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PREMIUM

Distilled – New cocktail book from iconic London bar

Our latest round-up of trends from the top shelf, including a cocktail book from The Connaught Bar in London, the recipe for a Pegu Club and an explanation of the triple distillation technique.

Raising the bar

The Connaught Bar in London’s Mayfair has won a string of awards since it opened in 2008, including being named on the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 14 consecutive years since 2010. A new book takes readers behind the scenes at this iconic establishment, which adheres to the hotel motto placere placet: ‘it pleases to give pleasure’. The Connaught Bar: Recipes and Iconic Creations contains 100 stylishly photographed cocktails and their recipes, with an entire chapter devoted to the legendary Connaught Martini, plus 120 additional recipes for the homemade syrups, infused spirits and garnishes that help to create the signature style of Connaught libations. Written by master mixologist Agostino Perrone, with Maura Milia (bar manager) and Giorgio Bargiani (assistant director of mixology), it would make an elegant addition to your bookshelf and is a must-read for fans of cocktail culture. £29.95 Phaidon


What is… triple distillation?

A technique particularly associated with whisky production – especially Irish whiskey and Scotch – triple distillation involves using three separate pot stills. The first distillation in a wash still heats a fermented mixture of grains, water and yeast (the wash) to capture the alcohol. This is released as vapour, then cooled to condense it back to a liquid called ‘low wine’. The low wine is distilled in a second still, using the same heating and condensing technique to produce ‘high wine’. This is distilled in a third still to produce the final spirit. At each stage of distillation the alcohol content increases: low wine is about 25% abv, high wine about 60% and the final spirit about 80%. The higher alcohol content helps to create more complexity in the final spirit; meanwhile, each distillation removes more impurities, resulting in a smoother, richer and more refined dram.


What to drink now… Pegu Club

The Pegu Club dates back to colonial times, when it was the house cocktail at a British officers’ club of the same name near Rangoon in Burma (today, Yangon in Myanmar). The exact date of its creation and name of its creator are unknown, but the recipe first appears in the 1923 book “Harry” of Ciro’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails by Harry McElhone. That recipe called for Rose’s cordial – a preserved and sweetened lime juice; later cocktail books omitted the name Rose’s, so the modern recipe uses fresh lime juice. The drink enjoyed a revival when Audrey Saunders opened craft cocktail bar Pegu Club in New York in 2005. If you want to mix one at home, use Tanqueray London Dry Gin (Alc 41.3%, £22-£29.95/70cl Widely available), the brand preferred by Saunders, made with just four botanicals: juniper, coriander, angelica and liquorice.

Ingredients: 60ml gin, 22ml lime juice, 22ml orange curaçao, 1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters, 1 dash orange bitters

Glass: Coupe

Garnish: Lime wedge, slice or twist

Method: Put all of the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until your hands are cold, then strain into a chilled coupe.


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