Corpen

Corpen’s Brian Burgess: my favourite cocktail

Corpen Week is coming to a close and we’ve loved learning more about this brave new Barcelona gin brand. We’ve heard about how tough it is to open a gin brand in the middle of a pandemic. We’ve reviewed the deliciously complex Corpen Llevant to reveal its complex flavours. We’ve heard why integrity is so important to the Corpen process.

Now, in a final flourish, we’ve invited Corpen’s co-founder Brian Burgess to be Barcelona Gin’s guest bartender for March. 
The team at Corpen have created an extraordinarily delicious gin. It’s bursting with citrus notes, brimming with earthy tones and jam-packed with gentle spice. When you have a gin as good as this, the last thing you want to do is to ruin its unique flavour by drowning it in a sea of sugary cocktail mixes. This is a good gin and it demands respect.

We asked Brian to suggest his favourite cocktail. Something that would make the most of the gorgeous flavour combinations in Corpen Llevant. 

This is what he came up with…

“For me, it’s the Martini – a cocktail classic that stands the test of time and showcases the flavour of the gin. For me, the perfect mix is a 50/50 Martini. “
“The classic version can sometimes be a bit intimidating. There’s a hard core of drinkers whose use of vermouth is, shall we say, minimal. I think we all know these people. We may even be these people. The common view is that drier is better. Just wave a bottle of vermouth in the general direction of the glass and you’re done. Some martini lovers think that you should simply rinse the glass with vermouth and then pour out the contents before adding the gin. Others pass a bottle of vermouth over the mixing glass without even taking the cap off the bottle. Winston Churchill used to just wave his glass of gin in the general direction of France!”

“Don’t get me wrong, this is fine and each to their own. We love our gin and serving it cold on ice is still delicious, but it’s not for everyone. We think the vermouth can add some delicious flavours and we don’t want to miss out on them. We use Dolin Dry as our vermouth and a squeeze of lemon, which we think makes this a much more accessible drink than the ultra dry version. We don’t add any bitters. It’s a less boozy version of the classic and we think it’s a great entry level Martini. We hope you enjoy it!”

Corpen’s 50:50 Martini

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Add the gin and dry vermouth to a mixing glass
  2. Fill with ice and stir until well chilled
  3. Strain into a chilled Martini glass
  4. Squeeze some lemon into the glass
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist

Cheers!

Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • GinCity, London: the star of your bar
    I love GinCity. Every so often, you come across a gin that takes you by surprise. So, when I received a bottle of GinCity London this Christmas, I was initially seduced by the beautiful bottle.  Elegant and tall, the glass is intricately etched with a map of my home city in exquisite detail.  Every London … Continued
  • Gin Sangria: the best of both worlds
    Some people think it’s impossible to have the best of both worlds.  At Barcelona Gin, we respectfully disagree.  Barcelona and London. Gin and tonic. Sun and sea… But there’s a magical combination that combines all of these things in one delicious, refreshing jug of summer loving.  For most people, Sangria is a drink mostly tasted … Continued
  • Gin Key Lime Pie: a taste of summer sunshine
    Summer is on its way! It’s that time of year when the weather likes to tease us.  We’re offered little glimpses of sunshine before the warmth is dampened by the clouds.  We enjoy walking on the sunny side of the street, but freeze in the shade.  We have warm spells but we know we can’t … Continued
  • Mini-Egg Martini – the perfect Easter cocktail!
    There’s a little debate going on now in gin circles. With all the flavoured gins out there, when does it become too much? For the purists, the very idea of a strawberry-flavoured gin send shivers down the spine. On the other hand, the advent of flavoured gins has opened the door to millions of gin … Continued
a martini glass with the james bond background

Dukes Bar, London: where James Bond would drink

There’s a little bar, very discreet, tucked away in a quiet corner of Mayfair. It sits inside a classic Mayfair Hotel. You’d probably never know it was there. Welcome to Dukes Bar.

This bar is famous for one very special thing, the simple classic drink that they do extremely well and that they make with proper old-fashioned style. Dukes Bar has been serving dry martinis for 112 years now, so the bartenders know their stuff. It’s the sort of place that James Bond would go to meet M for a quiet drink. In fact, it was the preferred haunt of Bond’s creator Ian Fleming, so no wonder his hero was partial to a dry Martini. And if the walls could speak, what stories we’d hear.

