Eau-riginality wins the day at Saf
Did we mention that we’ve been commissioned to write a weekly Cocktail Culture column for the brand new, bang on the money Societe Perrier London website? Apart from news, views and reviews from London’s best bars, we get to do fab things like trying out the latest Perrier cocktails…
Last week we joined Joe McCanta and Terence Lundy in the delightfully tranquil terrace at Saf to judge the Perrier Mixologist of the Year 2011 competition. Lucky us. The eleven contestants took their places behind the bar in the herb-filled greenhouse and treated us to some mighty fine drinks, all given length and quality fizz with the addition of Perrier.
It was good to see so many competition newbies including Pascal Pone from the Covent Garden Cocktail Club. He picked up brownie points from us for using Perrier in the ice cubes for his Serra Fizz (Gin Mare, crushed kumquat, homemade basil syrup, lemon juice, a float of port and Perrier water). We also liked Le Bernadette from Danny de Silva at the Blues Bar & Kitchen Kitchen. His sharing drink combined Rittenhouse 100 bourbon, Velvet Falernum, Talisker and peppermint tea gomme, freshly squeezed lemon, egg white, bitters and a float of Perrier served in two coupettes on a rustic wooden board.
Other drinks which really stood out included the delicious spiced floral tea concocted by Faysel Mrouey from Redchurch. He balanced homemade hibiscus tea syrup, crushed cloves, G’Vine gin, a dash of sloe gin, Lillet Rouge, lime juice, rhubarb bitters and lemon bitters, then lengthened it with Perrier. Dav Eames from Saf did the home team proud with his deep, rich and downright sexy Tea Thyme cocktail (freshly muddled cherries, fresh and dried fresh thyme, lime, Cherry Heering, cacacha and hibiscus with camomile tea sweetened with agave). He served it over a whole cherry dropped in the bottom of the glass and a float of Perrier water and snaked a sprig of thyme around the stem of the glass. The accompanying Perrier bottle was spritzed with a specially made botanical mist to engage all of the senses. Nice touch.
But it was John Leese from McQueen’s who took the top prize of £1,000 and a specially designed trophy. He captured the social spirit of Perrier with his clever cocktail by combining Pernod, lemon, elderflower, sugar syrup, cloudy apple juice, Sauvignon Blanc and lemon zest in an absinthe fountain, then served alongside individual bottles of Perrier, allowing guests to adjust the cocktail according to their particular taste. Expect to see it on the menu very soon.
McQueen, 55-61 Tabernacle Street, EC2A 4AA. T: 020 7036 9229. mcqueen-shoreditch.co.uk
Well done to all the competitors: Pascal Pone (Covent Garden Cocktail Club), Dav Eames (Saf), Danny de Silva (Blues Bar & Kitchen), John Leese (McQueen’s), Saoul (Anise), Julian Lesson (Bar Blue), Faysel Mrouey (Redchurch), Ugo Martinez (Drunken Monkey), Koko Apostolov (Hotel Una), Flo Quilliere (Audio) and Ruben (Arch Bar).