NIMB BAR A TEMPLE TO
NO 03. 0 1
ith such a grand setting I felt the desire to have lofty aspirations and high hopes to try and resurrect two key ideas about the realm of drinking. Firstly alcohol - and the cocktail in particular - was once considered a thing to be revered and cherished; a mystic substance and a culinary artform; a gustatory delight. Each bottle represented an alchemical triumph and the result of someone’s life’s work. Each cocktail was a balanced blend of ingredients constructed by people of talent – the Bartenders. Secondly the Bartender was once a respected artisan and a master craftsman. They were host, chef and expert whose choices in drink and company were well regarded and welcomed. Their aim to was to create liquid masterpieces and environments that bound people, as well as ingredients, in sublime harmony. To these ends we offer our warm welcome and some advice. Order as far as you can from the menu itself and ask the Bartender for help and advice if needed. Every liquid has been chosen for a reason and when you sample them you will see why. Quality and not quantity is the key to success in the art of drinking well. God is in the details. The better the ingredients the better the finished product – liquids, ambience, environment and company – we make all of our juices fresh and our syrups are handmade. CHEERS
“I drink to your health when I am with you / I drink to your health when I am alone / I drink to your health so often / I am starting to worry about my own”
Bartending is very easy to do badly and very difficult to do well. It is easy because to a great extent Bartenders are standing on the shoulders of Giants with hundreds of years of distilling that creates great liquids to use and decades of bars and bartenders means that many of the greatest drinks have already been invented and are simple to reproduce. It is hard because despite HL Menken calculating that there are nearly 17 billion cocktails the ability to create drinks that will stand the test of time is truly an act of genius. This month we wanted to Homage some of those bartenders we feel have created fantastic drinks. From the pioneering lady mixologist Ada Coleman to the haughty English brilliance of Dick Bradsell we have searched the archives and consulted our own memories to bring you a dozen liquid masterpieces from around the world. We offer these up to the great god Cocktail and to you, dear reader in order that we can showcase the sublime, tantalise your tastebuds and perhaps motivate or own mixologists to conjure up their own cocktail creations for future drinker and menus alike.
TRINIDAD SOUR (Guiseppe Gonzalez, Clover Club, NYC) 125,Drinks are normally created by necessity, creativity or accident. This was created by perversity with Guiseppe trying to use the ‘non potable’ Angostura bitters in a very potable potion. A large measure of Trinidad’s most famous export shaken with rye whiskey and almond syrup for a rich and spice rich beauty.
GIN BASIL SMASH (Joerg Meyer, Le Lion de Paris, Hamburg) 105,The founder of The Travelling Mixologist has earned immortality with this, surely the 21st Century Mojito. Chunks of fresh lemon and succulent basil leaves are smashed together with sugar and aromatic gin in a delightfully elegant beverage.
GIN GIN MULE (Audrey Saunders, Pegu Club, NYC) 105,Whoa maybe we spoke too soon about the new Mojito! The Libation Goddess combined mint, gin and spicy homemade ginger beer into a Mojito-esque marvel that has entranced and entertained pop culture and mixological mavens alike. Refreshing and piquant and eminently quaffable.
BRAMBLE (Dick Bradsell, Fred’s, London) 105,We wanted to include a drink by Mr Bradsell as he is the undisputed king of the UK bar scene and the fact that we could have chosen 6 drinks that are modern classics highlights this. We have chosen this wonderful “Fix” that takes fragrant gin and fixes it with zesty lemon and smooth sugar syrup before lacing it with blackberry liqueur. Awesome drink and perhaps the most assured modern classic of the last 20 years.
DRUNKEN DODO (Brian Miller, Death & Company, NYC) 125,Magnificently bewhiskered and annoyingly talented Mr Miller managed to combine his mastery of the classic with his love of all thing rum related. His riff on a rum Manhattan takes aged rum and smoothes it will allspice and sweetens it with vermouth for a laid back yet serious concoction.
THE RAMANISCO COCKTAIL (Max La Rocca, Sheen Falls Lodge, Ireland) 145,For the life of us we don’t know why you have never heard of Max. A gentleman behind the bar and a talented mixologist and blogger who ‘listens to the ice’ he takes fragrant Peruvian Pisco and adds fruit (raspberry), spice (ginger) and a tangy bitterness and makes a drink that truly satisfies… mile gracia Massimo!
