Saturday, 14 January 2012

The London Cocktail Bar Crawl

Last week, myself and one of my work colleagues decided to go on a bit of a cocktail bar crawl around London’s west end. The Soho/ Covent Garden area is notorious for having some of the most stylish and trendy bars in London, so we were excited to visit some of them and see what creations they had to offer.

We visited a number of different bars throughout the day, but there were a few different cocktails which stood out from the rest. The first was at the Covent Garden Cocktail Club. We asked the bartender to make us a drink which is a bit different, but also one which he enjoys making. He served us up a “Berlin Sour”. Invented in 2009, by Thorsten Pannek at the Hilton Hotel Frankfurt, the "Berlin Sour” consisted of Kummel (cumin liqueur), Luxardo maraschino liqueur, lemon juice and sugar syrup. All ingredients were shaken together and double strained into a martini glass. The flavours worked together well. Despite it being a sour, it was still very sweet and powerful. The Kummel cut through the lemon juice and the Luxardo complemented it well without over-powering the other flavours.

We made a short walk down the road to another popular bar in Covent Garden, "Navaja Joe’s Cocktail Bar”. There we decided to try a simple variation on the Classic Mojito. The cocktail was called “Rumdog Millionaire”. This cocktail used rum, lime and mint, muddled together, strained into a tall glass over ice and topped up with mango juice and Ginger beer. It was a simple and refreshing concoction, exactly what i would expect from a varied Mojito.

We then moved on to a place called “Dirty Martini”. Here I tried another mango based cocktail, A “Mango and Chilli Martini”. Even though I had already had a mango cocktail at the bar before, I was interested in how the mango would mix with the chilli. This martini used mandarin vodka, chilli infused vodka, lime juice and mango juice. The cocktail worked in two stages. When first sipped you get a hint of the chilli instantly, but then the cooling taste of the mango takes over and balances the entire drink out nicely.

After a few more bars, we decided to finish off our crawl at the E.C.C (Experimental Cocktail Club). With a name like that, we expected some crazy drinks, and they didn’t disappoint. I decided to order a “Redneck Flip”. A totally original creation with Laird’s Applejack (apple brandy), Buffalo trace bourbon, a budweiser & marshmallow syrup, a whole egg, Memphis BBQ bitters and finished off with grated nutmeg. All shaken together and double strained into a daiquiri glass.  This would not be the sort of cocktail that just anyone would order. It’s bizarre mix of flavours made such a unique taste. It can’t say it is the nicest cocktail I’ve ever had, but is up there with the most interesting. I guess I enjoyed the drink just for the sheer appreciation for what the bartenders at E.C.C were trying to create, which is a totally unique drinking experience.

As our night came to an end, I couldn’t help but think that we hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface of the London cocktail scene. I think another cocktail bar crawl needed to happen in the not to distant future.

(Covent Garden Cocktail Club)
 “Berlin Sour”
In a Mixing Glass:
30ml Kummel Cumin Liqueur
30ml Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
30ml Lemon Juice
30ml Sugar Syrup

Shake All Ingredients
Double Strain into a Martini Glass

 (Navaja Joe’s Cocktail Bar)
“Rumdog Millionaire”
In a Mixing Glass:
Muddle Lime (with some sugar syrup)
Add a Handful of Mint
60ml White Rum
30ml Mango Juice
Shake together and Double strain into tall glass
Top up with Ginger beer
Garnish with a sprig of mint

(Dirty Martini)
“Mango and Chilli Martini”
In a mixing Glass:
30ml Chilli infused vodka
30ml Absolut Mandarin
15ml Lime Juice
30ml Mango Juice

Shake all together
Double strain into Martini glass
Garnish with a small chilli on the rim of the glass

(Experimental Cocktail Club)
“Redneck Flip"
In a Mixing Glass:
30ml Lairds Applejack (Apple Brandy)
30ml Buffalo Trace Bourbon
15ml Budweiser & Marshmallow Syrup
Dash of Memphis BBQ Bitters
1 whole egg
Shake all ingredients
Double Strain into a daiquiri glass (or martini glass)