Dazed were invited along to launch of 'The Bar With No Name', located in Angel, Islington, to sample a cocktail two years in the making, which aims to replicate the one of the most famous scents in perfume history. Inspired by a certain Parisian fashion house, this cocktail is a Champagne cocktail served in a bespoke flute with a wide brim allowing extra room for the bubbles to release. We talk to the creator, Tony Conigliaro, about his new business venture and his latest offerings as ambassador for Merlet fruit liqueurs, a French brand with a lustrous past.
Dazed Digital: What prompted you to design a cocktail which took on the fragrance of an iconic perfume?
Tony Conigliaro: I had been studying perfume and talking with perfumers, and I noticed the similarities between what they did and what happens when making cocktails. It was then I came up with the concept.
DD: How difficult was the process?
Tony Conigliaro: First I had to study how that particular perfume was made, and then I came up with the idea of using a sugar cube in the champagne that would carry the notes to the top of the drink. After a lot of trial and error (two years to be exact!) the No. 5 champagne cocktail was born.
DD: Where do your ideas come from?
Tony Conigliaro: I am a vorocious reader and at drinkfactory we research endlessly in many different fields, from perfume and food science to fashion, design and music.
DD: Can you dispell some cocktail myths?
Tony Conigliaro: Contrary to James Bond's assertions, Martini's should be 'stirred not shaken' otherwise you get too much dilution and too much airation, a soggy drink instead of smooth and silky.
DD: You developed a Matured Manhattan, can you talk us through this?
Tony Conigliaro: I had been given a bottle of vermouth from the 1920s, it tasted exquisite! It had become smoother and more blended just in the bottle. I figured that I could do the same with cocktails.
DD: Why did you decide to set up a bar? Why Angel?
Tony Conigliaro: The venue and location sold it to me, I needed to be unrestricted in terms of showcasing new drinks and ideas. I love small hard to find intimate bars such as the ones you encounter in places like Tokyo, where the is a big emphasis on service and quality.
DD: What was the inspiration for the decor/concept of the bar?
Tony Conigliaro: Everything from 50s films to Blade Runner, we wanted a kind of future retro noir film set where all the drinks are based around classic drinks with a new spin.
DD: Where do you hope to take it?
Tony Conigliaro: Once the lab is in full operation we will be pushing the boundries more, not just with the drinks...!
Tony talks us through some of his re-worked classic cocktails and the stories behind them.
Merlet Triple Sec, Clarified Lemon Juice, Vichy Sparkling Water
This was a famous race in Sicily that ran from the late 20s to the 60s, reaching its peak during the 50s. We have taken the ingredients that you would have found along that route and turned it into a drink, so there are lemons, oranges, blood oranges and mandarins. The base is the wonderful Merlet triple sec.
El Dorado 3yr rum, Merlet Triple Sec, Lime and Lemon
A brain surgeon who was a regular of mine and drank nothing but daiquiris wanted a daiquiri with a twist one night, so I took one shot of rum out and added one shot of triple sec then added a lemon twist creating three layers of citrus, he took one sip wobbled on the bar stool he was sitting on and pronounced "Oh Gosh"!
Dry essence, Gin, Martini Extra Dry
The inspiration for this drink was from two places, Magritte's painting C'est Ne Pas un Pipe? And a book on how your mouth works. I wanted to make a Martini that would dry your mouth slightly as you drank it, I distilled tannins and polyphoenels in a vacuum still (these are the ingredients that will give you that dry tanninc sensation whilst drinking tea or wine) and added a tiny part to the Vermouth, creating a truly "dry" Martini.
You can check out Tony's cocktails at The Bar with No Name, 69 Colebrooke Row, Angel of Islington.