25 May 2011

Zetter Town House

A new collaboration, between 69 colebrooke row and the Zetter Hotel, has appeared on the shores of London. The bar's design is based on a, fictional character, the Zetter Hotels Aunt Whihelimina and her town house. Her living room has become the bar area whilst the rest of her house play host to the guests rooms.

The aunt is a slightly dotty yet extravagant victorian lady, who's painting hangs proudly on the wall overlooking all the patrons sipping cocktails in her living room. Despite some classics being added from the 69 Colebrooke row menu the vast majority of the drinks are original and inspired by Aunt Whihelmina's travels across the world, what she discovered and what inspired her along on the way.

The Master at Arms
"The Master At Arms is a naval rank referring to an officer who is responsible for physical training and security and low upon a mercantile ship. This highlights the link between drinks and Britain as a seafaring and colonial power. Aptly the drink combines dark Myers rum (which is akin to the navy) and homemade grenadine. The drink is stirred down and served short in a martini glass with rope tied round the stem to mimic rigging on a ship. The dark opulent ruby is deceptive as the aromas give way to citrus, a rich fruitiness and a pleasing dryness. This is a complex yet accesible drink that rewards with every sip"

Peter Dorelli's talk at 69 Colebrooke Row (part2)

The next part of the Peter Dorelli talk at 69 colebrooke row. This time around he lets us in on his lamp shade selling technique, Pebbles and where his journey in the Savoy began!

Lets hear what you all think...!

Max La Rocca Interview

Max La Rocca is the author of the well known Blog called LISTEN TO THE ICE dedicated to the Mixology World, with the goal of providing all colleagues and people in the industry who put heart and professionalism into their job, with useful information, recipes, videos, links and very interesting research as well as updates on seminars, workshops, trainings, Bar Shows and new business trends. 

1. What is the first cocktail you ever made?
I was only allowed to pour beers, absinthe and non alcoholic cocktails back in 2006 when I started Bartending, yes I only started 5 years ago..

2. What are your 3 favourite drinks? With recipes if you have them; old, new and your own
- OLD: Twist on the "Bijou" Cocktail using30 ml Tequila Reposado 30 ml Carpano Antica Formul 30 ml Yellow Chartreuse Bitter Orange Lemon Peel

- NEW: "Angel Draft" by Matthew Daker's:
40ml Bacardi Superior rum
10ml Yellow Chartreuse
20ml lime juice
10ml honey
10ml egg white
1 dash grapefruit bitters
2-3 mint leaves Served UP

- SIGNATURE -SIGNATURE: "CELERIAC" Granny smith apple and fresh celery muddled 5 cl Quintessential Gin, 2cl lemon juice, 2 cl simple syrup 3 cl clear apple juice Egg white Served UP

3. Tell us about a new flavour you have discovered recently..
- Lapsang Souchon tea to strain your Dry Martinis onto and Cotton Candy as a sweetner for more contemporary cocktails

4. If you could pass just one thing on to an apprentice bartender, what would it be?

5. What does the future hold for yourself, and what do you see happening in the future within the industry?
- Well, I don't have perfectly clear at the moment, having started only few years ago I'm still at the stage where I feel like a "sponge" or let's say an old sponge (being 39 yo)..with a young soul ;) wanting to know and understand more and more.I wouldn't mind to do some teaching and share all I've learned in my work trips, exibitions, barshows and seminars,because SHARING IS CARING, in order to give young Bartenders what I've never had when I started.

6. What has been your biggest satisfaction from working behind the bar?
- Changing from being a very shy and pessimist guy to a BETTER person through the interaction with amazing colleagues and incredible guests.

7. If you were to have a conversation with a cocktail (and presuming it could talk back to you and tell you its past), which cocktail would it be and why?
- Probably the Negroni, to ask him more about the influence of my roots in his conception...being Italian

8. What influences your drinks from outside the industry?
- Coming form a small village right between the beach and the countryside, on one side I get influences by the local cuisine with its numerous flavours and on the other....watching the sea horizon with some nice music and "travelling without moving".

9. If you were to break a bartending golden rule, what would it be?
- Rules are ment to be broken, as long as you have respect for the place and the people around you.

10. Outside of flavour and the craft of the cocktail, what in your opinion affects the appreciation of cocktails the most?
- HOSTING!! I think it makes 80% of your experience in a Bar and is what makes the REAL difference.

11. If you were to champion a cocktail, which would it be?.
- The Pisco Sour, refreshing and straight..to the point.

Gazzer award 2011

Drink Factories Tony C is the proud recipient of a Gazzer Award! This year was host to the first annual awards ceremony where "Gazzers", in the form of tiny Gary Regans bobble head figures, are given to the industries best and brightest.

