Wednesday, 16 May 2012

My Birthday @ Milk & Honey

Well... It’s my birthday, and Cara being the amazing woman that she is, has organised a gathering of our friends in a cocktail bar which I’ve been dying to go to since we arrived in London. “Milk & Honey” is an exclusive members only bar located in Soho. This bar is well known all over the world for it’s high level of service and of course amazing drinks. I’d heard of “Milk & Honey” back in Australia some time ago, so my expectations of this bar was high.  So exclusive is “Milk & Honey”, the entrance is a challenge to find in itself. Hidden behind a single unmarked door, we were half expecting to have to give the hostess a secret password to enter.  

The bar opened in April 2002. It is the sister bar to the original “Milk and Honey” based in New York. Its design is cozy and intimate. Dim lighting with several booths, which make you feel like you’re the only people in the bar. Another feature worth mentioning are the house rules. Rules that were written to be a little “tongue-in-cheek”, but you can’t help but take them semi seriously. Rules such as “All gentlemen must remove their hats” seems reasonable, but then rules like “Gentlemen must not introduce themselves to ladies. You must get the bartender to introduce you” seems a little far-fetched, not to mention hard to enforce. 

So once you’ve found the secret door, gotten a table and understood the house rules, It’s time to check out the menu.  The cocktail menu was designed by cocktail guru and a bar legend in the business, Dale DeGroff.  It’s a simple menu, with a good mix of classics, variations on some classics and unique drinks to “Milk & Honey”.  They also offer quite a good selection of wines, with many French champagnes, followed by a selection of red and white wines from all over the world. 

My first order for the night was an “Aviation No. 1”. This consisted of Calvados (apple brandy), Cassis (black-current liqueur), Absinthe and Lime juice. It’s not a drink for everyone, the Absinthe cuts through the other flavours, but it doesn’t over power them. It’s a complex drink which is refreshing, but still needs to be drunk slowly.  Take out the Absinthe and this drink would be far more appealing to the masses, but then it would be boring and lack flavour.  I loved it. Absinthe is a hard spirit to work with, but this cocktail was balanced perfectly. 

Our second drink for the night was the under-rated classic, a drink called the “Last Word”. It’s a mixture of Gin, Maraschino liqueur, Chartreuse and Lime juice. I chose this drink for similar reason as the “Aviation No 1”. Like Absinthe, Chartreuse is a hard spirit to work with and it’s interesting to see how a bartender can balance this strong flavour amongst the other ingredients. Once again it was served to perfection. This is another cocktail that is not for everyone, but even if you don’t like Chartreuse, you can appreciate how well the bartender has mixed this classic. 

When we left “Milk & Honey” we were all very impressed with the experience. The staff were not pretentious (which is not common in exclusive member only bars), the drinks were fantastic and we all celebrated my birthday in style. Hopefully we’ll return to “Milk & Honey” soon. 

Milk & Honey's
“Aviation No. 1”
Shaken and Strained into a Cocktail glass
- 30ml Calvados (Apple Brandy)
- 30ml Creme de Cassis (Black-current Liqueur)
- 10ml Absinthe
- 30ml Lime Juice

Milk & Honey’s
“The Last Word”
Shaken and Strained into a Cocktail Glass
- 30ml Gin
- 15ml Maraschino Liqueur
- 15ml Chartreuse
- 30ml Lime Juice

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