Opening with the Hemmingway quote "I wanted to try this new drink. That's all we do, isn't it—look at things and try new drinks?", the Berners Tavern new cocktail menu is a delight to sip your way through. With fresh, zippy drinks and nutty sink-your-teeth-into flips and sours there's a cocktail here for every mood and palate.
Pieced together by Lee Morris, the menu's drinks are based around the idea of ‘Systems & Surroundings' and are intended to evoke experiences for each imbiber.
Plymouth Gin – Earth Cordial
The smell of earth after rain is often quoted as people's favourite smell, among freshly mowed grass and newly baked bread. This cocktail takes inspiration from that disticnt aroma - which is an oil created by plants and released into the air when it rains - and recreates the scent perfectly. Inside the earthy elements of pine, angelica and gin botanicals are combined with geosmin - a metabolic by-product of bacteria ommited by wet soil.
Somerset Cider Brandy – Beetroot Butter – Lemon
Paying hommage to the beetroot - one of the hearty of winter vegetables which were lifesavers before 'food miles' became our reality - the cocktail's beetroot butter softens the strong taste, creating a light and silky cocktail which is as fresh and flavoursome as it is different and mesmerising.
Absinthe – Port – Fennel Pollen – Menthe
A classic cobbler-style drink, the Left Bank is a romantic tribute to the artistic 6th Arrondissement of Paris where writers and painters gathered to debate philosophy or share their thoughts and ideas over glasses of absinthe - often till they were incoherent. It's also a hommage to the production methods of one of the world’s most notorious spirits.
Fords Gin – Pine – Mineral Bitters
Taking inspiration from the bracing alpine slope air, the drinks plays on Ford's higher alcohol content and mint to recreate the sharp, fresh wind. Pine and minerality serve to fully immerse you in the apline surroundings, or to put it as the team has "It's as though you're drinking directly from a cool mountain stream."
Remy Martin VSOP – Jamaican Rum – Port – Molasses
Named after Port Royal in Jamaica, this cocktail harks back to Britian's empire days when her ships very literally ruled the waved. Carving out shipping routes across the Caribbean meant the occasional skirmish with Spanish pirates (possibly not quite as likeable as Johnny Depp) who were based in Port Royal. Based in cognac with that essential Jamaican rum, the drink uses port and lime - known for fighting off scurvy on long sea voyages - to compliment the spirits and add depth and complexity.
Aquavit – Strega – Lemon Sherbet – Woodruff
Designed to bring rural Scandinavia directly to you, the classic punch cocktail uses woodruff to evoke notes of newly mown hay and manuka tea, caraway and pine for the fresh, outdoors aroma. The final addition of Ruinart Champagne adds crisp apples to the wonderful boquet. Light, zippy and ultimately very fresh.
Plymouth Gin – Agricole – Eucalyptus – Cream Sugar
The Berner's Tavern cocktail team say this is one of the more interesting and complex flavours you’re likely to find anywhere, and they're not wrong. Eucalyptus was first discouvered near the Endeavour River in northern Queensland during Captain Cook's 1770 expedition and has since become a global flavour. This is one of it's first appreances in a fizz however, and it's combination with sharp gin and grassy agricole rum is wonderous.
Nikka from the Barrel – Fermented Apple – Beeswax
Drawing on beeswax's long history of use as fermenter and preserver, this cocktail celebrates the famous apple juice producers of northern Japan who would coat the apple in beeswax, sealing the fruit in its own microclimate of bacteria, airborne yeast and the apple's sugars which results in a dramatic fermentation and change in the fruit. It's an incredible cocktail, punchy, fresh and engaging.
Ceylon Arrack – Byrrh – Raspberry – ‘Ambergris’
During British Imperialism, forces stationed in India would guzzle local punches made from arrack - previously unknown to the western palate but famed in South Asia where it is produced. This cocktail reflects the way punches where made then, being cut with citrus and enlivened with spices, flowers or more exotic ingredients, such as ambergris.
Bee Pollen Flip
Amontillado – Bee Pollen – Tamarind – Egg
A tasty classic flip cocktail, the drink is inspired by the honey bee's role in the food chain - gathering pollen to feed their young and sustaining the cycle of pollenation so vital to many animals. Combined with the nutty sherry, umami tamarind and silky egg the flip comes together with balance and incredible texture.