We went wonderfully wild at The Edgbaston

Here’s The Latest Of Our Fantastic Monthly Columns From The Guys At The Edgbaston – The City’s Plush And Ground-Breaking Cocktail Lounge And Boutique Hotel.

Last week saw the second instalment of our now infamous No Holds Barred.
For those of you who still aren’t aware, this is when our teams at The Edgbaston and The Kenilworth hotel bars get together with a guest bartender to create a one-night-only menu of the most exuberant, absurd and immersive sort.
The theme for this month’s event was Where The Wild Things Are, and sought to introduce the 20 lucky guests to four cocktails that captured the variety and beauty of our natural surroundings.

Edible flowers NHB July 2016
Each of the drinks, as well as the traditional welcome punch, did this in a unique and exciting way. 
We began with that welcome punch, a hearty and yet light combination of Tanqueray No 10 Gin, Chapel Down English Dessert Wine, Hop Distillate, Rosehip Tea, Lemon Oleo Sacchurum and Campari.
The dry base of gin, wine and tea created an elegant aperitif for the evening, tamed by the subtle sweetness of citrus and rosehip.
To give it a distinct bitterness, we added the hops and Campari.Together, the ingredients combined for a wonderfully dry and bittersweet start to the evening, led by natural and light flavours.

NHB Cocktail July 2016
Then came the first jewel in our wild crown of ivy. Earth, Wind and Flowers was its name, and so was its creed.
Our bartenders love to forage for interesting and unique wild flavours. There is a certain thrill in the hunt, and then the use of what we have personally gathered to create a mouth-watering flavour.
We wanted to bring this experience to our guests. So we created a beautiful cocktail canvas for the attendees to draw upon: a light and aromatic vodka daisy, consisting of the beautifully nutty and crisp Ketel One vodka, Sour Cooking Apple Juice and (once again inspired by our natural habitat) Manuka and Beeswax Syrup.  
But this was not enough? No!
We hid 15 varieties of edible plants around the room, which had previously been decorated as a wild woodland clearing. Some were acidic, some sweet, others herbaceous.

Foraged Ingredients
The guests were then invited to explore the room and forage their own ingredients to be made into a unique and bespoke cocktail. Perhaps the most popular ingredients were Hissop, Agastache, Stevia, Butterfly Sorrel, Tagete and Apple Blossom.
Our special thanks must go to the generous and accommodating Will, owner and operator of the unparalleled Westlands Produce, who collaborated with us to provide these incredible ingredients.
Each guest made their individual cocktail, which was garnished with a variety of edible flowers in a leaf-wrapped glass. 
Our second drink, Down at the Allotment, was a nod to our city environment.
We chose one of our favourite cocktails, the White Lady, to be the basis of something more than a little experimental.
This cocktail was batched up and secured in vacuum bags, before being hidden at the bottom of flower pots. We then covered these cocktails in edible chocolate soil and a rosemary bush.

Luke pouring NHB
Each guest was then presented with these bushels, in which they found hidden straws to drink their cocktails.
Of course, the smell of the rosemary subtly altered the flavours of the White Lady, meaning that even the seasoned bartenders weren’t able to identify the classic cocktail hidden at the bottom of the pot.
To up the game even further, however, we had also hidden a number of fruits and vegetables amongst the rosemary bushels. Strawberries, asparagus, baby sweetcorn and sugarsnap peas, to be precise.
But these weren’t just any old fruit ‘n’ veg. We had sealed each of them in vacuum bags with White Lady cocktails and created a vacuum strong enough that the cocktails had been sucked into the ingredients. So each guest could eat the ingredients, but taste the White Lady in there as much as if they were drinking straight from a glass.

Guests NHB
This is looking at healthy drinking in a whole new way… but we’ll let you decide quite how healthy it actually is!
Third up was Am I A Grasshopper? A traditional Grasshopper Cocktail is one of those beautifully sweet, cheesy drinks from the disco era. Basically: mint, chocolate and cream. Sickly, silly, fun. How could we make this a little classier? Here’s how. We took Don Julio 1942, a super-premium tequila, and infused it with Chocolate Mint. You read that right. This is mint that tastes of chocolate. Magic. We then added a few more secret ingredients, a whole load of cream…and lemon juice.
“WHAT? WON’T IT CURDLE?!” – you interject.
Yes, it will. Which is exactly what we want. We spun the mixture through our centrifuge and ended up with a crystal clear liquid with an incredibly soft texture and creamy flavour.
Just to make things more fun, we took some actual grasshoppers, deep fried them (they taste of hazelnut, in case you’re wondering), then distilled them, then blended them into the final cocktail.
This was served from a watering can above a garden we created for each of the guests. 
Finally, we introduced the cocktail we did with our guest bartender Josh Powell (of 68 and Boston), which was intended to represent the wildest part of nature… the deep ocean.

James behind the bar NHB
Unsurprisingly, we called it The Wildest Wild.
This comprised (simply?) Johnny Walker Gold Label, Sea Fungus Syrup, Dashi Bitters, samphire-infused manzanilla sherry and a tiny touch of squid ink.
Served in the pitch black with ocean noises and ear plugs, we attempted to recreate the deep sea… with a curled bamboo ember on each glass hinting at deep-sea angler fish. Weird, sure. Wonderful, we think. And the guests seemed to agree!
If you’re interested in coming along to our next event, it will be on September 15 at 7.30pm and tickets are available from reception and online shortly.

The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel & Cocktail Lounge

18 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3DU. 0121 454 5212.