Last week I finally made it down to 69 Colebrooke Row, a new cocktail bar headed up by Tales of the Cocktail International Bartender of the Year winner Tony Conigliaro. I’d heard much about the bar, and certainly wasn’t disappointed – from the intimate and relaxed space to the specially produced house Cognac it’s a very enjoyable place to spend an evening. Indeed even the toilets are fun – look closely at the graffiti on the wall and you might notice messages from the likes of Audrey Saunders, David Wondrich – oh, and some chancer called Jay Hepburn.
Like the bar the drinks menu is small but inventive, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to order an Oh Gosh!, a cocktail Tony invented back in 2001 that was one of the first cocktails I really enjoyed, and indeed the drink this site was named after. Having one made by its creator was rather special, and as you would expect the cocktail was delicious. The rest of the menu is similarly tasty, with the standout perhaps being the Spitfire which puts their house Cognac to great use combined with crème de peche, lemon, egg and white wine.
However tonight I want to talk about another of Tony’s drinks that he served me later on in the evening…
- 2 shots / 60 ml / 2 oz dry gin
- ¼ shot / 7.5 ml / ¼ oz Cointreau
- 1 bar-spoon sugar syrup
- 1 healthy dash Peychaud’s bitters
- Rinse an old fashioned glass with absinthe, and add ice to chill. Add ingredients to a mixing glass and stir with ice. Empty old fashioned glass and strain drink in to glass.
When I first tried the drink the first thing that came to my mind was a Sazerac, but with gin. Indeed when I asked Tony what was in it that’s exactly how he described it. The hefty backbone of gin is matched by the anise flavours from the bitters and absinthe, forming an aromatic dominating flavour that is strong and complex. The booziness is tempered by the sweetness of the sugar and Cointreau, and the later provides a nice background orange, zesty note.
It’s not quite a match for the venerable Sazerac, but does make for a tasty libation when you fancy something gin-based and strong, but aren’t in the mood for a Martini.
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