Sustainability At Core Of New Cocktail List
Belfast’s famous 5-star Merchant Hotel has launched a new cocktail list with strong green credentials.
Upholding The Merchant’s tradition of respecting the classics whilst showcasing passion and skill in crafting new cocktails, Volume V of The Cocktail Book at The Merchant Hotel features a pared back selection of 20 cocktails. The list aims to capture the zeitgeist of the cocktail scene, showcasing timeless favourites, Merchant signatures and innovative Merchant originals.
Sustainability was a big focus in curating the list. Building on The Merchant’s farm to table ethos elsewhere in the hotel, every effort has been made to streamline processes to limit unnecessary waste. Each element of the drinks has a purpose; nothing is wasted. Garnishes, if present, are edible or a by-product of another drink, and are always designed to enhance the piquancy of the cocktail. For example, bartenders handcraft their own orgeat syrup for use in several cocktails, and leftover almonds are used by the chefs to make biscuits.
Smaller Irish brands including Boatyard Vodka and Gin, Dunville’s Whiskey and Shortcross Poitín sit alongside longer-established premium spirits including Redbreast Whiskey, Appleton Rum, Beefeater Gin, Tanqueray 10, Woodford Reserve Bourbon and 1800 Tequila.
The Merchant is famous for once selling the world’s most expensive cocktail, so it’s no surprise that a Mai Tai remains a firm fixture on the list, albeit at a much more affordable price point of £14.95; a fraction of the £750 price tag of the original Trader Vic's Mai Tai, but a stunning drink, using a premium Appleton rum, El Dorado 5-year-old rum, nevertheless.
Regulars will be relieved to know that Merchant classics including a French 75 and The Sicilian, a refreshing mix of Beefeater Gin, Campari, Cointreau, orange sherbet, fresh grapefruit juice, lemon juice, orange bitters, originally perfected by The Dead Rabbit’s Jack McGarry during his time in The Merchant, remain on the list, along with a refined Boatyard Gin martini, and a Redbreast Lustau Tipperary, which are sure to be new favourites.
The Merchant’s classic Champagne Negroni - a refined take on the much fabled ‘Negroni Sbagliato’ which gained popularity thanks to House of Dragons star, Emma D'Arcy last year - also features, while the ‘Presbyterian No. 2’ is the third incarnation of the original Presbyterian. The quirky name and the drink originated in Scotland and is said to have been created by a forward-thinking 19th century minister to help his congregation circumnavigate the strict rules of the Church. It was updated by Sam Ross (Attaboy, Milk & Honey) in 2008. The Merchant has further evolved the drink using Irish whiskey (Dunville’s Peated Irish Whiskey) rather than scotch.
And a fun fact: perhaps surprisingly to some, ice is deemed by Merchant Cocktail Bar manager, Aaron Dugan to the most important part of any drink – creating the ‘igloo effect’, where it cools but does not dilute the liquid. The Merchant has spent years perfecting its ice and large hand carved ice cubes feature in many of their signature serves.
Commenting on the launch of the new cocktail list, he said: “We are proud to unveil our new cocktail menu, which after much consideration is a refined, pared back collection of timeless drinks, Merchant classics and new innovations. When considering the selection, we wanted to create a list that was approachable and encourages conversation with our bartenders, allowing them to share their knowledge and passion for crafting world-class cocktails with our guests."
“We are passionate about making our menu as sustainable as possible, and this carries through, not just in the drinks but in the menu itself, which is made from recycled paper. The menu will evolve and update twice a year to ensure we can source ingredients that are in season.”
The new cocktail menu is now available in The Cocktail Bar at The Merchant Hotel, Belfast. To find out more and to book your Merchant experience, visit www.TheMerchantHotel.com