In a world now bursting with odd ingredient infusions, will ‘meat on the rocks’ ever catch on? South African restaurant Shaka Zulu seems to think so, going where no London bar has gone before: Meat-infused cocktails. According to the Camden-based venue, these carnivorous tipples are set to be one of the hottest drink trends this year.
Bar Manager, Tony Safqi has worked hard to bring us three meaty delights in liquid form. First, a twist on a classic, the Bloody Bacon, made from a 24-hour mature Bloody Mary mix, bacon vodka and garnished with celery, crispy smoked bacon and a skewer of soft cheese and cherry tomatoes.
The Bloody Bacon is the most popular of the three choices, my companion and I are told, as people reach for something they can mildly relate to when stepping into ‘unknown’ drink territory. But be warned, for those who can’t handle their spices this is not the meat cocktail for you.
Next up is the Meatequita, a blend of tequila reposado infused with chorizo, vegetable juice, balsamic vinegar, smoked sea salt pepper and port. This is a particularly brave choice and is the cocktail that most screams ‘MEAT’. It is a slightly scary sight to watch your barman garnish your glass with a piece of chorizo, topping it off with a dry beef biltong strip. This beverage certainly has the strongest meaty taste, and as the barman advises, goes down better after a bite of the sausage perched on the glass’s rim.
Pescatarians will be relieved to know they won’t miss out as there’s something for fish lovers too! The Wheeling Salmon (pictured) was our firm favourite of the three. Made with smoked salmon-infused vodka with lemon pepper and a huge ball of ice, the drink is deliciously cold, with a faint fishy aftertaste. The drink is served with a host of traditional martini accompaniments including smoked salmon, stuffed baby red peppers and olives.
Apparently demand is fairly high for all three of these odd concoctions, with around 15 meaty drinks flying off the bar each night. We are also told that there were numerous bookings to skip the steak and treat dad to a liquid lunch instead on Father’s Day.
But although it was a fun and quirky experience sipping meat from a fancy glass, I can’t say we’ll be rushing back to Shaka Zulu for another one any time soon. However, it may see repeat visits from hardcore meat fans, those on a soup diet or the plain crazy.
Chalk Farm Road
Tel: 0203 376 9911