This blog post features three delicious cocktail recipes you can make at home from the nationally acclaimed bar menu from Below Stairs in Leeds.
Create your own syrups, play about with infusions and experiment with a technique known as fat-washing as bar-owner, Manachain Managhan, shares some tips, techniques and quick cocktail hacks, that allow you to recreate some of his most popular drinks.
From the welcome drink to the careful choice of colours and aromas, Below Stairs is a bar that puts guest experience at the centre of everything they do. We highly recommend watching the full video to really appreciate the thought, effort and detail that goes into creating great drinks and a great atmosphere when you visit a top quality bar.
BAKED APPLE WHISKY HIGHBALL
40ml Whisky (Irish Whiskey works particularly well for this drink).
20ml baked apple semi syrup*.
Pour over a glass filled with cubed ice and top with soda.
Give the drink a light stir to encourage effervescence throughout the drink.
*200ml cloudy apple juice, 100ml caster sugar, 6 dashes of Angostura Bitters. Add all these ingredients into a pan, put onto a high heat until you see a light foam develop. Keep tasting until the ingredients develop a baked apple flavour and decant into a bottle, this is an apple semi-syrup.
Capturing the flavours and aromas from the world-famous region of Provence this simplified drink can be tailored to your tastes using gin, vermouth, strawberry syrup and soda.
Step 1: Infuse your gin of choice with lavender, either a lavender tea bag or fresh lavender from the garden (we left ours overnight in the fridge with fresh lavender and it worked perfectly).
Step 2: Infuse your dry vermouth. Pick a selection of botanicals from the garden, sage, rosemary, thyme, savoury etc. Wash and infuse to taste (again we left ours overnight and experimented with half a bottle of vermouth and a fistful of herbs from the garden).
Step 3: Create your strawberry syrup. We used a 400g punnet of strawberries, approximately 50g of caster sugar and then 25ml of vodka to scrape the pan as we were heating the strawberries. Strawberries and sugar placed in a pan, put on medium heat and the vodka was added as the strawberries and sugar started to stick to the pan. Continued cooking for about 20 minutes until the strawberries were very soft and pale. This created about a 100ml of beautiful strawberry syrup. The strawberries were great to eat afterwards and the strawberry syrup also went onto our ice cream later - delicious.
25ml Lavender-infused gin.
25ml Herb-infused white/dry vermouth.
20ml Homemade strawberry syrup.
Stir with ice, strain into a flute/highball and top with soda.
Our experience of making this drink is that each flavour comes through beautifully, our neighbours loved the homemade element of the drink and were very quick and easy to serve.
Enjoyed at the park on a glorious sunny afternoon.
Harnessing the trend for home baking this drink incorporates oats and butter, and you also end up with a tasty flapjack as the garnish!
20ml Oat Infused Irish Whisky*
20ml Butter Washed Genever**
15ml Muscovado Sugar Syrup***
10ml Cocchi Americano
*Add 100ml of Oats to 700ml Whisky. Simmer on a medium heat for 5 minutes and then filter through coffee paper.
** Brown 100ml of butter in a pan. Add 700ml of lightly warmed genever (if you can't source this then vodka would also work), and stir together over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Pour into a wide tray (baking tray would work - to increase the surface area between the spirit and the browned butter and leave in the freezer (or fridge). Once the fats have risen and solidified on the surface the process has finished (probably overnight in a fridge or a few hours in a freezer). Break the solid fat residue on top, drain the liquid out and filter the liquid through a coffee filter into a clean bottle. You will use the butter fats to make the flapjack later so don't discard.
***equal parts Muscovado sugar and warm water until dissolved. For example 100g muscovado and 100ml of warmed water.
Stir all ingredients together with ice and then strain into a chilled martini/coupette glass.
For a garnish, use the discarded oats and the brown butter used in the genever fat washing and follow your usual flapjack recipe and serve on the side.
We hope you enjoyed this interview, we have enjoyed making all these drinks at home and thoroughly recommend you do the same.