Tom Savano hand-crafted Cocktails – a story of innovation, creativity and passion: just taste one and see!
For a new business idea, product and brand to succeed, you need to be an entrepreneur with both a financial mind and imaginative vision. The original germ of the idea for a Cocktail company, began ten years ago when James Kerslake was on holiday in Ibiza, sipping a Mojito at the Café Mambo and watching the sunset.
Back in London, while working in Investment banking by day, he would shake up cocktails at home, as well as social drinking ideas such as BarPanda, an app to order drinks in a bar and split the bill with friends. The world of hospitality, food and drink had always been an interest, but only as a side line to his full time career. In 2007, aged 27, James launched a specialist food bar in London aimed at hungry, health-conscious office workers – artisan wraps, made-to-order salads, sushi, burritos and freshly made smoothies, a pioneering, new venture at the time.
From making batches of Mojitos for parties and picnics with friends, this led to being asked to supply his speciality cocktails for a friend’s wedding and the idea for a professional Drinks business was sparked. A lightbulb moment indeed.
James Kerslake admits he has always been a bit of a dreamer, a romantic idealist; the brand name, Tom Savano is his alter ego, fictional character who is in search of exciting, new experiences and “spiritual,” journeys of discovery.
“Escape to your favourite travel destinations with Tom’s signature cocktail collection, perfected using artisan spirits from small craft distilleries.“
Tom Savano Cocktails are ready mixed and bottled at bar strength and quality, using only artisan spirits from the best, local, small batch distilleries. “When it comes to independent spirit makers, it is character, story and heritage, that are important in defining flavour.” James Kerslake
The artistic labels represent a cultural sense of place as reflected through Tom’s sunglasses to illustrate the cocktail’s origin from Italy to New York and Mexico.
Having finely crafted the first four Tom Savano signature cocktails, Margarita, Negroni, Lychee Martini and Old Fashioned, they were entered for the global Speciality Spirits Masters Awards in August 2019.
Three months later, James was informed that his brand new products had won no fewer than three gold medals and one silver medal. An incredible, auspicious start to his fledgling business which was officially launched in December 2019. After nine years in the creation, the Award-winning Tom Savano handcrafted Cocktail company was ready to splash.
Single Estate Reposado Margarita – Gold Award, Speciality Spirits Masters, 2019
The attractive, squat bottle is for 2 servings; through the lens of the sunglasses, an idyllic image of a swimming pool, palm trees and loungers, just the place to relax with this cocktail.
The Jalisco Estate Reposado Tequila is blended with fresh Agave, Mexican herbs and lime. This Ocho Tequila is made in the traditional way from hand harvested Blue Agave plants, and the piña, the succulent core, is roasted in brick ovens and crushed between stone wheels. The recipe is based on a Tommy’s Margarita, created in 1990 in San Francisco by Julio Bermejo at Tommy’s, his parents’ restaurant. Instead of Triple Sec or Cointreau, Julio added a spoonful of Agave nectar for a natural, honeyed flavour.
I kept the bottle in the fridge for a day or two so that it was well chilled. This is an authentic, ready made cocktail so it should not be diluted by adding ice.!
My first sip of the Tom Savano handcrafted Margarita was lip smackingly good. Wow is the word.! The sharp, tart citrus tang just sings aloud, and then savour the earthy, smoky aftertaste which is smoothly mellow with an exquisite, complex depth of flavour. As suggested on the bottle, do dip the rim of your glass with salt – ideally Pink Himalayan – to create the perfect serve. This is Mexican sunshine in a glass with a whiff of salt sea air.
English Garden Lychee Martini – Gold award, Speciality Spirts Masters, 2019
The image on this bottle reflected through Tom’s sunglasses, is an avenue of pink blossoming trees with oriental, painterly style with a backdrop of skyscrapers.
