Give liqueurs and cremes some love and you’ll have the classics licked, says Marcis Dzelzainis.
A great many bartenders will pick and fuss over hand-carved ice or the perfect rum for their Mai Tai; but by the same token, consider crèmes and liqueurs as more of an afterthought, mere necessity or worse still, leave them to gather dust on the back bar.
Whilst the majority now recognise the need for keeping vermouths in the fridge, the same level of respect is not afforded to say crème de cassis or crème d’abricot. Why do we forget that they are a crucial part of many a classic cocktail, and, when well crafted, can evoke the qualities of fruit at its most ripe and delicious?
As such, it really is worth seeking out producers that select their fruit with care and attention, and whilst it might be slightly more costly, less can be used to the same effect. All the following cocktails highlight crèmes and liqueurs, rather than spirits, as the star of the show.
52 rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris, France. +33 (0) 1 42 74 41 28; email@example.com
I’ve recently had the fortune of travelling to France and spending a bit of time in Paris. While the combined success of Experimental Cocktail Club, Curio Parlour and Prescription has been well documented (and deserved), there is in fact a new spate of bars that has been cropping up over the last couple of years.
Hidden behind a taco restaurant in the 3rd Arrondissement, Candelaria is part of this new generation. Small but perfectly formed with a list of about 10 to 12 drinks focused mainly around pisco, tequila and rum, (all of them house creations), it is a real joy to discover a venue that’s not afraid to assert its own identity, especially when London is so preoccupied with pre-pre-Prohibition cocktails at the moment. From what I’ve seen Paris is undergoing a real renaissance in terms of cocktail culture, which I have no doubt will grow and grow in the next few years. I hope there’s more to come!
17 year old One of the most memorable drams I’ve drunk recently is Old Pulteney 17yo. I’m a big fan of whiskies that are off the beaten track, and this one is. Located in the town of Wick (the Norse word for bay) and founded in 1826, the Pulteney distillery is the most northerly on the British mainland. Its production is unique, with highly individualised stills including a wash still noted for the absence of a swan neck. Situated on the coast, Pulteney is often said to have a pleasing salinity.
I find this saltiness markedly present in the 12yo, but it is in the 17yo that it truly shines. The brine is tempered, and paired with butterscotch, apples and pears. The sweetness can be attributed mainly to the use of ex-bourbon barrels, but the pleasing fruitiness is surely down to the use of sherry casks in some of the blend. One of the reasons I enjoy it is that while a dram such as Talisker has a saltiness matched with iodine, here it is paired with much more delicate aromas. International Beverage,