29 June 2011

Archive drink: Hawaiian Snowstorm from 2007.......

This was a drink we did for a private event back yonder in 2007: its basically a clarifed Pina Colada (so ALL the ingredients of a pina colada with the colour taken out) with a desicated coconut suspension: so when you shake the snow globe the snow moves around but doesnt fall; was very funny looking at the peoples faces and watching them trying to work out why the coconut pieces didnt fall to the bottom, but that when you drank it it was still a liquid!! (we tried to capture this below in the video but not sure our video editing skills are very good!!)

Drink Factory Lab Masterclass

We are very happy to announce that we will be opening our doors for an open day and masterclass on August 15th!

We will be offering a guided tour, tasters, and insights into what we do in the lab on a daily basis.

Keep your eyes peeled to the blog as we will have more details coming up in the next few weeks, including how you can attend.

We look forward to seeing you all there!!


Saying of the Week - A Poem of Bartending

When I became a bartender I learnt to.....

Soothe the woes of the wicked
Raise the confidence of the timid

Spark fires beneath lovers
And loosen the tongues of brothers.

Take a party and make it a celebration
Help the wallowing mind searching for a spark of creation.

Be a comfy shoulder to cry on
And when to stop or pry on.

Be quick of wit and tongue
Yet seek out the illegal and the young...

Flash a million dollar smile
To take a customer home once in a while.

Respect the product and the artistry involved

Yet best of all how to drink,party and be merry,
Whether it be gin, Manhattan or sherry

Without becoming that which we despise......
The annoying drunk with the leery eyes.

By GJG Cowan 1986 - 2011.

Peter Dorelli and Spike Marchant Talk Old School Savoy

The final part of this epic, funny, interesting and in some parts graphic, talk Peter Dorelli gave at 69 Colebrooke Row.
This final parts see's Peter discuss the only 8 Savoy Bartenders to have ever held the title and some Hanky Panky.

Flavour of the Week - Neroli

Flavour - Neroli, sometimes referred to as "Orange Blossom".

Neroli can be found in South France, Italy, Tunisia, Morocco, Haiti, Guinea, Algeria, Lebanon and the Comoro Islands. It refers to the plant oil extracted from the blossoms of the Bitter Orange tree.

It is often seen in health food or alternative remedy shops. The oil can be broken down in alcohol.This often produces a light blue effect that fades with aging.

The blossoms are gathered between April and May and then distilled to extract the oil.
It is widely used as a base for perfumes as well as "allegedly" being a part of the top secret recipe for Coca Cola. Orange Flower Water is actually a bi-product of distillation and some would consider it "waste".

Significant amounts of oil remain in the distillation water after the process has ended, giving it a distinct flavour that is not quite as strong as the oil used in perfumes etc.

Flavour. Citrus, orange, honey blossom, sweet, rich.

24 June 2011

Saying of the Week

If we combined all the years that everyone in drink factory has worked behind a bar it would be ......... well alot, lets be honest maths isn't our first draw!

We know that some of the funniest sayings, conversations or quotes get thrown around either behind, across or overheard when working the bar.

We want you to start giving us a shout with the funniest, most interesting, most profound or for whatever reason one that grabbed you or made you stop to think.

Either head over to Facebook, Twitter or drop us an email [ giles@thedrinkfactory.com ] with any suggestions and we will be blogging the best of them.

Sous Vide / Flash Cooking

Originally water baths were created by an alchemist and named Bain Marie’s after their inventor Maria the Jewess. Over the years their purpose and function has not really changed, the basic premise being a slow controlled rise in temperature using boiling water.

One of the biggest advantages we have, in modern water baths is that we are able to regulate the temperature to a specific degree. This allows chef and bartenders to ensure that delicate volatiles such as flowers are not destroyed during the cooking process as many are destroyed when their temperature rises above 74c.

With the addition of a vacuum machine we then have the ability to quickly, efficiently, and consistently infuse spirits, make flavoured sugars, and, perhaps, less well known “flash fusing” drinks this way.

Obviously technically speaking you’re not actually “aging” a cocktail. What you are doing is creating a flavour profile similar to that of an aged drink, minus the woody flavour it is often accompanied by adding to a barrel (which we think is a bit of overkill, subtlety is key.)

For instance we have been experimenting for several years, in flash fusing Negroni’s. The result is a very interesting and complex drink where the bridges between flavours are so merged they almost become one. The drink also is richer, more refined, has more depth and a longer finish to it.

Now we know that not everyone has a bain marie and a vacuum machine in their front room, so there are alternatives that are actually very simple and provide a similar affect.

To re-create, or put more simply, build, a Bain Marie all you need is 2 saucepans, one smaller than the other. Pour water into the larger and place on a hob the place the smaller within the larger one, also with water and there you go. You can regulate and monitor the temperature using a thermometer to make sure the temperature is constant.

To re-create a vacuum bag there are a couple of options. Either buy a cheap sealing unit which do the job ok or if you are feeling adventurous you can try sucking the air out of a bag using a straw, with a rubber band around the top of the bag. It may sound silly but it will actually get the job done very well.

