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Enigmatic chef and restaurateur, Jackson Boxer, is always pushing boundaries.
Whether it's with his menus at his must-visit restaurant Brunswick House in Vauxhall, or by injecting his impassioned attitude into exciting food and drink projects.
A firm believer in elevating the simple pleasures in life and turning them into memorable experiences, we tasked Jackson with creating six sensory cocktails - inspired by and complementing six signature scents from - as part of our Art of Scent month.
Discover his inventive cocktails below as Jackson shares his inspiration and insights, and head pronto to your nearest Harvey Nichols Bar to sip, smell and savour.
MR. VETIVERT - £9/£11
Ardberg 10-year-old whisky, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, liquid smoke. Garnished with an orange twist and a spritz of orange zest.
“Mr. Vetivert is my kind of scent, and this is my kind of drink; simple, classical, strong. There's something overt in the pouting smokiness of it, which is then undermined by the mysterious lyrical qualities of Black Oud and Castoreum. I took the Rob Roy riff on the Manhattan and upped the smoke and peat for a cocktail with a brazen nose but a surprisingly delicate, lingering palate.”
TUSCAN SUEDE - £9/£11
Crème de violette, St. Germain, fresh lime, Adnams Longshore vodka. Topped with Harvey Nichols Brut Champagne, garnished with a lime wedge.
“The most overtly-erotic scent to me, with overtones of suede and sweat. I wanted to bring some sharp effervescence to this, a fragrant Champagne-based, long drink with a scratch of acid to it, to draw the soft-focus into sharp relief. Best enjoyed with company, cold, by a hot fire.”
FEVER 54 - £9/£11
Quintessentially vodka, rose liqueur, St. Germain, lemon juice, saffron syrup. Garnished with dried rose and a spray of rose water.
“This was made for Azzi, who loves a Rose Martini. Dreamy, delicately toned, but undeniably delicious. Mimicking the scent, this drink captures the total extremes of emotions, with flair and sorcery giving off a hedonistic and exotic twist.”
SEQUOIA WOOD - £9/£11
El Dorado 5-year-old rum, a sugar cube, few dashes of Angostura bitters, topped with Harvey Nichols Brut Champagne.
“This is Azzi's personal scent, and a tribute to her. It's dark, complex, luxuriant and classical, but also immensely spirited and delicious. A take on the classic Champagne cocktail, I've added layers of dark wood and smokey mystique.”
OLD BOOKS - £7/£8
Lapsang Souchang tea, peach purée, lemon juice, simple syrup. Garnished with cinnamon bark. (Alcohol-free)
“One of Azzi's most impressive achievements is the ability to tell not just a story with a scent, but suggest an entire history as well. Old Books not only smells precisely of worn, dusty leaves, but also speaks poetically of an entire history of thought contained within those covers. This smoked tea based drink is intended to be a simple, sober & profound reflection both of that and upon it.”
TWISTED IRIS - £7/£8
Earl Grey syrup, fresh lemon juice, mint, Fever-Tree tonic water. Garnished with violet flowers and a lemon twist. (Alcohol-free)
“Twisted Iris is just so explosively pretty, it's somehow both immensely complex, and utterly straightforward in its charm. Like a country garden at the height of summer, what seems a picture of bright innocent joy contains an almost intoxicating decadence of tone and colour. This Earl Grey-based cooler is an unapologetically summery response.”
TEN MINUTES WITH JACKSON BOXER
AND THE ART OF SCENT
You've come up with six cocktails for us, all completely original. Is the process involved in creating a drink similar to that of creating a dish?
“When I'm creating a dish, I find one beautiful thing, that's at the peak of it's season, and celebrate that. With cocktails it's more about balance and mood. It's more like creating a scent. When I create a dish, I do not ascribe it personality, however, cocktails, with their beguiling aromatic profile, and heady strength, are very characteristic. You find yourself adding a little bit of this, a little spritz of that, to make something you find personally seductive.”
Linking scent to the drinks sounds tricky. How did you do it?
“Our memories are deeply linked to our capacity for smell, so building drinks around scent is a terrific process - you merely draw deeply, and then follow your imagination as it conjures many avenues before you.”
Can you explain to us the importance of scent in eating and drinking?
“Anyone who's eaten or drank with a cold can attest to how dull an experience it is without smell. Smell not only brings depth, length and profundity to dining, it also allows us to cement it in memory.”
Cocktail and food pairings: love or loathe?
“I love both individually, but cocktails are terribly strong, and often very sweet. I find they dull the palate somewhat. I think they are best to begin an evening with, that sure shot of buzz and glamour they provide, as well as an appetizing capacity for sourness and bitterness.”
We know you're also a big fan of wine. If you could bottle the scent of any grape variety or region, what would it be?
“This is tricky, as I mostly enjoy drinking very rustic wines, that can often have some quite challenging aromatic profiles. I'd probably like to smell like some earthy northern Rhône; all blood, spice, and burnt dirt”
What do you love about Harvey Nichols?
“Harvey Nichols for me will always be just about the most glamorous place one could ask a cab driver to aim for, especially for cocktails, especially at breakfast. I will always love it.”
The Jackson Boxer X Azzi Glasser Cocktails are available at all Harvey Nichols Bars (excluding Harvey Nichols Dublin, Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols Liverpool and The OXO Tower) priced at £7 for non-alcoholic options and £9 for alcoholic cocktails regionally, and at £8 and £11 at The Fifth Floor Bar, Knightsbridge.