Haute happy hour: Top designers turn their creativity to cocktails

Published 23rd September 2016
View gallery
8 Pictures
Martino Gamper
Haute happy hour: Top designers turn their creativity to cocktails
Written by By Natalia Rachlin, CNN
With the London Design Festival well underway, the city is aflutter not only with new chairs and novel exhibitions, but with champagne receptions here, there and everywhere, making the week-long event an all but sobering affair.
This year, one of the festival's key neighborhoods, the Brompton Design District, celebrates 10 years as a design-centric corner of South Kensington. In honor of the occasion, the Brompton team asked some of the area's most exciting alumni to turn their creativity to the art of mixology.
In a nod to the original Brompton Cocktail -- a shocking mélange of morphine, heroin, cocaine and ethyl alcohol administered to patients at the Royal Brompton Hospital from the 1920s to '70s not only to relieve pain, but also to promote sociability before death -- designers were asked to concoct a cocktail.
Either realizable or completely conceptual, the drinks are celebratory, but also a symbol of transition from one phase to the next.
Here, four major players reveal the recipes for their most potent of potables.
The Hourglass Pub (279 Brompton Rd, SW3 2DY) will be serving a range of the cocktails during the London Design Festival until Sept. 27.

Designer Martino Gamper presents: The Gingerini

  • Ginger root
  • Strawberries
  • Champagne
  • Ice
  1. Grate ginger and squeeze to extract juice.
  2. Add juice to handful of blended strawberries.
  3. Stir with champagne and ice.
The Inspiration
"I'm a great fan of ginger, and I'm always trying to find ways to smuggle some in to any recipe. I also like Fragolino, an Italian drink with fresh strawberries, lemon and Champagne."
Designing vs. Mixing
"Mixing is a bit like designing: first an idea, then the ingredients, and finally the making."
What's behind the name?
"(Gingerino) is the ginger version of Fragolino."

Apartamento Magazine Editor-in-Chief Marco Velardi presents: The Apartamento Espresso Martini

  • 1 double espresso
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/3 oz Frangelico
  • Ice
  1. Combine all ingredients in shaker and shake like madman for about one minute until shaker is frosty.
  2. Pour through strainer into martini glass. Serve.
"Nacho (Alegre, co-founder of Apartamento magazine) and I discovered this cocktail during a field trip to Florence, in a touristy bar called Scudieri on the Piazza del Duomo. It's an easy one to do at home and it tolerates many variations depending on your mood and taste."
Designing vs. Mixing
"Really this is all about our appreciation for nice simple things. We thought it was a great drink that could easily be turned into something even more fun by adding a bit of alcohol. This is the combination we liked the most, it gives you a nice boost after a good dinner and it's perfect for the summer. It's actually more of a dessert than a drink."
What's behind the name?
"The espresso martini is a classic cocktail. The name is simple because it is made from an espresso and served in a martini glass, and this is our personal take on it."

Designer Max Lamb presents: White River

  • Pinch kaolin (china clay)
  • Spring water
  • Gorse flower to garnish
"A cocktail for foragers inspired by the granite moors surrounding St. Austell in Cornwall, where lunar-like clay pits fringed by golden yellow gorse dominate the landscape, and where the roads and rivers run white when it rains due to the kaolin present in the decomposing granite moorland."
Designing vs. Mixing
"Designing a somewhat hypothetical cocktail is totally different to my typical design work, but the process of breaking down a whole into its elemental parts, or vice versa, remains pretty much identical. The point is to make all the elements sing. My work generally is the opposite of a cocktail in that I don't like to mix multiple materials, so I composed my cocktail in a similar manner: kaolin, water, gorse flowers."
What's behind the name?
"White River is a reference to the river near my parent's house, which runs white when it rains due to the kaolin in suspension."

Arabeschi di Latte founder Francesca Sarti presents: Pretty Hanky Panky

  • 1 ½ oz Italian vermouth
  • 1 ½ oz dry gin
  • 2 dashes China Elixir
  • 1 drop Belladonna natural drops
  1. Combine and stir.
  2. Strain into (4 oz) cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with piece of chinchona bark.
"A cocktail that pays homage to three ladies of the past: Ada Coleman, the Countess Anna del Chinchon and Giulia Tofana."
Designing vs. Mixing
"I like to build storytelling into my projects, either as a special dinner, an interactive installation, a space, a product or a recipe. I have recently focused my research around the special relationship between women, food, emancipation and empowerment. That is why the Pretty Hanky Panky cocktail is a foodie homage to women who changed the conventions around themselves."
What's behind the name?
"In 1903, Ada Coleman, known as Coley, became the first -- and only, to this day -- female head bartender at The Savoy, and she created the Hanky Panky cocktail. 'Pretty' alludes to feminine clichés. It's an ironic touch."