Food of the Week: Grab a knife and fork - it's the cocktail hour

Cocktails are no longer just a pre-dinner drink. Bartenders are mixing food-friendly creations that can be sipped from starter to dessert.

The De Russie cocktail at Rocco Forte's Hotel de Russie, via del Babuino 9, Rome (0800 988 4040; roccofortecollection.com), made from Russian vodka and dry sherry, comes with a portion of caviar.

In the seven-course Ultimate Rum Dinner at Elbow Beach, 60 South Shore Road, Paget Parish, Bermuda (001 441 236 3535; mandarinoriental.com), baked black grouper fillet might be paired with a Dark 'n' Stormy made with rum and ginger beer.

Sample chef Will Meyrick's take on Pad Thai paired with pineapple and kaffir leaf punch at Lotus, 37-43 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong (00 852 2543 6290; lotus.hk).

Try shrimp bisque paired with an absinthe, whiskey, sloe gin and peach bitters cocktail during a "Spirited Dinner" from 16-20 July at 7 Restaurant, Wyndham Riverfront New Orleans Hotel, 701 Convention Center Boulevard, New Orleans (001 504 525 7555; 7onfulton.com), being held as part of the city's annual Tales of the Cocktail festival.

Finish your meal with a great British dessert cocktail at Pearl Restaurant and Bar, 252 High Holborn, London (020-7829 7000; pearl-restaurant.com), where mixologist Gustavo Bertolucci and pastry chef Ben Knell have collaborated on drinks such as a Bramley apple pie cocktail served with shortcrust topping.

a.lynes@independent.co.uk

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