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Gin and tonicIdeal has over 40 different types of gin available including current favourite Saffron gin from France
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Inside IdealThe ambience at Ideal is of a classic cocktail bar
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BarmenReady and waiting to mix your favourite tipple
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BottlesAs well as gin, Ideal has a wide range of malt whisky and other spirits
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Jose Maria GotardaBarcelona-born cocktail maestro Jose Maria Gotarda belongs to an exclusive club of barmen
This is a thinly veiled call for a return to the martini lunch dressed up as a restaurant review, but hopefully you won’t mind too much. Tapas comes free at the Ideal Cocktail Bar (C/Aribau 89, 93 453 1028) you see, so long as you’re drinking, and that makes it dinner in my book. That José Mª Gotarda also happens to be one of the world’s leading mixologists, up there I kid you not, with the Bar Costes in Paris and Death and Co in New York, puts it in the realm of the gourmet.
Opened in 1931 as one of the first cocktail bars in the city, Ideal now stocks an extraordinary range of spirits including nearly 50 specialist vodkas and gins ranging from the aromatic British Bulldog gin with its aphrodisiac herbs, to the latest must-have on the discerning drinks makers shelf: Gabriel Boudier’s Saffron gin. A French blend that comes out a pretty tangerine colour and is sweetly refreshing. Gotarda forms part of the Tanqueray Guild, an exclusive organisation of 10 barmen across five continents recognised for their prowess with a cocktail shaker.
When I’m feeling particularly decadent I pop over at lunchtime and down one of these with a plateful of cocktail party canapés: “bikini” rolls, montaditos of jamón, crab salad, tortilla, banderillas and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, delicious small casseroles of Gotarda’s mother’s comida casera.
I also love the vibe. A long polished bar, gazillions of bottles, quality oil paintings, low banquettes, wood panelled walls, and curls of cigarette smoke. This is an old fashioned cocktail bar at its finest, and when a bucket of fancy gin padded out with a few tapas costs you €11, well it works out about the same as a menu. My question to you is, how many more of these fabulous places are lurking in Barcelona’s barrios? Bottoms up!