We caught up with our longstanding barman, Esley at The Egerton House Hotel, in the heart of Knightsbridge, to talk about their new Light Summer Cocktails menu. From the Egerton Amore (vodka, Cointreau and cranberry juice) to Summer Breeze, a fruity combination of gin, lime, bitter lemon and grenadine, The Egerton’s new bar menu offers an array of refreshing drinks, perfect for balmy summer nights.
How long have you been a part of The Egerton House Hotel bar team?
I’ve been working here nearly eight years. When I first arrived in Europe I came here and I’ve been here ever since! I’ve worked elsewhere but never longer than five years, so there must be something special.
What’s the main difference between summer and winter cocktail ingredients?
In the summer we mainly make really refreshing drinks with the softer spirits rather than hard liquor, accompanied by light chasers. In the UK over the summer months we tend to serve a lot of Pimms! With Pimms Royale, Pimms No.1, Pimms No.2, and so on, which are all made with different spirits.
Is there a favourite drink among guests from the new cocktail menu?
Guests usually opt for the long drinks, rather than a short drink, particularly in summer. In all my years, Pimms is always a favourite, because whether you are American or German or French, guests want to drink the local tipple! When guests come back to the hotel from a day out at Hyde Park or shopping nearby then Pimms is a refreshing drink to help them cool off and relax.
What’s your favourite cocktail from the menu?
My favourite is the Venetia Spritzer because it’s not really a long or short drink – instead it is served in a white wine glass, which is a nice quantity. Made with champagne, Aperol and a slice of orange, it’s the type of drink you can have a few glasses of…
What food do you recommend to enjoy with the new light summer cocktails on offer?
We offer a selection of tasty bar snacks, such as chicken teriyaki and mini cheeseburgers. These are delicious light bites that will complement almost all cocktails!
What’s the key to being a successful bartender?
Being a good bartender is about knowing what you are serving and understanding the ingredients, their tastes and textures. Bartenders should be like doctors and treat the person ordering the drink like a patient, you need to get to know them and treat them right! For example, a guest might order a gin and tonic, but not in the same way another person would want their gin and tonic. It’s still a gin and tonic but everyone has their own preferences – their own prescription if you like!
Do you have any tasty cocktail recipes that are easy to make at home?
Try my recipe for a rum-based Pimms – a great light summer cocktail with a twist!
50 ml of Pimms No. 4 (this one is rum based)
25ml of dark rum
Chopped pineapple, strawberry and apple
Mixer (your choice of lemonade, soda or ginger ale)
Pour all of the above ingredients into a highball glass with ice and stir well. Top up with lemonade or soda or ginger ale depending on your preference.