When Erik Lorincz mixes a cocktail, it stays mixed. Even the simple act of stirring ice takes on a level of artistry undreamed of by most cocktail connoisseurs. He fills a pint glass with ice and places a long, metal bar spoon near the bottom, resting against the inner wall of the glass. Holding the spoon between his second and third fingers, using his forefinger and thumb for support, he gently flicks his wrist back and forth, brushing between 6 and 12 on an imaginary clock. Only his wrist moves. The rest of his arm is nearly motionless as the ice spins elegantly, silently. It looks easy enough, but as soon as we attempt it, jabbing spoons into unyielding cubes and trying vainly to make the ice swirl in a fluid motion, it's apparent how tricky it is. Lorincz's grace masks his mastery of technique.
Only 31, the Slovakian-born mixologist is often described as the best bartender in the world. Last year, he won the grueling, five-day Diageo World Class competition, beating out 9,000 bartenders from around the world. Tall, tanned, sleek and thin as a greyhound, you can find Lorincz overseeing the American Bar in London's recently reopened Savoy Hotel. Lorincz also wrote the introduction and contributed several recipes for the newest edition of The Savoy Cocktail Book, slated for release in June or July of 2011.
Lorincz learned how to stir a drink -- among many other techniques like the "hard shake" -- from legendary Japanese bartender Kazuo Uyeda author of Cocktail Techniques. At a private lesson with Uyeda, Lorincz began by stirring a drink for the master. "He said to me, 'This is not a minestrone, this is a martini.'"
From the proper glass to the correct ice to the most attractive garnish, no element is overlooked in the rarified citrus-scented air of the world's top cocktail circles. When Lorincz isn't busy traveling the world or tending bar at the Savoy (a Fairmont managed hotel), he's inventing cocktails. Like this one. Named in honor of the Savoy's reopening after a three-year, multi-million dollar revamp, the Restoration Celebration is sweet and fruity. Somehow incorporating cinnamon without evoking the yuletide, it's light and summery enough to make us slurp glass after glass.
From: Erik Lorincz
Makes: 1 drink
3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 oz. pineapple juice
2 bar spoons of cinnamon sugar
3/4 oz. cherry puree
1 oz. gin
1 mint sprig
1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
2. Add all the ingredients except the champagne and mint in the order listed above to a shaker.
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3. Shake vigorously.
4. Pour about two fingers of champagne into the highball glass. (Don't remove the ice.)
5. Strain the mix from the cocktail shaker into the highball glass.
6. Slap the sprig of mint to release its flavor. Gently place it near the rim of the glass so it floats on top of the drink, buoyed by the ice cubes.