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Dirty Bones serves up new ‘summer sips’

London restaurant and cocktail bar chain Dirty Bones has launched a new ‘summer sips’ list, drawing inspiration from chilli salt and fizzy peach sweets.

Dirty Bones’ recently opened Soho site on Denman Street – the décor inspired by ‘loft-style apartments of Brooklyn and the glamour of Studio 54’.

Now with four sites in the capital, Dirty Bones is known for its NYC-inspired ‘dirty’ dining, with classic comfort food paired with crafty cocktails.

Alongside the likes of 14-hour slow-cooked short rib with caramelised shallots and mustard seeds balanced atop two toasted crumpets slathered with umami butter with poached eggs and hollandaise, the cocktails on offer are equally naughty. Mutt’s Nuts, a db favourite from a previous trip, combines bourbon, cinnamon and vanilla infused maple syrup, Angostura bitters, lemon and apple.

Grown-Ups Jaffa (on the standard cocktail menu).

On this occasion, as well as the new cocktails, my guest and I also sampled the lavender martini, a blend of Tanqueray gin, lavender and gomme syrup, egg white and lemon juice. Garnished with a smouldering sprig of fresh lavender, the cocktail was sweet without being cloying and was complimented rather than overpowered by the lavender.

This was followed by Grown-Ups Jaffa, a combination of Mozart chocolate liqueur, El Jimador reposado tequila, orange, chocolate bitters and a marmalade ice cube. Tasting just like the revered cake/biscuit – I’m not getting involved in that controversy – the smoky notes of the tequila imparted a hint of coffee, complimenting the chocolate and orange flavours. All in all, an indulgent after-dinner treat.

The bar snacks – if indeed cheeseburger dumplings can be called such – are equally moreish and playful. Said dumplings are stuffed with burger mince and melted cheese and served with a burger dipping sauce; perfectly scorched Padron peppers are liberally scattered with flakes of Maldon sea salt; juicy chicken wings are coated in Louisiana-style hot sauce, and ooze-tastic Taleggio mac and cheese balls are accompanied by sweet chilli sauce.

Having recently debuted Instagram kits complete with a portable LED light, a multi-device charger, a clip-on wide-angle lens, a tripod and a selfie stick, group bar manager Pira Tejasakulsin aims to create serves with ‘snapability.’

Cheeseburger dumplings.

Speaking to the drinks business about the new summer menu, Tejasakulsin said: “The phrase ‘summer sips’ instantly makes me think of drinks that are refreshing, cooling and thirst-quenching. I wanted our summer sips cocktails to pack a punch but still feel light enough for summer, so we experimented with lighter ingredients to create proper strength cocktails that were still in line with the season.”

“Light spirits like vodka allowed for some freedom to play around with flavours, while Bourbon was a bit more of an exciting challenge. I wanted to incorporate fresh and seasonal summer fruit, so we played around with matcha, goji berries, ginger, chia seeds, coconut water and pickle juice, to mixed results”.

“We briefly flirted with frozen cocktails and had a close shave with some sorbet, but ended up settling on these, as voted in by some trusty (and thirsty) advisors”.

Click through to view the summer sips menu.

Bow Down Peaches

Bow Down Peaches blends Ketel One vodka and Martini Rosso with fresh muddled peach, coconut water, vanilla, lemon juice and peach bitters. Although it is perhaps not as complex flavour-wise as the other serves, it delivers a hit of fresh peach and sherbet, replicating the flavours of the garnish.

Group bar manager Tejasakulsin says: “Bow Down Peaches was inspired by seasonal doughnut peaches, classic American cream soda, and old-school Beyoncé. This cocktail begins with fresh peach, lemon and vodka, followed by coconut water and vanilla for that cream soda taste, a couple dashes of peach bitters and sweet vermouth for some fragrance, and a splash of soda for the fizz. Fun fact: this drink contains the only Dirty Bones garnish [the peach sweets] that has to stored in the safe at all times!”

Pining For You

Pining For You is a mix of Bulleit bourbon, house-made pineapple shrub, cinnamon & vanilla maple syrup, soda water and Angostura bitters. A spiced, citrus-spiked tropical sip that definitely isn’t a Piña Colada, Pining For You balances the fiery kick of Bourbon with the sweetness of fresh pineapple and soothing vanilla.

Group bar manager Tejasakulsin says: “A tropically-influenced whiskey smash meets cleansing house-made pineapple shrub (incorporating fresh pineapple, lime and cider vinegar). The cinnamon and vanilla flavours compliment both the pineapple and the bourbon, the shrub and soda leave a clean finish that tempers the perfumed sweetness of the pineapple, and the Angostura bitters add a splash of complexity and colour. A robust yet refreshing cocktail for London’s long summer days”.

Some Like It Hot

My favourite from the list, Some Like It Hot combines Ketel One vodka, grapefruit juice, fresh muddled apricot, chilli salt and Naga chilli bitters. The chilli bitters were a revelation, providing both heat and flavour complexity. Bloody Mary spice but without the heavy tomato juice – the grapefruit juice and fresh apricot is a light and refreshing alternative.

Group bar manager Tejasakulsin says: “A couple months back I surprised Elvis (one of Dirty Bones’ many bar ninjas) with a massive bag of chilli salt, and we immediately started thinking of fun ways to use it in a cocktail. He suggested a simple twist on a classic Salty Dog: vodka, grapefruit and a pinch of chilli salt for an added kick. We muddled fresh apricot for sweetness and texture, then added some Naga Chilli Bitters to give it more depth and a bit of fire. Think of the spice levels of a Bloody Mary mixed with the refreshing and slightly bitter sweetness of grapefruit and apricot. Some like it hot and some don’t, so this one falls somewhere in the middle”.

Pickleback Shooter

A term coined by Reggie Cunningham in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2006, Dirty Bones’ Pickleback Shooter is a shot of Bulleit Bourbon followed by a shot of Pickle House original pickle juice. Brewed for 12 weeks with cucumbers and spices, Hackney-based Pickle House’s pickle juice is both sweet and saline, working well after the measure of punchy Bourbon.

Bartender Elvis explained that customers often require some coaxing to try this one, but the pickle juice helps to counteract the burn of the Bourbon while also complimenting its flavours.

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