Cocktails for Remembrance Sunday

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8th January 2024

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Every November, we remember those brave men and women who gave their lives for our
country in the First World War. November 11th is considered to be
the anniversary of the day the war ended. We celebrate this day with parades,
poppies and two-minute silences, but there is no reason why you can’t also mix
up a cocktail or two and drink to those fallen heroes. Here are some cocktails
with connections to the War.

Sidecar

This classic cocktail was invented around the end of the war, with its origins being suggested as either London or Paris. The name refers to the sidecar of the motorcycle an American army captain rode in who used to drink in a popular bar. This combination of triple sec, lemon juice and cognac is as popular today as it was back then!

French 75

The name of this cocktail comes from one of the guns used by American and French troops. The Howitzer 75mm field gun was considered to be one of the most accurate and efficient weapons and had a real kick to it when shot. This drink is perhaps just as fierce, with champagne, gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup making for an irresistible blend. Variations often replace gin with vodka, tequila or cognac.

John Collins

World War One soldiers were regularly plied with alcohol in order to treat various ailments and deliver courage in the face of adversity. Officers were the only
soldiers permitted to purchase alcohol outside of their rations, however, and
the John Collins became popular amongst them. This mix of gin, lemon juice,
soda water and sugar syrup was a mood-booster for the more senior army
officials.

Japanese

Officers were also partial to a sip of cognac, which is why the Japanese cocktail was so
popular. This drink also contained angostura bitters and orgeat syrup, making
for a drink that was potent and smooth, ideal for settling the nerves and
helping to calm them at the end of a hard day. There is no Japanese link to the
ingredients – it is believed some Japanese UN representatives were near the bar
where it was created and so the name was attributed to them.

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Buck’s Fizz

This drink is named after Captain Herbert Buckmaster, who served on the front line. After
the war, he created the Buck’s Club, where the Buck’s Fizz was the signature
cocktail. Buckmaster claims to have created it after being inspired by a drink
he had enjoyed in France. Of course, this simple mix of orange juice and
champagne is still incredibly popular, enjoyed as a breakfast cocktail and at
sophisticated occasions where alcohol is required but it is not appropriate for
the guests to get too drunk too fast!

We will always remember those who gave their lives so that we could enjoy ours. A
cocktail or two seems to provide a fitting tribute and encourages us to
appreciate the freedoms of today.


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Bartender's top tip

Consistency is key in cocktail making. Use a jigger or a measuring tool to ensure that you're adding the correct amounts of each ingredient. This not only helps in balancing the flavors but also in replicating the success of a drink you’ve particularly enjoyed. It’s easy to adjust recipes when you know exactly how much of each ingredient is in the mix.

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