The warm weather has us craving long, refreshing cocktails, and The Clockwork Orangery, created by The Chelsea Courtyard Bistro & Bar, most certainly fits the bill. Here, head bartender Mike reveals precisely how to master this glorious summer serve…
A stone’s throw from the iconic King’s Road lies The Chelsea Courtyard, a luscious green oasis best known for its elegant drinks and delicious home-made food. Tucked away within the sanctuary of the courtyard you’ll find head bartender, Mike, whose lifelong passions span nature, horticulture and the great outdoors. Here, Mike talks us through his cocktail creation, The Clockwork Orangery.
Broken Clock: Before we start sipping, tell us about your bartending expertise…
Mike: I’ve worked for almost 20 years in hospitality in kitchens and bars. That experience has helped me a lot with bringing new ingredients into the cocktails; I look at them from a completely different point of view. I studied forestry at high school in Poland and spent a lot of time having lessons in the middle of the forest so I know a lot about how to combine and match natural ingredients and flavours.
BC: What important qualities should a cocktail possess to stand the test of time?
Mike: It needs to be very, very simple. I made a Cosmopolitan with Broken Clock, which is cranberry juice, vodka, lime juice and Cointreau. Every single cranberry juice tastes different, so whichever ingredients you choose, they must be exactly the same every time you make it. I’m developing the cocktail recipe so that you cannot forget to put Broken Clock inside to make it special.
BC: When you’re not behind the bar, where might we find you whiling away a summer’s afternoon?
Mike: Outside – I don’t like to be indoors. I used to be a gardener so perhaps that’s the reason. I would love to go back to it! Right now I live next to Kew Gardens so that would be the perfect place for me to retire.
BC: What’s your favourite ingredient to forage from the garden and use in cocktails?
Mike: Cherry is my flavour. Cherry syrup is my secret ingredient, I’m known for always having some tucked away somewhere. It’s my favourite. The cherries you buy in England are very sweet, they have a completely different flavour to the sour cherries that grow in the wild in Poland.
BC: Walk us through the concept behind The Clockwork Orangery and tell us why you love it…
Mike: At first I tried Broken Clock on its own to experience how it tastes at room temperature as well as straight out of the freezer. When I was 24 years old I received a bartender’s course as a birthday gift. We spent lots of time covering the basic knowledge of how to taste vodka and appreciate its subtle flavours. With yours, I fell in love after the first sip.
The cinnamon flavour is a perfect match with orange and complements the apple flavour in Broken Clock – it has a lovely crisp finish. In wintertime you could add a little more cinnamon and a touch of Merlot to make the perfect winter cocktail. The combination of Merlot and maple syrup gives a warm walnut aftertaste. Just add 25ml to the finished cocktail right before you serve it.
BC: Where would you like to linger with your Broken Clock serve?
Mike: I would love to move to the countryside and enjoy the silence with my cocktail. That would be my ideal future – I want to work with forgotten ingredients, go in the direction of old-school traditional medicine, and have more time for reading books.
The Clockwork Orangery
40ml Broken Clock
150ml freshly-squeezed orange juice
30ml lime juice
15ml maple syrup
Dusting of cinnamon
Fill a highball glass with large, thick, high quality ice. Combine all the ingredients in a boston shaker and dry shake for 20 seconds. Single strain the liquid into the glass, and garnish with two wheels of dehydrated orange.