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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

 

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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

 

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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.

 

London Cocktail Club – The Best Basement Bar around…

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’.

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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 Venue…

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.

The cocktails…

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…

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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 20160330_201440

 

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.

Cocktail #3: In-House Bramble

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Their take on the classic Bramble cocktail.

Bombay Sapphire Gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, Chambord black raspberry liqueur.

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?

Overall:

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.

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Cocktails at the BAFTAS

Herein are cocktails to inspire the mind, as well as the mouth…

So further to my previous post (yesterday) this post combines the five cocktails served by Grey Goose at the BAFTA’s after party at the Rosewood Luxury Hotel in London, England.

Created by Master Mixologist and Grey Goose global ambassador Joe McCanta these 4 cocktails (as well as Grey Goose’s Signature cocktail – The Grey Goose Le Fizz) have been inspired by some principals that have been a theme this past year, here are what Grey Goose have to say about them:

“The four GREY GOOSE Awards Season Cocktails have been inspired by the themes of ‘Pioneering Spirit’, ‘Unconditional Love’, ‘Futurism’ and ‘Return to Retro’ which are represented by some of this year’s most acclaimed movies, in addition to Grey Goose’s ultimate celebratory cocktail, the Grey Goose Le Fizz.”

These cocktails are a combination of easy to mix and difficult to master drinks that will make you question your own tastes and also why you never thought about trying them before.

Yeah I know you probably didn’t know about them until now, but that’s not the point…

So without further ado, the cocktails of the2014 BAFTAS are:

1)  The Grey Goose Le Fizz

Recipe:

35ml Grey Goose Original Vodka

25ml St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

20ml Fresh Lime Juice

70ml (top up) Soda Water/Champagne

What better place to start than the cocktail perfect for any celebratory occasion…

Method:

–          Hand-squeeze the lime juice into a tall champagne flute or large wine glass.

–          Add the remaining ingredients and top up with cubed ice.

–          Stir well and serve with a cocktail stirrer.

This cocktail is one of Grey Goose’s favourites, billed as the ‘signature celebratory cocktail’ it comprises of high grade vodka, fresh lime, a French elderflower liqueur and soda water to create something just a little bit special.

This cocktail is Grey Goose’s replacement for a champagne cocktail, and to be honest it works really well. I’m not one for too much champagne so a tasty alternative is always welcome. Should the Soda water be a little too ‘dry’ for your palate then try a splash of lemonade instead – it’ will taste a lot sweeter but it might be more to your tastes…

Grey Goose say:This uniquely balanced cocktail uses soft, floral elderflower and refreshing lime to highlight the smooth, rounded taste of Grey Goose Vodka.”

2) The Martini De La Mer

Recipe:

2 parts Grey Goose Original Vodka

2 sprays Sea Spray Essence

Meaning ‘Sea Martini’ this cocktail is something a little special…

Method:

–          Add the ingredients to a mixing glass and stir gently over ice to chill.

–          Strain into a very well chilled coupe glass.

–          Garnish with micro-shiso, red amaranth and a large caper.

Whilst extremely difficult to replicate, this cocktail is a very swanky deal. Using just two main ingredients this cocktail really does show off both the quality of the vodka and the smoothness of its creation. The garnishes add both to the aroma of the drink as well as the overall pleasure. The trick with this cocktail is to chill the mixture right down. This creates the body and complexity you need to really enjoy it.

Grey Goose say:Inspired by ‘Pioneering Spirit.’ Celebrating a pioneering spirit that overcomes adversity, our signature cocktail receives a maritime makeover. Lightly spritzed with an oyster shell infused ‘sea spray’ essence, the GREY GOOSE Martini De La Mer invokes aromas of the open sea and is beautifully garnished with micro-shiso, amaranth and capers.”

3) The Lower East Side

Recipe:

1 part Grey Goose L’Orange Vodka

2 parts Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange Juice

1 bar spoon Grand Marnier*

A Drizzle of Aged Balsamic (Vinegar)*

Based on the classic Wallbanger cocktail, only brought up to date for the 21st Century…

Method:

–          In a glass filled with cubed ice, build the grey goose & orange juice.

–          Float the Grand Marnier on top and garnish with a slice of Blood Orange

–          Drizzle on the Balsamic for the finished touch and serve with a stirrer.

A great penultimate drink, this cocktail is based on the Harvey Wallbanger and brings it into the new century with its taste- bud-tantalising combination of fresh blood orange, classic French spirits and a splash of the finest Balsamic. Not one for the feint of hearts and certainly not for those with an aversion of the use of Balsamic. This drink is best used to impress at after dinner events and guaranteed to blow the roof of your friends mouths (one way or another).

*the balsamic should be of a high quality to suit the drink, but as long as it is not cheap and nasty it should work. Also the Grand Marnier is one of many orange-brandy liqueurs; feel free to use your favourites.

Grey Goose say:Inspired by ‘Return to Retro.’ A sophisticated twist on the most popular drink of the 60s, the Harvey Wallbanger, this downtown classic is a unique blend of Grey Goose L’Orange, seasonal blood orange juice and liqueur, with a slight drizzle of aged balsamic to give an intriguing gritty bite.”

