With some of the leading bartenders and mixologists in the country gathered together online for the Hoshizaki UK and United Kingdom Bartenders Guild (UKBG) roundtable event – we took the opportunity to find out how they choose the spirits to make the cocktails which keep customers coming back for more…
Tim Batchelor from The Pig Hotels explained that they have a very strong location ethos: “We try to source at least 80-85% of our products within 25 miles, so location is a massive deciding factor. Obviously we don’t just take products based on location alone as the quality must be right. Taste is paramount and this can take some time to find the right suppliers, but it’s worth it.
“During the lockdowns we have also looked for British replacements for European products like Aperol and Campari. We like to support British industry where we can and there are some really interesting products out there. We also look to work with sustainable suppliers, including brands that offer bulk refills in jerry cans that be refilled time and time again.”
Cesare Caporali from the Roots Local, community cocktail bar in Stratford explained that: “As a new business we decided to go with one brand in each drinks category – so we searched for premium products.” Cesare was also keen to point out that there was one key ingredient for a good cocktail: “The most important ingredient is the ice. The right dilution gives the right balance to the drink. We want to serve the best cocktails and you need the best ice and that’s why we use Hoshizaki as they are known as the best ice machines on the planet.”
Luca Rapetti, Assistant Bar Manager of the Gong Bar at the Shard explained that their selection of whisky and spirits strikes a balance between their Chinese theme and location in the UK: “We try to get a selection which represents our locality in the UK and not just Scotch Whisky as there are some excellent English whiskies coming through.
“We combine this with a selection of whisky and other spirits from Asia – to show we are blending together our location, London – UK, but also keeping in mind our Asian roots. For example we are building a selection of Taiwanese, Indian and Japanese whisky and other beverages like Sake. When we are looking for new spirits, we try to include something that is a great addition to our menu which will be unique for us and hopefully attract new guests from our competitors.”