FLYING PEPPA (Olivier Jacobs, Café Theatre, Gent) 135,In our capacity as experts we are regularly asked to judge competitions and every now and then a beauty appears. This is one such drink. Who would have though cherry, violet and yellow pepper would work together so well? Not us until we tried it and fortified it with crisp London Dry Gin. One to watch for sure (and drink of course)
HANKY PANKY (Ada Coleman, Savoy Hotel, London) 105,Before there was Harry Craddock and his book the Queen of the English Cocktail scene (and the Savoy) was Ada Coleman. A subtle but powerful take on the sweet Martini the few drops of Fernet add a depth and delicious delicacy that only a woman’s touch can provide.
MAI TAI (Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic’s, Oakland) 145,A most abused cocktail and yet when made this drink is, as its Tahitian name suggests, “perfect… out of this world”. Two carefully chosen aged rums are shaken vigourously with citrus and a healthy dollop of almond syrup to cross the T and dot the I of Tiki. DEVILS SHARE (Peter Kendal, Milk and Honey, London) 105,Is it an Old Fashioned? Is it a Whiskey Sour? No it’s a drink that we think can only have been conceived via a Faustian pact. Rich Bourbon is sweetened with maple syrup, brightened with homemade ginger syrup and warped with two types of citrus. By Lucifer’s beard this is a tasty beverage.
BREAKFAST MARTINI (Salvatore Calabrese, The Lanesborough, London) 115,No homage list would be complete without a drink from The Maestro. Creating the ultimate bartenders breakfast by shaking English gin and French Cointreau with lemon juice a spoonful of bittersweet marmalade he created the toast of the town and a Classic Cocktail.
PORN STAR MARTINI (Douglas Ankarah, LAB, London) 145,Not all great drinks are austere and bittersweet but they can be tongue in cheek and downright delicious. Passionfruit and vanilla vodka are combined in a cheeky combo with a side shot of champagne to add some class to this strictly adult pleasure.
LONDON GIN & TONIC 115,The master distiller of Beefeater has been making exceptional Gin for over 40 years. But someone else’s recipe. Beefeater 24 is his recipe and its delicious when mixed with Fever Tree Tonic water and loaded with three citrus fruits. Bravo Mr Payne… I’ll drink to that!
SEABREEZE 95,Due its relative newcomer status in the world of spirits nearly all Vodka mixed drinks have names (Screwdriver, Polar Bear, Greyhound et al..) and this is no different. Russian Standard vodka is paired with freshly pressed grapefruit juice and a blush is added with cranberry juice tho we serve it lava lamp style.
LA BATANGA 105,In a small bar called La Capilla in the small town of Tequila is a (very) small old man called Don Javier Delgado Corona who has been winning awards since the 50s and his “cocktails” are masterfully executed and rightly acclaimed. Tequila and Coca Cola are brightened with lime juice and spiced with salt in a refreshing and surprising highball.
BOILERMAKER 105,A Man’s drink (that many women enjoy too) takes a lovely icy cold beer and serves it alongside a shot of one of America’s finest whiskies. Either sip delicately from one to the other or drop the shot directly into the beer and chug the lot straight down… either way this drink is special.
ORANGE BLOSSOM 95,Long before we had the Screwdriver people were enjoying the orange blossom by pairing the freshest orange juice with a large measure of quality London Dry Gin. But if you are of a younger mindset then just think of Gin’n’Juice and get down…
CORN AND OIL 95,A decent shot of aged rum which is then sweetened with a small amount of the Caribbean cordial known as falernum. The clove, nutmeg, lime and ginger of the falernum meld seamlessly with the smooth rum before getting a touch of zesty lime juice.
The best drinks to round off an evening should be richer in flavour and luxuriously intense in every aspect. We have chosen our favourite sipping spirits from our favourite categories. Some may be familiar, some may be unknown but all are delicious and will sing hymns slipping down your throat.
DIPLOMATICO RESERVA EXLUSIVA RUM 140,A fabulous Venezuelan dark golden rum, distilled from molasses in a copper pot still before 12 years of ageing. Rich, sweet and fruity, just how we like ‘em. Fantastic quality, Diplomatico was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2007 Ministry of Rum Tasting Competition.