4) L’Amour Moderne

Recipe:

2 ½ parts Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka

2 parts Fresh Pomegranate Juice

1 part Fresh Pink Grapefruit Juice

1 part Campari (Bitter Italian Aperitif)

1 part Passion Fruit Syrup

¼ part Fresh Lime Juice

Originally a Valentines cocktail, it was so good they kept it on for the after party…

Method:

–          Combine all the ingredients over ice, in a cocktail shaker and shake until well iced.

–          Double strain into a martini glass and garnish with an orange zest.

This cocktail looks the most complicated, but as you can tell from the method it’s a classic mix’n’shake cocktail. But don’t let that take away from its class. This drink was created especially for Valentines and was such a hit they used it again for their awards season selection. Nothing shouts quality cocktail than that résumé.

Grey Goose say:Inspired by ‘Unconditional Love.’ A taste of love in a modern age, passionate but bittersweet, with fresh, fruity notes. This romantic reddish-pink martini perfectly balances rich pomegranate and passion fruit flavours with sharp pink grapefruit and a bitter aperitif, strikingly garnished with orange zest.”

5) The Cosmonaut

Recipe:

45ml Grey Goose Le Poire (Pear)

25ml fresh lime juice

17.5ml domaine de canton ginger liqueur

1 dash cardamom bitters

Space aged and classy; this cocktail has it all!

Method:

–          Build over a single large spherical ice cube in a spherical rocks glass.

–          Garnish by skewering a space-candy-covered grape with a cocktail stirrer and serve.

This cocktail is based on futurism and boasts an all-around Sci-Fi feel. The drink is literally from the future of the cocktail scene. Flavoured vodkas have been around for a little while now, with citrus flavours being favoured over others, but more and more we are seeing different fruity flavours. The Grey Goose vodka used in this cocktail is flavoured with pear and is surprisingly refreshing; making it the perfect addition to this futuristic cocktail.

Try it with a splash of lemonade or if you’re feeling really fancy try using French champagne to really bring it all together. Only a little mind, you don’t want to go to over the top!

Grey Goose say: “A futuristic cocktail, the Cosmonaut is a refined and elegant blend of Grey Goose La Poire, ginger liqueur, fresh lime and cardamom bitters built over ‘planetary’ ice-spheres. Inspired by futurism, the space-candy rolled grape adds some playful glamour.”

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The BAFTA’s: Making Cocktails Even Cooler…

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The Bafta’s are host to some of the biggest names in Hollywood… Oh, and the occasional Prince.

Let me be honest, I love cocktails. Any good publicity for cocktails is a great thing indeed, so when I saw the photos on the Grey Goose RSVP facebook page last night my heart jumped for joy.

The annual British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards ceremony has always had an after party for the guests to mingle, photo’s to be taken and of course congratulations/scornful looks to be given to the award winners. And rightly so in my book! And this year was no different; hosted by one of the top end premium vodka brands in ‘Grey Goose’ the event saw star a studded collection of celebrities attend and enjoy what looked like a fantastic evening of glitz and glamour.

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The Rosewood Luxury Hotel, London: Perfect for such a fancy soiree…

Now I love a good awards show like this, especially when the deserved actors/actresses win the deserved awards and after they go through the elation (or heartbreak in some cases) that winning & losing an award will bring the very minimum they deserve afterwards is a completely unjudged drink or two.

The hosts: Grey Goose, are an extremely high grade vodka brand from the wonderful country of France and therefore a perfect companion for an award show as renowned as the Baftas.

Serving various cocktails to some of the biggest names in the Hollywood phone directory; this entire after party screamed great publicity for cocktails, not to mention alcohol in general.

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Celebrities world renowned share a cocktail or two. Left to Right: Steve McQueen, Dede Gardner, Sari Mercer and the fantastic Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Especially with the bad rap alcohol is getting due to this utterly ridiculous drinking ‘game’ (I use the term game for lack of a better descriptive word – it most certainly is not a game) known as necknomination. It’s a stupid idea survived by stupid people thinking they need to better the person before them, reminding me of the saying: “Whos the bigger fool? He who leads, or he that follows.”

This whole situation is giving anti-alcohol groups an unlimited amount of ammo in an unfair war against something that, in moderation, can actually be of benefit to a lot of people. So I for one am glad this awards ceremony has shown the class alcohol brings to events such as these, not to mention the glorious cocktails supplied by Grey Goose. So whether you’re planning a party for the Oscars (March) or the Emmy’s (august), this cocktail-after-party from this years BAFTAS should provide at least a small amount of inspiration to you all…

With winners like the fantastic Chiwetel Ejiofor and stunning Cate Blanchett this BAFTAS really hit the mark and, if you keep an eye out, soon on this very blog you’ll spy some of the cocktails they were all drinking recipes and all so you too can feel like a movie star; even if it is for only a drink or two.

Next on the Fervent Shaker: BAFTAS The Grey Goose Cocktails (here’s the link)

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Check back tomorrow for these great cocktails broken down and shared with you all…