This cocktail is our chance to show off the wonder of the North Yorkshire countryside and all the wonderful ingredients that it has to offer. Creating a bespoke handmade gin to perfectly compliment a fresh and vibrant consommé that we have made using all of our fresh homegrown produce has allowed us to create a seasonal cocktail that we have called A Summer Greenhouse. The cocktail is a variation on the classic Red Snapper and the gin has been made using botanicals such as Lovage, Curry Plant, Rosemary, Fennel and Basil amongst other ingredients that we all have readily available in our garden and on our farm.
The consommé is made using other stunning homegrown produce such as tomatoes, chillies and the magnificent Oyster leaf. Both the consommé and the gin work together with vermouth and Worcester sauce to provide that traditional Red Snapper taste with a complexity of flavour not normally found in a drink of this style. We have garnished the drink with different herbs and plants from the garden to make it look and smell exactly like it says on the tin; like A Summer Greenhouse.
Our Consommé is a wonderful creation that takes a lot of care and effort to create. It starts with using our beautiful homegrown ingredients such as tomatoes, fennel, cucumbers and oyster leaf. All of the ingredients are roughly chopped and then macerated together by hand. They are then left for a few hours at room temperature to all infuse together. They are then all blended together for just a few seconds leaving you with a very thick liquid. This is then hung up to drip through muslin leaving all of the sediment behind and just the juices below. These are then frozen and then hung again. The first things to drip through on this second hang is incredibly concentrated juice as the juice is heavier than the water meaning it falls first. Stopping the process before everything melts means that you are left with a stunning, crystal clear and incredibly strong tomato consommé.
One of the biggest parts of this process has been the amazing experiences had at the Manchester Three Rivers gin distillery working with Dave Rigby and his team. They provided an incedible platform to learn and develop our gin completely from scratch. It has been an amazing opportunity to learn the ins and outs of how gin is crafted and completed and Dave provided real inspiration on how to make our gins exactly what we wanted them to be. After the first session I left with a real sense of purpose and desire to drive forward and create the pefect gin and without Dave and the team that would never have been possible. Our gin is everything I imagined it would be and more and it has allowed me to create a cocktail better than I ever thought possible.
After spending any free time I could working on my cocktail and presentation it was finally time for the big event. After packing up 3 huge rucksacks full of everything from live plants to chilli ferment liquid and several large ice packs I was ready to go. I couldn’t sleep which made the incredibly early train that little bit easier! Arriving at the show I had a sudden realisation quite how big of an event the Boutique Bar Show really is. Stall after stall of fantastic brands and companies and talented bartenders as far as the eye could see. I headed for the competition area as the nerves built and built. As the time drew nearer it came time to decide on the running order. We all drew numbers out of a hat and I was convinced that I would draw out number 1, and lo and behold I was right. My nerves really went into overdrive then! I had a microphone attached and was given a short period to unpack my equipment and it was upon me. I looked out into the audience and thankfully saw two friendly faces in my colleagues Bea and Oli. This was massive reassurance and gave me that final push I needed. As soon as I started it hit me that it was going to be more complicated than I thought to actually talk and present at the same time as making up five cocktails. Luckily I managed to steady my nerves and produce the cocktail exactly how I wanted it to look. The audience didn’t recoil in horror which was a bonus. The judges behaved exactly as all judges do and gave nothing away. I worked through my presentation and talked about everything I wanted to. Then came what seemed like the longest few hours of my life. I took my place in the audience and watched all of the other contestants present and as expected, everybody was great. Everybody had produced some fantastic gin and some stunning cocktails so it really was anybodies call. Everybody finished and the judges went away to confer about their decision. After what seemed like an eternity they returned to announce their decision and announced me as the winner. It was an incredible moment and feeling and it was reward for all of the hard work put into the competition. The feedback from the judges was phenomenal and all of the other competitors were very complimentary as well. This process has been one of the best things I have ever been involved with and the contacts I have made and things I have learnt have made this a truly wonderful experience and I would implore anybody to take part in a cocktail competition.