What a hoop-la!

September 13th, 2007

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.

Hoop La! cocktail with Lillet Blanc bottle in the background

Hoop la!

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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Posted in Cognac, Curaçao & Triple Sec, Lemon, Lillet, Recipes

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6 responses to “What a hoop-la!”

  1. erik_flannestad erik_flannestad says:

    Cheers, Jay! More Savoy Cocktails!

    I haven’t tried that one yet; but, it does seem more appealing than the rather sneakily potent Between the Sheets.

    Interestingly, I was just reading a column from Dr. Cocktail in (the American) Imbibe magazine saying the Savoy Hotel or The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel is about to close for some sort of extensive renovation.

    I’ll have to see if I can find out any details.

  2. Anita Anita says:

    Oh, fun. Nice photo, too.

    Coincidentally, we’re also working on a Lillet cocktail for drink of the week and MxMo.

  3. Jay Jay says:

    It would be typical of my luck to move to London right as it was closing!

    Thanks Anita – I look forward to reading about that cocktail.

  4. erik_flannestad erik_flannestad says:

    The nice folks at the Savoy Hotel sent me the following reply:

    “The Savoy hotel will be closing on 15th December for a major renovation lasting for approximately 16 months; the hotel is scheduled to reopen in 2009. The American Bar will be part of that closure.”

    If you want to visit, get there before December 15th!

  5. Chicken Angel – hoop-la says:

    [...] with ice and serve up with a lemon twist. This is a slight variation on Oh Gosh!’s hoop-la. It’s a delicious cocktail although it wasn’t until I hit it with a dash of [...]

  6. Anna Anna says:

    I’ve been a fan of the HoopLa for about a year now since I saw this post. Today, I tried a little modification – I recently picked up a bottle of St Germain. I substituted that for the Cointreau in this recipe, and OMGosh! All I can say is, YUM!. I’m going to drop the amount of St Germain next time since I think it’s a bit sweeter than Cointreau.

    Thanks for all your great recipes!

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Photography by Jay Hepburn
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