Not since the Beatles came out with “She Loves You” has a London institution created this much excitement among the hip, young coolios of London’s West End.
Yes, I’m talking about Radio, the rooftop bar, perched atop ME London. Every weekend, block-long lines snake around the exquisite five-star hotel that has pulled down nearly every possible hotel award since it opened near Covent Garden last year. Every stiletto-wearing beauty, every Crombie-carrying hipster is waiting for their turn to ride the dedicated elevator to the tenth floor and Radio’s panoramic view of River Thames, Big Ben, the London Eye, the theater district and other icons of oh-so-cool London.
So how does a zeitgeist begin? In the case of Radio and ME London, it was already pointed in the right direction as the latest offering from Melia, the savvy, cosmopolitan Spanish hotel group. But it was also blessed with the leverage of location, wedged between Westminster and Trafalgar Square and butting up against the West End Theater District.
Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor who pioneered radio transmission, had a telegraph station here in the 1920s and some of the BBC’s early broadcasts were boomed from this location near St. Paul’s Cathedral.
But perhaps ME London’s biggest coup was timing and dumb luck. It opened just in time for London Fashion Week 2013, serendipitously across the street from Somerset House where the catwalk is set up and where more than 150 designers have exhibitions.
That Donatella Versace, Victoria Beckham and Diane von Furstenburg showed up at ME London to judge the International Woolmark Prize certainly didn’t deter interest in this stunning hotel that makes a fashion statement of its own.
Architects Foster + Partners, in their first hotel project, wrapped the 157 rooms, two bars, and three restaurants around a nine-story, white-marble atrium that soars to a distant triangle of natural light. The rooms, including 16 suites, have white leather panels, floor to ceiling windows and an interactive TV and lighting system that requires concierge instruction. From the hotel’s dark hallways to the atrium’s nightly eight-minute light show, the design is fresh, original and worthy of every honor it reaped.
But what about all those beautiful people waiting in those lines? Was Radio really worth this kind of commitment, especially when a numerous selection of West End bars were within stiletto-wobbling distance?
Having the good fortune to stay at ME London (I was writing a story on the upcoming Banksy exhibition to be held here April 24-27) and to preview the bar that hundreds of people half my age were lusting to enter, I boarded the elevator that led to its vaunted heights.
My first clue that I was in for a treat was the size of the drink menu — 12 pages filled with such cocktails as Thames River Iced ME (Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Bacardi, El Himador, peach liqueur, lemon and ting), the AM/FM (Bacardi, Chambord, mint, lemon and passion fruit) and Flower in the Rain (Grey Goose, rhubarb, lemon, cranberry and strawberry).
The vodka menu had 15 offerings from Finland, Poland and, of course, Russia. More than 16 imported whiskeys hailing from Japan to the U.S. shout party vibe.
Perhaps the most fascinating feature of the colorful cocktails at Radio are the edible flower garnishes, a welcome sight to an American midwesterner who had one hell of a winter. Live flowers? That's a drink worth toasting.
Not only do Radio mixologists take advantage of such fragrant elixirs as rose water, lavender and elderflower, but they top many of their gorgeous cocktails with a tantalizing reminder of spring and all that that entails. Thanks, Radio, I needed that.
7 Secret Cocktail Recipes of London’s Best Bars
One thing we know about London is that the cocktail scene is as competitive as a spectator sport (and we’re not just talking football – or soccer, to us North American types). Bartenders hop, skip and jump from trend to trend as nimbly as Beckham bends it, and bring a historic-meets-new-millennium innovative approach to mixing a drink.
Recipes, some handed down from barman to barman over generations, are coveted and kept under wraps, while ingredients can run the gamut, from fresh-from-the-herb-garden botanicals to infused bitters to macerated fruit to far-flung ingredients like yuzu and hickory smoke.
And another thing we know: Brits really love Gin.
Gin and tonic is the go-to drink, with a gin martini a close runner-up. Gin “Palaces” abound, while many hotels and bars are offering special Gin tasting menus – we’ve taken a few and brought back a recipe or two just for you, dear reader – while tour companies such as Gin Journey (one of their lovely bartenders, above) offer tours in the trendy Shoreditch and Bermondsey neighbourhoods of London (they also offer gin journeys in the English towns of Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh in Scotland. While on tour, you’re chauffeured around to five of the most innovative bars in the area – our tour included a stop at a gin distillery as well as the World’s 50 Best Bars top-rated White Lyan, where even the mix is made fresh everyday, with no refrigeration and ice cubes be damned! www.ginjourney.com
The Ginstitute in Notting Hill is exactly that. An educational institution dedicated to the schooling of all things gin, from simple tasting experiences, to master classes, to guiding guests to creating their own unique gin recipe. But that’s not all. It’s part of The Distillery, housed in a historic building on Portobello Road. The spot, where small batches of Portobello Road Gin is distilled also features a cocktail bar with barrel-aged spirits and classic Brit dishes on the menu, a Spanish-inspired G&T bar/resto and rooms, yes, we said rooms. You can now have a sleepover in a distillery, dedicated to all things gin. Cheers! www.the-distillery.london www.theginstitute.com
Thirsty for more? Scroll through for secrets and secret recipes of some of London’s best hotel bars.
The Chesterfield Mayfair Gin and Tonic Experience
I have a soft spot for The Chesterfield hotel in Mayfair. This member of the Red Carnation Hotels portfolio was the first proper four-star hotel I stayed at as a solo adult, when I was able to strike out on my own, and discover the amazing city that London is. Since then, I’ve always endeavoured, at the very least, to book my first night in London there, as there’s nowhere else quite like it for curing the jet lag. The kitchen’s cooked-to-perfection scrambled eggs, a cappuccino followed by a glass of bubbles at the Terrace Bar is just the right mix of protein and jet-lag busting hair of the dog – no matter what the time of day.
But I digress. This story is all about Gin. The mixologists at The Chesterfield bar have taken the typical G&T to the next level. First, they start with the glass. The Copa de Balón, a large, balloon-shaped goblet, comes straight from the Basque region of Spain, the craft of gin mingling with creative and unique tonic waters has been elevated to new heights. G&T bars have sprouted up all over Spain, and the trickle down effect has made to the glass. It seems that its balloon shape boosts the botanicals and qualities of the gin, amplifying the flavours and giving plenty of room for the garnish to tickle the taste buds and the olfactories.
