Cocktail of the Month with Black Bush
In the latest of a regular series, we ask local bartenders to showcase signature serves featuring the superb premium spirits brands presented by Proximo. Aodhan McGoran, duty manager at The National Belfast, creates a cocktail featuring Black Bush.
Irish Winter Warmer cocktail
About the bartender
“I have not been in the hospitality trade that long,” says Aodhan. “I started off doing events like Belsonic and Tennent’s Vital, before going to Australia for a year. It was in Australia I found myself starting off as a kitchen porter and then working in different bars. After coming back, I got a job in The National four years ago. I was initially part time but worked to get full time before becoming the first head bartender of The National. Here I helped created two cocktail menus and then was promoted to supervisor, and then became duty manager as of August just past.” Aodhan enjoys the different people you meet every day in bar work, from colleagues to customers. “And how everyone has different flavours they love and different styles,” he says. “Before I learnt cocktails, I was one of those people who thought you just throw any old thing into the shaker. However, I found I love the complexity of cocktails, and how 1ml can make a difference to the drink. It’s the little details that make the drink.”
The featured spirit in this month’s signature serve is Black Bush. Made in small batches in The Old Bushmills Distillery, Black Bush combines a uniquely high proportion of malt whiskey matured in former Oloroso sherry casks with a sweet, batch distilled grain whiskey. This creates a rich fruity whiskey with a deep character, balanced by a unique smoothness.
Irish Winter Warmer
50ml Black Bush
10ml Sweet vermouth
10ml House-made cola syrup
2 dashes Walnut bitters
Stirred over ice
“The thought behind the drink is it’s a nice winter warmer,” says Aodhan. “The flavours in the drink represent what customers tend to order at this time of year; be it whiskey and cola, amaretto and cola etc. I tried to just keep that warming whiskey as the main flavour but smooth it out with the other elements and add that bit of sweetness everyone loves with the cola syrup, while the walnut bitters complements all the elements with a nutty winter note.”