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John Hawkins
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John Hawkins

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Does anyone know an official opening date for the summer season for Franks in Peckham? As of today the website just says "OPENING SOON", and on their Twitter feed all I could find is this retweeted tweet from @MelodieCarre which suggested it was 42 days from April 14th:
https://twitter.com/MelodieCarre/status/587963049434357760

So  that should mean Tuesday May 26th - can anyone confirm that? Thanks!
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Spoke to a Peckham local recently... apparently this unimpeded view is under threat from new development plans... so I think we should all make an effort to go and enjoy this view before it's... gone, gone, gone...!
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Has anyone tried the The Lobby Bar at One Aldwych's twist on a Negroni?

I'm unconvinced that the addition of strawberry jam is a good idea.
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From the "budget corner" of Mixology:

I picked up this bottle of "BITTER Paolo Lazzaroni & Figli Aperitivo" in a discount liquor store in Japan today. I think it's some kind of cheap Campari knock off. It cost 680 yen ($7) - for comparison in the same shop Campari was something like 1500 yen. 

I don't have the other requisite ingredients to hand here in Japan to try it in a Negroni, but trying it just with some ice it was surprisingly drinkable.
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Popped into Gerry's (London's Aladdin's cave of cocktail ingredients) earlier today and picked up a few bottles. My interest in Nardini was piqued earlier this year with a visit to the London branch of Princi (a chain of cafe/bar/bakeries originating in Milan) where they serve a "rhubarb Negroni" featuring Nardini's Rabarbo Liqeur. So I bought a bottle of that to experiment with, and a bottle of "Bob's" (has anyone here watched Blackadder?) orange bitters. Bob's bitters have a pipette dispenser and are quite delicious all by themselves.

Also recently picked up a bottle of Pickering's Gin, a gin from Edinburgh, which has really strong fruity / berry notes. 

Collectively, with my old favourite Antica Formula, this made for a Negroni variant very reminiscent of English desserts - some combination of rhubarb crumble, caramelised oranges, and summer berry pudding.
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As a result of running out of sweet vermouth, I wondered whether Pimm's could be used as a substitute in a Negroni. It turns out this is actually an established thing, called an Oxford Negroni, and is apparently popular with students at Oxford University.

Not sure how common Pimm's is abroad, here in the UK the country is practically swimming in the stuff during the summer. It is in fact partly made from sweet vermouth, but given its mass market target it's obviously not going to be a particularly high quality one, and in honesty this variant on a Negroni isn't really a patch on one made using a high end vermouth like Carpano.

It is nonetheless interesting as a one-off experiment, it makes a summery sort of a Negroni, and if nothing else it's good to know this just about works if, like me, you're out of vermouth.
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I thought I'd try out the new collections feature in G+.
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John Hawkins

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My parcels arrived today, and I made my first alcohol free Negroni (Fauxgroni?).

Here's my first stab at the ingredients.
50ml Sanbitter
40ml Palermo Rosso (alcohol free vermouth)
25ml Monin Gin syrup

...and the results? Far too sweet! It became a bit more drinkable once the ice had melted a bit, and it was sufficiently chilled / diluted. I think the gin syrup may have been the main culprit even though I used a lot less of that than anything else.

The Palermo Rosso is quite pleasant to drink by itself, over ice, and is sort of reminiscent of vermouth.
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Sacred made a special gin for the Tate which is surprisingly different from their normal (excellent) offering, and also really interesting in its own right. This is quite unlike the usual light and citrusy profile, instead being rather spicy, exotic and complex; including frankincense, apparently. It really holds its own in a Negroni.
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This afternoon I went to Gerry's on Old Compton Street in London and told them "I want a really good vermouth for Negroni". They produced a bottle of Antica Formula.

I make more Negronis at home than any other cocktail - it's far and away my favourite - but like many other people (I assume) I've always neglected the vermouth a bit, and just used whatever came to hand without really thinking about it much. I used Martini Rosso for a while, but have also rather lazily used white vermouths (Noilly Prat and Dolin).

If you follow the standard Negroni recipe, the vermouth is a third of the drink, so it's odd that this ingredient doesn't get as much attention as the other two.

Antica Formula is delicious. Particularly for someone like me, originally a whisky lover, and a huge fan of the uniquely medicinal flavour of Laphroaig. Those same kind of cough syrup notes seem to be present in Antica Formula. On the other hand, it is really overpowering, and given that I've got into the habit of making my Negronis with Aperol rather than Campari, I could barely taste anything else.

Maybe the quantities need tweaking a bit, and maybe I should go back to using Campari?
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When I was last in New York (in May this year) I ordered a Negroni at the bar at the hotel I was staying at (the Dream Downtown - really not my scene, but was convenient for work). The bartender asked which gin I would like. I replied that I really didn't care, and I was much more interested in the choice of vermouth. The bartender said all they had was Martini Rosso, and "unless you go to an artisanal cocktail bar in New York" I wouldn't find anything else.

At the risk of bragging about European superiority when it comes to the Negroni, which is, after all, a drink from the old world - here in London at least, superior vermouth choices like Punt e Mes or, better still, Antica Formula, are fairly commonplace.
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I heard recently that Sacred had released a liqueur they call "Rosehip Cup", effectively an Amaro, which seems to have at least partly been designed to make an all-Sacred Negroni, given that they already have a vermouth and of course gin.

