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Shake it up with bartenders

Patrick America and Lennart Deddens

The
evolution
of the
cocktail
It is alcohol-based That holiday feeling of a Tiki Cocktail
1860 - 1920: Old Fashioned 1933 - 1950: Mai Tai
“This is a typical cocktail,” says Patrick, as he puts a dash of orange Not one but two kinds of rum go into the glass. And on top
bitters and a lump of sugar into a glass. “Old-fashioned is exactly of that, Orange Curacao and lemon juice as well, carefully
what a cocktail ought to be: bitter, sweet, alcohol and water. That’s measured in the jigger. “If I use a free pour I can’t guarantee
it. Cocktails without bitters aren’t actually cocktails, they’re mixed a consistent taste,” Patrick explains. He adds Orgeat, a syrup
drinks.” A dash of water is added to the glass and it is gently shaken made of almonds and orange blossoms, plus sugar water to
until the sugar has dissolved. “Sugar doesn’t dissolve easily,” Patrick the mixture in the glass. All these exotic tastes point in the
explains, as he uses a bar spoon to carefully stir the mixture. “Bitters direction of a tiki cocktail. “After the Great Depression in the
have been around since 1800 and it makes sense that they would nineteen-thirties people had very little money but still wanted
In the movies they symbolise status and pleasure and making them is an art in itself: use it in drinks that already existed, such as whiskey. That’s how that holiday feeling,” Patrick adds. “Tiki cocktail, with that hint
they made Whiskey Cobbler – whiskey with sugar-water and ice – or of the Caribbean and tropical fruit, like pineapple and coconut,
cocktails, they’re part of our culture. Many of them are classics, but that doesn’t mean that Whiskey Sling – the same again but with fruit-juice. When bitters gave them that.” Founding father of Mai Tai, indispensable
arrived on the scene, cocktails became known as Bitter Slings,” to the tiki range, was Vic Bergeron who invented the drink in
cocktails of the past are the same as the ones we know now. With creations that depict the Lennart adds. In the beginning, most cocktails were alcoholic. his tropical-style bar Trader Vic’s in 1944, which he opened in
Mixing them with the rest of the ingredients is important. “An 1939. But he wasn’t the only founding father of tiki bars and
time, friends and Carlton bartenders Patrick America and Lennart Deddens give us a short Old Fashioned that you don’t have to wait for has not been made cocktails. In fact, Ernest Gantt, alias ‘Donn Beach’, beat him to
properly,” Patrick claims. “You can compare it to making soup: just it with his bar Don the Beachcomber in 1933. Patrick tinkles the
history of the evolution of cocktails. “They should, in fact, be stirred, not shaken.” We’re given throwing ingredients into water doesn’t give you soup. Mixing the ice again. He shakes the mixture and tastes it before pouring it
flavours takes time.” He’s busy squeezing a lemon. The tinkle of ice into the glass. A couple of mint leaves and half a lemon finish
the talk in The Dominican’s wonderful bar in Brussels, where Patrick is Lennart’s guest today. in a glass. In the chilled glass, a genuine Old Fashioned appears. In off the drink. “The original garnishing,” Lennart says. The Mai
the past it was made with whiskey, for gentlemen. Now it comes Tai is rich and full, and you get two straws to drink it with.
Contributing editor: Lorraine Marlisa Images: Bastiaan van Musscher with other alcoholic bases, for everyone.

