Andrei Sinko, bar manager at Roast and resident rum expert, on infusions, London gin, and the art of matching wine with food
What’s your favourite cocktail for every day drinking?
I have created a cocktail for Roast called new gineration, at the moment this would be my favourite recommendation for every day drinking. The cocktail has been created with the London summer in mind, using two types of gin, one of which is produced by Thames Distillers based near Clapham.
What makes this gin different is that there are only four botanicals: juniper, coriander seeds, angelica root and savory. We infuse the gin with lavender, which we buy from Le Marche Du Quartier. The cocktail also uses an apricot and lavender jam made by a small producer near Dorking, Surrey. We use preserves in quite a few of our cocktails and it gives a really interesting twist to the drink.
What’s your latest discovery?
My latest discovery is Half Hitch Gin, from a distillery based in Camden Lock. They are a micro-distillery and really stand out to me as small producers of premium gin. They use a black tea and bergamot blend in their botanicals which make for a really interesting flavour. I am in the process of adding this to the bar menu at Roast.
The East London Liquor company, who have a stall at the Market, also have some great spirits. They distill their own small-batch gin and vodka, but also source bottles of interesting gin, vodka and whiskey from all round the world.
What cocktail would you save for a special occasion?
Many cocktails are made with run of the mill spirits, so when I am celebrating something special I try and pick cocktails that use their premium counterparts which impacts the taste hugely—it adds a new depth of flavour and a complexity that is difficult to find otherwise.
The cocktail that I gravitate towards is el general, which is very simple but well balanced. It’s a mixture of tequila, lime, agave syrup and a dash of angostura bitters mixed over ice.
Who would you share it with?
It depends on what the special occasion is! I think this drink is suitable for all occasions and all manner of people, which to me makes it even better. With any special occasion, though, I would most likely be celebrating with my significant other or close family and friends. Knowing their personal tastes I know it is a drink they would enjoy as well.
Favourite match with food?
Matching cocktails with food is exceptionally personal and it is an art that is as complex as matching wines with food. It very much depends on your personal tastes and preferences. I might have a traditional Champagne or sparkling wine-based cocktail with seafood such as oysters (one of my favourites). You have to be adventurous to match cocktails with food! Me personally? I prefer wine with my meals—or a good whisky with a cheese board.