Last week we had a preview of the newly-landed Shorty cocktails at Upstairs bar. We loved them so much we thought we would have a chat with Head Bartender Jerome Slesinski to find out what really goes into making Shortys!

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So what exactly is a shorty cocktail?

As the name suggests, it is a shorter cocktail – a fusion of interesting, unusual mixers and ingredients – served in small frosted glasses and designed to be savoured. I compliment some shorty cocktails with creations including candied jalapeno peppers and preserved cherries to create innovative flavour fusions with talkability.

What inspired you to bring them over to London?

The shorty cocktail concept has been hugely successful in New York, but has not yet made its mark on the UK.

As well as travel and food, the shorty cocktail menu I’ve created for Upstairs has been inspired by my love of luxury – I’m a big believer that we should treat ourselves and savour experiences.

I’ve travelled around France, China and New York so there’s a multi-cultural influence on the menu which uses eclectic ingredients. For instance, in the strong rum shorty cocktail I source fresh pandan leaves every week from a trusted supplier in China Town. Pandan is widely used in Asian cooking and the leaves have a wonderfully distinctive, mysterious and addictive scent which makes for a really sumptuous shorty!

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How did you go about creating each shorty?

I took many of my favourite flavours and then created each drink based on well-known classics. Our shorty cocktails use natural ingredients which have real talkability and our aim is to introduce people to unusual flavours they may not have tried before.

One example is the bee pollen gin, blossom honey, Cocchi Americano, lemon and soda shorty cocktail. Bee pollen comes from the pollen that collects on the bodies of honeybees and is considered one of nature’s most nourishing foods, containing nearly all the nutrients we require such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids, and protein. As well as being used to flavour food, such as sprinkling over porridge or mixing into smoothies, bee pollen is also found in some natural dietary supplements and beauty products due to its skin softening properties. Bee pollen has such diverse uses and benefits which is why I made it my mission to locate an ecologically harvested pollen which I could incorporate into the shorty cocktail menu to get people talking.

The bee pollen we use in our fresh shorty cocktail is from the organic wilderness of the Carpathian Mountains. We blend bee pollen infused gin with blossom honey and then mix with Cocchi Americano, an all-natural wine which is made with an infusion of herbs and spices including gentian, cinchona and bitter orange peels. Finally, we add a dash of soda and garnish with lemon. Rest assured, no bees are harmed in the process!

Any hints for upcoming flavours?

We base our shorty cocktails on seasons and also what is available at the time. We’re constantly trying out new things and putting together interesting mixes. Our aim is to constantly develop our menu to keep it interesting for the customers – we’ll aim to make changes approximately every two months to keep the menu fresh and work around our fruit and vegetable supplier who advises us on what is in and out of season. We will also create limited edition shorty cocktails based around the weather and other cultural influences: for example, crushed cocktails during the warmer summer months.