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The Cocktails At San Carlo Fumo

We chat to cocktail chief Jamie Jones about his maverick mixes

Published on January 13th 2015.


The Cocktails At San Carlo Fumo
 

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SAN Carlo Fumo is the latest addition to the family-run San Carlo restaurant group. With one of the UK’s largest restaurant turnovers, this upmarket Italian collective includes San Carlo bottega in Selfridges and the critic’s favourite, San Carlo Cicchetti at House of Fraser.

San Carlo Fumo opened in late 2014 in One St Peter’s Square on Oxford Road, opposite Central Library, and it’s already making a splash of its own.

Vodka is infused with lavender olive oil before being frozen, separated, chilled, filtered, mixed and then served in its own ‘caviar’ style tin

Authentic Italian cooking lies at the heart of each of the family’s restaurants - and there’s good reason for the paparazzi perched outside the original branch of San Carlo on King Street West. As well as fine food and service, a sense of pizzazz has made San Carlo the go-to brand for everyone from Mario Balotelli to Rihanna.

Adonis Fumo By San Carlo Fumo ManchesterAdonis Fumo

Typically, the restaurants serve fizz and bellinis at the bar alongside classics like Campari and soda, wines by the glass and so on. But San Carlo MD Marcello Distefano has brought in cocktail consultant Jamie Jones to shake things up a bit at Fumo. The result is a menu with the makings of a destination bar for those in the know.

There’s a fresh emphasis on cocktails at San Carlo group, and Jones’ menu doesn’t play it safe. Twitching with the same drive for perfection as Distefano himself, Jones treats the art of mixology with the same kind of respect you’ll find in the country’s Michelin-starred kitchens.

Miss Bombo By San Carlo Fumo ManchesterMiss Bombo

Dehydrated fruits, essences, aromas and even textures play their part in a list that’s designed to complement everything from Venetian sausage to pigeon pate and spaghetti cooked in red wine. It comes as little surprise that he’s made cocktails for everyone from royals to rappers.

An example of his style is the maverick Lavanda Martini, which Jones fairly suggests could be a game changer for Manchester’s cocktail scene. Vodka is infused with lavender olive oil before being frozen, separated, chilled, filtered, mixed and then served in its own ‘caviar’ style sealed tin, straight out of the fridge. “No one wants to wait fifteen minutes for a drink and we can get the blend immaculate by sealing it in a tin on site,” Jones says.

Photo 24-11-2014 12 34 13

Far East Julep

Drawing on experience at some of the world’s best bars – and setting up the likes of The Yacht Club in Manchester – Jones has thought of everything for the cocktail lover, right down to glasswear. In the case of the Martini, an extra-wide martini glass serves drama and aroma in equal measure – and Jones has even wrapped a purple, lavender-oil-infused ribbon around the glass’s stem for a real, sensory blast. The cocktail has a buttery mouth feel. It’s the best we’ve tried this year.

“When making cocktails, you’re searching for balance,” Jones says. “Sweet-bitter for example, or sour-sweet. What people don’t realise is that 90% of taste is in aroma.”

The bourbon-based Manhattan illustrates his point. At Fumo, this typically ‘masculine’ drink has a sliver of orange peel clipped to the side of the glass so the senses are seduced with every sip.

Photo 24-11-2014 13 14 49

Miss Bombo

As you’d expect from the holder of awards like ‘Gin Connoisseur, The World’s Best Gin Bartender’, Jones doesn’t fear the classics. Lending an adult decadence to the restaurant’s new Negroni, he brings Italian bitters brand, Fernet Branca, into the mix. Fernet Branca is something of a Marmite flavour – to the extent that it’s often described as ‘liquorice-flavoured mouthwash’. But the result is a sophisticated take on this fashionable blend.

Elsewhere on the menu, Jones has tweaked a range of Martini vermouths – Rosso, Bianco and so on – infusing them with herbs and tinctures to reflect the seasons. Apparently Martini HQ are ‘delighted’.

For something completely different, a dessert cocktail called Miami Vice takes the pink and cream colour scheme of the shirts worn in the classic TV show and transforms them into two alcoholic sorbets; a creamy coconut and pineapple one and another that’s strawberry and balsamic flavour. Both are made in house and served ‘half and half’ in the glass. A two-tone dessert with a serious kick.

Over the years, Manchester’s cocktail scene has changed as a new wave of intelligent and dare we say it, ‘cheffy’, cocktails have made their way into the city. At restaurants and bars like Australasia and Mr Cooper’s House, the cocktails are as much a part of the ‘foodie’ experience as the cooking itself. Lucky for Fumo, Jones’ new cocktail menu looks set to be as much of a draw as the restaurant’s famous food.

San Carlo Fumo, One St Peter’s Square, Manchester

San Carlo Fumos Lavanda Martini Lavanda Martini

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