This is the perfect place to meet a lover or to seal a secret deal. The sort of place where the white-jacketed waiters see everything but say nothing. It’s a place that doesn’t need to advertise itself. It likes things just the way they are. This place has built its reputation over more than a century. And news of its delights has spread in the best way possible. By word of mouth.

Small, intimate and stylish, in a very British gentleman’s club kind of way, you can sit on small, round tables, overstuffed sofas or gorgeous leather armchairs.

Getting trollied

Spread over three rooms, Dukes Bar does things the way it has always done them: with oodles of crusty British style, discretion and just a modest touch of panache.

The main thing to know is that you should always order your Martinis from the trolley list. Someone will wheel a small trolley to your table. From it, you’ll be offered a selection of 2-3 spirits served from bottles so cold they could stick to your hands. Straight from the freezer to your table, the icy gin is poured directly into a Martini glass that has shared the freezer space to become equally cool.

Alongside your preferred gin, your bartender will offer you a choice of vermouth (made in house) or a selection of bitters along with a small bowl of fruit. Your drink will be stirred in front of you (no hurry here) and garnished from the fruit bowl.

This is cocktail heaven, the old fashioned way.

They source their lemons directly from a supplier on the Amalfi coast of Italy and if you’re looking for food, the dish of the day appears to be salty nuts. This is not a place to come to eat. You come here to drink.
Slowly.

There’s no music, no television and the crowd are engaged in a quiet conversational hum. Oil paintings hang on the walls. This is a 20th century bar oozing with 19th century atmosphere.

But those Martinis – I keep coming back to those Martinis

The real reason people in the know come to this bar is for those Martinis – rightly considered amongst the best in the world.

On their trolley, Plymouth Gin (paid link) is offered for the Martini base. They then wave a bottle of home made vermouth in the general direction of France and add three olives from Sicily or, if you prefer, a very thin slice of those Amalfi lemons. But they have others available too, including Sacred Gin (paid link), which they claim was Ian Fleming’s favourite.

As they say at Dukes: “One is alright, two are too many, three are not enough”.

The delicate dance of the Dry Martini

The making of the Martini here is a performance all of its own, more like a dance than a job. The white jacketed, black tied, mostly Italian waiters have it down to a fine art. After 112 years, Dukes has had plenty of practice.

So, if you’re looking for an intimate place with heritage and pedigree, if you want to spend the evening quietly sipping the best dry martini in the world while speculating which one of your fellow drinkers will be heading back to MI5 with a hangover in the morning, then this is the place.

You are going back to the source – and you won’t be disappointed.

Dukes Hotel, 35 St. James’ Place, London SW1A 1NY


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • GinCity, London: the star of your bar
    I love GinCity. Every so often, you come across a gin that takes you by surprise. So, when I received a bottle of GinCity London this Christmas, I was initially seduced by the beautiful bottle.  Elegant and tall, the glass is intricately etched with a map of my home city in exquisite detail.  Every London … Continued
  • Gin Sangria: the best of both worlds
    Some people think it’s impossible to have the best of both worlds.  At Barcelona Gin, we respectfully disagree.  Barcelona and London. Gin and tonic. Sun and sea… But there’s a magical combination that combines all of these things in one delicious, refreshing jug of summer loving.  For most people, Sangria is a drink mostly tasted … Continued
  • Gin Key Lime Pie: a taste of summer sunshine
    Summer is on its way! It’s that time of year when the weather likes to tease us.  We’re offered little glimpses of sunshine before the warmth is dampened by the clouds.  We enjoy walking on the sunny side of the street, but freeze in the shade.  We have warm spells but we know we can’t … Continued
  • Mini-Egg Martini – the perfect Easter cocktail!
    There’s a little debate going on now in gin circles. With all the flavoured gins out there, when does it become too much? For the purists, the very idea of a strawberry-flavoured gin send shivers down the spine. On the other hand, the advent of flavoured gins has opened the door to millions of gin … Continued

A classic bartender shaking a cocktail behind the wooden bar counter in Dry Martini cocktail bar

Dry Martini: Barcelona’s cocktail HQ

In a year when we said goodbye to Sean Connery (arguably the greatest Bond ever to grace our screens) we thought we’d pay tribute to a Barcelona bar that has been honouring his favourite drink for more than 30 years. Welcome to the legendary Dry Martini bar in Barcelona.
From the outside, you might not notice it but this elegant and sophisticated bar will impress you once you enter the swing doors. Inside is a sophisticated space with high ceilings, impressionist artwork on the walls and banquette sofas to perch on as you order your drink. There’s a long bar to sit at if that’s your preference. Or you could pull up a chair at one of the elegant tables.

