Hibiscus

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Ahhhhh... how sweet!

Back in October I was invited to be part of a panel tasting syrups for Imbibe magazine, for a piece which ran in the November issue. There was a lot of talk from the bartenders around the table about how much better homemade syrups are than those available commercially and they’re so right. I know I have the luxury of having a kitchen next door to my drinking room and only need to produce a small amount of any one syrup to satisfy my home drinking needs, but it makes me wonder why more people aren’t making their own?
 
 
 
Now I have been making syrups for use at home for a couple of years and am of the opinion that the results far outweigh the small amount of effort involved, so when a couple of friends came to stay over the weekend and expressed an interest in my homemade ingredients I saw a perfect excuse to get out the saucepans and sugar, grab a few ingredients and do an impromptu ‘master class’ on making your own sweeteners.
 
 
 
Simon and Caro are regular guests at maison b&t and I’ve successfully managed to encourage them to shake and stir their own cocktais at home, furnishing them with tools and books here and there; but even so, I was surprised at how quickly they grasped the idea of syrups and how inspired they to start creating their own flavours. I guess that it was an easy concept for them to grasp because they’re food lovers, so my gut feel that making homemade syrups and infusions might be a good stepping stone to get foodies thinking seriously about making cocktails at home, proved to be right.
 
 

A rose by any other name

Well we made it through RumFest (just!) which was once again a great show. I have to say I really love the fact that it is the one event here in London that has some real life to it. I think that everyone there was shocked at how great the turnout was and how many people both in the trade and consumers are really passionate about rum!

 

But enough about rum, I have a few other things on my mind at the moment so if you will indulge me once again, I am going to talk a bit about bourbon, a bit about homemade ingredients, a bit about autumn and winter flavours (again) and a bit about garnishes.

 

I’m going to start with garnishes because I feel the need for a short sharp rant. Talking to American bartenders and friends in Canada there seems to be a dislike of garnishes by consumers over the other side of the pond. To my mind though a relevant garnish can take a good cocktail and elevate it into a drinking experience.