Derbyshire Venues & Accommodation For Every Occasion

Cocktail of the Week: Rose Vinus Lupus

Next time you’re in the mood for a cocktail, but there’s no lemons or limes in the fridge, don’t panic. There’s a mystery ingredient tucked away in your cupboard which might just save the day, though you’d never have thought of using it – vinegar. 

Cocktails using vinegar have become all the rage in recent years, ever since bartenders in New York started to experiment with the tangy stuff. Chelsea bar Barts recently introduced a whole menu of cocktails inspired by the condiment, while at Aqua Shard, the Devonshire Cream Cup is laced with a homemade tarragon balsamic vinegar.

Cocktails expert Tony Conigliaro says vinegar has become a favourite ingredient among mixologists partly because it’s a perfect replacement for citrus, the traditional sour or acidic component of cocktails. But its robust flavour also allows the creation of complicated drinks with a “unique depth”.

“Looking at different forms of acidity in drinks can open up many doors for flavour exploration,” explains Tony. “There's been a shift away from sweet cocktails towards more savoury, umami-rich flavours. The acidity of vinegar cuts through anything sweet, and helps develop this.”

Although it might seem novel and exciting, using vinegar in drinks actually dates back hundreds of years. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the liquid was often used to preserve fruits, and sweetened vinegar-based fruit syrups, known as shrubs, are often often bartenders’ preferred way of using vinegar today (putting “shrub” rather than “vinegar” on the menu also has the welcome effect of not scaring away punters).

At Kings Cross restaurant and bar The Grain Store, a very unusual type of vinegar features in the cocktail Rose Vinus Lupus – verjus, a popular ingredient in the medieval kitchen and the favourite vinegar of Conigliaro, who created the menu. Made from unripe grapes or crab apples, verjus died out when lemons and limes began to be imported from abroad, but has recently had something of a renaissance. It's easily available online, or, if you’re feeling brave, you can even make it at home.

Balanced with white wine and fragrant rose, the cocktail is a refreshing, yet far from cloying, drink – ideal for a day in the garden when the sun finally comes out.

Rose Vinus Lupus recipe

A simplified version of the Grain Store cocktail.

15ml rose syrup

15ml verjus

75ml Gewurtraminer white wine


Combine the syrup, verjus and wine in a wine glass filled with ice, gently stir to combine and serve.

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