Each month Julie Carolan will be talking to the people behind your favourite Brixton bars, pubs and restaurants to explore the world of cocktail and drinks making in your own backyard. She’ll be quizzing Brixton’s experts to provide you with insider tips, insights and recipes to help you hone your mixology skills at home – and find out more about your local haunts. This month she speaks to Matt Ward, manager at The White Horse on Brixton Hill.
Tell us about The White Horse:
The pub goes back to the 1800s – behind the The White Horse’s site there used to be stables where locals and passersby would leave their horses and stop to have a drink. There’s a great picture of the pub from c.1921 here. It has always been a relaxed, friendly place where locals can meet for food or drinks. I’ve been the manager for nine years and I think locals do love it because of the convivial atmosphere; good, affordable food (most mains are under £10); and the versatility of the space – everyone is welcome come down and order brunch until 5pm on Saturdays, roast dinners are served on Sundays, and on Fridays and Saturday nights we have DJs and a late licence. And George the dog, he’s a well loved part of the pub.
What are your signature drinks?
We have a large wine menu where the focus is on quality, affordable wines, and a range of lagers and ales. Bloody Marys are served over the weekend and on Thursdays we do two for one deals on Mojitos. There has been increased interest in gin over the last few years, so we’ve upped our offering and we’re now serving smaller, craft gins from London, as well as our house gin.
How do you like your G&T?
I’m more of a wine and ale drinker, but I did try Little Bird gin over Christmas and I thought that was great with a slice of lime, ice and tonic water.
Where do you stand on the great debate – gin or vodka martini?
I’m definitely more of a vodka fan so it’d have to be that. But I’d take a pint over a martini any day.
What’s coming up for The White Horse in 2015?
We’ll be adding more gins, experimenting with garnishes and tonic waters to create a separate Gin Menu which we’ll launch later on this year. We’re hoping to do more cocktail nights during the week and we’ll be adding more seafood to our food menu – even organising wine and seafood nights. Keep your eyes peeled for more information in the next few months.
Do you have a favourite cocktail readers could try at home?
Our Bloody Mary is one of the most popular drinks, particularly at the weekend. Here’s how we make ours:
- 50 ml of vodka
- Dashes of Tabasco, Worcester sauce, lemon juice and Merlot red wine
- A pinch of celery salt, black pepper and some orange zest
Top up with tomato juice and serve in a high ball glass with ice. Excellent with a Sunday lunch, even if you aren’t hungover.
The White Horse, Brixton is at 94 Brixton Hill, Brixton, London SW2 1QN
Julie tweets @juliecarolan