Archive for September 13, 2013

Top Martinis at Dukes Hotel Bar

Dukes Hotel Bar is one of the most famous martini bars in the world.   Of course, there is the allure of the bar’s connection to legendary James Bond Author, Ian Fleming, which adds a certain mystique to the bar.  The hotel has a romantic air, located in a quiet nook in Mayfair; the elegant woodwork giving the hotel a cozy, refined air from a bygone era.

But, the Martinis and other personalized cocktails are what draws the most hard-core martini imbibers.  The martinis at Dukes are made using the best and freshest ingredients; lemons shipped in from Italy and a constantly changing list of the most interesting, cutting edge hand-crafted spirits no doubt keeps its clientele happily returning.

Besides the decision to focus on small interesting, micro-distilled spirits as opposed to the big brands, the charismatic head bartender Alessandro Palazzi along with the help of his capable staff, have to be credited with adding personality and “theater” in its martini making.  At Dukes, martinis are made tableside with the use of small carts.   Patrons get to be entertained watching their own master piece made right before their eyes all while enjoying the banter from the showmen who work at Dukes.

The above video depicts a visit to Duke’s interviewing Alessandro Palazzi about Dukes, his use of Sacred Spirits, and other micro-distilled spirits in their personalized cocktails.

A Visit to Sacred Distillery

Sacred Distillery started in 2009 and was one of the first, new distilleries in London to establish itself in nearly 200 years.  Now, one of the smallest micro-distillers in London, size hasn’t stopped Sacred from getting its line of hand-crafted, organic spirits distributed in Spain, Australia, New Zealand as well as to over 35 states in the US.

What makes this producer so unique, is its use of vacuum distillation in lieu of the more traditional pot still.  Instead of cooked flavors, drinkers can experience the pure essence of botanicals like frankincense or the juicy fruit flavors of, say, pink grapefruit.   This difference can only be appreciated when comparing a gin tonic made with Sacred’s gin to a traditionally made gin.  If you like fresh flavors that assault all senses, then this is the way to go!

On a recent trip to the US, I found Sacred Gin featured at Macintosh Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina.   I had the bartender muddle fresh mint leaves and cucumber along with some fresh squeezed lime juice followed by tonic water and Sacred Gin.

Before I knew it, my family was ordering the drink, too.  It was so refreshing with such purity; the perfect drink on a hot, sticky July day in Charleston.  Problems only began when the restaurant ran out of Sacred and had to substitute for another, more traditionally made gin.  The result was near mutiny at the table.

I am now a believer in their use of vacuum distillation…But, don’t believe me, go out and find a bottle.  In the meantime, I have taped my visit to Sacred Distillery above so you can find out a bit more about their operation.

I want to thank Ian Hart for his time and for letting my team come and film.

Apologies for any sound issues, this is my first video project and I need to resolve better how to get good quality sound in noisy, windy places.