After last week’s visit of Conrad Algarve’s Wilson Pires to London (Click HERE for Review!) – this week brings the team from famed, multi-award-winning bar Dead Rabbit NYC to London’s Callooh Callay! Bringing with them a selection of cocktails from their own absolutely massive menu.
Dead Rabbit’s Irish Coffee, or, “Irish coffee? How good can an Irish Cof-holy s******** this is amazing” served hot: Powers Signature Release Irish Whiskey, Demerara, Coffee, Fresh Cream, Nutmeg – I do not know what unholy forces put this together, but it’s brilliant. The Demerara layer after the first kick of full-bodied coffee really seals the deal, ending with the lingering warmth of whiskey. Brilliant.
The Buck the Trend brings Redbreast 15 year Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Usquebaugh Spice Blend, Meadowsweet Cordial, lemon, dandelion and burdock bitters together for a bright, floral, summer cocktail. The nose is full of honey, tropical fruits, citrus and floral notes, the palate is, well, for the lack of a better term, a ray of sunshine. Some of the Redbreast’s stewed fruits and toffee notes come through to add a depth to the sweet honeyed flavour of the meadowsweet cordial, and the zesty spices of the blend. Even the dandelion and burdock bitters play a part in securing that image of a summer field – perfect time of year for this cocktail.
The Bán Voyage swaggers in with a totally different flavour profile. Nicknamed a ‘Whiskey Negroni’ at our table, it’s an exquisitely complex and sophisticated drink to sit back with – Yellow Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Cocchi Americano, Bán Poitin, Luxardo Sangue Morlacco, St. Germain, Amer Picon, Dead Rabbit Orinoco bitters, Absinthe.
The whiskey’s nose is most prominent, Yellow Spot’s stone fruits, a certain sherry-ness (probably enhanced by the Morlacco), but dry notes come through as well (possibly the Amer Picon and vermouth). The palate is smooth and long, the sweetness of marzipan accompanies the otherwise dry flavours. The tartness of the Morlacco brings the cherry flavours, but needs the Picon, Cocchi and Absinthe to temper its otherwise unholy sweetness. The Absinthe itself isn’t potent, but seems to play more as a cleansing aniseed right toward the end, like an afterthought.
Strangely, the Hoodooist felt the Orinoco’s flavours the strongest: the heat-ridden bark spices from sandalwood to cinnamon, to raisins and bitter orange peels. A beautifully complex cocktail to ponder over.
After that winner, the Ace King Jack kinda paled in comparison: Green Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Calvados, Amer Picon, Yellow Chartreuse, Beetroot, lemon. It was difficult to get much out of this besides the overbearing sweetness of the beetroot paired with Calvados. Some of the herby notes of the whiskey came through, but I suppose one needs the sweeter drinks on the menu as well, but it felt one-dimensional. Similar to the Asylum Seeker (Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey, Old Forester Bourbon, lime, coffee, chicory, pecan, absinthe), which may have been a slip of the hand, since at the table, it was difficult to taste much more than the absinthe.
The Blackbirds is a very simple cocktail that accomplishes the job of quenching thirst in its simplicity: Jameson Original Irish Whiskey, Orange sherbet, Bergamot, Fever Tree soda. The bergamot, being such a fragile flavour, plays a much more subtly part in the entire cocktail, but you really need a patio for this drink. Easy to make at home for those heatwaves too.
Finally, the Jay and Silent Bob – love this: Power John’s Lane Release Irish Whiskey, Crème de Framboise, Ancho Chilli, Cocchi Torino, Jerry Thomas Decant bitters. Bitter, but not too bitter; sweet, but not too sweet. Dry, but still with a sweet vermouth roundedness (probably from the sherry casks the whiskey was aged in) – striking a balance, probably that’s why the name. The strawberry and chilli are not powerful flavours here, but play their part in tempering the cocktail. The Cocchi and whiskey work together wonderfully to make an aperitif to be proud of. Fruits, orange, cherries, balanced alongside vanilla, chocolate, raisins – finally ending with something cool, like menthol? Clean, cutting. Love.
Dead Rabbit really knows how to put on a show. Coming down to Callooh Callay in London, they brought a taste of the cocktail scene in NYC, highlighting the distinct similarities and differences in the industry half a world apart, and of course, bringing their spectacular skill with them. If ever in NYC, you’d be mistaken to not visit.
Dead Rabbit NYC
30 Water Street,
near Broad Street, New York City
New York, USA.