OPINION IS DIVIDED AMONG BARTENDERS OVER WHETHER THE USE OF THE WORD `MIXOLOGIST’ TO DESCRIBE THEIR PROFESSION IS A GOOD THING OR NOT.
Some may use the title in the hope of making clear that they take their job seriously, have good knowledge of cocktail history and etiquette and make ‘proper’ drinks. Others however think that the whole concept of ‘mixology’ is a bit dubious and reeks of taking it just a bit too seriously.
Before we get bogged down in terminology, it should be acknowledged that some types of cocktails are generally more popular among bartenders than others. Whether or not they call themselves a mixologist, a bartender may be wary of ‘disco drinks’ like the Long Island Iced Tea, as well as having suspicions about certain colours of drink.
When it comes to colour, pink may be acceptable in certain quarters as a result of the success of the Cosmopolitan. Blue is a complete no-no to most bartenders, but what about white cocktails?
A white cocktail is likely to be use cream or milk, and there will always be some macho practitioners who turn their nose up at creamy drinks, just as they’d always go for a calvados or malt whisky after dinner rather than a glass of Baileys.
However the fact is that many people do like a creamy cocktail occasionally, even if they’re a guilty pleasure. And not just female punters. So there is demand, and particularly as we enter the festive season, it’s the time of year to embrace the white cocktail.
Simon Soar has managed bars at venues including Wildfire and Grand Jersey, and now works for the distributor JJ Le Sueur as well as having his own consultancy Bar Technics. He admitted that this is the time of year when creamy cocktails come into their own.
“When people are out for Christmas parties and having a meal, they’re likely to have had enough to eat by the time they’ve had a starter and a main course, so the last thing many of them want is a great big portion of stodgy Christmas Pudding,” he said.
A creamy cocktail can take the place of a dessert, providing a sweet finish to the meal, without the ballast of Christmas Pudding, which could act as a millstone later in the evening to a reveller who intends to still be pulling shapes on the dance floor at 0130.
What are the options for a creamy white cocktail to wrap up a Christmas party meal? Simon named the Brandy Alexander as the ‘go-to’ drink for such occasions. Dating from 1941, the conventional BA uses brandy, crème de cacao and cream, although Simon suggested using the Italian liqueur Tuaca to
A CREAMY COCKTAIL CAN TAKE THE PLACE OF A DESSERT, PROVIDING A SWEET FINISH TO THE MEAL, WITHOUT THE BALLAST OF CHRISTMAS PUDDING, WHICH COULD ACT AS A MILLSTONE LATER IN THE EVENING TO A REVELLER WHO INTENDS TO STILL BE PULLING SHAPES ON THE DANCE FLOOR AT 0130
Simon suggested tweaking the traditional White Russian recipe (vodka, Kahlua, half-and-half) by using vanilla or orange vodka to add a new flavour dimension to the drink.
One cocktail that is both white, and a classic, in the Pina Colada. But this was designed for a Caribbean environment and is probably a less appropriate way of washing down your Christmas dinner during the chilly European winter. Although the Hawksmoor chain of steak and cocktail venues in London has recently introduced a Pina Colada twist on the Batida cocktail from Brazil in its newly-opened branch in Piccadilly. Invented by former bartender Rogerio Galvao, Rogerio’s Batida uses cachaça [the cane spirit that is arguably the national drink of Brazil], coconut sorbet, condensed milk, passionfruit and lime juice, and is reportedly selling well even if it’s drizzling outside and the temperature’s barely above zero. Or perhaps because of the weather – most of us need a means of escape at some point.