Cocktails…Something for Everyone.
With the existence of Chalet Hotel bars and the introduction of bars in the new ‘Chalet Xtras’, it got me thinking about the great bar service we provide. This naturally led to the creation of a drinks menu that is both varied and appealing to everyone’s taste buds.
I’ve been managing bars for many years before moving to Hotelplan and one of the things I always enjoyed but never thought too much about was making cocktails. Coming from a seasonnaire bar I took cocktails for granted, most recipes used would differ slightly from the originals to make them more user friendly. A few years ago however something changed, something sparked and suddenly I wanted to know more. This led to various internet searches, looking through books and obviously no research would be complete without a few tasting sessions and bar visits.
I knew I wanted to do more, I wanted to get more creative, but where to start? First of all I needed the right equipment. I jumped online and started searching, before I knew it the amazon basket was fully loaded, Boston shakers, jiggers, speed pourers, muddlers, strainers, cocktail spoons, funky glasses of all shapes and sizes and of course straws.
As I waited for my order to arrive I popped down to the nearest supermarket to pick up the basic supplies. One thing I had read was that with just 12 key ingredients along with some mixers, sugar and copious amounts of ice you can make over 500 cocktails. 500 I thought, that’s literally hundreds of possibilities!! Those ingredients are…
- Triple Sec
- Apricot Liquor
- Dry Vermouth
- Sweet Vermouth
I had my ingredients, I was waiting for my equipment, now was the time to do some more reading. There was so much I needed to know, why does an egg white work so well in a Sour? How did the Long Island Ice Tea come to exist? Where does the dilemma of lemon or lime in your gin and tonic come from? Turns out the answers to all these questions are easy to find on google, who would have thought it!!
A few days later the items had arrived, it was time to get technical. I have a good knowledge of cocktails but just to get started I made a few simple ones first, starting with a Pina Colada. I took the ingredients and started throwing them in the Boston with vigour and enthusiasm. First in went the white rum, followed by coconut milk, and topped up with some pineapple juice. Now here comes the technical part, all the ingredients go into the glass side of the Boston as you build it, the ice goes into the metal side. Once all parts are in, you put the metal side over the glass then shake, finishing up by straining it in to an ice filled glass and maybe garnish with a little bit of pineapple. In my mind this was going to be the best Pina Colada ever, and you know what… it just might have been.
There are many ways to mix cocktails, the 4 main ways are shaking (in a cocktail shaker), stirring (either directly in the glass or a glass container), building (all ingredients straight into the serving glass) and layering (placing each ingredient one on top of the other) all have their unique characteristics and purpose, in nearly all instances you need to fill the glass with ice, the ice acts as insulation for itself as well as keeping the drink cool and refreshing. The more ice there is, the colder it gets, the longer the ice lasts. Less ice mixed with any liquid will melt way too quickly and water down the drink and no one wants that.
I spent the rest of the day working through more advanced cocktails, a delicious Ginger Mojito, an eloquent Amaretto Sour, some brilliant Espresso Martini’s and a few other variations of drinks I’d never known before and even tried mixing a few things myself to see if I could come up with the next big thing. Now I don’t know if you have ever tried an afternoon experimenting with cocktails, but it’s safe to say I don’t remember much about the last few I tried to make.
Cocktails are a great way to set the tone for the evening and if you have a barman with a little charisma, knowledge and skill set, it can make for the perfect social environment. Whether you’re a sweet or sour person, dirty or smooth or just like your drinks with a little twist there is something out there for everyone, and it’s for this reason they are such a prominent part of the way we do things in the Belmonte Bar…
For more information and holidays check out Ischgl here!
Words James Holdsworth
Belmonte Accommodation Manager