Mark Thomson, Ambassador to Scotland for Glenfiddich single malt whisky teamed up with Alex Palumbo, owner of Edinburgh’s Hey Palu bar to create a summer vibe whisky cocktail using Glenfiddich latest release – Orchard Experiment.
Which spirit have you chosen to use and why?
I’ve gone for our latest expression from our Experimental Series – Orchard. It’s finished in Pomona spirit cask which adds a wonderfully warm apple note. As we were looking at creating this during the summer, the light and fruity nature of the whisky works really well in lighter style cocktails.
What cocktail have you made?
I’ll be honest, my cocktail skills have dulled over the years and therefore I handed over complete responsibility to Alex as I knew he’d create something ideal. We chatted over the character of Orchard and my thoughts on the style (short and stirred rather than a highball).
What benefits do you think this cocktail will bring to bars offering it?
It’s very approachable, and should appeal to a wide variety of customers and palates. It also helps to overcome the idea that whisky cocktails are heavy and seasonal towards winter.
What drinks trends do you expect to see going forward? How important is it to offer seasonal serves and cocktails?
Sustainable and less fuss is seemingly the way forward – the consumer is looking for not only a sustainable drink, but also a traceable drink, they are keen to understand what the ingredients are and where they have come from. Low and no ABV drinks on the menu are also gaining popularity.
What’s your thoughts on the seasonal serve you have both created?
We wanted to create a cocktail that really showcases Glenfiddich Orchard whilst still being accessible for everyone, not just for the seasoned whisky drinkers.
Why have you chosen this serve?
We decided to celebrate Glenfiddich Orchard and complement it with stone fruit flavours already present in the whisky thanks to the ageing process in Pomona cask. Glenfiddich Orchard, Apple aperitif, Apricot brandy and peach bitters.
What do you think this cocktail will add to your bar’s offer?
In Hey Palu we are all about delicious drinks and this is definitely one! It’s a simple drink with a very defined flavour profile and a straight forward serve. It has a whisky base but it’s still very refreshing and dry at the finish.
How will you promote this serve?
We have a special insert in our menu for our seasonal special, plus the “Dealers Choice” section of our menu is pretty popular and I’m sure this will be a favourite very soon.
How important is it for your bar to offer seasonal serves?
It is definitely great to be able to have a seasonal offer for the guests. It gives the opportunity to the bartenders to evolve their skills and try out new flavour combinations.
How important are cocktails to your business?
Cocktails are our business. We do offer a selection of wines and a small food menu, but our main sales are cocktails. We have a very talented team in Hey Palu and developing new drink ideas, using modern techniques, is what we do best. It’s great for us and even better for our guests.
What drinks trends do you expect to see going forward?
There is a big interest in sustainability and seasonality of ingredients. Drinks are getting “cleaner”, using less garnishes and becoming more elegant and simple looking to counterpart the intricate developing process.
Bottled cocktails in bars seem to be on the rise as well, they give the bartender more time to interact with the guest and help with consistency of the drink.