All about Cocktails with Twinings and Alex Kammerling
Being a bit of a glutton for punishment, I went on from the Olives from Spain Masterclass to a Cocktail mixing event courtesy of Twinings Tea. I was a little late, so I missed the introduction but the charming guy behind the bar (who turned out to be the well known cocktail expert Alex Kammerling) was mid demonstrating how to make various cocktails (an Old Fashioned and a real Martini were the two I caught). The essence of his tuition seemed to focus on a couple of things.
Firstly, cocktails need to be chilled – and so you should chill the glass as well as the liquid that is making up the cocktail to avoid allowing any ice to melt into the drink and dilute it.
Secondly, blending a great cocktail uses much of the same concepts that a good cook will employ. You focus on the flavours of your key spirit and add ingredients that will complement and enhance that.
And, that formed the basis for our little competition. Twining’s have a new range of flower-inspired teas so we were sent away with a key spirit and a jug of cold tea to invent our own cocktails. Our tea was blossom earl grey and we were given Monkey Shoulder whisky as our base spirit. Now, our team was entirely female and we all pulled faces as we were handed the whisky, but thankfully in our cocktail we all rather liked it!
We started by muddling ginger. The slices of ginger were macerated with a small wooden device to make a kind of ginger mush at the bottom of the glass. Then we added a good measure of whisky and about the same amount of cold blossom earl grey. Now we started to experiment a bit, we added some lemon juice and some orange blossom essence. And a good measure of monin apricot. Yum, by now it was tasting pretty nice – no cold tea flavour, just some fragrant spicy notes. So, we added ice and mixed in the cocktail mixer while our glass was chilling, before straining the liquid onto fresh ice to serve ‘Ginger Pig on the rocks’. Yes, I know…there is a well-known foodie brand called Ginger Pig, but imitation is the highest form of flattery!
And, I’m proud to say our group won the cocktail challenge and walked away with some lovely cocktail glasses as well as a LOT of tea!
Thank you to Twinings and Alex Kammerling for a fabulous night