Spritzing It Up – Part 2


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In part 2 of our two-part series celebrating the success of Spritz in Scotland, where sales of Spritz drinks have grown by over than 53%, (over the last year, and in the last 12 weeks sales are up more than 64%), yet the proportion of Spritz serves still has plenty of room for growth as the Scottish market lags quite a bit behind the proportion of total sales for the UK . An Aperol Spritz is by far the most popular with consumers and bartenders alike with more Aperol Spritz sold than Pimms. In part 2 we talk to more of the people behind Scotland’t top cocktail bars to find out other trends making their mark.

Joe Nelson – Bar Manager, The Tippling House, Aberdeen

62F8F446-961D-413D-920E-9B51261270BA6C8FDFF3-7075-4B41-99E4-B98B2E878200 4 5005 cThe Tippling House celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year and to celebrate they are launching a special cocktail menu for the occasion. Bar Manager, Joe Nelson tells me, “The menu will have drinks that we’ve come up with over the last 10 years, in order to show the history of the bar. We change the menu 4 times a year and are always developing new cocktails.” Joe describes The Tippling House as a “late night, suburban tavern with dim lighting, candles, relaxed music, and drinks you can’t get anywhere else.

Somewhere you can come for something a bit different.” He says, “I’ve been here almost 6 years; I love this bar and have always encouraged the staff. We develop drinks as a team and it’s a great opportunity for staff to learn how to create drinks. We want to innovate and stand out from the crowd. We’re always thinking what’s the next big thing?” Joe also discussed with me what is hot just now adding, “A drink called ‘Bubble T’ is probably our biggest seller, it’s made with Gin, Dry Vermouth, Lychee, our homemade Strawberry and Tonic Cordial, bitters, and Champagne Bubbles. It’s very visually appealing and you want a drink that stands out.” The Tippling House use a lot of their own cordials, shrubs, syrups and unique garnishes. Joe says, “I always say, if you think you can make something better than what is available on the market, and if it really will make a difference to the drink, then you definitely should. That’s what will keep customers coming back.”

Elaine Ward – Bar Manager, T-Bar & The Tree House, Ayr

B87588CD-5410-430C-BD0C-BA3931A772F8 4 5005 cT-Bar, in Ayr, promotes itself as “a laid-back bar with comfort food and a crazy but crafted cocktail selection”. General Manager of the venue, Elaine Ward, is hugely passionate about involving the staff in the menu. She says, “We are doing this little cocktail versus thing where we’ve got all our staff coming up with their own ideas and promoting them through word-of-mouth sales. They have been promoting it on their socials as well, so, when people come in that know them, they want to try their cocktail.

It’s created a nice wee buzz at the weekend, some healthy competition, and they have the joy of seeing something they’ve created themselves on the menu.” One of their most popular drinks over the Summer is their ‘Long Pornstar’ (a twist on the Pornstar Martini) which contains Passionfruit Gin, Passoa, Lemon, Vanilla, Peychaud and Lemonade. Elaine adds, “These fly out the door, along with a lot of the classic cocktails plus in the Summer we sell a lot of Spritzes too.”

Cirstyn Brown – Assistant General Manager, Dragonfly, Edinburgh

53C3A249-CC90-4E1A-B5FB-0F941EF9F35CDragonfly Cocktail Bar in Edinburgh prides itself in its welcoming environment. Cirstyn Brown, AGM, tells me, “First and foremost, everybody’s welcome. The service is great, and the cocktails are fantastic as well. Plus, our drinks are accessible, we make drinks that are for everyone.” One of their best sellers is ‘The Cranachan’, a cocktail created by Cirstyn herself. She tells me, “It’s a gin-based cocktail with a raspberry and vanilla syrup and a touch of lemon juice, that is then stirred down, splashed with a little bit of soda, and then topped with an oat and vanilla foam. So, it’s almost like a Cranachan meets ice cream soda kind of vibe where you get the fizziness interacting with the cream. It’s been absolutely flying out.”

During the Edinburgh Festival, Dragonfly is a fringe venue, meaning they are gearing up for a very busy month. So, with all the visitors to the city, they like to keep things local. Cirstyn adds, “We stock a lot of products from both Edinburgh and Scotland. We get a lot of tourists, so our customers always ask to try local products. “During the fringe we’re open six days a week and host free fringe or ‘pay what you can’ comedy shows. We are launching a special fringe menu for this featuring nice upscale gin and tonics with our own homemade tonic and some nice whisky highballs.” Cirstyn clearly has some great ideas, adding, “We try to use everything that we can. Recently I got really into making ice cream and we got an ice cream maker for the bar. So, any products that are left over I’ll usually try and make them into a sorbet or an ice cream. Then these can be used on one of our special cocktails.”

Craig Scott – Owner, Bartenders Lounge, Aberdeen

C2E82C39-5A9A-40F5-A839-584C528126D6The Bartenders Lounge in Aberdeen has just passed it’s first 6 months of trading, but is already making its mark on Scotland’s cocktail scene. Not only do they sell amazing cocktails, but their staff also volunteer every Monday at Inchgarth Community Centre, running their food bank, cleaning or just doing whatever they can to help. Owner Craig Scott is clearly passionate about the bar, the drinks, and the staff. He told me, “We are very service oriented and it’s the staff that make it for me. We change our menu weekly and I’ve got a deal with the team that you follow the spec on the menu, but, if you have one that’s tastier than that drink, then it replaces it. So, it means we’re all constantly making better drinks. “Our whole vision is about approachability and accessibility. We are a premium venue, but with fair prices. I want everyone to enjoy cocktails, and that’s our mission.”

One of the bars best sellers is called ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ after the Oasis track. It is a sparkling vodka-based cocktail using Oasis Summer Berries Fruit Juice, which they make into a cordial. Craig says, “It’s a crisp, sweet, but not overly sweet, vodka highball. On the other hand, we have a sister drink to that called ‘World Away’, where we use the Oasis Citrus Punch and a lemon drizzle Gin – both of these absolutely fly off.” Sustainability is also a popular topic with the Bartenders Club, with Craig adding, “Every ingredient is homemade where we can, and we don’t waste anything. For example, when we peel oranges, we make marmalade with the leftover pulp. We are constantly looking for new ways to innovate and be more sustainable in our practise.”

Read Part 1 here



Category: Bar & Pub, Drinks, News
Tags: Aperol Spritz, Campari, Cirstyn Brown, Craig Scott, Elaine Ward, Joe Nelson