If you’ve read the previous two blogs, you’ll know that Tequila and mezcal are fascinating spirits, steeped in Mexican (and Spanish) history. But now for the most pressing matter from a guests perspective… how do we at Verve bring them to life in the form of tongue-tickling conconctions?
As Drinks Development Manager, I have the privilege of testing different combinations of ingredients and flavours, with the primary aim of bringing out the best in all elements of a drink. Safe to say, Tequila and mezcal are a dream to work with…
When designing the cocktails for the Verve menu, I really wanted to highlight the versatility of Tequila & Mezcal. The wide range of flavours found within these fantastic spirits can lend themselves to a diverse range of different cocktail styles. We use a range of different agave spirits in our cocktails, and each is specifically picked for its style and flavour, chosen to work with and compliment the other ingredients in the drink.
I decided to split the house cocktails into 3 categories which describe the general flavour profile of the drinks. I chose to categorise them in to Fruity & Floral, Savoury & Smoky and Sour & Picante.
For the fruity and floral section I really wanted to highlight the playful and approachable aspects of Tequila, really playing off some of those green apple, orchard and citrus notes of blanco Tequilas and the caramel notes of reposado and pairing them with fun sweet flavours of tropical & stone fruits, flowers and soft spices. These cocktails are delightfully quaffable and could be enjoyed by anybody from the Tequila afficionado to agave newbie.
Don’t let the Smoky & Savoury section deceive you, these aren’t just your average Bloody Maria twists. The concept of this section is to make delicious, well-balanced cocktails that feature one or more savoury or smoky element. Tequila is well known for its savoury qualities, with common flavour notes including cut grass, agave, green & red peppers, black & white pepper and pine. Mezcal is equally well known for these qualities but tends to lean more into the BBQ, charcoal, wood smoke and charred fruit flavours. One example from this section is “King of the Dill” which uses Tapatio blanco Tequila along with fresh lemon, watermelon syrup, dry vermouth and fresh dill. I’m particularly proud of this cocktail, it’s a really unusual combination of flavours but the vegetal notes of the Tapatio are complimented beautifully by the herbal notes from fresh dill and dry vermouth while sweetness of the watermelon balances the acidity of the lemon juice. All these flavours come together to create an amazingly refreshing, delicious and interesting cocktail. It’s also served with a Verve temporary tattoo, and who wouldn’t want that?
Mexico is also of course famous for its spicy food as well as having a real cultural affinity for citrus fruits and flavours. I wanted to champion these national flavours in the “Sour & Picante” section by pairing Tequilas with sour and spicy ingredients! The Yuzu Paloma is a particular favourite of mine, Yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit which has its own unique flavour but sits somewhere between a grapefruit, a mandarin and a pomelo. This lends itself beautifully to make an amplified paloma, briming with refreshing citrus flavours, with the zesty lime & herbal notes of Herradura Plata working alongside these flavours which are then offset and amplified with a Himalayan pink sea salt rim.
We have also partnered up with The Chilli Shop Leeds to create a super spicy creation – “Hot Lips” this cocktail is definitely not for the faint of heart, featuring Jose Cuervo Traditional along with house infused Carolina Reaper El Jimador Blanco, Ghost Chilli sauce & fresh lime juice. Try it if you dare!
As you’ve hopefully gathered, there has been a lot of care put into developing the Verve cocktail menu. Holding our real love and passion for Tequila and mezcal close to our chest, we wanted to push the boat out to arrive at an island of interesting, playful and delicious flavours. And we believe we’ve done just that.
So, come on in, give the Verve cocktails a try and let us know what you think!