Words by: Giovanni Graziadei
Photography by: Dan Malpass
We caught up with Giovanni Graziadei who told us about a couple of his own signature cocktails using Hankey Bannister blended scotch whisky.
"Blended Scotch is becoming fashionable again and Hankey Bannister is one of the oldest blends and it's very versatile as a cocktail ingredient. In this bar [we were in 69 Colebrooke Row] the drinks are all about balance and in many cases, a good blended scotch allows you to achieve a greater balance than when using a single malt. Blends such as Hankey Bannister are more mellow and rounded with delicate notes, allowing them to combine with other ingredients often in a more elegant way.
So, for example what I'm doing with this first drink is taking a classic cocktail normally made with gin, a Tuxedo, and making what I call a Black Tuxedo with Hankey Bannister in place of gin. I'm using fino sherry to give a nice dryness that really goes well with the blended scotch. Hankey Bannister Original especially has caramel and is slightly fruity with apple and pear so suits this kind of drink - short and boozy yet delicate with different flavours.
Most people forget that blended Scotch is what kept whisky alive for many years. And we are all about consistency in this bar so we really like to think that if a guest who came here eight years ago then came today, the drinks would taste the same. Blended scotch is basically that to whisky."
Garnish: Lemon zest twist (disc)
Method: STIR all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
My second drink, James' Sour, takes its name from 22 St. James Street, London, Hankey Bannister's second office location.
Mr Hankey was a gentleman, so my first drink is very delicate riff on a Tuxedo. However, Mr Bannister was a businessman, more on the money side of the whisky industry, so for my second drink I was inspired by the two sides of making a deal - doing business is about striking balance to suit both parties. So, I'm using rose, a very delicate elegant flavour, and Heritage Blend, a peated whisky which comparatively is quite punchy and aggressive. The idea is to bring them together and make them work together - like Beaumont Hankey and Hugh Bannister.
Glass: Small tumbler or Nick & Nora
Method: SHAKE first 5 ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. FLOAT port.
40 ml Hankey Bannister Heritage Blend
15 ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
15 ml Egg white
10 ml Sugar syrup (2:1)
25 ml Rose infusion (45g dried rose buds infused in 600ml water for 1 hour and then strained)
10ml Port wine