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01/26/2018 10:59 AM

Coffee Digestif. Colonna Coffee, Maragogyope Natural.

We loved this coffee last year, so when we bought it again this year we decided to see it for special releases, events and occasions. We have sent it out with Barista Hustle Subscription service and took it to coffee festivals around the UK. The Hartmann Estate meticulously process this coffee to the highest standard, producing a clean and complex cup of coffee - with super topical notes and amazing sweetness. We feel like the characteristics of this have been maintained and translated perfectly across into the digestif. The sweetness of the digestif makes it incredibly smooth to drink, and the fruity flavours produced by the natural processing on the coffee give the drink a great depth of flavour. We think it tastes better than most cold brew coffee - with the added bonus of being alcoholic!

Beth, Colonna coffee.

Plant Varietal: Maragogype

Process: Natural

Drying method: Sun-dried

Producers: Familia Hartmann

Country: Panama

Origin: Santa Clara, Renacimiento, Chiriqui

Altitude: 1400 - 2000 mts

Farm Size: 100 hectares

01/17/2018 01:28 PM

Box-E gin

In life there are few things I’m sure of. My love of gin and tonic is one of those things.

Some people learn how to knit from their grannys but mine taught me that there is no greater drink than a G&T (except perhaps a negroni, but she’s 92 and lives in Surrey so we’ll assume that she’s not yet au fait with those bad boys).

It’s no secret that we are Psychopomp fans. We unashamedly stock the full range, including the absinthe (which can make for interesting nights at our kitchen table). There has never been a day that our restaurant has been open that we haven’t had the drink of drinks, the glorious G&T, on the menu, so it was an obvious staff day out to head up to the distillery and have a bash at making our own gin.

We broke off into four teams and set ourselves a brief: to make a super bright, zesty gin that we could happily use the ingredients of to cure salmon in. The array of botanicals on offer was seriously impressive and the guidelines on ratios of what actually makes gin gin and what sort of quantities of other flavours to add were really helpful.

At first taste of the four gins it seemed that our two washer-uppers had come up with the winning recipe (“KP (kitchen porter) gin”) as it’s lovingly been labelled), but as the flavours matured, we all unanimously agreed that Elliott’s gin was the best, which is kind of reassuring as he needs to have the most sophisticated palate of all of us.

I’d like to say that the gin was so good it didn’t need refining, but there is a reason that Elliott cooks and Mark and Danny make gin and so with a little bit of Psychopomp love, the BOX-E gin was born - an off-menu treat, that you need to know about to try.


We can’t take a lot of the credit – Elliot’s recipe was indeed tasty and didn’t need a lot of work. With a little guidance from the team at BOX-E and our own experience the tiniest of tweaks were made and BOX-E gin was a thing. We are always excited to collaborate with awesome, creative, passionate people like the guys at BOX-E and the result is a great gin that we are really pleased with (especially alongside Elliot’s botanical cured salmon). The final recipe included: juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, cassia bark, black pepper, bay leaves, green cardamom, celery seeds, dried raspberry and fresh pink grapefruit peel.

12/19/2017 03:43 PM

Distillers table - Christmas

Decembers Distillers table could only have one theme, and luckily I love Christmas!! So I set to work on some tasty festive tipples. We added in as many Christmas clichés as we could, mince pies, caroling, Christmas songs, crackers, sherry, carrots and Santa himself even popped by to hand out presents! So for drinks that went along with such festivities I went with these:

Pimped Sherry: Harveys Bristol Cream, coffee digestif & Coconut. A simple serve to bring back memories of the Christmas eve glass of sherry left out for the big man.

Mega Bucks Fizz: Woden gin (grapefruit & fennel), mandarin and pine sherbet, sparkling wine. Always my drink of choice on Christmas morning, spiked with gin, brightened up with a zesty sherbet and a little nod to the Christmas tree to boot.

Christmas Dinner Martini: Ox gin (thyme and truffle) served 4:1 with a cranberry and sage infused port and finished with a caramelized sprout for good measure.

My signature Eggnog: Whisk egg whites to soft peaks, whisk egg yolks and caster sugar, whip heavy cream to soft peaks, fold together with Aurora Borealis gin (blackcurrant, orange & mulling spices) then heat gently in a pan and serve warm garnished with grated nutmeg and shavings of dark chocolate.

A great night was had by all, thanks to all of those who came to celebrate with us! That was the last distillers table of 2017, we have a great line up for 2018 and we are all really excited to share some more delicious drinks with you all in the new year.


12/11/2017 01:16 PM


Our latest bespoke gin release is one Danny is particularly fond of as he has a lot of love for Japanese food and drink. Andrew Kojima approached us to make him a Japanese influenced gin for his restaurant in Cheltenham and so we did exactly that. The brief was to use seven Japanese botanicals, so we set to work on our research. We wanted a real harmony between sweet, spice and umami savoury notes that is so important in japanese cuisine, we bounced a few ideas back and forth with Andrew and landed on the botanicals we were all really happy with:

Juniper berries, burdock root, sanshyo berries, cherrywood chips, mandarin peel, nori, black sesame seeds.

