All the world’s a stage, and Scarfes Bar has decided to put its latest cocktail menu front and centre, celebrating the great and good of the music world in an eye-catching proscenium arch design.
‘This year we wanted to focus on music. Everyone listens to music,’ said director of bars Martin Siska as he shared some of the highlights with Imbibe.
Guests can choose genres of music, with one artist featured per genre. Once a music style is picked, an original Gerald Scarfe caricature slides into view on the stage, and they have the choice of two different cocktails on offer per artist.
‘What we wanted was our guests to go through the menu based on personal mood through the style of music,’ said Siska.
Selecting ‘soul’ brings Aretha Franklin into view, and the Memphis Punch is a silky tribute to the Queen of Soul. ‘She’s from Memphis, so we decided to make a milk punch with barbecue spices, explains Siska. ‘We’re using own whiskey – a Makers Mark Private Select that I went to Kentucky to choose.
‘We needed something with an extremely long finish, which is difficult to find in a bourbon. We needed spice, and we wanted it to be dry. I took a bottle of clarified milk punch out to try with the samples!’
The Scarfes team use buttered corn as a splitting agent to naturally filter the punch, and the drink is full of coconut and tropical notes, toffee sweetness and a clear hit of vanilla.
In fact, this menu features not one, but three milk punches, with a drink for Prince called Scandal Symbol that’s a play on a Pornstar Martini, and a Daft Punk cocktail called Petit DJ Ne (see featured image) that’s been crafted for those who are lactose intolerant.
‘It wasn’t meant to be like this, but it somehow happened. They’re three different flavour profiles, and three different characters. We needed something that’s really fast to serve, we do 400 to 500 covers a night. So instead of shaking seven Porn Star Martinis, you grab it, you pour and serve.
‘There’s less and less shaking behind the bar. I believe that the trend will be to do a simple pour, gentle stir and serve.’
The Scarfes team has also found themselves moving away from the boozy stirred serves. ‘When we were looking at the top five selling drinks, they were lighter, sparkling drinks. So when we were developing the menu we got people from different departments in the hotel to try the drinks. It was really important for us to get different points of view,’ said Siska.
It was perhaps with this in mind that the Tupac Shakur-inspired Poetic Justice was created. One of the standouts of the menu, it’s a whisky highball, combining Chivas Mizunara, Sassy Small Batch Cider, maple wood-smoked Buckfast and a Nutella liqueur.
‘This was the first drink we tried to make, and it took the entire menu development process,’ remembered Siska. ‘It’s a richer style of highball rather than refreshing. We wanted to get more flavours in, because we got feedback from the guests on the whisky highball on last year’s menu, and they’re saying “There’s not much going on”, so we brought up the body, and the dryness of the cider mixed with the nuttiness works really well. You want to please both sides, those that like a whisky highball, and those that think it’s just whisky and soda.’
It’s a winning combination, with the whisky richness mixing beguilingly with the hazelnut, and the cider bringing freshness and dryness, while the Buckfast acts to tie it all together.
The Scarfes Bar team have managed to create another playful yet refined menu that will undoubtedly delight their well-heeled international clientele.