Say hello to Eddie (seen above, mixing up one of his molecular cocktails – a completely different experience, and also worth having), the top barman at the hotel, and tell him I sent you. He and his bar team will bring all a tray that looks straight from the apothecary’s shelves, with little glass jars of juniper berries, peppercorns, edible flowers, cardamom and more sensational tastes, and cork-stopped bottles of gin, so that you can mix and match your own unique blend.
The mixology team at The Chesterfield Mayfair has divided the extensive gin and tonic combination list into seven categories: Dry, Citrus, Savoury, Sweet, Floral, Smooth and Spice. Here, my three picks of Eddie’s Gin & Tonic combinations to try at home – and don’t forget the balloon glass:
Dry: Bombay Dry Gin and Fever Tree tonic with juniper
Citrus: Beefeater Gin and Fentiman’s tonic with a lemon twist
Floral: Bombay Sapphire and Fever Tree tonic with raspberries
My favourite: Floral – Martin Miller’s Gin and Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic with fresh sliced strawberries and crushed pepper (part of the premium tasting menu)
But we need a few nibbles to go along with it, so I couldn’t resist asking if Mrs. Bea Tollman, Red Carnation Hotels founder and president, would mind sharing a recipe or two from her collection, A Life in Food. Being the gracious host that she is, the answer was yes. www.chesterfieldmayfair.com
Click through to the next page for recipes for Spiced Nuts and Cheese Straws.
Recipes courtesy of Mrs. Bea Tollman, Red Carnation Hotels founder and president, from her collection, A Life in Food.
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Three quarters of a teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Whisk the egg white with a tablespoon of water until foamy, then coat the nuts with the egg mixture. Mix the sugar and spices in a bag, then stir into the coated nuts. Bake at 125°C for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 100°C and bake until crunchy.
1 sheet store bought puff pastry
100g strong cheddar cheese, finely grated
25g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Pinch of paprika or Cayenne pepper
Lightly unroll and smooth out the puff pastry on a floured board, then sprinkle with all of the ingredients. Lightly roll the puff pastry up again to compress the coating, then press and fold the roll in on itself along its length (like closing a book). Cut the pastry lengthways with a sharp straight-edged knife into 1 cm strips, give each strip a twist, then place them all on baking pan covered with parchment paper.
Place the tray in the freezer for 20 minutes, then bake the straws in a heated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes to a pale golden brown. Cool on a baking rack before serving.
NEXT: Cocktails at The American Bar, The Savoy, Covent Garden
The Savoy: American Bar
OK, soft spot #2: The Savoy. The reason? Well, it is a Fairmont managed property and my Canadian pride for the True North influence on hospitality is in high gear whenever I visit this spectacular property. I feel like I’m home here, and it is part of the attraction to this classic showstopper on the Strand along the banks of the River Thames. The renowned Savoy Theatre is its twin, sitting just to the side of the hotel’s grand driveway. And not too far up from the drive way, just across the street, is Covent Garden, the famed neighbourhood that’s seeing a revival. But it’s the classic American Bar, winner of Europe’s Best Bar 2016 in the annual World’s 50 Best Bars listing, which makes me want to return again and again.
Yet, even an icon needs a little makeover once in a while, and the American Bar is no exception. The design studio helmed by Robert Angell took on the project, paying close respect to the history of one of London’s longest “living” cocktail bars, with drinks being sipped here more than 100 years ago. “The re-design of the American Bar serves to pay homage to the incredible lifetime’s dedication of the bar’s great and talented bartenders, who have over the past 126 years each brought a unique presence and personality to the place,” says Angell, who lists Hilton, Belmond and Dorchester among his hospitality client list. “The bar’s popularity is famous and so, together with The Savoy, we have extended the space with an additional room to allow even more guests to enjoy the legendary delights of the American bar and adding to its truly unique history.”
Espresso-deep club chairs, a silver leaf ceiling and glamorous leather, nickel and ebony details recall the bar’s distinct golden age-era personality, while white-suited bartenders play behind the Royal Circle Bar, shaking and stirring. It’s intimate, yet not intimidating sophisticated but still light-hearted.
To go with the new digs, the bartenders have created a new cocktail menu as well, inspired by London and its tony neighbourhoods, such as Camden, and cool streets like Abbey Road. At the helm is the award-winning head bartender, Erik Lorincz but Martin (above, showing off his cool-as-ice skills), my favourite mix master there, is a genius, with cocktails and conversation. And, of course, being my favourite, he gave me his recipe for, what else? Punk Rock. And being the bad boy he is, he skipped the gin and gave me rum instead. That said, we did manage to get two gin cocktail recipes as well. We are in London, after all, so never mind the bollocks. www.fairmont.com/savoy-london/dining/americanbar/
PUNK ROCK (by MARTIN)
30ml PINK GRAPEFRUIT JUICE
1/2 BARSPOON HICKORY SAUCE
Shake. In a rocks glass, pour over rocks ice.
ISO MALT SUGAR HAIR STYLE
GREEN PARK (by ERIK)
ABBEY ROAD (by DOMINIC)
15ml CHAMPAGNE SYRUP (recipe below)
Shake. Pour into a coupe. Garnish with Citrus Dust (recipe, below), on half the glass
Stir until completely clear.
Cut by mixing 1 part Champagne syrup and 1 part sugar syrup.
10 ORANGES SKINS PEELED AS
Blend until fine, seal in air-tight bag to store.
NEXT: Champagne and martinis, The Connaught, Mayfair
Well, I don’t quite have a soft spot – yet – for The Connaught, but it’s growing on me. Especially the secret Champagne Room (above), hidden behind a pair of spectacularly ornate doors and through a spectacularly rich pair of curtains off a hallway passage. It’s like unwrapping a present and discovering all that glitters inside. The narrow room is sexy, intimate and, yet, it still has light. Light, in the form of an oval moon roof – a glassed-in oculus that reveals a living green wall, a golden sculpture in Adonis-like form and a glimpse of the courtyard above the room. Prestige champagnes are poured into the tallest of Baccarat crystal flutes, prompting the bubbles to dance and rise up, delighting our eyes.
