cocktail #3: No.31 Boo Boo on Bromo
Ingredients: Kaffir lime infused Grey Goose vodka, Domaine De Canton ginger liqueur, pear puree, House ginger syrup, apple juice, and lime juice.
This cocktail took even longer to choose because I was only having one more. I searched the map they gave us and perused the cocktail list several times before settling on this spicy yet fragrant looking concoction. I’ve used Ginger Liqueur before and Domaine De Canton is sublime. So I knew kind of what to expect from that ingredient. I also liked the idea of the orchard theme coming from the use of pear and apple. So I happily exclaimed, “the no.31 please!”
The cocktail, I received was a longer one than the previous Japanese themed drink, and yet still looked just as exotic. With leaves and dried fruit sprouting from the crushed ice filled glass, it really helped project a sense of the exotic towards me. The fragrance you’re hit with straight away is this lime filled apple orchard. Something that is not unpleasant to me at all. I certainly chose well that night.
Whilst a balanced fragrane doesn’t always lead to a balanced taste, one thing Mr Fogg’s residence does is balance all of their cocktails, no matter how exotic or weird they sound, and that, I believe, a sign of true class in the cocktail world.
To have 80 different cocktails, and all of the ingredients that then infers, and still have 80 well-balanced, fragrant and truly unique cocktails, is truly a feat well achieved by those in charge.
This establishment is a truly fascinating place. A bar that allows you to, once that door shuts, fully lose yourselves within its confines. Mesmerising you with the authenticity of a Victorian (via Jules Verne) themed drawing room, Mr Fogg’s residence goes above and beyond that of any normal bar I’ve ever been too. From the beautiful waitresses, and highly skilled bartenders to the wandering magician who wows with his splendid talent, Mr Fogg’s residence is not only my new favourite bar, it’s my new favourite destination. Every time I go to London in the future, I will set aside time to visit this glorious palace of delight and every one of you reading this, who has the opportunity to travel to the English capital, should do the same. I cannot implore to you how much you should visit the residence of the fantastic Mr Fogg.
Final word: A huge thank you to Mr Francesco Medici, the Bar Manager. Thanks to him and his staff for a wonderful evening. Thank you to Siegfried, the fantastic magician – who, to this day, still amazes me and my friends. And finally: A massive thank you to my friends Stuart and Sarah. You both made the night just that little bit more fun!
My first bar of the week was part of the London cocktail Club’s repertoire. This particular establishment was located on Goodge Street, not very far from the Goodge Street underground station.
After a short walk down the road, and a little double-back, I came across a secretive staircase leading down into the dark. Above the staircase was the sign ‘London Cocktail Club’.
As I walked down, the wall to my left turned to glass and I could see into a dimly-lit homely looking bar. As I opened the door I was cheerfully met by one of the staff and after explaining who I was they set me up with a table by the bar, where I was met by ‘Balash’. One of the friendliest and welcoming bartenders I’ve ever met!
Between him and the other 3 staff (including the extremely humble bar manager), I was hosted with the most personal service I’ve ever received.
Now I know what you’re thinking… I told them I was a cocktail blogger so they were probably being overly nice? Well I thought that too at first, but then other people started arriving and it swiftly became obvious that the service I received was not isolated, but typical of this bar.
The bar itself was not full of over gratuitous luxury, nor was it what you would call a dive bar. This particular bar was extremely welcoming, the playful nature and mannerisms of the staff were almost mirrored by the building itself. This was a remarkably fresh feeling and for my first bar experience in the English capital, I was pleasantly surprised at how welcomed I felt.
It’s a testament to both the bar, and the individual members of that bar when someone new to the city is made to feel as welcome as I was that night. If I had not been so welcomed, I fear my entire trip to London trip would have felt completely different.
The playful nature of the staff really made you feel at ease and their constant calling of ‘200’ and them playing with their swinging lights really lent to the experience of a unique and refreshing cocktail bar.
I had the chance to try three different cocktails, all of which prepared by the same bartender: ‘Balash’. He was an exceptionally knowledgeable bartender who not only knew what he was talking about, but understood my tastes and offered great advice on the cocktails to choose – a rare talent on its own, but an essential gift among bartenders indeed.
His friendly, professional, and attentive service was well received by me and everyone else he served that night. This service was not dropped when serving several cocktails at once, and whilst his workload was increased, his drink quality and mixing ability did not decrease (the opposite being a bad habit I’ve noticed before at other bars). So with his ability not questionable I was confident in his advice and suggestions and let him guide me through the menu. Below are the drinks I imbibed and their menu-recipes. For obvious reasons, the measurements are not included. If you wish to try any of these as I did, head on down to Goodge street and enjoy a great night…
Cocktail #1: Boogie Nights
Grey Goose Citron (Lemon), crème de Peche, Disaronno, and pineapple Juice.
