The morning after the Cocktail Mixing!
Cocktail mixing at Bank Restaurant, Westminster sounded great fun. The event was for 6 people…a glass of prosecco and some canapés to start, a demonstration from the bar manager and then your own attempt at making three cocktails and, of course, the opportunity to drink what you made. We booked for a Friday night, a little surprised that the restaurant would let us go on that date. When I arrived at the venue, I was even more surprised – the lobby bar was straining at the seams at 6.45pm – and at this stage I was worried what space there would be for us to do the cocktail mixing!
I was greeted by the lovely events manager Kate, who showed me a private room, all beautifully laid out with glasses and bottles of liqueurs and mixers for our event and then took me through to the main restaurant for glass of prosecco. She explained that they had a large group in that evening, something I suspect was booked after our cocktail mixing reservation was made! The restaurant itself wasn’t busy at all and was a really rather cool venue with well spaced tables and a view out over the courtyard.
First – Mohitos. We were shown how to squeeze fresh lime sections (about two thirds of the lime per person) then add rum (quite a lot) and mint. Slapping the mint caused some amusement but our instructor explained that by slapping, the flavour was released without any bitterness. The glass was then topped up with crushed ice and just a little soda.
Our instructor explained that we could add in a variety of other flavours if we liked…we tried passion fruit and raspberry. But, if I am honest, I still preferred the straight traditional mohito.
Next Vodka Martinis
We all got a go at shaking cocktails at this stage. A vodka martini is essentially a vodka chilled over ice then strained and if you like flavoured with fruit juices. I think this was a slightly simplified demonstration as I seem to remember being shown how to do this with ice that had been tempered with just a little martini first. Nevertheless we all managed to produce lovely vodka martinis.
Finally we got to make a champagne cocktail, using Belvoir elderflower cordial, Chambord and Champagne. This drink was all about skillful pouring. Done well, the champagne glass had rainbow stripes of cordial, champagne and Chambord (mine was just a pretty pink colour, but it tasted just as nice!).
All in, great fun, accompanied by a good range of canapés. We went back to the restaurant where the success of the cocktail mixing can perhaps be measured by the fact that we all ordered Steak Frites rather than trying to work through the menu! I really don’t think I should try to pretend that I can write a sensible review of the food – the canapes we had with the cocktails were lovely and I remember a lot of clean plates at dinner…but the focus of the evening was definitely making cocktails…and drinking them.
It was a fabulous way to spend a Friday evening. And I’d recommend cocktail mixing as a really fun way to start a special night – a birthday, hen night or similar.
45 Buckingham Gate
St James’s Park, SW1
tel 0207 630 6644