But it’s the Connaught Bar that’s brought me here, and a hankering for a martini. The 2016 winner of The World’s Best Cocktail and Best International Hotel Bar was announced at the 10 th annual Spirited Awards and chosen by more than 100 industry insiders from around the world. No doubt, it was the innovative cocktails combined with Agostino Perrone’s sense of theatrics. Perrone, the hotel’s director of mixology (above) introduced the bar’s signature Martini Trolley, stirred – never shaken – at tableside, with a choice of bitters presented to the guest. Each bitters’ aroma is inhaled and savoured. Then, based on what the guest finds the most appealing, a martini is born – unique, bespoke, every time. Perrone was kind enough to share a few of his award-winning cocktail recipes with us, one for his fabulous martini and one for Champagne. Now, I’m stirred too.
15ml blend of dry vermouth
5drops bitter of choice (Cardamom, Lavender, Liquorice, Grapefruit, Vanilla, Ginger, Coriander seeds)
In a mixing glass, stir the vermouth and spirit over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass coated with bitter of your choice. Garnish with lemon zest or olive.
Fleurissimo Champagne Cocktail
1 sugar cube infused with Peychaud’s bitters
15ml (¾fl oz) Rémy Martin VSOP Cognac
5ml (1 tsp) violet liqueur
120ml (4fl oz) NV champagne
Garnish: 2 rose petals, 2 sugar diamonds
Place the sugar cube in a chilled champagne coupe, add the Cognac and the violet liqueur, then top up with the champagne. Garnish with the rose petals and a couple of sugar diamonds.
Infusing the sugar cube with bitters is simple: just add a couple of dashes over each cube and leave them to soak in.
NEXT: Innovative cocktail luxe at Artesian, The Langham, London
Innovative cocktail luxe at Artesian, The Langham, London
Check in to the Langham London. This is one of those historic hotels that just keep getting better with age. In fact, for its 150 th birthday, the property underwent a strategic facelift recently and, man, does this grand dame have good bones. So good, that age is just a number here.
Start with cocktails at Artesian, the award-winning bar at the hotel. Named best bar in the world in 2015 by The World’s Best Bars Academy (www.worlds50bestbars.com) and its 412 worldwide bar experts, and The World’s Best Bar by Drinks International Magazine four years running, it’s a bit of a heady place, in that you never know how your cocktail is going to show up. The new and avant garde team has just introduced its new cocktail extravaganza – Perception – where the menu focuses on incorporating the senses into every drink. Edible shards, smoke and mirrors, Pandora’s boxes, miniature copper stills and aging barrels, aloe and agave, all mix masterfully. Experimental, yes. And who doesn’t like to experiment? We do like to start on top. www.langhamhotels.com
Mind Your Step (pictured above)
Ron Zacapa 23 – Heron Pisco – Sour Sop – Orange Blossom Shards
“What type of glass you would never drink from? We asked the question, had many different answers but in the end we all agreed: a Broken Glass. The drink is a well-balanced earthy yet refreshing tropical cocktail. Even the broken glass shards hold a surprise.”
NEXT: Gin cocktails, St Martins Lane Hotel, Covent Garden
The Den, St Martins Lane Hotel, Covent Garden
If you think you’ve accidentally stumbled into a gentleman’s lounge, you’re not too far wrong. The room – rather, “The Den,” as they call it here at St. Martins Lane Hotel – is a plush, dark wood and leather boîte just off the hotel lobby. Known for having a way with Gin cocktails, the bar and the hotel’s chefs are now experimenting with Afternoon Tea and, boy, are they having fun.
There’s nothing girly about this tea savoury sandwiches are substantial artisanal-bun delights, eclairs and tarts are big enough to share. We were lucky enough to have a quick chat with Ludovic Mesplé, the head pastry chef who, well, has a way with pastries (don’t pass up the éclair!), and making a dainty sandwich a more, well, substantial affair. A Gentlemen’s tea, indeed. Our sweet tooth thanks you, Mr. Mesplé. But with that in mind, we still want our tea with a Gin Cocktail! www.morganshotelgroup.com/originals/originals-st-martins-lane-london
Cocktail: Pudding and Pye
Glass: Gin glass with cubed ice
Method: Build the drink up over the cubed ice. Pour 50ml of Bombay Sapphire into the glass followed by 200ml of Fever-Tree tonic. Stir with a mixer. To decorate add the strawberry, lime slice and mint.
NEXT: Cocktails for two at the Polo Bar, The Westbury Hotel, Mayfair
Cocktails for two at the Polo Bar, The Westbury Hotel, Mayfair
The mixologists at the Polo Bar in the Westbury Hotel have definitely got many things right, but this one tops my list: it’s easy to get cocktail envy once you see the magical concoctions that arrive at table. But no reason to doubt your choice of drink. If you’re not sure which libation to have, they’ll provide you with a mini version of your companion’s drink to try. Brilliant. And pleasing to the eye, too, served up in mini coupes and martini glasses, you won’t be seeing double, just a mini-me version.
The Westbury is also a big fan of the theatre, and are offering a unique pre-theatre menu at Tsukiji, its jewel-box sized Japanese restaurant – we love the red wood interior offset by big windows showcasing the hip Mayfair ‘hood – yes, we said Japanese pre-theatre menu. And why not? The fare here is light and fresh, and the menu changes by the season.
Optics aside, if you’ve got time to take in a pre-theatre drink or post-theatre nightcap, classic cocktails with a historic twist top the menu at Polo Bar, and a renaissance of Pre-Prohibition recipes are whetting the appetites of the barmen and the patrons, alike. And you can’t help but want to linger and just sip. From the glittering Swarovski crystal and luxurious Fendi details to the sparkle of the bar’s habitués, the room is as much a part of the experience at this award-winning hotspot. www.westburymayfair.com
Here, two historic recipes that we think you’ll like to try:
Prince of Wales
Composed by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later to be King Edward VII. Use a champagne flute for this cocktail.
Bulleit Rye whiskey, shaken with maraschino, pineapple juice, angostura and sugar syrup. Crown with Champagne.
Adapted from Harry Johnson’s Bartender Manual, 1882. Use a martini glass.
Hayman’s Old Tom gin mixed with dry vermouth, maraschino, orange bitters and Absinthe, served straight up.
