Cocktails – Mix the old with the new

In On the Rocks 

Cocktails – Let’s stir things up – the old and the new.

I am sure that you, like me, have a favourite classic cocktail. Mine happens to be a Margarita, on the rocks– I love the refreshing combination of the tanginess of the lime and the salt of the rim, especially in summer. And I don’t really need to try a strawberry or frozen version, thank you. I like the Margarita just as it is.

But sometimes you are in the mood for something else – because of the weather, because of the day you’ve had (good or bad!) and because of the moment you are enjoying. Take me to a bar with a decent cocktail list and I can’t wait to read the descriptions of all the concoctions and for the waitress to serve a beautifully presented drink (or two). Finding an old favourite with a new twist feels like the best of both worlds. So let’s talk cocktails – the newest old trends and where to enjoy them! We’ve skipped gin as we covered that in a separate blog already.


Do you remember mum ordering a sherry before dinner? Well now you can order a Fine Tipple – sherry with grapefruit and orange sherbet, Maraschino and champagne at R Trader in DIFC. Also at DIFC, Zuma has the Barflies Cocktail with cognac, sherry, vermouth, orange juice and chocolate bitters. Hakkasan at Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai has the Muscat Skye which has whisky, pisco, sherry, bitters, basil and black pepper syrup.

And what about Pina Coladas?

Also back in great form – how about a Not So Colada, with banana and lemongrass infused rum with coconut water, pineapple juice and eucalyptus at Little Black Door at the Conrad in Dubai. Or try the Superb Colada with raspberry and coconut to go with your rum at Vista at Intercontinental Festival City in Dubai.

Whisky cocktails are on trend again as well

Buddha Bar at Grosvenor House in Dubai serves a blueberry and ginger sour and the Jazz and Fizz at the Sofitel in Abu Dhabi serves a Gold Sour with whisky, lemon juice, honey and gold flakes. Vault at JW Marriot Marquis Dubai has the Deposit Box with whisky, orange liquor, maple syrup, orange bitters, cinnamon and ginger, all aged in a barrel for a minimum of 2 weeks! New place in town Gold on 27 at the Burj al Arab celebrates their opening with the Light Sweet Crude, a mix of two types of whisky, foie gras (!), saffron honey, desert salt solution and activated charcoal.


Old fashioned bourbon never went away

Mixed with some sprite and the evening can’t be long enough. The Ivy at Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai understands the bourbon revival with their mix of bourbon, crème de cassis, angostura bitters and lemon juice. Asia Asia at Pier 7 in Dubai mixes bourbon with cognac, gunpowder tea reduction and vermouth and Cocktail Kitchen at the Armada BlueBay in Dubai has the Honey I’m Reserved with bourbon, vermouth, pear, honey and smoke. Famous Ray’s Bar at Jumeirah Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi has a Hazelnut Old Fashioned with old fashioned syrup and hazelnut liquor.

Pisco Sours

Traditionally served with lime or lemon juice, syrup, Angostura bitters and egg white, but now Bar 44 at Grosvenor House in Dubai serve the Arbitrisco with pisco,  amaretto, vanilla, lime juice and egg white. Coya at the Four Seasons Dubai has a dedicated Pisco Bar with varieties that include cinnamon, blueberry, lavender and sandalwood among many other ingredients. Bahri Bar at Mina A Salam in Dubai have a Copper Pisco Sour with peychauds bitters.

Champagne cocktails

Head to Bar 44 at Grosvenor House in Dubai. At Skylite Rooftop Lounge at Yas Viceroy in Abu Dhabi give the Racasse a try, a mix of champagne, cognac, honey, orange bitters and lemon sorbet. Or give the old-world champagne cocktails a try at Cristal at the Millennium Corniche in Abu Dhabi. The Park Bar & Grill at the Park Hyatt in Abu Dhabi serve a classic with Veuve Clicquot, angostura bitters and a sugar cube.

Martinis and Singapore Slings

Have been back for a while, and every self-respecting bar has a few versions on their cocktail list. The Jazz and Fizz Bar at the Sofitel in Abu Dhabi have a wonderful espresso martini and Hakkasan in Abu Dhabi have the Hakkatini with orange vodka, Campari, Grand Marnier, grapefruit bitters and apple juice as well as a lychee martini on their cocktail list. The Ivy at Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai has an appletini with cinnamon glaze and – can it get any better – a salted caramel martini.

Last but not least, the Singapore Sling has to be mentioned. To be found of course at the Crossroads Cocktail Bar at the Raffles Dubai, but we’ve also heard good things about the Sling at Ray’s Bar at Jumeirah Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi.

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