Talks

The Head Alchemist is available for talks to audiences big and small. These are a few talks which I have given before but other talks can be developed to match your needs.

 

Wassail Cup

Drink through History

Originally developed to celebrate the launch of Rebellious Spirits this is a two hour talk invites you to join the author for six recreated historical cocktails while you are entertained with tales of the secret, exciting and often dangerous world of illicit spirits brought to life from within the pages of her book.
Sip a spiced wine from a recipe almost two millennia old while hearing about the mystery cults of ancient Greece; sample Highland Bitters over tales of Scots outwitting dastardly English gaugers; try a Milk Punch while protest and rebellion break out on the streets of eighteenth century London.
Then learn the history of the cruellest and most corrupt official in Donegal to the accompaniment of a fiery glass of sloe poitín, drink the Wassail to honour daring smugglers bringing in the brandy used to toast Christmas and finally try a Wartime Martini as not just spirit production but the production of most other cocktail ingredients is shut down to aid the war effort during the Second World War and the Spivs of the black market take up the challenge of supply.
A lively talk veering from the serious to the comical and finishing with a song, singing along encouraged. The full talk runs to two hours and is most suitable for groups of 8-20. Shorter talks suitable for larger audiences can be produced from any combination of the six 15 minute sections.

 

Anatomy of a Blend

I am often asked how I design the blends for Alchemist Dreams. This guided tasking aims to answer that question and also to teach some basic principles of flavour combining which are as useful for cooking and cocktail mixing as they are for liqueur blending.
Short version: 30 mins runtime, 6 tasters; Long version: 60 mins runtime, 10 tasters. The option is also available for each audience member to design and receive a bottle of their own blend after the talk.

What’s in a Name?

There as many different ways of making a martini as there are bartenders. Many of the recipes have no ingredients in common with each other. So what does a cocktail need to be called a martini? Is it an ingredient, a process or more of a state of mind?
A short look at the history and the psychology of the cocktail. Where cocktails come from, how they get their names and how they later evolve their many variations. Illustrated by a look at the history and variations of a few global favourites.
Running time adjustable between 30-90 minutes by varying the cocktails featured. Can be accompanied by a live demonstration.

Interested in one of these or in something completely different? Get in touch or take a look at our portfolio for more inspiration.