The resulting gin is fresh and vibrant with a great complexity and a some funky umami notes. Here is what Andrew had to say about it:

I met Danny in January 2017, shortly after he’d come back from an inspirational trip to Japan. I was only too happy to talk about Japan and we talked vaguely about doing a gin together for my restaurant that I was hoping to open. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in February, we opened in March and inevitably I got bogged down ironing out lots of creases with the new restaurant. By summer, I came up for air and remembered that conversation we’d had back in the depth of winter. I got back in touch with Danny and suggested some botanicals to work with. Out went coriander, in came sanshyo berries. Out went angelica, in came burdock. Between us, we managed to find 7 botanicals that we could source reasonably easily and the team from Pyschopomp set about creating a formula. We went with Batch 4 and began selling it in our cocktail bar, primarily in our signature cocktail, the Mitsubatchi (which means honey bee in Japanese). We’re delighted with the feedback it is getting from customers and are pleased to be able to offer such a distinguished gin in what is already a very competitive market.

12/05/2017 01:36 PM

Q & A with Matt

We are lucky to have had all round great guy and Bristol Posts 40th coolest person join our team recently (he was pipped to 39 by Gogglebox’s Marina & Mary!). You probably already know him well from the last time he helped you choose a delicious beer in Small Bar, but we thought we’d take the chance to ask him a few questions to get to know him a little better.

How long have you called bristol home?
Three years this November
What do you love about it as a city?
The walkability and variety of areas in the city centre. I also love how all the usual high-street/chain rubbish is contained to areas that are incredibly easy to just walk around and avoid.
Where are your favourite places to drink?
Barley Mow and the Hillgrove for pubs and unsurprisingly Small Bar.. if a bit biased on that one.
Where are your favourite places to eat?
Bakers & Co. for brunch, Pasta Loco for dinner. Harts all the time especially for the veggie sausage rolls.
Why did you want to work at Psychopomp?
I wanted to learn something new and get out of my comfort zone. Everyone is lovely too (so far at least).
Tell us something we might not already know about you?
I have an identical twin, so if you see me and say hi but I look confused that could be why.
What are some of your other favourite gins?
Portobello Road has been a go to for a long time and Boths Old Tom Gin.
People best know you for your knowledge of beer so lets do some quick beer related questions!
If you were on a desert island what 3 beers would you take with you?

Schneiderweisse Tap 7 is my all time favourite, Boon Mariage Parfait to refresh the palate and Sam Smiths Taddy Porter for when it gets cold.
Do you have a preference of beer from bottle, can or tap?
All depends on the venue whichever appears to be fresher/better looked after, but always from a glass.
Any upcoming beer trends we should keep an eye out for?
Probably a bit of flip back to “brown” beers for a bit as people get bored of juicy pales and more British brewers playing with mixed fermentation.

11/02/2017 03:04 PM

Too Drunk to Shuck

An inebriated “we should do” quickly became a sober “we are doing” and ‘too drunk to shuck’ was born. I chose oysters sustainably farmed from the River Dart and sourced through Sam at Bristol Fish on North Street. These oysters are fast becoming famous for their natural sweetness, fresh flavour and meaty texture.

The first oyster of the evening was simply served raw with a habenero and lemon dressing and coriander shoots from Dermot at Grow Bristol. This was quickly followed by the second raw oyster paired with pickled shallots and fresh pepper.

To pair with the first pair of oysters we wanted to start out super traditional and so served up a dry Woden Martini with a lemon zest because sometimes classic is just the best option, especially with such beautiful, clean, fresh oysters.

For the next set of oysters we decided to have an eastern influence underpinning the flavours. The third oyster was served raw with a cucumber and lime granita with fresh horseradish grated over the top. For the next oyster we removed from the shell, lightly poached them in their own juices, glazed with a soy and ginger dressing and presented them with seaweed and daikon radish shoots.

To play with the Asian influences in Alex’s oysters we went down a Japanese root. We served up a Martini made with our new Kojin; a gin made with 7 Japanese botanicals for Koj restaurant in Cheltenham. The gin is a great mix of sweet, spicy and umami which we mixed with Akashi Tai Junmai Sake and finished with a pinch of citrus salt to really hit home the fresh umami notes.

The final set of oysters had a more western flavour, the fifth oyster being poached in their own juices and then served with whipped smoked pollock roe, salmon roe and rye crumb. The final oyster of the evening was barbecued in it’s shell with a roast fennel and garlic butter, garlic crumbs and sprouting fennel seeds.

As the last oysters were super big on the flavour scales we had to go big with the ‘tini to stand up to it. So we used our autumn gin Xolotl with its rich fruit notes from the quince and smoky savory hit from the chipotle peppers. We mixed this with a Lillet Blanc to bring out the quince and sweet red vermouth for depth and finished with an orange zest for a touch of extra sweetness and warmth.

10/25/2017 10:33 AM

Distillers Table - Orchard

Hello there! For this months distillers table we focused on the humble English orchard and it’s delicious produce for our latest set of drinks.

We were able to visit the Metford road community orchard in Redland at the start of the month for inspiration and were unsurprised to find the bulk of the produce was of course apples (although in many interestingly named varieties!). There were also pears, quinces, currant bushes and recently planted grape vines.

