Many of the cocktails we drink today are recipes that have been passed down through the generations, from bartender to bartender,
their measurements exact and their flavours timeless. These are the mainstays of cocktail books that pass between collectors for many hundreds of pounds, perfect and unchanging.
Some, on the other hand, are the result of happy accidents, of whimsy, of pure impulse. That was the case with Smoke & Mirrors, which you can find on the menu at Mayfair’s fine dining destination Hide.
It was created by bar manager and mixologist Oskar Kinberg, who happened to have a craving for melon one summer’s afternoon.
“I’d ordered in a load of fresh melon and I was really looking forward to a slice when I got into work,” he says. “But when I got there our fruit delivery had been mixed and there was no melon in sight. I don’t usually drink when I get into work, but I spotted a bottle of melon liqueur and decided to throw something together. My old friend Cocchi never lets me down, so in it went.
After that I needed something with a bit more body – I spotted the Kamm & Sons. In it went. Next I needed something bitter to counter all the sweetness. Gammel Dansk is the perfect mix of spices to compliment melon liqueur. In it went. I stirred it all together and gave it a taste. It was divine but there was something missing – peaty whisky. Ardbeg 10 was the closest bottle. In it went. I tasted again and it was perfect, a great balance between bitter and sweet, herbs, spices, peat and fruit.
“It’s serious and fun at the same time. It’s in the same ballpark as alcohol-forward cocktails like Negronis. It would be a talking point to bring out before a dinner with friends.”
Making it is simple – put all the ingredients in a shaker and fill it with ice, then stir for 30-40 seconds. Strain it all into a glass and garnish with a grapefruit twist. And who knows – maybe in a hundred years, Smoke & Mirrors will have found its way into the 2119 edition of Classic Cocktails.
• Visit Hide at hide.co.uk