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Edible Cocktail Experiences With Smith & Sinclair

Sensational edible cocktail experiences with Smith & Sinclair

It’s cocktail hour at Toast.Life as we chat to Smith & Sinclair founder Melanie Goldsmith to learn more about their unforgettable alcohol experiences, unique edible alcohol gummies and more about their cocktail infused fun.



If you weren’t craving a cocktail before you began reading this article, I can almost guarantee that by the time you’ve finished, you will be. The much-loved cocktail as we know it has been around for donkey’s years – in fact the first recorded use of the word dates back all the way 1798! Of course things have moved on rather dramatically since then and, much like food, the demand to make cocktails more exciting, immersive and standout delicious is higher than ever, and one company at the very forefront of this is Smith & Sinclair.  

We don’t want to offer your standard gin and tonic or Pina Colada, as we recognise people want more. For example, we no longer rave about Odeon we go to Secret Cinema to be completely impressed in the movie world, so why not do that with cocktails?” asks Melanie Goldsmith, Managing Director of edible alcohol experience pros Smith & Sinclair.

“Our purpose is to make consuming alcohol more than just ‘having a drink’ - we make cocktails that change colour, look like liquid gold, are forever changing in flavour and are even edible instead of drinking. We always try to have a sensorial element to wow guests!”

Melanie And Emile Smith Sinclair

And just how do Smith & Sinclair go about creating this wow factor? Well how about treating your lucky guests to a selection of premium flavoured edible cocktail pastilles, each containing half a shot of high quality spirit? Or perhaps you’d prefer to watch them devour edible bubbles that float in the sky, smell delicious and taste even better? Or you could opt for Smith & Sinclairs  deconstructed gin experience, which breaks down the traditional gin and tonic by allowing your guests to eat the botanicals that make the floral flavour, drink the spirit and then breath in the garnish through edible fragrance.

Smith And Sinclair Drops

“The Gin Experience always goes down so well as it a fantastic educational tool that allows guests to understand the process of gin and garnishing. We now always want to learn and know more as we have access to so much knowledge from the Internet and TV” explains Melanie.

“But my personal favourite experience would have to be the vapour orb which in short is an inhalable cocktail. To start with it is visually amazing and a great way to get your guests to share their experience online. I also love how we change people’s perception of how a cocktail has to be consumed using their other senses, it creates such an amazing story telling experience for guests and we can do pretty much any flavour. We’ve even done sweet and sour chicken….”

House Of Fraser Bumble SS Emma Dai

For someone who knows a lot about cocktails and the psychology behind each delectable experience, you might be surprised to here that Melanie’s former professional life was in fact spent as a jazz singer. Since the age of just 12 she was determined to own her own jazz bar and went on to run a series of jazz events whilst at uni.

“I always had the ambition to do something myself, and the essence of why I love jazz so much is totally carried through our experiences with Smith & Sinclair: Play, sensorial, engaging, interactive, etc” she explains.

Whilst I enjoyed performing, I enjoyed the production side more. Once I graduated I moved back to London where I worked a role in PR and ran a series of dating nights on the side…until Smith & Sinclair really blossomed”

Smith And Sinclair Oyster Sweets

Mixed Cocktail Edibles Smith And Sinclair

The dating nights that Melanie refers to are where Smith & Sinclair very first began, and where their unique edible cocktail gummies first came to be; Melanie and co-founder Emile Bernard’s board game dating nights in East London were a huge success in a pre-Tinder age – “if you can imagine such a time?!” laughs Melanie. At around the same time dating moved online, and filled with foresight Melanie and Emile set out to offer an alternative.

“Our events comprised of trying to get people interacting over board games and booze, but we soon realised that holding a drink, trying to flirt and playing a board game all at the same time was pretty hard work! So Emile invented the cocktail gummy as the ultimate ice breaker and the rest, as they say, is history!”

Smith And Sinclair Cocktail Edibles

Whisky Life Smith Sinclair

It quickly became apparent that that Emile and Melanie’s newly invented cocktail gummies were becoming even more successful than the dating nights themselves, and soon they started to receive large orders from catering companies. Together the pair decide to take a punt and one day hired a stand at Berwick Street Market where they sold over £3000’s worth of edible cocktail gold.

“We decided to launch the business online in 2014 and two days later received an order for 20,000 sweets from Imbibe Live, one of Europe’s largest alcohol trading events, and it grew from there! Fast-forward to 2018 and we now employ 14 people and we’re about to turn our attentions to our global expansion…”

Global domination, more like. Smith & Sinclair - a mixture of the ‘smith’ part of Melanie’s surname and Emile’s mother’s maiden name - are now the go-to for edible alcohol experiences. Of course their alcoholic gummies, which come in various different flavours and with a texture somewhere between an American hard gum and a fruit jelly with a subtle kick of alcohol, are still available to buy online and have since been joined by peach bellini sherbet dippers - a deliciously indulgent Prosecco lollipop paired with an alcoholic sweet peach gel and handmade raspberry sherbet.

