Cocktail Hour

QE2 Anniversary Cocktail

To toast her tenth anniversary QE2 has an anniversary cocktail made by mixing 2/3 bourbon with 1/3 peach brandy and flavouring with lemon juice, grenadine and a dash of Angostura bitters, served on the rocks.

Acapulco Delight

For 4 servings, remove pulp from 3 ripe avocados and reserve the shells. Sieve pulp and beat well with juice of l lemon, black pepper, salt, 1 crushed clove of garlic and a pinch of chili powder. Add 2 oz finely diced spring onions and l oz finely diced green pepper. Line the inside of four pear shells with 6 oz cooked small shrimps and spoon mixture back into the shells. Decorate top with sliced stuffed olives and shrimps.

The bar list reflects ports of call strongly. There is a choice for nearly everywhere from Seychelles Shaker, Kandy Cooler, Hong Kong Gimblet, and ]apanese fizz to Everglades Sling and Los Angeles cocktail. While mixed cocktails are very popular, one can also sip sherries from Spain or ports from Portugal in any of the bars. Or the QE2 single malt whisky, over twelve years old. Whisky drinkers have choices of blended, single Scotches, Irish, rye, bourbon, and, to toast trips to Yalta or ashore in China, vodkas are carried. The liqueur list covers all tastes from Amaretto to Sambuca Romana and beer drinkers can choose from US or UK styles, Continental lagers or Guinness. And of course there’s the original QE2 cocktail to toast her ten years, a blend of brandy, sweet vermouth, grenadine, and lemon juice.

The world cruise order list that has gradually built up on the ship over 4-5 months is an imbiber’s paradise; there are 10,000 bottles of champagne, 27,000 bottles of still wine, 16,500 bottles of spirits, 5,000 bottles of port, sherry and liqueurs and 45,000 cans and bottles of beer. Amd for the smokers, 2 million cigarettes.

The wines are chosen to suit all pockets and occasions and range in price from 5.50 dollars to 65 dollars a bottle, the latter for first growth Bordeaux wines. The wines are loaded for the world cruise at Southampton into special, temperature controlled cellars on eight deck. Being so low down in the centre of the ship even a rough sea cannot shake them up. The extensive stores, which for cruises includes one of the car decks, are regulated to keep white wine cool and make sure red wines do not rise above 68F.

All the excellent food on the ship is married with what has been described as one of ‘the best small wine lists in the world’. ls it that small, however, with a choice of 120 wines on board from countries such as France, ltaly, Germany and Portugal and an increasing number from California? A couple of years ago Cunard sent a representative to Califomia to make a choice of some of the best wines which are rarely found outside of that state. Most wines are selected in their countries of origin on regular visits and finally chosen by blind tastings. Champagne is of course a prime requirement on any cruise and QE2 carries nineteen French Champagnes from five Champagne houses, and two California champagnes. Special to the ship is the French made Ritz champagne which is produced for Cunard and the Ritz hotel in London.

The QE2 takes good care of the wines and many of the wine stewards have seen decades of service with the company so that they can advise on what goes with the ship’s menus. When choosing wine, particularly a good claret, it is advisable to order at lunchtime so that the cork can be drawn well ahead of drinking in order—to allow the wine to breathe. And after a meal with good wine, a little digestif could well be the single twelve year old malt whisky specially bottled for the ship. The QE2 malt is also a good take home souvenir in a stone crock or miniatures in a presentation box with two hand blown Caithness glasses.