Shaken and served long in an ice-filled sling glass.
This cocktail was chosen to help ease me into the night and was light, fruity, and easy going. Perfect for a beginning of the night cocktail. This cocktail was unique and I’ve never had it before (it was great) but it is a type of cocktail every bar should have on their menu, one or two in fact.
Cocktail #2: Bramley Apple Smash
Bombay Sapphire Gin, lemon juice, elderflower cordial, fresh mint, and Bramley apple sauce.
Built, shaken and served in the same mason glass. Served with a garnish of 1 custard crème biscuit. The latter a nice touch.
This cocktail was my favourite of the three and was fragrant, fruity, and tangy. The mint and apple paired up nicely and the, whilst the Gin’s burn was disguised well buy the sugary mixture, its dry fragrance and flavours really shone through – no mean feat with all of those flavours knocking about.
Built, muddled, and served in a nice bowl-like rocks glass.
This cocktail was unsurprisingly the strongest tasting, and their twist of shaking in the Chambord compared with the classic recipe’s float really worked. You got much more of a raspberry hit with this twisted classic and I, for one, prefer it that way! Die-hard cocktail fans might disagree, but then again this isn’t their blog is it?
The London Cocktail Club at Goodge street was not one of their newer branches, and that’s exactly why I chose it. I chose a secluded little bar like this, one hidden away from the main street via a shady staircase, to see how their atmosphere measured up to that of the cocktail bars I’m used too.
Needless to say, this LCC venue blew my expectations apart. It made every bar I’ve been to before that night look like dive bars in every sense of the word. I absolutely loved the bars ambience, as well as the staff that were integral to that. As I stated above, my entire week in London would have felt substantially different had I not been to this bar and felt so welcomed. Something I will always owe to this outstanding bar.
With great cocktails, expertly made, and wonderful bartenders, who know exactly how to treat all their customers, the LCC @ Goodge street is a fantastic venue that anyone in London should give a go.
I’d like to end this post with a big thank you to the LCC and also to Balash who, unfortunately, was not available at the time I took the following picture. You were integral to my great week in London. So thank you.
So another week on, and another offer from the drink shop.
They currently have offers on all of their rums! Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good rum. Seriously, I love rum; So this offer is like catnip to me.
Whether you love a ‘Blanco’ white rum in your Mojito, or an Anejo dark rum in your Cuban – there’s bound to be a rum you love on this list. Not to mention you might find a rum you’ve never tried before!!!
So why not check out the offers, grab a bargain or two and chill this Easter! I know I will be!
It’s March… The month of my birth, the peak of spring, and the start of the summer solstice. I thought I’d start my return to this blog with some classic ‘me’ cocktail. So below you’ll find 3 long, fruity and rather gorgeous looking cocktails. All of which will naturally be sweet.
I have been looking for a cocktail that really matches how I’m feeling this march. I’ve been off alcohol for so long that I just want something to really hit home. I looked for cocktails with a well-balanced yet complicated cacophony of flavours and, where possible, cocktails that had a little something special.
I eventually settled for a Tropical Tequila Cocktail: The White Peach Tequila Cocktail, a Pisco sour flavoured with thyme: The Pisco Thyme, and finally a favourite I’ve yearned to make myself: The Canon Cocktail.
Cocktail #1: White Peach Tequila Cocktail
2 ripe white peaches
60ml silver tequila
60ml peach liqueur
60ml lime juice
2 tbsp. sugar syrup
Garnish: Sliced Peaches & mint sprigs.
Pit, peel, and chop the peaches before blending them and then sieving the puree into a bowl.
Combine the puree, and all other ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Serve over ice in a large rocks glass and garnish with the sliced peach and mint sprig.
Cocktail #2: Pisco Thyme
30ml Lime Juice
30ml Thyme Simple Syrup
Shake all ingredients over ice until well chilled. Around 20seconds.
Double strain cocktail into a coupe glass and garnish with a sprig of thyme.
Cocktail #3: The Canon Cocktail
1 measure Rye Whisky
½ measure sweet vermouth
½ measure Ramazzotti Amaro
Bitter Truth old time aromatic bitters
Stir first 3 ingredients over ice.
Strain into a chilled rock glass and top with a Cointreau Foam
Using a dropper, place a few drops of bitters on top of the foam.
This final cocktail is the signature cocktail of the Canon Bar, Seattle. Canon is a bar owned and run by a legend in the bartending world: Jamie Boudreau. It’s a great cocktail I’ve always wanted to try. Sure it’s a whisky cocktail, and whisky is not my favourite, but this Manhattan-old fashioned style hybrid cocktail really has an air of class about it.
To give some idea of how the legend himself makes this cocktail please refer to the attached video below: