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Posts Tagged: cocktails

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…

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!

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!

The Many Guises of the Espresso Martini

Waaaaay before a Vodka Red Bull sullied anyone’s lips, there was a cocktail in town that was the answer to flagging spirits at a party – and it was a whole lot sexier, too. Since Dick’s creation was born back in 1983, it has grown more popular than ever and you can get an Espresso Martini at a bar the world over.

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This week, our busy Bea whipped up some Espresso Martinis live on air at Soho Radio to celebrate their first birthday party – as cocktail created in Soho for Soho, it was a more than apt celebratory tipple for them. And, after all of the tasty grub they consumed during their foodie special show, this will have been the perfect cocktail to perk everyone up, ready for the party ahead! (The party did go on until the early hours in the Pink Chihuahua, of which Bea and her Espresso Martinis take no responsibility for…)

The Espresso Martini was concocted for a 1980s vodka-swilling audience and was even originally called the Vodka Espresso, and later, as molecular gastronomy glinted on the horizon in the late 90s, Dick renamed it the Pharmaceutical Stimulant for the Pharmacy bar in Notting Hill.

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Nowadays you can find loads of intriguing variations, including the Espresso Daiquiri, made with white rum instead of vodka, the Irish Espresso’tini, with Irish cream liqueur and vanilla vodka, and the Flying Frenchman, a fabulously head-spinning absinthe espresso martini. We also like the sound of the tequila-based Jalisco Espresso. After all, what is mixology if not for experimentation? (And a fair, fair bit of sampling in the process…!)

Happy Birthday Soho Radio!

This week our favourite radio station, Soho Radio, are celebrating their first birthday!! And we are delighted to be celebrating with them!

Over five days, Soho Radio are running a series of special shows, and yesterday saw their foodie special go out live on air: William Sitwell’s Biting Talk Vs Aldo Zilli’s After Service.

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The show featured a bevy of Soho’s finest foodie establishments, including Cinnamon Soho, House of Ho, Rosa’s Thai Cafe, Firezza Pizza, Blacklock, Cerviche Soho and many, many more! And, of course, El Camion were there to supply the cocktails!

Our very own Bea Bradsell took over the mic to describe live on air how we make our famous vodka-laced caffeine hit, the Espresso Martini (the secret’s out!), and then proceeded to whip up a couple for the party, followed by a few Galvanina cocktail specials!

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If you missed it, here’s the Espresso Martini recipe she revealed on air:

25ml Fresh Espresso (the stronger the better!)

15ml Kahlúa

10ml Tia Maria

50ml vodka

Shake and pour into two lovely and chilled martini glasses, et voilà!

If you’ve got Periscope, you can watch Bea live here:

Melt Room toasties were exactly the munch that was required after quaffing a few martinis, and everyone’s collective sweet tooth was satisfied with delicious gelato from Snowflake.

What a way to get the party going than to get Soho’s greatest foodies and drinkies all in one room together! And, of course, where do you think the after-party was? The Pink Chihuahua called and Soho listened…

Follow the rest of Soho Radio’s birthday antics on their Twitter page @sohoradio

The Perfect Margarita

Now, if there’s one thing that can divide a bar quicker than the time it takes to say ‘Ay Caramba’, it’s the age-old question: ‘How do you make the perfect margarita?’

Is it stirred or shaken, served with ice or straight up? Should you only use Mexican limes? How much triple-sec do you use – and should it only be Cointreau? And the salt – rock salt, pink salt, cayenne salt or no salt at all? The glass – a coupette or a rocks glass? And the TEQUILA. White, aged, expensive, cheap – and we haven’t even touched on RATIO!

Calm down, calm down. The Margarita is meant to be a simple drink – it has been drank for years in places where they don’t have posh glasses or fancy salt. Simple it may be, but balance is vital to the taste and quality of this drink.

First of all… The Glass

Well, it does depend on whether you want your margarita straight-up, on the rocks or frozen – and also what you have to hand. There’s an actual margarita-specific glass, which resembles something like an upside-down sombrero and this is a good if you want your margarita frozen or straight-up. For straight-up margaritas, you can also use a martini glass, coupette or even a wine glass. On the rocks is best served in an Old-Fashioned glass.

