The whole barrel-aged cocktail thing might have been done before, but not like this. The team at Zuma has created an ambitious evolving cocktail system – the Zuma Zacapa Live Solera.
The system makes use of four miniature barrels, each one hooked up to the next. It's a set up that looks particularly impressive, but serves a practical function too. The top three barrels are infused with certain flavours, which are imparted to a cocktail as it makes its way from one barrel to the next, over the course of a few weeks. The cocktail is served from the final barrel, over a single piece of ice.
Here's where it gets really ambitious. The system is going into the nine Zumas around the world, each with a different cocktail. And this isn't a fleeting thing either – it's a permanent addition to the drinks list at all of these restaurants. A committed Zuma and/or Zacapa fan could taste each one, visiting six countries in the process. There's talk of a prize for the first person to achieve this...
London's cocktail, unveiled last night, is a take on the Vieux Carré, with the barrels infused with nettle tea, raspberry eaux de vie and rhubarb bitters. Rome's tiramisu-inspired drink, launching in a couple weeks, makes use of Nutella-distilled rum, cold brew coffee and cheese-washed vermouth. Dubai's has rose water and camel-cheese sherry, while Hong Kong combines szechuan peppers with duck fat and more.
The tie-in with Zacapa is fitting, given the Guatemala rum's use of solera ageing in its production process.
'We really pride ourselves on the range of sakes, signature cocktails, premium spirits and liqueurs that we offer internationally,' said James Shearer, Zuma's group bar manager explains. 'The Zuma Zacapa Live Solera will be a perfect addition – completely in line with our philosophy enhancing what is already an exciting and vibrant choice of drinks.'
Zuma Global bar development manager Jimmy Barrat added: 'The beauty of the Zuma Zacapa Live Solera means, whichever Zuma restaurant you visit throughout the world, the cocktail will be unique to its city.'
'We're very proud of the Solera System slow ageing process, which was developed in our beautiful home in Guatemala,' said Lorena Vasquez, Zacapa master blender. 'So it's amazing to bring this system to other parts of the world through our partnership with Zuma.'