Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Worlds Best Cocktail Menu

We returned to London, after our short trip to the South, we were looking forward to exploring some more of the city’s top bars.  A place which was at the top of our list was a bar called “Callooh Callay”.  This bar was recently awarded (in my opinion) one of the highest honors in the cocktail bar world, “Best Cocktail Menu” in the world.  What makes a top cocktail menu I hear you ask? It's many things. Design and layout come into play, but mainly it comes down to the drinks them self. Bars who wish to win this accolade as Best Cocktail Menu, spend many hours researching consumer trends and fads, but still keep trying to push the boundaries with new ideas. The menu is constantly evolving due to what fruits and ingredients are in season and easy to obtain during certain times of the year. But most of all, the cocktails on a menu, must appeal to customers and keep them returning again for new drinking experiences. Industry experts thought that in 2012, "Callooh Callay" did this better than anywhere else in the world. So naturally Cara and I had to find out. 

We walked into a jammed packed bar. Unfortunately for us, not a spare seat to be found. However we were able to stand at the bar and watch the bartenders pump out drinks for the punters. As the famous menu was handed to us, we were instantly impressed by the unique layout of the list. The menu had been designed as a colour swatch book. It fanned out in front of us, with each colour on the menu, representing another cocktail.  Our first thoughts... It came across a little tacky, but it was hardly designed to be classy. It was designed to be fun, which it was. After browsing through the swatch book for quite some time, we each picked a cocktail that stood out to us. As it had been a usual cold day in London, Cara had picked a drink called "Grow a Pear". It was a cocktail which was served hot and consisted of Bacardi 8 year old rum, Rhubarb liqueur, pear puree, a pinch of cinnamon, almond syrup, lime juice, apple pieces and finally a dash of the London cocktail society's own "Christmas Bitters". This cocktail was like have a jazzed up 'Hot Toddy'. It was a perfect winter cocktail to have on a cold London day. It was fruity and sweet, but the pinch of cinnamon give it a subtle spicy after taste which made the drink unique and fun to drink. I was drawn to one of the award winning cocktails on Callooh Callay's menu, the "Ale of Two Cites". I was attracted to this drink due to it's use of the 42 Below Feijoa vodka, which I know from experience, can be very tough to use in cocktails due to it's over powering nature. This cocktail consisted of the Feijoa vodka, Punt e Mes (dark brown Italian vermouth), lime juice, apple juice, wild nettle cordial, and malt syrup. This mixture was all shaken together and served in a half pint glass, making for an interesting looking beer. I was pleasantly surprised that the Feijoa vodka didn’t take over at all. It was a perfectly balanced drink. It had a slight sour and citrus taste, with the flavours of the vodka lingering longer than anything else. Overall it was quite easy to drink. The only criticism is due to it being served in a beer glass, it didn’t look very appealing, and with no garnish the presentation did let it down a little. However it was still and enjoyable and most importantly, it tasted great. 

We departed from 'Callooh Callay’, satisfied that we'd seen enough and that we could tick it off the list of bars we must visit before leaving the UK. The menu was everything we had come to expect from a world class cocktail list. The drinks we’re creative, there was something for everyone and the presentation was unique. Maybe, before we arrive back to Australia, we may come across other menu which could rival the worlds best. 

“Grow a Pear”
Served Hot
30ml Bacardi 8 year old Rum
15ml Briottet Rhubarb Liqueur
15ml Pear puree
Pinch of Cinnamon
15ml Almond Syrup
15ml Lime juice
2 - 3 Pieces of Apple
Dash of London cocktail society christmas Bitters
Fill to the top with hot water and stir

“Ale of Two Cities”
In a shaker:
30ml 42 Below Feijoa
15ml Punt e Mes (Italian Vermouth)
15ml Lime Juice
30ml Apple Juice
Dash of Wild Nettle Cordial
Dash of Malt syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a half pint glass

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