We try and test the drink that has divided London: the Marmite cocktail, featured on Callooh Callay bar’s newly revamped menu.
There was first the Margarita, then the Largerita now there’s the…Marmageddon as Callooh Callay bar have christened it.
The little bar in Shoreditch, East London has just revived its cocktail menu. Of which the yeast-rimmed tipple is a firm favourite, (with the Marmite lovers amongst us that is).
Japan have been doing savoury cocktails for years, bar manager Andrea Montague told Futurespace Magazine, but now London drinkers are acquiring quite a taste for such pairings, she says.
Created by Victor Nordelof, the idea is to use “malt over salt” Montague explains. So instead of the classic sugar or salt rim, you’re greeted with the distinctively bitter Marmite taste. If you’re in the 50 per cent “I love it” camp, you’re likely to be won over by the sweet/savoury combination – it really works. The intense, strong, yeast like flavour from the gooey marmite garnish is a good match for the the cooler, sweeter drink of Ocho Reposado tequila, fresh lime juice and agave syrup, topped with beer.
We also tried Fancy Pants, a creation by Montague herself. It’s a twist on the gin sour but with some Sencha green tea and Orgeat thrown into the mix to enhance the flavours. A nice refreshing beverage, and its slight almondy taste will be a sure winner for marzipan enthusiasts.
If yeast flavoured cocktails aren’t quite wacky enough for you, we’re promised even crazier mixes go on upstairs in the “members only” club – if the bar man thinks you cut the grade that is. Up there the cocktail makers really let themselves go, with a menu of their choice for a two-week only slot, we are told. We try to squeeze out of our bar man some of his recipe plans, but he remains a bit hush-hush about what he aims to do. In past, he says, the Callooh Callay team have produced some rather extravagant combos, like the Heston style Bacon & Egg tipple. In the members-only area, cocktail-wise, almost anything goes it seems.
For those downstairs, there’s still plenty of drinks choice from the little drinks menu, which comes neatly folded in its very own retro cassette box. Other interesting concoctions include the Black Forest Cocktail, a mix of cherry ‘n’ spice, Hennessy fine de Cognac Seve, Mozart black chocolate liqueur, Galliano balsamico and a black cherry puree. Or there’s the Ta Gin Mule, a Morroccan style drink that also takes inspiration from sweet & savoury combo, with a mix of Tanqueray gin, dried Apricot, cumin sugar and ginger beer.
But if you’re serious about testing out the savoury-sweet pairing trend the Callooh Callay’s marmite cocktail is surely the only way to go, whether you fall into the “Mmm” or the “Argh!” category, or even if you’re one of those rare “Mites”. This is something your taste buds will at least have to give a go.