February Round-Up

What did The Cocktail Lovers do in February? We got up close and personal with Dan Warner at Molton House, Callooh Callay got another look in and we learnt how to shake up the feistiest retro classics…

We’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Dan Warner. He’s the Brand Ambassador for Beefeater and probably one of the nicest drinks guys around. Sure he’s got reason to be charming what with his bespoke office/bar and flying all over the world to spread the word about gin but despite landing one of the cushiest jobs in the spirit world, he’s remarkably down to earth. We’ve had many a fun time with our man Dan, ranging from learning how to ‘throw’ cocktails from a great height at Pinxito People to eating big boy breakfasts in Smithfield Market at 5am. Then there was the time he mixed us a Breakfast Martini before we went into work but we’ll save that for another time…

This month we met up with him at Molton House for an intimate session on the merits of Beefeater 24. Not that we needed a reminder after such a memorable launch. But that was about fun, this was about the drink and with just three of us perched in front of the bar, Dan was able to tune our palates into the joys of Beefeater 24. Of course he succeeded; we’re now fully paid up fans. Our beautifully designed bottle takes pride of place on our home backlit bar and we’re currently working our way through his specially prepared recipes.

Time for another favourite. Despite giving Callooh Callay a big-up earlier in the month we couldn’t wait to go back for more. This was going to be different though, this was the official launch. But would it lose a little of the magic stuffed full of PRs and journos? Could its quirkiness and cool demeanour still win through without its Hoxton homies? We needn’t have worried. The place was packed both sides of the magical wardrobe and everyone was having a fine old time. We’re not stupid, we know that the big grins and ‘I love you’ eyes had more than a little to do with the fact that the cocktails were flowing. Completely free of charge. Sensibly we stuck with the delicious but deadly Anise & Nephew, a shamefully moreish mix of Wray & Nephew rum, Pernod Absinthe and Velvet Falernum muddled with fresh pineapple and freshly-squeezed lime juice. And it was only the middle of the week…

Mind you, the weekend is hardly any easier on the head. For the most part it takes a lot to haul us out of bed early on a cold Saturday morning, but if something excites us, we’ll do our bit. It wasn’t exactly a hardship spending a morning in the Fifth Floor Bar at Harvey Nichols, particularly as it meant improving our cocktail know-how.

We first checked out these Masterclasses a couple of years back when they were an occasional event. Now they take place most Saturdays and get booked up fast. It’s easy to see why. Stanislao ‘Stany’ Visciano is the host with the most and under his expert but very twinkly eye the emphasis is on fun, fun, fun. We tried our hand at Retro Revivals, learning how to make and shake the likes of Sea Breezes and Long Island Teas. Be warned: lots of drinking takes place in the three-hour session but luckily, that gets soaked up with a spot of lunch (and a glass of wine, oops) with the rest of your group. It’s extremely good value at £55 a head and a great way to free your mind of the Saturday chores.

For details of forthcoming masterclasses, call the Fifth Floor Bar on: 020-7235 5250.

Words to the wise (or just plain curious)

Remember what Frank Sinatra said: “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible said love your enemy.” That’s as maybe but we say always drink responsibly.

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