“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”
– Susan Sontag
Everywhere has been on my list for a while too. My wanderlust finally got the better of me the other evening, when my travelling companions and I found ourselves at the eccentric Mayfair abode of the British adventurer Phileas Foggs Esq., ready to explore the world… in eighty cocktails.
Mr. Fogg’s grand drawing room presented a veritable treasure trove as always, adorned with memorabilia and artefacts amassed on his exploits, from a hot-air balloon to antique tiger skins and stuffed crocodiles.
On that perfect summer’s evening though, we decided to seek out the wonders of the world al fresco, from the comfort of Fogg’s Botanical Garden – a lush terrace teeming with flora and potted plants, complete with elegant garden furniture, colonial blinds and ceiling fans…
We embarked on our adventures armed with a trusty map presenting 80 compounded libations. Easing our navigation immensely, cocktails were categorised into four distinct flavour profiles – Spicy Aromatic Exotic; Sweet Fruity Sharp; Woody Rich Bitter; and Fresh Light Delicate – each charting to a different quarter of the world map. Even more captivating, were the anecdotal stories behind each cocktail provided by Fogg himself!
Seeking a flavour of the exotic, the first port of call was Sri Lanka where I encountered the Cocky Mule – vodka infused with ginger, shaken with cinnamon liqueur, cinnamon syrup and fresh lime juice, and topped with a fragrant cardamom foam that had us all frothing for more.
Megs headed to Holland to walk in fields of gold with Voor de Dame, a delicate blend of Bacardi Carta Blanca rum, chamomile-infused Dolin Blanc vermouth, Yellow Chartreuse, chamomile syrup and fresh lemon juice, lightly textured with egg white and Angostura bitters. Soothing yet zesty, it was just the apéritif for the end of a long day.
Meanwhile Sam flew State-side to meet with the Illusionist, a heady concoction of Balvenie 14 year whisky, bourbon and Cocchi Barolo Chinato (a Barolo-based wine from Cocchi flavoured with quinine bark, rhubarb, cardamon and other spices), with a splash of lapsang souchong and cinnamon syrup, and smoked with cinnamon and cloves. A rich and aromatic treat, with woody undertones.
For our next round (trip), the Cape of Good Hope beckoned. A refreshing mix of gin, pear purée, fresh rosemary, lavender syrup, lemon juice and egg white topped with soda… it made for a revitalising summer retreat.
Appetites whet by a taste of Spicy Aromatic & Exotic, we decided to end our travels in the same flavour location of the map, stopping over in Angola to capture a Sight of the Sable – a crisp Royal vodka martini with a gingery twist, presented daintily in a glass cone with a little treasure at the bottom.
Jet lag catching up with us, it was soon time to return home. But with such a lot of world still left to see, we will definitely be sojourning again at Mr. Fogg’s soon. After all, who better a travelling companion than the great explorer himself?
Mr Fogg, 15 Bruton Lane, London W1J 6JD
In case you’re as enthralled by Mr Fogg’s escapades as us, then you may also be interested to know that he hosts a Tipsy Tea around the weekends. If a lazy afternoon spent indulging in scrumptious cakes and champagne cocktails in teapots sounds appealing, you can click through to read about my experience here.