I can’t say I remember my first kiss, but I certainly remember my first cocktail. I was in my early 20s and on my first visit to the States, staying in a Holiday Inn hotel near Philadelphia, which had a smart piano bar and impressive drinks list. For my first-ever cocktail I chose a Grasshopper – a pale-green minty creamy concoction that made me feel rather sophisticated (and just a teeny bit queasy, to be honest).
For me, cocktails are drinks to be enjoyed in a sophisticated setting. I rarely have a cocktail but on the occasions when I do, it’s in a proper cocktail bar, rather than a restaurant or regular bar – and usually with family or friends who are visiting Mallorca.
This week, as our friends from Oxfordshire were coming to the end of their annual holiday with us, we spent a day in Palma – ending it with the customary cocktail.
Palma has no shortage of cocktail bars, including the famous over-the-top Abaco in the area of La Lonja. Tourists make a beeline for this place, which is unlike any other I’d ever seen before – all fruit, flowers, and loud opera music. There are signs forbidding photography indoors but you’ll find plenty of images on Instagram (Bar Abaco). Clandestine social media photo opportunities aside, Abaco is worth experiencing for the setting and ambience, but the cocktails are pretty expensive…
Save some brass and go to Brassclub
Our choice this time was the cocktail bar Brassclub – owned by Rafa Martín, an award-winning mixologist who entered his first cocktail-making competition at the tender age of 16.
Brassclub has terrace seating at the front, so you can watch the world go by but, if it’s your first time at this bar, I recommend going inside to soak up the smart interior – which wouldn’t look out of place in any major capital city, but manages to exude the ambience of the Mediterranean. Check out that ceiling! More than 3,000 bottles, positioned to resemble the waves of the sea, are hanging up there. It looks amazing, but imagine having to dust that lot…
The cocktails here are creative, delicious, and definitely Instagram-worthy. We chose Coco Mademoiselle (not pictured), Frida Mule, El Manierista and, for me (designated driver), the alcohol-free La Niña Prodigio. Nuts and popcorn were served with our drinks, so there was something to help soak up the alcohol for my companions.
If cocktails aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other drinks you can have at Brassclub. If you fancy a sea view with your creative cocktail, head for Puerto Portals and BrassBaiben – the gastro-cocktail bar at restaurant Baiben. BrassBaiben is a collaboration between maestro mixologist Rafa Martín and Fernando P Arellano, of the 2-Michelin-starred Zaranda, who owns Baiben.
Text and photos Jan Edwards ©2017