Try these Suffolk-made ‘cocktails for grown ups’
PUBLISHED: 16:37 05 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:37 05 February 2020
The locally made cocktails in cans include a Matcha Mojito and a Blood Orange Old Fashioned.
Have you ever bought a pre-mixed G&T from the supermarket and been completely underwhelmed? Have you ever ordered a cocktail at a bar or restaurant and 10 minutes later, still waiting, regretted the decision, wishing you'd plumped for a glass of wine instead?
Well, a new Suffolk-based drinks company is hoping to change all that, launching a range of premium cocktails in cans which will stand their own on any bar alongside concoctions muddled by trained mixologists.
Niche Cocktails is one of several businesses being mentored and invested in by Shout About Suffolk at The Lab in Melton, with Paddy Bishopp taking the lead on the project alongside business manager Emily Mummery.
"It's a range of super high quality products," Paddy says. "It's just as if a bar tender had mixed a drink and poured it for you themselves."
The cocktails in cans, which are made with all natural ingredients, could herald the end of queues at events and in restaurants and bars, and, when they eventually hit the retailers in the future, mean instead of investing in multiple bottles of spirits to craft your favourite tipple, you can simply buy a few cans.
For now Niche Cocktails is concentrating in the on-trade, partnering up with 10 venues in Suffolk, including The Dog and Duck in Campsea Ashe, The Easton White Horse and The Table and The Anchor in Woodbridge.
"We were approached by a guy called Bob Scott," says Paddy, recounting the beginnings of the brand. "He'd retired from his engineering role and in his retirement travelled a lot and really got into cocktails and the science of them. When he settled back in Suffolk he'd go to parties and make cocktails for people. While doing that he trademarked the name Niche and came to us with bottles he'd had made by a local designer for rum, whisky and gin. He said 'I've done this and I don't have a clue what to do with them'. He was 69 and didn't want to run a business day to day."
With 75% of bars serving cocktails, and the mixed drink market worth an estimated half a billion pounds, Paddy recognised a clear route to market for the Niche brand, noticing most cocktails in cans fail the taste test, being padded out with juice or sugar.
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"We wanted to make a bar style cocktail, so took our brief to a company in Claydon and said we wanted a range of cocktails with a twist."
So far the range includes a Matcha Mojito (8% ABV) in a 250ml slim can, and two of the UK's first 150ml cocktail shorts- a Blood Orange Old Fashioned (12% ABV) and a Manuka Honey Whisky Sour (10% ABV).
All the cans are printed with serving instructions (the whisky sour, for example, needs to be shaken, not stirred) including the best garnishes to adorn them with, and training can be offered in venues to ensure staff pour the perfect drink.
"For us," Paddy adds, "it's taking away the problem of going to a bar or a really busy venue. Places where speed of service is really important. Where they can't afford a trained mixologist but want to serve a range of cocktails. It's an industry problem we believe we're taking away."
Emily Mummery, who previously worked at Snape Maltings and was involved in the organisation of Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, is running Niche Cocktails day-to-day. "She's been brilliant. She has set this up for Bob and is now a shareholder. I said to her 'one day you'll be a female CEO in one of the biggest cocktail companies in the world'. Without her we wouldn't be where we are now."
It's hoped the brand will be the next big success story for Shout About Suffolk, which seeks to enable fledgling businesses to flourish, expand and put themselves on a bigger stage.
"We love to give back to the next generation of businesses coming through."