… it’s midweek… it’s August and that means it’s time for cocktails. I am a huge cocktail fan and would much rather wait for a cocktail than a glass of wine or a beer, particularly if it’s made really well by someone who knows what they’re doing and has an understanding of the alchemy involved… if i’m honest i’d prefer and vodka, lime and soda than a bad cocktail but with years of experience in London life and cocktail drinking I now have my favourite places to drink and these don’t always involve anywhere too fancy either. The Viking and I have a favourite haunt called Cafe Pacifico which was one of the first Mexican restaurants in London. The food is actually pretty dreadful but they have a long bar – I love nothing more than sitting at a bar – and they make a mean margarita. At the other end of scale I adore the American Bar at The Savoy. I go very rarely but when I do it’s a proper treat. Not only does the room look spectacular in all its Art Deco glory but the very charming Eric knows his way around a vintage martini glass and delivers each cocktail with such well deserved pride you almost feel happy paying the heart-stopping prices… I think for tonight we’ll go for that margarita!
honey and ginger mojito
I find that the key to making good cocktails is to have some basic ingredients and equipment items in your store cupboard just like you do with your everyday cooking… much like whipping up a homemade curry, it only becomes a faff when you don’t have easy access to the spices but once you’ve got them they’re the kind of things that can stay in your drinks cabinet (or overcrowded shelf in our case) and can easily be pulled out when you need them… and they really do make all the difference. As well as the obvious such as a cocktail shaker, a muddler and a bar spoon you will also need something sweet, something sour and something strong… a good quality sugar syrup is essential… this doesn’t have to be a fancy shop-bought product, it could be maple syrup, honey or simply 2 parts sugar dissolved into 1 part water. Lemons or limes for the sour and of course a nice dash of something alcoholic works well in most cocktails… oh and a good supply of ice!
thankfully our good friends at thebar.com have created their Shake It Up campaign to get the nation to think of cocktails as an easy and viable option at all kinds of parties this summer and a great alternative to just ‘beer or wine’… there are some gorgeous recipes and videos on their website and they’ve asked me to share one with you so here’s my riff on the classic Mojito using two of my favourite ingredients; honey and ginger!
50ml captain morgan original spiced gold
half a lime cut into wedges
2 teaspoons honey
100ml ginger beer
1 sprig mint (a few leaves)
1/2 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger – peeled
plenty of crushed ice (which I created in my nutribullet)
you will need a tall glass or jam jar, something to bash the mint and ginger with such as a muddler or pestle and a long spoon for twizzling
place the mint, 3 wedges of lime, honey and ginger in the bottom of the glass and bash with your muddler until the lime is crushed and the ginger is bruised
add the rum and bash it all together again then add the ice and top with ginger beer… use the long spoon to twizzle the ingredients together
serve with a fresh wedge of lime and a garnish of mint
drink and of course, enjoy!