Cocktail and Mocktail Magic

What to drink when you're not drinking with Create Cocktails

Whether you’re attempting ‘Dry January’, simply want to drink less or are looking for ways to delight your non-drinking guests this year, then specialist event bar pros Create Cocktails have the answer. Toast.Life chats to director and co-founder Dan Wilks to hear how Create deliver exceptional drinks every time, delicious 2019 trends and his tips for creating top notch cocktails (or mocktails…) at home.

To those attempting Dry January – I salute you. January can be a trying month in many ways, and so I find that a regular glass of wine is basically essential for getting through it. But reducing our booze intake is something that now exists far outside of January; it has been widely reported that ‘millennials’ are drinking far less alcohol than previous generations, and the trend in non and low alcoholic (also known as NoLo) drinks is continuing to grow.

“It’s a very positive change in many areas. The younger generations now care so much more about the planet as a whole, the quality and production of ingredients and of course, themselves” explains Dan Wilks, director and co-founder of specialist event bar service provider Create Cocktails.

“We have always ensured that non-drinks do not feel any different, with the quality of our non-alcoholic cocktails being just as high as regular cocktails. The garnishes and glassware used make a big difference also and guests should never feel as if they are different at events by choosing not to drink alcohol.”

Create Cocktails are an industry-leading bar focused event company that offers beautiful bar hire, high-end drinks, bespoke cocktails and brand development services across the entire events industry. Put simply - they do drinks, and they do them very well.

Packing Crate Bar

Create Cocktails Bar

Createcocktails Bar Instal

“My background has always been in hospitality, I trained as a chef and then moved into bartending where I managed to combine my passion for travelling whilst working in several different bars, restaurants and hotels” Dan explains.

“Create began when my business partner, Charlie Homberger and I were working at Ian Schrager hotels in London - St Martins Lane and Sanderson. We had been working together for around 8 years and wanted to do create something ourselves. Having worked at many events within the venues we decided to try and set up a company bringing these wonderful high-end drinks and service to private events and home parties.” 

Today, Create Cocktails are the industry leader when it comes to stress-free bar solutions for any kind of event, big or small. Since 20014 they have been helping people create exceptional drink experiences thanks to their expert staff, mobile bespoke bars, glassware and equipment hire, and so much more.

Create Cocktails has organically grown into where we are today. We were quickly being asked to organise and host events all over the world and our reputation and trust grew from word-of-mouth and recommendations” explains Dan proudly. 

“We are extremely proud of the huge lengths our entire team will go to in order to ensure successful events. We’re a big family and have worked together for many years. This and our attention to detail, innovative concepts and determination to enhance every client’s needs have made us who we are today.” 

Create Cocktails work with various high-profile brands and private clients within the fashion, music, media, retail and drinks industries, and their aim is to provide flawless event planning and operations whether it’s for marketing events, launches, private parties, fashion shows, award ceremonies and a whole host of other special occasions. On average, they look after between a staggering 20-30 events per week and the range of events varies dramatically.

“Some of the most memorable have been running the bars at numerous BRIT Awards ceremonies, week-long weddings in a variety of venues in Rome and Marrakech, the Monaco Grand Prix, launching Madonna’s album, running the after-party for the Led Zeppelin reunion gig at the O2…” he recalls.

“My personal favourite was re-creating the funeral for a bartender called Harry Craddock who was an incredibly famous bartender in the 1920s and 30s. He was the head bartender at many famous institutions including The Savoy, Café Royale and The Dorchester - in each venue he buried a cocktail shaker containing vials of his famous creations which were found decades later. He died a pauper and was buried in a common grave with 7 others with no ceremony or guests in attendance, so Plymouth Gin and The Savoy Hotel decided to re-create his funeral to give him an almighty send off with 150 of the best bartenders around today. We mixed martinis at his grave and re-visited all of the venues he worked in re-creating the cocktails he had buried at each venue. Lots of glasses were raised in his honour that day!” he smiles

“But the importance is that all events, whatever the scale, receive the same focus and attention-to-detail, ensuring that guests and clients don’t have to worry about a thing.”