The Lychee Martini was invented in the 1990s in Clay, a late night Korean restaurant in New York. The story goes Han-jae Park used to make it for local bartenders after they finished work. Also known as “Lycheetini,” based on a lychee liqueur or syrup, is a beautiful, delicate, and unusual cocktail. Lychees have the sweet taste of grape, strawberry and melon, but with a slightly sour finish.
The Tom Savano Lychee Martini includes British elderflower vodka with a layering of lychee and a blend of vermouths. The floral aroma is all about encapsulating an English Garden in Springtime. The artisan brand of spirit is Jelly’s English Elderflower vodka made in Desborough, Northamptonshire featuring coriander, liquorice, cardamom, orris root, lemon and handpicked local elderflower.
The cocktail has a fruity, floral perfumed aroma and softly textured flavour with the Vermouth cutting through the sweetness to give the kick of a dry Martini.
Devon Coastal Negroni – Silver award, Speciality Spirits Masters, 2019
Count Negroni famously invented his eponymous cocktail in Florence in 1919 and having celebrated its centenary last year, this remains a glamorously, fashionable, ruby red aperitivo.
‘Devon Coastal’ Negroni’ features Salcombe gin, a small batch craft gin from Devon, inspired by seafaring voyages from centuries past, with classic Italian vermouth, Amaro and a hint of orange.
It is poetically described as “More mellow than a traditional Negroni with just the right amount of bitterness and a subtle hint of sweet orange. One sip and you’ll be transported to an overgrown villa in Florence, nibbling Cicchetti as the late afternoon lingers on.”
Kentucky Winter Old Fashioned – Gold award, Speciality Sprits Masters, 2019
Colonel James E. Pepper, a Kentucky distiller of bourbon and the bar tender of the Pendennis Club, Louisville, jointly created this cocktail around 1900. It is immortalised in song, “Make it Another Old Fashioned, Please” by Cole Porter.
This Tom Savano recipe combines a smooth Kentucky bourbon and a spicy Rye, with dark sugar, a house blend of Bitters and a hint of orange peel.
“Carrying the heritage of more than a century of American whisky making, this timeless drink will take you to a porch in Kentucky at golden hour, watching the birds nest for the evening.”
The idea behind Tom Savano Cocktails is genius, based on an inspired recipe for success. James Kerslake had all the ingredients to hand: financial knowledge, creative imagination, mixology skills and artistic branding with a colourful garnish of passion and pizzazz.
Tom Savano Cocktails celebrated its first anniversary in December 2020 and what a year it has been. In March when the Covid-19 pandemic Lockdown began in the UK, James focussed on home delivery – two months of stock sold out in just eight days. Production was increased to meet exceptional demand with continuing high sales through the Autumn and Winter, as well as an increase in gifts for the Festive Season.
Two new signature cocktails joined the collection this year, the Caribbean Dawn Mai Tai in the summer and the Smoky Maple Ragtime Manhattan has just been launched in time to toast Tom’s first birthday.
Join the fan base!
These cocktails are incredible! It’s like being in the best cocktail bar in London but in your home!
Absolutely delicious cocktails, gorgeous packaging and speedy delivery. We have already placed another order…
To find out more about Tom Savano Handcrafted Cocktails, where to buy, how to order and ideas for gifts. There’s a choice of six cocktails in two sizes of bottles for two or five servings.
Tom’s Club is a place for cocktail lovers with a passion for travel. Sign up as a member for discounts on your cocktail delivery orders and receive invites to Tom’s Club events.
Christmas Hampers 2020
Tom Savano has teamed up with a few independent food and drink producers to create hampers in aid of The Trussell Trust charity. There are five different hampers: a vegan/gluten-free variety, a healthy option, a chocolate hamper, an alcoholic version and a classic family hamper, with a fine selection of artisan food and drink, with all profits going to charity, to feed families in financial difficulty, who are in need this Christmas.
PURE Lite – the topical, trendsetting, low alcohol Vodka for cool, contemporary cocktails: half the calories, twice the fun
PURE Organic Vodka was launched onto the UK spirits market on 4th July 2019 with an exclusive boat party on the Thames. This exciting new product from WM Spirits soon made a splash around the country and secured drinks listings in bars and leisure venues such as the W Hotel, Cafe de Paris and Champneys Spa.