Welcome drink:

We wanted to kick off this distillers table in a lighter way and couldn’t ignore the cider drinking penchant of the West Country. So what better place to start than with a cider and black, while tucking in to a ploughmans picnic and listening to the wurzels! This was a traditional scrumpy from the Bristol cider shop and a tot of a blackcurrant and absinthe cordial. The apples in the picnic had even been scrumped by Danny himself the day before!

Drink 1:

We wanted a long fresh drink to officially kick off the cocktails, still including apples and bridging the gap between the punchy local scrumpy and fresh gin and tonics we are known for. We made an apple shrub from the selection of apples we collected from our visit to the local orchard. This sweetened , vinegar based style of cordial adds a nice acidity while capturing a true representation of the fruit. The base for the drink was a hopped gin we had created, hops are known for there mixture of bitter, citric and zesty flavours which would be perfect for this drink. To this we added 50ml of Pilton cider, a pinch of salt and topped with tonic.

Drink 2:

Having quince so heavily featured in our Autumn gin it seemed only right to make Xolotl the star of the show for our second drink. We wanted to bring out the fruit even more, so decided on a twist on the gimlet using an oak aged quince cordial we made, mixed with a grape jelly for sweetness (made by Bishopston preserves).

Drink 3:

We love to challenge taste buds with different styles as well as flavours so finished on a classic sweet cocktail style called a flip, focusing on pears for our orchard flavour inspiration. A flip is similar to eggnog and is simply a shaken creamy drink using your chosen spirit, sugar and an egg. We chose to use Poire William which is a pear eau de vie and the gin we make for Small bar (Cardamom, elderflower and flint). For sweetness we added a cardamom infused honey syrup. With the use of the whole egg this was possibly the most challenging drink for our guests of the evening but also turned out to be a big crowd pleaser!

Once again we really enjoyed sharing our creations with you and now look forward to the next challenge ‘Bonfire’ on Nov 4th.

10/05/2017 12:04 PM

BCW Ultimate Cocktail & Cheese tasting

On Saturday we had the pleasure of hosting the Ultimate Cocktail & Cheese pairing with Rosie, Bristol’s very own Cheesemonger.

The Bristol Cheesemonger is a small independent cheese shop which has been trading in Bristol for 4 years, specialising in local, seasonal cheeses with a selection of UK territorial cheeses also. Rosie collects the majority of her cheeses herself, focusing on locality, speciality and seasonality. She prides herself on the relationship she builds with the dairy’s and farm’s, as well as her fabulous customer service.

Here are the cheeses we enjoyed and the cocktails that Danny created to go along with them:


Pennard Vale - A hard, gentle goat cheeses made on Ditcheat Hill Farm in Somerset. A mild goats cheese that isn’t too “goaty”.

Away We Goat – Aqvavit, Del Professore Vermouth Classico, grapefruit & celery sherbet, Amalfi lemon salt and sparkling water. Served long with a slice of red grapefruit.

We found this to be a fresh bright cheese with light citrus notes. With this  we wanted to go fresh, light, green and herbaceous so as to complement and not over power the cheese. So we served up a long drink based on our Aqvavit


Truffler - A hard cow milk cheese also made on Ditcheat Hill Farm, in Ditcheat. Rich and unctuous with truffle and truffle oil added.

Nothing Beets Truffler – Ox Gin (black truffle, lemon & thyme) 6/1 with a beetroot and blackcurrant vermouth. Finished with an orange zest

Th Truffler is so delicious, we had to pair it with the truffled gin we make for the Ox. Then it needed something sweet to bring out the subtle notes in the cheese and something earthy to enhance the truffly notes of the gin and bring some depth to the cocktail. So we made a beetroot and blackcurrant vermouth to kill two birds with one stone.


Beenleigh Blue -  A sheep milk blue, comparable to a Roquefort made in Sharpham Barton, South Devon

Iced Apple Pip – Wild Beer Shnoodlepip Gin (passion fruit, pink pepper corn, hibiscus & oak), Ice Cider & olive liqueur

This was a great blue cheese to pair with, creamy and delicate but still big and blue. We served the cheese with a rhubarb ketchup to balance the salty with sweet and so the drink could be nicely balanced too. Danny’s favourite pairing with blue cheese is ice wine, and as we are using west country cheeses it seems only fitting to use a west country ice cider instead. To balance out the sweetness we added in the fruity Shnoodlepip gin and then a salty sweet olive liqueur to make something pretty unusual but really interesting!

The event was great fun, it’s so nice to work with other passionate people in the food and drinks industry, passion is infectious, and Rosie’s love of cheese made pairing drinks all that more fun!

09/07/2017 11:29 AM

Distillers Table - Coffee

“Coffee is a language in itself” - Jackie Chan. Kick-ass Movie star

Hello, Hello and welcome! This month at distillers table we were looking at coffee and decided to showcase the progression from Cascara, through naturally dried unroasted coffee beans, up to the finished product itself. What we did was make a drink that really brought out the key differences of each stage of the roast . A real thank you to Clifton Coffee Roasters for providing us with all the beans, plus the visit to the roasters was really insightful. As always no distillers table is the same and each one tries to do something different to the last.

