We were shaken and stirred by a fantastic mixology – or cocktail making – masterclass last week by Marek Boniszewski and Steve Edwards from the prestigious Brownsword group of hotels.The best part of the day was coming up with special cocktails to mark the 50th anniversary of the University of Essex and a Wivenhoe House cocktail to be served in the bar and brasserie.
We decided we wanted to make a gin based cocktail so before we started Steve and Marek gave us a history lesson on gin and how it is distilled. We learnt that the phrase “Dutch courage” comes from the early days of gin drinking when Dutch soldiers were given gin before they headed off into battle. Marek and Steve also explained how different gins obtain their flavours and how it is important to reflect those flavours in your cocktail ingredients. They also reminded us to think of our target market when creating a cocktail and said that drinkers “buy with their eye” so presentation is key.
Once we had chosen the brand of gin to form the base of the cocktail we set to work adding different components, fruits, cordials and more alcohol, to create the perfect mix. It proved a lot more difficult than we thought but in the end we came up with two winners and Marek and Steve took one of our recipes with them to use in their hotel bars. We also listened to an inspirational company presentation from Marek and Steve about Brownsword Hotels and the career opportunities available.
The mixology masterclass was a real eye-opener into a world we had only previously seen on screen. It proved to be a lot more precise in real-life and all the shaking and elaborate pouring seen on television seems to add absolutely nothing to the final result!