Now the cold snap has arrived, we’re all eager to reach for a warming drink. But what makes a great winter cocktail? There are many ways to heat up a drink; stew it on the hob like a mulled wine, add a few warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg or pour in the booze, that’ll toast things up nicely.
Yet, the cleverest bartenders don’t have to do any of these things; they take what we know and love about our favourites and add a subtle twist to welcome it into a new season. That’s exactly what Manuel Bonnet did, the bar supervisor at the Threadneedle Bar in the Royal Exchange, which is festively festooned with wreaths and fir trees this time of year.
Bonnet used to work at another City staple, the SkyLounge rooftop terrace on Pepys Street, before joining the team behind the Amalfi Sour. It’s a quirky take on the classic Crema di Limoncello, a beverage usually enjoyed aboard a yacht navigating its way around the southern Mediterranean coast. But Bonnet’s team has added a few creative extras to transport it to the chilly, candlelit halls of the City of London.
“We wanted to create a cocktail that’s refreshing and sour, but also a little bit spicy so we added pink peppercorn and basil,” he says. “Our Amalfi Sour is fresh and juicy, with a delicious fruitiness that softens its natural softness. We launched it in September as part of our winter cocktail menu and it’s been one of the most popular cocktails ever since.”
To make it at home, you need to achieve a balance between sweet and sour, something that Staibano lemon cream liqueur will make a lot easier. It’s cloudy pale yellow, available to order online and carries the IGP stamp that ensures that only lemon rinds from the Amalfi coast are used to make it. “On the nose, it has a natural fresh smell of Amalfi lemons; a very light cream texture and extremely smooth with a fresh and lightly sweet taste of lemons with a hint of almond,” Bonnet explains, adding that it’s also great on the rocks as a digestif.
To achieve that authentic Italian taste, simply add some organic basil then grate some pink peppercorns on top for a sweet, spicy effect.
It may be cold outside, but your drinks cabinet will be flooded with rays of Mediterranean sunshine.