Imbibe live logo in white
1–2 July 2024
Olympia London

Discover the Art of Terroir in Cocktails at Imbibe Live: Elevate Your Creations with Local Ingredients

As an ambassador for this year's Imbibe Live, I'm excited to invite you to my session, "Terroir in Cocktails: Crafting Unique Experiences Through Local Ingredients." This seminar aims to give bartenders a new perspective on how local ingredients may enhance their cocktail creations.

Terroir, a phrase commonly connected with winemaking, refers to the distinct features of a region's soil, climate, and geography that impact wine flavour profiles. Terroir in cocktails refers to the local components that give each drink a particular sense of place. By embracing terroir, bartenders can create cocktails that not only taste delicious but also tell a captivating story about their regional origin.

In my session, we'll look at three main types of terroir in cocktails: honey, wild or spontaneous fermented items, and water. Each of these aspects provides a unique opportunity to include local flavour into your beverages.

Honey is an excellent example of terroir because its flavour varies greatly depending on the surrounding flora and bees' diet. Bees and the plants they pollinate produce honey with specific geographical qualities, much like grapes in wine. Each region's honey can provide a unique flavour and perfume to your cocktails. Consider using a rich, dark buckwheat honey from the northeastern United States to make a powerful Old Fashioned, or a delicate, fragrant lavender honey from Provence to sweeten a summer gin. By experimenting with different varieties of honey, you can add a variety of diverse flavours and smells to your beverages.

The local microbiome is essential in wild or spontaneous fermentation, resulting in distinct and lively flavours that represent the environment. Kombucha, wild-fermented mead, and even local beers can provide a particular regional flavour to your cocktails. For example, integrating a locally brewed wild ale with its acidic, nuanced overtones can transform a simple drink into an unforgettable sensory experience. I'll show you how to experiment with wild fermentation so you can properly use these flavours in your bar.

Water is typically disregarded in cocktail mixing, but its mineral composition has a big impact on the taste and mouthfeel of your beverages. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium modify the flavour profile of water by adding sweetness, metallic notes, and improved flavours, respectively. Understanding the intricacies is critical. In this session, we'll look at ways to take advantage of local water sources, as well as practical suggestions for changing mineral content to optimise your cocktail recipes.

One of the most appealing features of employing terroir-focused foods is the potential to tell a story. Each component embodies the essence of its origin, and sharing these stories with your clients may foster a stronger relationship and a more memorable experience. As noted in a recent Campari Academy post, incorporating seasonality, terroir, and cultural context into your cocktail products can transform them into storytelling vehicles that resonate emotionally with customers. We'll talk about how to include these stories into your cocktail presentation, so that each drink is more than just a refreshing drink, but also a voyage into the heart of its local roots.

There is so much to explore and I hope to see you all at Imbibe Live 2024 for another cracking year!

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