You my have noticed that our local gin producers (four friends and bartenders who created their very own gin blend at the Portobello Star at no 171 Portobello Road back in 2011) have now moved the Ginstitute – and their distillery up the road to no 186.
Meanwhile the Portobello Star – which has been a pub or bar since about 1740 – of course lives on. It is now a cocktail bar that offers rum, whiskey, and vodka-based cocktails as well as those based on gin!
And as well as the extremely well-stocked bar downstairs, cocktail master classes are held upstairs in the Apartment on the first floor. On our evening there, we were shown how to make a cocktail by Nick – a bartender but actually one of the managers these days. As well as teaching us the various ingredients that blend together to make a Cosmopolitan or a Mai Tai, he also explained how to rim a glass with salt for a Margarita, how to shake a shaker efficiently – without injuring anyone, and how to pull the shaker apart again so you can pour your drink. ( This is not as easy as it looks as it creates some kind of airlock during shaking – see how much there is to learn!).
The masterclasses are a perfect night out for a small group of people (they recommend between four and 30) – whether for a hen party or after office team building. You will learn something, they can provide food – tapas or burgers – and of course you get to drink your creations afterwards which might have some appeal!
If you happen to have your own cocktail shaker and a couple of large bowls full of crushed and cubed ice then you might like to try this recipe – based on the Portobello Star Master class.
How to make a Mai Tai
Fill your cocktail shaker with cubed ice and pour in:
1 shot Bacardi carta blanca (12.5ml)
1 shot Goslings black seal rum
1 shot Triple Sec
2 shots lime juice
Add a spoon or 5ml of Plantation OFTD (Old Fashioned Traditional Dark rum)
a spoon of Dissaronno (an Ameretto-like liqueur)
and a spoon of egg white
Shake hard and pour over a glass of crushed ice ( using a special strainer to keep the ice cubes in the shaker!)
Decorate with mint and orange twist and a cherry.
This is one I made earlier! You may want to try this at home… and as specific ingredients are unlikely to be in the average drinks cabinet – you will be pleased to know that you can buy individual shots from the ground floor bar and take them home – so you can still impress your friends with your sophisticated cocktail-making skills.
Alternatively you could let the bartender do the work and enjoy an evening of cocktails at the bar. They offer a good deal between 4pm and 9pm, with two cocktails for £12! If you do, I would recommend the Fappening, we didn’t make this ourselves – almost certainly because it would have involved me using a blow torch to make the creme brûlée style topping . But it is a mix of toffee apple bourbon lime juice , gimme, apple juice and egg white and is seriously drinkable – especially if you have a slightly sweet tooth!