Bye bye Dry January
No more saintly abstinence. It's cocktail hour and Hind's Head Bar Manager, Ryan Law, is calling the shots.
From detox to retox. January can do one. The shackles of self-imposed exile have been shaken off and it’s time to have some February fun. My plan is to spend this month getting blissfully hammered. I’m not talking a bottle of cheap vodka in a brown paper bag. I mean, jeez, I have some standards. But a grand tour of cocktails could be be an adventure.
So who better to quiz than Ryan Law, Bar Manager at the Hind’s Head Bray. If you haven’t visited yet, seriously, get yourselves down there. Whether you’re eating in the restaurant or not, you have to have a drink (or three) in the The Royal Lounge. It is one of my favourite bars in Berks. The decor and the drinks menu are elegant and eccentric in equal measure.
You’ll spot Ryan, he has a dreamy soft Belfast accent and the man’s a genius. After a brief career teaching sport at a grammar school in Ireland (what?), he discovered his true love was behind the bar. Whereas my true love is propping one up. Ryan’s worked for Heston’s Hind’s Head for just over a year and worked with the Fat Duck guys to help create a cocktail menu that’s as theatrical as the Michelin-starred food.
You’ll find classics with a the expected Heston twist – Champagne cocktails with gold leaf, or dash of rhubarb and ginger liquor. Plus Bloody Mary, Negroni and Martinis, but the Royal Signatures get my vote. I ‘m slowly working my way through the list – Emily’s Earl Grey Sour, served in a vintage teacup, is gin based and named after the resident ghost and Great Expectations is a rum cocktail served in a hip flask nestled in the pages of a vintage copy of Dickens’s famous book are both a worth trying again and again.
“A lot of thought goes into the ingredients,” explains Ryan. “It’s important the cocktails compliment the food. So we make our own mushroom bourbon and have created out own blend of spiced rum.”
“My grandad was a top chef in Northern Irland, back in the day, so I love what’s happening in the kitchen and at some point I’d love to introduce a few drinks that change seasonally.
Cocktails (or mocktails) not your bag, then there’s fab selection of quality gins, vodkas and whiskeys, plus an extensive wine list that with bottles costing between £27 and £695! Blimey.
But right now I’m calling cocktail hour and this should perk you up a treat. Ryan has flicked through his little black book of book and given us the recipe for the perfect Espresso Martini. Cocktail or rocket fuel? You decide. Cheers…
- 35ml Chase Vodka
- 20ml Kahula
- 5ml Creme de Cacao
- 12.5ml Simple Sugar (2:1 Sugar:Water)
- 40ml Espresso