Tag Archives: London

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!

 

 

20160331_220036.jpg
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’.

20160330_194357

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…

20160330_195152

 

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

20160330_204733

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.

20160330_211315

Shaking things up in Battersea Park: Who let the Dodd’s out?

So I recently subscribed to Shaken Cocktails, and covered that in my post last week. After reading my post; Mark Jennings, one of the founders of Shaken Cocktails, invited me up to Battersea Park, or the nearby area to be specific, for a gathering of members and founders at the base of operations for Dodd’s Gin (The London Gin Distillery). Now this is the sort of event I’ve been looking forward to and the type of event I simply don’t get to go to enough.

From Left to Right: Mark Jennings, Darren Rook, Darren's Gin Still: 'Christine',  Sarah, Sophie & Fergus...
From Left to Right: Mark Jennings, Darren Rook, Darren’s Gin Still: ‘Christine’, Sarah, Sophie & Fergus…

Shaken bill the event as ‘A Shaken Lock-In’ and event where you go to meet like-minded people and, using the ingredients supplied in that specific months box, create 2 gloriously alcoholic cocktails. This event, at the London Gin Distillery in Battersea, consisted of meeting Mark Jennings as well as Darren Rook of Dodd’s Gin as well as several other members of Shaken Cocktails. It was a well organised and extremely down to earth event that was opened by Mark himself. Mark spoke very humbly about the event, Shaken and of course all those who attended. He came across highly passionate and very emotional when speaking about their recent successes at crowd funding (they’ve surpassed their original total and have since raised over £97,000… Congratulations to them!

congrats

It continued with a “15-minute” talk from the gin distillery’s main man: Darren Rook. Darren came across as extremely knowledgeable yet extremely down to earth and happy to talk about his work. Now you’d expect that from most people in his position but what’s refreshing is his openness and blatant passion for his craft. He’s humble yet highly knowledgeable.

Moving onto the cocktails and why everyone came: To experience Shaken and their cocktails…

So this month’s main cocktail was The Negroni, and was backed up with the Elderflower Collins.

Both cocktails used the Gin from the very establishment we met at: Dodd’s.

Check out the recipes below:

1) The Dodd’s Negroni

Recipe:

30ml Dodd’s Gin

30ml Cocci Torino Vermouth

15ml-30ml Cynar

1 part Dodd's Gin + 1 part Cocci Torino + 0.5 parts (OR 1 part) Cynar = One damn fine Negroni!
1 part Dodd’s Gin + 1 part Cocci Torino + 0.5 parts (OR 1 part) Cynar = One damn fine Negroni!

Method:

  • Into a rocks glass add the Dodd’s Gin and Cocci Torino Vermouth.
  • Then add the Cynar bitter liqueur. Try 15ml at first and then if you’d like it a little drier try add the other 15ml.
  • Add ice to the top of the glass and then stir for around 10-20 seconds.
  • Take a slice of orange peel and using your thumbs and forefingers squeeze the oils over the top of the drink.
  • Wipe the peel around the glass and then place it into the drink and sip away.

2) Elderflower Collins

Recipe:

45ml Dodd’s Gin

30ml Fresh Lemon Juice

15ml St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

15ml Sugar Syrup

Top up Soda Water

Blending Gin, lemon juice, elderflower liqueur and sugar syrup with a dash soda water results in a spritzy little number...
Blending Gin, lemon juice, elderflower liqueur and sugar syrup with a dash soda water results in a spritzy little number…

Method:

  • Fill the metal tin (from a Boston shaker) 2 thirds full with ice.
  • Using the glass part of the shaker add together the Gin, Lemon, Elderflower liqueur and sugar syrup.
  • Shake well, for around 10-15 seconds (until the tin ices over).
  • Strain into a tall, ice filled, and top up with Soda water.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve with 2 straws.

Now these cocktails are complete opposites and by Marks own admissions this was purposely done to cater for those who like their alcohol straight and for those who enjoy a longer crisper drink.