SEA WYNDE (3RD EDITION) 115,Jamaica and Guyana have long been home to the world’s best rums. Sea Wynde is an astonishing marriage of five pure pot still rums from these countries. It’s a sipping rum, fragrant with the subtle aromas of sandalwood, anise, cinnamon and coffee, with a lingering honeyed aftertaste..
ANGUSTURA 1824 115,Angostura 1824 is a blend of the finest mature rums, hand-picked by the master blender from select casks. These rums are aged in charred American oak bourbon barrels for a minimum of 12 years and then skilfully hand-blended and re-casked. Upon the rum’s optimum maturity it is hand-drawn, filtered and hand bottled..
ZACAPA XO 180,Zacapa XO was created in 1976 to celebrate the centenary of the foundation of Zacapa, a town in eastern Guatemala. It is made using the concentrated first pressing sugar cane juice, which is called virgin sugar cane honey, rather than molasses and is aged and blended using a unique aging system based on the solera method traditionally used for sherries.
TEQUILAS AND MEZCAL
ARETTE UNIQUE 125,Production is limited to 1000 litres per year. And we have one of them. That’s enough said we think.
TAPATIO ANEJO 115,A gorgeous 100% agave tequila from La Altena distillery, home of Master Distiller Carlos Camarena. A truly authentic handmade anejo, Tapatio is distilled to strength and bottled without dilution to retain the true flavours of the spirit. This anejo is aged for around 18 months in ex-bourbon casks.
DEL MAQUEY TOBOLA 195,A skilful fusion of rare aged whiskies inspired by the notes originally kept by Sir Alexander Walker, and crafted from only a small number of Scotland’s most renowned distilleries each matured for a minimum of 18 years.
ARETTE SUAVE BLANCO 115,Premium select agave and precise control of quality throughout the entire production process makes this one of the finest blanco tequilas available.
MACALLAN 12 YR OLD SHERRY FINISH 100,Deliciously smooth, with rich dried fruits and sherry, balanced with wood smoke and spice. Described by Paul Pacult, the renowned international whisky writer, in his book Kindred Spirits as: “simply the best 12 Year Old single malt around”.
REDBREAST 12 YR OLD 95,Beautifully balanced pure pot still Irish Whiskey. In the view of many connoisseurs, the finest Irish whiskey available.
JOHNNY WALKER BLACK LABEL 95,’If there is a silkier delivery on the market today, I have not seen it: this is sublime stuff...one of the world’s most masterful whiskies back in all its complex glory’ Jim Murray.
DALMORE 12 YR OLD 95,For well over a century, The Dalmore has been made by hand, in the time-honoured way, by a small band of local still men. The process is meticulous, and includes double distillations in copper pot-stills and patient aging in white oak and sherry wood casks.
BRANDIES AND GRAPPAS
HENNESY X.O. 180,The original ‘extra-old’ cognac, first bottled in 1870 by Maurice Hennessy for family and friends. Darker and much more complex than the VSOP, with appealing leather and tobacco notes and a touch of spice - a great cigar cognac.
DOMAINE BOINGNERES FOLLE BLANCHE 1980 95,This Armagnac from the splendidly-named Domaine Boingneres is rather unusual in that it is distilled from a single grape varietal: the noble Folle Blanche, prized for the feminine finesse it gives the spirit.
MAROLO BAROLO 20 YEAR OLD GRAPPA 280,From my own personal stock this is one of my favourite liquids in the world. Amply perfumed, with deep and vivid flavors of toasty vanilla.
LA FEE PARISIENNE ABSINTHE 125,La Fée Absinthe Parisienne is distilled by a Paris based distiller on a 19th Century recipe containing wormwood and is the only absinthe authenticated by Marie-Claude Delahaye, founder and curator of the absinthe museum. Served in unique dripping glasses.
WINE, BEER & NO ALCOHOL
WINE, BEER & NO ALCOHOL
CHAMPAGNE WHITE WINE RED WINE BEER ESPRESSO CAPUCCINO / LATTE FRESHLY SQUEEZED JUICES Orange / Apple / Grapefruit WATER - STILL WATER - SPARKLING 115,65,65,60,40,55,60,-