Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Britain's new breed of "bar chefs" mix seasonal cocktails

People are becoming better informed about eating seasonal food but it’s a trickier proposition to drink seasonally, especially where alcohol is concerned.

This is where the summer cocktail comes into its own and mixologists or “bar chefs” are shaking up the scene with ingredients sourced at farmers’ markets.

Drinks are being embellished with mint leaves and edible flowers and infused with elderflower essence and crushed strawberries. They look beautiful, taste even better and presumably leave a clearer eco-conscience than having opted for the cocktail that uses tinned lychees flown in from China.

London’s award-winning Canteen (0845 686 1122) restaurants have a new cocktail list created by drinks’ pioneer Tony Conigliaro. Its Great British Bar offers prosecco Bellinis made with seasonal purees such as strawberry, raspberry or apple with lavender. A Rhubarb Collins has been reworked to create a refreshing pre-dinner drink using gin and lemon with a twist of rhubarb, and the Twinkle is a champagne cocktail with a floral elderflower note.

Canteen’s head chef Cass Titcombe says: “You can experiment with all sorts of berries and homegrown herbs such as mint and basil. Whizz the ripe fruit and and a few torn leaves in the blender and add dry prosecco.”

When the Vyse Room opens at Stoke Place manor in Buckinghamshire (01753 534 790 ) next week its drinks’ list will feature seasonal punches (summer cup garnished with borage) and cocktails made using herbs and flowers grown in the Capability Brown designed grounds. A gooseberry and lemon thyme Bellini adds a citrus bite to picnic favourites such as smoked salmon sandwiches or barbecued mackerel, says Nick Strangeway, cocktail consultant at Stoke Place.

Get fresh wet and smoked fish from Steve Hatt in Islington (020 7226 3963) or from the fish counter downstairs at Wholefoods, in Kensington (0207 368 4500). Both buy from day boats and are committed to sutainable fishing.

1 comment:

Mathew said...

How the bloody smackers do you make poached gooseberries and rhubarb?

Sounds quite interesting.