Myatt’s Fields Cocktails was born from the heart of the biggest and best challenge we’ve ever taken on – our wedding.
Making cocktails had been part of our life for years, and we have spent hundreds of hours developing and testing recipes, and working on techniques in our house. Hard work. We had already decided that we wanted our wedding to have a running order of coffee on arrival, prosecco after the service, wine and a choice of cocktails during the reception, and then champagne for the toast during the breakfast.
We started looking at caterers and we found the food quite quickly. Jimmy’s in Clapham if you are interested. We strongly recommend them. With that in place, and a really fabulous menu that we were delighted with, we started work on the wine and cocktails.
We qualified out the idea of a mixologist producing made to order cocktails, mostly because we had a lot of people, 160, and we knew that a staffed bar would either be too slow (every drink mixed), or prohibitively expensive (four or five staff). We settled on having premix cocktails.
When we set about looking for a supplier, we didn’t know the market, or who any of the players were, but we had seen some of the offers. We were pointed at a company that provides premix cocktails to a pub near where we live. There was a wide-ranging menu of cocktails, and we were excited, so we started ordering.
It was bitterly disappointing. We didn’t finish any of the drinks we had ordered. The presentation was nice, but the drinks were insipid. We tried some others, and we started to see a pattern. There were the problems in the premix cocktail market that we were exposed to:
- Really cheap ingredients. To be honest (this isn’t supposed to be a Watchdog type rant) this is the one that feels most unforgivable. A lot of the offers you see are really expensive, but you can taste the listless gins and flat bourbons and bargain vermouths that people use. For the sake of a few pounds per bottle, people kill the drink. I don’t understand that.
- Recipes that don’t work. Making a premixed cocktail isn’t the same as making a drink that is going to be drunk now, particularly if you age it. The cocktails we tried were flat and bland, or too sweet.
An idea was born – we would do the cocktails ourselves. It felt a bit intimidating. We knew how to make a cocktail, and had tried ageing, but batch producing was new – never mind working out what to make.
An intensive period of mass experimentation was born. Ingredients, recipes, bottle shapes, labels, glassware, tools. We had a few tasting sessions with a cross-section of our friends (these were popular events) and started to narrow down our final menu. We couldn’t be too wide ranging with the selection, as we wanted the drinks to go round on trays (the picture on the homepage of the website is the final outcome) rather than being made to order. We didn’t want to overwhelm the crew that would be pouring and circulating with them. Most of all though, we wanted them to be perfect. It was our wedding.
Months of deliberation later, and we had our menu. We went for three aged drinks of at least six weeks: a Negroni, a Manhattan, a Martini, and a premixed Espresso Martini. We made some estimates for production and erred on the high side, and went into production mode.
We had designed and printed labels with the image from the front of our wedding invitation, and we gave them a name: Myatt’s Fields Cocktails. Myatt’s Fields is where we live. In all, we served 520 75ml cocktails in four varieties. We had the wedding, it was extremely jolly, and then we went on honeymoon. The cocktail project was complete.
We had a lot of feedback over the next few days, as you would expect. One theme that kept coming up though, was the cocktails. People were gushing. We were pretty taken aback by how positive people were being, and how strong the opinions were.
We sat on a bus going across Argentina, and we talked in depth about what it would mean to take all the work we had done on the cocktails, and turn it into a business. We have another craft business already, and felt we knew what it would take to get a small business off the ground. The premix cocktails market would be a fun market to operate in, but also full of challenges.
If you are planning on having cocktails at your wedding, our offer to you is to be your partner. Weddings are a giant, overwhelming project. We didn’t just make the cocktails, we learned how to quickstep, chased down every attendee, tracked down the right DJ, lived through the sewing of the dress (which was finished at 11:00 on the day of the wedding), made bunting, and a million other things. We know exactly what that feels like, and we are here to work with you on making sure you get the right thing at the right time in the right way. We only supply aged cocktails, and will bring all the garnishes you need. We will work with you to estimate quantities based on total guest numbers, types of guest and the overall experience you want to achieve. We will label them with a stylish label that carries either your photos, or an image that is meaningful to you. If you like, we will produce a wax seal stamp with your initials on, and stamp all the bottles. We can deliver everything to your venue, or bring them to your supplier. We will provide serving guides detailing the quantities, temperature and garnishes for each drink.
We don’t provide cocktails with fresh ingredients (although we do like them). The logistical challenges are really different, so if you want daiquiris or piña coladas (yum) you will want to get a bar crew with a mixologist. We don’t provide wine or beer, and experience says it is better to get all the glassware from one place. However, we do provide guidance on what the right glassware to use is, based on the impression you want to give.
The Myatt’s Fields Wedding Offer is the heart of our business. Call us anytime to discuss your vision for your event. We’d love to work with you on it.