In this blog, Soul Stirrer Founder, Simeon Gunn, explains how he created a new range of cocktails inspired by artisan distilleries in Brazil, Namibia and Canada.
What do you do when a client asks you to create original cocktails inspired by the Mines they advise on? Smile. And go with it!
At least that was my response. Based in Pall Mall, London, Appian Capital Advisory LLP are a business that takes mining seriously. Very seriously. They wanted Soul Stirrer to provide a bar service using liquor sourced local to their mines. And they wanted each cocktail to be a respectful nod to the locals that live and work at each mine. Well, never let it be said that I’m not up for a challenge. And if I’m honest… This was fun!
We made them at Jeru Restaurant in Mayfair to create pre dinner cocktails. In total, I created 8 different cocktails. But I’m only going to talk about three. The others will have to wait. Because this story takes us to artisan producers in Brazil, Namibia and Canada.
The Santa Rita nickel mine is in Bahia Brazil, which is where we sourced the amazing Abelha Organic Cachaça Silver. The Abelha team are an inspiration. Located in the heart of Bahia in northeast Brazil, their distillery uses traditional alambique (copper pot) stills to produce organic cachaça that is smooth, sippable, and socially conscious. Their goal is to increase the number of organically certified farmers by increasing demand for the certified organic sugar cane that they use to produce Abelha Cachaça. The distillery itself promotes a collective organization of organic agriculture. And the end result is amazing. The “Santa Rita” also included apple, lime and cinnamon sugar to create this wonderfully refreshing Caipirinha inspired drink.
The Rosh Pinah lead and zinc mine is in Southern Namibia. This is desert country. Hot and dry. Perfect for drinking a spicy rum. The local Namrum rum is produced in tiny batches of 100 bottles and we were lucky to source some. It is made using the locally grown devil’s claw plant. Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) grows exclusively in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. It has been used by Native Americans for centuries to relieve physical ailments. And I loved the fact that they had used it to create a local rum. We added back cherry bitters and ginger beer to the Namrum rum to create a wonderful ‘Dark and Stormy’ cocktail which we called the “Rosh Pinah”.
The star in our “Pine Point” cocktail is made by Strathcona Spirits Distillery. They have created an ever-expanding line of artisan made spirits that using locally farmed and foraged grains and botanicals. And they do this from their tiny boomtown building in the heart of Old Strathcona. It is the smallest distillery in North America and Edmonton’s oldest distillery. And it’s where they make, amongst other things, absinthe, velvet cream, whisky and vodka. And it’s their vodka that caught my eye because it uses single grain hard red wheat grown close to this Canadian mine in the Northwest territories. We added coffee liqueur, cold brew coffee and marshmallow syrup with a toasted marshmallow garnish for an espresso martini inspired cocktail with the marshmallow representing the frozen hills and the white froth, the pastures.
There you have it. A tour around three small artisan distilleries who have a passion for creating the very best liquor using local ingredients, patience and passion. We salute you all!
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