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A Clementine Spritz Recipe by Missy Flynn, the Drinks Curator Behind London’s Coolest New Restaurant

Oh come all thee to an old faithful; the newest iteration of a London classic has landed - Rita’s. Birthed into the basement of an East London nightclub, Rita’s has grown up in symbiosis with London’s creative scene, developing first to a restaurant on Mare St, then to serving sandwiches at their cozy Bodega in Kings Cross. Now, as the evenings draw shorter and the festive season glitters on our calendars, Rita’s is the place to go for dinner on Lexington Street in Soho. And their drinks menu, curated by Missy Flynn, is always “seasonal first”.

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“I am lucky that we work with a few farms and growers who make small productions of very seasonal ingredients.” Flynn says. “This is evident in the lead flavours we use in things like our margarita specials, and the spritzes. Basic drinks can be made special with a few seasonal tweaks.” When making a thoughtful cocktail, Missy asks – ‘Is it balanced? Does everything in it serve a purpose? Add something?’ Does it make sense in its context?”

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The perfect place to seek solace in Central London this Christmas, the opening of Rita’s charming Soho location hasn’t been easy. “The whole last year has been an exercise in zen. Closing our original restaurant in 2016 was a lesson in life work balance, humility and building things up again step-by-step.” says Flynn. “I find that rushing anything only ends badly, so my best bravery is saying no - pushing back and finding time to stand my ground.”

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Lessons learned over lockdown have allowed Rita’s Soho to be the purest fabrication of Flynn’s approach to the perfect cocktail - by constantly putting twists on classics. “A spirit, a sweet, a sour, a nice top note or garnish and balance” are Missy’s ingredients for a classic tipple. As for the perfect festive drink? It has to be a Clementine spritz. Be it cocktail or mocktail, she says, “the same drink two ways, are both so festive!”


MISSY’S CLEMENTINE SPRITZ

Hard

1 part clementine juice

0.5 part Campari or similar bitter liqueur

Top up with 3 parts Pet Nat (a natural sparkling wine, which is an abbreviation of ‘pétillant naturel’)

Burn a bay leaf gently over naked flame or in a toasty hot pan, throw it on top.

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Soft

1 part clementine juice

0.5 part Hibiscus Cordial or non alcoholic bitter liqueur like Aecorn or Ghai

Top up with ginger kombucha or alcohol free sparkling wine

Burn a bay leaf gently over naked flame or in a toasty hot pan, throw it on top.

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