In The Shaker

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Enough of the historical stuff – here are some fresh ideas to get the bartending ball rolling, says Marcis Dzelzainis


Where do we go from here?’ It is probably the most pertinent question for bartenders today. Collectively we have reclaimed our past, pinpointing the origins of the Mojito, the Daiquiri, the Sazerac and much more besides. This doesn’t strike me as enough, though. We are, by nature, inquisitive, inventive, spontaneous people, always searching for the exotic, not because we enjoy it in itself but (truly) because it fascinates our guests. Embury summed it up when he said there are just two types of drinks: Sour and Aromatic. Some think that they have transcended these limitations with liquid nitrogen, foams, caviars, explosions and barrel ageing, but under scrutiny their collective claims of liberation feel hollow. What follows is not a list of drinks, but more a collection of ingredients. The drinks they should be drunk in have not been invented yet. I leave that to you.


Yuzu Lemonade
Glass: Highball
Garnish: Lime twist
Method: Build over cubed ice, stir, top with more ice, add soda water, and stir again.
35ml fresh lemon juice
15ml yuzu juice (non-salted)
25ml gomme (2:1)
soda water


Lemon Barley Water
Glass: Highball
Garnish: Lemon slice
Method: Build in highball over cubed ice, starting with gomme and lemon juice, stir to dilute and mix, top with barley water and stir again.
75ml barley water
15ml gomme (2:1)
50ml orange juice
25ml fresh lemon juice


Wild Rooibos Tea
Glass: Tea cup
Garnish: None
Method: Add tea to the teapot, boil water to 80°C (no more), leave to infuse for two minutes and strain into tea cup.
1tsp of wild rooibos tea
200ml water boiled to 80ºC


Kombu Dashi
Glass: Small porcelain bowl
Garnish: The kombu can be eaten afterwards
Method: Cut kombu into two strips, soak in cold water for 30 minutes, then gently bring to the boil. Once the water is at boiling point, take off the heat, let sit for 10 minutes and strain.
8 inch kombu seaweed
600ml water


Homemade Ginger Ale
Glass: Highball
Garnish: Orange slice
Method: Mix ingredients in a 2-litre plastic bottle (allowing one inch for carbonation), seal and shake gently to mix. Leave in a warm, dark place to ferment (24-48 hours), shaking every four hours. Chill and serve.
250g caster sugar
10g freshly grated ginger
2g bakers yeast
50ml fresh lemon juice
1,688ml mineral water


Xocolatl
Glass: Rocks
Garnish: None
Method: Add cocoa nibs to water, add chopped chilli with seeds, add vanilla pods with a slit down the length of the pod. Bring to the boil, let simmer for a couple of minutes, let stand and strain. Leave to chill.
200g cocoa nibs
600ml water
1 red chilli chopped
2 vanilla pods


MIXING TIPS

  •   Yuzu is a Japanese fruit which tastes like a combination of citrus fruits and bergamot. Try it with lemon and only use a little in drinks, as it has a very pungent flavour.
  •   Barley water is made by covering 200g barley with one litre cold water for one hour, boiling, straining off any liquid, then adding a few dashes of orange flower water.
  •   Remember that good quality tea can be brewed several times, improving further  with each infusion.
  •   Homemade ginger ale uses yeast as an ingredient – many things can be fermented in this manner, so get experimenting.
  •   Xocolatl is an ancient Aztec precursor to hot chocolate – buy good quality cocoa nibs then drink it chilled and unsweetened.

Yuzu who?
Santa Chupitos, Liverpool

To a large extent this article has been about experimenting with new ingredients, and to this end many Japanese ingredients are extremely challenging and interesting to the Western palate. A lot less focused on the sweet/savoury distinction that has come to define the majority of Western cuisine, Japanese cuisine often introduces savoury elements to desserts, and vice versa, making it a useful source of inspiration for new flavour  combinations. If you are looking at incorporating yuzu or similarly hard-to-obtain products into your drinks, Tazaki is a great supplier for all traditional Japanese fare.
tazakifoods.com


Happiness Forgets
Beachbum Berry Remixed: A Gallery of Tiki Drinks

As you may have guessed, I’m a big fan of the underdog – I like to think that I’m more rebel alliance than galactic empire. If I take this analogy to its natural conclusion, then Happiness Forgets is Alderaan (does that make The Savoy the Death Star?).
Anyway, the point being that Monsieur Alastair Burgess (of Pegu Club and Quo Vadis fame) has done a damn fine job of opening a cracking little bar in Hoxton, with great music and a simple and accessible drinks list, that’s full of inventive house twists on classic mixed drinks, and all of this done on a shoe-string budget.
It proves, once and for all, that the bartender makes the bar and not the other way round. In other words, you don’t need a separate fridge for your garnishes, or a specially-devised sink that is also chopping board, hairdryer and bin at the same time. Well done, squire!
8-9 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU; 020 7613 0325;
5–11pm every night; happinessforgets.com

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