Spritzes have come a long way since the days of wine and soda water, so we challenged four bartenders to come up with modern classics that can add zip to warm afternoons. In the final instalment of our four-part series, Miranda Fitzgerald shares the sparkling secrets of Mint Gun Club
The Mint Gun Club, like its founder Richard Hunt, is unique. An assemblage of reclaimed wooden shutters and artefacts from around the globe, its pale wooden bar houses Hunt’s extensive range of teas – a passion ignited growing up in Hong Kong – and tincture bottles filled with homemade syrups, bitters and flower waters.
His cocktail takes inspiration from Iceland, Reyka’s homeland, in the spring. ‘I want to capture a sense of place, but how much do I want to make it taste of wet stones and waterfalls, and make you think of Aurora Borealis and crystal spring skies?’ he muses. ‘It’s about capturing a concept, while also creating an accessible drink.’
Hunt combines the crisp minerality of Reyka Vodka with 15ml of verjus for a soft, rounded acidity. Next, a homemade syrup of tomato leaf, Cornish manuka leaf, silver birch and camomile teas goes in the mix – the tomato leaf is a callback to Reyka, as tomatoes in Iceland are grown with geothermal energy and spring water, the same resources used to produce the vodka.
To the syrup, he adds 7.5ml of a Finnish pale rye bitter and a few drops of his mixed flower water, before topping it up with a sparkling elderflower non-alcoholic wine.
‘The verjus and flower water are sour, but it’s important to have that bitterness with an aperitif,’ says Hunt. ‘To make it more accessible, you need the sweetness and the bubbles from the elderflower.’
The result? A full-textured, elegant spritz.
‘The lack of ice allows you to get those concentrated flavours,’ says Mazzeo. ‘It has a unique citrus and intense herbaceous aroma, and there’s a clear green bell pepper note that reminds me of Sauvignon Blanc.’
‘There’s a crisp, earthy minerality that travels through the mouth in a bright, crystalline fashion, dispersing flavour on the way,’ says Losh. ‘Complex with a long finish – it’s one to savour and appreciate, rather than slug back. Very high class.’
And Then There Was Light
By Richard Hunt, Mint Gun Club
Glass: Champagne flute
Garnish: Discarded lemon twist
Method: Stir ingredients over ice and strain.
Top up with sparkling elderflower.
30ml Reyka Vodka
15ml spring leaf cordial*
7.5ml pale rye bitters
3 drops mixed flower water**
Sparkling elderflower non-alcoholic wine
*Combine tomato leaf, Cornish manuka leaf, silver birch and camomile teas in roughly equal portions with equal parts sugar and water by weight, and brew for as long as you would tea. For every 500ml of liquid add 12.5g of citric acid.
**Combine geranium water, organic roses and flowers steeped in water and pass through a still.