Head of Food and Beverages at Bloomsbury’s Montague on the Gardens, Everett Chambers is a man who knows a thing or two about creating unique and exciting cocktails. The elegant, recently refurbished Leopard Bar & Cigar Lounge is his domain, where you’ll find him expertly preparing the house Leopard Cocktail as well as his own mixology masterpieces. Behind every great barman is a great set of ingredients and tools, some of which get less fanfare than others. Here, Everett reveals his unsung heroes of the bar, his go-to essentials for creating taste bud tantalising drinks.
Homemade Sugar Mint Syrup
“Homemade sugar infused with mint is a versatile preparation that’s perfect for making Mojitos, Mint Juleps and Mai Tais, adding an overall fresh flavour to drinks. It’s something you can easily make at home to liven up your summer drinks. A simple syrup is made by heating sugar and water. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove it from the heat, add some sprigs of fresh mint and let them infuse before straining away.”
“Sriracha is a spicy Thai sauce that’s become popular in the West in recent years. Combined with bitters, they lend a fantastic, unexpected fiery kick to cocktails. We buy ours from NYC-based brand Brooklyn Bitters, who make other unusual bitters flavours like rhubarb, strawberry and fig.”
“To make great cocktail garnishes from fruit we use a dehydrator machine. It extracts all the moisture from slices of fruit, making them crisp and intensifying the flavour. You can buy small dehydrator machines for home use – try finely slicing citrus like oranges, lemons and limes, then placing in the dehydrator overnight. Float your citrus wheels in your fruity cocktails for the perfect garnish.”
“In summer, most of our cocktails are made using crushed ice, so this is an essential bar tool for us. You can get small, manual ice crushers for home use to help you break down ice into shards for refreshing Margaritas or Daiquiris.”
This summer, Everett has created a sugary-sweet treat in a glass; a Bounty-inspired Pina Colada. “The flavour is like that of a Bounty chocolate bar and its slogan – a ‘taste of paradise’. My inspiration came from childhood memories. I enjoyed Bounty ice cream bars and thought it would be a great idea to create a cocktail to bring my childhood memories to life.” With vanilla ice cream, desiccated coconut, dark chocolate, milk, vanilla syrup, Bacardi and Malibu, it’s the tropics in a glass.
As for his favourite cocktail to prepare? “I take pride in making the Leopard Cocktail as it’s our signature cocktail that we created as a team. I was delighted when we created the cocktail; every staff member had an input, from the ingredients to the decoration. It’s made from Snow Leopard Vodka, Frangelico and Amarula liqueur.”
Image credits: All images © Red Carnation Hotels