Jazzy vibe, elegant decor, classic artwork

Look around you at the walls bedecked in artwork. Survey the shelves of wine bottles protected behind their pristine glass cabinets. Take in the bartenders and wait people, all dressed up in white tunics and black bow ties, scurrying around making sure that everyone’s drinking and everyone’s happy. Soak up the warm colors of the paneled walls and listen to the chilled jazz soundtrack getting you into that mellow mood. Then, when you’re ready, order your drink. And really, there’s only one drink for you to start with in this cocktail palace. It’s the drink that gave the bar its name. Say these words, slowly: un Dry Martini, por favor.

The perfect Dry Martini

Your reward will be a classic Dry Martini, made to their exacting requirements with a strict formula that has stood the test of time. Their special combination: 1/2 London Dry gin (you can choose from their wide selection or let them decide). They then add an equal amount of French vermouth, before adding a dash of orange bitters and stirring it in an ice-filled beaker before decanting it elegantly into your Martini glass. The glass will then be garnished with either a squeezed lemon rind or a ripe, juicy olive, dependent on your taste. Then simply sit back and take a sip. Then another. And when the sipping’s done, order you’re second drink (since one of these is never enough). In fact, one of the distinguishing features of this classic cocktail bar is the incongruous digital counter that sits behind the bar.

Hitting the button, every time…

Every time a Dry Martini is ordered, the Martini button is pushed and the number goes up by one. At the last count, well over one million Dry Martinis had been ordered here since the bar was first opened. And with that sort of endorsement from your customers, it’s not surprising that this is one of only 6 bars in the world to have made it onto the world’s 50 best bar list, 7 times in a row. This is a tribute to the vision of Barcelona’s pioneering cocktail king, Javier de las Muelas who founded this legendary place back all those years ago.

And while this bar is all about the cocktails, they serve some decent tapas as well, served with panache to a well-heeled crowd of upmarket locals, cocktail fanatics and curious tourists.

A hidden speakeasy, a terrace and a cocktail school

Plus, hidden behind the panelled walls at the back of the bar is a secret door, leading to the clandestine Speakeasy restaurant, serving continental and Spanish fare in an atmosphere reminiscent of a gentleman’s club. Dry Martini serves a range of cocktails alongside its classic Dry Martinis and features all the standard classic gins such as Tanqueray 10, Bombay Sapphire’s Star of Bombay, Bloomsbury and Puerto de Indias for a blast of Spanish strawberries. Plus, the icing on the cake – these guys run a pretty decent cocktail school right next door where some of the best mixologists in Spain will share their tricks and tips – at a price.


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • GinCity, London: the star of your bar
    I love GinCity. Every so often, you come across a gin that takes you by surprise. So, when I received a bottle of GinCity London this Christmas, I was initially seduced by the beautiful bottle.  Elegant and tall, the glass is intricately etched with a map of my home city in exquisite detail.  Every London … Continued
  • Gin Sangria: the best of both worlds
    Some people think it’s impossible to have the best of both worlds.  At Barcelona Gin, we respectfully disagree.  Barcelona and London. Gin and tonic. Sun and sea… But there’s a magical combination that combines all of these things in one delicious, refreshing jug of summer loving.  For most people, Sangria is a drink mostly tasted … Continued
  • Gin Key Lime Pie: a taste of summer sunshine
    Summer is on its way! It’s that time of year when the weather likes to tease us.  We’re offered little glimpses of sunshine before the warmth is dampened by the clouds.  We enjoy walking on the sunny side of the street, but freeze in the shade.  We have warm spells but we know we can’t … Continued
  • Mini-Egg Martini – the perfect Easter cocktail!
    There’s a little debate going on now in gin circles. With all the flavoured gins out there, when does it become too much? For the purists, the very idea of a strawberry-flavoured gin send shivers down the spine. On the other hand, the advent of flavoured gins has opened the door to millions of gin … Continued