Cocktails have never really been my thing. I’ve had too many that were overpriced or over liquered. So they aren’t usually on my drinks radar, unless I find myself at a time or in a place where a beer just isn’t appropriate (yes there are such times), and importantly the Bartenders know what they’re doing. Not some Tom Cruise obsessive who’s practiced their bottle tossing more than their mixing; and certaonly not someone who refers to themselves as a Mixologist. After a day of historic Oxford colleges and pubs we made our way to Raoul’s, raising a birthday toast to Lou’s sister Elise.
The cocktail list is vast but Lou goes for her regular of an Old Fashioned. Elise and middle sister Jerry go for some sweet concoction. Col seems set on his choice which could be anything from a Dirty Martini to a Donn Beach Zombie, such is his eagerness to give anything a go (this includes Channel Swimming and Richard Gere impressions). Lee AKA Ho Ho Ho Green Giant asks for something to knock him over which is a decision he may have later regretted. Being a relative novice, but knowing what I like (and more importantly what I don’t), I ask a few questions. The bartender knows his stuff and sells me on the Aviation. It’s in the Forgotten Cocktails section, served in a Martini glass and the main constituent is gin. Its right on the mark for me. Its dry, fresh and not an umbrella in sight. Its one of those classic drinks that makes me think of an age of elegant air travel. The days before bodily swabs and Easyjet snack packs, when people were more likely to light a cigar than their shoes.
I was so impressed that I had a look into the ingredients and method to recreate at home; something that you cannot do with a pint without a decent amount of expertise, patience and brewing equipment (one day perhaps). Who better to take guidance from than Erik Lorincz of the Connaught, recipient of International Bartender of the Year.
So its predominantly Gin; about 2 shots of something decent (Bombay Sapphire, Tanquray, Hendricks). Raouls adhere to one of the original recipes which uses Maraschino (1/3 shot) and Violet (1/8 shot) liqueurs; though some dispense of the Crème de Violette. A shot of lemon finishes the mix.
Pour into a ice filled shaker (a pint glass if you need to improvise). Shake and strain to a chilled glass. Garnish would traditionally be a flamed lemon peel but I think you could be forgiven as with the Crème de Violette for not adhering fully at home! Retire to the terrace to the strains of Frank, Dean or Sammy and enjoy.
32 Walton Street,
01865 553 732