Words by: Ingmar Voerman
The fairy tale-like ‘Belle Époque’-themed restaurant and bar The Duchess (*) in Amsterdam recently celebrated its 3 year anniversary and hosted an intimate sneak peak of what the bar’s future is going to look like.
Reason enough for a chat with Andrea Boi, the Duchess’ new bar manager about developing the new menu. Including recipes of a few of their concept drinks!
Andrea Boi is a bartender with a London background and has worked for one of the most creative and visionary people from the industry: Tony Conigliaro (Tony C), and was the Lab Manager for Zetter Townhouse. He’s following up Sergei Grey Platanov at The Duchess, who has been running the bar since opening and set a great standard for its hospitality, the bar team and their cocktails.
Andrea: “Senior bartender Vitaly Alekseyev (Who’s been with the bar since opening) and I have a shared London base, which results in a shared vision or both managing the bar and creating new drinks."
“We’re currently developing the third menu . It’s going to be focused on enhancing the elegance of the building we are located as well as getting closer to the food we are serving. Using products that are already being used in the kitchen is key. The TOMATO AND SODA is a perfect example of philosophy and is served to all guests as an aperitif before dinner, accompanied with some bread (and looking like a glass of soda).”
“The menu will include 12-16 concept drinks, and will be named after and themed on a singular ingredient, to name a few: truffle, hibiscus, olive oil, parmesan, tomato, mustard, rice, mushroom, apricot, fig and strawberry. Every drink will include kitchen techniques that are inspired by our chefs and pastry chefs.”
“This way we will have a drink to pair with pretty much every dish on the dinner menu and afternoon tea. We want to be more straight forward with our guests, not classifying drinks per section but having more interaction and talking points with them by explaining the pairings and possibilities.
"Our focus and energy will be all about serving elegant, simple but delicious drinks that will surprise guests and leave them speechless.”
And now, the drinks:
20 ml of homemade verbena liquor
(vodka cooked sous vide with fresh verbena leaves plus some drops of a homemade verbena tincture)
Top with brut champagne
Method & Glass: Build in a frozen coupette glass
Garnish: fresh verbena leaf
Andrea: “Inspired by rosé wine that has strong hints of rose and strawberry. We wanted to recreate that flavor experience without using wine, so we used verjuice (verjus) to represent the same acidity.
Then we slow cooked that with freeze dried strawberry and rose water into the shrub that is the drink’s base.”
30 ml Grey Goose vodka
30 ml homemade strawberry and rose shrub
30 ml top with soda
Method & Glass: Build in a frozen rose wine glass .
Garnish: A spray of rose essence
TOMATO AND SODA
50 ml Ocho blanco tequila infused with tomato – and clairified
10 ml sugar syrup (2 to 1)
top with soda
Method & Glass: Build in a water glass - to look like a glass of flavoured sparkling water
Garnish: tomato salt rim
How to make this clarified tomato infusion:
1st: after we grated the fresh wine tomato we literally drain the water out of the tomato naturally without pressure, and then we freeze them to block the oxidation
2nd After sous vide infusing the tequila with the tomato, we strain the tomato through a super fine filter called super bag (50 micron). This starts to take off a bit of colour
3rd Last and most important, pouring the tequila through a coffee filter which literally takes all the last colour rand cleans the liquid from small organic particles.
50 ml of Bacardi Cuatro (infused with dried figs)
5 ml sugar syrup (2 to 1)
1,25 ml of Peuchaud’s Bitters
Method & Glass: Shake all ingredients and strain in a small, elegant liquor glass.,
Garnish: Andrea: “No garnish, keep it strong and intense as a Sazerac-inspired drink should be”
The Duchess’ new menu will be launched after summer