‘We had wanted to work with Champagne or Prosecco for a long time but the lead time on our gummy development was previously quite long, so we started experimenting with different types of product to maintain the flavour, fizz and context of an edible Prosecco cocktail. It works fab and now we’re planning on developing it further!” Melanie beams.

The popularity of their trademark gummies shows no sign of shrinking – quite the opposite in fact; there are now eight different flavours to choose from and each gummy comes individually wrapped making them truly versatile, whether you pop them the dinner table, give them out as a fun-filled and flavoursome wedding favour, or serve them as the perfect accompaniment to your more traditional cocktail as a delectable and impressive garnish.

They’ve been designed to be complex and layered like a traditional cocktail, so you should experience a whole myriad of flavours as you bite into them. Each gummy is covered in garnish infused sugar, and we recommend two bites and to let them slowly dissolve on your tongue, so you get the full impact of the flavour builds” Melanie explains.

Also each gummy contains half a shot of high quality spirit, so once you’ve had five you definitely can’t drive!

Smith Sinclair

Edible Perfume Smith Sinclair

Edible cocktails and boozy sherbet aside, the other major part of Smith & Sinclair’s delicious business is their bespoke multi-sensory experiences, which they can create for and at any event. They have two edible vapour orbs available for hire, which immerse guests in a whole new way of tasting and bottles of edible perfume ready to confuse and delight. They can also whip up brilliant edible bubbles designed to transport you and your guests away from ordinary daily life to a world of taste, touch, smell and play.

Experiential is becoming as important as marketing itself - over the last 2 years we’ve seen a huge increase in brands bringing real time experiences to life with a huge focus on edible aspects, which we would actually view more as sensorial” explains Melanie.

“Seeing things visually makes us feel something but we also have four other senses that are actually more powerful than what we just see - up to 80% of taste is actually scent so if we can infuse a smell into a space we can take someone back to a memory or transport them to a different place with just a smell”

John Lewis Edible Wall

What Tickles Your Tipple

Also in their arsenal of booze-based fun is a bespoke cocktail bar service with a menu designed to enhance taste perception and play with flavour to get guests engaged, much like the bespoke cocktail menu that they recently curated with the swishy Sanderson Hotel for their Purple Bar – light boxes, steaming tea pots and a powdered gin and tonics all featured. They’ve also recently collaborated with high street giant John Lewis to revolutionise the shopping experience with a multi-sensorial concession; they are the very first to partner with the department store to offer customers a new and exciting way to shop on the high street.

‘We are firm believers in adult play and making discovery fun. We wanted to give customers an opportunity to try our product without just handing out samples in store” explains Melanie. 

“So we created a sensory experience which gives you a chance to smell the fragrances of each cocktail flavour as well as the deconstructed ingredients to help educate customers about what we pour into each delicious mixed drink gummy” 

Sherbet

But the pièce de résistance has to be their giant sherbet wall - a 22 tube, 6-foot-tall sherbet dispensing installation (inspired by an organ, no less) created for Just Eat’s 2016 brand launch. Each tube contained a different flavour sherbet relating to a classic takeaway food – we’re talking seaweed, Hawaiian pizza, spiced chocolate, pork puffs and more. The aim of the installation was to get people trying new takeaway flavours through play.

“Guests were asked to fill a test tube with their flavours, although the flavours were clearly labelled everyone still reverted back to childhood memories of sherbet” explains Melanie.

“For example when they saw red they assumed strawberry, but the flavour in fact had a red Thai curry taste. To ensure there was also longevity to this experience guests could take their test tube as a takeaway element but also use it to cook with to enhance the flavours of home cooking. This meant that the test tubes were in the kitchen cupboards and again were a fantastic story-telling tool from the event”

Trump Sucks

Co-founder Emile is the man responsible for innovation, which is at the very heart of the brand. Inspiration for creating their weird and wonderful experiences comes from almost everywhere Melanie tells me – from fashion and cosmetics through to pharmaceuticals and toys. And does she ever worry that demand for boundary-pushing drink inventions may ease in time?

It’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. People are experience-led and want to participate in ‘things’ rather than own ‘stuff’, so they are drawn to these moments. In a social first world everyone is doing it for the ‘gram, so making shareable moments is key” she explains.

“In the future I think we’ll see boundaries pushed even further when it comes to personalisation, so it will be interesting to see how this bridges across events and through to retail”

Excitingly I am told that we’re going to see a lot of new launches from Smith & Sinclair later this year but that all remains under wraps for now, however Melanie has promised a sneak peak when the time is right, so watch this tasty space…

 

Melanie’s top tip for serving Smith & Sinclair’s Edible Cocktails

Serve as a pallet cleanser in between courses or alongside sorbet for a sweet boozy treat or add them as a garnish to a cocktail you are making to add an extra kick.


If you’d like the sensational Smith & Sinclair to create something amazing for your next event then check out their page in Toast.Life’s Little Black Book for contact details and more

 
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