“ It was 2016, the time of the Instagram boom and the health and fitness, organic, vegan, ‘clean living’ craze. Drinks orders amongst the lads was moving away from pints to vodka soda & lime. I felt that there was more to this than just a change of drink and if it was happening in my local, I knew it would be happening elsewhere.”
Adam Player, Founder PURE organic vodka
PURE was inspired by a health-conscious, environmentally friendly, social lifestyle: Organic, vegan friendly, gluten free, with no additives, preservatives, carbs or thickeners and as minimal calories as possible. Pure, indeed.
After this early success, to celebrate its first birthday in July 2020, WM Spirits created PURE Lite, a low calorie, organic vodka with just 20% ABV compared to the standard 40%.
The launch of PURE Lite Vodka is timely and trendsetting, in response to an increased preference and demand for zero and low-alcohol beers, wines and spirits, with sales up 23% year on year. The growth comes as younger generations drink less alcohol and older people increasingly moderate their consumption.
PURE Vodka is an ultra-premium, clean, organic spirit, built on the foundation of high-quality raw ingredients and owing its unique taste to organic wheat. The wheat is distilled to maximum purity removing any remaining impurities to create a light, smooth-tasting vodka.
This innovative brand has recently won a silver medal, competing against 83 entries in the 2020 Vodka Masters category at The Spirit Business Awards, less than two months after their 1st birthday in July.
So, time to taste and test this new Pure Lite low alcohol vodka.
The name vodka is a diminutive form of the Slavic word voda (water), interpreted as little water: Russia and Poland both claim vodka as their own invention, with the word ‘wodka’ recorded in Poland as early as 1405, a strong liquor of around 75% ABV.
The slender glass bottle of PURE Lite vodka has a decorative, crystal-cut design, like a classic Low Ball, Old Fashioned tumbler, used for serving neat spirits or a cocktail on the rocks. Comfortable to hold and practical for a firm grip.
The term Martini was first listed Thomas Stuart’s guide, Fancy Drinks published in 1896, featuring a recipe for the Gin-based cocktail with vermouth and orange bitters. This became a fashionable aperitif spreading from American bars to UK, France and Italy, notably promoted on the European travels of Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
For four decades, Ted Saucier was publicist for the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, and in 1951 published a book on cocktails, Bottoms Up including the first recipe for the innovative Vodkatini.
60ml PURE Organic Vodka or LITE vodka
15ml Dry Vermouth
Fill shaker with ice and add the measures of Vodka and Dry Vermouth
Shake well, strain and pour into cocktail glass. Garnish with olives
I would normally order a dry gin Martini, believing that the lack of herbal botanicals in vodka would not be such a flavoursome cocktail. I was wrong. My PURE Lite Vodkatini had such a clean taste, deliciously dry which hit the spot.
Through the 1950s and 60s, Vodka was a relatively new spirit being introduced in the States, marketed and promoted by celebrity entertainers including Benny Goodman, Harpo Marx and Woody Allen et al.
The classic Gin Martini was then literally shaken up by Ian Fleming at the Duke’s Bar, London where the novelist created the legendary, literary-inspired Vesper Martini.
The precise recipe for a Vesper is given by James Bond to the bar tender in the novel Casino Royale, (1953).
“A Dry Martini”, he said. “ In a deep champagne goblet.”
“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordons gin, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”
“Certainly, monsieur.” The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
from ‘Casino Royale’, Ian Fleming
Be warned, the Vesper is a tad strong and at Dukes Bar – where this famous house cocktail is crafted and poured with perfection from freezer-chilled ingredients – the rule is a limit of two per person. This special Vodkatini is named after Vesper Lynd, Bond’s beautiful Girl in Casino Royale.
