Following the news that The Hospital Club won the right to host the final part of The Black Grouse tour, I asked David Tristan to talk through the cocktail creation that won it.
To introduce the serve, it was The Hospital Club’s ‘Philippa’s Legacy’ serve that impressed the most with bay leaf, nutmeg and cardamom infused through The Black Grouse whisky, combining spices and herbs and dried plum garnish, which provided a cocktail fit for the most avid of flavour explorers. Presented in a vintage glass, the cocktail was inspired by Matthew Gloag’s daughter Philippa, who first designed the bottle label of the parent brand, The Famous Grouse, which became the brand’s distinctive trade mark.
Here’s David’s story…
Around a month ago I got a request from my cocktail partner if I could represent one of my infusioned cocktails on a competition. Here is the story of how my cocktail, Phillippa’s legacy went on to win The Famous Grouse competition.
After considering my position I was pleased to say yes and work on it. There wasn’t a question what I’m going to do. Competition or not I want to love the result and I want to dream about it!
After my deep research about the The Famous Grouse brand I was happy and I started to see a huge opportunity in it. I didn’t do anything for days but tasting the Scotch.
Analysing not the facts but my memories which popped up in my mind every single time when I had a taste. These memories helped me as a map to find the most valuable flavour that I can use for my infusion.
After collecting all the ingredients I knew what I want it to create. Days and nights passed by but my excitement just got stronger.
Finally the first day has come when I cut some fresh ice and I tried all those techniques which I could find to pour my infused Manhattan cocktail in to the crystal glassware.
My plan was to drawing a character with an “outside image” and then a strong charismatic inside “soul flavour”. Where I was surprised the most is the accidental use of those kind of herbs which gave a unique outcome to the taste. I knew that I had just created something different.
The first gustation is the wave of a flavours from Asia with a smoky hug and after 25-30 second there’s an explosion from the middle of the tongue with a much smoother and refreshing end. I knew that my infusion will give an “unexpected journey” to the person who will drink it.
I crafted this cocktail for a people with a strong quality and with a heritage in their hearts. Travellers , adventures will find joy in this herb-full “Drawing” next to a fireplace.
And here it is:
My name is David Tristan and I’m working as a Mixologist in the Hospital Club Covent Garden in London.
I was always amazed by the art of the liquid flavours and atmosphere which came with it. After more then a decade travelling I decided to use my experiences and my collected knowledge about herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits to create drinks with flavours which I never had before. First I did it for my own pleasure of course but after a right push I started to share my ideas with my managers and took like a month I think to set up everything for it but slowly I started to serve my own creations to my customers.
I’m from a country where gastronomy was always a part of the past, present, and future. Lucky I had a Mom who thought me every little secrets of the flavours and ingredients like she learned from her Mother. For me being a Mixologist or a bartender is not the point because if I’m not working in the club I’m going home and jump in to my kitchen to create some new flavours or just pick something up from the old ones to do something with it. Learning is never going to end for me because this old profession has an endless journey which makes my whole life more excited and more colourful.
I’m taking spirit’s training, events, competitions ( once in a while ) just to challenge myself, writing a blog about my cocktail experiences and visiting cocktail bars to learn more and more. My aims is to create, share and evolve. In the near future I’ll guest bartending in another country and I’ll finishing with my own cocktail book and after that?
Well for me this is an art and there’s only one rule; ‘Never stop dreaming’.