Right, enough talk about equipment – let’s get back to the cocktails! Tonight I fancied something new, and while thumbing through my ever-expanding library of recipe books (I sense another beginners guide coming) I came across the following cocktail. It comes from The Savoy Cocktail Book, a tome first published in 1930 and written by Harry Craddock, an American bartender who escaped prohibition in 1920 to work at The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London. I really must visit sometime, but until that day comes recipes from said book will have to suffice.
The Hoop La! caught my attention as its ingredients were similar to that of the Sidecar but for the addition of Lillet Blanc, a fortified wine that I haven’t really paid much attention to since trying the Vesper and the Twentieth Century. It also had an exclamation mark in its name, which as the title of this site suggests is something I have a certain fondness for.
- 1 shot Cognac
- 1 shot Lillet Blanc
- 1 shot Cointreau
- 1 shot lemon juice
- Shake well with ice and fine strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The initial taste of the Hoop La! is very much like the Sidecar, with the Cognac and lemon juice proving dominant. However, that dominance is slightly more subdued thanks to the Lillet, and a subtle floral dryness comes through after the initial Cognac kick. It really lightens the drink which to my mind makes it a much more versatile cocktail than the Sidecar.
Overall it seemed to work better than the Between The Sheets cocktail, which takes a similar Sidecar base but adds light rum rather than Lillet Blanc. While the rum essentially just softens the Cognac base, without adding a great deal of its own flavour (though it does add a little), the Lillet really adds a new dimension to the cocktail. The perfect summer Sidecar, the Hoop La! is a real hoopla of a drink!
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