I had the pleasure a few weeks ago of being invited to The Savoy to meet head bartender Erik Lorincz. The occasion was to mark the launch of Diageo’s World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide that features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe – Erik is one.of four London bartenders chosen.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a drinks writer in possession of a blog must be in want of free stuff from PR companies. Maybe so, but I have felt obligated in the past to create drinks with less than high-calibre freebies after rashly accepting them, So now, I try not to accept samples unless I feel I’d try them out anyway. Yes, I know that’s still swampy moral ground but whatever helps me sleep. Luckily, my latest offer was something there had been good buzz about – a bottle of Caorunn gin. Continue reading
Pancake Day was probably my favourite annual event in childhood. Not big enough to cause the stress, angst and subsequent rows that Christmas generally evoked. Not personal enough to rouse the greed-fuelled high expectations and inevitable disappointments of my birthday. No. The low-maintenance nature of Pancake Day was its charm. Never referred to as Shrove Tuesday, in spite of my Roman Catholic upbringing (just what is a ‘Shrove’ anyway?), its limited promise of good things to eat and a small amount of flipping-related fun was nearly always fulfilled. Continue reading
Although I love inventing cocktails and seeing people enjoy what I’ve created, I hate public speaking and generally being the focus of attention. So I had mixed feelings last year when, as the main event at our Christmas party, I was challenged to a ‘shake off’ with the other founders of the The London Cocktail Society. On balance, I’d have more happily downed a bottle of Master of Malts’ 100,000 Scovilles – Naga Chilli Vodka. In one. Continue reading
Over the years I’ve acquired a fair few bottles of random booze – many of my own production. Nice to drink in themselves, their complex or strong flavours can sometimes be hard to balance in a cocktail. Which is why I was so pleased when Cassis Bistro invited me to their Challenge the Barman night – ie, a group of drink writers bring along whatever is lurking in the back of their booze cabinet that they don’t know how to use and the barman invents a cocktail with said ingredient. Continue reading
My friend John decided to kick off his fortieth birthday celebrations with a garden party in Norfolk for family and close friends – and I was roped in to run the bar. The event was vaguely Victorian in theme (croquet and a buffet lunch of pressed tongue, whole dressed salmon, dressed crab and samphire, ham hock and trotters terrine, tomato summer pudding and lettuce with home-made salad cream) so I decided an authentic punch might be an appropriate tipple. Continue reading
According to the press, gin is still big news. I’d be a little tired of reading this earthquake of a statement (along with the one about how speakeasy bars are really current now) if its reiteration didn’t have major benefits for us gin-loving consumers. Continue reading