Cocktail Club at The Royal Horseguards Hotel

Aug 12, 15 Cocktail Club at The Royal Horseguards Hotel

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The mixologists at the Royal Horseguards Hotel like to mix up a new cocktail every month but this month they’ve outdone themselves with the launch of The Cocktail Chapter. They’ve developed 4 new cocktails for the month of August, The Aperol Sorbet Spritz, Berry Crush, Gin & Jam and the Inverness Cocktail.  The Cocktail Chapter is a new club that the hotel is launching from October. Food & Beverage Manager, Shudhanshu Kaushak explained to us that the hotel will be offering cocktail masterclasses every month. The idea behind the club is to ‘make cocktails easy’ , to not only show how to make great cocktails but also to use ingredients that are common in the house. To wit, the Gin & Jam is made with house made strawberry jam (although that’s not to say you can’t use Bonne Maman’s jam) and Portobello Gin. A tasty combination of gin and jam topped off with soda, it wasn’t too sweet or too bitter. I’m a fan of gin anyway but this was utterly delicious. That was quickly followed by the Berry Crush, a mix of tequila (!) and elderflower infused vodka with lots of fresh crushed blackberries. The elderflower vodka is also made in-house, macerating for 24 hours before it’s ready. Despite the addition of tequila, it worked really well, so refreshing and morish. There was also a dash of lime and soda water to finish it off. Those were deceptively easy to drink. The Aperol Sorbet Spritzer was homemade orange/Aperol sorbet topped with prosecco. I was a bit dubious because I’m not a huge fan of Aperol but this was a tasty combination, not too sweet nor too bitter, just heaven! I also liked the fact that this was a cocktail you could eat as well as drink. Lastly we finished with the Inverness, so named because apparently when it was first created, one of the mixologists commented it reminded him of Inverness. I’ve never been so I wouldn’t know but this mix of 2 different...

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Summer cocktails at The Four Seasons Park Lane

Jul 02, 15 Summer cocktails at The Four Seasons Park Lane

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We’re having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave…”Whenever I hear that word, the classic song pops into my head. Usually it’s Marilyn Monroe singing, she sang it in one of her movies, can’t recall which at the moment. Anyway, there’s lot of ways to cool down but I do like the tropical-fruit-cocktail way on occasion, makes a change from my usual. It just so happened that The Four Seasons on Park Lane had invited me down to try out their new summer cocktails. They’ve created 4 special ones for the summer months and 3 for Wimbledon fortnight. So after surfacing out of the Hell that is the London Underground whenever the temperature goes above 20C, I was greeted by the lovely folks at the Four Seasons with an amazing selection of cocktails. The new menu uses ingredients synonymous with a great British summer, perfect for enjoying on Amaranto‘s stunning terrace in the heart of Mayfair. Although because it was soooo hot we opted to stay in the air-conditioned hotel. I tried the Italian Job job first; a classical combination of Aperol and prosecco with elderflower St-Germain liqueur and finished off with mint, sugar and grapefruit juice. Very refreshing and finishing off with that slightly bitter taste that Aperol is famous for. My companion had the Summer-ita, a floral take on the classic Margarita, with Ochoa tequila mixed with hibiscus cordial, peach liqueur and lime juice. It was served very interestingly in a big round glass and was being topped with a  specially-made rose foam which was served in a cone shaped glass that nesteled within the round glass. It looked very stylish but my friend preferred to have the foam mixed in with the margarita. I also tried their version of a Mojito which was made with blueberries and watermelon and a strong dose of rum. Delicious! I loved this one and could have had a few more! But we still had the special Wimbledon themed cocktails. Every year, Head Barman Ivan Arena and his team create special...

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Kansas Smitty’s Jazz – American Jazz Bar in the East End

