Winter cocktail challenge: Mr Fogg's House of Botanicals

Clinton Cawood

Clinton Cawood

03 January 2020

During Christmas, there are plenty of occasions for inventive cocktails. In this four-part series we asked four bartenders to each create a celebratory, festive drink. Clinton Cawood reports

It’s something of a change from Tredwells of pace at the next venue, as the team enters the elaborate, foliage-filled Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals, ready to see what Massimo Serpelloni has created with Coca-Cola’s premium range of Signature Mixers.

He has selected the Woody variant to use in his appropriately named Wood Wald cocktail, served in a wooden vessel, no less. ‘I love aged spirits, so I really like this mixer,’ says Serpelloni. ‘It makes for a really good upsell.’


Glass: Wooden cup
Garnish: Lemon verbena powder
Method: Build over hand-cut ice, top with foam.

200ml bottle Coca-Cola Signature Mixers Woody Notes
30ml Jim Beam Double Oak
10ml yuzu liqueur
10ml Amaro Lucano
5ml lemon juice
Coffee, honey and thyme foam

The wood theme continues to the base spirit of the cocktail too, as he reaches for the Jim Beam Double Oak. Yuzu liqueur is next, which echoes the yuzu used in the Woody Signature Mixer, along with a touch of lemon juice. ‘I really enjoy Coca-Cola mixed with a citrus element – it’s really fresh,’ explains Serpelloni as he works. The final ingredient is Amaro Lucano, which, as Serpelloni explains, brings not only some depth to the drink, but some leather notes, too. The drink is finished with a honey, thyme and coffee foam, garnished with a swathe of green lemon verbena powder.

It’s a suitably herbal drink for a House of Botanicals, from the green, almost matcha-like lemon verbena, to the mix of bourbon, Coca-Cola and amaro. ‘I think the drink brings warmth,’ says Serpelloni. ‘It’s cosy, with those wood notes and flavours like honey – it reminds me of mulled wine.’

‘It’s really packed with flavour, with all of those herbal elements, and the pronounced aroma from the foam and the garnish too,’ says Cawood. ‘The acidity in the drink gives it really good balance.’

‘The verbena with the foam is a really nice start, and then the drink itself is quite cleansing, and not too sweet,’ agrees Milliken. ‘The garnish is also very Christmas-looking, and quite 70s in feel, which I love.’

The wooden vessel no doubt contributes to that vintage festive feel too, but also gives the drink a distinctly tactile element, not to mention tying in to the overall theme of the cocktail. Serpelloni says that he considered serving the drink in a glass tumbler, for a White Russian look, but this was clearly the right choice.

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