The Great Chase pop-up at Kensington Place
Did you know that it takes an average of 150 potatoes to make one bottle of potato vodka? Or that the Philippines buys more gin per capita than anyone else in the world? Or for that matter that vodka could be an enjoyable drink served straight? If the answer to all of these questions was no, then The Great Chase at Kensington Place could be well worth your time.
Chase Distillery started producing Vodka in 2008 when the potato farmer and founder, William Chase, got tired of the bureaucracy and business world that had started to engulf his crisp production. Somewhat on a whim he decided to open the first vodka distillery in the UK for 150 years, and within two years, Chase’s Potato Vodka had won the title of best vodka in the world.
The distillery has taken up temporary residence in Kensington Place and throughout August will be serving a range of cocktails using their spirits, along with running several masterclasses to guide you through the background to these spirits which are often poorly understood in the UK.
The potato vodka was the first vodka we tried on the evening, and truly was a bit of a revelation. Vodka can range from the virtually tasteless – in Slavic it means “little water” after all – to shockingly harsh. This managed to be light and fragrant, but most intriguingly had a real viscosity to it due to the starch naturally present in potatoes. It is part of the broad range we tried over the evening, which takes in everything from the Williams GB gin to their Marmalade Vodka, a trial run that became a surprise hit and is now a regular staple of the distillery.
The rhubarb vodka deserves special mention simply because the distillers seem to have found a way to turn rhubarb and custard sweets to liquid form, a fascinating – if slightly too sweet – drink which would be perfect for cocktails.
Luckily there are plenty of those to choose from as well utilising the range of the vodkas and gins we tried over the evening. The Great Chase is the pop-up’s signature cocktail, blending elderflower liquor, potato vodka, soda water and lemon juice to create a beautifully refreshing summer drink. There are also plays on well-known cocktails such as the Mar-tea-ni, which makes use of the distillery’s rhubarb vodka and earl grey tea, to add a very modern twist to proceedings.
With knowledgable staff and a great array of cocktails and food, courtesy of Kensington Place restaurant, Great Chase at Kensington Place is a great spot to try something a little more unusual this summer and learn about spirits that have often been overlooked in this country – or just to relax and sip cocktails.
Photos: Matthew Pull
The Great Chase pop-up at Kensington place is open until 3rd September 2016, for further information visit here. The next masterclasses are on 1st September, for GB & T, and 15th September, for Mar-TEA-ni.