Not just any old cock­tail

Remix and match: a Tele­graph Res­o­lu­tion you’ll want to stick to

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Food & Drink - Jonathan Ray

The cup­board un­der the stairs is awash with half-drunk bot­tles. Along with re­cently broached gin, vodka, brandy and whisky, there are dusty, crusty bot­tles of Cam­pari, Mar­tini, Grand Marnier, Bai­leys and some sherry, opened Heaven knows when. I’m ashamed to ad­mit that I also spot a long-forgotten bot­tle of Mal­ibu. Please don’t tell any­one.

Rea­son­ing that th­ese odds and ends might be of some use on New Year’s Eve, I head to one of my favourite Brighton hang-outs, Pin­txo Peo­ple, for in­spi­ra­tion. There I chal­lenge head bar­tenders David Greig and Mar­cis Dzelzai­nis to come up with a unique Daily Tele­graph New Year’s Eve Cock­tail from my left­overs.

“Home-made cock­tails are a great way of us­ing up half-full bot­tles of spir­its, but you’ve got to make sure that all the other in­gre­di­ents are as fresh as pos­si­ble,” says David. He sets the ball rolling by rustling up a Span­ish take on the Tuxedo, stir­ring some gin, Dubon­net, amon­til­lado sherry and a dash of peach bit­ters over ice and serv­ing it with a twist of orange. De­li­ciously nutty and cit­russy, it’s a great start.

“Sherry is the key,” he says. “We use a lot of it here as it is so ver­sa­tile. It is also very fash­ion­able nowa­days.”

Not to be out­done, Mar­cis gets busy mak­ing his ver­sion of an egg-nog. He mixes a raw egg with Span­ish brandy, the gloop­ily sweet Pe­dro Ximénez (PX) sherry and vanilla syrup, and serves over ice. It’s ter­rific: quite sweet but sur­pris­ingly mor­eish.

The boys are get­ting into their stride now. I con­fess to hav­ing some Bai­leys in the cup­board and, in­stead of snort­ing with de­ri­sion, David im­me­di­ately gets to work on a Bai­leys piña co­lada. “It’s quite com­plex when made prop­erly,” he says, “but this should work well. We’ll just sub­sti­tute Bai­leys for dou­ble cream.” He sloshes it in with some aged rum, pineap­ple juice, lemon juice and salt and serves over crushed ice.

“The lemon juice here is cru­cial,” says Mar­cis, tast­ing it ap­prov­ingly. “Just a dash of it can trans­form a cock­tail, es­pe­cially one like this, which might oth­er­wise be too cloy­ing.”

The boys stand at ei­ther end of the bar and I sense a com­pet­i­tive edge. Mar­cis rushes out a scrump­tious Span­ish Ne­groni, sweet and cit­russy in the mouth but with a tasty bit­ter and nutty fin­ish. David ri­postes with a smokey Talisker Saz­erac. I call them to or­der and de­mand they fo­cus on our spe­cial Daily Tele­graph cock­tail.

We mull over suit­able in­gre­di­ents. “How about some­thing long and sparkling?” asks David. “Nice and cel­e­bra­tory – and we can add some sherry be­cause we’re a Span­ish restau­rant and love it. And, um, how about some Grand Marnier? As you say, there’s al­ways a bot­tle of that hang­ing around af­ter Christ­mas.”

He soaks a white sugar cube in An­gos­tura bit­ters and plops it in a flute. On top he pours some PX and Grand Marnier. Hor­ror, he makes a grab for the cava, but I stay his hand. Ab­so­lutely not, I say. It’s Cham­pagne or noth­ing for Tele­graph read­ers.

Mean­while, Mar­cis neatly threads a long curl of orange peel into the glass. Bingo! It is ut­terly de­lec­ta­ble: re­fresh­ing, zesty, nutty and or­angey. An ab­so­lute bel­ter of a cock­tail, but I claim an­other just to make sure. And then a third, while the boys pose for pho­to­graphs. I’m sud­denly feel­ing full of bon­homie.

We strug­gle, though, to come up with a name for our, that is, David’s cre­ation. Fleet Sweet is one idea. Mar­cis sug­gests the Tele­graph Tempter. We fi­nally agree on the Res­o­lu­tion, al­though I can’t quite re­mem­ber why. Any­way, this cock­tail is unique and won­der­ful – and it’s just for you. Happy New Year!

www.pin­tx­opeo­ple.co.uk

jonathan.ray@tele­graph.co.uk

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