SCOUT London & Closed Loop Cocktailing
I had the opportunity to judge Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition last summer in London. I visited some amazing bars and met some extremely talented people.
One bar that really stood out was Scout, created by Matt Whiley, who has shaped much of the cocktail scene in London (i.e. Peg + Patriot, The Talented Mr. Fox and Bone Daddies to name a few.) They've taken “garden to glass” and sustainability to a whole other level. Their mantra is “Live off the Land … Simplicity sets the scene and waste is truly a dirty word!” They boast a “laboratory” in the basement where they work with foragers in obtaining the best ingredients that all come from the British Isles. And, they minimize waste to the nth degree in a simple menu with complex flavors. They literally use EVERYTHING – the leaf, berry, stalk, root in the drinks and in the food. They call it “closed loop” cocktailing. This also means they don’t much citrus (a staple in US Bars) instead using vinegars, preserves and fermented foods.
Below is a snapshot of their current cocktail menu. You’ll notice they don’t highlight the spirits they use in each of the cocktails, rather just the ingredients. The only mention of spirits is the notation at the bottom of the menu, "Made in association with Bacardi and Brown Forman."