|Mr. Cerven preparing Connaught Martinis|
On November 10 it was time for another pop-up bar in one of the suites at Scandic Grand Central here in Stockholm thanks to Bartenders’ Choice Awards. They had invited bartender Rastislav “Rusty” Cerven from the Connaught Bar in London – which opened in 2008 and was awarded ‘World’s Best Cocktail Bar’ earlier this year at Tales of the Cocktail – to showcase four of their signature drinks to the 30 people lucky enough to get one of the limited seats.
He started with the Connaught Martini, which normally is served from a bar cart at the table. What’s special about their Martini, is that the guest can choose from seven different bitters – vanilla, grapefruit, cardamom, liquorice, lavender, ginger and coriander. I went for ginger which was very nice indeed. Apparently, they blend their own vermouth by using equal parts Noilly Prat, Dolin Dry and Martini Bianco.
75 ml Tanqueray gin (or Ketel One vodka)
15 ml vermouth blend
3 drops bitters
Stir all ingredients over ice and double strain into a Martini glass with a dash of bitters of your choice. Garnish with a lemon twist or olives.
|Rusty Cerven and a Bloody Mary|
Next up was their take on the Bloody Mary, which in my opinion was very light compared to many other versions.
A nice gesture when you visit the Connaught Bar, is that you get recipe cards for the drinks you’ve had, to make at home. However, I’m quite sure that their Bloody Mary recipe card is not 100% accurate, from what we could see and hear, but here it is anyway:
50 ml Ketel One vodka
100 ml tomato juice
dashes of Tabasco, salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce
10 ml lemon juice
Stir over ice and strain in a big coppa glass without ice. Garnish with celery air.
There are no instructions for the celery air on the recipe card, but here’s how to make it:
Celery air (for 20 cocktails)
400 ml celery juice
1 tsp celery salt
½ tsp lecite
Blend with your hand blender for ten seconds. Strain, then blend again just before serving each cocktail.
|Rusty Cerven with his Faraway Collins|
The third cocktail on the tasting menu was Faraway Collins, which I had already tried on one of my London visits – a refreshing long drink which is perfect during the summer.
40 ml Tanqueray gin
20 ml yuzu juice
20 ml eucalyptus syrup
50 ml sarsaparilla soda
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Pour into a Collins glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with lemon zest and eucalyptus leaves.
Last but not least was a quite heavy seasonal drink called Normandy Cocktail, maybe not my favourite of the evening but it had a nice and complex nutty flavour.
30 ml Ron Zacapa 23
15 ml walnut syrup
20 ml apple juice
10 ml Grand Marnier
Shake all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a champagne flute and garnish with apple-raisin leather.
The recipe card doesn’t mention how to make the apple-raisin leather, but I found a recipe online which should do the trick.
Soak 150 g raisins until soft, in water to cover. Blend with the soaking liquid, adding apple chunks until consistency is like thick apple sauce. Spread on lined trays about 5 mm thick and dry by preferred method.
Even though Rusty seemed a bit rushed and it sometimes was difficult to hear what he said, it was very entertaining and well spent 90 minutes. As a bonus, I’m gonna share another recipe which I was given on my latest London visit in October:
50 ml tequila blanco
15 ml orgeat syrup
75 ml white grapefruit juice
2½ ml cardamom bitters
1 cardamom pod
Shake all ingredients over ice. Double strain into a highball glass full of ice cubes and top up with ginger ale. Garnish with two grapefruit wedges and a sprig of mint.