Monday, 11 August 2014

Smith & Sinclair: The Coolest Cocktail Confectioners

Pinkies at the ready; it's only bloomin' National Afternoon Tea Week!

We've shared a whole heap of boozy cake recipes, champagne faves, and even a post on how to make a cup of tea(!), but we've got something MUCH more enticing for your afternoon tea treats here. Part with those tarts, the scones are gone, it's time to delve into something more deviant; Smith & Sinclair's Cocktail Confectionary!

If you're a subscriber to Imbibe Magazine (well worth checking out), you may have already sampled one of their concoctions; they were sent out as a bit of a guessing game in preparation for Imbibe Live (a big drinks event promo-ing all new and exciting brands). After thoroughly enjoying my secret sweet - it was Negroni flavoured, which I guessed correctly (score!) - I emailed to ask a bit more about Smith & Sinclair. The lovely people that they are, they kindly sent me a box containing their current collection for me to taste.

Now, before I carry on, can we just appreciate how cool the box is?

Ok, done. Smith & Sinclair is the sugar coated company run by duo Melanie and Emile. They launched in January this year, all thanks to the perfect combination of two key elements – Melanie's life-long ‘sweet tooth’ and Emile's innate chef's curiosity.

With a background in events, Melanie was running a series of ‘games night dating events’, aiming to bridge the gap between childhood inhibitions and adult tastes. Emile came on board to create unique food products, which echoed the ‘playscape’ of the night. Together they created these ‘cocktail pastilles’, which soon became more popular than the actual event program; cue the birth of Smith & Sinclair.

These luxurious jewels taste every bit as beautiful as they look, and this is where being a big kid comes into its own. The adult ‘penny sweets’ are made by hand using premium alcohol, fresh fruit and rich spices. They're completely free from preservatives, dairy, gluten, and they're a decent size too, enabling you to take your time and truly savour the taste.

To ensure that each pastille is infused with the deep complexity of flavours that we associate with cocktails, they've mastered a unique cooking process that ensures only minimal alcohol is burnt off. In fact, they actually come with a warning; at 6% ABV, if you were to eat all 6 sweets in the box, you'd be over the legal driving limit! Please eat responsibly..

I'm lured in with the promise that my taste buds will be titillated, and Smith & Sinclair haven't disappointed. The flavours I sampled are as follows:

  • Berry Daiquiri - Dark rum, strawberry and grenadine pastille coated with a pink peppercorn infused sugar
  • Spiced Rum - A dark rum and bitters pastille coated with a clove spice sugar
  • Gin & Tonic - A violet infused gin pastille coated with a tart lemon sherbert
  • A Spring Clean - An elderflower and gin pastille coated with thyme infused sugar
  • Whisky Sour - A whisky pastille coated with a tart grapefruit infused sugar
  • Cake Icing - A whisky and amaretto pastille coated with sugar

They’re a soft, chewy consistency, “somewhere between an American hard gum and a French pate de fruit”. Flavours zip back and forth, from rich to tart, whilst others develop the further into the sweet you get; a similar experience to actually drinking a cocktail.

Trying to decipher the unique flavours is an adventure in itself; you get crunch and fizz on the first bite, followed by strong, sweet, spiced, fruity flavours, then there’s a bitter, dry alcohol finish. My favourites were the jelly equivalent to a Parma Violet, the very ginny Spring Clean, and the Berry Daiquiri, which had the most interesting flavour and a decent rum aftertaste.

Smith & Sinclair's creations would be the coolest addition to a celebration (afternoon tea or not). Come September you'll be able to purchase their core range - as above - in Harvey Nichols, and they'll also be available to buy online in the next month or so. They do cater for events too, and have a number of options for different price ranges, so if you're planning something special, head on over to their website to see what they have to offer.

I sure had a ‘Happy Hour’ trying these. Swanky Sweets from Smith & Sinclair are and absolute must! Keep an eye out.

You can find out where they’ll be popping up next on their ‘news’ page, and you can follow their creations on Twitter @SmthandSnclr.

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