When it's cold and grey outside, there's nothing like a stiff drink to warm you up from the inside out.
It's the perfect time of year to indulge in some navy strength gin cocktails. Sipsmith V.J.O.P., which clocks in at 57.7%, is a beautifully strong and juniper-forward spirit, and happens to be our favourite way to defrost. Happily, it's also a natural in mixed drinks. We connected with six of London's most acclaimed bartenders for their original V.J.O.P. recipes. From alternative Negronis to festive fizzes, let these most sippable of drinks carry you through the rest of the season.
Scammed In Marrakech
First up, it’s Berber & Q‘s Mattia Bianchi with the Scammed in Marrakech. This drink is a citrus-forward mix of V.J.O.P., Lillet Rouge, and Clement Creole Shrubb Liqueur d’Orange (a barrel-aged, rum-based liqueur infused with orange and spice). Bianchi recommends pre-making and chilling this drink, which can be poured over ice later (perfect, in other words, for entertaining.)
70ml Sipsmith V.J.O.P.
50ml Lillet Rouge
30ml Clement Creole Shrubb Liqueur d’Orange
In a pitcher or mixing glass, mix all four ingredients together. Funnel into a sealed glass container and chill until very cold. Serve alongside two glasses filled with ice; spray with orange blossom water to finish.
Boston, Meet Prudence
Luca Cordiglieri, formerly of the Dorchester’s China Tang bar, is now running the show at Soho’s beautiful 68 & Boston. His short, boozy concoction would go smashingly with a roaring fire.
40ml Sipsmith V.J.O.P.
25ml palo cortado sherry
15 ml sweet vermouth
3 dashes Fernet Branca
In a shaker or mixing glass, stir all four ingredients over very cold ice until chilled. Strain into a coupette and garnish with an orange twist.
Fizz à la Violette
Fancy something floral? Antonio Dandrea of Salvatore’s Bar at the Playboy Club has just the thing. He says: “This is an adaptation of the Ramos Gin Fizz. It has a silky feel from the rich ingredients and a delicate floral finish. We like to use V.J.O.P. for the extra strength and for the extra juniper kick.”
20ml Sipsmith V.J.O.P.
40ml violette liqueur
5ml fresh lemon juice
5ml fresh lime juice
10ml sugar syrup
15ml fresh cream
40ml egg white
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice, and shake long and sharp to create a creamy consistency. Open the shaker and add the soda water before closing and rolling it gently to mix. Pour into a highball or other tall glass, and garnish with a fresh violet.
Broken Home Negroni
When it comes to navy-strength gin cocktails, the classics are always a good place to start, according to Polpo Bars Manager Tom Ross. In his Broken Home Negroni, the fullness and richness of the gin is perfectly lifted by the lemon twist. He says: “Serve it up with some salty fried olives. Call off tomorrow!”
25ml navy-strength gin
25ml Amaro London (by Stellacello)
25ml Lillet Blanc
In a rocks glass, add all three ingredients. Add very cold ice, stir twice, and garnish with a lemon twist.
The Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy
Drink names don’t get much better than this, so it’s only fitting that one of our favourite navy strength gin cocktails bears the moniker. This one comes courtesy of the talented Christina Schneider at Happiness Forgets.
30ml dry amontillado sherry
7ml Luxardo Maraschino
4 dashes orange bitters
Add all ingredients in a shaker or mixing glass and stir over very cold ice. Strain into a coupette. Spray a lemon twist on top and discard before garnishing with a Maraschino cherry.
Michele Mariotti of the American Bar at the Savoy has crafted a gorgeously warming aperitif in this V.J.O.P. serve. Ratafia, an Italian red wine and cherry liqueur, beautifully balances the gin’s strength. While he calls for oloroso sherry here, swap it out for Pedro Ximenez if you want an especially rich dessert drink.
45 ml of Sipsmith V.J.O.P.
15 ml Ratafia
10 ml oloroso sherry
In a shaker or mixing glass, stir all ingredients over ice until cold and blended. Strain into a coupette and garnish with one star anise.
Feature images © ItsJohnDay/iStock; Salvatore’s Bar at the Playboy Club