Spitfire recipe and GQ feature

If you get a second make sure you swing by a newsagent and pick up this months GQ. No, not for the glamorous lady on the front, although that is a good reason. Featured is a recipe for the Spitfire along with two other summer time drinks.

40ml Merlet 69 house
10ml Merlet Creme de Peche de Vigne
25ml Lemon Juice
25ml Egg White
15ml Gomme:
25ml White Wine
Combine all ingredients apart from white wine
Shake hard and strain into large coupette glass
Add white wine float on top

New Lab Photos

It began in an open plan kitchen in Kings Cross, with a Rotavapor, and a lot of experimentation. That was 7 years ago and was the first Drink Factory Lab.

Eventually the space could not contain the amount of equipment, oils, and bottles, so the Lab was relocated to the 2nd floor of 69 colebrooke row.

A small space made, for people no taller than 6foot. The Lab was often described as the 7 and half floor out of being John Malcovich and lead to creations that had not been possible or seen else where before, it was the first of its kind in a bar and it ment they could create a true series of bespoke ingredients for the bar downstairs. (the saying went upstairs for thinking downstairs for drinking!!)

The Lab grew and grew and again when it came time to re-house, it was a easy decision where the new set up would go. Just up the road to Britannia Row - Originally the studios were built by Pink Floyd and parts of The Wall and Animals were recorded there.

Now bigger and better, with a seperate tasting and training space. We can start to expand once again and we finally have a home for all our new equipment!

And there is light! And we don't bang our heads anymore!! phew.......

Basic lab set-up..... Rotavapor, Vacuum Machine, Sous Vide, Heat Inductor

Even with all the modern machinery, there is always space for some classic, vintage spirits and bitters.

Whats the flavour of the week?

Every week, from now, on we are going to pick a flavour, profile it, offer some suggestions for flavour combinations and give some background on where it's from.

If you get started on any experiments with the flavour, make sure you head over to our FACEBOOK PAGE and post up photos, recipes and comments on there. We'd love to hear feedback from you!

Flavour - Tonka Bean

Banned in the US because it contains Coumarin. Which when, naturally occuring, is often wrongly branded as a blood thinner. Many doctors will lay testament to the fact that there are no studies which support the illegalisation of Tonka beans based on health issues.

Despite this it can still be aquired in the states, although it might take a little while!

Tonka originates from North East and West South America i.e Venezula, Brazil, and Guiana.

Tonka Beans are seeds from the flowering tree called Dipteryx odorata (commonly known as "cumaru" or "kumaru") which is part of the pea family

Warm - Rich, spiced vanilla.
Cold - Vanilla, caramel, dark honey, coffee

Suggestions / Flavour Combinations
Tonka ice cream, coffee, chocolate, tequila, bourbon, cognac, vanilla, creme brullee, bitters, rich spirits.

08 June 2011

Colourless Mojito

Now, as pleasing as the idea of colourless juice, especially lime, is we understand that the two methods we have highlighted on the blog, centrifuge and rotary evaporator, are both extremely expensive and although extremely effective can also yield relatively small amounts in a large amount of time. Thankfully though there is another way that is available to everyone. Agar Agar. Visit Cooking Issues, and Dave Arnold for more info and similar processes.
Invented a while ago for the Havana Cuban Pod. This drink plays on the perception of how a colour and appearance can affect how you taste something.

Begin with 375ml of fresh lime juice and 1.5g of Agar Agar. Heat the mixture slowly to 90c whilst stirring. Once temperature is reached, lover the heat and add another 750ml of lime juice stir slowly until all the Agar Agar is dissolved.

Once cooled Vacuum Pack, or simply seal the mixture air tight then freeze. Allow to naturally defrost and the Agar Agar should have bonded with the colour molecules leaving a coloiurless behind.

After this process is finished build the Mojito uses the proportions below. (PS the image is an artists impression as we unfortunately don't have an image!)

Colourless Mojito

50ml Havana Club Blanco
25ml clear lime juice
Mint hydrosol

Touch of sugar
all stirred down over ice


The idea of having a centrifuge behind a functioning bar, or in the back of house is probably something still quite alien to most. They have slowly made their way into the kitchens of some of the worlds top chefs and one found a home at the Drink Factory lab in 2009.

The best know, and one of the earliest centrifuges, was made by Antoni Pranotti in 1864. At the time it was used as a dairy centrifuge, to seperate milk from fat.

A centrifuge works on the Sedimentation Principle. It uses centripetal force to seperate parts of a mixture that have different densities. Meaning denser heavier liquids will fall to the bottom of each container whilst the lighter liquids will remain at the top sitting upon those liquids of a medium weight.

The current bar applications are still dependant on the same principle. For instance were you to run fresh o.j through the machine it would leave you, almost, colourless juice with no loss of flavour. Alternatively you can thin fresh purees and seperate the pulp, again, with no loss of flavour. You can apply the same principles to emulsions, cloudy liquids, or even lemon and lime.

