Hoptails #2 ‘Victory Plum Brew’

East meets east with this Asian-inspired hoptail from one of London's finest bars

VICTORY PLUM BREW
By Stuart Binks, Victory Mansion, London

Our second hoptail in the series is an artisan’s dream, created by a master of the craft. Named as a Diageo Top 50 barman, Stuart Binks, has been a winner or finalist in dozens of global cocktail competitions. He’s also an old-hand mixologist having been at the helm of several successful bars, before setting up Victory Mansion in Stoke Newington, London, with a collective of friends and fellow food and drink connoisseurs.

Weaving an incredible daily menu of fusion dishes with some of the finest cocktails you’ll find in the capital, Victory Mansion exudes the feel of a labour of love. From its quirky, collected décor and handmade bar, crafted from reclaimed parquet flooring, to the team’s obsessive knowledge of spirits and blends, there are no shortcuts here.

    Stuart’s ‘Victory Plum Brew’ reflects his dedication to the cocktail craft and fusion spirit, shaking up lemon juice, plum sake, ginger syrup, chilli and apple with the beer to create a hoptail that is sophisticated and delicious with a cheeky warming kick. Balancing sweet and sour tones in honour of Budvar’s classic ingredients, this is a superb evening cocktail whether you’re in a busy London bar or a rooftop terrace in Tokyo.

    Tell us a little about yourself.

    I’ve been bartending for the last 17 years now. And having been in London for eight years, I’ve come to really love the bar scene here, as well as the people within that said scene. There have certainly been a few wins at cocktail competitions over the years and Victory Mansion has recently been nominated for a few awards, such as Imbibe’s Best Themed Cocktail.

    How and why did you guys decide to set up Victory Mansion? What’s the ethos?

    The five of us have been friends for some years and on a night out together we decided that it was time that we opened our own place. That started the ball rolling. Then within six months we had the keys and the project was underway. The ethos is very simple and effective: a neighbourhood bar that really focuses on good food, good drinks and good service.

    Where does the name come from?

    The name comes from George Orwell’s 1984. Victory Mansion was where the protagonist, Winston Smith, lived. We’re big fans.

    You guys have a fusion menu; do you reflect this in the cocktails?

    We try to as much as possible. The food offering is constantly changing so the drinks try to reflect that in the use of fresh and in-season produce.

    Why do you think beer cocktails are on the rise?

    The explosion of craft beers and microbreweries has given bartenders more to work with. That, coupled with guests’ increased sense of adventure with cocktails, allows bartenders to experiment with different drinks.

    How did you come up with the ‘Victory Plum Brew’?

    One of the core elements of Budweiser Budvar’s unique flavour is the use of whole-cone Saaz hops, giving it that beautiful citrus, earthiness. First off, the ingredients that went into the Victory Plum Brew had to enhance and compliment these flavours without overpowering them. We know that Asian ingredients pair really well with beer so experimented with the plum sake, ginger and chilli until we got something really special. And it works so well. After all, there are few things better than a delicious Asian meal and a great cold beer. This hoptail embodies these elements, bringing the flavours together.

    What food would you pair with the Victory Plum Brew?

    I would pair a chilled, spicy shitake, sugar kelp and fermented squash ramen like the one on our menu. Delicious.

    What one tip would you give about making a great cocktail?

    Always keep in the front of you mind the flavours you are trying to enhance, but never forget the overall balance of the drink.

    VICTORY PLUM BREW

    (Makes one)

    Ingredients:

    1 bottle of Budweiser Budvar Original
    25ml plum sake
    25ml acidified apple (or fresh cooking apple juice)
    25ml ginger syrup
    25ml fresh lemon juice
    1 dash of chilli bitters
    Ice
    Sliced apple & mint sprig for garnish

    Method:

    Mix the plum sake, lemon juice, ginger syrup, a dash or two of the chilli bitters and the apple juice together in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake.

    Strain into a half-pint dimple glass, half-filled with cubed ice.

    Top up with Budweiser Budvar Original. Garnish with the sliced apple and mint.

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