Wednesday 18 December 2013

Christmas Cocktails

I do love a good cocktail and, as our Christmas party, one of our agencies had great idea for a ‘team bonding’ activity - to go cocktail making at Mixology, Shoreditch.  We’d walked straight past the entrance at it looked just like a house door, and that style continued inside - a modern studio setting for this permanent cocktail masterclass workshop.

We were welcomed with a ‘Moscow Mule’ (a vodka, ginger beer and lime cocktail) to get us into the spirit of things – as a non-ginger beer fan, I sipped slightly before finding somewhere to ‘leave’ my glass! We got into groups of 5-6 behind our own mini bar station, complete with some tapas to nibble on whilst we were given the overview of our evening.

Then the work began! We started off by being shown a ‘French Martini’ which we then had to recreate individually – a simple one to start with, containing only three ingredients: vodka, Chambord (black raspberry liquour) and pineapple juice. It was delicious – sweet and pink – and served in a chilled martini glass.

Next up was the ‘Elderflower Julep’ – originating from the Middle Eastern custom of infusing mint and sugars into soft spirits. I swapped the gin base for vodka (my spirit of choice) but followed the rest of the instructions, which included creating an ice cone and using your hands to melt it! Also included in the mix were mint leaves, lemon, elderflower cordial and apple juice.

Now things got more complicated – I’m sure being a glass of wine down, plus three cocktails had nothing to do with it! We moved onto a ‘Grapefruit and Marzipan Daiquiri’...a combination of grapefruit, blackberry, fresh lime juice (acquired through using a ‘mexican elbow!’), sugar syrup, dark rum and gold rum. To finish we also had to create a sugar rim around our was delicious – tasting like jelly babies!

The final lesson was on the ‘Mai Tai’ – created by one of the founders of the Tiki/Polynesian theme which was served in a Tiki mug. We combined four different types of rum (all poured at the same time, juggling two bottles per hand!), orange curacao, lime juice, sugar syrup, pineapple and orange juice. Then to finish we balanced a hollowed lime half on top, filled with overproof rum and set on fire! Then as you sprinkled cinnamon over the flame it glowed!

After all the education, it was now time for us to put our newly acquired skills into practice and make a team cocktail! This appealed to my highly competitive nature and everyone madly dashed towards the extra ingredients benches to scavenge more material. I have absolutely no idea what ended up in our cocktail, but we did make a beauty called ‘Four Your Eyes Only’ – not very tasty but highly original!

Then after all our hard efforts, we finished up the night at Paramount, at Centre Point giving fantastic 360 degree views over London at night. We sipped bubbles and snacked on nibbles in the viewing gallery on the 33rd floor (check out the interestingly decorated staircase), admiring Christmas lights from up above.

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