Reinvented Classic Cocktails.
What happens when you take the top 5 bartenders from across the Fairmont global network and stick them in a room together? They sip tequila for breakfast whilst reinventing classic cocktails. Of course. It’s refreshing to come across a hotel group that pay as much attention to their cocktails and bartenders as it does their head chefs.
But that’s exactly why I really enjoy drinking at Anti:dote at The Fairmont. This is not just another run of the mill hotel bar, the team here – headed up by Tom Hogan – are pretty special in my view.
Upon hearing that a new cocktail menu was to be imminently launched, we scuttle down to Antid:dote to see what all of the fuss was about.
The interior of Anti:dote is modern, chic and comfortable. There are several different seating areas dependent on your mood, you can sink into a plush velvet sofa after a hard day at work, or prop up a high table if you’re feeling slightly more energetic. When we visited however part of the bar had been sectioned off to create a brilliant pop-up speakeasy area, complete with jazz band, flapper girls and, of course, classic cocktails. The speakeasy vibe was so much fun I hope they decide to keep it for a little longer!
The new cocktail menu features 6 classics that have been honed, perfected and revamped to elevate them to an entirely new level whilst retaining the essence of what made them classics in the first place. We managed to make our way through them all in order to give you the lowdown.
Sparkling Collins Royale (Vodka, Veuve Clicquot, lemon juice, sugar syrup, mint, cucumber)
How could you make a Tom Collins any better I asked? Simple, add champagne instead of soda for bubbles. Now that, in my book, is a genius idea. This is a long, cool drink that was fresh and crisp. This drink is dangerous, it’s super refreshing and disappeared so quickly I thought I had a hole in the bottom of my glass.
Pomegranate Paloma (Tequila, cointreau, pomegranate juice, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, angostura bitters)
The addition of pomegranate to this Mexican tequila classic is clever, it retains it’s tartness, is a little sweet whilst the combination of tequila and cointreau give it real depth of flavour. It’s cool, it’s crisp and it contains a super fruit, so this must be good for you – right?
Right Word (Gin, Lillet Blanc, Elderflower liquer, lime juice)
I love simple cocktails with few ingredients so this is my kind of drink. It’s clean, it’s crisp and it’s pungent. There’s a little sweetness, a little sourness and it’s perfectly balanced.
Perfect Martinez (Gin, Cointreau, sweet red vermouth, dry vermouth, angostura)
Served with a lemon twist in a martini glass this is the kind of drink I imagine James Bond would order. The red vermouth adds a little sweetness to the otherwise dry ingredients. This is a super smooth, elegant drink and one that would be perfect just before dinner.
VSOP Boulevardier (Gentleman Jack Tennessee whiskey, cognac, Campari, sweet red vermouth)
This is my kind of drink, it’s dry, it’s bitter and there is a hint of smokiness coming through from the whiskey. Light weights steer clear, this drink may be short but it’s strong. I love the boozy kick it delivers upon the very first sip.
Fairmont Old Fashioned (Bourbon, Rum, simple syrup, angostura bitters)
In my view an Old Fashioned is the king of all cocktails. It’s bold, it’s boozy and one is never enough. Whilst I liked the idea of combining bourbon and rum in theory, in reality for me this was erring a little on the sweet side – probably due to the caramel notes in the rum. I prefer my Old Fashioned’s dry and punchy, I certainly do not want the edge taken off with sweetness. None the less, this is an out and out classic and will appeal to those who are typically nervous of this type of drink.
Whilst the pop up speakeasy bar will no doubt disappear sooner rather than later, these drinks will be here to stay. Hoorah to that!