As the band blasted “Valerie” on their horns and a stylish crowd sipped cocktails in the elegant St. James Room of Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza, you’d half expect to see a modern incarnation of Cary Grant holding court by the bar, a Fairmont Old Fashioned held casually in his hand.
If you think the appearance of an Old Fashioned on a cocktail menu is a little, well, old fashioned, think again. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has launched “Classics. Perfected.” a new cocktail menu that puts a sophisticated, modern, top-shelf twist on old favorites. Fairmont, whose parent company, FRHI Holdings Ltd., was recently acquired by AccorHotels, will feature the new menu globally.
The “Classics. Perfected.” menu also aims to bring cocktail culture back to the hotel social scene. That culture was on full display at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, which also hosts other culinary events like the secret, speakeasy-style 140 Supper Club and seasonal “Bacchanal” dinners.
Fairmont tapped four top bartenders — Tom Hogan from Fairmont Singapore, Nader Chabaane from Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, Grant Sceney from Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver, and Erik Lorincz from The Savoy in London — to develop the new menu, which plumbed the archives of Fairmont’s cocktail history to showcase and revive the best libations possible. The mixology team created 100 different versions of the “Fairmont Old Fashioned” before achieving just the right balance of Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, bitters, and a ribbon of aromatic orange peel.
That meticulous tinkering does more than achieve great flavor in cocktails like the Sparkling Collins Royale and Pomegranate Paloma, said Chabaane, as he mixed drinks at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. There’s also another, more intangible element, he said, that signals, “There’s something special about this drink.”