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Posts Categorised: cocktails

The So Soho Cocktail Scene

We are in an area of London that is steeped in cocktail history (‘steeped’ is probably a good word; ‘pickled’ could also have been used in its place). At every corner, bartenders conspired, bars were frequented and drinks were invented. The scene has changed over the years, but it is still here, and so are the remnants of what made it.

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In the 80s and 90s, Soho was the pioneer in changing the UK cocktail scene and famous party animals like Boy George, members of Spandau Ballet and Simon Le Bon would zig-zag across the streets, lipstick smeared across cheeks, martini glasses in-hand. It was in Soho Brasserie, on Old Compton Street, in the late 1980s, that Dick invented the Espresso Martini. Other famous creations from the ‘King of Cocktails’ include the Bramble, the Russian Spring Punch and, of course, the Pink Chihuahua (so good we named our bar after it). The founder of LAB, Douglas Ankrah, which is still going strong on Old Compton Steet, created the Porn Star Martini, which is now known the world over.

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Cocktail creativity in Soho is still peaking, and a new generation of bartenders are entering competitions and achieving international critical acclaim for making great drinks. LAB, Milk & Honey, Experimental Cocktail Club, Mark’s Bar at Hix and our very own Pink Chihuahua at El Camion are among the awesome places to go in Soho to get an excellent cocktail. With a line-up like that, we think it’s going to be a pretty great weekend.

A Sneaky Peek at a New Cocktail… the Chilipinarita!

You may or may not realise, but there are some exciting happenings at El Camion HQ at the moment. One of these things to watch out for is a brand new revamp of our cocktail list, currently being worked on by the lovely Bea Bradsell and her crew of mixology maestros.

Now, we’re not giving too much away just yet, but we can reveal that THIS will be one of the new drinks available. In fact, you can already order it, as it’s been gracing our Specials Board!

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Here we have Chilipinarita, seen alongside one of our banging burritos. Keep your eyes peeled for its appearance in The Mail online, too! And if you want to know what’s in it… well, you’ll just have to come and taste, won’t you!

Try a michelada on International Beer Day!

Mexico’s wayward answer to the Bloody Mary, the michelada is one way to spice up your International Beer Day – and it is also an amazing cure for a hangover (handy for the day after International Beer Day).

If you’ve never had a michelada before – or haven’t even heard of it – then, friends, you’ve been missing out. It’s beer like you’ve never known – it’s fresh, it’s spicy, it’s savoury and it’s darn right addictive!

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So, what is it? Well, it’s a Mexican cerveza preparada – a beer, served in a salt-rimmed glass with ice, with an assortment of sauces, spices and lime juice mixed in. There’s loads of different variations of michelada in Mexico, but we have our special spice mix that we use, made of hot sauces and other secret ingredients (you can use Worcestershire sauce, Maggi sauce, chamoy powder, serrano peppers, Camaronazo, Clamato, or even slices of orange).

It’s a fantastic summer drink – completely refreshing and thirst-quenching. It’s also great alongside food; the spicy savouriness bring your tastebuds alive, making every food taste amazing. Especially Mexican food. Of course.

Want to try one? We’ll be making them all day on International Beer Day and any other day if you ask, because they are awesome. ¡¡¡Salud!!!

Dr Pink Chihuahua Answers… Why Do I Get Hangxiety?

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We’ve all woken up from a night in Soho with a fuzzy brain, drilling sensation between the ears, and mouth that’s as dry as three day old toast left in the corner of Brewer Street Car Park in a heatwave. During those hazy few hours while we’re tossing and turning in bed, half-consdiering joining the real world, many questions will pass through our minds. And while some questions can never be answered (such as why you’ve returned home minus your shoes but with two sparkly cowboy hats), Doctor Pink Chihuahua is on hand to answer some of the most pressing. This week….

Why do I get hangover paranoia after I’ve been drinking?

You know the feeling – you come to after a big night on the tequila – sometimes slowly, sometimes sitting bolt upright in bed – and you have an overwhelming feeling of terror about what we’ve said and done the night before. Did you insult someone? Send a dodgy text message? Expose yourself in some charmless way? Even if there is no evidence that you’ve sullied your name and reputation, sometimes the feeling can follow us around all day, and ‘The Fear’ is fast becoming a real FWP (First World Problem).

So why do we get this awful suffocating feeling? According to the news-hub.com…

“Alcohol both quells and heightens anxiety because of its effects on the central nervous system. Initially, drinking elicits a feeling of euphoria as the alcohol stimulates the release of serotonin. The consequence is a sedated and relaxed state; similar to one induced by anti-anxiety medication. However, once the alcohol leaves our bodies the serotonin depletes, provoking the onset of Hangxiety.”