Welcome drink:

I love Cascara its still high in caffeine but the flavour profile is crazy. I get Dark chocolate, tobacco, dried fruits, a nutty almost sherry like quality. I made a cascara tea and added Bristol syrup company raspberry syrup to it, as well as a some Sanchez Romate Oloroso for a lovely aromatic and nutty base. As we are heading into Autumn I thought it would be nice to reintroduce a toddy of sorts and purposefully let it cool a little. Whilst we were at Clifton Coffee they mentioned that during cupping sessions they taste it at as many different temperatures as possible to pick up on different tasting notes. I stole the idea here, don’t tell them.

Drink 1:

The Green coffee we used was natural. What this means is that when it comes to separating the pip of the cherry (the bean) from the fruit, the fruit is left out in the sun to dry naturally. Meaning you get a more sweet and fruity finished product, as opposed to washed which removes the skins and gives a more acidic final flavour. I found unwashed/natural provides a much more funky flavour than a washed bean. The Bean itself was full of super green notes, I got a lot of pea and grassy notes as well as a savoury chicken stock (weird but great). Another aroma that was really strong was a sweet roses chocolate smell that was a complete flavour memory, it threw me back to Nonna’s house. I made a green coffee cordial with the beans by steeping them for 24 hours in cold water for a fresher taste and added sugar. I wanted the drink to be fresh just like the beans so I used a Devon apple juice where the malic acid content was high enough so that I could use it in place of lemon juice. Green coffee cordial and crazily sharp, tear your face off apple juice coupled with our latest autumn addition Xolotl. The botanicals include Quince, Chipotle and orange. The quince works wonderfully with the apple juice and the underlying smoke was a nice touch. On top of this the green pea flavours really came through and showcased the different flavours of the coffee. Topped with soda and served a celery stick, the celery added a vegetal aroma that turned out to be the final piece of the aroma puzzle. Alongside it was a large chunk of Caerphilly Cheese and a slice of a Granny smith apple.    

Drink 2:

This was my personal favourite of the evening, it was rich and nutty. I took the coffee beans that we pulled off the roast just as the beans were starting to brown and they smelt almost exactly like dry roasted peanuts with caramel weaved throughout. I sat the mid roasted beans in N.G.S at 37.5% for 48 hours. Alcohol being a wonderful solvent, it worked perfectly and really isolated the salty burnt sugar quality of the bean. The other main component was coconut water. These two combined was already drinkable but I just wanted to highlight some of the subtleties. I added a touch of Honey and a touch of Canadian Rye whiskey, this gave more body to all flavours involved and really drew on the cereal notes of The Coffee beans. The coconut water provided a silky mouth feel and awesome nutty compliment. I stirred it down and served it with a classic lotus caramel biscuit. Defo my favourite.

Drink 3:

For this drink I wanted to make a twist on a White Russian, a classic and a favourite among housewives and Big Lebowski’s. Instead of milk however I wanted to use Whey, the Lactic acid heavy bi-product of cheese production. I wanted the drink to be sweet and acidic. from a place that people potentially don’t expect. I used Psychopomp Aqvavit with its savoury Dill notes, coupled with our Coffee Digestif and some Demerera syrup made for a pretty funky drink. I was trying to highlight the acidity found in fully roasted coffee beans whilst serving a well known classic. It worked out well, and also tested a few people, which wasn’t my intention but was certainly interesting.  

Next up we will be taking inspiration from an English orchard, so join us on the 7th October to see what unusual flavour profiles we will champion next!


08/21/2017 10:14 AM

Guest blog - Joanna Ritchie.

I have done all sorts of photography in my time and to be honest, I used to find still life really boring. I always thought working with people was much more my thing and more of an interactive process. The world of freelancing has however landed a fair amount of product, food and still life work in my path and I’ve found the more I do, the more I see it as just as much of an interactive process. Especially with small businesses and local producers. Everyone producing a product has a passion for it and a story behind their art form. From cakes, to plant pots, to gin, it’s all a creative process with an end product the producer is incredibly proud of, and rightly so. Ralph D. Paine once said ‘the zest is in the journey and not in the destination,’ but with the creative process I believe the zest is in both.

This is why I was so excited to work with Psychopomp, as they certainly create art in that place! The venue itself is beautiful, being in the actual distillery, and being surrounded by the sheer amount of bottles is ace. With the cocktails having a theme, I wanted this little series to sit together comfortably but hold intrigue as individual images. I love the challenge of photographing glass. You think the shot is going to be really simple, until the glass starts reflecting things in places you really didn’t expect!

I often end up doing quite elaborate set ups for product photography making it look like the subject is actually in the venue it is advertising. So, with this shoot I wanted to do something a little different using my love of block colour, whilst keeping it really simple, to let the ingredients literally spell out what is in the cocktails. As a result, the final products are more still life than lifestyle shots or simple product images, and certainly portray the ‘zest’ in the Psychopomp team’s creative destination.


08/16/2017 04:28 PM

Clifton Coffee visit

We are loving learning all about our distillers table theme each month and have been lucky enough to go on another research visit. This time we headed to Clifton coffee roasters to prepare for Septembers coffee edition.

