Who doesn’t love a cocktail? I certainly do! If there’s a chance to learn about making one, then it’s the perfect occasion for a fun couple of hours.
Waterloo Food Fortnight
That’s what happened a couple of weeks ago during the yearly foodie event Waterloo Food Fortnight in my neighborhood.
The two week’s programme sees local restaurants, shops and bars organise loads of events and masterclasses, parties and talks related to food & drinks.
There is so much going on, it’s practically impossible to attend everything. We were invited to join one of the events and decided for cocktail masterclass at Hello Darling!, a relatively new restaurant and bar which is part owned by The Vaults theatre company.
We love the work they do so it was a no brainer to love the restaurant too!
The session was hosted by George, head bar tender, not mixologist (his own words) at the Vaults company and Mimi, Hello Darling bar manager. It was only for 6 guests which was the perfect number for such an intimate event.
We were located in one of Hello Darling upstairs rooms which was great – while the ground floor bar and dining room is more spacious and the bar itself is centre stage, decorated with flowers and gilded stucco, the upstairs rooms are all individually set up in the style of immersive productions the Vaults are famous for.
The settings really added a warm, welcoming feeling to the whole session!
We started by a quick journey through bitters and amari, and the more Italian style aperitifs ingredients such as vermouth. George skillfully told us about some traditional bitters and lesser known products we were going to use in our cocktails as well as made us taste some different and interesting flavours.
My sister and I, the two Italians in the group, really loved those bitters flavours so familiar to us but they did not seem to be as appreciated by our fellow guests.
We then proceeded to actually making some wonderful cocktails: original twists on classics, with researched, unusual ingredients and beautifully presented. Our Instagram stories looked great!
Below the recipes for each cocktail.
- 50ml Aviation Gin
- 12.5 violette
- 12.5 maraska
- 15ml lemon juice
- Garnish / cherry
Carefully measured ingredients, this cocktail was light, sweet and had an interesting, elegant colour to it.
Rosemary and apricot caipirinha
- 15ml apricot Briottet
- 50ml Cachaca
- 15 ml agave
- 4 lime wedges
- Half apricot
- Rosemary sprig
- Garnish apricot wedge / rosemary sprig
- 50ml whisky / rum
- Gomme / sugar cube
Very simple ingredients list for this classic. Fans of Mad Men will feel a special connection to it; we used a sweet, spicy rum which gave the cocktail a warmer twist.
- 25ml gin
- 25ml amaro
- 25ml vermouth
A very famous cocktail which this year celebrated a milestone birthday, George showed us yet another interesting twist on the classic, using amaro, which is a digestif type liquor very popular in Italy (we all have a few different bottles at home).
Hello Darling head chef is the lovely Natalie Coleman, Masterchef winner – she prepared a selection of delicious canapes to enjoy with the food: a fig and ricotta crostini and a gin cured salmon and creme fraiche.
We were guests of Waterloo Food Fortnight but feel the masterclass is great value at £32 – it was a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon and could not recommend more.