We had a little chat with Connor and Jamie who were the two main curators of this menu, here is what the had to say…
Jamie: The concept behind the menu was indigenous spirits. Obviously here at The Sun Tavern we make a big deal of Poitín which is indigenous to Ireland and so then wanted to bring to light other national spirits. Also to use spirits that other bars aren’t using and people might not know about. Then, trying to create some really interesting cocktails around those spirits.
Bianca – Grappa, Lemon, Honey & Chinook Hop Tincture
Connor: So the Bianca is a Grappa drink. Most people associate Grappa with ‘knocking it back’ or sipping it in Italy, you know? We just wanted to make it more accessible to a wider crowd. We used Tosolini Grappa, quite light in flavour and a little citrusy. From there we chose the Chinook Hop Tincture, kept it very simple, very classic with a little bit of sweetness. There is a bit of egg white in there so that the texture is the same for every sip. In a coupet with a lemon twist and Bianca actually means white in Italian, with Grappa being a clear and clean-cut spirit we thought that was a vibe.
Sir Banks Fix – Quiquiriqui Mezcal, Kummel, Lime and Pineapple & Eucalyptus Syrup
Jamie: This cocktail is based around a classic called a ‘Fix’. We’d normally have used pineapple juice coming from a ‘Fix’, but in this case we’ve made a pineapple and eucalyptus cordial. There is Mezcal in there which works really well with the kummel, also Mezcal is indigenous to Mexico. It’s smokier than Tequila that goes with the pineapple and other tropical drinks. The vessel we’re using is a small tankard which looks nice, quite old school. It’s also quite fitting to the drink as it’s an old style of cocktail. Garnished with some eucalyptus leaves and Sir Banks was the man who introduced eucalyptus to the west, so I thought I’d give him a little mention.
Amrita – Bushmills Black Bush Whiskey, Mead, Fernet, Honey & Stout Cream
Connor: So the Amrita. We started out with using mead, which has become quite popular in drinks now, especially beer. We wanted it to be quite heavy, almost like a dessert Manhattan, hence the cream float. ‘Amrita’ is an old Medieval word that means ‘immortality’ and is commonly referred to ‘nectar’. Not really a light sipper, a pretty heavy one at that. Nutmeg on top, very sweet and booze heavy as well.
Balkan Promise – Slivovitz, Pisco, Plum & Vanilla Syrup & Abbot’s Bitters
Jamie: The Balkan Promise’s inspiration was a Pisco Sour. We obviously use pisco but we also use something called slivovitz which is an old style plumb brandy and this one you’ll find comes from Poland, which is on the Balkan Peninsula or Balkan Coast. So we used the Sklar Slivovitz, then I made a plumb and vanilla syrup which adds a nice wintery touch. The drink is in a Nik and Nora, looks good with the foam and some black sesame for the garnish, which contrasts nicely.
The Three C’s – Cachaca, Cocchi Torino, Homemade Glogg, Green Chartreuse & Angostura Bitters
Connor: The Three C’s is more of a bitter drink in comparison to the other drinks on the menu. We needed a stirred down, bitter drink for people who want that Negroni or Boulevardier sort of style. It’s a little more floral using the Cachaca. We also use Homemade Glogg which is essentially a Scandinavian style of mould wine that uses grape juice. We added Italicus which is a bergamot liqueur and that nicely lifts the drink with the spice base.
The Root Of It – Bán Poitín, Averna, Ruby Port & Pecan Bitters
Connor: This drink was one of our colleagues Jason actually. We wanted an Old Fashioned style of drink for this menu and because of our love Poitín we went down that route. You’ve got heavy Ruby Port in there and Averna which makes for deep chocolate and coffee notes. Then we used Bán Poitín because the starchiness of the Potatoes that are used in the production really come through and place very well with those deep flavours. Not you’re usual Poitín style drink but we reckon we’ve managed to make it a bit more autumnal. Then to round it off with a little pecan bitters at the end to add little spice dimension there.
The Penelopes #3 – Arrack, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Amontillado Sherry, Lime, Coconut, Angostura Bitters. Topped with Umbrella Brewing Ginger Beer
Jamie: We wanted a longer style drink, we’ve some quite heavy drinks already and we wanted to use Arrack again. It’s a Sri Lankan spirit distilled from the sap of coconut leaves and so has a really nice flavour. We thought we’d use that along with the Umbrella Brewing Ginger Beer, coconut and Dolin Dry Vermouth. The name came from that one of our bartenders Quentin is in a band called ‘The Penelopes’ and they’re some of our best customers. Comes in a highball, topped with crushed ice and to garnish, just a nice seasonal flower.