Six Storeys, London
It’s not often you walk into a cocktail bar resembling that of a chemist. Best not forget to bring along your prescriptgin… Large decanters illuminated by red and orange lighting line the back bar, labels in the form of potions reading Blue Cheese & Quince Gin, Buttered Rum and even Venison & Black Truffle simply add to the intrigue that is Six Storeys.
Chief Booze Engineer Patrick Hobbs hands us one of his cocktail menus (an old book re-purposed with just around 21 infused cocktails) and smiles as he unveils his ‘Black Brockmans’ cocktail. Steam boils over what looks to be a wintery blackberry forest, large teapots mystifying it all. He tells us the inspiration came from Black Jack chews he would munch on as a child. He shows us his pot of Brockmans infused blackberries and blueberries, then a smaller decanter of Brockmans infused with licorice and vanilla. We think you know where this is going…
Six Storeys, while new on the Soho block, is well known for its infusions. The bar runs on 10 Commandments, the most important being delicious first, serve is a close second, and thou shall not be a douchebag, emphasizing the importance of getting a drink in hand quickly and with a smile. The spiel can come later. For Patrick, it’s most important that his bartender team of 6 host their guests, which is why the bulk of the work happens in the lab, instead of on the bar. On ‘cook day’ 60-odd Kilner jars are filled producing 18,000 drinks, allowing for 1,000 drinks to be served at any given time. Working with a select range of small farms for fresh produce and alcohol suppliers (Scottish & American whiskies, rum vodka, gin and brandy), his infusions are built to allow your palate to taste the alcohol, despite the fresh butter and toffee ingredients added. By infusing fruit and a little sugar, ABV is brought down to remove the ‘spirit’ burn, making for a beautiful cocktail. Just imagine a bottled up old fashioned…
Patrick himself moved to London 25 years ago to become an artist, and found himself in the kitchen. He began bartending in the West End without a clue of what to do and worked his way up and out. He always hated intimidating bartenders and vowed to create a team whose ego would be checked at the door. Now head of Camm & Hooper’s six bar venues, he’s revolutionising the cocktail experience.
Describe Six Storeys in a few words…
Moriarty’s Decadent Victorian Squat Rave
Best thing you’ve ever overheard at your bar?
‘Please stop looking at me, your face is making my eyes grumpy!’
Why do you think gin is so popular?
As more dedicated cocktail bars spring up, a larger proportion of people are exposed to quality mixed drinks. Bartenders have been using gin for ages in cocktails as it’s versatility and distinctive flavour really add so much to a drink with just a few simple ingredient additions. The marketing chaps eventually got on to gins’ USP – it’s pretty quick to produce, it has a long and colourful history in this country and also it is so easily tweaked with different botanicals. You can mix 20 different gins with tonic and they will all taste very different. Pubs have really latched onto this as it creates an instant cocktail list without the need for fancy ingredients or training.
What is it about Brockmans that appeals to you?
Bottle styling and feel. Amazing fruit nose and flavour.
If you could have one last drink before you died, what would you choose?
A bottle of 1780’s Veuve Cliquot raised from a shipwreck discovered off the coast of Finland in 2010. Liquid time travel. Amazing!
By Patrick Hobbs
Two Weeks B.C. (Before Cocktail)
- Handful of fresh blueberries
- Handful of fresh blackberries
- 350ml Brockmans Gin
Twenty-Four Hours B.C.
- 3 Liquorice Sticks
- 3 Vanilla Pods
- 230ml Brockmans Gin
- Agave Syrup
- 120ml Brockmans Gin
- Fresh lemon
Two Weeks B.C.
Take a generous handful each of ripe blackberries and blueberries, add to a half a bottle of Brockman’s gin and allow to infuse for a couple of weeks.
Twenty-Four Hours B.C.
Next, add a few liquorice sticks and vanilla pods to a quarter bottle of Brockmans and let it marry for 24 hours. Add a little agave syrup to sweeten.
Lastly, take the remaining portion of gin and zest in the oil of one fresh lemon. Combine your infusions and chill. Stir briefly with artisan ice in your favourite drinking vessel. Garnish with speared boozy blackberry. Chill further.