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Cocktail Masterclass at The Lonsdale

Earlier this month I headed back to The Lonsdale in Notting Hill with a friend to take part in a Cocktail Masterclass (see recipes below). My friend and I had been to The Lonsdale a few months back, (see earlier blog post) and we really enjoyed ourselves. Since then, I had heard mixed reviews of The Lonsdale from fellow cocktail fans, so I was curious to head back to see if their comments were justified.

On arrival we were greeted with one of the first ‘cocktails’ on record – a Drakes Mojito. Supposedly created in Havana in 1586 by Richard Drake, (sadly not the more famous Captain Francis Drake) this drink is perhaps the ancestor to what we now know today as a Mojito.

Jim, (our teacher and bartender for the evening) led us through the history of the cocktail, starting us off with how alcohol first came to be distilled in the 1200s, and how this ‘life water’ was transformed into vodka, akavit, whisky and eaux-de-vie. I could go on to tell you more about Gin’s former life as a medicine, the creation of punches during the Victorian era and how increased worldwide travel in the 20th century changed the face of cocktails -but you’re better off propping yourself up at the bar and asking Jim himself. (I may have had one too many drinks that night to accurately recall all that history). But I can tell you that a true cocktail is only made of 4 things: spirit, sweet, sour and water. Don’t worry, as even though this disqualifies most of the drinks we think of as cocktails, the term has now come to mean almost any mixed, boozy drink – dreadful, fluorescent alcopops aside.

We moved on to making the R.A.C. Cocktail, which is based on a recipe by Fred Fraeck from 1914. This was one for the men, who very gladly sipped up what was just too strong for us ladies.

We also made an excellent Summer Gin Punch, which was my favorite drink of the evening as I’m a sucker for anything with alcohol and fruit. The drink originates from the Garrick, which was one of London’s most important clubs devoted to “the patronage of the drama”. It’s rumored that Dickens may have enjoyed this punch, as his good friend Albert Smith has been credited with its invention.

We also made a delicious Cosmo, (most likely better than the ones Carrie drank) and Trader Vic’s original Mai Tai.

Many of us, including yours truly, were fortunate enough to join Jim behind the bar and make drinks. A few drinks before my turn behind the bar most certainly hampered my agility, but I was still rather pleased with my Trader Vic’s Mai Tai.

We had a great time at The Lonsdale and wanted to thank Paul Simpson for the gracious invite and helpful recipe info and Jim for the delicious drinks and informative cocktail chat. I do agree with a few comments I heard about atmosphere of The Lonsdale during the week – it doesn’t really know if it’s a bar or a restaurant – but hey, it’s only reopened within the last year so I’m going to give it a another, (ok, a FEW more) shot(s) because I really, really like their Black Bison cocktail. A lot. Plus, I hear they have a great quiz on once a month, (sadly had to miss this month’s) and they just might do a few more cocktail masterclasses.

The 411

The Lonsdale
48 Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill
London W11 2DE

Lonsdale on Urbanspoon

Recipes:
DRAKE’S MOJITO
GLASS : HI-BALL
METHOD : BUILD INTO THE GLASS SERVED OVER ICE CUBES
INGREDIENTS :
2/3 MINT STALK
3 BSP SUGAR SYRUP
25 ML FRESHLY SQUEEZED LIME
25 ML GERMANA 2 YEARS OR 10 YEARS
25 ML HAVANA 3 YEARS OR BACARDI 8 YEARS
TOP UP WITH STILL WATER
GARNISH : WOODEN SPOON
VARIATION: MOJITO CRIOLLO WITH DASHES ANGOSTURA BITTER
Rum Yesterday & Today, Hugh Barty-King, Anton Massel, 1983.

R.A.C COCKTAIL
GLASS :  COUPETTE
METHOD :  STIR WITH ICE CUBES & DOUBLE STRAIN
INGREDIENTS :
50 ML TANQUERAY
20 ML NOILLY DRY
20 ML NOILLY ROUGE
5 ML GRENADINE
1 DASH ORANGE BITTER
GARNISH : CHERRY & ORANGE PEEL DISCARD

SUMMER GIN PUNCH
METHOD : BUILD & STIR INTO A MIXING GLASS OVER ICE CUBES
THEN TRANSFERT INTO THE GLASS
INGREDIENTS :
1 LEMON TWISTS
1 ORANGE TWISTS
2 FRESH RASPBERRIES
2 DICES PINEAPPLE
5 ML LEMON JUICE
10 ML ORANGE JUICE
5 ML GOMME
10 ML WATER
10 ML MARASCHINO
40ML BEEFEATER GIN
25 ML TOP UP SODA
GARNISH : NONE

VIC’S MAI TAI
GLASS : ROCK
METHOD : SHAKE WITH ICE CUBES & DBL STRAIN OVER CRUSHED ICE
INGREDIENTS :
25 FRESHLY SQUEEZE LIME
10 ML ORGEAT
5 ML GOMME
25 ORANGE CURACAO
25 ML WRAY & NEPHEW
25 ML APPLETON EXTRA
GARNISH : ½ LIME SHELL & SPRIG OF MINT


CORPSE REVIVER #2

Based on Harry Craddock’s 1930 Savoy Hotel Recipe,
about which he noted, “Four of these taken in swift
succession will unrevive the corpse again”
GLASS : COUPETTE
METHOD : SHAKE WITH ICE CUBES & DOUBLE STRAIN
INGREDIENTS :
20 ml Beefeater
20 ml lemon juice
20 ml Cointreau
20 ml Lillet Blanc
1 dash absinthe
GARNISH : NONE

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