July 12, 2011

The right age for cocktails?

Filed under: Uncategorized — fluffyand40 @ 17:05

I must confess, first up, that I’m a committed wine drinker! From a very early age, my father decided that it was better for me to experience alcohol at home “in the bosom of the family” rather than lolling on a park bench with a bottle of Babycham (although I doubt whether I’d even have had the wherewithal to work out how to do that in my early teens!) and so on Sundays I was permitted half a glass of wine, diluted with water or sparkling lemonade….and so an obsession was born!

Once I went out to work and had access to bars, that was the start of a lifelong passion for dry white wine (honestly, and rather sadly, I wasn’t a bar-dweller until then)….which hasn’t abated in recent years.  On a boring train journey recently I started to calculate exactly how much my Pinot Grigio passione has cost me in the last 20 years – and stopped when I realised that my dream yacht COULD have been within my grasp, if I’d had a little bit more self control.  How sad is that? 

This is not the ranting of a reformed alcoholic – Pinot G, Muscadet, the occasional French Sauvignon (but only if VERY dry and unoaked) are all welcome visitors to the Fluffy home and enjoyed at the weekends come rain or shine!  But now there’s a new kid in town…and one that I’m afraid to admit may take a prime position in coming weeks as the weather heats up.

I’m talking, of course, about cocktails – but not the sickly sweet, watered down concotions served in 90s Soho – all gaudy colours, umbrellas, fruit slices and lashings of ice.  I’m talking about grown up, delicious drinks that pack a punch (and kick like a mule the morning afterwards).  Served over crushed ice (or with no ice at all – but still beautifully chilled) with condensation glistening on the outside of the glass.  Proper, pukka (as Jamie would say) cocktails.

I’ve tinkered with them in years gone by, but a friend’s birthday party at the Langham Hilton earlier this year opened my eyes to the true magnificence of the genre.  A smoother than silk vodka Martini (always a favourite) was followed by a magnificent Negroni which had me giggling like a school girl (and, surprisingly, not reaching for the Nurofen the morning after).  At a visit to the Savoy in April, I was seduced by the awesomeness of the (developed for Wills’ and Kate’s big day) Royal Standard – a drink of champions which had me smiling and willing the bar man to make me more!

And let’s face it, there’s something particularly appealing about a competent barman who knows what he’s doing and knows how to mix a proper drink.  Maybe it’s having a bit more cash in my pocket, but I’m now finding myself assessing an establishment by its ability to serve a smooth, delicious and properly chilled Martini (the less said about the hotel we stayed in in Romsey the better – they may have professed to be cocktail “afficianados” – they blatantly weren’t.  If I wanted paint stripper, I’d have ordered it! 

As I type, I’m sitting in Kennington pub The Three Stags (amazing food, perfect location, great fun staff) with my new latest squeeze (literally) a Tom Collins – tall, cool, blonde, very handsome and utterly delicious.  If only all men were like this!  Cheers!


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