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Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Ultimate Daiquiri

We’re obviously huge cocktail fans here at El Camion – not only have we got the Bradsell duo of Bea and Dick to bring their expertise to the shaker, but we also have an incredible team who are creating exciting libations every day (new cocktail menu coming soon, kids…!)

However, we are well aware that to be successful you also need to deliver the classics, and deliver them well. That’s why our margaritas are so popular, and we also serve a mean daiquiri. Be it strawberry, Hemingway, Frozen or Daiquiri Deluxe they all have one originator – the classic.

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So what’s important to remember when mixing a great daiquiri? Well, we’ll let you in on a few secrets.

The Rum: The preferred spirit is “carta blanca”—a Cuban-style white rum—that mixes well in drinks like daiquiris and mojitos. Light, nearly neutral rums with a faint golden tint and clean finish are best.

The Origin: Want to make it as true to the original as possible? Use a Cuban rum. There are two legends as to how the daiquiri came to be created, but both originate in Cuba.

 

Simplicity: For a delicious and completely natural daiquiri the ingredients should not be messed with too much. Perfection comes from the simplicity of 2 parts rum to one part lime juice and just a tad of sugar to take the edge off. Use the freshest of limes and some sugar syrup made of 2 parts Demerara sugar to 1 part water.

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So there you have it – now you should be able to make a great daiquiri at home! Or you could always simply join us in the Pink Chihuahua or El Camion and we’ll whisk you up  treat…

Spirits we are digging right now

Our bar team at El Camion are passionate about cocktails and are always making new creations, finding innovative ways to use the spirits at hand. Spirits fads come and go and the industry is always evolving, so that’s why the team are experimenting and creating non-stop; honing their craft in competitions and jumping on trends to see what’s hot and how they can play with it to keep the cocktail world fresh and exciting.

At the moment, these are just some of the spirits that the bar staff are loving right now (tequila is constant – that goes without saying):

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Beefeater 24

The superb end result of a year and a half of constant experimenting, Beefeater 24 was launched in 2008 as the new luxury super-premium addition to the Beefeater Gin collection. It has been crafted by the world’s most experienced gin distiller, Master Distiller Desmond Payne, who had been curious about the potential of adding tea to the botanicals mix. After learning that the Burrough’s family roots had been in tea trade, Desmond ran with it and added Japanese Sencha and Chinese Green Tea to the steeping process. It turns out that the molecules in the tea fuse in unique way to other flavours, meaning it mixes beautifully and is awesome to make cocktails with.

 

imageVIDA San Luis Del Rio from Del Maguey

Del Maguey crafts a range of artisanal, organic mezcals, but VIDA is the one that has paved the way for mezcal in the industry, due to its incredibly versatile structure, making it highly mixable. Its accessibility makes it the bartenders choice and the flavour is fruit-led, without being too woody and overpowering. it has a long, soft finish, which brings a delicious spin to a margarita, when used in the place of tequila. Next time, ask for a mezcal margarita – it’s becoming a firm El Camion favourite.

 

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Jägermeister

Believe it or not, Jäger wasn’s just made to be a shot, especially not a warm and sticky one – like most of us have known it as. It’s actually a complex spirit made of 56 different ingredients, including roots, herbs and blossoms. Like most complex things, it takes a bit of understanding and attention, and Josh from our bar team has created an blended iced cocktail with a Jägermeister base, using cassis and mint, among other ingredients. It’s just one example of a backbar spirit begging to be used in a new and inventive way.

Happy mixing!

Spreading the Cocktail Love…

One of our bartenders has been a busy Bea… not content with whipping up cocktails and shaking up a storm in El Camion , Bea Bradsell has been spreading her cocktail prowess by helping to design drinks on other bar menus!

In between rocking up Soho, making local radio appearances and constructing a brand new libation list that will be live very soon, Bea created The Blanch Bradsell Project that is featured on the menu of amazing bar Hidden in Cala San Vincente, on the North side off Ibiza.

Hidden? More like heaven. We wouldn't mind having a drink in the sun...

