This post is about a cocktail masterclass my husband and I were invited to attend at Kettner's last month. And also about how we won a prize for creating the best cocktail of the evening! Let me explain...
Originally a series of four Georgian town houses, Kettner’s was first opened as a restaurant by Auguste Kettner, (chef to Napoleon III) in 1867. Popular with deliciously colourful characters of the time including Oscar Wilde, Edward VII, Lillie Langtry, Agatha Christie and Bing Crosby, Kettner’s was renowned for hosting incredibly risqué parties.
The masterclass was conducted by Kettner's bar manager Jason Palmer, a charismatic and skillful mixologist. During the class we learnt how to create four classic cocktails: Old Fashioned, Mojito, Martini and Porn Star Martini.
Jason gave us a demonstration of how to prepare the different cocktails, but he also explaining the history of each one of them, with fun anecdotes that kept our attention up.
The Old Fashioned was the most complicated cocktail, as it required 9-10 minutes to make. This time is necessary to let the brown sugar completely dissolve in the drink. You can cheat by soaking the sugar cube in angostura and orange bitters, hence cutting a few minutes off the preparation time.
The Mojito is one of the world's most popular cocktail, but to get it right you need to balance its flavours correctly: the strong liquor and the sweet, sour, bitter and herbaceous notes. That's why it's the best cocktail to judge how good a barman is: the art of mixology is about balance!
There are a number of techniques for making Martini (shaken, stirred, thrown) and variations on the traditional recipe. When you order one at a bar, you should be asked to choose the spirit, the vermouth and the garnish.
The Porn Star Martini is a relatively recent creation, a decadent mix of passion fruit and vodka served in a chilled glass with a shot of champagne on the side. It's a Soho cocktail classic, invented around the corner from Kettner's in honour of Paul Raymond, "The King of Soho".
At the end of the masterclass, each guests was asked to create its very own cocktail which was then rated out of 10 by a judges' panel. And as you already know, we won the first prize: a gin distillery kit!
I take the merit for the cocktail presentation, but the recipe was created and executed entirely by my husband Sandy. He used our favourite cocktail ingredient, elderflower cordial, and built the drink around it. We named it the Sunflower!
It was delicious and I can't wait for Sandy to prepare one for me again!
If you are curious, here's the recipe:
- 50ml Elderflower Cordial
- 5ml Orange bitter
- 75ml Vodka
- 3 to 5 Lemon/Lime drops
- 1/2 Passion fruit
- 10ml Vanilla Syrup
- a splash of lime juice
Thanks a lot to James and his assistant for the lesson and the invaluable tips we learnt during the masterclass!
Disclaimer: we were guests of Surgery PR and Kettner's. All opinions are my own.