An aperitif is a pre-dinner drink originating from our French and Italian cousins, but is making its way to these shores thanks to new British aperitif, Kamm & Sons.
Former bartender Alex Kammerling has invented a British style pre-dinner drink using fresh grapefruit peel, manuka honey, elderflower and ginseng. Described as a cross between gin and Campari, it is perfect over ice, with your favourite mixer or served in various cocktails—there has never been a better time to refresh your drinks cabinet! We caught up with Alex to find out more about this unique new tipple.
With your experience in the drinks industry, what made you decide that there was a gap in the market for a drink like Kamm & Sons?
From years working behind bars I noticed how the British palate was slowly changing and becoming more sophisticated, moving away from sweet, vodka based cocktails and into simple more refined drinks. I observed how gin was making a comeback but want to offer something with more flavour and a more pronounced bitterness to satisfy the next stage of drinkers.
What do you think sets it apart from traditional aperitifs?
Most aperitifs are wine-based vermouths or QuinQuina’s where the botanicals are macerated. Kamm & Sons is spirit-based and distilled like a gin. At 33% ABV it is much stronger than most aperitifs, bridging the gap between gin and and bitters such as Campari/Aperol.
Kamm & Sons is made from an astonishing blend of 45 different botanicals. How did you develop the recipe?
It took four and a half years to develop the right recipe. I started with over 100 dried and fresh ingredients and started macerating them all in alcohol to extract the flavours. From here, I blended them together to try to create something which you could drink neat or mix easily, but as you can imagine, with 100 botanicals the options are endless! After hundreds of versions and dozens of test distillations, I finally settled on a recipe of 45 botanicals where the ginseng acts as a base-note to the juniper, grapefruit and elderflower, with the sweetness and body coming from Manuka honey.
The drink has been widely praised since its launch in 2014. Have you been surprised by its success in such a short space of time?
I am certainly very happy about all the praise Kamm & Sons has received, although I think ‘success’ is relative. It has not been an easy few years and we have a long way to go before we feel we have established a truly global brand. I am earning half what I did eight years ago, so to me personally, we still have a long way to go!
What are your serving suggestions for Kamm & Sons?
Either drink it neat over ice with a lemon twist, serve tall over ice with bitter lemon or in our signature cocktail, the Brit Spritz which contains Kamms, elderflower, sparkling wine and soda.