A drink containing 26 perfectly balanced ingredients
The world's first A-Z Cocktail – a drink containing 26 perfectly balanced ingredients
New York, the world's foremost cocktail city that's home to many of the world's most popular and enduring cocktails, now boasts another mixological accolade – a drink containing some 26 ingredients, one for each letter of the alphabet, each ingredient perfectly balanced with the other.
The A-Z Cocktail is the result of a collaboration between W Hotel Times Square, and British culinary experiential design studio Bompas & Parr. Inspired by W Hotel's 'Whatever, Whenever' maxim, which aims to accommodate any guest demand, and with the aim of conjuring up the most outlandish drinks order the hotel could expect from its Extreme Wow signature suite, the studio set out to create something that not only distinguished itself conceptually but worked from a taste perspective too.
Examining the tiny serves typically included in any hotel minibar, Bompas & Parr imagined whether it was possible to combine small quantities of a vast array of ingredients to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. Although typically such forays are met with drinking disaster, the key was choosing the right components and experimenting with minute quantities to get the perfect result.
With tiki drinks often containing more than 10 components, including combining several rums to create unique spirit bases, and with some components individually made from complex recipes in themselves, there is clearly previous form in the drinks world for superbly complex cocktails, but not even tiki can come close to the meticulous pairing of 26 alcoholic components.
Working to the classic punch rhyming formula of 'One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong and Four of Weak' - a formula traditionally designed to accommodate a vast array of cocktail components - the studio's mixology team underwent a period of extreme R&D to identify the potential components and taste test their way to a balanced drink. A core ratio was devised of four parts of spirit to 2 parts of liqueur, and one part Velvet Falernum. The 26 components were then broken down and assigned a place in the formula.
In total, the drink includes eight types of rum, three types of cognac, one mezcal, one gin, six liqueurs and two types of bitters as well as vermouth and other aperitif wines that straddle the globe, each named for their brand name. The result is a supremely complex drink with layers and layers of flavour that keep building and evolving on the palate, long after you swallow. The drink can be drunk neat, straight from the mini-bar, or on cubed or crushed ice.
The A-Z Cocktail abides by Bompas & Parr's own studio maxim – “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom... You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough.” – conceived by William Blake in his seminal Proverbs of Hell.
A - Angostura Bitters (Angostura)
B - Botran Solera (Guatamala)
C - Cointreau (France)
D - Diplomatico (Venaulan)
E - El Dorado 12 (Guyana)
F - Frapin Cognac (France)
G - Grand Marnier (France
H - Havana Añejo Especial (Cuba)
I - Ilegal mezcal (Guatemala)
J - J.H Rhum (Martinque)
K - Kamm & Sons (UK)
L- Louis Royer VSOP (150 years)
M - Martell VS Cognac (France
N - Nine Leaves (Japanese Rum)
O - O. V. D (Old Vatted Demerara)
P - Pimento dram (Germany)*
Q - Quagli Berto Rosso (Italy)
R - Regan’s Orange Bitters (USA)*
S - Sipsmith Sloe Gin (UK)
T - Tipples British fruit liqueurs (UK)
U - Underberg Herbal Tonic (Germany)*
V - Velvet falernum
W - Wray & Nephew (Jamica)
X - Xante pear (France)
Y - Yagurara Cachaça (Brazil)
Z - Zoco Patcheran (Spain)
The drink was available to guests staying in W Hotel's Times Square Extreme Wow Suite for the duration of January 2019 only.