The Guilty Pleasures Lab

Building towards Rub Menu Number Five


I’ve been with Rub for over 2 years now. And in that time, i’ve fine tuned and tweaked the fun loving drinks concept I first pitched long ago, over the course of five guilty pleasure packed drinks menus. We began with a big focus on Americana, American Flavours and Whiskey. But over time the focus of our cocktails has shifted towards what we’re truly about. We may be an American Smokehouse, but really, deep down we’re a cheesy, fun loving, excessive, guilty pleasure factory. So that became part of my remit for menu number five. To introduce an overarching theme that embraced the fundamentals of what makes Rub stand out. I came to the conclusion that a good dose of retro 80s nostalgia was the right call. Our new menu incorporates 80s pop culture and also manages to twist a few iconic 80s cocktails into new fun forms.

After months of development, of chopping and changing ideas, the menu has just been signed off and we’re moving towards a launch date in March. There are plenty of fun drinks on the horizon and I don’t want to spoil all the surprises just yet. So i’ve chosen three drinks from the new selection to preview. “Cubaholic”, “If you like Pina Coladas” and “Late Night at The Arcade”.

“Cubaholic” is a mashup of some truly cheesy cocktails. Part Sex on the Beach/Woo Woo, part Pornstar Martini. A long, fruity concoction that still has a kick. We’re infusing our own Vanilla Vodka using rich vanilla pod and Skyy. It’s paired with Briottet Creme de Peche for the peach notes, passion fruit syrup, cranberry juice, orange juice and a fizzy top of dry prosecco. Served up in a gem of a find, a brightly coloured, rubik’s cube mug.

My two favourite cocktails are an Old Fashioned and first and foremost a Pina Colada. I like them with a nice balance of pineapple and coconut, a bit of creaminess and a big kick of rum. “If you like Pina Coladas” is our guilty pleasure laden nod to a cocktail Rupert Holmes waxed lyrically about. We use Ron Cortez white rum as the base of our Pina Colada and sweeten it up with Coconut Candy Floss syrup. We finish our Pina Colada twist with a healthy scoop of Strawberry Ice-Cream as a float and skewer it with a tuft of Candy Floss. It’s an indulgent liquid dessert, a rum fuelled, candied treat.

Lastly “Late Night at The Arcade” is a nod to the 80s era of video games, most notably the legendary pacman. Part Lemon Drop, part Limoncello Spritz, it’s a sweet and sour fizz with zesty citrus flavours. For the base we use Tito’s Vodka and Briottet Kumquat with a dollop of sugar and plenty of lemon peel. Creating, after a week or so, a flavoursome homemade limoncello. We add a touch of Rosemary to the Limoncello for some soft herbal notes. It’s then combined with fresh lemon juice, tangy grapefruit bitters, elderflower cordial and soda water. It’s served up with a vanilla sugar rim and pacman shaped bright blue ice cubes. It's a tasty sherbet delight.

We have 14 original cocktails, 4 cocktail sharers, 24 classics (available at 241) and plenty of new beers, wines and shakes in store for you all. We've got wacky specials planned every month and a whole bunch of cocktail-fuelled events planned. So if you want to sample our carefree take on all things booze then join us in March for the launch of our fifth edition and step into the Rub Time Machine for a trip back to the 1980s.