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My top two: Totally Mad Wae It (left) and L’Apostrophe
Andy Ferreira’s team at Cask are always willing to enhance their already formidable cocktail skills and that was one of the reasons they had London’s Crucible show their paces at the Cork venue last Wednesday evening.
Led by Romeo, in the unavoidable absence of director Stu Bale, Crucible served up four impressive cocktails. Crucible is a member’s club, co-working space and creative hub for bartenders. Its community is a veritable melting pot of world class mixologists, drinks industry heavyweights and flavour experts. For instance, whiskey writer Dave Broom (you might remember him from Ballymaloe’s Lit-Fest) is one of the talented crew at Crucible.
Cask on Wednesday
Crucible’s in-house laboratory boasts an impressive range of equipment includingdehydrators, ice-cream makers, thermomixers, centrifuge (great for producing clear ingredients, or concentrated flavours), Carbonation Rig, and more, giving bartenders complete creative freedom in bringing their most exciting ideas to life.
Creativity and science combine - “they take it right down to molecular levels” Andy told us - and drinks producers, both large and small, have recognised the amazing possibilities of this “drinks lab”. Indeed, Wednesday’s Crucible takeover was sponsored by Irish Distillers Pernod-Ricard’s Affinity Brand Company, whose portfolio comprises luxury brands such as Midleton Very Rare, Redbreast, Green Spot, Method and Madness, Monkey 47, Lillet and CEDER’S.
Science(the original Latin word means knowledge) may be key at Crucible but they and Cask know how to have some fun too, illustrated with the names of the drinks on Wednesday. We started with Pacific Oisin, named for a well-known Irish operator in the Irish drinks space.
The cocktail consisted of Monkey 47 gin, Yellow Spot Tasty Juice, Tiki Things, possibly including (but not exclusively) Pineapples, papaya, guava, nutmeg, coconuts, sand, and regret. Lots of ice too but no regret here though, just a long smooth drink with the spirits rounded and a sweetness provided by the fruits. Perhaps too smooth! Very easy drinking indeed.
Nial, another of their friends, had the distinction of featuring in the next one: Nial in the Coffin (Havana Club Seleccion. Malibu. Indestructible chemical acid with lime flavouring!). Not too much colour here but nicely balanced.
Nial in the Coffin
Next up was L’Apostrophe, a title tribute to Carl D’, an ace in the Cask team. And it was a beauty, a combination of Jameson, Foraged stuff (not too sure what that was, possibly the tip of a nettle!) and Perriet-Jouet Rosé champagne. “Pure buzzing” was the sub-text here and it was different class. Power and intense bubbles, firm fist in a velvet glove, a knockout.
It was more or less matched by another whiskey mix, again with no ice. Indeed, the two with no ice were my favourites on the night. This last one was called Totally Mad Wae It and ingredients were Method and Madness Irish Whiskey, Buckto and Ultrasonic.
The description didn’t quite get my attention at the start of the evening. Apparently this got a “wash” of ultrasonic waves. Don’t ask! The result though is quite magnificent, with the Midleton-made whiskey the out and out star of the drink. When you finish, be sure and suck that strip of orange peel that has been giving you a lovely aroma all the way through.