For three years, Czech bartender Alex Kratena, who is responsible for landing London’s Artesian on The World’s 50 Best Bars for four consecutive years, remained under the radar as he schemed his first solo project. Then on June 1, 2019, he debuted Tayer + Elementary in East London.
The dual-concept drinking den was created with Scandinavian bartender Monica Berg (an alum of Oslo’s Himkok, number 19 on the 2019 World’s Best Bars list) and chefs Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng of London pop-up TĀTĀ Eatery.
Tayer + Elementary manifests as two distinct bar spaces. Elementary, upfront, offers a more straightforward drink selection––a few seasonal numbers plus a list of imaginative interpretations of classics. Tayer, to the rear, highlights an elevated drinking experience built around an almost avant-garde approach to cocktails.
While Kratena and his team stress that Elementary offers less fussy intoxicants, the menu of core cocktails reads highly inspired, like a cedarwood, rye and aquavit Old Fashioned. And then there’s the Palo Santo Gimlet infused with Peruvian palo santo wood, a popular ingredient in fragrances and skin care products that is prized for its purifying aroma. The latter was inspired by a trip Kratena took to the Amazonian jungle.
“We have reworked the concept of the Gimlet, and this way we keep it within the [context of] what is recognized but still with an interesting twist,” says Kratena. His take on the Gimlet merges a homemade palo santo cordial with English gin, aromatized wine and fino sherry.
1 ounce Hepple gin
1/3 ounce Lillet blanc
1/3 ounce Tio Pepe fino sherry
1/3 ounce palo santo cordial*
Add the gin, Lillet blanc, sherry and palo santo cordial into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
*Palo santo cordial: Combine 1/3 ounce palo santo extract, 5 cups sugar, 1/4 cup malic acid, 5 teaspoons citric acid and 5 cups water in a Thermomix and process for 5 minutes at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Reserve until ready to use. (For those without a Thermomix, add all ingredients into a medium-sized pot and cook gently. Don’t let the mixture simmer or boil-over low heat to dissolve sugar.)