The craft of the cocktail menu
To celebrate the 7th annual London Cocktail Week, we asked BAR 45’s head bartender at 45 Park Lane, Maurizio Palermo, to share the inside story on his latest concoctions.
After working in leading bars in London and Milan, Maurizio Palermo joined BAR 45 earlier this year. Influenced by training under Salvatore Calabrese, widely regarded as ‘the maestro’ of cocktail creation, Maurizio wanted to create a true epicurean experience for our guests.
To make his mark, Maurizio transformed the cocktail menu into an easy and tempting guide to choosing the right cocktail at the right time. He explains, ‘Choosing the right cocktail can heighten a gourmet experience. I identified the three cornerstones of a classic cocktail menu – the aperitif, digestif and liquid dessert. Next I created a fresh take on each one in the form of a House Negroni (summer and winter version), Bitter Love, and Midnight Kiss.”
By working closely with executive chef David McIntyre, the three new cocktails are a collaboration of food & beverage connoisseurs. Everyone has heard of an aperitif, but Maurizio wanted to take it back to basics to understand what ‘aperitif’ really means. The perfect aperitif is low sugar, not too strong, opens the stomach ahead of a fine meal, and is often bitter or citrus based.
‘Holly Spirits Winter Negroni’ made with vermouth, Campari and a homemade soda infused with vanilla pods, lemon peel, cinnamon and star anise
Reinventing the famous Negroni was the choice of the entire food & beverage team at 45 Park Lane, including Wolfgang Puck himself! Maurizio’s Summer House Negroni is a development on the bar’s signature cocktail, introducing a homemade infused soda for summer and another for winter. The summer soda contains orange peel, cardamom seeds, juniper seeds and vanilla pod, whilst the winter soda is an infusion of vanilla pod with lemon peel, cinnamon and star anise. He says, “Both are designed to be enjoyed with a bowl of our signature steak seasoned popcorn, before moving onto their meal.”
After eating the palate is ready for a digestif – this is typically a smoother, more intense drink. The incredible meat sourcing at CUT at 45 Park Lane means that we offer some of the highest quality marbling Wagyu livestock outside of Japan. The buttery and rich beef, accompanied by the vibrant flavours of Wolfgang Puck’s selection of salads, require a wonderfully rich and strong drink to follow. Bitter Love, the new digestif, a short, dark drink made with Italian Amaro, maraschino liqueur, and yuzu juice, really gives your taste buds a kick after a meal.
Maurizio says, ‘My personal favourite is my new liquid dessert, Midnight Kiss.” This sophisticated alternative to a sweet pudding is made with port, Mandarine Napoleon, cognac, egg yolk and a ring of bitter chocolate, served in a chilled port glass. It’s a subtly sweet and light drink – the perfect way to end a dining experience and balance the palate.
Visit BAR 45 for drinks and see for yourself.