THANKFULLY, long gone are the days when people in the capital sucked on sickening Piña Coladas. No half-decent bar would dare put one on the menu. And we have one man to thank for this: Dick Bradsell.
Bradsell is the inventor of some modern classics. The Bramble – a delicious concoction of gin, lemon juice and crème de cassis – is perhaps his most famous. But he also independently engineered a cocktail revolution, setting up bars – including 6 Degrees, Match and The Player – that put the competition to shame.
Bradsell didn’t have to reinvent the martini to call time upon the regrettable mini umbrella (the pinnacle of 1980s sophistication). He went back to basics.
But Bradsell has not been afraid to experiment. The Polish Martini (adding a honey liqueur and apple to the vodka base) is noble addition to the Martini pantheon.
And as Bradsell hasn’t been afraid to build upon the old, so our leading bartenders of today need to have the guts to stand on his shoulders.
Another Bradsell modern classic is the Russian Spring Punch. Alex Kratena, head mixologist at the Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel – recently named international bartender of the year at the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail 2012 Spirited Awards – has risen to the challenge.
Kratena explains: “The Russian Spring Punch quickly became a modern classic, combining fruit elements and champagne. It is twist on collins/fizz style of drink with fruit elements. It’s light, summery and refreshing.” He gave it a twist: “The original recipe didn’t have fresh berries, however we felt it was good addition.”
So in honour of the last hurrah of sunshine before our winter of discontent, here is a drink to put an extra spring in your step.
ARTESIAN BAR’S RUSSIAN SPRING PUNCH
25ml lemon juice
15ml creme de cassis
5ml sugar syrup
Shake all ingredients apart from Champagne
Strain over ice into highball glass - top up with champagne
Garnish with a mint sprig, a lemon wedge and fresh berries.