Our Second Pop Up Martini Bar


Thank you to everyone who came to our martini pop up bar at the end of October.


We held it in ‘the Gallery’ on the Main Street of Tobermory, Isle of Mull.


At the end of the tourist season I hoped that it was a chance for locals to relax and try something different. It was also a bit of a send off for us and our staff, including our manageress Catriona who celebrated her 21st birthday on the night.


Unlike our pop up bar in July, the night was dark and it was too cold to be outside, so we went inside and set up the tables, switched on the heaters and lit all the candles, then hoped it would all work out.


We were only open for a short while: 17:00 to 20:00 with last orders at 19:30 to allow everyone to finish their last martini at a leisurely pace.


The week before we also held a Facebook competition. Whoever liked and shared the pop up bar announcement would enter a prize draw for a free martini and a martini-related gift.


We put together a large martini glass filled with champagne truffles from the Tobermory Chocolate Factory (you can order online here and they deliver anywhere in the world) and awarded it to one lucky winner who happened to be my former teacher.


I wasn’t as nervous as before the last pop up bar we did because I knew the concept worked in principle. I also had all my equipment lined up in order. However, it was darker and colder than during our summer event so I was worried that it wouldn’t be as comfortable or warm enough in our giant old church.


I also thought that because the tourist season was over, no-one would turn up.


However, in the end, the atmosphere was nice, it was warm enough, and the venue was full. I made dozens of martinis and was happy to see people enjoying themselves, especially after a long summer.


Our excellent chef also cooked up some amazing blini, which we served on platters with smoked salmon, sour cream, fish roe and miniature croque-monsieurs. Absolutely delicious and the perfect accompaniment to a cold martini.


So, all-in-all, a fun night. And now we’re ready for winter. Thank you to everyone who came, and thank you to all our amazing colleagues who made it happen.

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More snacks and nibbles to accompany martinis

Here is another selection of savoury snacks I’ve recently served and eaten with martinis.

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Roasted and salted soy beans.

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Prawns on lettuce with Peking duck sauce and fried spicy broad beans.

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You can get a lot of good stuff in IKEA.

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Fish roe goes well in Swedish croustades.

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Here are some of the filled croustades, as well as some Japanese nuts and seaweed snacks.

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Here are some more croustades with a smidgen of Sås senap and dill (a type of sweet Swedish mustard) topped up with Tångkorn (a salty seaweed extract) with a fleck of lemon peel to garnish.

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I like to keep a selection of things like peanuts, pistachio nuts, Bombay mix etc just in case you need an emergency martini (it happens).

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A simple favourite: Bombay mix and olives stuffed with anchovies.

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MUM’S ROAST BEEF!

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Sushi.

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Sage leaves fried in butter with garlic and walnuts (see here for the recipe).

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Steak. After you cook it, let it rest for about 5 minutes then slice it thinly.

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Scrumptious pieces of grilled Parma ham.

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Olives and squid.

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Elk and pork sausage.


Fried salmon skin.

Fried sage leaves again, but this time with no additions of garlic or nuts.

Ceviche.

Pistachio nuts.

 And finally, happiness is finding an olive (or three) at the bottom of your martini when you’re hungry, said a very wise man.

Swedish akvavit

It’s Christmas time and last night I decided to have a non-martini drink. I’ve previously mentioned my liking for akvavit for midsommar, but I also like it during the winter (to keep warm).
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I put some miniature bottles of akvavit (from Ikea) in the freezer for a day, then served them in heavy glasses and a single spherical ice cube. I like all the different infusions, as it adds a bit of variety to my normal gin diet.

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Skål och god jul!

The Frukostini (the Swedish breakfast martini)

The classic martini will always be my favourite, but of the non-classics, I think this is definitely one of the tastiest (even if it looks slightly alarming).

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The breakfast martini was invented by Salvatore Calabrese in the Lanesborough hotel in London. It involves gin, marmalade, lemon juice and Cointreau or Triple Sec. However, I’ve had some lingonberry jam in my fridge from my last Ikea trip which I thought might make a nice substitute for the marmalade. My imagination went from there.
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I muddled two teaspoons of jam with a laaaaaarge measure of gin (let’s say 3-4 measures). I then poured it into a frozen martini glass and topped up with some wild berry Swedish Rekorderlig cider.

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I dubbed this concoction of Swedish jam, British gin and Swedish cider the Swedish breakfast martini, or… more aptly, the Frukostini (frukost is the Swedish word for breakfast).

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To garnish, I made some toast, cut out a triangle, made a small slit with a knife, and spread on some of the jam.

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And then I drank it. And it was good.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be breakfast time when you drink these…

It reminds me just a little bit of Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development.

“Get me a vodka rocks.”
“Mom, it’s breakfast.”
“And a piece of toast.”

My favourite Arrested Development character.

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk

Skål!