Over the course of a series of features and blogposts, Flux Soup are presenting Waterloo at Home; a sensory journey through a Waterloo micro World. We kicked off with call out📢, followed up with fanatical botanicals (check this out here too) and moved on to cocktails! And here's a follow-up on mixing drinks...
When Flux Soup invited award-winning mixologist Jack Adair Bevan to design a cocktail for the festival, they got a lot more than they had bargained for. Reading about William Curtis’ 1779 botanic garden led Jack to design two cocktails (one with and one without alcohol) for the Festival with foraged ingredients. So dig out your cocktail shaker and hunt for fig leaves and pineapple weed and create Jack’s Fanatical Botanical Cocktails or create one of your own and tell us about it #waterloococktail
Jack Adair Bevan is an award-winning drinks and cocktail creator who regularly writes for the Guardian Weekend magazine. In 2013 he was awarded Young British Foodie of the Year in the cocktail category and in 2015, was named Innovator of the Year at the Imbibe Awards. He has appeared on BBC 2’s Food and Drink programme and regularly appears at food and drinks festivals around the UK. He was on the judging panel of the 2016 BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards.
Jack has a particular interest in Vermouth and as a founder member of Ethicurean Restaurant created The Collector Vermouth. His latest publication, A Spirited Guide to Vermouth is out now.
I would like to share with you two cocktail recipes inspired by people and place for this year’s Waterloo festival.
The first recipe takes inspiration from the 18th Century Lambeth botanist and entomologist William Curtis who built his own botanic garden here in 1779. The story of Curtis and his love of urban nature turned my mind to one of my all time favourite wild ingredients, pineapple weed. This relative of camomile, Matricaria discoidea, is said to have gained its freedom from Kew garden 1871 but I would like to think that Curtis may well have had his own pineapple weed plants in Lambeth. It adores poor compacted soil and can often we found in parks, waste land, driveways and gate entrances. The flower head is just like camomile but without the petals and when you pinch the head the aroma is tropical and smells unmistakably of pineapple.
The second recipe also manages to mimic tropical and exotic flavours while being a fairly easy to find ingredient. It contains fig leaf and it is said that the first tree was planted in Lambeth Palace in 1552, although some argue it was the Romans that originally introduced them. Fig leaves when crushed between your fingers, or rolled in your palm release an aroma of coconut. The first time I tried this I couldn’t believe my nose.
As we move into Spring both pineapple weed and the beautifully shaped fig leaf will begin to appear and I urge you to try them. However, please do consult a foraging guide or a good book on trees and choose your location wisely before you pick and eat them.
Pineapple weed, fresh lime and tonic (non alcoholic)
Pineapple weed and tonic gives a great balance of tropical sweetness and quinine bitterness. You could use the pineapple weed syrup in other drinks too, it’s particularly good with spiced rum!
25ml Pineapple weed syrup
Tonic to top
Fill a highball glass with ice cubes, measure in the syrup, top up with the tonic. Stir and garnish with the lime wedge.
Pineapple weed syrup
This is a really simple 2:1 sugar syrup. Making a thicker syrup reduces the amount of dilution when mixed in a drink and adds a little more mouth feel.
A handful of washed pineapple weed flower heads
400g caster sugar
Bring the water to a simmer and then take off the heat before adding the the sugar. Next add the pineapple weed. Stir then cover and allow to cool before fine straining into a sealed sterile container. Store in the fridge and use within two weeks.
Fig leaf & honey gin sour
I love the texture of a well shaken gin sour. The coconut aroma and flavour from the fig leaves are wonderful with honey and at home with the gin botanicals. If you would like to try this cocktail as a vegan drink save the liquid from a can of chickpeas as it makes a great substitute when used immediately, it is known as aquafaba.
50ml London Dry Gin
25ml fresh lemon juice
dash of Angostura bitters
12.5ml Fig leaf honey syrup
1 free-range egg white or 25ml aquafaba
Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and give them a dry shake (without ice), then add ice to the shaker and shake again, hard, for around 10 seconds. Double-strain into your chilled glass.
2:1 Fig leaf honey syrup
4-5 fresh fig leaves, washed
200g London honey
Bring the water to a simmer and then take off the heat before adding the honey Next add the chopped fig leaves. Stir then cover and allow to cool before fine straining into a sealed sterile container. Store in the fridge and use within two weeks.
Create your own Waterloo Cocktail
Why not create your own recipes inspired by your Waterloo? What ingredients and recipes inspire you? Is there a piece of local history or a person that makes you think of a particular drink? However simple or complicated, with or without booze, we would love for you to share your #waterloococktail recipes with us and your community.
Flux Soup would like to thank Jack for his inspiration, and do try our Fanatical Botanicals walk around Waterloo and look out for ingredients as you go!