I’m sure you are very familiar with lots of their delicious produce whether you have had it as an espresso, in a flat white or filter coffee. But I thought I’d write a quick blog to share our behind the scenes adventure!

Clifton coffee are a proud Bristolian company founded by James Fisher in 2001 to service local espresso machinery. As their reputation and demand of coffee and equipment in Bristol grew, so did the company. Fast forward to 2013 and they invested in their own in house coffee roastery to meet the local interest in improved quality and speciality coffee. Today they are now proudly at the forefront of the speciality coffee scene and supply the country with all their coffee needs, from local small independent coffee shops, to Michelin starred restaurants.

Our tour started in the coffee bean store where we were able to pick up and smell the beans straight from the sacks. Clifton source a wide variety of beans from all over, including Costa Rica, Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nicaragua and D.R.Congo. Coffee grows as a bush or small tree and the beans are essentially the pip, the fruit growing around it is called cascara (it looks very similar to a cherry) . When un roasted the beans are green and have a vegatal aroma. They can come both washed and unwashed, the unwashed still holding on the fruitiness of the cascara.

Through to the roastery where we watched the machines in action. The exact process of how the beans are roasted is a lot more complex than I could have imagined (or re explain!). Its definitely not as easy as turning on a cooker like machine and slinging in what you want to roast. Nothing is an accident here, the talented team at Clifton calculate specific timings, heat and airflow depending on each bean to get the perfect roast for the produce. The thing we were all really taken with was how the colour and aroma of the beans changed so dramatically during the process. From fresh and green, to toasted nuts and cereal, then finishing as the rich, dark bean we know and love.

The building is certainly multi functional and a hive of activity with offices and barista training stations upstairs, as well as the warehouse. It was lovely to see that they are still a really dedicated, hands on company. Filling each bag with a small machine, then labeling and sorting each batch my hand.  

Next we were treated to a cupping session (which is coffee lingo for tasting session). They do this for training, when trying to choose new beans and to write tasting notes. We tried six different specialty beans next to each other. First the coffee is precisely ground and brewed, then we smelt each for the difference in aroma. The technique for tasting is to dip a spoon, (similar to a soup spoon) then quickly slurp in the coffee and pass the liquid around your mouth to hit all the taste buds. As a very amateur coffee fan I was surprised at the distinct differences even I could clearly identify.

We totally loved our time at Clifton coffee and are very thankful they took the time to show us around and share some of their expertise with us. We have certainly left inspired and excited! Join us on September 2nd to taste Emilio’s coffee inspired creations. *decaf option not available.

08/09/2017 04:18 PM

Distillers table - Honey

Hello hello, welcome to the third digital installation of distillers table. The theme this month was honey, one of my favourite things along with Beef Jerky and Long Johns.  Its one of the most important sweeteners to have ever existed and has been found on the tombs of the Pharaohs; who I have recently discovered were very competent Bee keepers. The reason it is so wonderful is its versatility, no natural honey is exactly the same, its taste depends on what flowers the bees have visited. We were lucky enough to spend a day harvesting honey with a local bee keeper and visited a few different hives. One on the corn exchange, one at a community farm and one in the botanical gardens. We had a lot of fun and learnt all about bees and how to extract Honey. Quentin (our new best friend) mentioned that at this time of year the lime trees are in bloom which gives the honey a wonderfully medicinal and almost minty flavour profile, whereas if you had a honey the was gathered from borage flowers it has a savoury, almost sea like quality. The purpose of this distillers table was to showcase this wonderful product of the bees hard work and co-habitation. 

We started with a welcome drink for a toast. We wanted to   toast the Bee keepers and of course the bees. It was a nice simple drink along the lines of a Kir Royale with mead.

Drink #1

Generally I like to slowly ease people into alcohol when tasting a few drinks. The first drink was designed to showcase the aromatic side of the honey and was served in  honey jars. The Majority of the drink was Del Professore Vermouth Classico Tradizionale. This vermouth is gorgeous, you can taste the wormwood and has a crisp and almost minty finish. Its reminiscent of a good Chinotto soda. Next is absinthe, our absinthe is a lot lighter in style. It works wonderfully with the medicinal quality of the vermouth. Together they already weave a long lasting flavour that is both interesting and sophisticated, but somehow it lacked body, which is why I bulked it out with the star of the show. I used the Honey that had been harvested from Lime Tree Pollination. These are the only ingredients other than water, I felt it didn’t need more, it was wonderful to have such a simple drink be so complex. Alongside this we served a piece of Blue Sheep Cheese, courtesy of Rosie the Bristol cheesemonger, which she chose after I had described the honey to her. We served it with a piece of fresh honeycomb. Delicious.