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Salt

Classically, you run a cut lime around the rim of the glass and roll it in a small saucer of salt. It might be preferable to salt only half of the rim and just add a pinch of salt to the cocktail, as a heavily salted rim can be too overpowering. As for white, pink or cayenne? Pink isn’t much different to white, apart from it looks pretty – and cayenne salt will have nice red speckles it in and give a spicy kick. Avoid harsh table salt though – flake form salt is the best.

Limes

Mexican limes are traditionally used – and these are probably what you’re using anyway as Mexico is the world’s largest exporter of limes. This kind of lime is often nicknamed the Bartender’s Lime.

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Triple sec

The triple sec most commonly used in margaritas is Cointreau, which will make a nice margarita, but a more superior triple sec is De Kuyper, which unlike other liqueurs that are made from a third-party essence, is made from distilled oranges in their 100 year old distillery.

Tequila

A good-quality, 100% agave tequila should be used. We use Altos Blanco. An aged tequila, like Altos Reposado is good in the more distinguished Cadillac Margarita, which calls for a weightier, smokier taste.

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Ratio

The 2:1:1 ratio works best – two parts tequila, one part lime juice and one part triple sec. Sometimes a dash of agave syrup can lend it a nice sweetness – or substitute the triple sec for agave syrup all together and you’ve got our infamous (and delicious) Tommy’s Margarita.

Umbrella

Optional. Everyone likes an umbrella, though.

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So, there you have it. The perfect margarita is all about quality ingredients and balance – drink it out of a shoe for all we care. On second thoughts, don’t. Drink it in (slightly) more civilised fashion our Pink Chihuahua basement bar and enjoy!

El Camion’s Margarita Travels!

If there’s one thing we love at El Camion, it’s margaritas. We would consider ourselves connoisseurs, in fact. But – you can’t be a connoisseur if you aren’t out there in the open world absorbing all there is to know – and (it goes without saying) continuously trying and tasting all the margarita world has to offer.

Recently, on a trip to Thailand, we stumbled across WooBar in Bangkok’s Hotel W. It has to be said, we were pretty impressed at the column space their menu gave to margaritas. ‘MARGARITAS ARE HOT!’ it announced. Yes, yes, they are. We think we’ll get along juuuuust fine…

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We like the way that you can have your margarita YOUR way. Firstly, you have a choice of whether you want it straight up, frozen or on the rocks. Then, you can (if you want) add up to two ‘enhancers’. With a whopping sixteen to choose from, they range from things like pomegranate and passionfruit to coriander and cucumber.

But if you’re not hot on your flavour combos, you can leave it down to the work of the mixologists. They’ve put together four bad boys – the Beer Margarita, the Blueberry and Sweet Basil, the Watermelon and Kaffir Lime and the Spicy Mango Margarita – for you to pick from.

Knowing we’d be in good hands, we chose the Spicy Mango Margarita, made with tequila, mango, Tabasco and lime juice, and (a little experiment of our own) a Dragon Fruit and Sweet Basil.

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Served on the rocks and garnished with a bright red chilli, the Spicy Mango Margarita was fresh, zingy and sublimely tropical-tasting. Real mango, whizzed up there and then, was used, making the margarita come alive with flavours and colour. The Tabasco gave it that firey kick, which went so well with the sweet mango, and the scent of the fresh chilli lingered after every sip. A triumphant margarita.

The Dragon Fruit and Sweet Basil was an awesome combination, if we do say so ourselves. Herbaceous, floral and delicate, the fresh dragon fruit did enough to set off the distinct flavour of the sweet basil without being too sweet and overpowering. Again, we had this one served on the rocks with a slice of dragon fruit and a lone basil leaf to garnish. A very fun, playful and attractive margarita, too.

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WooBar is down as a destination bar in Bangkok, and now we know what it can do, we’ve made it one of our destinations for a great margarita. If margaritas are your favourite drink too, come down to El Camion and ‘talk margarita’ with us. How do you like yours?