Those of you who regularly follow the blog will know that I’m partial to a cocktail or two, particularly when they are made extremely well.
Shaun is a mixologist who works at the Harvey Nichols Restaurant and Bar in The Mailbox, Birmingham. I’ve known him for a number of years and I’ve watched as his career has developed, learning his craft at a Michelin starred restaurant before joining Harvey Nichols. In January, he helped me surprise The Bloke with a belated New Year meal there (which was delicious), and I got the chance to try his cocktail making skills first hand. They were beautiful, but I was disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to catch up with him as he was working, and it was extremely busy.
On Wednesday I had a day off, so I decided to pay him another visit when I was in the city and try more of his repertoire.
I know, it’s a tough life.
I was given the option of choosing anything, either from the menu or off-menu, and I watched as he prepared my Amaretto Sours, while explaining to me how it was developed. I’ve always known Shaun to be a happy and extremely friendly person, but it made me smile when I realised just how passionate and knowledgeable he is, and I loved the fact that he puts his own little twist into different cocktails to make them more unique. I also giggled to myself at his ‘shake face,’ the serious expression of concentration that he got whenever he was shaking the ingredients up.
And oh my gosh, what a gorgeous cocktail it was! Certainly the nicest Amaretto Sours I had ever tried, and at the risk of sounding like I drink too much, I’ve had lots of them!
While I was quite happily working my way through it, Shaun set to work on creating me a bespoke cocktail. He asked me what my favourite flavours were, and then proceeded to get together different ingredients.
What resulted was one of the most beautiful cocktails I have ever seen. One of the staff commented that it looked like the iced ‘Rocket’ lollies, so he named it ‘Suzie’s Rocket,’ garnishing it with dried orange peel and beautiful pansies. It tasted just like a Rocket too, with different fruit flavours in the layers. I took the opportunity to share a picture of it on Instagram and Twitter, and it immediately became one of my most popular pictures.
Shaun has now started to share his knowledge with budding mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts across social media, and has developed his own Instagram and Facebook pages. I’m now following both – he includes videos of himself creating different cocktails and the finished products, including his signature Creme Brulee Sour, which looks yummy!
An afternoon well spent I think!
Hop on over the Shaun’s social media accounts and say hi! And, if you’re in Birmingham, go and book a table at Harvey Nichols and order a lovely cocktail from my favourite barman!
Disclaimer: I was not given a discount on any of the cocktails I drank – all were paid in full. However, Shaun has agreed that when he becomes rich and famous, he will buy me something expensive and invite me and The Bloke to his VIP launch nights.