Bartenders, here’s a question for you: how much do you know about the solera method? No doubt you’re familiar with the terminology but if it came up as a question on Mastermind say, would you be able to describe (with conviction) what it entails?
Anyone fortunate enough to have attended the recent Santa Teresa 1796 rum City Solera sessions will definitely score top marks on that front. Fun, informative, practical and thoroughly engaging, this brand new initiative is where the solera system will be brought to life in a series of collaborative workshops.
Why solera? In a nutshell, it’s a natural fit for Santa Teresa. This is the traditional method used by sherry producers in Spain – the same method that has been painstakingly adopted by Maestros Ronero Nestor Ortega and Nancy Duarte to give Santa Teresa 1796 rum its smooth texture, all-round voluptuousness and exceptionally refined taste.
Geoff Robinson, Santa Teresa Global Ambassador is on an ongoing mission to share these exacting processes in the City Solera sessions which ran throughout March. Having brought together some of the best bartenders from some of the top bars in London, Madrid and Paris, he and fellow Santa Teresa ambassadors explained how the all-important dynamic blending and patient resting combine to produce that sophisticated nose and palate that Santa Teresa 1796 rum is justifiably renowned for.
But this programme is about so much more than developing a deep understanding and appreciation of the craft. The lucky participants will go on to put their newfound knowledge to practice by creating their own unique solera blends. In true Santa Teresa fashion, a brand that prides itself on community spirit, each of these blends will then come together in a one-of-a-kind City Solera that represents the heartbeat and characteristics of that city. How cool is that?
In all honesty, the whole thing would be fabulous if it ended there but each bar will go on to make a bespoke Santa Teresa 1796 cocktail inspired by the entire experience. Said drinks (all of which are bound to be delicious by the way), will then be available for tasting in their respective bars throughout April. The final stage will see one drink being selected as the official City Solera cocktail, or put it another way, a cocktail that’s emblematic of the city that inspired its creation.
It’s a genius initiative that’s been put together with collaboration in mind. “Making rum is our craft and we’re incredibly proud of that but that craft supports our purpose and that’s to inspire positive outcomes in our communities,” he tells us. “We do that every day in Venezuela with our social enterprise arm, the Foundation Santa Teresa but we want to do that in every city with every bartender, anywhere you can find a bottle of Santa Teresa 1796.”
While the launch sessions take place in London, Paris and Madrid, two more are planned for summer. “We’ll be following up with the City Solera sessions in Miami and Hamburg and our hope is that this will continue to grow year on year, expanding to more cities and more bars within those cities,” Geoff continues. Quite honestly, we can’t wait.
To hear Geoff talking about the City Solera sessions, tune in to Season 3, Episode 3 of The Cocktail Lovers podcast wherever you get your podcasts or via the link below.
Discount Suit Company, Edition (Lobby Bar), Happiness Forgets, Laki Kane, Louie, Satan’s Whiskers, Soma, Trailer Happiness
1862 Dry Bar, Amalavida, Astor, Caracortada, Cedron, Coque, Gingko Skybar, Salmon Guru, Santos y Desamparados, The Dash, The Edition, Viva Madrid
1802, Andy Wahloo, Bulgari, Calbar, Girafe, Gravity, House Garden, Hoxton, Lutetia, Manko, Maria Loca, Soho House
To find out more, follow the Santa Teresa 1796 Ambassadors:
Geoff Robinson (Global); Eric Tinca (London); Luis Viera (Madrid); Benjamin Nolf (Paris)
And be sure to follow the hashtag #citysolera1796 and check in for regular updates here at The Cocktail Lovers