Everyone likes a cocktail right? Whether you are celebrating a special occasion, catching up with friends or simply recreating a tropical taste from a favourite holiday destination, the right combination of flavours, a splash of colour and that unexpected twist can brighten up any day.
Hot on the heels of our recent launch event for the new cocktail menu, we catch up with Christopher Fletcher, General Manager at The Sally and resident shaker, creator and curator.
How long have you been making cocktails and where did you learn to make them?
I have been making cocktails for around 15 years (and you never stop learning!) but the place where I learned most was probably my time spent on the beautiful island of Malta.
What’s the secret to making the perfect cocktail?
Always use fresh ingredients and fresh fruit. Never use cheap alcohol and cheap sugar mixes. It is simply lazy, and it really makes a difference to the end product.
What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever been asked for?
Do you have any snake blood? (I kid you not – but don’t worry! It wasn’t at The Sally!)
What’s your favourite cocktail and why – and what’s in it?
It’s hard to say as there are so many amazing cocktails to choose from but I do love a Long Island Iced Tea. It has several different flavours that bombard all the senses! It is sweet, yet tangy and very refreshing. A mixture of Tequila, Gin, Vodka, Rum and Triple Sec it packs one heck of a punch, so you can’t have too many!
What do you like most about your job?
I love to make people happy and do everything I can to ensure that our customers enjoy a full experience. From the minute people enter the building, to the minute they leave, I like to know that they are enjoying themselves and that they are having a special evening. Modern life can be taxing but when people walk through the door at The Sally, we want them to be able to relax and forget their worries. When people are happy they come back – and that makes me even happier. Knowing that we’ve done a good job – that’s what I love the most!
Why do you think that cocktails are so popular?
Some people say it is a status thing… and yes, sometimes it can be, but it’s so much more than that. I like to think of it as a social experiment. Cocktails and people mix well. Making cocktails is almost like a ritual. The little touches that go into the final presentation, the stylish flourishes of a talented cocktail maker, the beautiful colours, tantalising tastes and unusual embellishments and decorations – it all builds up to create a feeling of anticipation. People appreciate that so much care has gone into producing something unique, especially for them. You just don’t get the same buzz from opening a bottle of wine or pouring a pint. It’s a fantastic feeling when someone asks for a recommendation and you give them something new… and they love it. A cocktail can bring sunshine into anyone’s day.
What would you recommend to a first-time cocktail drinker?
It completely depends on their preferences. For a first time I only need to know a couple of things… Do they like sweet flavours, fresh fruit or a sourer taste? Once I know what sort of things they like the world is mine to create something special… or I might go with a classic! I have also been known to experiment with new cocktails on first-timers. They don’t have any preconceived ideas or expectations and can be a great benchmark for new flavours or innovative twists.
What about someone who doesn’t drink alcohol but still wants to join in the fun? A fantastic mocktail… A Virgin Mojito perhaps… I’d simply add apple juice instead of a white rum.
Why did you choose the signature cocktails on The Sally menu?
The Signature Cocktails represent The Sally’s journey. I wanted to give our customers the chance to travel through our heritage, explore our location and experience our past and future, all wrapped up in a delicious drink!
COCKTAIL MENU 09/08/18
The only gin with true Cumbrian provenance. Produced with crystal clear water from the River Derwent and a selection of Cumbrian botanicals, The Lakes Gin is truly a gin of distinction. Joined together with a fine prosecco and a little bit of Sally magic.
The Blue Sally
Boe Violette Gin, Prosecco
In the year 1658 world renowned Professor Franz de la Boë gently infused a clear grain spirit with handpicked juniper berries while painstakingly searching for a medicinal tonic.. and invented the world’s first GIN! Here we have a fine creation with Violette blended with prosecco.
Disaronno, Fresh Lemon, Fresh Lime Cosmopolitan Absolut Citron, Cointreau, Cranberry Juice.
Raspberry Vodka, Chambord, Cranberry Juice.
Tequila, Cointreau – with Salt or Sugar
Long Island Ice Tea
Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Gin, Triple Sec
Vodka, Apple Sour, Apple Juice
The Sally Deluxe Range
Grey Goose vodka, Tia Maria, espresso
Passoa, Absolute Vanilla, Prosecco and Pineapple Juice
Aperol, Prosecco, Soda
Blackberry Peroni Topper
Grey Goose vodka, blackberries, lemon juice, sugar & Peroni top