In the shaker

Wary of cultural elitism creeping into bars, Marcis Dzelzainis hauls out some fun eighties classics

Adepressing thought occurred to me the other day. In our quest to become luddite, punch-worshipping cockto-historians we have unanimously sacrificed the blender at the altar of some pagan idol resembling Jerry Thomas. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but what happened to cocktails being plain, simple and fun? It’s important not to cast out an entire decade of cocktail history due to cultural snobbery. If we continue down this route we will end up with a subculture of drinks made by bartenders for other bartenders, and if we are to survive what is going to be a rough economic recovery, we have to engage with the public at large. I’m not saying that we should forsake ‘serious’ drinks – a well-made Brooklyn, for example, is hard for anyone to resist. What I’m calling for is a balanced appreciation of drinks, one that isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself. So here are some fun cocktails: try a few. You might be surprised!

Key West Cooler

Glass: Highball
Garnish: Umbrella/neon
cherry and orange slice
Method: Combine all ingredients in shaker, shake and strain over cubed ice and garnish.

15ml Wyborowa, 15ml Malibu, 15ml Merlet Crème de Pêche, 15ml Midori, 35ml orange juice, 35ml cranberry juice

Origin: Unknown


Glass: Highball
Garnish: Umbrella/neon cherry and pineapple wedge
Method: Combine allingredients in a blender with 1.5 scoops of crushed ice. Blend, pour and garnish.

25ml Midori, 15ml Briottet Crème De Banane, 15ml Malibu, 50ml pineapple juice, 25ml lemon juice

Origin: Unknown

West Indian Yellow Bird

Glass: Coupette
Garnish: Orange/pineapple slice and a neon cherry
Method: Shake, strain and garnish.

35ml Havana 3yo, 25ml Galliano, 15ml Briottet Crème, de Banane, 40ml orange juice, 40ml pineapple juice

Origin: Unknown

Japanese Slipper

Glass: Martini
Garnish: Neon cherry
Method: Shake, strain and garnish.

25ml Merlet Triple Sec, 25ml Midori, 25ml lemon juice

Origin: Jean-Paul Bourguignon, Joe Allen’s Bar And Restaurant, Paris (1984)

Banana Daiquiri

Glass: Coupette
Garnish: Banana slice
Method: Combine all ingredients in a blender with 1.5 scoops of crushed ice. Blend, pour and garnish.

50ml El Dorado 3yo, 10ml Briottet Crème de Banane, 20ml gomme (2:1), 25ml fresh lime juice, ½ ripe banana

Origin: Unknown

Harvey Wallbanger

Glass: Highball
Garnish: Orange slice
Method: Build over cubed ice, float the Galliano and garnish.

40ml Wyborowa, 10ml Galliano, 150ml fresh orange juice

Origin: Donato ‘Duke’ Antone (1952)

Mixing Tips

  • Part of the reason these drinks have a bad reputation is that sour mix was prevalent during the 1980s. Most bars now use fresh juices and the effect on these drinks is remarkable.
  • A lot of these drinks are due for an update. A L’Abatoir in Vancouver adds a splash of Islay Whisky to its Banana Daiquiri – delicious.
  • Umbrellas are not optional. They’re necessary.
  • Using a blender actually requires a lot more skill and practice than people assume. The quality of your crushed ice will make a big difference; but be strict on quantities. You’ll know the drink is ready when you see a slight whirlpool form at the top of the drink.
  • Whilst I love the proper Marasca cherries for classic cocktails, here neon cocktail cherries are what you’re after: remember these drinks are supposed to be kitsch and tongue-in-cheek.

Book Review:

The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession and the Last Mystery of the Senses by Chandler Burr. £9.99, Arrow

Perhaps one of the strangest things about the 21st century is that scientists still do not have a concrete theory of how we smell things (and by proxy how we taste). Most biologists have proposed that receptors in our nose recognise the shape of molecules, however this so-called ‘Shapist’ theory has a major flaw, in the fact that some molecules have identical shapes yet smell entirely different. This book is about Luca Turin, a scientist interested in biology, chemistry and physics, with an uncanny ability to recognise and understand smell. Chandler narrates how Turin proposed an entirely new theory which, if correct, would revolutionise the aroma industry, but also have massive academic implications. To discuss the book further would ruin what I consider to be one of the most essential reads if you are at all interested in flavour and aroma.

Cadenhead’s Old Raj Export Strength 

Whilst there are a couple of other gins of Scottish descent, this one is probably the least talked about. But it’s also my favourite. Each botanical is steeped and then distilled separately in a small pot still and blended. Saffron is added during this part of the process and is responsible for the gin’s slight hue. The combination of high abv and the usual botanicals associated with good London Dry Gins such as Beefeater (almond, orris, orange peel, angelica roots, etc) all make for a complex gin.

55% abv. RRP £23.50/70cl.WM Cadenhead, 01586 554258

Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – January/February 2012

Add your comment

Please sign in or register if you'd like to comment.

Register Forgotten password? Sign In

Subscribe Imbibe Magazine