Thank you very much Gary Regan!

18 May 2011

Peter Dorelli's talk at 69 Colebrooke Row (part1)

The legend that is Peter Dorelli lets us in on the time he drank far too much, and discusses the modern bartender in contrast to the "old school".

11 May 2011

Nettle Gimlet Recipe

I remember tentatively ordering nettle, leek and goats curd soup at a restaurant in Soho about 6 months ago, not really sure what to expect and honestly expecting the worst as the only experience I really had with nettles was being young and falling into a giant bed of them. Putting this to one side I dove in and all I can say I is wow, NOT, what I expected.

Drink Factory was miles ahead of me and already knew the promise that the Nettle flavour profile offered.

With that in mind we felt it was time to share the full Nettle Gimlet recipe with you and hopefully attack the bad name these dangerous plants have and promote how tasty they really can be. Enjoy......

Nettle Gimlet
2 parts Beefeater 24 gin
1 part Nettle Cordial
Stir 10 times
dbl strain into chilled martini glass
Garnish with a lime twist


Although Drink Factory technically didn’t exist apart from maybe as an idea or a brainchild of Tony C, at the time, our first foray into the world of hydrosol was way back in 2004/2005 when Tony discovered the possibilities and variety of uses of Hydrosols after becoming disillusioned and tired of having to work with essential oils and never quite reaching the desired flavour profile.

Hydrosols have actually quietly been present and accounted for in cocktail for many years. As far back as the Ramos Gin Fizz which contains orange blossom water, which is essentially a diluted hydrosol commonly used in desserts and cocktails.

Since 2005 they have become more and more prevalent in the industry enjoying fame both in the UK and across the pond in the US where our friend Audrey Saunders was inspired enough to start using them in her cocktail creations.

Hydrosols are described as a bi-product of essential oil distillation and condensed water left over after steam or water distillation. They are said to contain the very essence of what was in the plant. They are also famed for retaining many of health elements of the plant or flower. During essential oil distillation some of these elements are often lost. These elements are absorbed into steam, which later condenses back into the leftover distillate retaining the healthy elements collected.

Hydrosols are probably most often used in alternative medicine and alternative remedies in place of essential oils. As they are water based it is safe to use these directly onto skin or ingest.

Due to their rise in popularity in recent years it means they are now produced as a stand alone product in themselves. As apposed to just being a waste product they are now deliberately distilled and sold as a stand out product.

In their purest and most undiluted form they have an extremely intense, powerful and pure flavour meaning they can either be diluted further into water and used in cocktails as part of the drinks ratio or as a way of controlling dilution. In their purest and strongest form, they can be added in Micro-litres (1000 micro litres in 1ml) to a cocktail or spirit and used to add flavour without affecting the drinks proportions.

There has recently been an increase in “Fake” hydrosol or Floral Waters that uses synthetic compounds to gain the required flavour but have no real therapeutic or health benefits of the real thing, however from a cocktailing point of view these alternatives can provide a similar flavour at a lower cost so do have advantages dependant on their purpose.

Thankfully we here at Drink Factory have got our hands on a Buchi Rotavapor which means that since 2006 we have been able to tailor make our own hydrosols to a specific spec. We are able to play with the density and concentration of each hydrosol which means each one is literally tailor made for the drink it accompanies.

Hydrosols are readily available online and are often now being sourced by food suppliers.

The Night Before The Morning After

A massive thank you to The Plant for passing these images on to us. They like new, one could even say love new ways of working and thinking. They say they are concerned, worried even that everything they do offer their clients and their market something new. When it all comes off properly, this new thing can be a new way of understanding something, seeing something and making something.

Inspired by the morning after ritual of reaching for a glass of water and a tablet to relieve the pains of the morning after. The drink is served in a bottle with a tablet on the side, which when added carbonates the drink and dissolves.

Originally created in 2009 the concept for the drink is one of action and the feelings involved in the morning after rituals. As the bottle is opened there is a disappointing lack of fizz, which goes hand in hand with that morning after feeling. The "fizz" is found in a tablet that sits alongside the bottle and glass. When the tablet is dropped into the gin it reacts and fizz is suddenly created raising the spirits and has a feeling of hope and soon to be relief from the mornings pains

Alex Turner Interview

1. What is the first cocktail you ever made?

- The one that I considered my first ever cocktail was a Kahlua Kiss (equal parts Kahlua and amaretto with double cream floated on top). I was working at a cocktail bar in Oxford called Baedeker's back in 1989(!!!!) and this was one of the most popular drinks (it was the 80's after all). I had been working in bars before then but this was the first 'proper' cocktail bar. I had made lots of mixed drinks before then but they were usually concocted from my parents drinks cabinet and didn't really have names (or ice, or recipes, or any mixers)

