A perfect cocktail is something few bartenders would dare to boast about. It should be a thing of beauty, not only in appearance but in its aroma and most importantly taste. It should be perfectly balanced between its sweet, sour, and alcoholic ingredients, whilst being both simple and complex at the same time, and yet I honestly believe it should be a drink that can be made at home without too much trouble. Cocktails need not be exclusively for the fairer sex, there are some fantastic manly alternatives, like an Old Fashioned (Bourbon Whisky, Angostura Bitters, Sugar), or a Side Car (Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice), however these rely on the quality of spirit chosen to go into them. To prove just how much difference the choice of spirit can make, why not try ordering a Tanqueray Ten Martini, shaken (not stirred) with Noilly Prat, and garnished with a twist.
The Gentlemans Tipple at Zenna Bar in Soho is a perfect example of a perfect cocktail. It combines the delicious, oaky, caramel, complex flavours of Martell XO cognac, with Berry Bros & Rudds own Kings Ginger Liquer, in equal measure, poured over ice and stirred in the glass with 2 to 3 drops of Angostura Orange Bitters. The sweetness of the ginger liqueur is neutralized by the sharpness of the orange bitters, and since both flavours can be found in the complexity of the Martell XO, no single flavour dominates, leaving a smooth, complex tasting cocktail with very simple ingredients. The drink is garnished with an orange rind which when pinched releases its citrus oils to create a fantastic aroma.
50ml Martell XO
50ml Kings Ginger Liqueur
2-3 drops Angostura Orange Bitters
Built in short glass over cubed ice, and stirred. Garnished with orange rind slice.