I finally had my licence come through from my local council so it’s all official, I can run my own bar. That’s the easy bit out of the way. Now I have to actually find a bar and get the money together to fit it out, stock it, get staff and get customers. This bit is not going to be so easy, especially the raising funds portion.

I fully understand that the vision I have in my head will be quite expensive and even if I downplay it all for a while to earn the money so I can pay for additional fit outs at a later date it will still be expensive and so my next step is to try and raise the funds. I figure that there is no point in trying to find a property until I have the money to pay for the lease and all the other bits and pieces.

I am also looking for a mentor. Having never done this before I realise that whilst my dream is to have a beautiful, well stocked bar and happy customers, it is ultimately a business and so finding a mentor that has knowledge of what I am trying to do is essential, they may or may not be able to help with funding too but ultimately knowledge is what is key here.

That is pretty much where I stand at the moment, I have to research where I can get funding and how to find a mentor so I suspect this will take a little time, in the meantime I keep my dream and momentum alive by these blog posts


La Louisane

de-la-louisiane A Cocktail that I have not heard of until recently, the La Louisane hails from New Orleans. I certainly think that with the ingredients it will have an interesting array of flavours, although I guess for an upand coming bar there are two ways of looking at it.

One: It will be a unique feature in the bar and for those people that enjoy cocktails of this nature that would be a draw for them to come. Two: You would need alternative drinks/cocktails for the Absinthe, Benedictine and Peychaud’s Bitters in order to warrant having the drink on the menu. I’ve yet to taste this myself but will do so when I get the oportunity.

60ml Rye Whiskey (Whistlepig 10 year old rye whiskey)
15ml Sweet Vermouth (Antica Formula Carpano Sweet Vermouth)
7.5ml Benedictine
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes absinthe
Maraschino cherry, to garnish (Luxardo)

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the rye with the vermouth, Benedictine, bitters, and absinthe. Stir and strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a cherry.

I think as with the Manhatten, I would use the Whistlepig 10 year old rye whiskey and the Antica Formula Carpano Sweet Vermouth.The other ingredients would be as above. I do wonder  if the cost of this cocktail would be quite restrictive if using the best ingedients.

On Maraschino cherries
Sweet Vermouths
More on Sweet Vermouths
Rye Whiskey

Roasted Tomato, Chickpea & Halloumi Salad

roasted-tomato-chickpea-halloumi-salad I am always on the lookout for a good recipe and now that I have the idea for a bar in my head I also look for things to put on the menu, they just have to be simple and nutricious. Recently at home we had this meal and it was so delicious I knew that I would have to include it as an option on my menu for a summer (just heading into Autumn) salad. There is nothing worse than a boring salad and I think this one is lovely both on a taste and a visual level.


Half a small red onion
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large courgette, halved lengthways, thickly sliced
400g small tomatoes, halved
250g halloumi cheese, sliced
Chilli oil or olive oil to drizzle
400g tin chickpeas, rinsed
Large handful flat-leaf parsley, leaves only

Put the onion, vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil in a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 220°C/425°F. Put the courgettes and the tomatoes (cut side up) on baking tray, season well and cook for 25 minutes or until roasted and beginning to blacken at the edges.

Warm the grill. Drizzle the halloumi with a little chilli oil and grill until golden brown on each side.

Gently toss the chickpeas, parsley, roasted tomatoes and courgettes with the onion mixture.

Divide between plates and top with halloumi. Serve with leaves


I want to have my own bar. I have wanted this for some time. In my mind’s eye it is a perfect place, the industrial look and feel of the place, the comfortable chairs, the well-stocked bar, and the knowledgeable staff: rarely is this (currently virtual) place out of my thoughts.

My first step was to do a course, and one that I needed to do was the Level 2 BIIAB Award for Personal Licence Holders. I decided to go with Knight Training but there are a number of training providers that will supply this course.

After a few days I got a booklet through the post and I read it, and then re-read it again and again over a period of about 2 weeks I read it about 6 times. I did this as I am not the best at studying, particularly so when reading from a book, I find my mind wanders. On the day I did the course and I found it fairly easy (hopefully due to me constantly reading that book which) and I passed.

This gives me the qualification that enables me to go get the personal licence. To actually get that licence you need to also get a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check (this has replaced the previous term which was CRB). At the time of writing this I have not applied for the DBS check but I will be doing this imminently. Once I get the personal licence I can run a bar.

So, if running a bar is something you want to do yourself then the Level 2 BIIAB Award for Personal Licence Holders course is your first real step I think towards that.

The Manhattan

manhattan1A drink that I have been fascinated about for a while now is the Manhattan. I think it was to do with the picture that I found of it which happens to be the picture I have included in this post. The glass is clean, crisp and industrial looking and the dark liquid looks like it needs to be treated with respect.

I did some research on this cocktail because as with many cocktails the alcohol used makes the difference between a great cocktail and an average one, especially when that cocktail has few ingredients and doesn’t look like it is at home on a beach in Hawaii. The original information I found regard the drink said “The Manhattan is a classic cocktail believed to date back to the late 1800s. It’s made with a bracing mixture of bourbon or rye whisky mixed with sweet vermouth and a dash of Angostura bitters.

After looking around it would seem that rye whisky is the way to go on this one and so a further search highlighted 7 rye whiskies that would be suitable for making a Manhattan. Of course me being me I investigated the Whistlepig which is the best overall (according to a particular website anyway). It is available in the UK (some of the others don’t seem to be) although it doesn’t seem to be widely available so if I couldn’t source it I would go for Rittenhouse Rye or Bulleit Rye.

Of course whilst there is 50ml of whisky in your Manhattan you will need to add an additional 25ml of sweet vermouth. on investigating this there seems to be only one clear choice and so Antica Formula Carpano Vermouth will be the standard go to accompaniment for my Manhattans.

So here is your Manhattan

1: 50ml Whistlepig 10 year old rye Whiskey
2: 25ml Antica Formula Carpano Sweet Vermouth
3: 1 or 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
4: 1 Whole Maraschino Cherry (chilled)

Take 1 ice laden Martini glass and set to one side. Put the Whistlepig 10 year old rye Whiskey, Antica Formula Carpano Sweet Vermouth and Angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker. Place a large handful of ice in the cocktail shaker and then swirl the contents (do not shake as the chipped ice will dilute the main event). Also the reason to put the ice in on top is that you don’t want the bitters to “get lost” amongst the ice.

Empty ice from Martini glass and place the cherry in the glass and strain the shaker contents into it and serve.

I would be really interested in other takes on this cocktail to see if there are any way to improve it.

Sweet Vermouths
More on Sweet Vermouths
Rye Whiskey

The Dream

As of writing That’s the Spirit isn’t a physical bar but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I can picture it in my minds eye. I can see exactly what it looks like, the people that work there and how they are dressed, what alcohol (and non alcoholic) drinks are stocked and what food is served, even what glasses we have. The whole look and feel of it is alive in my mind as if I was standing in the freshly painted doorway for the first time.

It’s a great place and there will be so much to enjoy there whether you are out for a quick drink after work with a few friends or out for the evening with a loved one or indeed your whole family.

As there is currently no physical building to come to I will outline my journey on what I did along the way as well as ideas around drinks and various other things that are relevant towards my bar. The timescales between these events may be quite long because as well as working towards this dream real life still happens, bills have to be paid and so it may not move along as quickly as I would like, but it will move along.

When it does happen though it will for me be an exciting time, hopefully for the patrons too.