Hidden? More like heaven. We wouldn’t mind having a drink in the sun…

Working with her pal India Blanch, Bea created the cocktail that is, of course, tequila based! The ingredients of The Blanch Bradsell Project are:

Reposado Tequila

Chase Elderflower Liqueur

Fresh Mint

Chilli infused Agave syrup

Lime juice
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This is the cocktail, complete with Chris Edwards, who owns the bar with Amanda Blanch

Olmeca Altos: A tequila for barmasters from barmasters

Olmeca Altos is a great tequila. You can almost taste the passion in it. That’s because it was created by two bar industry legends who absolutely adored tequila – Dre Masso and the late Henry Basent.

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The two barmasters found a common love for the greatest spirit known to man and their favourite cocktail was the Margarita hands-down – so much so that they wrote a book together about it called Margarita Rocks.

After setting up the bar consultancy, Worldwide Cocktail Club, they embarked on various ventures together and their last major project was the creation and development of Olmeca Altos in 2009.

They both loved the Los Altos region, a special place located 2104 meters above sea level in the western state of Jalisco in Mexico, and they took countless groups there to show them where their tequila came from.

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Made using the 500-year old Tahona method and distilled in copper-pot stills, Olmeca Altos has gone on to win countless awards for design and taste and has been recognised internationally, with its blanco and reposado tequila winning gold at both The Tequila Masters and the Beverage Testing Institute.

Our bartenders at El Camion dig Olmeca Altos because it’s a high-quality tequila that isn’t overpriced. The sleek yet rustic design stands out on the shelf and attracts attention at the bar, plus the design points for bartenders are evident – the neck of the bottle is nice and long, making it easier to pour and nice to handle.

And last, but not least, it’s bloody excellent in a margarita.

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Read more about Olmeca Altos here

World Gin Day with Beefeater Gin!

There seems to be a International day for anything and everything these days. There is a Chocolate-Covered Cherries Day, a Toothache Day and a Step In A Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day.

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However, Saturday 13th June 2015 is the seventh annual WORLD GIN DAY! Now, HERE is a day we can get on board with.

World gin day

Gin has come a long way since its roots in Holland in the Middle Ages as a medicinal product to treat gout and stomach complaints. It still can be used as an aid to treat conditions, such as heartache, sense of humour failure and lame parties, but usually nowadays it is to be enjoyed for leisure and with pleasure.

The house gin at El Camion is the mighty Beefeater London Dry Gin, which is the most globally awarded gin of the last 10 years. Ever since it won its first Gold Medal at the International Exhibition of 1873, it has won more awards than any other gin.

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Why do we like it? It’s tasty!

We like it for a lot of reasons. First off, any gin that calls itself ‘London Dry Gin’ can actually be produced anywhere. Beefeater is the only major premium gin that is still distilled in London. It is handcrafted in its Kennington distillery, using the same recipe that James Burrough created in the 1800s. The recipe is THAT good!

Secondly, it’s got a great name. No, it doesn’t mean that James Burrough had an insatiable appetite for Picadillo Beef Burritos (although if he’d tasted one, he probably would have). The gin was named after the Beefeaters – the yeoman warders who have always stood watch at the Tower of London. This gin is London though and through. ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner?!’

And finally, it goes great in cocktails. It’s a crisp, clean gin with a well-balanced flavour, which comes from 100% natural botanicals, including juniper, coriander and citrus peels. Its light freshness mixes well without being too perfumed and overpowering and it still retains complexity that gives depth to a cocktail. Gimme that gin!

 

So, on World Gin Day this Saturday, we shall be partaking in the celebrations by mixing up a storm of gin cocktails using Beefeater and other favourite gins of ours, including Beefeater 24, Hendricks, Monkey 47, Plymouth, Portobello Road and Sipsmith. We just hope that Sunday 14th June 2015 is World Bed Day.

 

http://worldginday.com

http://www.beefeatergin.com

 

Celebrate World Gin Day with the famous Bramble!

Now, booze lovers all over the globe are getting rather excited about the coming Saturday. Why might that be? Because it is World Gin Day!

Okay, so we can usually be found extolling the virtues of mezcal and tequila, but gin is also very close to our hearts. Thanks, in large part, to that wonderful King of the Cocktail, Dick Bradsell.

