Aaron Jones, bartender at Salvatore Calabrese's eponymous bar at Playboy Club, London, delivers some Southern Promise with this signature cocktail.
Aaron cut his teeth in Edinburgh, working to pay his way through college, before travelling to Australia and cementing a pastime into a career among the Melbourne bar fraternity. Returning to Edinburgh, he won a place on the 42Below Cocktail World Cup and it was on this trip that he met Salvatore, asking him for a job at the airport on the way home.
Working for the Maestro has, he says, been a steep learning curve, with Salvatore imparting his secret tips to hosting guests and making them feel relaxed and welcome. "Most importantly though,," says Aaron, "he treats us all like a family, encourages us when we need it, slaps us when we have done wrong (not literally... well maybe sometimes in jest), but at the end of the day is interested in what we do, both in and outside our working day, and is there for us when we need his wise advice. He also has a wicked sense of humour."
The inspiration for the Southern Promise comes, he says, from the promise of springtime sunshine and the flavours and fragrance that the new season brings; mint tea from Morocco, lavender from the south of France, lemons from the Amalfi coast, Italy.
Garnish: Cherry (macerated in cheery brandy and bourbon, sugar syrup, vanilla and cinnamon) and lavender stalk
Method: Atomise elderflower liqueur on the outside of a Martini glass and put back in the freezer.
50ml Havana Club 3 Moroccan infusion (see below)
5ml Trois Rivieres rhum agricole
12.5ml Lemon juice
10ml Homemade lavender syrup and CrÃ¨me de Violette (2:1)
4 drops Difford's Daiquiri Bitters
Comment: Coat outside of glass with elderflower liqueur
To create 300ml of Havana 3 Moroccan Mint Infusion, in a creaming gun combine 4 barspoons of Moroccan gunpowder and mint tea, 2 barspoons of crushed dried peppermint leaves and 300ml Havana Club 3-year-old rum. Double charge and leave to sit for 10 minutes, shaking occasionally, then release the pressure and fine strain through cloth.