A Return to Cocktail Hour
It cannot be denied that, this summer, it’s all about the Roaring Twenties and the era of the Great Gatsby, when “gin was the national drink and sex was the national obsession”. A time when spirits were high, jazz ruled the airwaves and Cocktail Hour was king. Bombay Sapphire and Chef Cory Vitiello are helping Canadians re-invent the Cocktail Hour of the 1920s by bringing it into the 21st century. These are classic gin cocktails with a modern twist and cuisine pairings that inspire summer entertaining worthy of Gatsby himself. “Made popular in the Roaring Twenties, Cocktail Hour was a time to relax, catch up with friends and sip gin martinis,” explained Raj Nagra, global brand ambassador, Bombay Sapphire. “Today’s Cocktail Hour can be inspired by a retrospective look at these classic cocktail days, but can also be updated with a modern twist better suited for the 21st century.”
While Cocktail Hour of yore truly was a time for spirits, gin was certainly the drink of choice. Classic gin cocktails, such as the gin martini, gin and tonic and negroni were on every speakeasy menu and made in homes across the country. Making simple additions or adjustments to these classic cocktails is an easy way to give the Cocktail Hour of today a modern day feel. For example, adding Prosecco sparkling wine, juniper berries, coriander seeds and the zest of lemon and lime to a tradition gin and tonic is a quick and easy way to bring a classic favourite of yesterday into today. “Putting a twist on a traditional cocktail recipe is easy when using a versatile and mixable spirit,” continued Nagra. “Bombay Sapphire’s uniquely refined and delicately balanced flavour profile created by its 10 botanicals and Vapour Infusion distillation process makes it the ultimate spirit to marry with a variety of ingredients.”
Botanicals such as almonds and lemon peel from Spain not only inspire great Cocktail Hour cocktails, but cuisine pairings as well. Taking inspiration from the Gin’s flavours and the Cocktail Hours of the Roaring Twenties, Chef Cory Vitiello developed hors d’oeuvres recipes that pair perfectly with these modernized cocktails. Vitiello’s Caramelized Fennel, Olives, Toasted Almond and Orange Gougeres is an updated take on the popular Cocktail Hour offering and was inspired by the Spanish almonds that are infused in the drink. They provide nuttiness and strength to the overall spirit. “Pairing cocktails and cuisine can make both taste better,” said Vitiello. “When hosting a modern-day Cocktail Hour, try serving dishes and drinks that have one or two similar ingredients or tastes that compliment or help bring out each other’s flavours.”
When hosting your own modern day Cocktail Hour this summer, Vitiello also recommends building a play list full of today’s most popular jazz musicians to help set the mood, displaying a drink menu to help cold, hard ice on hand to keep drinks cool.