Drink #2

How could I not really? I mean it is a honey themed night and after banging on about it so much (although it is the best) I just had to make a Bees Knees and explain why its the love of my life (Its far too easy when you get given a platform). The reason its so amazing is because, much like a Negroni if made right it should sit perfectly sweet, sour and Aromatic alcohol. This time I used a salt solution that I grabbed when visiting the old country…Sicily. It was Trapani sea salt infused with Amalfi lemon oil( I can’t even describe how good it smelt). The honey I used was very special honey. A wonderful lady and friend of mine called Rachel one day brought me in a jar of Honey all the way from Los Angeles. It wasn’t too far away from an Acacia honey, super light floral and of course outstanding. She told me she was a bee keeper, (and a pilot among other awesome things). We are still friends and occasionally she sends me a jar of honey, she is my honey godmother and is one of the coolest people I have had the pleasure of meeting. I used our summer gin Charun due to it being Floral and light like the Honey. To really draw the floral notes from the honey, the gin and even the lemon slightly, I asked Mark to make me some fresh Lavender bitters. This is a well known trick, most notably used by Death and Co but it really makes the drink sing.  We served this with natural yogurt and honey, the yogurt brings down the sweetness of the honey a little and provides something for the Bees Knees to cut through. This is how Quentin gave honey to us to try when we were bee keepers for a day.

Drink #3

This is the boozy one of the three. I thought it proper to pay respects to the flowers in which the nectar is harvested, so I decided to make a Wild Flower Martini. I used Psychopomp Old Tom gin because of its sweet, earthy botanical’s and thought a strong backbone was apt. There was also a dash of lemon salt solution and Noilly Pratt to add an aromatic dryness. The main character of this drink was my Wild flower cordial. It has Honeysuckle, Bee Pollen, Orange Flower, Lime Flower, wormwood and a tiny bit of green cardamom for a spice note. It was earthy, bitter sweet, and of course floral. To it I added some lactic acid for a soft acidity and a tiny bit of citric to sharpen it up. This was a great one to finish on as it was powerful but soft. The garnish this time was for the bees, we gave out bee friendly seeds so that Bristol Honey will be even more diverse and the bees will have plenty of forage to collect.

We loved filling the night with random bee questions, facts and bees (wooden of course). If you like the sound of it please come to our coffee event on the 2nd of September where we will be discussing and playing around with Coffee. Expect caffeine!


07/25/2017 11:35 AM

Distillers table - Fauna

Bonjour, today I will be recapping the most recent distillers table of Fauna. It was an awesome night and we really enjoyed serving these weird and wonderful concoctions! Seeing as the theme was Fauna I wanted to celebrate the gifts of the animal kingdom, by accepting the challenge of trying to use different animal produce. To do this I had to use techniques I’ve never use before.  Historically we have lived alongside our animal comrades and they have often aided our survival. It is ingrained in our society, way of life and in some places a families survival is dependent on a single animal. We are conscious that some meat is procured in an unethical way, so with this in mind we did our utmost to make sure all of the produce was properly sourced from free range and organic farms. On top of this any meat used were parts that would otherwise have been discarded. Anyway on with the show!!


Drink #1

For the first drink I decided to make a clarified milk punch. A well known favourite and a very old drink, (Benjamin Franklin even had a recipe of his own). The great thing about this drink is that it has the smooth texture of a milk drink without the cloying effect. For the base I used the gin we make for Playground coffee house. One of the botanicals present in the gin is an acidic coffee bean which gives it a nice rich citrus note, coupled with the grapefruit botanical it makes for a wonderful finish. I really wanted to draw out that citrus coffee flavour, so I added some of our coffee digestif to really bring it to the forefront. With this as a base I added lemon juice, flat peach syrup (due to them being in season) and green tea in a classic Punch spec. 1 sour, 2 sweet, 3 strong, 4 weak; plus I added 20% water for dilution. Then I chilled the punch mix and heated the milk on a hob to just below boiling point and added it to the mix. Chilling it first it helps to separate the curds from the whey. I then let it settle overnight and strained it through a cheese cloth. The outcome was a silky, refreshing and lightly fruity drink. The Peach paired nicely with the cascara, another botanical present in the gin. Served in a little milk bottle with a copper straw and a zest of grapefruit. It was surprisingly light and very aromatic.


Drink #2

Myself and Mark were discussing this drink for a while before I started trying to create it, knowing I wanted to utilise meat but unsure of the best way. I landed on a 48 day matured beef rib fat wash (obviously), I wanted to do  this because I hadn’t seen a beef fat wash and also I knew that the Psychopomp Aqvavit, in its wonderful subtle celery and dill notes would compliment each other well. The end result was a really creamy, savoury and funky spirit, due to the meats aging process. We were talking about what could mix with it and Mark mentioned that molecularly strawberries and tomato’s are very similar, (supposedly you can make a bolognese with strawberries and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if seasoned properly!). A twist on the classic flavour pairing. So I got to work on sourcing some English strawberries and then blended them and added an enzyme called Pectinex Ultra S-PL. This helps break down the pectins in fruit that hold the solids and the liquids together. Left in the fridge over night you can pour the clear red liquid off of the top. I did this so the texture was a lot smoother and it gave the chance for the texture of the Aqvavit to come through. So the drink as a whole was The Aqvameat (as I called it), clarified strawberry juice, a bit of Cynar for bitter sweetness and a touch of honey for a fruity and floral sweetness. The end product was a interesting stirred drink with a thick mouth feel and a fruity bitterness. This seemed to be the favourite of the day, which was a refreshing surprise that peoples palates are open to more interesting combinations of ingredients. We served it with some Billtong on the side, I have loved beef jerky since I tried it in Harrod’s at 5 years old (thanks mum).

