Gin Festivals head mixologist Pete Barrett creates an exclusive cocktail inspired by the amazing Brockmans gin.
Hi people of the Gin World!
I’ll introduce myself. My name is Pete Barrett and I am the man of all things cocktail at Gin Festival HQ. I may have a met a fair few of you and shaken or stirred you up a drink at a Gin Festival event somewhere in the UK. If there’s one thing I love doing it’s making drinks for people, so if I’ve ever made one for you, I genuinely hope it hit the spot! Other than at the events themselves you’ll find me in our office or warehouse sorting out everything that goes into getting the cocktail bar ready for all our events, with research, creating new drinks, pop-ups and new bars, as well as all the admin that goes along with it!
When the opportunity came up to make something special for the #Brocktail competition, I knew I’d enjoy experimenting to develop something exciting. The prize itself has been motivation for me to come up with the best and most appropriate Brockman’s Cocktail I could. A trip to not only New Orleans, but to Tales of the Cocktail, the biggest, most respected and important date in the Cocktail World’s calendar.
Here is an idea of the process that went into inventing the “Eddy B”, my entry to the competition!
Gin itself is a Cocktail Bartender’s dream, not just in terms of history and classic drinks, but due to it’s variation of styles and flavours. It makes conjuring up new ideas for some booze based alchemy a lot of fun.
Think of a cocktail bartender as a drinks chef. It’s essential to know how one flavour works with another to be able to create something different and tasty (and credible). The key is knowing your base spirit and its defining flavours and then balancing them with the added ingredients. You need to compliment the spirit, not make it disappear like the sugary vodka cocktails of the 1970s and 1980s (also known as the dark ages in the cocktail world).
Coming up with new recipes is great fun and rewarding, (even more so when there’s a competition involved) but most definitely a challenge and not as easy as plucking something perfect out of the sky.
Brockman’s itself is an interesting and fun gin to work with as a mixologist. It steps away from “the norm” in the gin world, with the dry juniper element taking a big step back and it's unusual and defining botanicals taking centre stage. With wild berry flavours from the blackberries and blueberries used in the distillation, as well as more traditional additions, Brockmans is smooth, fruity and aromatic making a balanced gin ideal for adding new flavours too.
When tasting and looking at the list of botanicals in Brockmans, a few ideas sprang to mind. Initially, it was a cheesecake. Could Brockman's work well with vanilla, yoghurt, biscuit with its distinct berry flavours? Sadly after much experimenting, this idea didn’t quite work as well as I hoped. Not that it was bad, but something was missing. That idea was scrapped and I started again, like a chemist in a lab working on my next concoction.
This time round other than the berry elements (which automatically I knew would work with the rest of the drink), a few other botanicals stood out, namely cassia bark (which is part of the cinnamon family) and almonds. A light bulb lit above my head and I thought “Strudel”. So I started on a new path to my Brocktail.
As a bartender, you can mention certain ingredients and automatically think of a liquid to represent them.
The first botanical from those mentioned that stood out was almonds. The obvious spirit/liqueur that this element would work with was Amaretto. Amaretto is an almond based liqueur, and I specifically chose Gozio Amaretto due to its very high quality and sweet burnt almond taste.
Then the Cassia. Less intense than regular cinnamon, I wanted to add some warming elements to bring out flavours reminiscent of a Strudel. After playing about and trying different syrups I stumbled across Monin Gingerbread Syrup, with cinnamon and ginger being the prominent flavours. When adding sweet flavours and things with spiced elements, you need to be aware of not overdoing it to ruin the drink, so I had to be careful with this ingredient.
Then for the apple element, the obvious choice was, unsurprisingly, apple juice. I used a cloudy 100% apple juice (not from concentrate) to ensure that the flavours were as close to stewed apple as possible. Most cocktails benefit from a citrus element to help balance everything out, so in this case I squeezed in the juice of a quarter of a lime.
After going back and forth with quantities I finally came to the final version of the recipe that I was proud of and represented what I set out to do (and tastes great). Something that no matter what time of year, can be sipped and enjoyed.
Gin, Spirits and Cocktails are my passion and I work with a smile when it comes to making drinks, in this case, the “Eddy B” Brocktail. Hard grafting mixed with a lot of fun is put in to make sure you get the most out of what myself, and Gin Festival do when it comes to cocktails.
I really hope you like the sound of it, and if you think it’s something you’d drink and love please vote for me via the Brockman’s Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/brockmans.gin !
You can find the recipe here below if you fancy giving it a go before it makes its debut on the Gin Festival Cocktail Bar:
“The Eddy B”:
In a cocktail shaker with ice add:
50mls Brockmans Gin
25mls Gozio Amaretto
10mls Monin Gingerbread Syrup
Squeeze of a wedge of lime
50mls Cloudy Apple Juice
Strain into an iced filled Rocks or Old Fashioned Glass and Garnish with 3 Apple Slices and a Blackberry and enjoy!
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