The Negroni, with its unusual mix of more exotic ingredients is both stronger and more abusive than the Elderflower Collins yet it also holds greater depth and its lighter dilution level means you get to experience all of the great flavours from each of the 3 spirits used in its creation.

However this doesn’t write off the elderflower as a lesser cocktail. Sure the Negroni is a classic, but let’s not forget that the Elderflower Collins, by name as well as nature, is a tweak on another classic cocktail: The Tom Collins.

This tweak lightens the drink up a little and also adds a floral note, one that reminds you of the summer days gone, and makes you look forward to those to come. It’s an easy drink to consume and whilst perfect for a summer’s eve, I would state that it’s a pretty good all-rounder and something I would happily make myself when at home.

margate evening
Chill out, kick back and relax.

This event was a joy to attend and cocktails with Shaken & Dodd’s aside, meeting the other people like minded and enjoying both Shaken and cocktails in general.

Shaken is doing wonderful things and they’re headed up by Mark Jennings who not only believes in Shaken but passionately believes in what they’re doing. His sincerity and humble manner will take the company a long way and I’m proud to be a paying subscriber. I simply cannot wait for the next box to arrive!!!

The Shaken & LDC Folk: Left to Right - Mark Jennings, Darren Rook, Darrens Gin Still: Christine, Sarah, Sophie & Fergus...
So one big thank you to the team at both Shaken & LDC…

As a final note I’d like to add this:

I used to hate gin. A couple years ago I met the group over at Sipsmith and they turned me. And that’s all I’ve drunk Gin-wise since. Now, after meeting Darren Rook and experiencing the effort and quality that goes into Dodd’s gin (along with the actual gin itself – sublime) I can safely say that my self-labelled bottle will be treasured for a long time to come!

So from me here at The Fervent Shaker: Thank you Mark Jennings & Shaken Cocktails for the invite and event. And thank you to Darren Rook at Dodd’s Gin for hosting and sharing your knowledge with us all!

The BAFTA’s: Making Cocktails Even Cooler…

Image
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.

Image
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.

Image
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)

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

London Cocktail Week – A drinkers thought’s

1006-lcw

I’ve just jumped of the tube at Covent Garden, naively thinking it was the best choice being the closest to where I had to go. Everything was good, people were in high spirits, well as high as they can be sitting on the tube. After disembarking I had two choices…

1)      Wait with the large crowds for a lift,

2)      Or, Take the stairs.

I didn’t see the point of waiting for the second lift and being crammed into a sardine can so I took the ‘easy’ way out. It wasn’t until I was in the current of people already pushing their way up the stairs that I read a message that made my heart sink:

covent garden

Or course it was too late as by then I’d commited myself to the program. Now I’m not the fittest person in the world, but 1/3 or the way up and I passed a couple of older walkers, obviously in too deep so I used that as incentive to keep going and not turn back (if they weren’t turning back I’ll be damned if I was). It wasn’t until about ½ way up I started to feel it, a slight tingling in my thighs, which turned into an intense burn around 2/3’s of the way up. Then every step felt like 10, with people having the same problem stopping more frequently. The only people that seemed to keep on was me and a group of Italian girls. As we got to the top we were sharing moans and groans about how painful it was and eventually made it, laughing together before making our own way onwards.

Anyway this was a bit of a tiring way to start the day, but an otherwise exhilarating one and needless to say on the way back down I took the lift…

WP_000181
Greeting’s from the London Cocktail Week team!

I’d been waiting for a while for this day now, having booked 2 events;

1)      Gaz’s Historical Tour (at the Monkey Shoulder DIY Kitchen)

2)      Discover Sipsmith, a tour of their distillery

These events will have separate posts, both coming soon. In the meantime the day as a whole was good fun. The collection of ‘pop up’ bars and ‘push bike’ bars creating a very Wild West style vibe across both Monmouth & Earlham Street. The two most noteworthy were the Fever Tree and Disaronno Sour stations. The former offering Tanqueray G&T’s as well as tasters of their brands various carbonated drinks (including Ginger Beer, Classic Tonic water & Elderflower Tonic). I don’t like Tonic water at all, excluding in a G&T of course, but there was something special about the elderflower tonic that was obviously an occurrence of the Elderflower adding a sweet tint to the otherwise dry tonic.