NEXT: Dukes Bar, Ian Fleming, James Bond and a killer martini
Dukes Bar, Ian Fleming, James Bond and a killer martini
When Alessandro Palazzi joined the team at Dukes Bar at Dukes Hotel London (a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member) as head barman 10 years ago, he was already well-versed in the history of this upscale watering hole. “Ian Fleming’s writing inspired me to create the menu,” he tells me, as he prepares, at table from the legendary Dukes trolley, one of his now world-famous martinis. “It’s here, that Fleming was also inspired, to write the line “shaken, not stirred” for the Vesper martini. Palazzi, of course, mixes up the Classic Vesper (with Gin and Vodka), and his twists on classic Vodka martinis, including Odd Job (with Galliano) and Le Chiffre (a hint of orange liqueur), and cocktails such as Miss MoneyPenny (Ivan the Terrible Vodka, triple sec, fresh lime and, naturally, passion fruit juice), among many others, inspired by the 007 books. A friend and fellow tippler had warned me, the Martinis are spectacular at Dukes, but they are potent. Even a second helping may have me spinning, just a bit.
I, however, couldn’t resist something else from his menu, Strangways, after the ill-fated character James Strangways, an MI6 agent stationed in Jamaica and fellow spy of James Bond. For the Strangways, Palazzi combines:
Palazzi serves it in a chilled vintage coupe. Stunning and delicious.
As you can see from his minimalist recipes, Palazzi likes to freestyle it with his measurements, no “exact” anything. “There are already too many rules to remember in life,” he says, “so your Martini shouldn’t come with a set of instructions.” He suggests mixing it up a bit, and personalize your Martini. Want to stir it, rather than shake it? “Go right ahead!” he says, “if you love a Martini a certain way, that’s what makes it the most memorable, and perfect drink of all.
Here, another of his recipes you can try at home, inspired by this past spring’s Chelsea Flower Show. “A martini a day,” says Palazzi, “keeps the doctor away.” We’ll drink to that. www.dukeshotel.com/dukes-bar/ www.slh.com
(Mediterranean aromas for a British Martini)
Tip: With an artisan London dry gin distilled with home-grown Tuscan botanicals, this Martini is evocative of the region. The herbal elements of olive leaves, thyme and lemon verbena come though, while the wild fennel is discrete but deliciously placed for added depth.
Spirits: Flower power wakes up cocktails
1 of 3 Jacqueline Patterson, bar manager at Orson, with two of her drinks, Lady of Shanghai (left) and Sunrise Salutation (right), in San Francisco, Calif., on May 16, 2008.Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle Photo by Craig Lee/SFC Show More Show Less
2 of 3 Sunrise Salutation, a drink made by Jacqueline Patterson, bar manager at Orson, in San Francisco, Calif., on May 16, 2008.Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle Photo by Craig Lee/SFC Show More Show Less
It would be easy to attach Jacqueline Patterson's fixation on flowers to her gender. After all, the bar manager at Orson in San Francisco is among the minority in the Bay Area's prominently male mixology scene. The problem with that argument is she gets a lot of her flowers from Orson's chef de cuisine and pastry chef. Both are men.
Yet there is something undeniably feminine about the fresh edible flowers, floral essences and liqueurs that populate Patterson's world - spicy chive blossoms, Technicolor nasturtium petals, exotic osmanthus flowers infused into foam - all of which set a fragrant, fanciful tone to her cocktails.
In any case, Patterson is not alone in using flowers and flower-based spirits in cocktails. After debuting last year, St. Germain elderflower liqueur has worked its way onto virtually every cocktail list of note in the Bay Area, to the point of overkill. But the success of the French liqueur made from elderflower blossoms gathered in the Alps has led to many other flower-inspired cocktails that make creative use of classic ingredients like rose water and creme de violette.
Patterson and several other bartenders take it a step further by focusing on local and seasonal ingredients like vegetable blossoms and foraged wildflowers, and by experimenting with esoteric ingredients like dried mauve flowers. With everything in springtime bloom, there is no shortage of flower ideas emanating from the farm, garden or even sidewalk.
At Orson, chef de cuisine Ryan Farr might pluck off a peppery arugula blossom for Patterson to try. Later, the flower turns up as a garnish on a cucumber gimlet. "You really get the flavor of the arugula itself. When you bite into it, it's kind of a surprise," says Patterson.
She and pastry chef Luis Villavelasquez collaborate on the cocktail and spirits pairings that go with each of Orson's desserts, many of which also have floral elements. A dessert no longer on the menu called Fleur de Blue - blue potato ravioli stuffed with white chocolate violet cream and served with lavender ice cream - paired with the Purple Rain, a drink combining absinthe, Champagne and creme de violette.
Unavailable until about nine months ago, creme de violette is making a huge comeback both in creative Champagne cocktails like Patterson's as well as classic drinks. Bartenders had to do without it for years when making drinks like the Aviation, the gin cocktail with lemon juice and maraschino liqueur. Now that it's being imported again from the Austrian company Rothman & Winter, there are lots of lavender-hued Aviations around town.
Rose water is another classic bartending ingredient. It adds fragrance to the Moonwalk, which Joe Gilmore created at London's Savoy Hotel in 1969 to celebrate the first moon landing. It's usually made of equal parts grapefruit juice and Grand Marnier and a few drops of rose water served up with a splash of Champagne.
At the Alembic Bar in San Francisco, rose water and cardamom add what the menu calls "a little Turkish twist on the French 75," in a house creation called the Mediterranean Homesick Blues, also made with Distillery No. 209 gin, lemon juice and Prosecco.
During its recent initial run, a couple local bartenders - such as Brian Lewis at Nick's Cove in Marshall - dabbled with Crispin's Rose Liqueur, a handcrafted product made by Greenway Distillers in Redwood Valley (Mendocino County), near Ukiah. Crispin Cain makes the limited-production liqueur with 17 varieties of roses grown by his wife, Tamar.
Erik Ellestad, a local cocktail enthusiast who is making his way through each recipe in the "Savoy Cocktail Book" from 1930 (which can be seen on his blog Underhill Lounge at underhill-lounge.flannestad.com), points out other historic uses of flowers behind the bar. Wormwood flowers go into the making of absinthe and many different flowers are used to make bitters, such as mallow.
Some bartenders think that the ubiquitous St. Germain elderflower liqueur and D'Arbo elderflower syrup from Austria may have run their course. Though you also see St. Germain in other cities, "It definitely has a death grip on San Francisco," says Neyah White, bar manager at Nopa restaurant in San Francisco.
