Your journey to cocktail making?
I spent the majority of my college and university time training and working as a bartender. During this time, I managed both bars and restaurants as well as becoming a company trainer for one of them. After finishing university and moving back to Harrogate, I was managing the So! Bar on Otley Road. One evening I was talking to a lady named Ruth about gin – fast forward three months and Ruth calls me out of the blue offering me an interview at Spirit of Harrogate. The rest is history…
We’re very excited about the news you’re teaming up with Bettys Cookery School. Can you tell us a little bit about the collaboration?
We are right around the corner from the famous Betty’s Tearooms in Harrogate and being two local independents who are passionate about Yorkshire produce, it was a perfect brand fit! We worked with Bettys in Harrogate last year to create a gin and meal pairing evening and we then approached the cookery school team to see how we could create a course that incorporated Slingsby Gin.
We are running two of the courses in April and those lucky enough to attend will learn how to make three fabulous dishes which have been inspired by the botanical flavours within Slingsby Gin. I’ve created a cocktail that complements each course, all of which guests will taste and learn how to make.
What’s the story behind Slingsby?
Launched in August 2015, Slingsby is very much built around celebrating the history of Harrogate – particularly the restorative properties of the spa town. It is named after William Slingsby who, in 1571, discovered natural spring water from the Tewit Well in Harrogate. Since his discovery and the town gaining its reputation as British spa town, many tourists visited from across the globe to ‘take the waters’ which were thought to have medicinal properties.
Can you tell us about your botanicals?
In terms of ingredients, our gin is made from pure single grain spirit and is distilled with 24 botanicals which are synonymous with the beautiful and restorative nature of Harrogate. These include green and jasmine tea (widely known for health benefits) supplied by Taylors of Harrogate. We have also sourced 12 of our botanicals from the Rudding Park hotel kitchen garden which is a five minutes’ drive down the road – some of these include sweet cicely, severn sea rosemary and rhubarb.
How do you go about pairing food with cocktails?
It’s similar to wine in that regard. I look for something to compare or contrast with the food, using citrus juices to cut through the fat in some foods for example.
What does the weekend mean to you?
There is plenty to do around Harrogate – the Stray provides 200 acres of open grassland which is the perfect setting for my morning run. For a special treat, I love visiting the Turkish baths as the steam really helps soften my beard – I would recommend for all those fellow bearded men out there!
Your luxe things in life?
My luxe things in life are usually food and drink related. I tend to take my time and go to the butcher, fishmongers and fruit and veg shops to buy local and high quality produce. It’s not just the quality of the produce, it’s also the tools I use to cook with.
Tickets to this exclusive cookery course are £185 per person. For more information, go to: bettyscookeryschool.co.uk