A Bloody Mary with peas? A cocktail that combines Snow Queen Vodka and chicken stock? Surely you can’t be serious. What happened to a simple Martini?

Well sorry, sometimes we cocktail lovers want something a bit different. If you’ve got the knack for combining barmy ingredients into a brilliant libation, then do it – and do it well!

Next week sees the opening of The Shrub and Shutter, the eagerly awaited new bar from Dave Tregenza and Chris Edwards. These two cocktail whizz-kids have both served their time helping create some of the fab concoctions for Drake and Morgan, and are the brains behind Salts of the Earth, a cocktail consultancy that offers advice to those wanting to joosh up their drinks menus.

The pair promise The Shrub and Shutter will be ‘modern, innovative and interactive’, and will use seasonal and homemade ingredients. They’ve been rock stars, master mixologists and adventurers, and are bringing aspects of all these things to the bar, so what can we expect from their ne bar?

It’s evident that you guys love London, so why choose Brixton over anywhere else in the city?
Chris has lived in Brixton all his life so it’s a place very dear to him. I grew up in Brighton, and Brixton reminds me of parts of it, especially the Lanes. It’s always been a very cool place to be and now, with the market round the corner, it has doubled its popularity, but has still kept its ‘roots’.

You’ve said you take inspiration from your travels, particularly Singapore, Australia and America. Brixton has quite a Caribbean/West Indian background, will we see some exotic and unusual ingredients from these areas making an appearance?
Absolutely. We’ll be sourcing ingredients from the local market and using them in our daily specials. The menu will feature lots of cocktail vinegars, pickles and herbs, with an emphasis on savoury ingredients. We will be using tropical ingredients such as aloe vera, sugar cane, spices and whatever tickles our fancy on our daily walk around the market.

You’ve both been travelling, whether it’s with Drake & Morgan Group or for your music, can you remember a specific destination that’s had a big influence in your cocktailsl?
Singapore, for the cocktails and food at the Tippling Club which was a massive influence – the atmosphere was pretty special. Also the skills on display at 28 Hong Kong Street made a big impression. The eclectic mix of bars and passion for customer service in New York is also very influential to us.

The cocktails at The Shrub & Shutter are going to be accompanied by a fresh menu of complementing terrines and tartares. Did you create the cocktail with meals in mind, or vice-versa?
Something we do when we think about a cocktail is to try and make a dish into a drink. This means you don’t go down the conventional cocktail recipe route. Therefore the taste is always going to be something a little different from just a twisted classic.

Deer Hunter

Here’s a question we’ve been pondering at The Cocktail Lovers: to eat a garnish or not eat a garnish? Is it crass to munch on your olives after the Martini?
We personally think that the garnish has been put there for a reason, especially if it’s edible. The garnishes in our cocktails are definitely meant to be eaten. They will add to the texture and flavour of the cocktail. If it’s not edible it’s still there to add an essence, a smell or act as a souvenir. Service at The Shrub & Shutter will be run very closely with the chef so expect to find some surprises!

Aesthetics are obviously very important to you. What’s the most ‘instagrammable’ cocktail on your menu?
For us it is the Deer Hunter, which tells a story most akin to The Shrub & Shutter. It’s a banging cocktail alongside a simple but exciting plate of food. Some of the instagrammable ones we are yet to unleash!

The site used to be ‘My Father’s Place’, a reggae music shop. What’s the decor going to be like and can you tell us more about the ‘interactive’ elements?
The décor will be fresh, herbaceous, modern and clinical. Interactive elements will be dotted around the place, such as herb gardens and black boards. Specials will be changed every minute, hour, day in accordance to popularity. At the end of the day, food runs out.

Music is obviously very close to both your hearts. What kind of sounds can we expect at your live music events?
There will be live music early in the evening, some instrumental ragtime and blues. At the weekend there will be DJs spinning 45s.

What’s the greatest lesson you both learnt from consulting on menus?
To get a full and concise brief. Less is more.

Can you both remember a recent cocktail that had a great impact on you?
One of Alessandro Palazzi’s deadly but utterly beautiful Gin Martini’s at Duke’s Hotel Bar. We had the pleasure of working with him with Snow Queen Vodka at Harrods. That man is a true legend but a pretty rubbish tennis partner.

You present one of your creations to a person who’s never tried a cocktail before. What do you choose to best encompass The Shrub & Shutter?
You Can’t Handle Chartreuse (top) which combines Portobello Road Gin, Del Maguey Mescal, yellow Chartreuse, pineapple, lemon and elderflower, served with gummy bears and thyme. It’s a cocktail with ingredients that people will recognise but also won’t. There’s also a jelly mould involved and it’s served with cubes of green Chartreuse jelly on top. It’s going to be very exciting…

If, like us, you want to discover what a Deer Hunter looks like, how an interactive blackboard works and whether or not you can indeed handle the Chartreuse, then get down to The Shrub and Shutter, opening 3rd September.

Open Tues-Thurs 5pm-2am; Fri 5pm-3am; Sat 12pm-3am; Sun 12pm-6pm.
336 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8QH. theshrubandshutter.com

Rebecca Milford 

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