Truth and Spies: Tongue-loosening cocktails at The Stafford London

Eric Rychnausky, head mixologist at The Stafford London, divulges his secrets for a trio of truth serums created especially for the Spring.

Eric Rychnausky showcases three new cocktails in the wine cellar of The Stafford Hotel.

Eric Rychnausky in the wine cellar of The Stafford London.

The White Mouse

What do you do when a mouse is spied hanging around your bar? Call in the exterminators, right?

Not when that mouse is “The White Mouse,” a.k.a. Nancy Wake, one of the Allies’ most decorated service women of the Second World War. In that case, you create a new drink in her honour, as The Stafford’s chief mix master Eric Rychnausky has done.

Nancy, a key member of the French Resistance, earned her nickname from the Gestapo due to her ability to elude capture. 

While she never fell for any of the Axis’ cheesy traps, Nancy was more susceptible to the charms of a stiff drink. She spent much of her later life perched at the American Bar at The Stafford London hotel, where she lived until shortly before her death in 2011 at the age of 98.

Nancy Wake, "The White Mouse," pictured at The American Bar. Courtesy The Stafford London.

Nancy Wake at The American Bar. Courtesy The Stafford London.

Saffron gin_1251Eric’s recipe for The White Mouse:

35 ml of Saffron Gin

15 ml of lemon juice

3 teaspoons of honey


Garnish: star anise.

“I decided to give her a star,” Eric explains, “because she was a soldier.”

Method: Muddle cucumber with a fresh mint. Shake all ingredients with ice and double-strain in a cocktail glass.

The White Mouse

The White Mouse

The Spitfire

With this year marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the war and the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill, who helped lead the Allies to victory, Eric has also concocted The Spitfire. It’s named for the fighter aircraft, of course, although its deliciously potent ingredients might have you spitting fire, as well.

“I want you to fly,” Eric says with a wolfish smile. (At least he didn’t say “crash and burn.”)

The Spitfire Eric prepares drink_1195Eric’s recipe for The Spitfire:

30 ml of Chase Marmalade Vodka

10 ml of elderflower cordial

15 ml of vanilla syrup

Passion fruit puree

Laurent-Perrier Champagne “to lift up all the flowers”

Garnish: Fresh passion fruit

Method: Shake all ingredients in (what else?) a shaker, then double-strain in a glass, and top with champagne.

The Spitfire

The Spitfire

The Stafford Garden

Just as the end of the war heralded a new beginning, the spring symbolizes rebirth, as well.

(Admittedly, I’m reaching for a war connection here, folks. But Eric has launched a third new cocktail, and trust me, you’re going to want to try it. So just roll with it, okay?)

Now, where was I? Oh yes. Spring. Eric has captured sunshine in a glass with The Stafford Garden.

The Stafford Garden Eric prepares_1172Eric’s recipe for The Stafford Garden:

35 ml of Hendrick’s gin

15 ml of apple sourz

Dash of apple juice. Yes, that IS an official(ish) bartender’s measurement.

Garnish: Twist of orange

Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and double-strain into a glass. Top with champagne.

The Stafford Garden

The Stafford Garden

More information:

More about this year’s Winston Churchill events, including The Stafford’s special hotel package:

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