Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to mark the royal wedding with a street party this coming Friday, but plenty more will be celebrating in Britain’s bars. Many operators are planning a weekend-long party after the government allowed them to stay open until 1am on the nights of Friday 29th and Saturday 30th, and special wedding-themed cocktails have been appearing on menus.
In London, the Botanist bar and the Cadogan Arms in the royals’ stomping ground of Chelsea are offering free food and wine to couples who turn up and prove their names are Kate and William. The venues’ owners, Tom and Ed Martin of ETM Group, also own The Gun in Docklands which, like many pubs across the country, will be holding an outdoor party, with 42in plasma screens showing the wedding. Renaissance Pubs will not only be showing the wedding on high-definition TVs at its London pubs but will also be recreating 1980s TV show, the Multicoloured Swap Shop. On the day of the wedding, customers can bring in their unwanted royal memorabilia to swap it for food or drink.
Quintessential English ingredients have been used by mixologist Tristan Stephenson of London bars Purl and the soon-to-open Worship Street Whistling Shop. He has created the Royal Jam cocktail using Williams apple gin, produced by Chase Distillery in Herefordshire. This is combined with English strawberry jam, lemon juice, lavender bitters and a splash of Nyetimber Brut, the sparkling wine from Kent. With a flavour profile based on an English Victoria sponge, it is served in a gilded bone china tea cup and saucer. It is accompanied by a pot of Earl Grey tea but not for drinking – dry ice is dropped into the pot to billow out aromatic steam around the drinker to add to the experience. Tristan’s tribute is particularly fitting as William Chase, the founder of Chase Distillery, is to marry his partner, also named Kate, in May.
A wedding cocktail loaded with British history comes from Pusser’s Rum, the original rum drunk on board Royal Navy ships. The Royal Salute uses Pusser’s Blue Label which has the original naval specification for ABV of 54.4 per cent:
50ml Pusser’s Rum Blue Label
25ml Ginger wine
2 or 3 Lime wedges
Pour rum over ice in a tall glass and add the ginger wine and lime wedges. Stir well and top up with the bitter lemon and then stir again.
Royal wedding-themed cocktails have been promoted to bars in the run-up to this week’s celebrations by Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands, supported by a range of pre-printed menus via its Pourfection website. They include the Kiss Me Kate, made with 25ml of Bacardi Superior, 25ml of amaretto, cranberry juice and lemonade, built over cubed ice and stirred. Others see Southern Comfort combined with Chambord and double cream and milk for Wedded Bliss and Jack Daniel’s blended with honey, lemon juice and apple juice for a Windsor Punch. A Golden Carriage is a built cocktail made by stirring 50ml of Bacardi Gold with orange juice, lemonade and the juice from one squeezed lemon with cubed ice, garnished with an orange slice.
Drinks company Love Drinks has been promoting cocktails for its different brands to consumers and bars. The Sloe Royale is made by shaking 35ml of Hayman’s Sloe Gin with ice cubes and fresh mint and straining into a chilled champagne flute and topping up with prosecco, garnished with a strawberry. Bars serving up this version of a Kir Royale include Bar 92 in Wigmore Street, London.
The Kate Cocktail is described by Love Drinks as “quintessentially English”, combining the best tastes of England – the floral notes of elderflower with the freshness of mint and cucumber. It is a twist on an English Garden Mojito using a distinctive sweeter Old Tom gin:
45ml Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
20ml The Bitter Truth Elderflower Liqueur
20ml Brut champagne
Muddle the lemon, add the gin, liqueur and champagne and stir with crushed ice. Serve in a Collins glass and garnish with fresh mint and a slice of cucumber.
Love Drinks has created the matching William cocktail which is derived from a classic cocktail in William Boothby’s 1891 manual. It is a Manhattan-style drink but can also be served on the rocks. It is described as a “robust drink, masculine and classy with a modern twist – much like our prince”:
45ml Barceló Imperial Rum
20ml Sweet vermouth
2 dashes The Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters
20ml Brut champagne
Stir first three ingredients and serve in a Martini glass, topping up with champagne. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
More royal wedding cocktails and drinks in the next blog post