Summer's here and it's time to dust off those shorts, drag the BBQ out of the shed and get involved in some serious summertime slurpage. For me, nothing goes better with sunshine than a delicious rum cocktail and I learnt how to make them best in their spiritual home: Havana, Cuba (link here)! Here are some of my favourite cocktail recipes - get shaking!
The Mojito - Rum Punch - Frozen Daiquiri - Classic Daiquiri
Great hunks of barbequed meat, rice and peas, goat curry, and pepperpot stew. Caribbean food, though a rare pleasure, is one of my favourite cuisines. Perhaps it’s the quite unbelievable fusion of different influences (African, East Indian, Arab, Chinese, and many more), or maybe it’s the fact it feels so unfussy, homely, and unsophisticated, reminiscent of the best home cooking.
There's a soulful place in Soho, cheeky with Italian charm, brimming with cocktails, the almost permanent buzz of blues music spilling out from its doorway onto Old Compton Street: RustiKo restaurant.
The interior is quirky and comfortable, and downstairs is a cute new bar called The Shed too, serving cocktails, speciality Proseccos and aperitifs (Italian in style, of course!). The menu is large and reasonably priced, with pizza/pasta mains around the £9-11 mark, meaty ones between £14 and £18.
You can’t beat a good supper club. It’s that perfect midway between a high-quality meal in a restaurant and a dinner party at home. Nowadays, there’s plenty to choose from in London, but on this occasion I was invited down to dine with 12 other guests at The Punchbowl in Mayfair.
Where there is tiki, there is me. A statement, simply put but true. As a lover of rum cocktails, I love the drinks culture and the accompanying 'party vibe' doesn't go amiss either. So when The Beachcomber opened up recently in Paddington, with food by the fabulous Creole Kitchen, I was there in a flash to get my tiki awnnnnn.
What happens when you mix cocktails, coffee, a restaurant, barbers and a slide? No this isn’t a ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ joke, although the answer would probably be to get to this new spot in Wapping. TRADE UNION has just opened its doors to what can only be described as an adult playground, there’s even a florist too!
Havana has been a mecca for all cocktail lovers, not just Ernest Hemingway, since the start of the 20th century, when Prohibition drove tens of thousands of American bartenders to Cuba, - after all it’s only 90 miles below Florida! Difford’s Guide tells us that by 1928 90,000 people were flying over a year and there were thousands of new bars opening in Havana. This americanised the Cuban cocktail scene and this melting pot of cultures and Cuban rum birthed the creation of some of the most iconic cocktails known today: The Mojito, Cuba Libre, Daiquiri and the El Presidente, to name but a few.
Today the cocktail bar scene is as vibrant as it was then, and many of these old bars still stand today. I went on a tour of these classic bars with Havana Club Cuban rum brand. Check out my list of the best places to check out and what to drink there!
It’s 2016; year of the Monkey, year of the Olympics, the US Presidential Election (the UK's too), the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and, excitingly for those of the bon vivant persuasion, year of the 11th Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix.
This year I was lucky enough to join over 40 of the world’s best bartenders at the finals in Havana, Cuba, where they competed to win the coveted title of Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix Champion. It’s one of the most prestigious international competitions on the planet, taking place only every 2 years, and draws truly global talent in. From its judging panel who make up a number of the World’s 50 Best Bars, to its curators Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown, cocktail historians and winners of more daiquiris than I could shake a stick at, the flight lists for that week are like a who's who for the rum world.
Summer's here and there's nothing I love more than sitting outside, sipping away at some lovely chilled chardonnay or rose. Who am I kidding...I love this all year round! Anyway....I've been working with Jacob's Creek, Australia's largest wine brand, recently to celebrate foods that evoke memories! I've shared my most poignant memories and the recipes that evoke them, and I've cooked these dishes for the people that they remind me of - see my previous post here!
Now...time for you to create your own memories. Enter my competition HERE to win your own bottles of Jacob's Creek!!
Use the widget above to enter: simply tweet me your favourite food memory - the recipe and the memory it evokes. Use the hashtag #JacobsCreek so I can track you and Bob's your uncle - you could be in to win!!
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