Vodka is also, of course, the key ingredient of a Bloody Mary, said to be the finest “hair of the dog” the morning after the night before. Almost one hundred years old, it was invented at Harry’s Bar, Paris, by Ferdinand “Pete” Petiot, combining vodka and tomato juice, allegedly named after the Hollywood movie star, Mary Pickford.
By 1934, Petiot had become head bartender at the St. Regis, New York, where he was asked to spice up the Bloody Mary for a customer and so added a few drops of Tabasco. The recipe was adapted over the years with Worcester Sauce, horseradish, (optional), a garnish of olives, lemon and a stick of celery to use as a swizzle stick.
There is a fine tradition to sip a spicy Bloody Mary around 12 noon when at sea on a cruise ship. Tomato juice and lemon are an excellent source of Vitamin C and it’s either a refreshing, ice cold drink or a hearty, spicy drink, whatever the climate.
With Pure Lite Vodka, you would never realise the low alcohol content so the perfect, healthy, vitamin-rich cocktail. The ideal partnership for a Sunday Brunch.
Being in the contemporary, youthful lifestyle business, PURE has devised its own playlist covering music genres from soul to pop, hip-hop and raps. Cool Sounds as you sip your Vodka cocktails.
Search ‘PURE Vodka’ on Spotify.
To find out more about PURE Organic Vodka and the new PURE LITE vodka, places to drink and where to purchase, as well as cocktail ideas, take a browse around the website.
The term Côte d’Azur was coined by the writer, Stephen Liégeard, whose 1887 travel guide to the French Riviera, “ La Côte d’Azur, described this ‘coast of light and warm breezes.”In the early 20th century, this sunshine coast inspired the Impressionist artists, Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Dufy, Bonnard and Picasso, who lived and painted around Nice, Villefranche, Antibes and Cagnes-sur-Mer to capture the luminous colour of land and sea.
The Riviera also became a glamorous retreat for wealthy travellers, celebrity writers, musicians and socialites of the Jazz Age. Leaving Long Island, New York, in 1924, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda moved to the Villa Saint Louis, Juan-les-Pins, their residence for three years.
“We were going to the Old World to find a new rhythm to our lives. ... driving along the High Corniche Road through the twilight with the whole French Riviera twinkling on the sea below. As far ahead as I could see was Monte Carlo…when life was literally a dream.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
The so-called “lost generation” of Americans sought refuge here to escape Prohibition back home. At the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, luxury villas and super-yachts. along the coast, the Fitzgeralds, Gerald and Sara Murphy, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Cole Porter, Stravinsky, Gertrude Stein and Coco Chanel – gathered for extravagant parties where champagne and cocktails flowed through the night.
Leisurely life and times here became the backdrop for his novel, “Tender is the Night”, opening with a description of the legendary Eden-Roc resort.
“On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, halfway between Marseille and the Italian border, stands a large, proud, rose-coloured hotel. Deferential palms cool its flushed façade, and before it stretches a short dazzling beach. Lately it has become a summer resort of notable and fashionable people”.
In a letter to his friend Ernest Hemingway, FSF wrote ” ….. back on my beloved Riviera…I’m happier than I’ve been for years. It’s one of those strange, precious and all too transitory moments when everything in one’s life seems to be going well.”
It is also a beloved, magical place for three friends, Andrew Campbell, James Auld and Adam Payne who shared a dream to reflect its cultural, literary heritage in a distinctive, dry French Gin.
CAP Gin is an expression of the Côte d’Azur distilled in a bottle, created from local botanicals – juniper, coriander, angelica Root, lemon peel, and pink peppercorns – blended with the iconic fragrance of Rose, Mimosa and Fleur d’Oranger synonymous with the coastline between Monaco and Saint Tropez.
The recipe for this premium spirit has been refined and perfected in collaboration with Dr David Clutton, who has extensive knowledge of pot stills and distillation.
“CAP Gin encapsulates the true essence of the hills and coastal fringes of the French Riviera. With citrus elements derived from lemon and sweet orange peels, aromatic Fleur d’Oranger buds and Mimosa flowers delivers a complex and elegant, yet perfectly balanced gin, of superior quality.” Dr. David Clutton.
