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Cocktail hour: the Nightjar show us how to mix

Posted at 3:30 pm, October 19, 2012 in Food & Drink
Nightjar bartender Marian Beke © Rob Greig

After a long week, a zesty tipple is just what the doctor ordered… well, not really but it is damn well deserved. But as we’re relaxing, some very hard working people are still beavering away making those scrumptuous cocktails you just can’t make at home. Or can you? We spoke to Marian Beke from Nightjar and he let us in on a couple little secrets… Favourite spirit?
‘Among my current passions are various fruit eaux de vie, piscos, absinthes, genevers and amari.’

Cocktails: classic or innovative?
‘I love trying new tastes. However a rediscovered or twisted classic cocktail can still be innovative, and “trendy” cocktails can be dull or unbalanced.’

Favourite classic? Best variation?
‘My favourite classic is a brandy crusta, and our variation on it is the Nightjar crusta, made with tequila, orange juice, pomelo bitters, agave syrup, yuzu liqueur and orange blossom liqueur.’

Next trend?
‘There are so many emergent trends! Smoking, home brewing/distilling, growing, locally sourced ingredients… And other disciplines – perfumiers, herbalists, chocolatiers, pastry chefs. We have a lot to learn from other experts.’

Leave it to the pros
Marian’s exquisite recipe for Nightjar’s B-A-Q daiquiri. B-A-Q daiquiri
50ml Appleton Estate V/X Rum (pimento smoked)
30ml fresh kumquat juice
25ml lime juice
17.5ml honey syrup with mastiha
Half a kaffir lime, squeezed
Put all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake until very cold, then strain into a coupe or martini glass whose rim has been moistened and then dipped into Jamaican barbecue spice. Garnish with candied kumquat and kaffir lime leaf.

One to try at home
Brian Duell, a gifted bartender who now lives in Australia, gave us this classic recipe, for when you’re out of kumquats. Lime daiquiri
50ml quality rum, preferably a five-year-old añejo
12.5ml lime juice
10ml sugar syrup
Put a stemmed cocktail glass in the freezer. When ready, put the rum in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Add the juice and syrup, put the top on and shake vigorously for a minute. Separate the two halves of the shaker, take the glass from the freezer and pour the drink through a fine strainer. Drink quickly, but savour each sip.

To view the 50 best cocktail bars in London, see timeout.com.

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