How To Order A Great Cocktail

How To Order A Great Cocktail


Ordering a great cocktail can be as much of an art as making one. We spoke to Thomas Micherda,
bartender at Chelsea hangout Koji, Francesco from Ruya London and George Austin from Blake’s Hotel about the spirits to know and the drinks that will impress your date – or just your mates.

So, what are the most popular cocktails for guys?
Thomas: Strong, dry and bitter flavours are what define the most popular cocktails for guys. The ones which won’t compromise male credibility at the bar are the Old Fashioned, the Negroni, and a classic gin or vodka Martini.

George: Negroni is probably number one at the moment. But Tommy's Margarita, Negroni, Martinez and Manhattans also always do well with guys at the bar. 

Which spirits do men order most often?
Thomas: Whisky, so that’s your Old Fashioneds, Whisky Sours and Manhattans. Then it would be vodka, rum and tequila.

Francesco: Yes definitely whisky, bourbon and tequila.

George: For us it’s gin but next time you’re out, I would recommend ordering tequila on the rocks; it’s the most underrated short drink in the world.

"Strong, dry and bitter flavours are what define the most popular cocktails for guys."

Should you opt for a vintage spirit?
Thomas: Vintage it is not as important for spirits as it is for a wine. Vintage spirits taste completely different to modern spirits; they are not so sweet and are much more concentrated. The best vintage liqueur I have ever tried was an Amaretto from 1950 – it blew my taste buds off!

George: Frapin Cognacs are a cut above the rest.

What are the best house spirits to order at a bar? 
Thomas: For scotch, Monkey Shoulder is the best value for money. Vodka, I’d say Belvedere: it tastes best in a simple Vodka Martini with a twist of lemon, but it’s also delicious served unadorned on the rocks. Tapatio Blanco Brilliant hand-crafted white tequila is a world away from your salt ’n’ lemon, burn-and-gurn nightmares. Tanqueray 10 gin is an exquisite citrus burst in every sip. Havana Club 3-Year-Old infuses an extra touch of quality into rum cocktails and is great with just about any mixer.

George: For gin it has to be Tanqueray 10, Monkey 47 or London No. 3. For whisky I’d always opt for Lagavulin 16, Stag Bourbon or Macallan 18. And for tequila Herradura Plata, Casamigos Repasado and Gran Mayan Reserva Ultra Anejo.

"Make sure you’re serving it at room temperature – refrigerating scotch is never a good idea."

And what are the best mixers to pair with them?
Thomas: The highest-quality mixers only. There should be no compromise as you don’t want to spoil the sublime taste of a great spirit by adding average, artificial mixers. Fever Tree is good as well as Merchant’s Heart.

George: London Essence Company Mixers always make a long drink seem longer.

Now for some bar tips… Can you give us some serving ideas for whisky?
Thomas: The best way of serving single malts is neat, adding a bit of water while you’re drinking. Even one drop of water can change the taste of your whisky inside the glass. Make sure you’re serving it at room temperature – refrigerating scotch is never a good idea.

George: Single Malt and fresh ginger with a touch of apple juice.

When is the best time for a single malt? 
Thomas: Before dinner, and double malt should always be after. 

George: Always!

What makes the perfect Old Fashioned?
Thomas: Two things: good-quality ice; and using caster sugar instead of simple cane sugar. The perfect Old Fashioned also cannot be too diluted as the sweet tang of bourbon has to be the first thing you taste. 

George: Time, practice and individuality. It's easy to make a good one hard to make a great one. Experimenting with balance, bitters and bourbons takes time and development.

How about a great Amaretto sour?
Francesco: Whatever you do, do not use sugar and always use fresh egg whites. The perfect Amaretto Sour has a good quality of apricot and almond.

And the secret to a killer Martini?
Thomas: Good-quality ice is key again. Use a premium-quality spirit and stir it exactly 37 times before double-straining it into a chilled Martini glass. My favourite spirit to make Martinis with is the Premium Craft WA gin, which has been distilled from Japanese sake and then aged for ten years. This is for when you want a Martini with a twist – it makes the most silky Martini I have ever tasted.

Francesco: Big ice cubes and the right dilution is a must.

George: Soaking the ice first in the whisper of vermouth, stirring and straining the liquid before adding the gin.

And finally, what’s the perfect bar snack?
Thomas: Padron peppers! They go nicely with almost every cocktail. 

Francesco: Something spicy and salty.

George: Savoury popcorns, nuts that aren't boring and guacamole. Guacamole is king and pairs with anything.

For more information, visit Koji.Restaurant, &

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