Harry Brooks of The Farmers Arms in Woolsery (winner of Best Bar List, Trencherman’s Awards 2023) reveals his three creative new cocktails fashioned from handcrafted cordials, bar offcuts and own-infused spirits.
Harry is always switching up the drinks list at The Farmers Arms so each season delivers a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic creations that reflect the moment alongside what’s being grown in the fields and glasshouses of the dining pub’s extensive farm, Birch Farm. The team also forage in the north Devon coastal landscape for unusual finds which are integrated into both drinks and food menus.
Sustainability is at the core of The Collective at Woolsery, of which the pub is a main component. Harry says: ‘I’m always aiming to cut back the use of citrus at The Farmers Arms as its not grown locally, so instead I use own-grown plants and fruits with citrus flavours.’ It was this objective that led to his spin on the tequila-driven Paloma cocktail.
Harry says: ‘A Paloma traditionally uses fresh grapefruit juice, but to reduce the use of citrus we’ve made a grapefruit-like cordial from the zest and juice. Our Paloma also features preserved lime juice (made from leftover lime wedges encased in salt and coriander seeds to draw out the moisture) and a grapefruit sherbet with a little sugar and a touch of citric acid. And, as tequila pairs perfectly with salt, we also add a touch of salt.’
Own-grown and foraged produce takes the starring role in this blushed bramble, which is best enjoyed on The Farmers Arms’ sunny terrace amid its pots of herbs and seasonal flowers.
‘This drink is a real combination of everyone’s efforts,’ says Harry. To create his artisan tipples, he works closely with the whole Woolsery team: from the kitchen brigade led by exec chef Ian Webber to the gardeners, led by Josh Sparkes, who grow plants and herbs from which Harry crafts innovative confections.
This elixir delivers delicate, floral and herbaceous notes. Harry says: ‘It comprises foraged nettle and rosehip cordial, sorrel gin, fennel gin, Knightor vermouth from Cornwall and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice.’
Rhubarb, Ginger and Tagetes Sour
Sour cocktails are bang on-trend and this rhubarb, ginger and tagetes (marigold) creation raises the bar to delicious new heights. It’s made using an own-made ginger and rhubarb cordial, the leftover pulp from the fruits used to infuse its vodka base, and hand-picked tagetes. The cordial and vodka are then combined with citrus flavours and the egg white used to create the fabulous foam for which sours are celebrated: ‘Light and simple,’ says Harry.