Discover the best food and drink experiences

Shake up your usual order with these exotic and underrated classics, says drinks expert Katie Rouse.


Order something different this party season! Our resident bartender takes a look at six amazing cocktails that really need to be revived. Luckily, some of Birmingham's best independent bars are serving up these classic blends...

Katie Rouse has spent nearly a decade in the drinks industry. From bartending and planning cocktail menus, to managing and training bar staff, her career has included stints at The Jekyll & Hyde, The Victoria and The Botanist. Now she's the boss of Crushed & Cubed, an independent drinks agency that sources top quality tipples for bars and restaurants. She's also a key member of Birmingham Association of Bartenders (BAB) and knows pretty much everyone in the local drinks industry.

1. 'Piña Palava' at The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel

With numerous awards, high quality cocktails and a world class bartender, The Edgbaston is well respected in the bar industry, and so had to be first on my list of places to go.

The hotel provides a top-notch cocktail list so the staff are more than trained in the world of classic recipes. The team at The Edgbaston live by the rule of serving classic mixed drinks presented in a more unique way.

So, we are going for a twist on a more well-known classic (Piña Colada) in which the team have clarified their pineapple and cream to create a clear drink which has all the same great flavours expected without the filling aspect of a creamy drink. When we drink it, we feel like we are sitting on a beach in Bali... what a dream.

How the drink was born

In 1948, Ramon Lopez Irizarry created Coco Lopez, which is coconut cream and needed for the original recipe of a Piña Colada but no fewer than three different bartenders claim to have first created the recipe in which we mix rum, citrus and pineapple into the mix.

The Edgbaston team's recipe

Ron Zacapa 23yr, Kaffir Lime Leaf Liqueur, Pandan Leaf, Coconut, Clarified Cream, Pineapple

Photo by Laura Creaven

2. 'New York Sour' at the bar I cannot name

Now a speakeasy cannot be a real speakeasy if I divulge their location but your clue to find this hidden gem is pictured. Call the number to experience something very special.

The New York Sour is basically a Whisky Sour with the addition of red wine, so it doesn't differ too far from what you will know. However the red wine creates a dry palate on the finish and also drives all the flavours together for a long finish.

How the drink was born

Made in the 1880s by a bartender in Chicago, the original name of the recipe was called Continental Sour and then renamed to Southern Whisky Sour and now to the 'New York Sour,' by whom, I'm unsure but called by any three names, its a favourite forgotten classic of mine.

Jacob Clarke's recipe

Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Simple Syrup, Citric Acid (replacing lemon juice), Angostura Bitters, Egg White and Baccolo Cielo Red Wine

3. The British version of 'The Corpse Reviver #1' at Smultronstalle

Smultronstalle is our hidden gem hiding underneath a great independent craft beer and coffee bar in the city centre - the first bar outside of Tokyo to offer an exclusive tasting meenu which is guided and hosted by the owner himself, Robert Wood (pictured)

Rob has created his own British take on the classic hangover cure, adapting the #1 recipe with Somerset Cider Brandy, which is listed on their new menu so keep your eyes peeled for its release.

How the drink was born

The Corpse Reviver has many recipes, #1 and #2 being the best-known and the original recipes dating back to 1860s and most popular during the Prohibition Era in America.

This is renowned among bartenders as the best hangover cure; as the name suggests it claims to 'revive the corpse'. Without breaking responsible drinking rules, of course, I have tried and tested it. It works.

Smultronstalle's recipe by Robert Wood

Somerset Cider Brandy 3y, Somerset Cider Brandy Pomona, Blackdown Silver Birch Vermouth, Liberty Fields Apple Syrup, Bokers Bitters - blended then aged for 30 days in PX Cask.

4. 'Milano Torino' and 'Americano' at Fumo Selfridges

Fumo just opened its second Birmingham site in Selfridges, and as a fan of the original bar and restaurant, I couldn't wait to see the second bar for more cocktails from the knowledgable team.

As it's an Italian business at heart, I had to order some Italian cocktails on my latest visit. I couldn't choose one so I had to go for two - all in the name of research!

How the drinks were born

The Milano Torino gave birth to the Americano and Negroni, so lets begin there. Consisting of two alchohols and a twist of citrus, it was created at Milan's Caffe Camparino in the 1860s.

Using Campari, Sweet Vermouth and a twist of orange, they later added soda to create the Americano and then removed the soda and added Gin to create the Negroni.

The Negroni is the most well known but may not have existed without these two forgotten classics. If you see yourself as a Negroni lover then I recommend getting yourself to Fumo to try the Mother and Father of the Negroni.

Fumo's recipe by Leonardo Trapella


Equal measures of Campari AND Carpano Punt E Mes with a twist of lemon zest, usually stirred down but our Leo loves to shake his.


Equal measures of Campari & Carpano Punt E Mes, topped with soda water, built with cubed ice and garnished with a pink grapefruit wedge.

5. 'Bywater' at The Church Inn

Now, this one may come as a surprise to many as The Church is a friendly neighbourhood boozer with great food and great beer with an impressive cocktail list created by the staff.

However, many of the owners, managers and staff have a background career in cocktail bars and know their classics very well indeed.

The Bywater, I would say, is the biggest forgotten classic in my list but an incredible recipe that you must try at least once in your life. It also includes Green Chartreuse, which is a cocktail bartender's secret weapon (and many a bartender's favourite shot!)

How the drink was born

The Bywater comes from New Orleans, like many great drinks, from Chris Hannah at Arnaud's French 75 bar. The recipe consists of Aged Rum, Averna, Green Chartreuse and Velvet Falernum.

You'll find many recipes containing bitters but I believe the original, with all that spice already, didn't contain them. (I will slap my own wrist if I've been ill informed) and then zested, discarded and garnished with a cherry. You really can't argue that this drink isn't going to be boozy and

The Church Inn's recipe by Tim Mcrae

Appleton 8yr Rum, Green Chartreuse, Cynar, Velvet Falernum, Regan's Orange Bitters served neat with an Orange Twist garnish

6. 'Satan's Whiskers' at 40 St Pauls

Considering they won Best Gin List of the Year 2017, we can't really doubt their ability to throw together a great concoction of juniper mixed drinks, so kudos to my favourite gin lounge.

One may forget about the Satan's Whiskers Cocktail which is a mix of Gin, orange and Vermouth, replace Marnier for Curacao and it's a 'curled' Satan's Whiskers.

How the drink was born

It was born in The Bronx and sounds like a sweet drink, but with the right balance of orange flavours and most adding additional bitters, the flavours really mould together perfectly.

40 St Paul's recipe by Amanjot Johl

Bombay Sapphire, Pierre Ferrand Curacao, Cinzano 1757, Dolin Dry, Fresh Orange Juice and Bitters

So there you have it - hope you enjoyed my list of forgotten cocktail classics. Until next time!

To find out more about Katie Rouse's independent drinks agency, Crushed & Cubed, visit their website.

Posted by Katie Rouse