Above: Siren’s Call (St-Germain, bergamot, mango, Suze, Sassy Le Cidré Poiré)
Who doesn’t love it when someone pushes the boat out to ensure you, their guest has the best possible experience? Something that shows they’ve thought of every teensy detail; something so special that you just have to share it with your friends? Cocktail menus have become like that. Sure, you could argue that each lavishly designed book, fancy pants vessel or bespoke piece of glassware is about grabbing media attention and in turn hopefully picking up an award or two along the way but in the long term it’s the guest who benefits, so who cares?
Sexy Fish, Mayfair
We’re in the middle of new menu season right now, so expect a few dazzlers coming your way soon. Like the big one dropping today at Sexy Fish… Will it change your life? Don’t be daft, it’s a drinks menu, of course it won’t. What it will do is convince you of what big business cocktail menus have become, how they can impact on the way we think as well as drink and how darned creative bar teams have become in getting their message out there.
Golden Riviera (chipotle-infused Don Julio blanco tequila, citrus sherbet, oregano, camomile, peach, lavender, rosemary, Champagne)
The Sexy Fish one works on three levels – four if you include the impressive plans for the launch – more on that later. For now, let’s start with the nub of the whole thing, the drinks… This new menu takes in 21 of them, including twisted classics like the Rocky Road Old Fashioned (buttered Chita Whisky, Biscuillate, salt and chocolate), to the light and elegant Japanese Kir (falernum and Koshu Grace White Wine), and the downright curious Neonach (Hendrick’s Gin, salmon, basil, fennel and chilli oil).
Top: Under The Moss (Star of Bombay gin, wasabi, shisho, green Szechuan pepper, kumquat, beetroot, tonic water), above: Diamonds For Justice (osmanthus flower distillate, Ontario ice wine tea, Champagne, kaffr lime leaf cordial)
Next on the list is the S-Factor… Like any bar worth its salt, the Sexy Fish team have embraced the sustainability issue big time, banishing all perishables from the swanky, high-volume, five-star Mayfair bar and restaurant and bringing an element of luxury to waste – no mean feat for a venue of this stature. But of course, as credible as that is, it’s not exactly a new thing. What’s more like it, is level three, the fact that each cocktail on the menu comes with step-by-step instructions for guests to recreate the drink of their choice at home. They can even buy the specially designed vessels there and then to serve them in. And should they have the urge to whip up the entire repertoire for their friends, there’s a recipe book, Cocktails To Whet Your Senses’ available to buy for roughly the same cost as one cocktail (£15). Packed with editorial-style model shots and tons of helpful tips, look out for the ‘strength key’, indicating the alcoholic strength of each concoction, and the fun ‘What’s your flavour?’ mood key, navigating the drinker from ‘Strictly business’ to ‘Party time’, ‘Date night’ and ‘Showing off’. Good stuff.
The recipe book, Cocktails To Whet Your Senses
The fourth factor is jolly exciting. To launch the menu, the team have gone big as well as staying at home by celebrating global cocktail culture in three major cities simultaneously. How it will work is restaurant director Daniel Smith, bar manager Jerome Allaguillemette and senior bartender Giovanni Tavano will be at 28HKS in Singapore; head bartender Georgia Billing and bartenders Patricia Lozano Peral and Dario Trentini will head over to MACE in New York while Caprice Holdings bar director Xavier Landais drew the shorter straw and depending on how you look at it will be with the rest of the team at Sexy Fish in Mayfair. At 7pm local time they’ll all be serving the new drinks in the same bespoke vessels, with some of the same decor and same Sexy Fish vibe. Cool, non? Like we said, it just goes to show how serious (and expensive) new cocktail menu launches can be these days.
“This menu took the best part of ten months to create, and the result is truly remarkable, something I’m very proud of,” says Xavier Landais. “When we started development, the team and I wanted to create a cocktail menu which would suit our guests and fit our venue, whilst also bringing the bar at Sexy Fish on par with standalone cocktail bars. Our brief included three pointers: be as sustainable as possible, surprise our guests and create delicious cocktails. I am thrilled with the results of what is the most accomplished cocktail menu to date within the Caprice Holdings estate.”
Check them out for yourself from 7pm this evening at Sexy Fish, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 6BR sexyfish.com