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Posts Tagged: mixology

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!

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…!)

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!