2. What are your 3 favorite drinks plus recipes; old, new and your own?

Old - It does depend on where I am and who I'm with but you can't go wrong with whiskey sour (on the rocks) or a Grey goose 'tini (very dry, on the rocks with three olives)

New - probably a Paloma (Cazadores reposado, dash lime juice, topped with grapefruit soda) or Tommy's marg (I'm a bit partial to a strawberry marg as well depending on the weather)

My own - Blue grass sour (Woodford reserve, apricot brandy, lemon juice, orange wedge, caster sugar and egg white) - I created this for Whisky magazine competition a few years ago, lovely looking and tasting drink

3.Tell us about a new flavor you have discovered recently?

- I have been reading a great book called the Flavour Thesaurus that has some great ideas on flavour pairing, have not finished it yet and am hoping to discover the next big flavour in drinks!!!

4. If you could pass just one thing, on to an apprentice bartender what would it be?

- The customer is king!!!!!!!!!!

5. What does the future hold for yourself and what do you see happening in the future in the industry?

- I will hopefully be with Bacardi Brown Forman for a very long time to come, I have without doubt one of the best jobs an ex-bartender could ever have and I intend to keep developing my team and having a huge influence on the industry.

6. What has been your biggest satisfaction from working behind the bar?

- Building up a crowd of regulars and them building friendships through the meeting in the bar and then everyone hanging out when the bar was closed. One of the nicest compliments I ever received was working behind the bar at Legends (long gone now) on Old Burlington st and looking up to see a couple of regular guests from a previous bar I had worked and them saying that they had been asking all over town where I was working and then how happy their were to have found me!!!

7. If you were to have a conversation with a cocktail, (and presuming it could talk back to you and tell you its past). Which cocktail would it be and why?

- It would have to be the daiquiri; firstly to discuss its birth in Cuba at the turn of the 20th Century and to hear all the stories of the cantineros and of course to hear what it thinks of blenders, tinned fruits, hurricane glasses and parasols. One of the things I love about the daiquiri is how it can be all things to all drinkers; a simple, crisp and zingy pick me upper sipped at a bar in London to a disco drink with all manner of fruits, liqueurs and sometimes not even rum supped on a sun bed in the Canary islands!!!

8. What influences your drinks from outside the industry (i.e. art, fashion)?

- As some of the drinks I create are for large managed chains most of the names are influenced by popular culture as an example we have just developed a range of drinks for the Royal wedding with drinks like the Kiss me Kate and Sapphire engagement. Killer names are very important as they are in many cases what first attracts the guest to the drink.

9. If you where to break a bartending golden rule what would it be?

-If you can remind me of the rules, I will quite happily break a few

10. Outside of flavor and the craft of the cocktail what in your opinion effects the appreciation of cocktails the most?

- To me its all about the experience. Cocktails, like food served in a restaurant, are as much about the experience of drinking them as they are about the taste. A a bad experience can make a great drink taste bad and a great experience can make an ok drink taste amazing (as long as you are not some cocktail uber geek).

11. If you where to champion a cocktail which would it be?

- The Pina colada is the future!!!!!

Mr Porter Fashion Launch

Mr Porter describe themselves as more than just pioneers but as "a group of individuals with a shared goal of excellence, innovation and integrity underpinning everything they do". Established only a few months ago at the beginning of 2011 Mr Porter offers easy and unlimited access to over 80 of the worlds top designers in mens fashion. Few people could argue they are leading the way in their field at the moment.

It was only fitting that Drink Factory would be on hand to provide drinks for the websites official launch.

Despite chaos on London underground, some of the fashion industries finest were on hand to drink and chat with sample clothing and Drink Factory on hand to make sure their needs were met.

04 May 2011

Merlet Family Brothers Blend Cognac Talk

After successfully crafting Cognacs at the Merlet distillery, whilst under contract for many of the larger Cognac houses, the family then branched out into Liquers with equal success. Now no longer under contract to any of the former houses the Family is free to make their own house cognac under the Merlet name.

After making several house blends including a batch in collaboration with 69 Colebrooke row, which wore the 69 stamp on it's label, they are now releasing their own personal blend.

Unlike other Cognacs which are created with sipping in mind this blend has been created to be used in Cocktails and reflects that in it's characteristics

Gilles and Luc Merlet will be giving a talk on their new product at 69 colebrooke row on May 23rd between 3-5pm.

Upcoming Masterclass'

With the Summer coming up and the impending BBQ's , parties and evenings spent on the grass or the patio entertaining friends, family or just yourself it's time to start brushing up on the cocktail skills.

At 69 Colebrooke Row there are various masterclass' on the way ranging from Japan, KIGO Shochu to BBQ and Summer Cocktails.