I did a quick side-by-side with Campari to see how it compared. It's light and fruity at the first taste, with the spice and complexity following on a bit later. Campari on the other hand is denser, thicker, stronger and sweeter, and the bitterness and spice are there right from the moment it touches your lips. So perhaps Sacred's version is a bit closer to Aperol in terms of the flavour profile (and ABV as it happens).

Probably a good thing that Sacred's Rosehip Cup is a little lighter than Campari, as Sacred Gin is quite a light and delicate gin, which would just get lost in a regular Negroni.

I used it to make a Negroni with Portobello Road Gin (for no other reason than this is the gin I have in at the moment) and Carpano Classico - as much as I love Antica Formula it does tend to overpower the rest of the drink. The end result is quite a light and summery Negroni - fruitier and more refreshing than the usual, but that's not necessarily a bad thing once in a while.
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Have recently been intrigued by the challenge of making an alcohol free Negroni.

Sanbitter (or Crodino) instead of the Campari, lots of Italian delis sell these. Venezzio Bitter is another similar product. Unfortunately all of these drinks come in funny little 10cl bottles, and are always sparkling, but maybe that can be excused - at Caffe Rivoire in Florence they sometimes put a splash of soda in their Negronis, presumably harking back to the Negroni's direct ancestor, the Americano.

Vermouth was a bit more of a challenge, but I found a couple of alcohol free vermouths at the Alcohol Free Shop (alcoholfree.co.uk) - Palermo Rouge and Versin. I ordered one of each.

Gin was also a bit of a challenge - whilst they had an alcohol free whisky at the Alcohol Free Shop, they didn't have a gin. However elsewhere I found Monin do a gin flavour syrup. 

Have to wait for the deliveries now, will update later with the outcome...
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Pretending to be posh.
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Interested in old pubs and bars, architecture, London history, Savile Row, bespoke tailoring, vegetarianism and the occasional bit of contemporary art.
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Possibly the friendliest and most welcoming staff of any coffee shop I've ever been to - Rich and Klara are absolutely delightful people. They also make very good coffee.
Public - in the last week
reviewed in the last week
Liked the Parisian cafe decor and it's a stylish spot on the corner of Sloane Square but that said it's a little sad a part of London as well known as that has no genuine institutions of it's own (imagine a French person coming to visit the much lauded "glamorous" Sloane Square to discover - oh - a mock French cafe). Food at breakfast felt overpriced - ordinary ingredients cooked competently but really nothing to get excited about. £10 for a simple omelette with cheese and toast? Yes I know it's the location etc etc but when their sister restaurant brasserie Zedel offers similar fare for much less it really feels like lazy profiteering. Service also a bit unimpressive - my wife ordered one of their juices, when it arrived it the colour looked wrong so she asked them to confirm what they'd brought - they lazily said "it is whatever you ordered". It actually wasn't. Really could do better.
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Public - a week ago
reviewed a week ago
Tiny "caff" serving English breakfasts and Italian dishes. Very strong neighbourhood feel - everybody seemed to know everybody else - and Mario is a very congenial host. Coffee actually very good - apparently in its former incarnation when Mario's Dad Tony ran it in the 50s this was one of the first places to have an espresso machine in the UK - that Italian tradition has been kept up, very intense dark roasted espresso.
Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago
This historic pub could all too easily be dismissed as a tourist attraction but in fact the bar on the right hand side as you go in may be one of London's tiny handful of surviving pre-Victorian pub interiors (or at least elements thereof). The sawdust on the floor may be a bit twee, but if you come in here when it's quiet, and the open fire is lit, it has a very special atmosphere.
Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago
1528 reviews
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Old but still very nice playground with a pirate ship, a train, a helter skelter slide and a pedal powered roundabout. Also public toilets.
Public - 2 weeks ago
reviewed 2 weeks ago
Just popped into the Negroni Bar in the basement, but assume the food is on a par with the other branches of Polpo, which I've generally enjoyed. Atmosphere in the basement bar was very dark and dingy. They have a few choices of Negroni, with a couple of different gins (Beefeater, and also a "smoked gin") and some of the usual suspects for vermouth, from the low end Martini Rosso, to the mid range Punt e Mes, to the high end Carpano Antica Formula. I of course went for the one with Antica Formula in (the "Smithfield Negroni"). For £8.50, it's a comparatively good value Negroni (very few places in London using Antica Formula charge less than a tenner), albeit that perhaps the glass is a bit small, and it could maybe use bigger / better quality ice cubes.
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Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago
Recently reopened after an extended period of being closed, now a Youngs pub. Youngs should be given credit for the amount of money they poured into making this a workable pub again - it's all too easy to sneer at the pub chains, but the reality is that an independent owner almost certainly wouldn't have had the funds to bring this place back to life. That said - and maybe it's just unfair to judge so soon - the new incarnation errs on the side of the bland and generic, and the decor has an air of Farrow and Ball about it. Still, worth revisiting a bit later once it's had a chance to find its feet and re-develop a bit of character.
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Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago