Refreshing, light and boozy, we caught up with Idris Conti, head barman at London’s decadent Rumpus Room rooftop bar. From tequila to berry-infused rosé, he showed us how to master the art of the summer cocktail.
On the perfect summer cocktail . . .
Whenever I'm asked for a "perfect" drink, I always think it completely depends on people’s personal taste and palate. Besides this, a summer cocktail should be light on the booze and the sugar content, to ensure it’s hydrating during the warmer months. It should also be a drink that you can have a few of – it's summer after all!
On the Rumpus Room drinking philosophy . . .
We love our classic cocktails at Rumpus Room, and we make them with pride and meticulous technique. We also like to explore new pairings and combinations, keeping in mind our beloved classics as a template. Our cocktail menu is inspired by the transatlantic marriage of cultures that is present all around the Mondrian hotel. It's not a coincidence that historically the UK and US have been the most important cocktail destinations in the world. Through our menu guests have a chance to pick a drink inspired by a specific moment in the evolution of the drinking culture of these two amazing countries.
Idris' top three tips for making the perfect summer cocktail . . .
EXPLORE YOUR INGREDIENTS
Most recipes will give you a very generic base spirit to play with: Gin, Vodka, Dark Rum, etc. But not all spirits of the same category work for all recipes. If you are making drinks at home, get out of your brand comfort zone and have a look around. There are many other brands and sprits that are affordable and could be your new favourite.
THE FRESHER THE BETTER
If you have the luxury and time to use freshly squeezed juices and fresh herbs and fruit for your recipes, your cocktails will be so much better. Also, if you are using wine based ingredients or you are making your own syrups and infusions, they will keep their freshness for longer if stored in the fridge.
LET YOUR ICE WARM UP
This sounds like nonsense, I know, but ice straight out of the freezer is too cold to be used straight way. Ice doesn't only make a drink cold – it also dilutes it to balance all the ingredients and make the drink light enough to be enjoyed. Take a plastic box and freeze water in it to obtain a block of ice. Take it out of the freezer 30 minutes before and let it get wet on the outside. Break it into chunks and make cocktails with that, the ice will still be cold and it will also dilute the cocktail to the perfect ratio.