Jun 11, 15 Kansas Smitty’s Jazz – American Jazz Bar in the East End

Posted by in All, Lifestyle, London

There’s a new joint in town, Kansas Smitty’s. As seems with most new openings nowadays, it’s in the East End, Broadway Market to be exact. Kansas Smitty’s styles itself as a Jazz and Julep bar. The place is named after its resident house band, an 8 piece ensemble of young and enthusiastic, not to mention fabulous jazz musicians. As a matter of fact, the idea of opening a place came about because the band was so successful playing at other venues that they decided they needed a home of their own. They found it in the basement of the “Off-Broadway”. It’s a tiny place with room for just about 60 people, not sure if that’s including the band or not! Kansan Smitty are all about enjoying the music. I’d say their style is swing with dash of blues thrown in the mix. They say they are “… a mash of jazz genres, the Kansas Smitty’s gritty musical style is influenced by the sounds of New York, New Orleans, Paris, and Havana….” Whatever you want to call it, it was food fun! Their aim is to get Jazz in the UK out of the ghetto of expensive clubs or gimmicky theme nights, “…they want to  open up this exciting and evolving genre of music to a new, young audience and start a new trend in the live music scene.” The bar was fun and open, I chatted with some of the band members while we were all waiting for pizza at Franco Manca’s across the street during their break and they were seriously such a lovely bunch of fellows. I almost forgot to mention the cocktail list. It’s all Juleps, there are about 8 – 10 different versions of the Mint Julep, some made with coffee, come made with scotch and even garnished with banana chips. It was good fun and another cool place to hang out in the East.   Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Callooh Callay debut a new menu

Jun 10, 15 Callooh Callay debut a new menu

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I remember when Callooh Callay first opened, back then I was living in Dalston before it was cool and Callooh Callay was one of the early ones to hit close to Kingsland Rd. I loved it but moved not long afterwards and so haven’t really been back in a few years. That is until I received an invitation in my inbox to come and check out their new food menu. Although they may have had nibbles in the past, they’ve now teamed up with local restaurant, 1oo Hoxton and Ziloufs to offer patrons more than just crisps and peanuts. The menu consists of various small plates that are Asian inspired. According to Callooh Callay, “Thai-trained Aussie chef Tim Yates and Francis Puyat, formerly of Nopi, have together delivered a concise sharing menu offering a clean, fresh take on Asian fusion and focusing on their combined passion and extensive experience with Thai and Vietnamese flavours in particular.” The idea of small plates is only natural as drinking in  a cocktail club is usually a shared experience (and when it’s not, well, let’s not go there right now…). Anyway, the evening I went we sampled various dishes from the menu along with a few signature cocktails from the list. We started with MSG Chicken Salt popcorn. I was completely mystified as to what that was but my friend, Jason, had lived in Sydney for a year so he was beyond excited to see Chicken Salt. At first I thought, weirdo, but upon popping a handful of this popcorn in my mouth, I was hooked. It’s very savoury and moreish, well, what do you expect from something flavoured with MSG?At least they’re not trying to hid it! I sampled a few other plates. The prawn toast consisted of fried wontons and the plumpest prawns, very tasty. I also had the soft shell crab roll, I love soft shell crab and it was cooked to crispy perfection. The boneless chicken wings that followed were salty sweet but perfect...

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The 3 Martini Lunch is Back!

Jun 02, 15 The 3 Martini Lunch is Back!

Posted by in All, Lifestyle, London

The 3 Martini lunch is making a comeback. Back in the good old days of business lunches that started at noon and carried on until dinner time, the 3 Martini lunch was a staple. Sadly, the spread of American style working hours and the need to always be working or to be  seen working (don’t ask me) seemed to take hold for quite some time. Happily, thanks to the influence of shows like Mad Men and probably the fact that the recession seems to be finally ending or at least abating in the City of London, the 3 Martini lunch is now making an appearance at  The Singer Tavern, a gastropub like venue, has in it’s basement a cool little cocktail bar, 5CC. The cocktail bar has come up with the 3 Martini lunch special, available upstairs in the Singer Tavern. The concept is simple- 3 Martinis BUT paired with specially selected small plates. The lunch is only available on Thursdays and Fridays between 12 -5 pm and by reservation only. One does have to keep up standards. There are two options, the first option is a choice of 3 martinis from a special martini menu which accompanies a main from the Singer food menu. The martinis go by names such as The Montgomery, The Sinatra (my favourite) and Lucky Luke. The second option is their set menu where they pair the martinis with food. I tried the set menu. The first course was The Montgomery (1.5 parts No. 3 Gin and 1 part Dolin Dry Vermouth) paired with Mushroom, pecorino and truffle toastie. The Monty, was very drinkable, smooth and crisp. Paired with the toastie, it was very umami-ish. I could have eaten another plate of those toasties easily. Next was The Sinatra (6 parts Dorothy Parker Gin, half part Tio Pepe Fino sherry and Raegans orange bitters) paired with Crispy duck & charred broccoli salad. So tasty both the martini and the salad. The duck salad was well balanced between salty and...

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