Definitely something to look at with further cocktails and posts and one of which will deal exclusively with Fever Tree as an overall company (including their products compared to other similar ones), however for the meantime let it be said that this was one of the better pop-ups on the day.

The other, Disaronno’s  stand, was serving freshly mixed Disaronno Sours to anyone with a LCW wristband. The Sour is the cocktail of the moment for Disaronno, with them spending a lot of time try to promote it, alongside Disaronno’s use in cocktails (which is a good idea seeing as it is perfect for such a use).

The drink itself is strange, an enigma if you will, combining lemon juice with the liqueurs almond flavour as well as sugar should result in an odd and almost unpleasant taste one might be mistaken for thinking but the fact is that it actually tastes rather nice. The lemon juice adding a little acidity to the sweet flavours of the liqueur and sugar with the almond holding its own and supplying enough of a hit to let you know it’s alcoholic without it being painful.

A rather nice afternoon, but then it was time for the first event Gaz’s Historical Tour; a 90 minute seminar on the history of Whisky cocktails through the ages (courtesy of Monkey Shoulder).

When I saw this I thought “Gaz Regan? No, cant be!” but it was, in all his glory, the great and legendary Gary Regan. He’s been an icon ever since I started reading about cocktail culture and learning about recipes and where they came from (as well as how they came about). And to finally meet him, in the flesh, well that was something special…

And there were no disappointments, he was just as hilarious and eccentric as one would expect and was very welcoming to the 15 or so people in the group (including me). After introductions were made, including with the Monkey Shoulder brand ambassador; Grant Neave, who was fantastically insightful and also extremely welcoming, the talk ensued…

Starting with a sampling of Monkey Shoulder itself and an introduction to their first cocktail on the list: The Athol Brose (a middle aged brew of whisky, water, honey & oats) and culminating with the Debonair; this talk was very educational.

I’m the first person to admit I’m not the biggest fan of whisky, in any form – Including its cocktail counterparts, but I went to this event for two reasons:

1)      To meet the great Gaz Regan (Mission Completed).

2)      To learn about both monkey shoulder and whisky in general (both straight and cocktail forms) (Mission Completed).

Overall the event was great value for just £15 I got an extended (it started late but lasted longer than billed) introduction to monkey shoulder and a fantastic tour of the most important whisky cocktails through the ages. Overall a great event and topped off perfectly with a handshake from both Gaz Regan himself and the brilliant Grant Neave. Awesome afternoon!

Next time on the Fervent Shaker LCW special: Discover Sipsmith – A Gin of epic proportions and historical significance… 

It’s London Cocktail Week!!!

October 7th – 13th is London Cocktail Week.

Huzzah and glory to everything cocktail!

Image
Come one, Come all!

This week, in the seven dials area of London (basically down the road from Covent Garden), spirit companies from around the world will gather and celebrate in all things cocktail…

Whether it’s a Fever Tree inspired Dark N’ Stormy, or one of the heavily advertised Disaronno sour there is something for everyone… I for one intend to have my fill.

Below is my itinerary, from picking up the wristband (that allows entry to some events, but more importantly allows you to partake in £4 cocktails at certain establishments across London throughout the week.

