Cocktails at the Old Bengal Bar
An entire list of Bloody Marys, Boston Shakers by Alessi, a giant ice block for chipping ice straight into your glass, and crystal urns for mixing bourbons; just some of the things to expect from the Old Bengal Bar.
I have managed to track down Milos Popovic (below), former manager at Claridge’s, and bar manager for new City drinking haunt, the Old Bengal Bar, siituated in the Old Bengal Warehouse.
“Let the bourbon do the talking…”
Bloody Marys aside, classic prohibition-era cocktails are key to the cocktail menu and Milos is on the lookout for some rare bourbon to stock. His attitude towards the cocktails on his list is to do things simply but “properly”. “My point is to try to preserve the taste of the liquor we are serving. If it’s nice bourbon, whisky or cognac then don’t cover it up,” he says.
It also means not waiting for 20 minutes while your bartender flames, shakes and dances about with your cocktail, he deadpans. Much as there’s theatre to making cocktails, you want to feel tempted, maybe a little thirsty, rather than parched when your drink arrives. Amen to that!
Three classic cocktails with an Old Bengal Bar twist…
Negroni: equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth
First up, Milos makes me his “favourite cocktail of all time” a Negroni. “So simple, yet so hard to get right,” he says. “Our twist is that we make it the right way. So often people don’t get the measures right and they under or over stir it. If you over stir a Negroni it becomes diluted and loses its characteristics.”
Sazerac (above): cognac, sugar cube, Peychaud's bitters
Rumoured to be one of the first cocktails created, the Sazerac originated in New Orleans in the 1830s. Like the very first Sazerac cocktails, Milos’ version uses cognac rather than the more usual rye whisky. The trick is to stir and serve at just the right moment, he explains, finishing the drink with absinthe mist.
Vesper on the rock (below): gin, vodka, blond Lillet
The super cool Vesper first appeared when James Bond created it in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale (1953). Milos’ twist is to add a dash of house bitters blend and serve over a handcrafted ice ball, keeping it colder for longer. “It is a classic martini that is shaken not stirred – when shaken, the spirit loses its sharpness and the drink is colder.”
Find out more about the Old Bengal Bar and the two new restaurants in the Old Bengal Warehouse, near Liverpool St, Fish Market and the New St Grill. The New St Wine Shop is also part of the D&D London brand new opening.
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