We’ve heard it said that there are only three cocktails that men should be seen drinking: a Bloody Mary, a Martini, or a gin & tonic. It’s the purest nonsense, of course, for there’s certainly a place in our heart for a negroni or Tommy’s margarita when on holiday. But like so many things that sound like something your godfather might have said, we think it’s a useful guideline.
In preparation for those trying times when the very expert gentlemen at DUKES BAR aren’t unavailable, we thought it as well to engage in a little revision re the basics:
The Bloody Mary
Our American cousins, bless them, never quite got the hang of whisky, but then again they did give the world Clamato so we must give credit where it’s due. The clam element gives a Bloody Mary a beautifully savoury edge, but on its own can make the drink a little watery. Mix it half-and-half with a thicker tomato juice (or, for preference, Cawston Press Spiced Tomato) on top of a good slug of vodka, a little more Lea & Perrins than one initially deems necessary and a couple of shakes of Celery Bitters. Add a little ice and, if you’re really pushing the boat out, perhaps a chunky baton of seeded cucumber instead of the traditional but all-too-divisive celery.
We won’t condescend to dwell on this for too long. Empty a whole tray of ice into the shaker, rinse with vermouth and then pour the vermouth down the drain. Slosh in the gin, shake-shake-shake and pour. (A couple of small pickled onions in place of the olives or lemon twist not only serve to kill the taste of gin between mouthfuls and ensure that the last sip hits as hard as the first, they also make this a Gibson.)
The good old G&T
James Bond - somewhat inevitably - is of the opinion that the cheapest way to improve an indifferent drink is to use the best mixer available. We - equally inevitably – agree, and favour Fever Tree. However, we’d recommend the naturally light variety as it’s less sweet, and a twist of lime peel rather than a slice of lemon. Apart from that, all we would ask is that you use the biggest ice cubes you can find (because the bigger they are the slower they melt and the less they water down the aforementioned gin.)