The idea to begin with is to grab my wristband, and have a look around, then attend the first of my pre-paid events: Gaz’s Historical Tour. Then I’ll have 2 hours to have another look around and explore some of the goings on in the streets before making my way over the Nasmyth st for the discover Sipsmith seminar. Then I’ll make my way home. It’s a simple, but hopefully fruitful day out. Learning about Sipsmith gin, experiencing some great street vendors and of course Gaz’s historical tour…

Thursday 10th October: Itinerary

12:00 – 14:00                      Wristband Collection                   

14:00 – 15:30                      Gaz’s Historical Tour

15:30 – 17:30                      Jerry’s Backyard Bar

15:30 – 17:30                      Botanical Bicycle (FeverTree)

16:00 – 17:30                      Disaronno Sour Station

15:30 – 17:30                      Whisky Exchange (Offie)

15:30 – 17:30                      Averna Pop Up Van

15:30 – 17:30                      Funkin Street Bar

17:00 – 17:30                      The Caorunn Sensorium

18:30 – 20:30                      Discover Sipsmith

As you can see this should be a fun day and I cannot wait to go up and have a look, not to mention photograph and write down everything I experience. You can all look forward to reading about this day in blog posts to come, but if you’re about at all and want to come and join in the fun you can!

I’ll be about as part of the crowd, but should you notice me at all (I’ll let you figure out who I am on the day) then please feel free to introduce yourself and we’ll share a drink and some words!

Until next time readers! Adieu

Kicking it like a pro – the World’s best Mule’s!

Image
The best mules in the world… Oh hang on a minute…

The Moscow Mule arguably one of the most famous mule cocktails ever made. But what you might not know is that there are literally dozens of variations. From Paris to New Zealand and everywhere in between, there is a Mule for everyone…

The idea of a mule is very simple… Top with Ginger Beer/Ale (whichever one you prefer). Of course you need other ingredients but if you take a gander at the recipes below you’ll see that those depend on the theme…

It’s important to keep the ratio’s in these drinks as they are written. Use this conversion: 1 measure = 25ml (UK) or 1oz (USA). This way the balance of the drink remains as it should be and everyone is happy!

Onto the cocktails:

10) Berry Nice

Image
Fresh berries make for the best Mules. Add a splash of ginger beer and Bob’s your uncle!

Recipe:

2 measures of Raspberry Vodka

¼ measure Chambord (Raspberry Liqueur)

½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

8 Blackberries

Top up with Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add the vodka and blackberries and muddle well.

2)      Add the Chambord liqueur and lemon juice.

3)      Shake over ice and strain into an ice filled glass.

4)      Top up with Ginger Beer/Ale and garnish with a blackberry and lemon peel skewer.

9) Yule Mule

Image
A simple yet stunning cocktail that scales up brilliantly if you have a few extra friends round…

Recipe:

2 measures Light (white) Rum

2.5 measures Cranberry Juice

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Build this cocktail in an ice-filled Collins glass.

2)      Garnish with a Lime wedge.

This cocktail is a simple Caribbean style Mule. Made ideally at Christmas, so you can use cranberries when they are in abundance (here in the UK at least) for a fresher crisper drink, this cocktail is perfect for the summer too. Refreshing and crisp this drink is simple yet flavourful. Try experimenting with your favourite aged/dark rums for a deeper taste.

8) Blackberry Mule

Image
A wonderful infusion of British produce and gorgeous vodka… The Blackberry Mule: Summer, well, summed up…

Recipe:

1.5 measures Vodka

½ measure Crème de Mure (Blackberry Liqueur)

½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

6-8 fresh blackberries

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Muddle the blackberries with the vodka in a shaker tin.

2)      Then add the crème de mure and lime juice.

3)      Shake well over ice and double strain (to keep out the seeds) into an ice filled Collins glass.

4)      Top up with Ginger beer/ale.

5)      Garnish with 2 plump blackberries.

A great UK summer cocktail, the Blackberry Mule comes to fruition around the same time as the blackberry bushes bless us with their bounties. Fresh blackberries mean a fresher drink. Sure you can shell out for some supermarket blackberries (the ones that have probably gained more air miles that you will in a couple of years) or you could go blackberry picking and gather some for yourself. Over here in the UK berry picking is still a pastime. I even tried my hand at it when I was younger. There are plenty of farmers that take on hands to help (as volunteers mainly – but they do let you keep the odd punnet or two). It’s a fun day out and you get to enjoy your spoils with a nice splash of your favourite spirit.

Oh right, one last thing, this cocktail tastes just as great using any spirit. Try it with some of these if you’d prefer: Tequila, Rum, Gin & Cachaca.

