Mix and match
Catherine Fellows argues in favour ofthe more ‘ refined cocktail.
If the heyday of the cocktail was the 205- leisured socialites in beads and feathers laughing too loudly and l sipping extravagant concoctions in the late afternoon — the origins of the ‘mixed drink‘ were far more down to earth. Ofcourse. people have mixed drinks for centuries. but it was in the States during prohibition that things really got going. A viper ofa home-made spirit cleverly disguised could protect the drinker from detection — not to mention from choking.
More recently. the word ‘cocktail‘ has acquired more dubious associations. Would you be seen with a pint balloon glass of blue curacao fizz draped with orange-peel curls and paper parasols?
It isn't the look of them that grates — hell, a bit of brazen ostentation never hurt anyone — it's the taste; the predominance of boiled sweets. toothpaste, ice cream, and, curse it. lime cordial. Somebody must be asking for these monstrosities. but in my view it’s a shame, because mixed drinks- they are nothing more than that — can be delicious and should offer a whole spectrum of alternatives to the predictable bar round ofbeer. gin-and-tonic, wine. and orange juice.
Take that gin-and-tonic, so often ' sweet, flat and warm — a John Collins made of gin. a couple of tablespoons offresh lime or lemon juice. a pinch ! ofsugar if you want it. and soda, is so much more refreshing and tasty. (If you want to ruin it, put a cherry in and call it Joan!) Some of the most delicious cocktails are the most understated; the ultimate. the Dry
Martini, is, according to its most avid aficianados. nothing more than gin with the shadow of the dry vermouth bottle passed over it.
The success of a cocktail depends as much on the skill of the mixer as it does on the quality ofthe ingredients; too much or too little bitter and you’ve ruined it, just as you have ifyou forget the lemon zest or serve it tepid when it should be ice-cold. On the other hand. the fun thing about making cocktails is that you can be inventive - maybe the best bit is thinking up new names. The Bloody Maria is a particular favourite of Rafael. Italian barman at Edinburgh’s Old Orleans. who helped me with the following recipes:
I Bloody Maria Tequila. lemon juice, a dash of Worcester sauce and a couple ofdrops of tabasco. salt and pepper. tomato juice. and a slice of lime. Proportions here are a matter oftaste. likewise ice.
I Sidecar One measure of brandy. half a measure each ofCointreau and lemon juice, shaken with crushed ice and decorated with lemon peel. The rim of the glass can be sugared by first dipping in lemon juice then caster sugar.
I MintJulep Great for a hot
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afternoon. Lightly crush a couple of mint sprigs with a half tsp ofcaster sugar. Remove the mint. dissolve the sugar in a swoosh ofsoda. Fill a tumbler with ice cubes and mint leaves. pour on the soda. and finally. a measure of Bourbon whiskey.
I Margarita Tequila. lime or lemon juice. salt round the glass rim. Some add triple see. a dry orange liqueur. I Brandy Alexander Equal quantities of brandy. creme de cacao (eg Tia Maria) and cream, shaken with crushed ice. A less cloying version of Baileys.
I Godfather 6() per cent whisky. 40 per cent amaretto almond liqueur. over ice. With Southern Comfort instead ofwhisky it is known as Sicillian Kiss.
I Virgin Pina Colada Non-alcoholic cocktails and punches provide a welcome alternative to straight fruit juices. This one, from the Old Orleans menu. includes pineapple juice and coconut cream blended with a dash ofcream.
I Road Runner Another non-alcoholic one from Old Orleans. the Road Runner is made from peach slices blended with cranberry. orange, lemon and lime juices.
Glasgow I Chicago Meatpackers 50 Hope Street, 248 4466. Happy hour
Mon—Fri 5-8pm (Tue 5pm—midnight. Wed 5—l()pm). during which all cocktails are £1.95. I Deduinceys 71 Renfield Street. 333 9725.
I La Mirage Bar Copthorne Hotel. 50 George Square. 332 6711. Happy hour 5—8pm seven days. when cocktails are £2 and £2.25.
I Rogano 1 1 Exchange Place. 248 4055.
I Hamilton’s 18 Hamilton Place. 226 4199. Happy hour Thurs. 7—9pm, when cocktails are £2.
I Madogs 38 George Street. 225 3408.
I Maison Hector4 Deanhaugh Street. 332 5328.
I Old Orleans 30 Grindlay Street. Edinburgh. 229 151 1. The Old Orleans cocktail menu has a distinctly Southern States flavour, but there is no need to stick to it — all the ingredients are lying behind the bar waiting to be transformed into your favourite. During happy hour. between 3—8pm every evening, cocktails are reduced to £1 .51) each. 4 July will be celebrated by an extra happy hour from “pm—midnight. I Pappa’s 7 Victoria Street, 225 7306. A complete range ofcocktails from £2.95. to enjoy alongside Pappa’s range of traditional American food.
served in the Bar only
Daiquiri - Hurricane Love on the rocks Alligator cooler Mardi-Gras Southern Scr
Now available at all MES Restaurants
u "ﬁle List 3— 16Ju|y 1992 73