A colleague has just come back from a wonderful weekend in Prague with his girlfriend.
He tells me about the beautiful old town, the castle, the Charles bridge, Wenceslas square… the jazz… and much else.
And then he tells me about the Hemingway Bar.
“You must go if you’re ever in the city, it has a really nice atmosphere and great music,” he tells me, encouraging me further by attaching the cocktail menu.
Well, there are some absolute beauts on that document! There’s the Hulky Smash: Pernod and velvet falernum (see note at the bottom of this post for what this actually is) mixed with fresh lemon, grapes, mint and cucumber juice.
Then there’s Hemingway’s Gasoline: a fairly serious melding of whisky, Campari, Punt e Mes, Pedro Ximenez sherry and walnut bitters.
Also on offer are some slightly softer options such as Lights, Camera, Action: popcorn-infused rum with egg white and lemon juice, or Arrested After Dark which contains cognac, amaro, Lillet rouge and orange bitters.
I salivated and then went back to work. As I was concentrating hard on a particularly complex marketing analysis my colleague sent through further and better particulars:
Bing! “Attached is a photo” read the email. “The one on the left was called ‘Christmas in Havana’ – a rum-based cocktail with desiccated coconut floating around, so it looks like a snowglobe! Mine on the right was served on a fishnet because Hemingway, the writer who inspired the bar, was also a fisherman, and the cocktail was his signature drink – iced Earl Grey tea with various spirits in it.”
Even if this latter drink didn’t sound anything like Hemingway’s famed Daiquiri, or even his Death in the Afternoon, it’s clear that a lot of professionalism and creativity goes into the invention and presentation of cocktails at this bar.
I’m also impressed by their rules – in particular:
“Rule Seven: Do not use a computer in the bar. We will be happy to recommend an Internet Café.”
So a thoroughly civilised, and stylish, place to savour some interesting mixology. I think I’ll take Hemingway’s Gasoline as a starter….
*What is Velvet Falernum?
Velvet is a sort of alcoholic (rum-based) sugar syrup used in many Caribbean cocktails. Non-velvet, simple falernum is the non-alcoholic version – the syrup being infused with lime zest, ginger, cloves and almonds among other things. The Hemmingway Bar makes its own Velvet Falernum.