Oliver McTear, bars manager at The Grand Hotel, gives his views on ideal cocktails for every occasion:
Cocktails have long been associated with celebrations. From small gatherings to larger parties, they make an ideal aperitif or after dinner drink, or can simply be enjoyed on their own.
Dating back as far as 1798 the cocktail has many different guises with the first cocktail recipes appearing in print in 1806. Here at The Grand Hotel, we have an extensive menu of cocktails to choose from and here I have listed some of my favourites for various occasions and the history behind them.
Sunday morning brunch
The classic Bloody Mary is synonymous with celebrating a lazy Sunday morning brunch in the company of good friends. Termed as “the world’s most complex cocktail” this spicy tomato juice and vodka based drink is associated with a number of historical figures including Queen Mary of England. However, the origin of the name in English is widely believed to be associated with the failure to pronounce the name ‘Vladimir’ as in Vladimir Smirnov, of the Smirnoff vodka family, who enjoyed the drink as a customer at Harry’s Bar in Paris in 1920.
The refreshingly tart and salty margarita served over ice is an ideal choice for the warmer months. Traditionally created from a blend of tequila, Cointreau and lime juice, there are many disputed stories over its origin. Perhaps the most likely explanation of its invention is it is a remake of the American drink, the Daisy, which was popular during prohibition. Those looking for alcoholic refreshment would cross the border in to Mexico where ‘Daisy’ translates directly as ‘Margarita’ in Spanish.
No celebration would be complete without raising a glass of Champagne and for a wedding the classic Champagne Cocktail is a perfect choice to enjoy as a post ceremony drink. The decadent cocktail is laced with cognac and featured in the first cocktail recipe book in 1862 ‘Bon Vivant’s Companion’ by bartender, Jerry Thomas.
Perfect for warming up with during the festive season is a glass of mulled wine. The drink has been enjoyed in the UK for decades with a traditional recipe featuring in the well-revered publication ‘Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management’. The earliest records of spiced and heated wine dates back to first century Rome when Romans travelled all across Europe bringing wine with them.
Just to enjoy
If you just want to enjoy a cocktail for no other reason than to sit back, relax and unwind why not try a classic Martini? Made from gin and vermouth and garnished elegantly with an olive, the Martini is one of the best known cocktails. The exact origin of the drink is unclear but it is believed it originated at some point in the late 19th century.
The Grand Hotel’s cocktail ‘Happy Hour’ takes place daily between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.
For more information about The Grand Hotel’s Cocktail Bar, please visit www.grandeastbourne.com