Alex Kammerling describes himself as an appreciator of fine spirits and mixed libations – but neither an alcoholic nor mixologist. He says: ‘I don’t like the term mixologist because it suggests I’ve been to university to study the science of mixing, which I haven’t. I went to art college and see mixing drinks as more of an art and a craft. Although there are elements of science which can be applied, bartending is not an academic subject!’

From his first steps into bartending aged 18 in 1993 to current behind the counter presence at Islington’s den for the thinking drinker, 69 Colebrooke Row, the slick, moustached spiritual adviser has delighted civilian and celebrity sippers in hotels, restaurants, clubs and pubs in London, Australia and Asia.

Taking five years to perfect, his recently launched eponymous golden spirit takes inspiration in flavour and packaging from the long history of alcohol acting as medicine. Kammerling says: ‘Hippocrates was a firm believer in alcoholic herbal infusions.’

Ingredients sound reassuringly healthful. ‘For a start, it contains four types of ginseng,’ explains Kammerling. This is joined by grapefruit peel, manuka honey, annatto and no fewer than 38 natural botanicals including juniper, echinacea, ginkgo biloba and goji berries. Kammerling adds: ‘at 33% abv, it’s also slightly lower in alcohol than most spirits.’

Best served neat over ice or with bitter lemon, Kammerling describes the drink’s taste as at the centre of a Venn diagram of Pimms, Hendrick’s gin and Campari. ‘It’s fresh and citrusy on the nose with light floral/anise and juniper notes, a sweet, rich and spiced herbal palate, finally ending with a long, honeyed bitterness.’

Invented in Kammerling’s Highbury flat, but now made and bottled in Clapham, Kammerling’s is available at Selfridges and Gerry’s of Old Compton Street and online at, and (RRP £18)

‘Summer at the Savoy’ – Nathan Merriman, American Bar

  • 30ml Kammerlings
  • 30ml Jensen old Tom gin
  • 20ml camomile flower syrup
  • 15ml honey syrup
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • 3 basil leaves

Glass: Tall port glass

Method: Shake and double strain over hard handmade ice

Garnish: Basil leaf across the top