The Weekend: Knightsbridge Penthouse Winter Cocktail Launch

by The Editor

Winter is coming, or so says a currently popular television show.  And they’re correct, especially given how cold May was.  Who would have thought we’d have a night of minus-5 still ten weeks out from August?  How on earth will we survive?

Well, how about the Knightsbridge Penthouse Winter Cocktail List?  Some of the best jackets we’ve ever tried come in the form of spiced rums and various liqueurs.  Given the impending Winter Soiree to launch their second seasonal drinks list, The Canberran popped along to try on the winter warmers.

Maintaining a long-held tradition of quality cocktails, ‘Knighty’ is prepared to launch into a list filled with drinks reflective of orange leaves and crisp, blue skies.  In the safe hands of Business Manager Peter Thomson, we were introduced to three tasters to provide an indication of the palate for the season.

1.  Especial 1690

Apparently the term ‘Dutch Courage’ comes from days of yore when countrymen of the lowlands necked gin before heading into battle – and certainly many of our Martini Test Drives can attest to this phenomenon.  On this occasion we’re in for something more subtle – Tanqueray 10 gin is mixed with Martini Rosso vermouth, apple liqueur and a dash of sugar syrup (and only a dash given it is made in a more concentrated form at Knightsbridge). Stirred and poured it is presented in a martini glass.

The result?  A perfect balance of sweet (sugar syrup) balanced against the sour (apple liqueur).  The vermouth and gin hint back to the martini base allowing for a more viscous mouthfeel.  The warmth trickles down to the cockles and gets the homefires burning. We feel fit to take on a Belgian.

2. Touch the Sky.

If you’ve been around Canberra bars for a few years you’ll know Charlie Salvador.  Something of savant when it comes to constructing cocktails, he has recently come off 9-to-5 bench to add the finishing touches to a Knightsbridge work in progress.  So here it is – a mixture of Hendricks gin, crème de mure (blackberry liqueur), cranberry juice and passionfruit.  Shaken and double-strained into another martini glass (while our previous empties at a rapid rate), it is soon presented with a small slice of cucumber as garnish.

Again, the balance is superb.  The ingredients listed above dance freely and passionately despite the cold environments. It’s the blackberry that give it the winter feel, making you want to wrap your hands around the glass despite being served chilled.

3. Rum Blazer

Now we’re heading into serious territory but, firstly, a word to the inexperienced:  Rum doesn’t need to be frightening.  In fact, in the right hands (much like any other liquor) it can be sophisticated, seductive and generous – and all at the same time.  On this occasion the addition of Appleton Estate rum brings warmth and sweetness, while a hint flamed orange peel (rubbed around the rim of the glass) adds the acidic tones.

Looking at the glass one expects a big hit of alcohol, much like drinking a whiskey.  There is no ice and the colour is quite dark.  In reality the nose is a lot softer, and the drink palatably thinner, however the complexity remains and, most wonderfully, the drink is served warm. It’s delightful stuff, and all the ladies at the tasting heartily embraced its flavour in stark contrast to their perceptions when first spying the finished product.

By the time we had to venture back into the cold, penultimate May night it was clear we had found our winter coat.  Not cashmere, not wool, but rather a mixture of citrus, rums and berries.  Winter bodes well for Knightsbridge – all ninety-two days of it.


The Details

Knightsbridge Penthouse Cocktail Launch

Friday 1 June (when else?) ’til late

Featuring $10 cocktails from 6.00 – 8.00pm and with music from Anthony Dellamarta