Andy Gem­mell’s

Drinks Cab­i­net

Sunday Herald Life - - DRINK -

Black Rock 9 Christo­pher St Shored­itch, London

What is it? At the be­gin­ning of 2016, Tris­tan Stephen­son and busi­ness part­ner Thomas Aske took over the base­ment of a fish restau­rant in Shored­itch with the idea of bring­ing whisky to a new au­di­ence. A short time later, Black Rock opened its base­ment doors and quickly grew a loyal fol­low­ing of whisky lovers. The bar went down so well that the am­bi­tious pair re­cently de­cided to take over the whole build­ing, which is now home to sherry bar Sack, and The Devil’s Dar­ling cock­tail bar. In­ter­est­ing fact:

The space at Black Rock is dom­i­nated by a 185-year-old oak tree which has been split down the mid­dle to cre­ate a ta­ble that seats around 20 peo­ple. This is pretty cool in it­self but they’ve also carved two chan­nels down the full length of the tree trunk, then lined them with charred oak. This is cov­ered with glass and filled with whisky cock­tails which age while in the cask be­fore be­ing poured out through two taps at the top of the trunk.

Ver­dict: I met Tris­tan when he was a young bar­tender tak­ing part in cock­tail com­pe­ti­tions around Eng­land. I in­stantly knew there was a huge drive and de­sire in him to achieve great things in the drinks in­dus­try. He and busi­ness part­ner Thomas have won nu­mer­ous awards for their venues and Tris­tan is also an es­tab­lished au­thor with six books pub­lished to date. The fact there is no bar here is not an is­sue, in fact I think it adds to the in­ti­macy of the place. The staff are ex­tremely knowl­edge­able and pas­sion­ate about whisky, which makes it a must-visit for any lovers of Scot­land’s na­tional drink.

Drink: You don’t just find straight whisky here from a col­lec­tion of over 250. They have also de­vel­oped a range of in­no­va­tive and de­li­cious whisky cock­tails and high­balls which are based on the flavour pro­file you pre­fer. You can choose from bal­anced, fruity, spicy, smokey, fra­granced and sweet with the recipes con­stantly chang­ing through­out the sea­sons. My rec­om­men­da­tion would be to try the fruit se­lec­tion from the cock­tail sec­tion of the menu, which is made up of Amer­i­can Bour­bon, pineap­ple, net­tle syrup and Dram­buie. Food: They of­fer a great menu of fancy bar snacks, in­clud­ing raw and baked oys­ters, veg­gie hag­gis balls. You ab­so­lutely have to try the scotch eggs, which along with the house pick­led her­ring is made by the fair hands of coowner Thomas Aske.

The eggs come with a peated hol­landaise sauce, which is in­cred­i­ble. Chil­dren: No kids al­lowed, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons. Al­fresco: No out­side space as such but sis­ter bar Sack has a few ta­bles and chairs if you need a bit of fresh air.

Per­fect for: This place is in­ti­mate and re­lax­ing, it’s ideal for tak­ing a cou­ple of folks who have an in­ter­est in whisky here to get them even more pas­sion­ate about this amaz­ing spirit. Avoid if: You ab­so­lutely have to stand at a bar to en­joy a night out and whisky is just not your tip­ple of choice. Fol­low me on Twit­ter @andy­drink or on Face­book

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