"What's following on its heels are cocktails made with Veloce, or Dimmi," he adds, referring to a new product called Dimmi - the name just changed from Veloce due to a lawsuit - made with herbal vodka and peach and apricot blossoms infused into grappa.
In addition to using these products, White makes house-distilled rose water, cherry blossom water and jasmine water, which he will spray on top of a drink in addition to a fresh flower garnish to create a more intense aroma.
We couldn’t make a list of cocktails with Passoa without including these beauties Passionfruit Martinis are just a classic aren’t they? But trust me, getting the recipe spot on can be pretty tricky at home and it can often end up too sickly sweet. Top tip: make sure that you’re holding the top of the cocktail shaker when you start throwing it around and pretending you’re a cocktail waiter in a swanky bar. Last time we made these at home they contained edible glitter, and guess whose darling boyfriend sent that orange, glittery, sticky stuff flying all over our wooden floor? I was still catching bits of glitter when the sun shone in weeks later.
Makes one Martini:
25ml vanilla vodka
15ml vanilla syrup
15ml lime juice
1 passion fruit per cocktail
Cut the passion fruit in half, scoop out all of the seeds and put in the cocktail shaker. Muddle the seeds with the vanilla vodka. Add Passoa, vanilla syrup, lime juice and ice cubes. Give it a good shake, and strain into a martini glass, making sure there are no stray passion fruit seeds in there.
Serve with a shot of prosecco on the side.
The 29 Best Champagne Cocktails Worth Throwing a Party For
Champagne isn't just for celebrating (though it's great for that, too).
Though champagne is great to celebrate with, it's also so much more than that. The New Year's staple is a great base for spritz, or a margarita, or an adult punch, or any number of cocktails&mdashnot to mention, the classic mimosa (a personal favorite). It's time to see champagne in a whole new light, from two-ingredient recipes to more complex options. Allow me to present 29 champagne cocktail recipes from some of the world's best bartenders and champagne brands. Whip these out the next time you want to impress guests&mdashor just treat yourself. (Hot tip: Sub in prosecco instead of champagne if you're on a tight budget.)
8 oz. Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
Orange slices, mint for garnish
Stir together pomegranate juice and Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka in a large punch bowl. Stir in champagne. Add orange slices and Arils. Serve garnished with mint and fruit. Serves 11.
45 ml Tullamore D.E.W. Original
2 Dash Angostura Orange Bitters
2 Barspoons White Granulated Sugar
30 ml Green Tea (Strongly Brewed)
In a shaker, add sugar, bitters, and green tea. Stir to dissolve sugar.
Add apple liqueur, Tullamore D.E.W., and ice. Hard shake and strain into a coupe glass. Top with chilled champagne and garnish with a fan of apples.
Courtesy of Tullamore D.E.W.
1 ¼ Cups chilled pomegranate juice
1 Bottle Mezza di Mezzacorona
1 Fresh pomegranate, seeded
Combine 1 ¼ cups of chilled pomegranate juice, 1 ½ oz of Cointreau Liqueur, 1 bottle of Mezza di Mezzacorona, ice, fresh pomegranate seeds and cranberries in a punch bowl. Serve in wine glasses.
1/2 oz. Rosemary Honey Syrup
1.25 oz. Ardbeg 10-Year-Old Scotch Whisky
Combine Ardbeg, lemon, and rosemary honey syrup in a shaker and add ice. Shake and strain into a coupe. Top with 3 oz. Chandon Brut. Garnish with rosemary & lemon peel.
*Rosemary Honey Syrup Recipe:
1/2 cup Fresh Rosemary Leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups Honey, clover or other mildly flavored
Pour honey and water into a saucepan and place over very low heat. Add rosemary leaves and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, until mixture is fragrant. Remove pan from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, carefully pour the honey through a sieve. Discard the rosemary leaves. Let mixture cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Transfer rosemary honey to an airtight container. Add a sprig of fresh rosemary to the honey. Store at room temperature for 24 hours, then place in the refrigerator.
2 oz. Mount Gay Rum Black Barrel
3/4 oz. Honey Water (1:1 Honey to Water)
Add Mount Gay Rum Black Barrel, Fresh Lime Juice, Honey Water and Mint Sprigs to cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake. Fine strain into chilled coupe. Finish with float of Champagne and garnish with Mint Leaf.
Courtesy of Mount Gay Rum
3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
Shake Cointreau, tequila, and lime juice with ice, and strain into a chilled flute. Top with Champagne and bitters. Garnish with a red rose petal.
1 1/2 oz. Oban 14 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Fresh Mint Sprig for garnish
Combine Oban 14 Year Old, peach puree, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain contents into a Coupe glass. Fill to top with champagne and garnish with fresh mint sprig.
1 oz. The Botanist Gin &ndash approx. 2 tablespoons
¼ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice &ndash approx. 1.5 teaspoons
½ oz. Lavender Syrup* - approx. 3 teaspoons
3 ¼ oz. Champagne &ndash approx. 6.5 tablespoons or 100ml
Combine all ingredients in a champagne fluteTop up with Champagne Garnish with sun-dried meyer lemon and edible flowers as garnish such as lavender blossom, violas or elderflower
*Lavender Syrup Recipe:
3 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers
Combine water and sugar in a pot and stir well so the sugar doesn&rsquot stick to the bottom. Bring to a low to medium simmer for 10 minutes ensuring all of the sugar crystals are dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in lavender flowers. Let flowers steep for 1 hourStrain syrup and discard flowers. After use store in the fridge to maintain freshness
Courtesy of The Botanist Greenhouse Pop-Up at Rosewood Sand Hill
3 dashes of grapefruit bitters
Chill 15 mL Aperol and three dashes of bitters and pour over ice in a large white wine or cabernet-style glass. Top with Ice Impérial and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
2 oz. Aviation American Gin
1/2 oz. Freshly pressed lemon juice
In a pint glass, muddle raspberries and mint. Next, add the spirits & mixers (through simple syrup). Then, fill with ice & shake vigorously. Finally, ffinely strain into an ice filled glass. Top with Brut Champagne. Garnish with a large mint sprig stuffed lemon wheel
1 1/2 oz. Talisker 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Combine Talisker 10 Year Old, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain contents into a Flute glass. Fill to top with champagne and garnish with a twist.
1 tsp. St. George Pear Brandy
6 oz, chilled demi-sec Champagne
Coat the inside of a Champagne flute with pear brandy, then fill with bubbly. Garnish with thin slices of fresh pear. Festive, elegant, easy!
