This summer, Bassoon at Corinthia Hotel London will be transformed into a bar reminiscent of the mystical era of 1920’s New Orleans with a menu inspired by the classic cocktail culture of a bygone period of time. Under the expert eye of award-winning bartender Marcis Dzelzainis, of Sager + Wilde, along with a team that includes Head Bartender Joshua Joyce previously of Satan’s Whiskers, Jackie Lai of Sager + Wilde and business partner Michael Sager, Bassoon will become a representation of colliding culture, inventing its own rules – just like the city it draws inspiration from.
The menu features illustrations by Jonathan Callugi and is made up of a total of 16 alcoholic and three non-alcoholic cocktails, each drink is a modern riff on classics such as a Martini, a Julep and the iconic Ramos Gin Fizz. Each elegant creation will be playful yet uncomplicated, with rounded flavors that build on and complement each other. With a focus on charming service, modern techniques, unusual ingredients and an attention to detail for which Marcis has become renowned, Bassoon will enter a new era celebrating the soulful musicality and mysterious history of the Big Easy.
The Champagne list has been carefully curated by Marcis’ business partner and wine connoisseur Michael Sager, who has hand selected Champagnes from small-scale producers such as Jérôme Prévost and Chartogne-Tailletas well as recognizable names such as Dom Pérignon, showcasing the diversity of the sector. An intelligently curated music program will set the scene, featuring the soulful sounds developed by DJ, writer and music consultant Simon Eltringham. The new food menu, featuring small bites such as ‘Nduja Arancini, Courgette Fries, and small plates like Potted Shrimp, Oysters and Caviar, complete Bassoon’s fresh collision with the award winning Sager + Wilde team.
The partnership demonstrates Marcis and the team’s signature East London style and independent spirit in the iconic setting of one of the most exquisite bars in London at the Corinthia Hotel London. In a merging of creative skills, Bassoon’s new menu is a liquid representation of boundary-pushing cocktail culture, pulling on notable classic ideas of the past and bringing them firmly into the present.
ABOUT THE DRINKS
The aptly named Meadowsweet Martini captures the essence of springtime with each sip and is a light, fresh take on the conventional Martini. An aperitif served straight up, the cocktail features the eponymous perennial herb, meadowsweet, which has a soft earthiness due to the presence of coumarin – a flavor also found in hay and tonka beans. Reminiscent of vanilla, its delicate flavors are countered with frozen vodka and acidic Verjus, commonly known as the juice of unripe grapes. This sophisticated serve also has notes of apricot and comes served in a round glass for the ultimate effortless style.
A play on the much-loved Daiquiri comes in the form of the Rhizzle, made with aged rum and fresh passionfruit. Mixed with Aperol, whose rhubarb notes are amplified, the Rhizzle is a rollercoaster of flavor, lengthened with the unusual inclusion of iron which pumps up the tangy flavors of the drink’s components. In true New Orleans style, an old-fashioned sugar syrup called a capillaire adds the tantalizing flavors of orange flowers. This drink looks how it tastes and has a pale orange hue nodding to the low setting summer sun in the Deep South.
The one sharing cocktail on the new menu comes in the form of the Miso Milk Punch, which uses the age-old technique of clarifying milk by separating the whey from the curd perfected in the 1800s. The perfect digestive, this luxurious cocktail harnesses the taste of pure decadence, with the addictive umami flavors of miso and the indulgent aroma of black truffle, shaved over the drink to serve as its garnish. Savory and sweet in equal measures, this drink has a delightfully unexpected balance, which will keep its sipper wanting more.
The cleverly concocted Champagne on Toast evokes the luxuriant, toasty flavors of a fine vintage Champagne. Served in a flute, this drink is a twist on a Kir Royale, but uses Cognac and a home-made brioche liqueur – a taste commonly rewarded to vintage bubbles. The liqueur is made by lightly toasting brioche before cooking it sous vide for a remarkable richness and depth. This drink develops with each sip resulting in a fully rounded mouthfeel.
Complex flavors marry perfectly in the Pine Americano, which uses a heavily scented Pine Soda; a home-made signature from the Sager + Wilde menu. Sweet and herbaceous, this long drink fine tunes the bitter notes of Campari and gives its drinker the unusual earthy tastes of Scots Pine and Douglas Fir.
Session drinkers can indulge in the creamy Wild Strawberry Ramos, which is a twist on one of the most iconic, and tastiest, New Orleans drinks in history. Soft and silky, this hard shaken high-ball mixes gin with neroli, citrus, cream and coconut water, complete with the unmistakable flavor of wild strawberries.
The Brandy Buck gets a makeover in the Cognac Hi-Hall, which has aromatic notes from a Sandalwood Soda. Woody and spicy, this evocative serve has several layers which pull together resulting in a serious but light long drink to enjoy at any time of day.
Additional drinks include the verdant Champagne & Basil Julep, which comes crowned with crushed ice and pea shoots and has a gentle fizz for easy drinking. The punchy Bergamot Negroni has a distinctly bitter smack, which opens up the palette and is perfect for Negroni lovers wanting a lighter serve, whilst the heady Peach & Vetiver Smash offers an interesting perfume aroma with hints of stone fruits and an ethereal opalescent glow. The Cedar & Oak, served on the rocks, is a nutty, sour-style cocktail, with a silky texture and woody flavors of the forest, whilst the Toasted Coconut Old Fashioned is a rounded, smooth take on the classic stirred drink, counterbalanced by the inimitable flavor toasted coconuts.
The iconic Sazerac is twisted up to form the Ambrette Sazerac, with a base note of musk, offset with layers of rose and citrus. The Southbank Royal, with Champagne and May Chang, provides an easy-sipping drink for summer evenings on the riverside. Served straight-up, the Chamomile Rob Roy has a lengthy, layered flavor that delicately reaches from the tip of your tongue to the back of your palette and the aperitif-style Wax & Smoke, is a fresh take on the classic Paloma, with the distinct flavors of grapefruit and tequila, with an enigmatic addition of fennel pollen for a touch of anise. Each and every cocktail provides a unique talking point for its drinker, personifying the idiosyncratic personality of NOLA in the roaring 20s.