It was an immediate success, receiving two gold medals for both Premium and London Dry categories, from the Spirits Business Gin Masters 2020. With scores of 80-89, CAP gin was judged to be “floral and luxurious” and the must-have drink this summer.
So, no wonder that I have been very keen to try this award winning gin myself. The chunky bottle is well designed with an attractive aqua blue and turquoise label. On the stopper is tiny logo of a swimmer in a swooping dive, encircled by a clever tagline, “Cap – L’Esprit de la Côte,” truly spiritual in both senses of the word.
The aroma on the nose is delicately perfumed evoking soft floral notes with a whiff of sea air, while the blend of herbal, floral and fruit ingredients are finely balanced, as tested in a dry Martini.
The initial sip is such a pure, clean taste, crisp, biscuity, bone-dry, and a garnish of a twist of orange draws out the sweet citrus tang. I often prefer an olive in a Martini, adding a touch of salty spice as a lingering aftertaste. With complex layers of aromatic flavours, this is a smoothly textured, highly sophisticated gin to be savoured in leisurely, languid fashion.
Stir ingredients gently with ice in a mixing glass, strain into a chilled martini glass
75ml CAP Gin
15ml Noilly Prat vermouth
As a G&T, what could be a better companion that Fevertree Mediterranean Tonic, infused with the oils of local flowers, fruits and herbs such as lemon thyme from Provence.
A predecessor of the Martini, the Martinez is said to be the most classic of classic cocktails. There are various stories about its origin, either invented by a bartender in Martinez, California or at a hotel in San Francisco. The recipe was first published in O.H. Byron’s “The Modern Bartender” in 1884, described as being the “same as a Manhattan, only you substitute the gin for whisky.”
40 ml CAP Gin
25 ml Sweet Vermouth
5 ml Maraschino Liqueuer
1 Dash of Angostura Bitters
Stir all ingredients over ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with orange zest.
This cocktail is perfectly suited for CAP gin as Hôtel Martinez is a landmark art deco building on the Croisette waterfront in Cannes. It opened on 20 February 1929 by its owner & founder, Emmanuel Michele Martinez, the son of a noble Italian family.
It was on the French Riviera where F. Scott Fitzgerald finished The Great Gatsby, and most appropriately the recent movie starting Leonardo DiCaprio, opened the Cannes Film Festival in May 2013 …….(with a post show party most likely at the Hôtel Martinez.)
Fitzgerald was enchanted by the Riviera .. ….its “diffused magic of the hot sweet South … the soft-pawed night and the ghostly wash of the Mediterranean far below.”
This was his playground for work, writing, pleasure and socialising leisure. While he commented that “too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” his favourite tipple was gin as he believed it could not be smelt on his breath.
His cocktail of choice was a Gin Rickey, as introduced in chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby.
Tom came back, preceding four Gin Rickeys that clicked full of ice. Gatsby took up his drink.
“They certainly look cool,” he said, with visible tension. We drank in long, greedy swallows.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
2 oz. Gin
Club Soda Water
Add the gin to a tall glass full of ice with the juice from the lime half, and then drop the shell into the glass. Top with soda water.
Scott and Zelda were known to frequent the Bar Américain at the Hôtel de Paris, Monaco, for a nightcap – most likely a Gin Rickey or a Gin Fizz.
CAP Gin certainly does capture L’Esprit de la Côte, evoking the glamorous lifestyle of those decadant hedonistic days on the French Riviera, a century ago. Whether you prefer a refreshing G&T, a Martini, Martinez or Negroni, do try this silky smooth, classy, classic and oh so, elegant Gin. Yes, the must-have drink for summer 2020.
Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Zelda and Chanel et al, would have approved of CAP gin! à votre santé
CAP gin is distilled and produced at Distillerie des Terres Rouges, Turenne, France, available to purchase in the UK via, www.capgin.com