Cocktail Masterclass with Manuel Wouters & Fentiman’s Drinks

As a blogger, I fairly often get invites to blogger/press events where we get to sample new menus, products or sometimes it’s a long standing business who wants to showcase their products. This event I was attending seemed different to most as it was organised by the drinks company Fentiman’s who wanted to showcase their beverages, but they’d organised for the world-famous mixologist, Manuel Wouters to come and demonstrate some cocktails for us using the products.

As with all of my posts: food was involved. We stopped off at Burger Meats Bun in Edinburgh before walking up to The Caves, which by the way, is absolutely gorgeous.

It’s like a romantic castle fairytale inside! The walls are the original stone with arched passage ways and a mezzanine level covered in fairy lights. The rooms all had coloured mood lighting and it just has a really magical feel to it! It’d be perfect for a small wedding.

If I hadn’t indulged myself in a burger I’d have been all over the canapés but I was so full!

The event soon kicked off and we were introduced to the Fentiman’s brand – a brand which I love. We were told the story of how the brand came to be. Here’s the story:

In 1905, Thomas Fentiman, an iron puddler from Cleckheaton, England was approached by a fellow tradesman for a loan. A deal was struck and a recipe for botanically brewed ginger beer was provided as security. The loan was never repaid so Thomas became the owner of the unique recipe. Thomas began using the recipe and producing botanically brewed ginger beer which he delivered door-to-door using a horse and cart for transport. His ginger beer was stored in hand made stone jars known as ‘grey hens’ which were stamped with an image of Thomas’ pet dog ‘Fearless’ who had won awards for obedience at the famous ‘Crufts’ dog competition. Fentiman’s ginger beer quickly became very popular and the family business grew, with several production factories being opened in the North East of England.

The ‘grey hen’ jugs that were used back then still wind up in charity shops and car boot sales, and Fentiman’s actually make a point of buying them back. They’re not valuable, but to Fentiman’s they represent part of their history. It’s funny to think of countless people using them to hold their kitchen utensils!

We got a sample of the products to take away, and I am in love with the rose lemonade, cherry cola and the traditional lemonade. I have kept the tonic water for serving G&Ts to my gin loving friends; it’d be wasted on me!

The products are all botanically brewed – I think to take a tour of their premed is would be so exciting as they have huge stores of plants, herbs, leaves, spices, oils and roots which they use for flavouring the drinks. We then approached the bar to sample their signature cocktails.

The Rosebud Sparkler

This is a cocktail created by Allan Beatin who was the 2014 runner up for Mixologist of the Year. The recipe for this cocktail is:

25ml fresh lime juice
6 mint leaves (muddle to release flavours)
37.5ml vodka
12.5ml Chambord
A full scoop of crushed ice
Topped with Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade

The Singularity

This is a cocktail created by Kieron Hall who was the 2013 winner of Mixologist of the Year. The recipe for this cocktail is:

35ml Kettel One Vodka
15ml Fiorente elderflower liqueur
50ml pink grapefruit juice
12.5ml gomme
Topped with Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade

Manuel Wouters, world renowned mixologist, author and now gin brewer, who started his career as the owner of the now-famous Sips cocktail bar in Antwerp. He made a few cocktails for us to taste – it was pretty cool to have a man who makes cocktails for celebrity parties whip up a drink and hand it to me!

We then were invited back to the bar where they’d made up a few batches of cocktails using the drinks and put the, in kegs for us to help ourselves to. Cocktail heaven! We enjoyed a taste of the drinks, finished off the canapés and mingled with other guests before saying our goodbyes. It was a fantastic event – one of my favourites in my time as a blogger. I now have Fentiman’s drinks in my fridge, ready for my next cocktail hour!

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