Courtesy of St. George&rsquos Spirits
1 oz. Nolet&rsquos Gin
1 oz. Giffard Pamplemousse
Combine the Nolet&rsquos Gin, Giffard Pamplemousse, Lillet Rosé, and Aperol, and pour into an AP wine glass. Next, add the Chandon sparkling wine. Top with regular ice and gently stir. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.
Courtesy of CATCH Hospitality Group
2 oz. of Seagram&rsquos Pineapple
Garnish with strawberry and citrus peel
Add everything to a shaker except the champagneShake then strain into champagne glassTop with champagne and garnish with strawberry and citrus peel.
Courtesy of Beautiful Booze
1 ½ parts St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Fill a tall Collins glass with ice. Add Champagne first, then St-Germain, then Club Soda. Stir completely and then garnish with a lemon twist.
1 bottle Health-Ade Pomegranate Kombucha, chilled
2 oz. Pomegranate Juice, chilled
2 oz. St. Germaine LiqueurPomegranate seeds/pariels, optional for garnish
In a pitcher, combine the Health-Ade Pomegranate Kombucha, champagne, St. Germaine, and pomegranate juice.Gently stir the drink and adjust the flavors as necessary to suit your taste.Add in pomegranate seeds to the mixture and allow to float on top.Fill four glasses with ice, and pour the cocktail over the top.Garnish with additional pomegranate seeds and edible flowers for fun.
Courtesy of Health-Ade Kombucha
1 1/4 oz. freshly squeezed pomegranate juice or POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 tsp. Elderflower Liqueur
Prepare fresh pomegranate juice, if necessary.* Stir all the ingredients over ice to chilled, and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a food-grade rose petal or other edible flower if roses are not available. Serve and enjoy!
Courtesy of POM Wonderful
3 wheels English cucumber
In a mixing glass, muddle Hendrick's Gin, lemon, simple syrup and cucumbers. Ice, shake well and fine strain into a flute. Top with Champagne.
Courtesy of Hendrick&rsquos Gin
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 tbsp. Luxardo Amaro Abano
Stir the cherry juice, Maraschino, bitters and Amaro in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a cocktail coupe and top with Champagne. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
Pour Chambord into a flute glass. Top with champagne. Finish with the raspberry.
2 0z. Red Brussel Sprout Extract
Build lemon juice, ginger syrup and vodka into shaker. Shake and strain into coupe glass. Top with champagne. Float Jägermeister and red Brussel sprout extract on the top of the drink. When combined with the citrus, the extract changes from blue to ultra violet.
1/2 oz. Patrón Citrónge Orange
4 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
3 oz. Champagne+ Orange peel for garnish
Stir together tequila, Citrónge, and bitters in a chilled champagne glass. Top with cold champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with a long twist of orange peel.
Courtesy of Patron Extra Anejo
Muddle 6 raspberries or .5oz Raspberry LiquorShake and strain over ice and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with lemon peel and raspberries.
2 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Combine grapefruit juice, lime juice, and tequila in a glass. Stir and add ice. Pour in champagne and gently stir again. Add fresh Grapefruit and orange slices and rosemary spring for garnish.
Courtesy of Tres Agaves Organic Blanco Tequila
Peels of 3 lemons and 1 orange
Juice of the peeled lemons and orange
1 liter of strong, unsweetened tea (preferably green tea)
Muddle sugar and citrus peels in the bottom of a large punch bowl.Let sit for about 2 hours (Optional but will add flavor.) Stir in the juice of the peeled fruit, tea and Maker's Mark Bourbon leaving the citrus peels in the bowl. Top the punch bowl with champagne just before serving. Stir gently. Ladle into serving glasses over ice and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Courtesy of Maker's Mark Bourbon.
1/2 oz Moet & Chandon Champagne
Pour NOLET&rsquoS Silver, lemon juice, and Grand Marnier into a mixing glass with ice. Shake well. Strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Courtesy of NOLET's Silver Gin
20 ml Hysterie Liqueur-Passion Fruit, Curry Leaf, Turmeric Powder
30 ml Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut
Combine all ingredients together-Let rest overnight, coffee filter strain-Serve over ice block into a martini glass-Top up with Perrier-Jouet Champagne
Courtesy of Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London
1 oz. Finlandia Grapefruit vodka
1/2 oz. St Germain Elderflower liqueur
2 oz chilled Q Grapefruit Mixer (Tony uses Q specifically for its VERY high carbonation levels and its drier, less sweet flavor profile &ndash it&rsquos sweetened with organic agave nectar rather than sugar or high fructose corn syrup)
In an ice-filled large wine glass add Finlandia Grapefruit and St Germain, stir to chill. Spritz with chilled Q Grapefruit and champagne, stir once. Garnish with white edible flowers and slices of Ruby Red grapefruit.
Courtesy of Tony Abou Ganim, Libertine Social House in Las Vegas, NV.
3 parts Jägermeister spritz batch
1½ parts Champagne/sparkling wine
Build in wine glass, add 5 or 6 ice cubes. Garnish with thyme, star anise, and orange zest.
Created by Brian Prugalidad at Campfire Restaurant in Carlsbad, CA.
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For the red fruit syrup (makes 175ml)
175ml gomme syrup
35g fresh raspberries
For the drink
1 squeeze fresh lime
100ml cranberry juice
100ml orange juice
15ml crème de pêche de vigne – we use Giffard’s
30ml red fruit syrup (see above)
100ml ginger ale
Slices of lemon and raspberries, mint sprigs and edible flowers, to garnish
First make the red fruit syrup. Put the gomme syrup and raspberries in a plastic bag, seal and put in the fridge for 24 hours (or in a 60C pan of warm water for an hour). Strain into a clean bottle or jar and store in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 10 days.
Put a couple of big handfuls of ice into a serving bowl, then pour over all the liquids in order. Float the lemon, raspberries and edible flowers on top, arranging them so it looks pretty, then tuck a few mint sprigs in between. Ladle into tumblers or rocks glasses and serve.
Alessandro Tobaldi, group bar manager, Gloria and Circolo Popolare, London.
The best easy cocktail recipes for outdoor parties
From today, groups of up to 30 can meet outdoors as lockdown eases a further notch, and that means (weather allowing, of course) that al-fresco drinks parties are back on – a cause for celebration.
