Cocktail Hour: The Queen's Affair

Eric Stephenson, head mixologist of popular cocktail haunt Lily & Bloom, whips up one of his complex concoctions for Riva Hiranand.

Group mixologist Eric Stephenson hails from Dallas, Texas, and spent time in New York and Melbourne before landing the Lily & Bloom job last summer via an “awkward” Skype interview – “I couldn’t see them, so I was just talking to a blank screen!” His fragrant creations are inspired by fond childhood memories of cooking in the kitchen with his mother. “That’s when I fell in love with how therapeutic and relaxing it felt to work with all these different flavors,” reminisces Stephenson who aspired to be a chef before breaking into bartending in New York.

Stephenson’s passion for experimentation is evident in both his work ethic and the product; he spends hours poring over cookbooks, flavor bibles and classic cocktail recipes before tasting, balancing and perfecting new cocktails with his team. He concedes that people may be intimidated by the exotic concoctions on the menu but is determined to make them feel less so. “We insist on making guests feel comfortable as we steer clear of snobbery,” he explains. “What sets us apart is our personal touch; we approach guests to answer any queries, breaking down those barriers prevalent in highbrow establishments.”

 

Cocktail Hour The Queens Affair 1

How Is It Made?

  • Muddle raspberries in a tall shaker.
  • Add lemon juice, cane sugar syrup, orange flower water, kummel liqueur and Williams Chase rose-and-pistachio-infused gin to the raspberry mixture, and stir with a long spoon.
  • Add egg whites to the mix, and dry shake.
  • Shake once more with ice; stir and strain into a chilled glass.
  • Top with Fever-Tree ginger beer and then garnish with fine pistachio dust.

What makes it special?

Inspired by the flavors of rose, pistachio and ginger, its maker describes the Queen's Affair as “a grownup version” of the classic Clover Club. After a previous struggle to incorporate Turkish pistachio nuts into a drink without excessive sweetness, Stephenson balanced their roasted nutty flavor with the delicate floral taste of rosebuds, and added some spice with aniseed and caraway seed liqueur (kummel) and ginger beer. “The key to this drink is a delicate balance,” he explains. “Pistachio and rose is a beautiful pairing, but too much of either and it can taste awful!

“This is a culinary approach to a drink,” he elaborates. “It is easy to drink quickly, but it’s got enough complexity that you can pay attention to the flavors, notice how they work together and what changes after each sip. It’s simple but artisanal, like many of our cocktails at Lily & Bloom.”

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The Queen's Affair

When to indulge?

After dinner as an alternative to dessert: the sweetness with hints of spice from the ginger beer will satiate any sweet tooth.

 

Lily & Bloom, 5/F & 6/F LKFTower,

33 Wyndham Street
t, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2810 6166

Lily & Bloom

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