Bankside is one of my favourite parts of London.
Home to the fantastic Borough Market and some of my favourite restaurants in the city, Bankside is a fantastic destination for dinner and weekend meanderings alike.
And in October, things are getting even more exciting along the Lowline with the launch of the Bankside School of Food and Wine!
To celebrate Bankside’s emerging food scene, various venues are holding a range of food and drink workshops.
From doughnut making to butchery classes, chocolate workshops and mixology lessons, there’s a lot to choose from.
But you know me, I’m never one to say no to a good cocktail!
Which is how I found myself in Mark’s Bar at Hixter Bankside for a hands-on British cocktail masterclass.
After a Hix Fix (a delicious mix of cherry liquor and English sparkling wine and the best selling cocktail across all Hix restaurants) on arrival, it was time to get down to cocktail-mixing business!
First things first – a quick refresher on the history of cocktails, must-know techniques used in cocktail making and of course, the provenance of the spirits!
Much like for the food, the approach to cocktail making focuses on local, seasonal ingredients such as Black Cow vodka – the world’s only Pure Milk Vodka™.
Made entirely from the milk of grass grazed cows in West Dorset, it makes for an exceptionally smooth vodka with a unique creamy character.
After eagerly tucking into delicious bar snax (the signature Yorkshire pudding with whipped chicken livers is an absolute must-order!), it was time to recreate some of Mark’s Bar’s renowned cocktails.
First up on the cocktail menu – the Dorset Donkey (a British take on the classic Moscow Mule).
Made with the freshest seasonal produce (blueberries in the summer, blackberries in fall and preserved Morello cherries in the colder months), it’s a great drink to mix for impromptu guests any time of the year.
All you have to do is crush a couple of Morello cherries and sage leaves at the bottom of a highball glass.
Top with 20ml lime juice, 50ml Black Cow vodka, 10ml cherry brandy and 15ml honey or sugar syrup.
Fill the highball glass with ice cubes.
Top with ginger ale.
Garnish with a Morello cherry and 2 sage leaves and you’re all done!
Substitute the sage for orange peel, add a cinnamon stick and you’ll have yourself a smashing Christmas cocktail.
The perfect way to get into the holiday spirits!
Unless of course you’re more of an Espresso martini kind of gal/guy!
I have it on good authority that Mark’s Bar serves one of the best in London.
So might as well learnt from the masters!
It’s actually not that difficult either.
For 1 glass, you’ll need:
- 50ml Black Cow vodka
- 50ml fresh ground coffee or a double espresso
- 35ml honey or sugar syrup
- coffee beans to garnish
Pour all the ingredients into the smaller half of a shaker, add cubed ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
Strain into a champagne coupe and garnish with three coffee beans.
A brew-tiful drink indeed and one well worth learning for yourself!
A inspirational gift or a unique way to celebrate Christmas with colleagues (beats the canapé buffet anyday!), Hixter’s British Cocktail Masterclass will whisky any cocktail lover away! (just remember to book ahead!)
Mark’s Bar at Hixter Bankside, 16 Great Guildford St, London SE1 0HS
*I attended the Hixter cocktail masterclass as a guest of the restaurant and Better Bankside. All words, pictures and love of eau de vie marinated cherries my own.