Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Seeing London through Nelson’s Eye

The people who we have met in the UK so far, have told us that this years summer was below average. When it started to get towards the end of september, it was save to say that summer was over. Then low on behold, a heat wave which smashes all records hits the UK and we get a little taste of what we’d missed out on the last few months. With this recent unseasonable weather, Cara and I hit the town and caught up on some sight seeing.

We’d read in a book about a rooftop bar which over looks the famous Trafalgar square. So we decided this would be a perfect place to go and enjoy the sunshine. As many people would know, Trafalgar square is one of the more popular tourist attractions in London. It’s a very picturesque part of the city. The centre piece at Trafalgar Square is the 145ft tall pillar with Horatio Lord Nelson standing on the top. Lord Nelson served as an Admiral in the British Navy. He lead them into battle many times, where he suffered losing his right arm, and sight in one eye. One of the most famous victories for the British navy was the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Which Lord Nelson lead his troops, but was sadly killed in the process. Now, Lord Nelson faces south west directly towards Portsmouth. The bar on the rooftop at the Trafalgar Hotel, faces this same direction. From the roof top you get a great view, of the square, the lion statues, the fountains, but what we found most interesting as you get the same view of the city as Lord Nelson, standing 145ft in the air.

So after a little bit of time, taking in the view and learning about Lord Nelson, we decided to order a few cocktails, sit back and take it all in. Cara started by ordering the “Fruitti del Sole”. This was a mixture of mandarin and lychee, with 2 shots of vodka. It was built over crushed ice and was very summery and refreshing. I expected the lychee to take over (as it so often does), but this was well balanced. The taste of the mandarin still came through quite clearly and both fruits complemented each other nicely. In my mind the only thing which ruined it a little was the use of vodka. You got such a nice refreshing fruity taste on the front of your palette, but then that was quickly changed by a ‘metalic’ after taste that you find when drinking vodka. By no means was this a bad cocktail. Like I said, It was very summery and refreshing, but in my opinion, it could have been so much better. Cara agreed. Maybe a nice gin, or rum instead of just vodka may have made this drink a winner.

I decided to have a “Midnight @ Vista”. This consisted of vodka, Grand Marnier, blackberries, honey and lime. Before I took a sip of this cocktail I knew straight away that it was going to be sweet, and I wasn’t wrong. The mixture of the Grand Marnier, honey and blackberries made for a sweet concoction, but that didn’t bother me. The flavours were exactly what I was expecting, a sweet, refreshing, fruity cocktail. My only criticism with this drink, is it may have helped if it was double strained**. A common complaint that customers have, is they don’t like sucking bits of fruit through a straw, and thats what was happening with my "Midnight @ Vista". A simple straining out of the fruit, would have made for a smoother drink. Other than that is was quite nice.

So after picking our cocktails to pieces, we sat back, enjoyed the sun and admired the view over Trafalgar square and London.

** 'Single strained' is straining out the ice from your cocktail shaker, 'double strained’ means pouring the cocktail through 2 strainers, one to remove the ice, the other to remove the pulp and other bits of fruit.

"Frutti del Sole”
(Build in a tall glass)
Muddle Mandarian & Lychee
Add a dash of sugar syrup
50ml Vodka
Topped with Crushed ice

“Midnight @ Vista”
(In a mixing glass)
Muddled Blackberries and Limes
Dash of Honey
30ml Vodka
30ml Grand Marnier
Shaken & single strained over crushed ice
 into a rocks glass.

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