Time, then, to revive the “batch” cocktail or summer punch, something you can scale up to refresh a crowd. I’m sharing eight recipes, all relatively easy to make and which don’t require buying lots of expensive and obscure ingredients (nor do they call for syrups or cordials to be made in advance). They major on truly summery flavours, be that elderflower, mint, vibrant fruit juices or sparkling wines, and each has a refreshing, mouth-watering style of its own.
Don’t be afraid to adapt them to suit your taste (or those of your guests) – there are no hardline rules here, so if you prefer cava to crémant as your sparkling base, or want to sub in gin for vodka, or cherry juice for cranberry, then go for it. Each recipe makes six drinks, so can be scaled up or down to suit.
After so many months without gatherings like these, indoors or out, you may need to dig out, dust down and polish your glasses, cocktail shakers, pitchers and so on. I will consider this quite a pleasure – and am getting in some fancy cardboard straws and beautiful paper napkins. I even plan to festoon an outdoor table with flowers. Let’s party again.
Top tips for al fresco drinks
- Always try to keep drinks cool, so start off with chilled wines (even the lighter reds) and chilled cocktail ingredients, then put back in the fridge or plunge into an ice bucket between servings. You don’t have to have a special ice bucket – any large, clean container is fine.
- Unless a recipe calls for crushed ice, make or buy the largest ice cubes you can find, both for the ice bucket and your drinks, as they are slower to melt.
- Anything goes when it comes to garnishes, so let your imagination run wild (literally, in the case of foraged berries and leaves) but make sure your picks are edible and unsprayed. Always wash them before using. Ideas include fresh herbs such as tarragon, basil and rosemary (use the tender top sprigs) small berries such as redcurrants and blueberries, which look especially good bouncing about in sparkling cocktails whole strawberries sliced at the base and perched on the rim of a glass tiny pretty flowers or individual petals.
- To avoid unwanted guests buzzing around, be prepared to close or cover opened bottles including sweet mixers and juices, and put away unused chopped fruit and sticky chopping boards – anything that might attract wasps or flies.
- The best wines for warm-weather, al-fresco gatherings are, in general, crisper and lighter styles. Youthful wines, generally unoaked, are better than older, heavier styles, and those with bright fruit flavours appeal most. The only exception is for barbecues, when richer wines such as New World chardonnays and shirazes are best for standing up to chargrilled, smoky food and strongly flavoured marinades.
- Buy wines that are easy to transport in and out, and which reseal easily – corks are out, so to speak, in favour of screw-caps, and do look at other formats such as pouches, bag-in-a-box and magnums (see below).
- Never forget to provide decent soft drink options, whether making mocktails or buying in non-alcoholic wines, beers or spirits. And make sure there is plenty of chilled water to refresh all.
Shop-bought stars for entertaining
Domaine Jones Rosé 2020
French-based British winemaker Katie Jones has delivered a gorgeous rosé from the last vintage made from red carignan and grenache grapes with a little white muscat. Red cherries and strawberries abound, the finish is succulent and dry. Screw-cap.
Castellore Frappato 2020
This is the kind of red – ripe, soft, low tannin – that benefits from a light chill to bring out its succulent red berry fruit. There’s a raspberry and black cherry core to it perfectly good on its own or matched with charcuterie. Screw cap.
Domaine of the Bee ‘Field of the Bee’ 2020
Cotes Catalanes, France (13%, bibwine.co.uk, £36 for 2.25 litres)
Premium bag-in-a-box, containing the equivalent of three bottles so well suited to large gatherings. Apricots and oranges mix in a ripe but dry blend of grenache gris, grenache blanc and roussanne from south-west France that can take on plenty of buffet stalwarts.
Dog on the Tuckerbox Chardonnay
South-eastern Australia (13%, M&S, £13 for 1.5 litres)
An easily carried pouch containing two bottles’ worth of succulent, ripe Aussie chardonnay, tasting of pineapple and peaches, dry and fresh. It’s meant to be fun, and it is. Match with salmon, chicken or vegetable quiches.
Taste the Difference Conegliano Prosecco
Veneto, Italy (11.5%, Sainsbury’s, £21 for a magnum)
One of the best high-street proseccos, sourced from the high-quality Conegliano area of the Veneto region, here in crowd-pleasing magnum form. It’s super-fresh with masses of lively bubbles and fresh apple and pear fruit.
Everleaf Forest Non-Alcoholic Aperitif
A cleverly concocted, lightly bittersweet blend of 14 botanicals including orange blossom, saffron and cassia bark for a fine booze-free aperitif best topped up with tonic and ice. Add mint, cucumber slices and fruit pieces as you wish.
Easy cocktail recipes
Nothing conjures up early summer as well as elderflower. In this refreshing non-alcoholic drink, its floral sweetness is cut through by lime juice and ginger.
It’s called “dance” because the small bubbles bustle about the drink. You can use bitter sloe gin instead, if you like.
Hugely fruity and tangy, this is a shorter drink with a little less alcohol than some…
Gin and mint
A cool, elegant drink. You can add more “bite” to it with a dash of fresh lemon juice for each serve, if you like.
There are heaps of variations on Spain’s summer cup sangria, but this my favourite take. Feel free though to play around with it (you can even use rosé or white wine instead if you like…)
Blushing Bellini cocktail
This has a lovely ruby-red hue and sweet cassis depths.
Two of Italy’s most popular drinks duet here: the gorgeous lemon liqueur of the Amalfi coast and Veneto’s fizz.
Canada Flag Fizz
The sweetness of maple syrup is lifted by the tart streak of cranberry juice here.
Cocktails you can make at home
1. Black Maple
'I'm a proud Canadian expat, and my house drink is something I call a Black Maple: Johnnie Walker Black on ice with a just a splash of a Canadian whiskey-and-maple-syrup liqueur called Sortilège that I pick up at the duty-free shop when I cross that border. It's very much a winter-warmth, après-ski kind of vibe.' &ndashAdam Feldman, North America Theater & Dance editor
2. Skinny Margarita
'I can&rsquot take credit for the skinny margarita, but I&rsquove got mine down so well that I can whip it up faster than a bartender at a crowded Miami club. I always make a double (because why not?) so it's 4 ounces of Casamigos blanco tequila (my fave!), 3 ounces of fresh-squeezed lime juice, and .5 ounce of agave&mdashand that&rsquos it. If you like an extra kick, which I do, rim the glass with Tajin before serving.' &ndashVirginia Gil, Miami editor
London’s Radio Features Cocktails With Edible Flowers - Recipes
Whilst outside we are all starting to think about Christmas and the frost has finally reduced the last of the edible flowers to pulp, in my head I am planning the flowers that we are going to grow for next year and we already have three times the number of weddings in the 2014 order book than we had this year which is very exciting.
