‘One small sip for man, one giant swig for mankind’.
I’d like to imagine these were the words that came to Neil Armstrong’s lips as he sipped the Savoy’s Moonwalk cocktail, the first drink he and Buzz Aldrin were given upon their safe return to earth in 1969. It is just one of the many signature cocktails created at the Savoy since they started mixing back in 1903.
This time around, I came to the Savoy’s plush American Bar to have a taste of the Silver Reviver, the limited edition cocktail specially designed by head barman Erik Lorincz to celebrate the launch of the Goodwood Revival. This three-day annual festival at the Goodwood Circuit celebrates the golden age of 1950s and 60s motor sport, with the cocktail designed to compliment the vintage fashion and cars seen at the event.
The long history of the bar and its luxurious American stylings, equipped with jazz pianist and singer, provided a perfect backdrop to an evening of elegance, kicked off with a glass of complementary sparkling English wine.
Our chatty host Erik is something of a celebrity in the cocktail trade, training the cocktail mixing actors for the most recent Bond film and winning the prestigious World Class Bartender of the Year 2010 award. He has worked at the Savoy since 2010, but spent his early years growing up behind the Iron Curtain in communist-controlled Slovakia. Discovering a book on bartending by his idol Roman Uhlir as a student drove Lorincz to devote his life to the mixology trade.
This week alone, Lorincz has had the opportunity to design five new cocktails exclusive to the Savoy. His next big project will be designing a signature cocktail for the launch of Spectre, the next James Bond instalment scheduled for release in early November.
The drink itself, the Silver Reviver, is inspired by the vintage elegance of the 1950s Silver Arrow Mercedes (an obvious choice for Goodwood) as well as the classic 1920s hair of the dog cocktail the Corpse Reviver. The drink, made from Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh lemon juice, Cocchi Americano, Kummel liqueur, sugar syrup and a dash of egg white, was shaken vigorously before being strained into an elegant John Jenkins bespoke cocktail glass.
It was clear that no expense had been spared in the making of the cocktail, as Lorincz finished it off with a garnish of edible silver atop the foam as well as a spray of Chanel No. 5 (presumably an homage to Chanel’s 1920s visits to the hotel). It truly was a feast for the eyes and nose. But what of the tongue?
Despite the number of ingredients that went into the drink, the effect was surprisingly uniform, with the supporting cast of gin, Cocchi Americano and sugar syrup creating a delicious flavour bedrock. For me, however, the leading roles let down the show a little.
For those with more sophisticated taste buds than mine, the interplay of tart lemon and sweet caraway in the Kummel liqueur might prove a treat. While my worst fears, of the doused-in-washing-up-liquid ilk, were happily not realised, the drink did still leave a slightly odd, almost astringent sweetness at the back of the throat. The texture, however, was a different story, with the egg white providing a creamy addition to what one might expect to be a slightly anaemic drink.
There’s no doubt that Lorinz knows exactly what he’s doing with his mixology, and while the flavour mix of the Silver Reviver was not quite right for me, that’s surely half of the fun of a limited edition cocktail. It gives experts like Lorincz the chance to experiment with new flavours and create something truly unique. I’ll definitely be back come the release of Spectre to have a pop at the next creation.
The Silver Reviver will cost £16.50 and be on sale at the American Bar from September – available on order.
The Goodwood Revival will run from 11-13 September 2015