It was July 2017 as the sun beamed down on the cobbled street of Bankside Arches one afternoon.
As I sat watching the builders working their magic on creating our vision of SAMA Bankside I began to think about our drinks list.
The day before I had began to write the cocktail menu, I wanted to serve delicious and innovative drinks that surprise.
The very first signature cocktail I wrote that day was a vodka-based martini.
Vodka is one of the most versatile spirits you can use when creating drinks. The spirit’s clear, clean taste pairs well with any flavour, from sweet to savoury and dry to spicy.
With this in mind and my fondness for using botanicals in drinks, I started to route around my kitchen for inspiration with a view of it going well with our Saturday brunch, lunch or dinner as well as evening drinks.
The left over thyme from the lamb roast the day before caught my imagination, this paired with some honey I started to create a syrup.
The next stage was to mix the vodka and syrup with a juice to lengthen the drink, apple juice and some elderflower cordial seemed like a good choice but later that night I changed the cordial to elderflower liqueur along with some lime to give the cocktail balance.
The flavours worked really well together and our first signature cocktail was made.
This was a cocktail that could be drunk all year round and satisfied me that it would go really well not just as a drink alone but with food too.
Little did I know at the time but it was to also prove very popular as an accompanying drink with our Saturday bottomless brunch that we’d be doing here as well.
The freshness of the elderflower and apple being sipped on a long summer evening, the earthiness of the thyme and warmth of honey nursing you on a cold winters night.
The only thing missing was a name..!
This brings me back to the beginning, sitting outside SAMA.
As a train rumbled over the archways a thought came to me ‘Under the Arch’.
Customers would sit under the archways sipping on our signature martini. It sounded cheesy but felt right.
Three years later and it still remains on our menu and is one of our top selling drinks and will always remain my favourite.
Under the Arch
(At home recipe)
3 sprigs of Thyme
15mls elderflower liqueur
15mls lime juice
Add the honey and vodka to a cocktail shaker.
Smack two sprigs of thyme between your hands and add to the shaker.
Add the remaining ingredients.
Add ice to the very top.
Shake hard for 3 - 5 mins.
Double strain the mix into a cold martini glass.
Float the remaining thyme sprig on the top.
Written by Kate – General Manager