Young American bartender at New Delhi's Hyatt Regency, Michael Patrick McSorley, cheers up the cocktail scenario not just by bringing some interesting concoctions but signature bar tools too
It is so nice to see a hands-on bartender, completely in control of the counter. You would know what I mean by it once you see young Michael Patrick McSorley at work. A towering Mike armed with a genial smile, is all set to demonstrate his talent in cocktails when I meet him at The Polo Lounge in New Delhi's Hyatt Regency. The Polo Lounge has recently been renovated and Mike has been brought in, all the way from Seattle, U.S., to add more than a splash of zing to its cocktail menu.
Rising to the occasion, Mike has already put-together a brand new menu, suffusing it with his signature cocktails. The list is striking as much for its ingredients as for the names. Imagine being asked, so what is your preference, “A Cat in Pyjamas” or “The Application”? Or, are you for “Captain Ahab” or it is “Hot Charlotte” for you? “The Paradox” can be served too.
Mike begins with A Cat in Pyjamas, the grand old Manhattan but served with a twist. Mike's version is interesting for keeping its original simplicity intact and yet rolled out with a dash of exclusivity, featuring international cocktail trends like ice carving. He scraps a chunk of ice to shape it circular before slipping it off into a whiskey glass. He then pours 45 ml of bourbon whiskey (Jim Beam), 10 ml sweet vermouth (Martini Rosso), 30 ml of homemade aperitif wine and 10 ml peach syrup into a cocktail shaker, stirs it gently before emptying the blend into the glass. For garnish, he wraps the ice chunk with a ribbon of orange peel. “The ice ball serves two purposes here. Since it will take time to melt, you can nurse the drink for a long time, and with the peel round it, it looks like a fake orange inside the glass,” says Mike. The homemade wine is made by mixing some Sauvignon Blanc with powdered sugar.
An affable Mike moves on to give a demonstration of his “The Application Cocktail” thereafter. Here too, he gives a personal twirl to the Classic French 75 cocktail. About four pieces of green apple are muddled into a pulp in a cocktail shaker. Into it he drops about 45 ml gin, 15 ml lemon juice by squeezing a lemon of the succulent Italian variety, and 30 ml apple syrup. After some vigorous shakes to blend the flavours well, he fine strains the concoction into a pre-chilled Martini glass. It is then topped with sparkling wine. For garnish, he uses thinly sliced green apple tied together with a cocktail pick to look like a fan.
To show his appreciation of Indian spices, he also makes for me a drink of his creation named Saffron Julius which bagged him an award in the 2009 Cocktail World Cup. Into a shaker, he drops 45 ml citrus flavoured vodka, 30 ml honey syrup, 30 ml jasmine syrup, 30 ml orange juice, 15 ml lemon juice, 30 ml fluffy egg white and a dash of saffron from a tinker (saffron stands drowned in little water). Next, he gives a few hard shakes. Then about 45 ml whipped cream is mixed with it. He pours it into a tall glass and tops it very slowly with soda water so that it creates an umbrella of foam over the drink. Mike makes a lovely rose bud from orange peel for garnishing. He also shoves in a short straw so that you bring yourself closer to drink it and thereby get a sense of its flavours.
A talented Mike, along with his designer girlfriend, also runs a company, Mc Sorley Bar Tools. He proudly shows his bar kit and a Lewis bag used for crushing ice. “We have been selling our products across the world but not in India yet,” he says. Now that he is here for sometime, there is hope of attracting attention, not just through his creative mixtures but with the bar tools too.