We will have more information as they become available.

Japanese Masterclass - 7th May at 69 Colebrooke row, £40 2-4pm.
Focusing on traditional Japanese style drinks and drinking habits.

Summertime Cocktails Masterclass - 21th May at 69 Colebrooke Row, £40 2-4pm.
Think in preparation for summertime parties, punchs, long and refreshing cocktails

Call 69 Colebrooke Row on 07540528593 or email drink@69colebrookerow.com for any information concerning the class.

Luc Merlet Interview

Luc and his brother Pierre joined the MERLET family business in 2005. Their father Gilles still heads up the company but allows Luc and Pierre to bring their modern ideas and methods into the company. Luc looks after the marketing and sales whilst Pierre focuses on production and quality. Combined they have created probably one of the finest liquer brands in the world.

1. What is the first cocktail you ever made?

-Being from a distillers family, I’ve been surrounded by alcoholic beverages since I can remember. Even though cocktails are not a big tradition in the Cognac area, I’ve always seen my father doing sort of cocktails for friends and family. The two I can remember the best are Kir and a Cognac punch with orange juice, campari and sparkling. As kid I had fun helping him to prepare them.

2. What are your 3 favorite drinks plus recipes; old, new and your own?
-The Sidecar is definitely my favourite classic. Depends on the Cognac and the Triple Sec but I make it either with 2 shots Cognac and 1 shot lemon, 1 shot triple sec, or 1/3 of each ingredient.
Among new drinks, I had been struck by the Bramble when I came to the UK in 2006 and I tried it first. It made me looking at my Crème de Mûre from a different angle and the perspectives that it opened the combinations of gin with dark berries.
Not being a bartender, I have my “safe” drink that I make to friends when they come home : Cognac, sweet vermouth, cassis and a twist of orange.

3.Tell us about a new flavor you have discovered recently?
-We’ve working the past month on our new Crème de Melon and beyond the difficulty to make a good liqueur out of it, that’s the kind of fruit which has quite a big gap between how it smells and how it taste. That’s a very interesting flavor which can add a lot to a drink but also can completely take over. I had lot of fun to sample it with bartenders and to experiment cocktail recipes with it. I particularly remember a Melon margarita we did with Dick Bradsell which was fantastic.

4. If you could pass just one thing, on to an young bartender what would it be?
-As spirits producer I would tell them not to listen to what everybody tells about brands but to try to find themselves the quality of a product and its real story. It’s not because everybody uses a product that it is a good. Taste your products, try them in your drinks and make your own opinion.

5. What does the future hold for yourself and what do you see happening in the future in the industry?
-We have a deep hearted project at Merlet which is to carry on producing the best possible liqueurs and now we’ve launch our own Cognac label, we want to gain the acknowledge of a high standard niche brand. It means a lot to the family as we’ve been distilling for 5 generations for other brands. I’d love to see the industry working on old spirits such as Cognac. It is a great thing that gin has come back in spotlight, I’d like to see the same with other white spirits which personality such as pot distilled cachaças, agricole rums, etc. but also dark spirits.

6. What has been your biggest satisfaction from working with Bartenders?
-My biggest satisfaction with working with bartenders has been to show my liqueurs from a different angle. It has changed our approach to elaborate new products. We now work a lot with them to test our recipes in drinks and to adjust them. The craft of a cocktail and a liqueur is very similar in a way but at a different scale.

7. If you were to have a conversation with a cocktail, (and presuming it could talk back to you and tell you its past). Which cocktail would it be and why?
-Tell me Mr Negroni, why do I like so much your bitterness, me being such a sweet person who usually hates disabused people???

8. What influences your drinks from outside the industry (i.e. art, fashion)?
-Gastronomy a lot. Since I’ve been traveling in many countries to promote our brand, looking at all those chefs from different countries has inspired me a lot. Then I’d say that travels in general is big source of inspiration : it forces you to look at things a different way, to consider different points of views, to discover new flavours, smells, combination of colours, etc.

9. If you where to break a bartending golden rule what would it be?
-I leave that appreciation to bartenders. But one rule which is very often broken and that bartenders should more keep in mind is that the client is king and you have to make him the drink he asks, even if it’s a crap one.

10. Outside of flavor and the craft of the cocktail what in your opinion effects the appreciation of cocktails the most?
-The atmosphere for sure. Everything counts and it’s all about the combination of the service, the presentation of the drink, the people you’re sharing it with. Music and lighting are often the last things which are appropriate. A lot of place should give more attention to them.

11. If you where to champion a cocktail which would it be?
-The mojito as it has brought a lot of people to discover cocktails, especially in France. Still it is not as easy to make as a lot of people pretend.