We were wracking our brains for a way to celebrate the tenth birthday of Now Then when Public, the new cocktail bar in the basement of the Town Hall, entered our minds.

It’s our pleasure to have commissioned Jack Wakelin, manager and cocktail designer at Public, to create a cocktail to mark this milestone. After all, there’s nothing like a little bit of liquid inspiration to focus the mind.

We chatted to Jack about Public and his choice of ingredients.

Tell us a little about your experience of creating cocktails?

A lot of ideas come from eating out, trying new ingredients or flavour combinations. At Public, we aim to be as sustainable as possible. We re-use waste ingredients such as citrus peels, flat pop, spent coffee grains and pistachio shells. We are continuously looking for ways to improve on this and the innovation involved helps to create new drink ideas.

Tell us what you love about your work at Public?

Working so closely with the chef down here is a particular highlight for me. Ronnie has worked to a really high standard, which is so apparent in his food, especially in such a small space. We’ve started to experiment in crossing the boundary between bar and kitchen, something which we’re both really excited about.

What inspired your choice of ingredients when designing the Now Then 10 cocktail?

I wanted to take the Now Then ethos to help spark inspiration: promoting the wellbeing of the local community. Collaborating with independent trade is key to this. On top of that, I wanted to keep sustainability at the forefront.

So whats in the cocktail?

I was keen to work with a local business for this drink, so I’ve teamed up with the guys at Steam Yard. A couple of their donuts are specifically made for them by 4 Eyes Patisserie and I take any that are unsold at the end of the day and fat wash them in whisky. I then wanted to use a spirit that relates to a celebration of ten years. Talisker 10 fits this perfectly, an amazing whisky from the Isle of Skye aged in American oak for a minimum of ten years. It’s quite the boozy number, so I’ve paired the whisky with a homemade custard wine and a tiny drop of cinnamon oil for garnish.

What should drinkers be looking out for when they try the cocktail?

On the nose, you should be able to get the vanilla notes from the custard and cinnamon garnish. A tiny bit of smoke from the peated whisky comes through on the palate, then it has this incredible mouthfeel from the fat wash process.

Stay tuned for the launch of the Now Then 10 cocktail at Public in May and a recipe in the next issue.

Photo by Will Anderson