Erik Lorincz, head bartender at The American Bar at the Savoy
Everyone owes it to themselves to visit the American Bar at the Savoy hotel at least once in their lives. No, make that a few times: once with a lover, once with friends, once with your parents, once to celebrate something special, once on the spur of the moment and one more time on National Daiquiri Day.
This Art Deco delight which opened its doors in 1893 is the epitome of London hotel lushness: classy, classic and positively oozing with cocktail history – not for nothing is it regarded as one of the most iconic cocktail bars in the world. For those who know their cocktail onions, this is where legends including Ada Coleman, Harry Craddock, Joe Gilmore and Peter Dorelli have tended bar, serving up expertly made drinks (which can be found in Harry Craddock’s equally famous The Savoy Cocktail Book), to the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin, The Beatles and Judy Garland to name just a few.
If any of those luminaries were to return, they would definitely feel that old magic that drew them here in the first place: there’s still a piano player tinkling away as you enter the room, the tables are tended with the same slick style and discretion as they were back in the day and the white jacketed bar team is still headed up by the best in the biz – from it’s reopening in 2010, by the award-winning, ever charming Erik Lorincz.
Where the magic happens, the American Bar at the Savoy
Here Erik talks about why balance is everything, how he prefers his Daiquiris and how they’ll be serving theirs at The American Bar for National Daiquiri Day.
Erik, can you sum up your thoughts on the Daiquiri?
It’s such a great rum classic which has stood the test of time, that’s why this drink has never disappeared from bars. When it’s made well, it’s a cocktail for any occasion, at any time, with anyone.
What’s your definition of this iconic drink?
The rum must be shining through every sip but it has to be perfectly refreshed with fresh lime and just enough sweet to make the balance right. It’s important to use top quality ice to make the drink well chilled and diluted to perfection.
Do you remember your first one? If so, what was it like?
The first time I tasted one was back in 2001 when frozen Daiquiris were in fashion, that was when I started my journey of discovering the Daiquiris from Cuba to Tokyo where in Tender Bar, Ginza I had my first Daiquiri. It was so perfectly made, the balance, dilution, temperature, glassware – everything – was in such a harmony that moment stayed with me and even after eight years, it seems to me like it was yesterday.
How do you prefer yours?
Three parts rum; two parts lime and one part caster sugar, shaken ice cold, served in coupette glass with a lump of ice.
In your opinion, why is the Daiquiri such a classic?
Less is more and this drink is a proof of that statement.
Where would you most like to enjoy one?
Made with Cuban passion, with Japanese perfection by an Italian bartender in a British colonial bar somewhere in French Polynesia. Are you joining me?
Tell us a bit about the Daiquiri you’ll be serving for National Daiquiri Day?
We are going to pay tribute this iconic drink by keeping the DNA of the perfectly balanced Daiquiri with enough of good rum, fresh lime and just a touch of caster sugar, shaken and served straight up.
How does Bacardí Heritage Blend elevate the taste and depth of your Daiquiri?
The higher abv of this rum helps to hold all the flavours and complexity, which is a perfect base for the Daiquiri.
Why should we raise our glasses to National Daiquiri Day in the American Bar?
We are going to bring them history in a glass and most importantly, showing what the legacy of Daiquiri has created through the ages. From the classic Daiquiri Natural we are going to offer a tasting of two of our signature cocktails which are created and inspired by the cocktail. Along this line up we are also going to offer a unique serve of the Daiquiri made with 1910 Bacardi produced at the founding distillery.
The American Bar at the Savoy, Strand, London WC2R 0EU. T: 020 7836 4343. thefairmont.com
Did you know?
The Daiquiri is such a classic it’s one of six cocktails referenced in David Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, first published in 1948.
Tomorrow: Celebrate National Daiquiri Day at… Oskar’s Bar at Dabbous.