We like to add a little palate cleanser somewhere along the way. Always time for a snack! The Palate cleanser this time was a whey ice cream cone that we had made to be keeping with the theme. Just to wash down the interesting main course. Cheese makers have to pay to get rid of it so they are happy to part with it for nothing.

Drink #3

It wasn’t intended but in hindsight there was a consistent focus on texture through out all of the three drinks.  For the last drink I wanted to do a flip. In terms of running order I definitely wanted to finish on a desert style drink. The texture modifier in this instance was a lemon infused oil. I used a recipe from Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Sicily cookbook just by adding lemon juice to rapeseed oil. I added some skins when emulsifying it for a more aromatic finish. The base for this was our Pata Negra gin, I chose this because of its heavy rosemary flavour. Rosemary and lemon are a wonderful combo and has very deep flavour memories for me, and I think for a lot of people. So in total there was one free range egg, Pata Negra gin, lemon juice, Vanilla syrup, and the lemon oil. The emulsification of the egg, the sugar and the oil, made for a super silky, super tasty drink. I had to add a bit of showmanship however seeing as the last two were stirred and pre-batched. So I had a blown egg full of my cocktail ingredients and a fresh egg for each guest. I then told them that they had to place their egg into the shaker with my egg, shaking it with the shells and pouring a drink out was a fun and involving process. Tim Phillips did a similar thing for a world class entry, I must thank him for the inspiration. It also gave me the opportunity to say things like “you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs”.

This month was certainly a challenge but I am so glad we were able to create 3 great drinks and include milk, eggs and meat. I loved every drink that we made (especially drink #2).

Next up for August is Honey, we will be celebrating the bee community and trying to increase the bee population and use one of my favorite ingredients in all its forms. Tickets available at www.microdistillery.co.uk,events

Hopefully see you there!

07/19/2017 12:20 PM

Autumn 2017/18

The King is dead long live the King! The departure of the cult-ish Papa Ghede has left a tasty vacancy to be filled for this autumn (and next).

The marriage of the sweet-savoury-earthy flavours found in Papa Ghede are perfect for an autumn spirit. Sticking with that general style we looked as we usually do at seasonal produce – apple, blackberry, pear, celery, pumpkin…

This isn’t the only port of call when creating a new recipe though. We want to give an impression of the season through the use of warming botanicals such as the dark cacao used in Papa Ghede or the cherry wood chips in the current summer season Charun which impart a drying fruitiness. With all this in mind the end product still needs to work in the holy trinity of gin drinks for it to get anywhere near a hand tied, hand labeled, hand waxed bottle.

…We landed on an often underused fruit – the quince. Initially we paired it with the softer citrus of fresh orange zest and smoked paprika alongside the usual suspects (juniper, coriander seed, angelica root and cassia bark). The paprika didn’t make its mark as we’d hoped and it left an unpleasant oily mouth feel. The smoke vanished without a trace. Wanting to retain an element of smoke we turned our attention to chipotle peppers, these little beauties have a real depth of flavour and so it turns out quite enjoy the company of quince and orange.

Following a few tweaks in proportions we are very close to the finishing line. The as yet unnamed new autumn gin will be on general sale from Friday 1st September with the first few bottles available from the distillery alongside a tasting at Saturday 26th August’s pre launch.

Cheers Mark

07/05/2017 12:48 PM

Team Bristol (for the win)


Myself and Emilio were asked to join Ben from HMSS to form “Team Bristol” in a national city vs city cocktail competition at Imbibe yesterday, and so we did.

We were challenged with making a drink that represented the mighty city of Bristol, and so we decided to hit on some of our favorite things about the city. We went with a sharing punch to reflect how inclusive Bristol is, we went bright and floral to capture the beauty of the west country and we went with the obvious addition of cider!

For our presentation we wanted to really sell the city, so we hit up the guys at Visit Bristol who kindly supplied us with t-shirts, lanyards and a massive pop up banner so we could really go to town. Our drink was based on the classic punch recipe of:

1 part sour
2 parts sweet
3 parts strong
4 parts weak
A pinch of spice

For our sour Ben knocked up a lime sherbet by sitting lime zests in sugar to extract the oils and then mix this back in to lime juice. This firstly tastes great, but then secondly is better for the world because it uses the whole fruit and it preserves the juice so you can reduce wastage.

Then for our sweet Emilio made an aromatic cucumber, mint and cardamom shrub with somerset cider vinegar. This gave the punch a floral green character which was to represent the beautiful areas surrounding Bristol because as a major city we know how lucky we are to have such awesome countryside right on our doorstep.

For the strong element we went with our aqvavite, as we lean more towards the Danish style of dill seed forward aqvavite it was the perfect choice. It’s fresh bright and herbal with fun savory notes which play really well with the blackcurrant.

We split the weak in to two elements, firstly some tasty Burrow Hill cider, this gave big juicy apple notes but also a nice dryness. Secondly we made a blackcurrant tea with fresh blackcurrants, blackcurrant leaf and buchu leaf. This was our nod to the fact that Ribena was invented at Bristol Uni, plus it was a slightly tongue in cheek twist on cider and black.