Gold Shimmer Wall

To guarantee this, Create have all bases covered. Firstly, they have a large range of fully professional mobile bars which are all bespoke and designed in-house; their glitzy mirrored tile bars provide a show-stopping backdrop at any private event, whilst their sophisticated black tile bars are add a slightly edgier, more understated look. Their chesterfield range adds instant sumptuous luxury, whilst the sparkling gold shimmer bar comes alive as guests walk past. And for summer? Well there are tiki-style and astroturf bars to choose from, and then of course, there are the cocktails…

“Cocktails are constantly evolving, and certain trends do seem to make big difference on what’s requested. The recent popularity of spritz-style drinks and the incredible rise of gins has had an effect on drinking habits. The resurgence of classic cocktails such as the negroni and the whiskey sour has also had an effect, and the espresso martini is certainly one of the most popular drinks requested, created by our dear friend Dick Bradsell who is very sadly no longer with us” explains Dan.

Dreaming Of Jalisco And Honey Truffle Cocktails

“At Create we like putting simple but effective twists on classics such as a Honey Truffle Whisky Sour, served with dehydrated orange and Manchego cheese. The key to developing drinks is having a strong brief of what the drink is trying to achieve whether for brands or for private clients - for private clients they should mimic the personalities of the hosts and for brands they need to tell an honest story about the brand and its values or the event” he adds.

“ Cocktails should be fun and accessible - the diversity of flavours, smells, colours and textures are endless, and I really enjoy seeing people’s reactions - hopefully smiles! as they take their first sip.”

Create Cocktails Jan 2019

Along with the ‘NoLo’ movement has come a range of magically alcohol-free gins and other spirits, which are great for mixing booze-free cocktails at home. Create Cocktails lean towards Ceder’s selection of non-alcoholic spirits - all ‘lovingly made’ with the finest South African botanicals Dan tells me, and once you’ve got that, it’s quite straight forward.

“You actually don’t need too much kit at home – a shaker is a must, but you can adapt and use very standard kitchen utensils to create wonderful drinks. Just be creative, explore flavour combinations and always focus on getting the balance of flavours right” Dan suggests.

“We always try to ensure the garnish is a component of the cocktail and not just decorative - it should be relevant to the style, whether delicate or rustic. And the glassware should complement the drink being served, but there’s also no need to be precious if creating drinks at home. As long as the drink quality is there, that will always shine.”

And so, with more and more people giving up alcohol, or at least trying to drink a bit less, will we be seeing more ‘mocktails’ on the menu this year, instead of their booze-filled counterparts?  

“Yes, but I do have a slight issue with the work ‘mocktail’ and I don’t not think it deserves its own term. Perhaps menus should list them within the cocktails section, but with an N/A by the side to inform” suggests Dan.

“We’re also seeing a huge rise in requests for plant-based drinks with the rise in veganism. Several of our team follow plant-based diets so we’ve always had a strong and extensive vegan cocktail menu which we are proud of. Home-made shrubs are also proving very popular and easy to make – using vinegar, sugar, fruit and herbs, these are a great substitute and great for using up over ripe ingredients that would normally be thrown away” he adds

“But whatever the cocktail – be it alcoholic, non-alcoholic or plant-based - it should always inspire, be innovative, and taste delicious.” 

Create Cocktails Collection

Quite, and if you’re attempting ‘Dry January’, fancy a cocktail without the booze or simply looking for a way to delight your non-drinking guests this year, then don’t miss Create Cocktails’ delicious recipe for a non-alcoholic Rosemary & White Peach Collins, over on TheEdit  now.

If you’d like to work with Create Cocktails on your next event you can find more information and contact details on their page in Toast.Life’s Little Black Book.  


Posted in Spotlight

by Sophie Farrah
on on 14 January 2019

  dry january, dry january cocktails

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