There’s nothing like the arrival of a head-turning, theatrical cocktail at your table. From quirky pyrotechnics to unique serving receptacles, theatrical cocktails elevate the drinking experience with a generous dose of drama and fun. Fabrizio Russo, Director of Food and Beverage at The Milestone, discloses the secrets of the Stables Bar’s deliciously extravagant, theatrical cocktails.
What are the most theatrical cocktails on the Stables Bar’s menu?
“Our Smoking Old Fashioned, which has been one of our most popular cocktails for three years and is a showpiece served in a smoke-filled bell jar; Our Mrs Tea cocktail, served in a teapot; and our newest cocktail, Carousel, which is presented in a tumbler on top of a rotating carousel which plays music. It’s childish and playful but the drink itself is actually very strong.”
How did you conceive such a unique cocktail like Carousel?
“The bar team were discussing the first time we tried alcohol. Most of the team are from small villages around Brazil, Italy or Spain and we all agreed it was around summer, when the funfair would come to town. The bartender came up with the idea of a cocktail sat atop a funfair carousel and it’s presented in a very mischievous way. The rotation of the cocktail actually helps mix it because of the centrifugal action.”
What makes your Smoking Old Fashioned special compared to others?
“Our Smoking Old Fashioned is made from barrel rested whisky, tequila and rum so you can have three versions of one cocktail. Six barrels are used, three to rest for 90 days’ minimum to mellow the harshness of the whisky, the tequila and rum. The Smoking Old Fashioned was originally created to mask the foul taste of the alcohol that was produced in bathtubs years ago. We haven’t changed things too much but we seal the barrel with apple juice, orange and molasses then add vodka to impregnate it and stay moist. Then we add the whisky. When it’s served there’s a glass bell jar on top that we fill with smoke. The smoky element contains apple molasses and orange peel, so you’ve got a mixture of sweet and burnt oil that fills the air when you drink.”
What comes first, the idea of the cocktail’s presentation or the ingredients?
“With Carousel, we wanted to have something fun, so the presentation came first then we chose ingredients that would mirror that, like the 74% proof Old J Tiki whisky. Then to balance out the flavour profile we chose something sweet (orgeat syrup) and something acidic (fresh lime juice).”
Who comes up with the bar’s theatrical cocktail ideas?
“We have a head bartender but it’s bit of a democracy because each member of the bar team has their own ideas. Angelo likes molecular cocktails, while Marco likes his classics. Any idea can be a good idea but what we’re striving for is the theatrical aspect and good taste.”
How many new cocktails do you launch each year?
“Not many. We create between one and four and feed them into the menu gradually. Our regulars are our guinea pigs. We have even been known to name cocktails after regulars!”
To sample these flamboyantly theatrical cocktails for yourself, pay a visit to the Stables Bar at The Milestone Hotel.
Image Credits: All images © Red Carnation Hotels.