ELLE Decoration (UK)
The award-winning mixologist has devised the drinks for new spot Christina’s Shoreditch and co-launched drinks company Idyll
Idyll came about through curiosity and a love of being outdoors, which is something my business partner Luke McFayden and I share. Within the UK landscape, you can find flavours normally associated with South American or Asian cuisine. Our Pine Forest Soda is a non-alcoholic drink that highlights the nuances of Douglas fir and Scots pine.
Wild ingredients can help us look at the landscape a little differently. Alongside produce from permaculture and regenerative farms, they highlight an alternative to industrial farming practices. Lots of really interesting ingredients can be found in marginalised areas, where nature has been allowed to take over freely.
A shift in how we value natural produce needs to happen. Mass produced, intensive agriculture has skewed our understanding of how much something costs to grow and we are then eating and drinking products with less nutritional benefits and flavour. I’m enjoying seeing people work with small, UK-based producers. People are interested in the story and the provenance behind products. A broader understanding of sustainability that is not just focused on waste is also emerging. By that, I mean looking at the ecological impact of the product and, from a human perspective, achieving a more sustainable work-life balance.
I was blown away by small-scale mezcal production in Mexico. It opened my mind up to the use of wild ingredients, especially my time in Oaxaca.
At the moment, I’m enjoying working with wild carrot seed when distilling gins. It has a definite carrot flavour but is also floral and has tonnes of citrus notes. Drying seeds and herbs is hugely underrated. I have been gathering wild ingredients throughout the year and by drying the produce I gather, I can create a larder of ingredients that I use all year round.
In the British bar scene, we’re great at innovation and trend-setting. And I think we respond to adversity in a very creative manner.
I’m inspired by Barney Wilczak from Capreolus Distillery, who makes the most wonderful eaux de vies (spirits). There is a purity in his intent that you can really taste in the distillates – the quality of the fruit he uses is unbelievable (idylldrinks.com).
‘A SHIFT IN HOW WE VALUE NATURAL PRODUCE NEEDS TO HAPPEN’