There are mixologists who believe that a cocktail is one thing, a fruit salad another, and that the two should remain distinct. David Wong is not of their number.
Possibly this is because classic cocktails - mostly martinis - are what he spends most of his time mixing, and he likes occasionally to indulge his creative muse with something more redolent of beaches fringed with coconut palms.
He works at a different sort of Fringe - the new Cabaret Theatre bar of the Fringe Club in Central - which, due to extensive renovations, is the only bit of that institution currently in active service.
The room is a bit of a departure from previous Fringe Club style. It's a cocktail lounge, when it is not being used for theatre and musical presentations, and the array of upmarket spirits behind the bar bespeaks a seriousness about drinks strikingly at odds with the draught beer bohemianism for which the Fringe has hitherto been known. You don't have to dress down to fit in here.
I was mulling over the martini list when David announced firmly that what he intended to make for me was a "French Paradise".
My own idea of a French paradise is to be found in various locations in France, but David's appears to be located in Martinique, St Barts or possibly Tahiti.
"I chose the name because of the tropical fruit elements," he explains, and fruit it does not lack - not just in the juices and the actual chunks of the stuff floating in the drink, but in the wine, which is a notably fruity, New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
As well as acidity, this adds a hint of passion fruit to a mix dominated by guava, with coconut vanilla undertones from the Malibu rum. The whisky supplies much of the alcoholic kick, but is only just discernible in the finish. A good long drink for a hot day, and it is probably a day's dietary fruit allocation.
100ml Te Mata Estate Sauvignon Blanc
50ml Famous Grouse Scotch whisky
12.5ml Malibu rum
50ml guava juice
Tablespoonful of diced fruit (cranberries, strawberries, and orange)
Twist of lemon
Dried apple slices
- Combine wine, whisky, Cointreau and Malibu with ice in a shaker, and shake.
- Put diced fruit into a hurricane glass, add ice and grenadine, squeeze lemon oils from twist.
- Add guava juice, top up with Sprite and garnish with the lemon twist, strawberry and dried apple.