Every so often I am set a challenge that makes me feel like my 20-something self. And for what can feel like an eternity, I find myself staring at the Shake, with my memory blank, thinking “what do I do next?”. And my event briefing with AM Best gave me one of those flashbacks.
It can be imposing I suppose. When you’re working with an established business that has the quiet confidence of being the best at what they do. And, if you’ll excuse the pun, AM Best can claim just that.
The Best of the best
Founded in 1899, AM Best is the world’s first credit rating agency. Since it began in humble origins in New York City, AM Best has grown to become the largest credit rating agency. Masters at what they do, the UK team are situated close to Lloyds of London in the heart of London’s Insurance market which they serve.
With the brief to teach their staff in a cocktail masterclass, their challenge was two-fold:
- Create some fabulous-tasting original cocktails that paid homage to AM Best’s New York City origins.
- Double up each cocktail with a 0% version that tastes equally as good as its alcoholic partner.
The 0% Cocktail challenge
It wasn’t fear that grabbed me with this brief. I know my way around the American classics. I lean on them regularly. And I love creating twists on them. What mixologist doesn’t? What grabbed me about this challenge was the notion that the 0% drinks came first. This was a company that wanted to give their staff an option to switch to 0% at any point and not lose an ounce of flavour or fun.
My solution? Two-fold:
- I leant on Lyers fabulous range of non-alcoholic liquor. And no, I am not getting any commission for this plug!
- I wanted to create a range of drinks that could, as much as possible shout FRESH and ALIVE without tasting like a fruit smoothie.
Lyers Italian Spritz. Sunshine in a bottle:
The menu I created consisted of four drinks that could stand out from one another (remember that many of my guests would be sober at the end), holding their own, whilst sticking to the brief; old school American cocktails that would be awesome alcohol free.
We greeted our guests with an “Oldwick obsession”, a fizzy crowd-pleaser, The Obsession , with Aperol, peach, lemon and prosecco. For the 0% version, I used Lyers Italian Spritz, a beautiful bitter spritz that tastes of sunshine. It’s as golden as its colour. The sweetness from orange works brilliantly with the complex and astringent flavours of rhubarb, creating a dry and deliciously refreshing 0% liquor.
Lyers White Cane Spirit. Possibly the best
I then taught the team how to make a drink I named “Rated as the best”. Inspired by a Bramble, it used blackberries, coffee, lime and salted caramel with the wonderful Lyers White Cane Spirit replacing Rum for the 0%. If you haven’t tried it before, then I would strongly suggest you do. Because Lyers White Cane Spirit will mess with your head. With notes of citrus and toasted nuts, it has the flavour profile of marzipan, orange and coconut, with a light, peppery finish adding to a platform of oak and sugar cane. It’s a wonderful alternative to white rum and a genuine attempt at making something that’s as good as rum. And I used it in the next two drinks.
“Party like it’s 1899” had delicious flavours of pomegranate, lime and ginger, substituting Lyers White Cane Spirit for gin. We finished with “Up on the 8th”, a tribute to the Espresso Martini with the addition of salted caramel and a gold dusted AM Best stencil on the foam. I substituted 25ml of Vodka with Lyers White Cane Spirit.
We hope that you have found this blog useful. If you are interested in Soul Stirrer or have a question, please get in touch.