Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to present a piece on whisky and cocktails at Whisky Live London.
The talk detailed the history of the world of cocktails and how it evolved in to what we know today. To my surprise, most of the questions I was asked revolved around the future of the drinks industry and what trends are emerging. This is a subject I often avoid due to its speculative nature, nevertheless, this year I have been lucky enough to work with prominent and influencing brands which have offered me an insight into the emerging trends and what the world of cocktails may hold for us.
Across the United Kingdom, we are seeing a definite paradigm shift. Cocktails are no longer solely a premium product and are slowly becoming part of our everyday life. As a result, many neighbourhood bars are opening up, creating a boom in affordable cocktails.
To add to neighbourhood bars, the influence of the culinary scene on the cocktail industry is increasingly growing. There is much to learn from watching a chef, and as a result, many talented bartenders are dropping their cocktail books in favour of great quality cook books which inspire flavour, techniques and ethical responsibility.
The first drink I'd like to introduce is a cocktail I created for the Glenmorangie House, a pop-up which I ran in Soho during March. The Sweet Sixteen is a drink which was inspired by a classical combination of flavours, usually served with salad and cheese: pear, nuts, berries and honey.
To achieve these flavours, I started building the drink around Glenmorangie Lasanta, an Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez finished 12 Years Old Highland single malt offering nutty dryness which pairs itself perfectly with the Noilly Prat infused with toasted coarsely chopped hazelnuts. In order to add sweetness and fruitiness, we combine pear eau de vie and acacia honey with a couple dashes of Campari, lemon juice as well as chamomile bitters to balance and give a touch of spice to the drink. As an optional step, I would recommend ageing this liquid in small oak barrels for at least two weeks, this resting time allows flavours to mellow out to create a delicate and intricate cocktail.
The next drink is one I created to showcase how simplicity and locally sourced ingredients can create a drink with incredible depth and complexity. The Smoke and Mirrors is made with Tomintoul 12 Years Old Portwood, imparting heavy berry notes and a depth of flavour which pairs perfectly with Antica Formula, a heavy herbal vermouth which carries through very well against boastful drams. To bring some sourness and character to the drink, I created a homemade shrub made from Hojicha, a green tea cooked in clay imparting earthy savoury notes, combined with blackberry and raspberry vinegar and a touch of sugar. This complex drink is the embodiment of a fruity drink which carries a serious punch and some pedigree.
Finally, working closely with some great venues, I've created drinks which have an incredible taste yet hold less alcohol and sugar, allowing for quality in quantities with a guilt free conscience. The Irish Meadow is a spritz style of drink which I would happily indulge in during the warmer months of the year, refreshing and quaffable.
Using a base of Redbreast 12 Years Old, the ginger and toffee is paired with Kummel, a caraway based liqueur and a generous measure of Cocchi Americano, an Italian white Vermouth which brings sweetness and depth of flavour. The spritz is topped up with half soda and half ginger ale adding effervescence and spice while keeping sugars low. Finally, and the most important part of the drink, we garnish it with blood orange and sage leaves, bringing herbal notes with a faint touch of citrus lightening the tipple.
White wine glass.INGREDIENTS
- 35ml Redbreast 12 Years Old
- 15ml Cocchi Americano
- 5ml Wolfschmidt Kummel
- 70ml soda water (Schweppes)
- 70ml ginger ale (Schweppes)
Combine all ingredients starting with the soda over ice in a wine glass. Give a quick stir to combine and top up with fresh ice cubes.GARNISH
2 fresh slices of blood orange and a sprig of sage.
Smoke & MirrorsGLASSWARE
- 45ml Tomintoul
- 12 Years Old Portwood Finish
- 20ml Hojicha blackberry and raspberry shrub
- 15ml Antica Formula
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass or shaker tin, add ice and stir until chilled and properly diluted. Strain in a coupette and garnish with 3 marinated cherries Hojicha, blackberry and raspberry shrub.GARNISH
3 Ardbeg infused maraschino cherries.
Hojicha Blackberry & Raspberry Shrub
- 1/2 punnet raspberries
- 1/2 punnet blackberries
- 2tsp Hojicha tea (organic loose)
- 600ml filtered water
- 200g caster sugar
- 100ml quality organic raspberry vinegar
Combine the raspberries, blackberries, Hojicha tea and the water in a pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Once done, pour through a very fine sieve (ideally a nut bag or some cheesecloth) and make sure to press all possible juice out of fruits. Combine liquid with the sugar and vinegar once cooled, add to a sterilized glass bottle. Will keep in fridge for 6 months.
- 40ml Glemorangie Lasanta
- 15ml Hazelnut infused Noilly Prat
- 10ml Honeyed Poire Eau de Vie (Miclo)
- 3 dashes Campari
- 2 dashes Boston Bittahs
- 1 dash lemon juice
1) Combine all ingredients in large 1L jug and fill barrel with it.
2) Rest for 2 weeks.
3) Pour 70ml in mixing glass or tin and add ice. Stir until chilled, strain over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a fresh sprig of wild rosemary.GARNISH
Oneyed Poire Eau de Vie
Combine 200ml of Miclo Poire Eau de Vie with 160ml of quality organic acacia honey. Stir to combine fully and use as is in recipe.