7) The Mordor Mule

Image
A drifter from Mordor… This mule has a slightly tangy feel as well as a knock-out blow should you disrespect it…

Recipe:

1.5 measures ‘42 Below’ Vodka

½ measure Lime Juice

¼ measure Agave Nectar

1 whole Kiwi (skinned & chopped into chunks)

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      In a mixing tin muddle the Kiwi chunks, lime juice and sugar syrup.

2)      Add the vodka and fill with ice.

3)      Shake and strain into an ice filled Collins glass

4)      Top up with ginger beer/ale

5)      Garnish with a Kiwi wheel (leave skin on this one).

This Middle Earth (New Zealand) themed Mule is something a little different. It combines one of the best vodkas in the world (from NZ of course) with a New Zealand Kiwi fruit and then using the ginger beer/ale as a top up. This cocktail, as a result, is extremely refreshing and crisp and great for those summer evenings when you want something a little different.

Again the room for tweaking lies with the fruit. There are several other edible species of Kiwi fruit available that are different to the commercial one we are all accustomed to. If you want to try them, and they’re available in your country, start here; on the Wikipedia site and have a search around.

Oh and not to mention this is one of my very own recipes so please let me know how it goes down!

6) Parisian Mule

Image
A great Parisian Mule, picture courtesy of the http://cocktailqueens.wordpress.com

Recipe:

2 measures Vodka

1 measure Crème de Cassis

1 measure Lime Juice

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      In an ice filled shaker add the vodka, crème de cassis and lime juice.

2)      Shake well and strain into an ice filled Collins glass.

3)      Top up with Ginger Beer/Ale and serve with a lime wedge as garnish.

This is a recipe I’m really proud of, back during the early days of this blog I catered cocktails for a friend of a friend’s birthday party. One of those cocktails was a pitcher sized serving of a Parisian Mule. Now various other mules do exist and probably more appropriately named too. But this cocktail is special to me, and when I think of Crème liqueurs I think of France, of the romance capital of the world: Paris. Now the other recipe I have found for a Parisian Mule contains Cognac, a fine vintage too I might say, and it is a delicious drink. But rather than fill up another spot for a cocktail of the same name, if you follow this link for what I have dubbed the Imperial Parisian Mule you’ll find the original website for it. Whichever taste of Paris you prefer, you will not be disappointed.

5) Moscow Mule

Image
A classic mule, in a classic Russian Copper Cup

Recipe:

2 measures Vodka

½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

3 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Build this cocktail in an ice filled mixing glass.

2)      Start with the Vodka, then lime juice and bitters.

3)      Stir well and strain into an ice filled Collins glass.

4)      Top up with your preference of Ginger Beer/Ale.

5)      Garnish with a Lime Wedge and serve with straws.

This classic cocktail is all about the kick. Refreshing and crisp (the lime and ginger pair exceptionally well) it lulls you into a full sense of security, then after about 3 or 4 you try and stand and remember the vodka; It’ll sit you right back down again, I assure you. Perfect for those summer evenings when you just don’t want to get up the next morning. Still they taste great and a couple wouldn’t hurt…Right? Right.

4) Saigon Sling via Bar Blue

Image
A great Mule variation. It’s balanced well and the lime wedge adds a little tartness to the drink…

Recipe:

45ml Bombay Sapphire Gin

15ml Krupnik Honey Liqueur

30ml Pineapple Juice

2 dashes Peychauds Bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add the Gin, Honey Liqueur, Pineapple juice and bitters into an ice filled shaker and shake well for about 20-30 seconds.

2)      Strain into an ice filled sling glass (see glass in the picture).

3)      Top up with ginger beer/ale and garnish with a slice of lemon.

This cocktail was first tasted by me when I went to London Bridge’s Bar Blue (on the way to the Cointreau Fizz Garden event). Combining the floral flavours of Bombay Sapphire Gin, and the sweetness of Krupnik Honey Liqueur, this cocktail is a borderline Mule, and therefore a controversial choice, but it is just so good I could not leave it out. It is just a wonderfully refreshing drink everyone needs to try at least once.

