By Sharon Hirschowitz
The hotel bar has seen an elevated status the past few years, as boundaries between spaces have opened and millennials, especially, are content to work play eat wherever they feel the most connected at that moment. Always on the look-out for the next big thing yet wanting to genuinely feel the local essence of their destination and unpretentiously expand their familiarity with their favorite swills, lovers of the art of cocktails are fair game for new tricks.
Bartenders are borrowing ideas from the pantry, with fermented food in all forms – from infusions to ornamentation – gracing cocktail menus, and vinegar hailed as the ingredient of the year in 2016. Their wellness qualities not lost on admirers, as those in the know understand the probiotic benefits of fermented food on gut health. Savory cocktails can be paired with most dishes and the truly creative expand on the textures and flavors with culinary ingredients that push the boundaries. Notable chefs are cross referencing experiences and ideas with their favorite bartenders to pioneer innovative new techniques and offerings.
Beer is surfacing more and more to the delight of artisan brewers and consumers who can’t decide between a cold beer on a hot, balmy evening, or a Bloody Mary. Have a Bloody Beer, or, if you’re feeling a little fancy, a Blackberry Lemon Shandy – or the ultimate summer drink, a Beer Ice Cream Float. You can’t go wrong.
Classic cocktails are still a staple, but expect a variation, or perhaps, a twist. Keep an eye out for craft daiquiris frozen-style, historically inspired beverages or freshly revived tiki-cocktails with multi-sensory, unique flavors and hipster blends.
According to Tom Rowntree, Vice President Brand Management Luxury & Upscale Brands, Europe at InterContinental Hotels Group, “World-class food and beverage is central to our guest experience and we are proud to house an array of Michelin Chefs and expert bartenders within the portfolio.
“We are committed to creating something new, unexpected, and with a local connection while also delivering the perfect representation of international classics. Cocktails are a great example of this. We will always offer the perfect Martini, but also signature creations that are a unique taste of the destination.”
Cocktails are an integral part of the InterContinental Hotels Group guest experience and their properties around the world work with an interesting selection of ingredients and themes. Here are five of their trending cocktails in Europe that bring history to life, embrace a prized ingredient, or explore a multi-sensory creative spirit.
Barrel Aged Cocktails
The Theo Randal at the InterContinental London Park Lane have introduced barrel aged cocktails where the base of the cocktail is aged in small wooden barrels so that the flavors are constantly evolving and mixing, the result being that no cocktail is alike. Only at the time of serving is the rest of the cocktail mixed through.
The InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel have created the Madeleine de Proust to showcase Lillet, an aromatized wine and French aperitif wine from Podensac, a small village south of Bordeaux. Accompanying cocktail ingredients include Par Sarah, Gagnante Les Trophéesdu Bar, Mai 2015 Cognac Rémy Martin, liqueur de thym et d’abricot, bitter orange, écume au thym Rémy Martin brandy, thyme and apricot liqueur, bitter orange, and thyme foam.
Bespoke Artisan Pastis
Cuvée spécial Hôtel-Dieu by La Maison du Pastis is an artisan pastis based cocktail designed for the InterContinental Marseille Hotel Dieu for their Capian bar. It is combined with Champagne, lychee liqueur, strawberry juice and spicy syrup and honors the life of Provence and the iconic aperitif of Marseille.
InterContinental David Tel Aviv has crafted the Tel Aviv Twist cocktail using their homemade cherry tomato jam as a base, carefully blended with a mix of Vodka, lemon juice and a special twist of Israeli spices.
To celebrate well-known Dutch painter, Rembrandt van Rijn, the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam invented a cocktail served in different layers, in an ode to the use of color in the great artist’s paintings. The Dutch gin Dutch Courage is the basis for the cocktail, with pimento dram, a liqueur made of spices well known in the 17th century and considered quite costly, followed by a gunpowder green tea foam in a smoked presentation inspired by the muskets and contributing to the military ambiance.