Saturday, 11 September 2010

Borracho, Pero En La Mejor Manera Posible

I love dodgy after hours bars, which, aside from the fantastic record shops (Sister Ray, Phonica, Sounds Of The Universe...), and cornucopia of really fucking good and cheap eateries is one reason I actually love Soho and Fitzrovia, because they're fucking full of 'em, if you know where to go. For one thing, there's generally a much smaller wanker quotient than in the more, shall we say, visible watering holes of that area, and the cocktails are cheaper. And I do like a properly made cocktail.

Not the shit that certain types of pubs and bars call cocktails, sickly concoctions involving lurid milkshakey looking gloop* or (Lucifer fucking preserve us) Red fucking Bull**, but proper fucking cocktails made with high quality ingredients by someone who knows and cares about what they're doing. Because mixing them takes skill, and if you use cheap shit, it doesn't matter how well you combine all the bits, it's still going to taste like cheap shit, just more complex cheap shit.

I say this, because last night I had the perfect Negroni, better even than the exemplary examples served up in the bar of NY's Time Hotel***. OK, maybe the company made everything taste better, but fuck it was good. A perfect balance of sweet and bitter, cut through with the aromatic astringency of the gin§, and a burnt orange twist just sealing the fucking deal. And were we in some posh bar? Nope, some dive round the back of Oxford Street, and it was £6. Fucking brilliant.

The cocktail, in it's purest form, like a proper Martini§§ or Tom Collins, is pretty much the pinnacle of the alcoholic art, a balancing act that's harder to achieve than it looks, and I'm glad it's an artform that hasn't died out, that people care enough about this shit to really fucking practice, to learn to play the ingredients if you like, to produce such outrageously alcoholic and goddamn delicious concoctions for good people who understand that drinking is about so much more than getting pissed, and I for one salute them and their dedication to enriching our drunken conversations with their magnificent creations.

Oh, and if you want to enjoy a proper Negroni in the privacy of yr own home, there's a rather fine recipe here. For the vermouth, you can use Martini, but it's way better with Cinzano. Fuck, that might be the ponciest sentence I've ever written. Excellent.

*What are you drinking toffee flavoured gunk for? What are you, fucking 12? Go and have a White Russian, or a Brandy Alexander if you want something creamy. For fucks sake.

**The most disgusting drink ever conceived, tastes foul, but it's the smell that gets me. For some bizarre reason I can smell Red Bull a mile away, at a distance even neat poteen would be undetectable and it makes me retch. And it looks exactly like fizzy piss.

***I can't believe how much that place cost a night (well over £200) in comparison to the size of it's admittedly nice rooms, I know NY is notorious for shoeboxes, but the bed wasn't even long enough for me, and I'm not exactly lanky, then again, we didn't pay for the room, but seriously. Their website is so artfully photographed that it's impossible to judge the size of anything, except you can guarantee that it's smaller than you think.

§Didn't see what one she made it with, but I suspect it was Tanqueray judging by the kick. I love that stuff.

§§And, if y're like me, a really Dirty one. Also you may detect a slight gin-cocktail bias here. What can I say? I like gin. A lot.

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