Okay, they’re more sweet emporium than chocolate factory but the fantastical style of Smith & Sinclair’s new London pop-ups could be straight out of a Roald Dahl novel.
The purveyors of grown-up treats set up what was claimed as the world's first edible alcohol shop in a pop-up on Carnaby Street last year. The mission? To “challenge perceptions of how alcohol should be consumed” through the power of snacks such as cocktail candyfloss and sour whisky fruit pastilles.
Needless to say, it went down well.
Now they’re back with two dangerously good temporary shops stocked with delights including gin and tonic fruit pastilles and edible perfume. The Flavour Rooms have taken over a unit at mega mall Bluewater and inside the swish central Sanderson hotel (Sanderson pop-up launching November 18). Both will run until Christmas Eve.
Here’s what to expect...
That sticky bag of Haribo will seem so very pedestrian when you reach the pastel dream that is the Sherbet Wall. Customers fill a giant test tube with a cocktail of sweet powders ranging from Spiced Chocolate to Coconut before dipping into a mind-blowing flavourstorm.
Do you consider yourself someone who eats, sleeps, breathes Christmas? Well, now you can elevate your idiom by literally inhaling the very essence of the festive season with a cascading vapour infused with seasonal flavours.
Breathe it in...
Alcoholic dib dabs
There’s no downing in one here. Create 18+ sweets with flavoured lollipops including Negroni, Raspberry Collins and Pina Colada with alcoholic gels.
These consumable fragrance kits promise to “give an extra edge to food and cocktails.” Well, it is Christmas.
Pastille Pick 'n' Mix
Of course there’s alcoholic cocktail Pick ‘n’ Mix. Choose from 12 flavours, including Gin & Tonic and Whisky Sour.
Salt + Pepper’s here
Alas we have no visual confirmation of Smith & Sinclair’s confectionary condiments with a twist, but are assured they are made with delicious cracked white and milk chocolate and infused with “delectable festive surprises.”
Deliciously boozy hot chocolate recipes
Gin hot chocolate
What better way to draw out the spicy botanicals and crispness of Foxhole Gin than with steaming white hot chocolate and a lime twist?
100g Willie’s Cacao El Blanco white chocolate (or any other white chocolate)
100ml warm water
25ml Foxhole Gin
the zest of one lime
Method: Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the water. Add 100ml of warm water and 25ml of Foxhole Gin, before mixing with a spoon until well combined. Pour the mixture into a cup or mug, before finishing off with whipped cream and lime zest, for a beautiful citrus finish.
Amaretto spiced hot chocolate
Warm, creamy, and busting with almond sweetness, it's unsurprising that Aldi elected to use Amaretto in this rich hot chocolate recipe.
700ml semi skimmed milk
300ml Cowbelle single cream
125g Moser Roth 70% dark chocolate
25g Moser Roth Madagascan vanilla chocolate
Method: Finely chop the dark chocolate and grate the white chocolate, before putting the milk and the cream into a pan and heating to almost boiling. While this is happening, divide the dark chocolate between 4 glasses, adding 25ml of Amaretto into each glass. Once the milk is warmed thoroughly, pour into the 4 glasses and stir to melt the chocolate - then sprinkle white chocolate over the top and serve.
Hot chocolate cup cocktail
M Restaurants decided to take things one step further with their boozy hot chocolate, turning theirs into a luscious chocolate cup cocktail...
35ml Mozart Gold
20ml Bulleit Bourbon
15ml Grand Marnier
20ml Double cream
Method: Shake all ingredients together, then gently heat in a saucepan over a low heat until simmering. Pour into mugs or glasses, and garnish with chocolate powder and a cherry - voila!
Tequila and salted caramel hot chocolate
Salted caramel is one of our absolute guilty pleasures, so when Oskar Kinberg spiked it with peppery tequila, we were definitely on board...
200g granulated sugar
90g salted butter, cut up into 6 pieces
120ml heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp good-quality cocoa
35ml of Tapatio blanco tequila infused with Szechuan pepper
Method: Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly - the sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-coloured liquid as you continue to stir. Once it's completely melted, immediately add the butter, stirring it in until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes. Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool down before using.
Next, add cocoa powder until a thick paste, before dissolving in milk to desired chocolate strength. Add tequila to the chocolate. Heat up and pour into a cup. Finish with a layer of whipped cream on top and sip away.
Boozy hot chocolate sticks
Fancy a bit more freedom with your boozy hot chocolate? This recipe from the people at Patterns allows you to customise everything, from the type of chocolate to the shot of alcohol you finish off with...
450g of good-quality chocolate (can be white/dark/milk)
40g of cocoa powder (use white for white hot chocolate)
100g icing sugar
pinch of salt
mugful of milk
a shot of alcohol of your choice
Method: Fill the large pan with water and boil on the hob, then add mixing bowl on top of the pan and add the chocolate in small pieces. Stir occasionally to help melt the chocolate, then, once completely melted, turn to medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and sieve the powdered sugar in, then mic thoroughly until the texture looks like fudge frosting. Scrape the mixture into a piping bag or zip lock bag then gently squeeze the mixture into the ice cube tray moulds. After filling the tray, place the wooden spoons in the moulds then place in the fridge.
The rest is simple; use a microwave to heat your mug of milk, then spike with a dash of alcohol (try Baileys for milk chocolate, Koko Kanu for white, or cherry liquor for dark). Stir in your choc stick until it dissolves, then top with marshmallows, whipped cream, desiccated coconut, or grated chocolate, according to taste.
Red wine hot chocolate
Red wine and hot chocolate - what's not to love? This recipe from Laithwaie's Wine buyer, Beth Willard, is too good to miss this winter...
250ml red wine
70g Chocolate (broken into chunks)
Method: In a saucepan melt the chocolate into the milk in a pan over medium heat. Once the chocolate is fully melted pour in the red wine (we’d recommend this Cabalié 2014 - it’s rich and fruity from the sun drenched Roussillon so would partner the richness of chocolate really well.) Heat the mixture until hot and pour into 2 mugs and enjoy!