I'm not sure whether it is because the weather has been kinder to us this summer or whether is it because people are growing more adventurous about eating flowers but we've had a lot of flowers going out all over the country for cocktails and other summer drinks this year. We have edible flowers heading to London for the cocktail set to smart catering companies for corporate events and weddings to one of my favourite customers who is producing a cocktail book next year (but more on that later) and also directly to brides for their wedding drinks.
Maddocks Farm Organics edible flowers also appeared in cocktails on the sofa at RHS Chelsea Flower Show where they were enjoyed by Alan Titchmarsh and Joe Swift and in Lavender cocktails on Sunday Brunch where they were tried by the lovely Simon Rimmer, Tim Lovejoy and their guest, Olympic Athlete, Christine Ohuruogu.
My favourite wedding of 2013 was that of the lovely Carla and Nick . Carla's fabulous mum Marion and her partner Cliff have been working at Maddocks Farm Organics for nearly18 months under the WWOOFing scheme so they are very much part of the family and Carla and Nick's wedding was the first opportunity for Maddocks Farm Organics to grow traditional wedding flowers for Carla's bouquet and to decorate the venues instead of just the usual edible flowers - extremely nerve wracking stuff but the bride was extremely happy and Marion did a wonderful job of arranging everything.
5 Atlanta cocktails that are almost too pretty to drink
Nothing quite captures the essence of spring flowers. Their addition spruces up almost anything, including a mixed drink. Cocktails all are about balance — sweet and bitter, sour and savory — but flowers’ aesthetic appeal and blossom flavor can transform a drink.
We scouted spots in Atlanta currently serving cocktails almost too pretty to drink. Here are five drinks you may want to try, plus an easy recipe to impress guests at home.
Credit: Kathryn Fitzgerald Rouse
Credit: Kathryn Fitzgerald Rouse
California Lady at Rising Son
The California Lady is as striking in flavor as its pretty lavender hue. The beautiful gin infusion of spring violets and bright citrus peel mixes perfectly with a fresh lemon and ginger cordial and a poppy liqueur. A calendula blossom floats on top. “I love using flowers and herbs from my gardens, because it makes me feel completely fulfilled, when I know not only am I making concoctions, but I’m growing what is in them, and garnishing it with what I grow,” co-owner Kathryn Fitzgerald Rouse said. The restaurant sources vegetables, herbs and flowers from Rouse’s home garden, as well as a larger farm 21 miles away in Rockdale County. “I feel alive when I grow flowers and herbs it puts me in a peaceful place,” she said.
Rising Son. 124 N. Avondale Road, Avondale Estates. 404-600-5297, risingsonavondale.com.
Star Tropic at Wrecking Bar Brewpub
Bartender Megan Chaffin combines Plantation Pineapple rum and Gran Classico aperitif amaro with lime juice, pineapple syrup, and bitters over a large ice cube. “It’s a little tiki and a lot of yummy,” said managing partner Stevenson Rosslow. Pea flowers from Wrecking Barn Farm in Loganville add more than loveliness. “They are edible, and have a springy, sweet pea flavor, and work both as a visual and tasty garnish to the drink,” Rosslow said. They use a handful of other edible flowers from the restaurant’s farm on plates from the kitchen, as well.
Wrecking Bar Brewpub. 292 Moreland Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-221-2600, wreckingbarbrewpub.com.
Credit: Courtesy M-Squared Public Relations
Credit: Courtesy M-Squared Public Relations
She Smiled Sweetly at Bar Margot
The She Smiled Sweetly is a new addition to Bar Margot’s menu. It’s the title of a soundtrack song from the movie “The Royal Tenenbaums,” to which the restaurant-bar pays subtle homage. Lead bartender Tokiwa Sears stirs together rhubarb-infused vodka, Cappelletti aperitivo, lemon juice and peach bitters, and tops it off with various edible flowers. “I enjoy garnishing cocktails with edible flowers, because it’s pretty, and adds to the aesthetic,” Sears said. “Flowers make me happy and make me smile, which I think is why people give flowers to those they like or care about.”
Bar Margot. 75 14th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-881-5913, barmargotatl.com.
GI Jane at Paper Crane Lounge
Bartender Brandon Reily garnishes a GI Jane with wood sorrel flowers from Staplehouse’s lush backyard garden. The pale yellow cocktail combines Dimmi, an Italian aperitif made with a floral infusion Pisco (Peruvian brandy) and lemon. “The tiny bright pink flowers imbue a certain freshness, add a striking contrast in color, and lend a bright citrusy pop, which complement the sharp richness of the Dimmi and lemon components,” Reily said. “By extension, there is something calming and serendipitous about picking flowers before service.” That’s exactly the mood in the upstairs Paper Crane Lounge.
Paper Crane Lounge. 541 Edgewood Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-524-5005, staplehouse.com.
Prince of the Sun at Aix
Bar Manager Michael McDermott’s Prince of the Sun oozes French elegance in peridot green. “The name is in reference to the Belgian Tin Tin comic,” he said. Tin Tin also is the moniker of the adjoining wine bar (which honors chef Nick Leahy’s great aunt, not the comic book character). The drink is a swirl of London dry gin, white vermouth, lemon, violets and gentian root. “The bright, floral sweetness of crème de violette plays well off of the pronounced medicinal and bitter notes of the Suze and the off-dry juiciness of the C. Comoz Blanc vermouth,” he said. It’s reminiscent of the flowers of Provence that inspired Monet, Cezanne and Van Gogh.
Aix. 956 Brady Ave., Atlanta. 770-838-3501, aixatl.com.
½ ounce honey syrup (see note)
Sprig of lavender for garnish
Add the gin, lemon juice, honey syrup and a dash of lavender bitters to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake five to 10 times and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of lavender.
Note: To make honey syrup, combine ½ cup hot water with ½ cup honey. Stir until completely mixed. Store unused honey syrup in the refrigerator.