If there's one drink you have to order at new South Kensington restaurant Publiq, it's the alphonso mango old fashioned, made with Maker's Mark bourbon.
It's rich in mouthfeel and irrefutably delicious – but look at how it was created, and you'll get an insight into what Publiq is all about: produce, people and positivity.
First up, the produce. The alphonso mango is a variety of the favourite fruit grown in India. Its smaller size, and sweeter, peachier flesh have given it cult status among those in the know – made all the more alluring because the fruit is only in season for a few short weeks. Publiq sources it via Natoora, kings of forward-thinking fruit and veg supply.
The bar team used their creative nouse to infuse the mango flesh into Maker's Mark bourbon, which then goes into the old fashioned (the stone and skin get used elsewhere).
Publiq's alphonso mango old fashioned celebrates seasonal, careful sourcing and is seriously sippable. It's exactly what Publiq stands for
The result is a drink that's unique in flavour, and that celebrates seasonal, careful sourcing and is seriously sippable. In short, it's exactly what Publiq stands for.
Visit the restaurant and this ethos threads through it, all the way from the bespoke prints that adorn the walls to the way it looks after its staff to the way it works to support its local community.
The new South Kensington arrival comes from Gregory Almeida and Charles Montanaro, who bonded over shared principles about how hospitality can be a pillar of the community and inspire its guests to start thinking differently.
They've brought their beliefs to West London to open Publiq, their first solo venture: a modern public house serving seasonal cocktails and sharing plates, natural wines and local beers.
Everything from the furniture to the produce on the menus was designed to have a positive, or minimal impact. The restaurant's suppliers include UK foragers Bello Wild, the Estate Dairy, and The Cornwall Project – all chosen because they share Publiq's messaging.
So it makes perfect sense that Maker's Mark bourbon features in some of Publiq's incredible drinks – as well as the mango old fashioned, you'll find it in a plum and chamomile manhattan (of course, because these cocktails are seasonal, they might have changed slightly when you visit).
Marker's Mark is a bartender favourite for the way it brings texture to cocktails, but it shares Publiq's approach to people and planet.
Based in Loretto, Kentucky, the distillery only works with grains sourced within a 60-mile radius, and employs many people from the local community.
It's working to find a way of growing its own grain, and is working with the University of Kentucky to track the use of white oak for bourbon barrels, so they can work out how to preserve the resource for years to come.
And, of course, Maker's Mark is working to support independent businesses like Publiq that have a positive ethos – so what goes around, comes around.
These are just a handful of Maker's Mark's positive initiatives, but at the heart of this revered distillery lies a family-owned business that has stayed true to its core values: making one bottle at a time, by hand rather than machine, and using an heirloom strain of yeast.
And that's another thing that's special about this spirit: founders Bill and Margie Samuels replaced the more commonly used rye grain with soft red winter wheat, to create a soft, creamy bourbon aged to taste, not time. From its outset, Maker's Mark has known that creating good whiskey is about so much more than setting a clock.
This summer, Maker's Mark has partnered with bars and restaurants that share its approach, inviting them to create refreshing summer serves – like Publiq's alphonso mango old fashioned, and its plum and chamomile manhattan.
A trip to Publiq to try these seasonal sippers is worth it – but team them with a meal of Basque ex-dairy beef croquettes, eaten on Publiq's bijou terrace, and it's a combination that's hard to resist.
And if you're after something special, Publiq has a downstairs space that's been beautifully designed to convert into a private dining room. Whether it's a casual dinner or a special occasion, head to publiq.london to book your table now.
And if all this talk has made you thirsty for Maker's Mark's impeccably made bourbon, you can try its exclusive summer cocktails from its specially selected partners around London – just take a look at the box to find out where.
For more information: makersmark.com