Now, what is important to remember is, size does actually matter. The speed with which the centrifuge spins is measured in G's or RPM, (as in g-force or revolutions per minute). The big ones are used as simulators for jet pilots while the smallest are used to spin tiny test tubes. Those medium sized ones are the ones we are most concerned with. It is extremely important that the machine has enough G's or RPM to actually have an affect on the liquid. For instance our machine can reach almost 5000RPM'S which seems adequate for our purposes.

69 Colebrooke Row Birthday Party

Last Wednesday saw the bold and beautiful come out to play for 69 Colebrooke Row's 2nd Birthday Bash. In their own words.........

"Donning our finest jewels and mischievous moustaches we drank and danced on into the night and began our second year in the best company we could imagine. Francis and Laura were divine, Camille looked oh-so glamorous and we only wish Tony's "costume" had lasted longer than one night."

Drink Factory - Now in 2 Languages!

We are very happy to say that Rafa at Bar Magazyn, based over in Poland, has started translating some of our interviews and content into Polish!

Thanks Rafa and here is a link for anyone who can understand and speak the language!

Bar Magazyn - Dale Degroff Interview


01 June 2011

Chris Mcmillan - Mint Julep

Probably one of the classiest and best bartenders around today. Chris Mcmillan is a veritable library of knowledge and cocktail lore. He also helped in the setting up of the Museum of American Cocktails in New Orleans.

This is how you make a mint julep......

Peter Dorelli and Spike Marchant (part 3)

Next part in our series of clips from when Peter Dorelli sat down with Spike Marchant at 69 Colebrooke row.

This time find out what Peter had to say about Gerry Hall, why he thinks the 60's was the cocktail golden age, how to serve and treat your customer properly and a classic book/drinks writer who has been lost in time.

Scents and Mood

The affect of scent on mood and ambience has been well documented over the past 10 years. As medicine and psychological techniques have become more advanced so has our understanding of how the brain interpret odors and the profound affect it can have on our mood, our actions and even triggering memories.

It has been shown that smell accounts for 80% of what we taste. A simple test you can do at home or anywhere really, is next time you eat or drink something hold your nose and observe how the taste has changed…… Smell is also the second most important sense closely following sight. We can see how important sight is too smell and taste from a study that Marot (et al) conducted in 2001 where they artificially colored white wine red and observed that participants began to “taste with their eyes” and describe tastes and flavours that were similar to a red wine, i.e dark fruits and rich flavour.

As well as being able to affect how and what we taste smell can actually improve your mood by up to 40%. What is even more interesting is that smell is known to be a powerful trigger of memories. Far more so than sight or touch and the memories are often in the subconscious where people are not able to draw on them freely until they are triggered.

With a greater understanding of the brain and how it interprets information from our senses we now know that smell initially triggers an emotional response long before it reaches cognitive recognition and your brain says “ah yes, that is orange, or strawberry”. For example the calming effect of chamomile tea is felt before you register what the actual smell of chamomile is. Studies have also shown that certain smells hold associations with certain feelings and emotions. Basic examples include:

Romance – Jasmine and rose

Energies – Citrus and zesty

Calming / relax – Lavender, sandalwood, chamomile

Refresh / uplift – eucalyptus and mint.

The consumer and brand world has been aware of this for a while and have been pumping smells and odours through their shops and establishments since. Used for a variety of uses for everything from increasing sales and driving profit, to lowering consumers awareness and uplifting their mood whilst waiting in a cue to keeping members of staff happy.

They have been refining this process, on and off, at 69 Colebrooke row since 2009. The idea of creating an ambience in a bar is nothing new, however the medians being used for the most part have been d├ęcor, staff attitude, body language, music, furniture, buzz etc. The simple addition of adding a smell to the mix is something so glaringly obvious it is strange that it has not been going on for longer. Especially as we have just seen how powerful of an asset it can be to any bar or restaurant.

Originally inspired by research from Dr Charles Spence into how the senses can affect flavour and how both your perceptions and preconceptions are highly influential in what you taste. The smells are now used to diffuse a mood around the bar and become an extension of the service, ambience and atnosphere the bar wants to project.

For instance Leather scent was used during winter to create a warm, homely, feel, similar to being in a front room or somewhere comfortable. During the summer months leather was exchanged for fresh grass, which is no doubt bound to bring back memories of laying in fields in the suns rays and evoking that feel of carelessness and joy that summer brings.

The experimentation did not stop there as they played with mixing scents, and adding subtle notes to existing profiles to create unique and bespoke scents that can be used to invoke, potentially, any mood you can imagine.

A good example of a culmination of all the research and study into sensory perceptions came to a head at last years Bar Show, when Drink Factory created the “Havana Pod”. The pod was a home to a sensory feast, created to take you back to Cuba. Featuring circadian lighting, layered music and everyday noises played in the pod, whilst aromas pumped into the pod. Staffed by two suitable dressed bartenders to finish the illusion.