And have you noticed that, as you get older, these feelings are increasing? This is entirely likely – older people are more susceptible to Hangxiety because they metabolise alcohol faster. And unfortunately there’s no cure, short of the usual – drink water in between drinks, pace yourself, and maybe don’t have that Jaeger at 4am ‘as a nightcap’. What we recommend? Taking photos with your mates during a night out – that way you can look back on the hilarity that ensued and lift your mood slightly, safe in the knowledge that you weren’t the only one plastered on a Wednesday night…

A Mezcal Tommy’s made by Jonnie

Our Tommy’s Margarita is one of our bestselling cocktails. You guys love the sweetness of the agave syrup, which rounds the sourness of the lime and peps up the tequila kick. We’d recommend it anytime!

 

But for some time now our bar guys have been experimenting with mezcal cocktails, and fast becoming a firm favourite is the Mezcal Tommy’s.

 

Instead of 60ml of tequila, we use 60ml of Mezcal – we like to use Del Maguey Vida, a double distilled, organic, single village Mezcal that is beautiful to mix. At a slightly lower proof than Del Maguey’s other mezcals, it is smooth to drink, with the fruity flavour of the agave still very much there. Then, it’s 30ml of lime juice and instead of triple sec that you would use in a regular margarita, we use 15ml of agave syrup.

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Fill a rocks glass with ice and when all of the ingredients are in the shaker, shake!

 

Watch Jonnie shaking his Tommy’s right here:

Jonnie’s Mezcal Tommy

Then, as Jonnie just did, you strain it over the ice in your glass and add a lime wedge on the side.

 

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There you have it – a Mezcal Tommy’s! It’s everything you love in a Tommy’s Margarita but it’s smoky, woody and a little more complex – just like Jonnie. Enjoy one of these next time you visit us in The Pink Chihuahua!

 

The Origin of the Tequila Sunrise

There are a few tequila cocktails that are famous worldwide, and that we serve diligently and proudly at El Camion. The Paloma, the Margarita and, of course, the TEQUILA SUNRISE!

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So what’s in this gorgeous drink that makes us think of beaches and tropical islands? Well, it’s tequila, orange, and then a drop of grenadine, making that lovely graduated colour effect. This is where the name Tequila Sunrise comes from.

So where did it originate? People might tell you there are two possibilities, but in actuality, there are two versions of the drink.

In either the 1930s or 40s, Gene Sulit invented the ‘Tequila Sunrise’ at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. However, this recipe contained tequila, creme de cassis, lime juice and soda water. Not the delicious version we love and adore!

The more popular version that we serve was created in the early 1970s by Bobby Lazoff and Billy Rice while working as young bartenders at The Trident in Sausalito, California. At the time, this bar-restaurant-music venue was the largest outlet for tequila in the USA. And it also seemed to be the place for parties – in 1972 the Rolling Stones kicked off their American tour at a party there and Mick Jagger had a Tequila Sunrise, developed a taste for it, and then started necking them with his whole entourage. As a result they ordered them all across America. Subsequently, in 1973, Jose Cuervo realised this was an opportunity to sell more bottles and put the recipe on the label.

 

These days they’re still wildly popular, great as a long drink and with a fruity kick. Feel you haven’t had a love affair with the Tequila Sunrise yet? Come in and order one!

 

5 Mezcal Cocktails

Discovered mixing with mezcal? This beauty of a Mexican spirit adds smokiness, depth and complexity to some already awesome cocktails – it’s definitely a spirit worth experimenting with! Here are a few mezcal cocktails that will rock your cocktail-shaped world…

The Mezcal Paloma

Also known as ‘The Palomaesque Cocktail’, a creation by mixologist Scott Baird, the tequila is swapped for mezcal and fresh grapefruit juice is used, along with the sweet Italian wine, Cocchi Americano. Still thoroughly Mexican, this version of a Paloma conjures up hot, sultry Mexicano nights.

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Basil Cranberry Julep

Use mezcal instead of bourbon for this smoky version of a classic julep. The mezcal with the tart cranberry and the fragrant basil creates a heady, herbaceous concoction, which is pure summer when served with loads of crushed ice.

Maguey Sour

Shake mezcal with Benedictine, lemon juice, orgeat and egg white, pour over ice and serve with a garnish of grated nutmeg and an orange twist. This is a classically excellent mezcal cocktail, with a deliciously tart bite, which is softened by the silky egg white.

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Ginger’s Lost Island

Mezcal and ginger are an amazing firey combination. Created by Bryan Dayton, Ginger’s Lost Island comprises of mezcal mixed with cardamom, cinnamon and ginger liqueur, resulting in a bombastic marriage of flavours from Mexico and India.

Jewel of Oaxaca

Mango, lime, ancho chilli syrup… sounds awesome already? Just add some of that earthy, woody mezcal and you’ve got a tropical party in a hot tub! Strain and serve in a sexy coupe and accept that adoration that will be showered upon you.

Tags: , , , | Filed under: cocktails

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