Lastly for some spice notes we added a splash of our absinthe to really pick the flavor up. It’s a Parisian style absinthe so it has some funky deep complex anise notes that play really well with the blackcurrant and the aqvavite.

We served the punch in teacups with a sprigs of mint and cucumber ribbons then we finished them with some jam on toast for good measure. The jam was made from the fruit we used to make the tea and then cut with absinthe and sprinkled with lime zest and Cornish sea salt.

We named our drink the Pistol Brunch. We had a great day out, we don’t like having to leave Bristol (especially not to go to London) but it was fun to go and shout about Bristol to a exhibition center full of people from the drinks industry! Winning was just the icing on the cake. If you want to try the drink it will be featuring on the new menu at HMSS, and if you want to try the absinthe or the aqvavite pop in and see us.


06/22/2017 02:07 PM

Flora #3. Mim’s mum’s carrot sour

Flora #3. Mim’s mum’s carrot sour

06/22/2017 02:04 PM

Flora #2. Wild garlic martini

Flora #2. Wild garlic martini

06/22/2017 01:57 PM

Flora #1. Celery and fennel aperitif

Flora #1. Celery and fennel aperitif

06/22/2017 01:48 PM

Distillers table, Flora

Hey peeps, after a great and exciting first distillers table, I thought I should do a debrief/share the shenanigans with anyone who was interested in the drinks we made. The theme for our first Distillers Table, was Flora. Which is basically anything that grows in the ground. I purposefully chose vegetables as well as flowers and combined this with modern cooking/cocktail techniques to create a collection of drinks that you might not find in your average cocktail bar. They are certainly not better, it’s just if you were to put a drink with wild garlic on a menu I feel that it would rarely be ordered. Anyway without further adieu, the drinks.

Flora #1

Celery and Fennel seed infused Noilly pratt

Camomile cordial

Lemon tincture

top with tonic water

dash of salt solution

Olive garnish

With the vermouth I infused it using a vacuum packer and a water bath set 50 degrees. I chose Noilly Pratt because it already has a slight savoury side to it. That savoury Umami from the Celery seed and a brightness from the fennel, this combined with the chamomile cordial means the drink sits perfectly between sweet, savoury and Umami, whilst remaining refreshing. This is my favourite Drink on the list and one of my favourite drinks that I have ever made. For me it is the perfect aperitif as it actually made me hungry the first time I made it. Granted I may have just been hungry but it definitely has a moreish quality to it.      

Flora #2

Psychopomp Ox gin

Cucumber sherbet

Wild garlic Vermouth

Wild garlic oil and a lemon zest on top

This isn’t the first time that I have tried to make a drink with Garlic, each has been vastly different. Using wild garlic leaves rather than garlic cloves allowed me to control the intensity and not let it overpower the drink. The drink was sweet, fresh, pretty boozy and complex enough so that it kept people guessing and coming back for more. The cucumber sherbet was made by just keeping it in the fridge with sugar, no water is needed because its made mainly of the stuff. So I just cut it into thin slices and added sugar and cucumber layer by layer, then kept an eye on it and shook every hour until the sugar had dissolved. The quicker you can get the cucumber out the fresher it will taste, otherwise you will find it begins to have stewed taste. Think of cucumber water at the end of a busy shift when it tastes a bit swampy, not ideal. The oil also has a function as well as looking pretty. The wild garlic vermouth is subtle until you sip up a blob of oil and the drink almost flips around in flavour hierarchy.

Flora #3

Psychopomp Aquavit

Fresh lemon juice

Thyme infused honey syrup

Carrot juice

Psychopomp absinthe

When cooking a roast my mum and her partner Aaron (not sure who does it is, probably Aaron) cook the carrots in butter, thyme, honey and chuck a star anise in there for good measure. The flavours together are awesome and using the savoury celery and dill seed notes from the Aqvavit and a bit a lemon juice for acidity. With those elements I just played around with the measurements and managed to make an interesting and balanced type of sour. I thought I would finish on something sweet due to the first two leaning more towards savoury. Steph (the boss) told a story of how she was aloud to choose one treat for after dinner and ONLY after dinner was she aloud to eat it. She said she always went for a Dip Dab and after had the idea of having a paper stripped bag full of beetroot Sherbet. Also in the bag was a lightly pickled carrot. A veggie Dip Dab. To make the beetroot sherbet I just blended dehydrated beetroot with sugar and citric acid. With the pickle  juice I made a palate cleansing Pickleback with our Aqvavit. This came just before the final drink.  

I really enjoyed making these drinks, especially in this way, with a theme and to a deadline as it pushed my creativity. The next Distillers Table is Fauna, so I’ll be making drinks inspired by our furry animal pals. Tickets available via our website.

06/16/2017 11:15 AM

Cocchi Negroni roadshow

Tuesday was all about Negroni’s at the distillery as we were the latest stop on the Cocchi Negroni roadshow. We learnt all about Count Negroni’s interesting past, while our guests sampled the Cocchi vermouth range and enjoyed a 5 course menu of Cocchi and Psychopomp Negroni’s. A surprise twist which was a big favourite amongst drinkers was the aquavit Negroni with Cocchi Americano and Campari. If you missed the event do not despair, pop in this week and we will happily make you one of the delicious creations!

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