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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Blood & Soil: a cocktail

And now for something completely different:

It’s an experiment I've been meaning to do for a while: a martini-style drink using a cocktail beetroot as garnish.  I wanted the liquid to be essentially clear, so that as you drink it, you could see the colour bleeding out of the beetroot.  At the same time the ingredients have to work with the earthy, sweet quality of the garnish, so that they fit together as a whole.

Here’s what I came up with:
Blood and Soil
A Cocktail for the Adventurous

First prepare the glass with half a very small baby beetroot, speared on a cocktail stick and placed so that the cut edge rests against the glass (for the sake of the photograph I used a glass at room temperature, but otherwise I’d prefer a frozen glass). It’s important that the beetroot hasn’t been marinated in loads of vinegar: either plain cooked or with minimal dressing - here I’ve used Waitrose lime zest infused baby beetroot.

To a shaker with 4 cubes of ice add:

  • 2 shots of Chase Smoked Vodka
  • 2 shots of Ophir gin
  • 1/4 bar spoon of Yellow Chartreuse

Shake until thoroughly chilled, pour very gently into the glass and serve.

The picture here was taken about a minute after the pour and as you can see the root is already producing layers and swirls of colour.  By the time the cocktail was half consumed it was a uniform dark pink, at which point I ate the garnish: the whole thing worked very well and would make a great party talking point.

The smoked vodka compliments the spicy Ophir gin perfectly to give an earthy, almost savoury drink, while the small touch of Chartreuse is enough to add a herbal complexity and take the edge off the dryness: a good match with the sweetness of the beetroot.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Perfume Making Workshops for 2015

I’m planning to run another of my One Day Workshops aimed at taking you from an interest in perfume and blending, to making a wearable perfume yourself - the last one was at Les Senteurs - the next will be in February 2015, it will be on a Saturday and at a central London location.
Workshop at Les Senteurs
I know one or two people like to give these workshops as a Christmas gift, hence I’m advertising it now: full details to follow soon.

In addition though, I’d like to use this post to see if there is interest in a more advanced workshop the following day (therefore on a Sunday).  The idea would be to look at some more difficult aspects of perfumery than are covered in the basic workshop, perhaps by exploring a category of ingredients: musks or ambers for example, with a view to sorting out the differences between materials and when to use what.

It has also been suggested to me that some people would like the opportunity for something more like a masterclass where you bring along your own, part-finished work and we have a look together at how best to take it forward.

I’m open to either or both approaches depending on what people would find most useful: so if you’ve thoughts on these or other ideas of what would be interesting to you, please let me know here and I’ll put together something that suits most contributors.

Christmas Room Sprays

Christmas Room Spray by Pell Wall
After a little consultation on the Pell Wall Facebook page I’ve decided to make some of these Christmas Room sprays for sale.  It’s a strictly limited edition: only one batch will be made this year and it’s just enough to fill the remaining bottles I have of this style (now with gold sprays and lids as all the black ones have sold out):

Each bottle contains 100ml and they are £22 each

Richly scented with frankincense, myrrh, orange, tangerine, cinnamon and spice for that classic festive effect that everyone loves.

It’s an alcohol based spray so it will keep happily until next Christmas if you don’t use it all up this year but it’s not intended for use on the skin and mustn’t be sprayed near naked flames.

Christmas Room Scent
Gift Box by Pell Wall

If you want to give it as a gift I can also package one up in a large gift box (big enough to take a wine bottle) along with some pine-cone based potpourri in a matching scent for an extra fiver:

 £27 - Gift boxed

The box is strong, with a magnetic closure on the lid and heavy cord carrying handle so it can be re-used as well.