What’s old is new again with these pre-mixed cocktails from the Everleigh in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
Now, how this for an idea, open the fridge, unscrew a cap and pour yourself a perfectly proportioned cocktail anytime that suits your fancy?
No mess, no mistakes. And if you don’t finish it, the rest can sit happily waiting for the next cocktail hour.
Sounds good to me too!
Well that classy bar, the Everleigh has leveraged its deep understanding of the cocktail craft to create this cute range of the four essential cocktails: The Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Negroni and the Martini.
Recently released, I was super keen to give them a test drive, and some lucky pals of mine got to get some bottles some too and shared their feedback with me.
Each bottle contains 100ml of all your need, just add the garnish and some ice and you’re in business. But before we get to the tasting, let’s have a quick history lesson on cocktails.
I think I’m safe to say that we’ll see a lot more of these pre-mixed babies, and in recent times some prestige bars and restaurants around the world have re-pioneered their use.
They’re a lot harder than you think to pull off, its not just a matter of upping your quantities.
Besides scaling up a recipe normally used for one cocktail at a time, you need to get the amount of water / dilution just right, which is an overlooked but critical element in any cocktail mix.
Pre-Mixed Cocktails: a history
You may be surprised to now that you could buy a bottle of a pre-mixed cocktail in the mid-late C19th. One of the earliest references to one was in the Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide published in 1862. It included several Punch recipes for bottling.
Even earlier, in the 1827’s Oxford Night Caps there are recipes meant to be “bottled off” and stored to drink later.
In the United States, there was a famous restaurant in Connecticut, Heublein’s that turned a happy accident to a long running business that kept running over 100 years, until the 1980s, focused on bottled cocktails.
“In 1875 the Governor’s Foot Guard’s annual picnic was cancelled due to rain, but the Heublein Restaurant had already mixed up large batches of cocktails for the occasion. Instead of disposing of the stored cocktails, they realized they were servable. The two brothers who ran the establishment did not let this go unnoticed, and in 1890 when the sons took over the business, they shifted their focus to “ready-made” cocktails.” Heublein’s tagline was, “Always ready—always right.”
Prohibition put paid to the idea for a long while, but more recently British mixologist Tony Conigliaro of London bar 69 Colebrooke Row, who made his first batched bottled drinks over a decade ago.
Staying in London, in recent years the uber cool White Lyan eschews anything that isn’t pre-crafted in its bar. There isn’t a bar with ingredients as you’d know it, its all pre-mixed with exotic and premium ingredients with a view to total control and consistency. The genius behind the idea the influential mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana.
They are now also appearing in airlines, a convenient idea at 35,000 metres.
So, let’s back to Earth and the Everleigh’s range which are made in-house and I understand they use liquid nitrogen to preserve flavour. Clever kids.
- Old Fashioned
- The go-to cocktail for a certain Mr Draper from Mad Men. made by muddling sugar with bitters, then adding Bourbon or Rye whiskey and a touch of water to round it out.
- This worked really well, the balance right with the bitter caramel notes spirit kick effect coating the whiskey just right.
- Not seen much these days, but for me, its the sexy younger sister of the Martini. Its an old school cocktail with class. Made with whiskey (including Canadian or Rye whiskey) sweet vermouth, and bitters served in a cocktail glass with a glace cherry garnish.
- A crowd pleaser this one, since many of my pals were new to this cocktail. Its sweetness was the velvet that hid the big city kick you want from the Manhattan.
- One of the greatest aperitif cocktails, a gift from Italy to the world: Sweet Vermouth, Gin and Cinzano over ice with a slice of orange on the rocks. Sorted.
- You get a fairly sweet syrupy start then an agreeable sharp Campari finish to balance it out. This one’s a cracker.
- The Martini
- This obviously needs no introduction. I understand they use my usual house pours Tanqueray gin and Dolin Vermouth in this mix.
- What what I found challenging with a pre-mixed version is the idea that for me each Martini is unique – even with the same ingredients, so many things can influence it. Its the most subjective of cocktails and such a personalised expression.
- I found the Martini mix in this instance too dominant with its vermouth, but again I usually like mine super-dry. I did try it on a few people on the night and got a similar reaction, but its very much a matter of taste obviously.
- There is also the matter of serving, as it came out frozen after being put into the freezer as instructed, and it was disconcerting to pour our a slurry mix unexpectedly. So I’m sorry to say this was the least successful of the suite for me.
On all the cocktails the instructions said to store in the freezer, but you’ll need to allow them to thaw somewhat first as in every case the cocktails were frozen (understandably) so don’t expect to be able to serve them right away.
Perhaps my ice box is too cold, but its an easy work about.