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Taken not stirred

Philip Parr and Andrea Baxter present a selection of cocktail bars, books and beverages.

Prior to losing the use of both legs and therefore becoming a serious actor you may remember Tom Cruise bulging out a pair ofdesigner slacks and indulging in some frenzied cock(tail) shaking. But that was in the good old days when a Hawaiian shirt was a status symbol and cocktails were in vogue. Since then there's been a return to ‘real‘ drinking with the ultra-cool bars greeting a request for a Pina Colada with a combination of utter bemusement and stifled (or often not so stifled) laughter.

Obviously. the utter awfulness of the film helped to push the Margaritas and Manhattans into hiding beneath their oh-so-cheerful umbrellas. You did. though. get the

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A La Carte after 6pm Steaks {1 la Blah Blah!

Ranging from £6.60 to £13.80

Blah Blah! 63 Dalry Road, Edinburgh 03] 313 2139

feeling that the increasingly biodegradable British public was already going offthc idea of imbibing such vast amounts of stomach-rotting spirit without being able to recognise its effect until attempts to stand proved woefully inadequate. But. let‘s face it. the 90s are beginning to look a bit dull and what better way to liven things up than with exotic tastes and even more exotic hangovers.

Opinion is divided as to when cocktails first appeared and how they ended up with that name. What is certain. though. is that their origins lie far from the slick. chromium-plated US bars that have become their adopted home. Cock-pits (surprisingly enough) either in the colonial outpost or over here seem the most likely departure point in the cocktail‘s voyage to achieve world inebriation. After the blood had been spilled. the successful bird was toasted with a cocktail containing as many spirits as the winner had tail feathers. Occasionally. a feather would find its way into the glass thereby giving birth to the decorations which make getting the liquor into your mouth such torture. (And if you believe that cock-and-bull story you must have been at the Margaritas already).

After achieving a degree of notoriety in the mid-19th century. the cocktail slumped a little until the 1920s when the habit ofmixing together any alcohol that came to hand became an art form. Those dodging prohibition generally found that the best way to avoid the mouth-burning effects oflow quality liquor was to dilute it with more low quality liquor. Nascent forms of today‘s sophisticated tipples were developed in the low-life bars and

speakeasys and give the drinks a romanticism which has been sadly lost with the cocktail’s adoption by New York ad-execs. But that doesn’t stop you The List‘s sophisticated readership - from re-creating those bygone days of mass murder and rampant tax-evasion in the comfort ofyour own homes.

What you need in order to make your own is: a cocktail shaker; a strainer; a barspoon -— long handled spoon; measuring cups (you‘ve got to be accurate otherwise the cocktail can end up tasting like TCP). and various glasses. decorations and straws ofvarying stupidity. Then it's a simple case of finding a recipe. To help you on your way we are publishing some of the more popular ones here. in addition to listing some books which display an enormous variety of ways to achieve a state of incoherence.


I Copthorne Hotel 50 George Square. 3326711. Mon—Wed Ham—11pm; Thurs—Sat llam—midnight; Sun 12.30—1 1pm.Happy Hour: 5pm—8pm (except Sun); cocktails half-price. A list of 22 cocktails includes Perfect Loves. Tutti Fruttis and non-alcoholic Virgin Coladas; sample them sitting in the Copthorne‘s famous big window overlooking George Square. Busiest night is Friday when. apparently. ‘a lot ofcream gets thrown about the bar‘.

I Delmonica’s 68 Virginia Street. 552 4803. Mon—Fri 10am—midnight; weekends till lam. Happy Hour: 5pm—7pm midweek; most cocktails half~price. The ones with the ‘Dirty


Jokes’ attached have inexplicably been dropped, but the infamous Criminal Bloody Marys and Del‘s Own Champagne Cocktail (with Peach Schnapps and brown sugar) are still popular. A good choice of non-alcoholic cocktails, or how about an Ice Tea: 4 white spirits, cold tea, lemon juice and Coke? Prices from £2.50—£3.95.

I The Holiday Inn Argyll Street, 226 5577. Ham—midnight. The Inn do 3 Fergie Fizz named after the duchess, not the football manager- which is rather upmarket: Champagne. Brandy. White Wine and Orange Juice, and at £4.65. you'd have to be on the Civil List to afford it. Others include Bossanova and Zombie Specials. and the usual Pina Coladas. Manhattans and Sidecars, at around £3.65.

I Mltchell O’Brien’s 3a Park Terrace. 332 6737. Happy Hour: 5pm-7pm; cocktails at £1 .50. Newly opened wine cellar with a cool and continental ambience. serving some powerful drinks: could you handle a Horse‘s Kick Southern Comfort. Jack Daniel‘s and Bailey’s stirred over ice? Also some lovely sounding Fruit Cocktails. like a Yoghurt Fizz or a Fresh Fruit Colada. at £1 .50 (the rest average about £2.95).

I Bogano 11 Exchange Place. 248 4055. The well-known seafood specialists also do what they elegantly describe as ‘traditional’ cocktails - which means no blendeds. Martinis. Manhattans. Slings. etc. go for £2.85; a Champagne Cocktail or Kir Royale will set you back £5.


l The Caledonlan Hotel Pullman Bar Princes Street. 225 2433. Mon—Sat