Charlie Brown’s bring the patter, Franklin & Sons bring the fizz

A heavily tattooed bartender strikes a rock pose
Elyse von Ruinn, behind the bar at Charlie Brown’s

In the first of a new series of columns with Franklin & Sons, SLTN pops into Charlie Brown’s in Glasgow to chat to creative director Elyse Vonn Ruinn about how the bar is using quality craft sodas in its cocktails.

We also had the pleasure of sampling two custom-made serves: summer special the Paloma Colada and non-alcoholic cocktail Pep Talk.

Tell us a little bit about Charlie Brown’s and your approach to cocktails.

Elyse Von Ruinn, creative director Charlie Brown’s: “We keep the cocktail list short and to the point because of our style of service, which is very vocal. We’re all about engaging with every single person. We don’t want them to get all the information from the menu, otherwise we might not be able to find exactly the right drink for them.

It’s absolutely fine if they want to pick for themselves, but we want to make sure we’re staying as accessible as possible as a cocktail venue and that the people serving them are able to make sure what’s going to work for the customer.

“We’re in a cost of living crisis right now. They might only be out for one or two cocktails, so we want to make sure we’re going to enjoy them.”

What is your customer base at the bar?

Elyse: “Most importantly, locals. They’re 80%. The other 20% are the rest of Glasgow and travellers. So it feels pretty exciting every time you hear an accent coming up the stairs and they say ‘such and such recommended you’ or ‘I saw you on a list’.

“Having regulars is really cool, and on top of that the extra buzz of being a destination bar feels special every time.”

The bar’s social media has a great sense of humour. How important has it been to get that right?

“Our Instagram has to have the same patter as when you come in here. You might see us through Instagram for the first time, and if we were to put eloquently strung-together sentences with this, that and the other and then you get served by me, Lynsey and George and we’re like ‘alright shaggers! What’s happenin?’ That’s just spreading misinformation. We’ve got to make sure we’re genuine through and through.

“Our service is impeccable, our drinks are impeccable, our patter is shite.”

You’re about to launch a new menu. Can you tell us anything about it?

“The next menu’s going to have some fun, weird drinks because that’s what people want. And it’s so much fun to make them and serve them.

“It’s called Progression and is inspired by various different ways that progression can be represented in our life, whether it’s physical, emotional, seasonal.”

Why do you use Franklin & Sons sodas in your drinks?

“We’ve got seven Franklin & Sons sodas that we use every single day that we’re open. We use them because of that fizz, although the flavour’s great too!

“We do carbonated cocktails in here. So when we’re using a carbonated product to get that fizz and it’s being poured over various different liqueurs and other stuff that we’ve made, and then stirred and given to the table, it’s still got to be fizzy.”

How important is it for Franklin & Sons to work with top cocktail bars like Charlie Brown’s?

Global brand ambassador, David Robinson: “It’s key to us. The thing with Franklin & Sons is we’re a brand that’s very much born in the on-trade. That is our bread and butter. It’s everything that we know. Our marketing team is made up of people that have been in the industry for a long time. And working with these fantastic accounts that are coming through and establishing themselves in key cities – seeing how they use our products is so important to us.

“We launched our In the Mix advocacy programme this year, working with ten bartenders across the UK – including Elyse – and we’ve learned from these guys, because we can look at things and think ‘we think this, we think that’, but the reality is that we need to listen to the people that are going to be using the products on their bars.”

A clear cocktail with ice and vegetation
Charlie Brown’s Paloma Colada

Paloma Colada:

Rim glass with sea salt, icing sugar and sumac

35ml chilli-washed Los Arcos Agave

15ml Clement Coco

25ml clarified grapefruit superjuice

100ml Franklin & Sons Pineapple & Almond soda

A dark cocktail in a tall glass
Charlie Brown’s Pep Talk

Pep Talk:

25ml Crossip Dandy Smoke

7.5ml Lyre’s Coffee Liqueur

7.5ml Lyre’s Amaretto

10ml date syrup

25ml red pepper cordial

100ml Franklin & Sons Original Ginger Ale

Lemon peel spray