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007’s bad taste
Drinking during Prohibition 1950 - 1970: Vodka Martini
1920 - 1933: Gin Fizz The Vodka Martini is simple yet legendary. “Vodka arrived on the
“The Gin Fizz was around before Prohibition,” says Patrick as scene thanks to the Iron Curtain. Everyone was intrigued by its
he pours gin from a ‘jigger’ (metal tot measure). “But because mystique, even in the West too, and everyone clamoured to try
Fizzes are mixed with other drinks, such as herb drinks and it,” says Lennart. Vodka Martinis are almost mythic because James
liqueur, this cocktail was handy during Prohibition. The other Bond drank them to relax. Patrick claims that it was therefore Bond
mixers masked the taste of bad gin. Patrick squeezes a lemon who was responsible for their incorrect promotion. “Bond wanted
into a jigger and then adds the juice to a glass of sugar water, it shaken, not stirred,” says Patrick. “But it should be stirred and
just like the gin. “In the twenties, the Gin Fizz was popular not shaken.” While he stirs ice in a glass and throws away the
because purer cocktails didn’t taste that great because of excess water, he explains that you can’t influence the water when
the poor quality of the hooch.” Breaking an egg on the you shake it. “By stirring it, you do influence the water and it
glass, Patrick deftly catches the yolk on a saucer and allows stops the cocktail from becoming cloudy – you don’t want that –
the egg white to run into the glass. “Prohibition did have its and that way you don’t get too much water. 007’s Vodka Martini
advantages,” Lennart remarks. “People drank illegal alcohol in probably tasted watery,” Patrick adds. Once he’s thrown out the
special places, so-called ‘speakeasies’. And they weren’t ‘men extra water, he adds vodka and vermouth and stirs once more until
only’ joints. Women went there too. Booze was expensive, food the ingredients are cool. He then sieves the mixture into a chilled
and music were free.” glass, squeezes lemon peel out over the glass to give it a ‘lemon
twist’, and finally drapes it over the side of the glass like a pig’s tail.

Disco drinks
1970 - 2000: Cosmopolitan Back to the roots
Patrick calls this red temptress a real ladies’ drink. He has a 2000 to the present: Whiskey Smash
point since it’s the favourite drink of Sex in the City girls Carrie, Following Prohibition, percentages of non-alcoholic liquids
Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. It’s their usual when they rose in cocktails. But Whiskey Smash takes us back to the old
order drinks on nights out in trendy clubs. That was at the end days, the days of Old Fashioned. “Alcohol is becoming the
of the 90s, but the Cosmopolitan goes a lot further back than most important base for cocktails again,” says Patrick. “But in
that. “Cosmopolitans became popular when Absolute Vodka was a different way.” Lennart puts a bit of mint in the shaker. “The
promoted in the 70s,” Lennart tells us, while pouring a dash of Bourbon that I’m about to use has a strong taste and the mint
cointreau and vodka into a glass. He adds a bit of squeezed lemon softens it,” says Patrick. He’s talking about fat washed bourbon,
and cranberry juice. “Once again it’s a drink that’s suffered from homemade from cashew nuts. It’s an example of an ingredient
incorrect promotion,” Patrick explains. “The real Cosmopolitan used in new generation cocktails. “Spices and herbs are used,
originated in 1934, and it wasn’t made with vodka, but with gin. and so are kitchen techniques.” Fat washing is done using
And instead of using cranberry juice, they used raspberry juice.” butter that has absorbed the flavour of another ingredient,
He claims the old Cosmopolitan is ‘nothing like’ the one drunk in such as bacon or nuts. That butter is then used to make a drink
the 70s. “Those were made in the disco era, when it was all about that in turn goes into in cocktails. Using the jigger Patrick adds
colour and quantity and not so much about quality.” Patrick’s a dash of lemon and a splash of sugar water into the shaker, The place to be...
mixture goes into the shaker. He shakes it and sieves it into a and then ‘stamps’ the ingredients. He adds the bourbon using The bar in Brussels’ The Dominican , where these photos were taken, is not just any old
glass. “Often young girls order a drink and then get a fright. ‘It’s the jigger and finishes it off with cracked ice. “The advantage is bar. It’s a Brussels hot-spot of note that welcomes guests into the world of cocktails
strong,’ they object. ‘It’s supposed to be strong’, is my response.” that some of it melts, but not all. It shouldn’t be watered down (and champagne) evening after evening. Once a month the bar organises a colourful
Cocktails in the 70s and 80s were often dressed up with all kinds too much, just a little.” Patrick says bartenders consider that the night, in the shades of trendy and colourful cocktails. Experts come from all over the
of frills. Patrick keeps it simple. He burns some orange peel with quality of drinks has improved and the choice of techniques has world to get inspiration in this bar of bars, where Lennart Deddens displays his skills
a lighter and wipes the edge of the glass with it. The happy widened. “These are good times for cocktails!” every day. It’s no coincidence that these two passionate bartenders found each other
drinker’s taste buds flare open at the whiff of it. in this bar and – on a one-off occasion – showed off their talent together. ∞

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