Five Classic Cocktails Due A Revival
The Beaufort Bar at The Savoy. Photograph courtesy of The Savoy
The tastiest traditional tipple recipes to help you break Dry January in style.
If you’re one of those brave, puritanical souls who decided to partake in the foolhardy ritual of Dry January, then congratulations – the end is in sight. But before you rush out to restore your blood alcohol levels, perhaps we can convince you to take a fresh approach to your drinking regimen.
Today’s cocktailing scene is saturated with establishments pushing ever more “novel” concepts to lure in thirsty punters, with tea-cup, jam-jar, smoke-infused, dry-ice concoctions two a penny. But are these gimmicky notions actually conducive to a good drinking experience? If you’re spending more time reading the menu than consuming cocktails, then you have a drinking problem of a different kind.
With this, and a very wet February in mind, we thought we would get back to basics with our liquor when ordering and making drinks. So, here’s our roundup of five classic cocktails that deserve a second spell in the mixology spotlight, along with the best bars to drink them in.
Anyone who has read Mr W Somerset Maugham’s The Gentleman In The Parlour will be aware that the gin pahit was a favourite tipple of the British stationed in the former colonies of Malaya, Singapore and Burma. It was believed to have anti-malarial qualities, owing to the bitters – allegedly, colonial housewives would rub neat Angostura onto their skin in a bid to keep the mosquitoes at bay. In case you were wondering, “pahit” is the Malay word for bitter, but the Angostura also adds aromatic herbal notes to the mix, taking the edge off the gin. Beware of this one – it’s got quite a bite.
2 oz (60ml) dry gin3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Stir the gin and angostura bitters gently with ice in a cocktail shaker for one minute, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Where to ask for it: Farquhar’s Bar at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang, Malaysia
Recorded in The Savoy Cocktail Book by Mr Harry Craddock – the legendary head bartender at the London hotel’s American Bar from 1925 to 1938 – this concoction is perfect for those who like their sparkling wine to have a bit more substance. The brandy and applejack add a rich, warming depth, while the triple sec softens the dryness of the champagne. It’s a glass of fizz with a decidedly masculine edge.
1 oz (30ml) applejack1 oz (30ml) brandy1 dash triple secJuice of 1 lemonChampagne
Apart from the champagne, shake all the ingredients with ice, then strain the contents into a highball glass filled with cubed ice. Top with champagne.
Where to ask for it: The Beaufort Bar at The Savoy Hotel, London
Unless you hang out at AA meetings rather than bars, you would’ve noticed a lurid orange drink resembling iced Tango has been spreading like wildfire throughout Europe: the Aperol Spritz. This gluggable, bitter-sweet aperitif has a lesser-known, more grown-up cousin – the Select Spritz. Hailing from Venice, Select is ruby red in colour and less sugary than Aperol, but not quite as bitter as Campari, making it a refreshing, pre-dinner choice if you’re after something a little drier.
2 parts Select3 parts prosecco1 part soda water1 slice fresh orange
Method:Measure two parts of Select and add to a large wine glass with four ice cubes. Top with three parts prosecco and one part soda water. Garnish with a slice of fresh orange.
Where to ask for it: The Gritti Palace Bar, Venice
Another recipe from the godfather of modern cocktailing, Mr Harry Craddock, the Dandy is definitely one for aficionados of heady, whisky-based drinks. A more complex take on the manhattan, it’s a touch sweeter due to the Dubonnet – a French fortified wine made with a blend of aromatic herbs, spices and quinine. We’re quite fond of the name of this one, but don’t blame us if you’re not feeling so fine and dandy the next day.
1 oz (30ml) rye or Canadian whiskey1 oz (30ml) Dubonnet1 dash Angostura Bitters3 dashes Cointreau1 piece lemon peel1 piece orange peel
Shake all the spirits with ice, thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon and orange peel.
Where to ask for it: The American Bar at The Beaumont, London
A popular drink in the Caribbean Islands throughout the 1920s and 1930s, this vintage concoction is also poetically known as a “West Indies sundowner”. Of course, it contains that quintessentially Caribbean spirit, rum, which is sure to bring some welcome heat to your veins on a cold winter’s day. Just sit back, sip and think of sun-drenched palm fronds and white sand.
Recipe:½ oz (15ml) white rum½ oz (15ml) Italian vermouth1 oz (30ml) Calvados
Shake all the ingredients well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Where to ask for it: The Amanyara Bar, Turks and Caicos Islands