I use a mixture of big brands and lesser known names in my drinks. I especially love whisky, and some of my favourite blends include Johnnie Walker and Compass Box, as well as malts like Talisker, Glen Garioch, Bowmore, Yamazaki, Springbank, Chichibu and Clynelish. Then, there are newer brands I rate like Dornoch, Amrut, Daftmill and Holyrood, as well as names like Maker’s Mark and Jack Daniel’s from the States. Beefeater and Belvedere Vodka remain go-tos, as well as brands from dear friends such as JJ Corry, Empirical and Porter’s.
I am partial to a shot or two, but they’re often done so wrong. At my very first bar – White Lyan in east London – we served lower ABV shots which let the evening flow without putting people on their ass. I’ve followed this mantra ever since. Although I love the odd tequila or whisky, the idea of shots is so often the wrong call!
Fever-Tree is a fantastic mixer and I love its commitment to great produce. Plus, sugar is way better for you than sweeteners or fructose. I don’t believe in low sugar or low fat alternatives – they’re much worse for you. We’re built to process fat, sugar and booze – just have them in moderation.
For wine, I lean towards bottles from Burgundy and Rhone. That said, I like to try wines from Spain and South Africa, and have a real soft spot for fortified wines like sherry, port and vin jaune made in the Jura region of France. I got into champagne quite late, but I love anything made with méthode champenoise and – annoyingly for my wallet – ones that have a richer autolytic character. Annabelle loves clean, crisp blanc de blancs and has opened my eyes to different producers and regions. Timberyard in Edinburgh has an excellent wine list for all of the above.