In life there are
few things I’m sure of. My love of gin and tonic is one of those
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
this months distillers
focused on the
orchard and it’s delicious produce for
our latest set of drinks.
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.
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!
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.
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).
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
we really enjoyed sharing our creations with you and now look forward
to the next challenge ‘Bonfire’ on Nov 4th.
Saturday we had the pleasure of hosting the Ultimate Cocktail &
Cheese pairing with Rosie, Bristol’s very own Cheesemonger.
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
are the cheeses we enjoyed and the cocktails that Danny created to go
along with them:
Vale - A hard, gentle goat cheeses made on Ditcheat Hill
Farm in Somerset. A mild goats cheese that isn’t too “goaty”.
We Goat – Aqvavit, Del
Professore Vermouth Classico, grapefruit & celery sherbet, Amalfi
lemon salt and sparkling water. Served long with a slice of red
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
- A hard cow milk cheese also made on Ditcheat Hill Farm, in Ditcheat.
Rich and unctuous with truffle and truffle oil added.
Beets Truffler – Ox Gin
(black truffle, lemon & thyme) 6/1 with a beetroot and
blackcurrant vermouth. Finished with an orange zest
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
Blue - A sheep milk blue, comparable to a Roquefort made in
Sharpham Barton, South Devon
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!
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!
is a language in itself” - Jackie Chan. Kick-ass
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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
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
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.
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
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).
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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.
and Fennel seed infused Noilly pratt
with tonic water
of salt solution
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.
garlic oil and a lemon zest on top
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.
infused honey syrup
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.
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.
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!