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Mr Fogg’s Residence: Around the world in 80 cocktails

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!

The venue…

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 cocktails…

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

 

Maiden's Blush.jpg
No.8: New Zealand – Sweet, fruity, sharp.

 

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

Photo by www.JohnnySphotography.com
No.34: Japan – fresh, light, delicate, shaken.

 

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

 

Boo Boo on Bromo.jpg
No.31: Indonesia – Spicy, aromatic, exotic, shaken.

 

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.

Overall…

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!

 

 

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My companions this night. Left – right: Stuart & Sarah.

 

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Just in Thyme: A Simple Syrup

I don’t usually post syrup style recipes on here but, due to a request for the thyme syrup used in my previous post, I thought I’d make an exception.

This is one of the more fragrant syrups out there and you need to be careful how much thyme you use. the best thing to do is to start with 2 sprigs and add more if you want more flavour…

thyme syrup

Fresh Thyme Simple Syrup

500g Sugar

500ml Water

2-5 sprigs Fresh Thyme

Method:

  • Stir water and sugar together in a non-stick saucepan over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Let simmer for 2 minutes – DO NOT boil.
  • Gently rub the thyme with your hands as you drop it into the syrup.
  • Once the thyme is added, remove pan from the heat.
  • Let steep for 10 minutes.
  • Strain into a sterilised jar with a fine strain.
  • Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

The History of the Tiki Cocktail

The Rise, Fall and Rise of…

tiki lounge


The origin of that great tiki cocktail, the Mai Tai, is murky water at best. To fully understand the where, when, who, why and how of the matter you have to go all the way back to the 1930’s!

As it stands the where and when of the original Mai Tai is pretty much set in stone; it’s the ‘who’ that’s the biggest query…

So let’s state for a fact: The Mai Tai was created in California back in the early 1900’s and was created by one of two cocktail legends: Victor ‘Trader Vic’ Bergeron or Ernest ‘Don the Beachcomber’ Gantt.

I won’t regale you with their two highly intriguing stories, at least no more than to say that Trader Vic’s story is the more plausible (and also sounds more naturally true). That said, if you want to read Vic’s or Don’s Mai Tai origin stories then click here

Arguably the most important factor in deciding who got the plaudits for the creation of the Mai Tai is that there are Trader Vic restaurants/bars across the world, and yet the same cannot be said for don the beachcomber establishments…

Although not taken directly from a trader vic restaurant this tiki inspired menu looks pretty darn amazing doesn't it?
Although not taken directly from a trader vic restaurant this tiki inspired menu looks pretty darn amazing doesn’t it?

That result for them both has led to Trader Vic’s being the go to establishment for truly authentic tiki themed bars/restaurants and, by way of necessity; they also stock one of the wealthiest collection of tiki cocktails (Click here for a link to the cocktail menu of Trader Vic’s London branch)…

So why are tiki cocktails a thing? Well when they first came about they accompanied some fantastic food recipes that were Polynesian inspired and boasted some bold and wonderful flavours. Now both Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic translated the flavour combinations of their food into their drinks. This led to some stunning, and some strong, tiki cocktails entering the world of mixology and becoming synonymous with both American and tropical culture since…

A brief history in a timely fashion (yes this will be quick)

The tiki cocktail started with the opening of the very first ‘tiki’ restaurant back in 1934. Regardless of who invented the Mai Tai, it is clear to see that Don Beach was the first person to start mixing fresh syrups, juices and rum. This practice is what makes cocktail a true tiki cocktail and was carried out by both Vic and beach throughout the renaissance of the tiki cocktail, leading to some of the great cocktails we now see plastered across almost every menu in every bar we ever go to!

Of course huge events like the world wars and American prohibition all had extremely potent effects on the course of the tiki cocktail, whether they precede the tiki era or simply occurred during their height. Inevitably the novelty of tiki cocktails and their almost teleportation-like effects wore off and they fell out of fashion during the 1960’s – mainly due to the Vietnam war and an increased sensitivity to indigenous peoples and; the former taking away the ideals of living out your days on a beach paradise pretty much nailed the coffin of the tiki culture firmly shut.

Fear Not! Like a phoenix from the ashes the tiki cocktail is back in full force (hurrah). The best thing about reboots is the ability to do something right. Mostly.

Tiki cocktails are certainly on a rise, and this is probably buoyed on by the astonishing firework of a rise that rum is currently experiencing. Although, as I have mentioned briefly in my earlier posts tiki cocktails of the present day are experimenting with other spirits…

This current trend of craft cocktails taking on the tiki cocktails and introducing new and exciting directions, shows how far the cocktails of the tiki theme have come since their rather humble beginnings…

So from their creation stemming from the blood of the first Mai Tai, tiki cocktails evolved to include some rather stunning concoctions. Granted there are some that may not give you the best of evenings but if we’re honest with ourselves, drinking absinthe in copious amounts is never a decent decision…

Here's what you can expect if you order a tiki cocktail from a bar that prides itself on serving great cocktails...
Here’s what you can expect if you order a tiki cocktail from a bar that prides itself on serving great cocktails…

Look out for some of the best recipes from across the internet, from Classic Mai Tai’s to odd little Tequila-drenched Pina coladas, there is bound to be one cocktail for all tastes…

As a final note: This week will signal the end of my Tiki-Themed month and over the following couple of months I’ll be looking at something a little different. Keep an eye out near the end of the week for some (possibly) exciting news!