Last week BarLifeUK joined Elements 8 Rum for a night of exploring their modern ‘Spice Route’ around some of London’s best bars.
Between the 5th Century BC to the 11th Century AD, the spice trade followed a route from China through, Persia, Ceylon and Arabia through to Europe. This ‘spice trade route’ was instrumental in spreading wonderful spices across the world, spices we now take for granted.
Elements 8 Rum has teamed up with a series of the capital’s top bars to give customers the opportunity to try spice trade inspired cocktails by following the ‘Spice Route’. Bars taking part include Wax Jambu, Nobu, Corinthia, Harvey Nichols, Artesian and our starting point, The Drunken Monkey.
We were ushered into the hidden downstairs bar at The Drunken Monkey and greeted by Christian Cuevas and his excellent Quanzhou to Java cocktail. As we enjoyed our drink a live band belted out some Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin covers and we all quickly got into the mood for our evening.
Quanzhou to Java – Christian Cuevas
- 50ml Elements 8
- 15ml Falernum
- 15ml homemade 5 spice & honey syrup
- Fresh pineapple smoked with chicory wood
- 15ml lemon juice
- 10ml gomme
- 3 drops chilli oil
Muddle the smoked pineapple, add all other ingredients besides chilli oil and shake with ice. Fine strain into a martini glass and finish with 3 drops chilli oil.
Next stop on our journey was the Artesian Bar at The Langham Hotel for the Java through to Ceylon leg of the spice route.
Alex Kratena had come up with The Toupo Shrub however on the night of our visit he was busy sunning himself in Puerto Rico, however we were more than ably looked after by Silviu Stan.
The cocktail, inspiration and story of The Toupo Shrub were explained as we tried the rum and the shrub separately before trying the drink itself matched with some beautiful canapés.
The cocktail was, as you’d expect, beautifully balanced and served in either silver beer tankard (for the men) or a wine glass (for the ladies).
The Toupo Shrub – Alex Kratena
- 60ml E8 Barrel infused spiced rum
- 30ml Artesian Seasonal Shrub
- 15ml fresh lime juice
- 1 dash mandarin bitters
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1 dash orange flower water
- 100ml Meantime Wheat Beer
Shake all ingredients and fine strain into a silver tankard (or wine glass)
It is always hard to drag yourself away from the Artesian especially with expertly made cocktails arriving every few minutes but we were on a mission and so leave we did and on to Nobu.
Now those of you who have had the misfortune of meeting myself or Andy will not be surprised to hear that Nobu is not a regular haunt for BarLifeUK, in fact I had never set foot in there before.
Despite the venue’s reputation, I failed to spot any WAGS (I am soon going to have to admit to myself that my Abbey Clancy dream may never come true) although for all I knew it could have been full of the fantastically talented TOWIE cast.
You may notice I have not yet mentioned the drink, the reason for this is I don’t have much to say. The other bars we visited had put a lot of time and effort into their drinks, Nobu made a Spiced Daiquiri!
To be fair it was a good Daiquiri and did fit into the Ceylon through to Persia and Arabia section of the trail but certainly wasn’t as inspiring as the others.
Elements 8 Spiced Daiquiri
- 50ml Elements 8 Barrel infused spiced rum
- 25ml fresh lime juice
- 15ml gomme syrup
Shake all the ingredients together and fins strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
The final stop on our journey for the evening was Wax Jambu, who had been given the Arabia through to Europe leg of the route. Waiting for us upstairs in the Rum Cove was Pietro Rizzo ready to mix us up The Red Sea Port.
Pietro’s enthusiasm was matched by the flavours in his drink, going last on a night like this is always tricky, but his cocktail (combined with a shot or two of E8) led me to miss my last tube home.
The Red Sea Port – Pietro Rizzo
- 37.5ml Elements 8 Barrel infused spiced rum
- 25ml Port
- 25ml Apple juice
- 12.5ml Vanilla syrup
Muddle fresh root ginger, pomegranate molasses and Manuka honey. Shake together with other ingredients and served long over ice garnished with lemon thyme, ginger, cinnamon and pomegranate seeds.
It was a great night and a great way to see different bars and try some new cocktails. You can get involved yourself simply by following Elements 8 on twitter (@Elements8Rum) and keeping an eye out for the passwords which will give you the opportunity to try the drinks in each of the bars.