Saturday, December 30, 2017

Honey or Smoked? Have Your Old-Fashioned Both Ways at Churchill...

"Sir, you are drunk," said Labour MP Bessie Braddock to Winston Churchill, to which the iconic prime minister replied "And you, madam, are ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober." In true Churchillian style, his eloquence cuts through the clutter like a dramatic mic drop, helped no less by a refreshing tipple. History remembers the iconic leader with his famous speeches from "This was their finest hour" at the onset of the lost battle in France to "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few" after a defiant victory against all odds at the Battle of Britain. His words galvanized an embattled nation and shaped the world, and that deserves a toast... 

Drawing inspiration from the quintessential British statesman, Churchill at Estancia in Capitol Commons brings back the stately elegance of a gentleman's bar from a long bygone era. It's an homage to the cigar and brandy loving former prime minister who shone brightest during the second world war, with its dark masculine interiors and a wide selection of handcrafted cocktails and spirits. Understated and subdued yet exuding refined grace and style, it's the perfect spot for a tipple right here at Capitol Commons...

"I have taken more good from alcohol than alcohol has taken from me."

Churchill loved his liquor, and it's said that the statesman never slurred even when he had one too many. He was definitely a class act, and Churchill at Estancia recreates this smartly sophisticated vibe down to the smallest detail, from the bar to the plush couches to the classic Old-Fashioned. I've always gauged any bar's authenticity and honesty with the way they create this elegant cocktail, and Churchill nails it. Starting with fine bourbon or rye whiskey to the short and wide glass lined once with citrus to its single large ice cube or ball, and that delicate balance of smokiness and sweetness with every sip, the Old-Fashioned combines simplicity and elegance in one very straightforward cocktail. It's the kind cocktail you can have all night, be gentle with it and the Old-Fashioned will treat you right and maybe even give you the gift of gab or the inspiring eloquence of Winston Churchill. Rush it and the Old-Fashioned will hit you back. Hard. Very Don Draper. At Churchill, you can have your traditional Old-Fashioned the way Mad Men would have it, or you can enjoy it with honey or infused with smoke, now how cool is that?

As you settle down in the cozy interiors of Churchill, the dark muted colors exude an aged patina that gives it an ethereal glow. And the intricate details of the wooden trims, ornate lights, crystal decanters and bar tools add to the mood. And since Churchill enjoyed his cigars, you can indulge at Churchill's very own smoking room, no jacket required.

After a sumptuous feast at Highlands Bistro (see my post here at New Concept for the New Year with Highlands Bistro), a cocktail seemed to be a good idea. Passing through the convenient special access way from Highlands Bistro brings you straight to the bar at Churchill. At the bar, my Honey Old-Fashioned is prepared, and it's time for my own version of Churchill's finest hour...

...starting with my favorite cocktail. The deep notes of the honey pair well with the bold smoky hints of the bourbon for a delicately balanced cocktail. Just perfect. Simple, mild-mannered yet refined without any unnecessary frills, the classic Old-Fashioned has just the right kick to get the ball rolling for an interesting afternoon at Churchill.

Meanwhile, Chef John Kingston  serves up some of Churchill's pub grub, casual and comforting dishes with rich flavors that's perfect for a  tipple. Slowly, Chef John Kingston unwraps the foil as the aroma of freshly baked bread fills the air. Cocktails and some good eats. Just can't get better than that...

Churchill's Mushroom and Bacon with freshly baked bread is a hearty appetizer that lines your belly with the buttery and nutty richness of large mushrooms and crisp bacon bits. Just look at the size of those mushrooms, and you just know this is one seriously good appetizer with the addition of bacon. Grab a piece of bread and dip it in the rich sauce. Perfect with an ice-cold beer. Or an Old-Fashioned.

How about some crisp Nachos with refried beans topped with cheese? No worries, Churchill's got you covered. Served with spicy jalapenos, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream and a rich cheese sauce, once you start, you just can't stop so have another round of beer. Make that an Old Fashioned.

"When I was younger, I made it a rule never to take a strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast."

The vivid amber color and the velvety smooth finish of the fine bourbon, bitters, honey and citrus blend makes the Old-Fashioned the perfect cocktail anytime of day, and just what you need after a satisfying lunch at Highlands Bistro. It also fits perfectly with Winston's rules. It's that delicate balance of smokiness and sweetness that makes the Old-Fashioned the right cocktail before or after a meal, and the one cocktail that promises so many interesting stories late in the evening.

Back at the bar, Churchill's mixologist whips up another classic whiskey-based cocktail, the Whiskey Sour, with its signature frothy head garnished with an orange wheel and a cherry. Choose your preferred libation, and Churchill's mixologist will have it ready in minutes. 

Then, the bar was cleared for one of Churchill's signature cocktails, the Smoked Old-Fashioned...

Infused with smoke in a crystal decanter and poured into a classic Old-Fashioned glass, the cocktail adds a whole lot of drama to the experience at Churchill. Just like Winston Churchill's epic one-liners, the Smoked Old-Fashioned's presentation is right up there with the Prime Minister's defiant "we shall never surrender" declaration complete with the British stiff upper lip.

The infused smoke adds character to the Old-Fashioned, with a more robust flavor that lingers long after the first sip. The Smoked Old-Fashioned triggers the nose before the palate with its deep flavors, followed by hints of citrus and just a whisper of sweetness. Even old Winnie would approve of this Old-Fashioned, pairing well with his favorite cigar.  

Honey or Smoked? Have both. At Churchill. Start with the Honey Old-Fashioned and end with the Smoked Old-Fashioned for that gradual progression of flavors.

"This is not end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

A tipple always leads to something interesting, and the Honey and Smoked Old-Fashioned opens up a whole lot of interesting Churchill. 

Churchill is located at the Ground Floor of Estancia Mall North Wing in Capitol Commons (right beside Highlands Bistro), Kapitolyo, Pasig.

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