i never worked behind a bar in my university days, much preferring to be propped up on the other side nursing a cocktail that hopefully received a nice mates rate discount from one of the many friends i knew that did bartend part-time.
a buddy of mine is an extraordinary mixologist, even winning bartender of the year in london a few years back. i could spend hours gazing in awe as he pours, shakes, flairs and creates extraordinary flavours in front of my eyes. and last week, i finally got my chance to channel my inner tom cruise when sarah and i visited taste of london. (see her mouth-watering post on the food here).
en route to our four-course meal by theo randall, we stopped for a quick refreshment in the cocktail house by first drinks brands. we got chatting to lovely aussie bartender glen, who said he’d let us try some of his finest cocktails on the house… on the condition that we worked for it. i was about to get a little lesson in mixology.
we chose a muddled raspberry cocktail as my first attempt. glen showed us how to count out a second of pouring per shot of spirits. i managed to splash half the bar while trying to somewhat elegantly pour out my vodka, sugar syrup and lemon juice quantities, eventually giving up the fancy way of holding the bottle by the neck after drenching one unlucky scotsman in vodka.
i was instructed to muddle my raspberries and measure out two parts spirit to one part sweet and one part sour, followed by soda water for fizz. we taste tested and perfected the flavour, finishing off the pretty pink cocktail with a few raspberries and a slice of lime to garnish.
next was a gorgeous rum cocktail, made with grapefruit juice, sugar syrup and ginger ale. this time i even got to do the fun cocktail shaker thing – can you see the absolute glee on my face in sarah’s pictures? i was having fun.
glen explained that we drink with our noses as well as our tastebuds, so showed us how to rub the oil of a citrus peel (grapefruit, in our case) around the rim of the glass, and even the outside of the glass so the cocktail’s aroma is present on the drinker’s hands, leaving them with the memory of the flavours long after the drink has vanished. a final spritz of citrus oil over the cocktail has the scent wafting towards your nose even before that first taste.
sarah judged that my cocktails passed the taste test, and we walked away with our hard-earned drinks in hand. the soaked bar and bystanders perhaps hinted that fancy flairing is not my thing, but i now have a couple of delicious and easy cocktail recipes in my repertoire to impress guests with. i predict a cocktail party in the very near future. cheers!