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Interview: The House of Machines’ Amanda Colom

In November this year, Bulleit Frontier Whiskey decided to take a taste of LA across the pond to London’s Bankside, partnering up with The House of Machines international cocktail bar.

The pop-up events were hosted by renowned cocktail director and influencer, Amanda Colom, also known as @bad_birdy to her followers on Instagram. During her time in the UK, Amanda showcased her expertise with a selection of Old Fashioned barrel cocktail and tasting sessions. The menu included:

Amanda (3)

Barrel Aged Cocktails
Old Fashioned
Bulleit Bourbon
Maple
Angostura Bitters
Orange Oils

Manhattan
Bulleit Rye
Sweet Vermouth
Angostura Bitters
Orange Oils

Vieux Carre
Bulleit Rye
Cognac
Sweet Vermouth
Benedictine
Angostura
Orange Oils

Midnight Oil
Bulleit Bourbon 10
Sweet Vermouth
Licor 43
Bruleed Lemon

Bulleit Bourbon Bottles.jpg

We caught up with Amanda after the event to find out more about the pop-up, her work and advice for anyone looking to branch into the industry.

American Whiskey Magazine (AWM): Firstly, could you tell me a little more about how you became involved with Bulleit Frontier Whiskey and as a result, this event?

Amanda Colom (AC): Bulleit has been a staple spirit at our House of Machines location in Cape Town. It’s our whiskey pour and the Bourbon we use for our Barrelled Old Fashioned. The pop-up event really allowed us to showcase what we do at our The House of Machines locations globally and the science that is barrel aging.

AWM: How much of an impact do you think events like this have on bringing in new fans to the world of American Whiskey?

AC: The event allows consumers to experience whiskey in a way that they may not have considered before. For many, the world of spirits can be a little intimidating at times. Events like this that also provide an educational segment means that it encourages people to experience new spirits outside of their comfort zone and explore different flavours. This event proved to be successful in changing the way people view whiskey and see it for the versatile spirit that it is and that it can be enjoyed in so many different ways.

AWM: How did the event go – did each day bring a different experience?

AC: The event was incredible and it was an honor to not only teach a masterclass but for the City of London to embrace and welcome me. The masterclass was a huge success and was attended by bartenders from some of the city’s leading bars. It was something I will never forget – I came home with even more inspiration and I made some new friends along the way. The cocktails were very well received by everyone, who attended the four day pop-up and the menu had something for everyone featuring both long and short drinks.

AWM: Following on from that, what advice would you give to someone looking to break into the industry?

AC: Immerse yourself in all avenues that inspire creativity. The beautiful thing about this industry is that you can find inspiration everywhere, from chefs, artists, other bartenders, gardens, markets, everywhere. You will always be a student to your craft, so continue to learn.

AWM: Could you tell me about the process that went into creating the menu for your signature Bulleit cocktails?

AC: The Bulleit cocktails for the menu were various classics, some with small modifications. I wanted to keep the menu fun and familiar and allow people to experience whiskey cocktails that are easily replicated at home.

We had three classic whiskey cocktails on the menu, the Old Fashioned which Bulleit makes a fantastically, Manhattan and Vieux Carre, both classic Rye whiskey cocktails and lastly a Midnight Oil cocktail made with 10 YO Bulleit Bourbon that featured a brûléed lemon. The garnish heightened the overall experience of savouring the cocktail, encouraging guests to bite into the caramelised crust on lemon which perfectly complemented the flavours of the serve. The shake and bake cocktails featured on the menu were based on a twist on a classic whiskey sour and were served in a bear shaped glass as a gentle nod to the honey infused element of the cocktail. The Kentucky Tea cocktail was based around forest flavours including mint and citrus hints.

AWM: What is it about the liquid that makes it versatile enough to work in a cocktail menu?

AC: Bulleit Bourbon and Rye both have such bold flavours that allow them to stand out in a cocktail whether it be spirit forward and robust or light and refreshing. Some of my favourite cocktails to make are with whiskey and very tropical fruits. At an ABV of 45% and high rye content, Bulleit is perfect for mixing in cocktails designed for barrel aging, the bourbon has the capacity to carry flavours and it is robust for wood interaction, hence the flavours end up being well integrated in American classic cocktails. The flavour of Bulleit has the capacity to not only hold up in the cocktail but also complement other flavours really well, especially when infused with ingredients such as cherry or coffee.

AWM: What has been your favourite creation from the menu and why?

AC: Definitely the Midnight Oil (with Bulleit bourbon, Belsazar Vermouth and Licor 43), the cocktail was paired with a brûléed lemon. When you take a sip of the cocktail and bite down on the edge of the lemon, which balances out the sweetness of the cocktail. It’s quite the experience and such a tasty treat.

AWM: What’s next for you?

AC: Our next project will be The House of Machines in Shanghai. We look forward to bringing great cocktails and incredible teams all around the world.

 

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