Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Milk & Honey

61 Poland Street

My new philosophy, if I may call it that, is to drink
better. That means fewer nights downing multiple pints of Sam Smith's Old Brewery Bitter, or bottles of over-priced vin rouge from restaurants that know full well they're ripping me off but don't care. It also means occasional trips to special bars where the drinks are memorable and life-enhancing. And so, to test out this radical philosophy, J and I paid a visit to the dimly lit Milk & Honey bar in Soho. Here we learned that M&H's "painstaking" cocktail-making methods run to hand-squeezing all its fruit juice, pre-freezing all its glassware, counting the number of times a drink is shaken or stirred to achieve consistency in dilution and chilling and, our favourite, "twice-frozen" ice. All this is liable to be ridiculed, of course, particularly by the patrons of Sam Smith's outlets, but the real question is does it work? By which I mean are the drinks sufficiently kick-ass?

My Boston Cobbler (pictured top left) used port, Calvados, lemon, orange and pineapple to achieve a surprisingly refreshing cooler. Surprising, because I expected something richer and sweeter, like the Rye & Port Cobbler I tried at
The Player. But no, it didn't look like a port drink and it didn't taste much like one either. The Calvados (apple brandy) dried things out and the fruit freshened things up again. There was a taste of caramel in there somewhere too - pleasing, overall.

J's Knickerbocker Royale was a twist on the Knickerbocker single-glass punch, which dates back to 1850s New York. Here, the usual rum, raspberry, curacao (orange liqueur), lemon and sugar were elevated by a 
soupçon or two of champagne. Smooth and delicately sweet, it seemed to leave J profoundly contented.

At this point we realised we'd been raising our voices to make ourselves heard over the music, and decided to take our leave (note to staff: good jazz, but do you really need this place to feel like a nightclub on a Tuesday?). Nevertheless, my new philosophy appears to be working. Sometimes, and helpfully for my personal finances, one good drink is all I need.

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