Not only did this creative genius invent the Espresso Martini and our beloved Pink Chihuahua cocktail, but he is also responsible for one of the most famous gin based libations ever to grace bar menus… The Bramble!

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Most cocktail aficionados will have tried this fruity yet sophisticated drink. A gorgeous purpley-scarlett colour, topped with a fresh blackberry and slice of lemon, it is a firm favourite. Dick created it at Fred’s bar in the 80’s and it was based on his childhood spent picking blackberries in bramble bushes on the Isle of Wight. Now his daughter Bea is mixing them up for us at El Camion and the Pink Chihuahua – a lovely little cycle!

If you fancy creating Dick’s masterpiece at home, then here’s the recipe for The Bramble:

It is built in a glass over crushed ice.
Fill a glass with crushed ice
Add:
10mls Sugar Syrup
25mls Fresh lemon juice
50mls London Dry Gin (We use beefeater)
You then churn the liquid and ice and then add more crushed ice.
You then drizzle 15mls of Creme de Mure over the drink to give a bleeding effect.
Garnish: 2 blackberries and a lemon slice
Glass: Double old fashioned
Happy World Gin Day!

Mixing Mezcal!

More and more people are getting curious about mezcal. The bar-drinker wants to try it and the bartender wants to try mixing it. Both things could be sliiiiiiightly intimidating for a few of those on both sides of the bar as it’s a complex spirit that requires a little understanding and care.

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If you know about tequila, you’re halfway there. A common misunderstanding is that mezcal is a type of tequila… wrong! Tequila is technically a mezcal though – any alcohol made from distilled agave is a mezcal. Tequila is made from 100% blue agave in a specific area of Mexico, whereas mezcal can be made from over 30 types of agave all over Mexico.

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In order to make mezcal, the hearts of the agave are slow-roasted over hot rocks in earthen mounds for several days. This gives a glorious smokiness to the spirit, which actually varies depending on the region it was produced in and the type of agave used, much like a fine wine.

So, how best to make the most out of mezcal’s spicy, earthy smokiness?

For the mezcal novice:

Simple is best. Mezcal on the rocks with a splash of club soda and lime is a great way to enjoy mezcal, and it allows mezcal’s natural flavours to flourish.

For the mezcal intermediate:

If you’re feeling a little more experimental, muddle a shot of mezcal with lime, cucumber, a splash of club soda and a dash or two of hot sauce.

For the mezcal pro:

Make a Oaxaca Old Fashioned with two shots of mezcal muddled with two orange slices, a couple of maraschino cherries and some diluted agave syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add a dash of Angostura bitters and shake, strain and pour over ice. Top with a splash of club soda and you’ve just made one hell of an awesome cocktail.

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Love mezcal and it is one spirit that will love you back. Enjoy!

Chicken distilled Mezcal? Hell yes!

When scanning our Mezcal menu, your eyes might drift to the bottom and alight upon our Del Maguey Pechuga de Minero. Then you might do a double take. After all, this is our most premium Mezcal, priced at £18 per 25ml (trust us fans, it’s worth it).

But then they might do a triple take. Why? Because, on reading the description, you will see that, not only is it legendary, but the word ‘Pechuga’ means chicken breast. This is because of the chicken breast that is suspended inside the still in a basket of fruit during the third distillation.

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Well, we thought this warranted a bit of El Camion fact-finding on your part. Apparently the tradition is centuries old, with Del Maguey’s variety dating back at least 75 years. Their mezcal is an infusion of wild mountain apples and plums, plantains, pineapples, almonds, and uncooked white rice, as well as that famous chicken breast. The meat is said to balance the fruit which, at one point, might have masked the taste of bland mezcals in times gone by. Now it’s a delicacy, and crafted from closely guarded family recipes.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the spirit tastes of poultry. It simply adds a complexity to the flavour, with some tasters using the words umami and unctuous. Some say they can detect hints, almost like a stock or broth, but mainly it’s the fruit components, or the smokiness. The chicken breast is suspended by its ribcage so that the steam cooks through within minutes. Common belief holds that the chicken’s fat and proteins help soften the blow of the smoky mezcal.

So, as long as you’re not a veggie and want to experience an incredible mezcal, we’re the place to come. You need to try at least once!

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