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Our little black book of enchanting places

Here's to our literary heroes

Posted in FOOD + DRINK By Maggie O' Sullivan

It’s World Cocktail Day on 13 May. 2017 is also the Year of Literary Heroes. VisitEngland suggests we combine the two with a literary libation, starting at The Feathers Hotel in Woodstock. Mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records for stocking the world’s greatest variety of gins, The Feathers is the perfect place for raising a martini to James Bond. Although author Ian Fleming has his hero drinking both gin and vodka-based martinis, the hotel’s resident barman points out that vodka is a neutral spirit that brings little to the party compared with gin, with its juniper and other botanicals, and insists that the Vesper martini, 'invented’ in the 1953 novel, Casino Royale, is far superior to any other kind.Hemmingway Daquiri, The Fitzgerald, ManchesterYou get several literary heroes for the price of one at The Fitzgerald in Manchester. Named after Jazz Age writer F Scott Fitzgerald, the speakeasy-style bar offers what it calls ‘a touch of Gatsby glamour’. House favourites, served in 1920s glasses, include the the Hemingway Daiquiri, above, said to have been what Hemingway – who claimed that he drank ‘to make other people more interesting’ – always ordered at the El Floridita Bar in Havana. Alternatively, try a Tequila Mockingbird, a tribute to Harper Lee’s much-loved novel, To Kill A Mockingbird.Half a Pint o' Buttah, The Blind PigIt isn’t just the names of the cocktails at The Blind Pig that have been inspired by classic children’s stories, the ingredients have too. For example, Half a Pint o’ Buttah, inspired by J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series, combines Monkey Shoulder Scotch, thyme, butterscotch, citrus, bitters and beer. Other imaginative offerings include Float Like a Peach (inspired by James and the Giant Peach), Magic Memories (Peter Pan), Languid Caterpillar (Alice in Wonderland), Lost & Found (Paddington Bear), X Marks The Spot (Treasure Island) and Dream Jar (The BFG). To complement the cocktails, the London pub has commissioned illustrator Masha Karpushina to capture the essence of each story.   Cocktail of War, RSC Rooftop RestaurantThe cocktails on offer at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rooftop Restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon reflect the company’s current Rome season. The show-stopping selection of Roman-inspired cocktails includes Cocktail of War, above, inspired by Coriolanus, Et, tu Brute? (Julius Caesar), Queen of the Nile (Antony & Cleopatra) and Bloody Titus (Titus Andronicus). Given that every one of Shakespeare’s 38 plays mentions some kind of alcoholic drink at least once, we feel sure the Bard would approve. Black Beauty, The Library Restaurant, Bar & GrillIf a certain ebony-coloured thoroughbred is your literary hero – or, indeed, its creator Anna Sewell – head for Norwich. Either to The Library Restaurant, Bar & Grill for a Black Beauty, above, comprising dark rum, Galliano, brown crème de cacao and coffee and served in an Irish coffee glass, or to a quirky pub nearby called The Birdcage for a Sewell 77 made from rum, Kahlua, Martini Rosso, lemon and Coca-Cola. Hobbits in Manhattan, The Edgbaston HotelIf JRR Tolkien is your absolute literary hero, you can toast him with a Hobbits in Manhattan cocktail at The Edgbaston Hotel in Birmingham. Honouring Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the cocktail consists of Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Guinness Byrrh and cherry brandy. Doesn't appeal? Don't worry – The Edgbaston is famous for its cocktails and this is just one of many on the boutique hotel’s newly created cocktail menu.     


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