This weekend saw the eagerly anticipated arrival of Dirty Martini in Cardiff, on the former site of Maddison nightclub on St Mary Street. The cocktail bar chain already has eight branches in London, but this is the first venue to open outside of England’s capital city.
Having undergone a £1.2m refurbishment, the bar launched to press and media on Friday, followed by a public launch on Saturday. Like Dirty Martini’s existing venues, the Cardiff branch has been decked out in glamorous furnishings, bold art and eclectic lighting.
The menu boasts no less than 50 different cocktail choices, including the martini range, which features innovative creations like the Kiwi and Coconut Martini, the Citric Honey Dew Martini and the Dragon Fruit and Pomegranate Martini. A wide variety of beers, champagnes, wines and spirits are also available.
Three of the cocktails on the menu have been crafted using Welsh spirits, the names of which are inspired by Welsh mythology: the Red Dragon, Merlin’s Cup and an Old Myth. The Red Dragon is a concoction of Brecon Botanical Gin with blood orange, green tea and hibiscus, and teapot bitters, finished with a Snapdragon flower (discover how to make one for yourself at the end of this blog post!)
Meanwhile, Merlin’s Cup consists of Penderyn Single Malt Whiskey combined with Merlin cream liqeur, yellow chartreuse, chestnut syrup and whiskey barrel-aged bitters, and in a contemporary twist on the traditional Old Fashioned, the Old Myth contains Penderyn Myth Single Malt flavoured with fig liqueur, dandelion and burdock bitters and demerara sugar.
Most cocktails on the menu will set you back around £9-10 each, so be sure to take advantage of half price drinks during happy hour, which runs from 3pm – 10pm from Monday to Thursday, 12pm – 9pm Friday and Saturday, and all night on Sunday.
If the sound of these cocktails hasn’t left you feeling desperate to visit Dirty Martini, maybe its small plates and sharing platters will do the trick. To complement its bespoke cocktail menu, Dirty Martini offers a selection of light meals/platters that are perfect for nibbling on over a few cocktails with friends. We tried the fried buttermilk chicken and the beef and cheese slider burgers, both of which were delicious.
I managed to get my hands on the recipe for the Red Dragon cocktail and so I decided to give it a run-through. It was very quick and easy to make, and it tasted just like the Red Dragon cocktail I tried at Dirty Martini, although the surface wasn’t quite as frothy. Fragrant and sweet, but I could definitely taste the gin. I can see me making a few more of these!
- 35ml Brecon Botanicals Welsh gin
- 20ml The Vert Hibiscus Liqueur
- 10ml Gomme Syrup
- 5ml Monin Blood Orange Syrup
- 2 dashes Teapot Bitters
- 10ml lemon juice
- 10ml egg white
- 1 fresh raspberry
- Edible snapdragon flower (to garnish)
- Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker.
- Top the ingredients with cubed ice, then top with a glass and give it a good shake.
- Double strain the mixture into a chilled Martini glass, garnish with the Snapdragon flower and serve immediately.