What’s cool for the aperitif?


After 18 difficult months, the bar world is back – and no setback, it seems, has succeeded in stifling its creativity. In London, the Minimalist Martini is being used to explore a wider palette of flavors than ever before, says Max Venning of Three leaves in Dalston. “We’re seeing a lot more recipes with salty and salty flavor profiles. Ingredients like sorrel, lovage, beetroot, cilantro and pickle juice are now an integral part of the bartender’s arsenal.

Land of three Martini leaves © Loren Reed

Three Sheets signature Earth Martini is made with vodka, beetroot, olive oil and dry vermouth. TO Christina’s Shoreditch, the Japanophile cocktail list is rounded out with an Oyster Shell Martini made from vodka distilled with discarded oyster shells, mixed with dry vermouth, sake and cucumber soda, and topped with an oyster leaf. “This is basically our response to the Dirty Martini,” says the drink’s creator, Marcis Dzelzainis. Complex flavors, paired with precise but no-frills presentation, are all hallmarks of the London bar scene right now, adds Dzelzainis. “These are definitely drinks with a light touch. “

Philomena in Williamsburg

Philomena in Williamsburg

Vodka Haku, peach yogurt and wormwood in a cocktail at A Bar with Shapes for a Name
Vodka Haku, peach yogurt and wormwood in a cocktail at A Bar with Shapes for a Name

On both sides of the Atlantic, ice is used to create little bursts of joy. At the beginner of Williamsburg that of Philomène, the prosecco is served on a “rose” of pink ice cream cut from frozen watermelon-rosé. TO A bar with shapes for a name in east London, a crystalline cocktail of vodka, peach and wormwood is chilled by a block of ice with an iridescent prism inside.

Agave spirits – and Margarita twists – continue to be big news. “I just can’t believe how popular Margaritas are right now,” Venning says. The demand for bittersweet appetizers prompted several bars to create their own: Small red door in Paris offers a brand of vermouth called Baldoria, and Darkside at Rosewood in Hong Kong, an amaro is made from locally picked ingredients, including pomelo and marigold leaves, wild ginger seeds, and calamansi.

Coffee cocktails have also been improved on the east coast of the United States. “The Espresso Martini Resurgence is Real,” Says John Van Lieshout of New York’s Hottest New Nightclub The Noxe. “We had so many orders for them when we first opened that we put our own take on the menu. The Noxe twist is made with homemade cinnamon and vanilla syrup and Mr. Black’s Class A coffee liqueur.

The signature red drink at Connaught's Red Room
Connaught’s Red Room’s signature red drink © Justin De Souza

Wine, rather than spirits, was the inspiration for launching two new cocktail bars this fall, 7,000 miles apart. In London, The Connaught unveiled the red room bar, a cozy with velvet curtains with a cocktail menu built around red, white, sparkling and rosé wines. Signature drinks include red, a blend of armagnac, fig leaf syrup, bergamot and Beaujolais sorbet, and Perlage Rosé sparkling wine, with tequila and a fig bush and champagne. Around the same time, Tokyo-based mixologist Shingo Gokan opened. whirlwind, a cocktail bar in Shibuya that takes the shaking and bustle away in favor of the more unorthodox method of “swirling” drinks in a jug. All drinks are cocktail-based, paired with wine selected by sommelier Motohiro Okoshi, swirled and served unadorned in stemmed glasses – so they look like wines too.

Whirlpool in Tokyo
Whirlpool in Tokyo

“Wine cocktails have been around for years – everyone has probably heard of a sangria or a spritzer,” says Gokan. “However, the world of wine-based cocktails hasn’t changed much lately, and we thought this would be a great opportunity to revamp the whole category.”

Gokan’s creations include Edinburgh, a peaty blend of Islay malt whiskey, roasted cocoa, raspberries and Californian zinfandel; and Mexico City, which combines tequila, clarified peppers and habanero with a yellow wine from Jura.

More and more bars and bartenders have also launched lines of ready-to-drink cocktails. 1950s cocktail bar in Sydney Maybe Sammy recently launched a chic collection of bottled classics including an Eucalyptus Gimlet, Camomille Martini and Jasmine Negroni, all infused with local herbs.

In the UK there was a buzz around White box – a new family of canned cocktails. Pop-and-pour drinks that will be popular with the crowd include Golden Throat Charmer with Gin and ‘Turbo Lemonade’, Chipper Old Fashioned Cherrywood and Little Pocket Negroni. Whatever 2022 has in store for us, we will certainly not be thirsty.



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