3) Anejo Mule

Image
What your Anejo Mule should look like…

Recipe:

1 measure Light Rum

½ measure Dark Rum

½ measure triple Sec

¼ measure Fresh Lime Juice

2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add all the ingredients (except the ginger beer/ale obviously) and shake well over ice.

2)      Strain into an ice filled Collins glass and top up with Ginger beer/ale.

3)      Garnish with a lime wedge sat on the rim of the glass*.

Now I love all types of rum. Whether it’s the classic white stuff or the darker, aged stuff, it doesn’t bother me as long as it tastes great (which most of them do). Usually I find it hard to choose between light and dark rum, but this drink puts a line through this conundrum with a simple answer: Use both…

*this allows for your friends/customers/drinkers to add a splash more lime juice if they would like.

2) Caribbean Mule

Image
The best thing about a Mule, is you can dress it up to look like a Circus Zebra, but underneath it all, it’s still a Mule.

Recipe:

1.5 measures Light Rum

½ measure Spiced Dark Rum

½ measure fresh squeezed lime juice

½ measure guava juice

1 measure pineapple juice

3 dashes of angostura bitters

Method:

1)      Combine the first 5 ingredients in an ice filled shaker and shake well.

2)      Strain into an ice filled sling glass and top up with ginger beer/ale.

3)      Garnish with a pineapple wedge and cocktail cherry.

4)      Serve with straws.

Similar to the Anejo Mule, this cocktail adds a little Caribbean flavour to the mixture with some exotic fruit juices. This does lengthen the drink somewhat and water down the rum a little, but it makes it a little more beach specific and refreshing. The ginger beer/ale adds a splash of crispness and heat that is really balanced well with the sweetness of the juices.

Give it a go and close your eyes, you’ll be hearing waves roaring at your feet and feel a tan coming on before you know it…

1) Mexican Mule

Image
Lots of lime and Tequila, this one is all Mexican 100% baby! (Except the glass – that was made in china)…

Recipe:

2 measures good quality Tequila

¾ measures fresh squeezed lime juice

¼ measure agave nectar

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add the tequila, lime juice, agave nectar and bitters into an ice filled shaker and shake well.

2)      Strain into a tall glass filled with crush ice.

3)      Top up with ginger beer/ale and garnish with a lime wedge.

This cocktail is my number one by a country mile. This cocktail takes everything great about the classic Moscow mule and just spins it on its head, in a way only the Mexicans can, with TEQUILA!

Now a couple of months ago it was Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) which celebrates Mexico’s ways in all their glory, although it’s a more United States specific celebration, which means Tequila and all things Mexican are centre stage.

And then there was National Tequila Day (NTD) which was as recent as last week! Again it’s largely an American ‘Holiday’ (I’m starting to notice a theme here, are you?) upon which much more Tequila is consumed (naturally). Now I did a post on the 24th July (NTD) and this was based on the craft Tequila George Clooney has co-financed, along with his life-long buddy Rande Gerber and this is the perfect tequila to use here. If you cannot get a hold of it (I know I can’t) then use the best quality Tequila you can find (that means 100% Agave people!).

This drink, as already stated, turns the classic vodka based version on its head and creates a rather delicious monster. Tequila mixes well with lime, we all know this, but it also mixes fantastically well with Ginger Beer/Ale. So combining the 3 sounds perfect right? Right.

“Never ever mix tequila with lime and ginger beer/ale” – Said no one. Ever.

So mix one of these up, chuck a poncho and a fake moustache on and put the maracas down, Sit back on your hammock and enjoy the sunset – beach, sunset, fake moustache, maracas & poncho not included.

finally enjoy this lovely couple of Mules, can you guess their names? Hint: Even I’m not sure of their names, so good luck…

Image
A happy Chap…

And the twins here…

Image
A couple of twins not happy with your lack of a cocktail like beverage already…