Shaken or Stirred

A bartender is the aristocrat of the working class.” Doug Coughlin, Cocktail

A rather marvellous surprise e-mail popped into my anexpatabroad inbox last week. I had been invited to attend a two-hour bloggers Cocktail Master Class at the Market Kitchen restaurant, which is part of the revamped Le Royal MĂ©ridien Hotel here in Abu Dhabi. A midweek Master Class with free cocktails you say? Ok, I’m in!

IMG_5590I had previously visited Market Kitchen for dinner back in June (read about that visit here in the ‘From Farm to Table’ post) with the other half and the eldest and we had a delightful evening at the chic New York style eatery brought to the capital by French Michelin star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Although the two storey venue in the revamped Le Royal MĂ©ridien Hotel may feel like you are in the depths of Manhattan, the menu features global cuisine influenced by local produce sourced in the UAE and embraces a ‘farm-to-table’ concept.

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Market Kitchen’s mezzanine level bar (source: Instagram – marketkitchenadbudhabi)

Last week’s intimate gathering brought together a group of bloggers from Abu Dhabi and Dubai at the mezzanine bar of the restaurant to take part and observe in a Cocktail Master Class hosted by Charlie from Tohpr, master mixologist Alex and the team of bar staff from Market Kitchen.

DSC00070Fresh cocktail ingredients (above) and Master Mixologist Alex in full flow (below)

DSC00075The ice was broken (see what I did there) with a little fruit test of guessing the Kumquat and sampling said fruit, skin and all, which lead nicely onto the introduction of kumquat mojitos, both of the alcoholic and mocktail (for the designated drivers and the pregnant guest among us) variety and they were absolutely delicious, an unusual new twist on a classic cocktail.

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Kumquat Mojito anyone?DSC00107

The intimate bloggers cocktail event was a great success

The evening of mixology introduced us to the art of bar tendering and how to mix cocktails and drinks of all varieties, shapes and colours, learning about those that are muddled, stirred and those that are shaken and most importantly sample them all. It was a tough job but we all rose to the challenge.

IMG_7017Bloggers turned bartenders for the Cocktail Master Class (source: Instagram – kiran1803)

DSC00089The ‘unnamed’ mocktail created specially for our pregnant fellow blogger.

We were each given the opportunity of trying our hand at mixing our own concoctions and I made mine under the watchful eye of Alex, a margarita involving a generous two measures of Tequila, Cointreau, lime, lots of ice and of course a salted rimmed glass all topped off with a lime wedge. I couldn’t quite match his flamboyant cocktail shaker shaking expertise but I gave it a go anyway!

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Here I am embracing my inner Tom Cruise from ‘Cocktail’ making a rather potent Margarita DSC00102I have to say my favourites, along with Kumquat Mojito were the Lychee Raspberry Bellini (that went down far too easily) made with Prosecco and funnily enough Lychee and Raspberry and the Passion Fruit Sangria made with rose instead of the usual red wine giving it a lighter colour and taste, infused with a measure of Cointreau and notes of blackberry, pineapple and orange.

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Some favourites from the night, Kumquat Mojito (above) Lychee Raspberry Bellini  and the Passion Fruit Sangria (below)

DSC00119Also on offer were Ginger Margaritas (Tequila, Cointreau, lime, ginger and the mandatory salt) and a Whiskey Passion Fizz (bourbon, passion fruit chilli, ginger ale) that went down well with the whiskey lovers of the group.

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Ginger Margarita (source:www.facebook.com/marketkitchenabudhabi)

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Making of a tri-colour cocktail which I will name the ‘traffic light’ as I don’t know its official name

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Cucumber Martini made by a fellow blogger

A twist on the classic Gin and Tonic, made with the fabulous Hendricks and cucumber combination, was the Cucumber Martini which used the aforementioned classic ingredients with added lemon and mint and shook to perfection. Light bites were offered, welcomed by all (to soak up the alcohol in my case) and I tried the Black Truffle and Fontina Pizza while others had Tuna canapés all available on the Market Kitchen different menu options.

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Market Kitchen offers guests a trendy and contemporary setting that is both welcoming and trÚs chic! Probably one of the most stylist (alongside Zuma) venues in the capital at present it embraces a dark wood theme with exposed white brick (very NYC), floor-to-ceiling shelving that houses an array of quirky knick-knacks, copious amounts of funky lights and a large feature indoor olive tree in the centre of the spacious main restaurant area.

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Views around the Market Kitchen mezzanine area which also houses a private tasting room behind the bar.

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Looking down from the gantry on the main restaurant below and its feature central indoor olive tree

Market Kitchen’s mixologists have focused on taking classic cocktails and concocting new and exotic varieties as well as introducing their own new bespoke drinks, pushing the limits of classic bar tending and your average cocktail menu. I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening and can thoroughly recommend trying some of the fabulous cocktails on offer at Market Kitchen, especially if you are going there for dinner.        

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Some of the talented Market Kitchen bar tenders

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Some of the range of Market Kitchen cocktails (source:www.facebook.com/marketkitchenabudhabi)

Market Kitchen

Location: Market Kitchen, Le Royal MĂ©ridien Hotel, Abu Dhabi

Opening Times: Open daily from 12pm to 3pm for lunch, a kitchen counter menu from 3pm – 7pm and for dinner from 7pm to 11pm.

Telephone: 02 695 0300

E-mail: restaurants.lrmad@lemeridien.com

Website: www.marketkitchenabudhabi.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/marketkitchenabudhabi

I was invited to take part in this masterclass. Thank you to Market Kitchen for the opportunity to participate in this fantastic experience. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014. All rights reserved.