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GEMSTONE COCKTAIL COLLECTION
INTERVIEW WITH JESUS ORTEGA

A conversation with the mixologist who created our Gemstone inspired, non-alcoholic cocktail recipes

We have the honour of hearing from Jesus Ortega – London Essence’s Head of Brand Advocacy in Europe, and the creator of our new non-alcoholic cocktail collection. This new collection sees Jesus take the colour and beliefs behind some of our favourite gemstones and imagine them as beautifully elegant cocktails.

GEMSTONE COLLECTION

INTRODUCING OUR COLLECTION CREATOR – WHO IS JESUS ORTEGA?

I'm originally from Mexico but have been in France for my entire adult life. I began my exploration in cocktail creation when I started working at Candelaria in Paris; I loved the creative process behind drinks making and how similar it was to pastry and baking…my therapy. Being the first contact people had with Candelaria opened many doors. I then started working in Paris as a Brand Ambassador for The London Essence Company in 2018.

WHAT IS THE GEMSTONE COLLECTION?

After I was asked to create a collection of purely non-alcoholic drinks, I started to envision the most versatile cocktail menu, with flavours adapted to seasonality and told myself I needed to make drinks that could satisfy anybody and everybody.

We chose gemstones because they are linked to well-being. These powerful, colourful stones are said to have different healing properties and even though my drinks don't heal they do produce joy – and less alcohol means a healthier option, so more joy can be had!

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO DO A NON-ALCOHOLIC COCKTAIL COLLECTION?

Non-alcoholic drinks are becoming increasingly popular as people are drinking less alcohol than before, prioritising quality over quantity – especially when it comes to cocktails.

WHAT IS CAUSING THE RISE IN NON-ALCOHOLIC COCKTAILS' POPULARITY?

Some people are turning a lot more to self-care than before, and I think we owe that to the pandemic. People are starting to realise that we don't need alcohol all the time to have fun, and that amazing drinks don’t always have to have a lot of alcohol. Younger people are choosing a sober life having never tried alcohol and not being curious about it, they go straight to non-alcoholic drinks.

Since the pandemic I have started to take more care of myself and work out, eat healthily, so non-alcoholic drinks were the best way to go, for me. I have realised myself that I am sharper when I am not drinking and although I do taste cocktails for my work, I haven’t finished an alcoholic drink for a long time now.

WHAT MAKES A GREAT NON-ALCOHOLIC COCKTAIL?

The same as an alcoholic cocktail, really – flavour and simplicity. We tend to forget that most ingredients that give a cocktail flavour aren't the spirit itself but what we call modifiers – shrubs, syrups, juices etc. – so the options are only limited by creativity. Pairing flavours together and keeping it as simple as possible is the key.

WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE RECIPE FROM THE GEMSTONE COLLECTION?

Citrine and Amethyst. Citrine because it's the simplest flavour pairings ever, but it's refreshing and cuts through with every sip. Amethyst has a special place in my heart because I never thought it was going to look (and taste) so stunning.

WHAT IS YOUR TOP TIP WHEN MAKING NON-ALCOHOLIC COCKTAILS?

I don’t think I can say this enough: keep it simple. Look for flavours that go well together, in food or other drinks. And remember the botanicals in some spirits if you like alcohol and ask yourself how can you bring out these flavours in your creations?

Now you know the inspiration and details behind our Gemstone Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Collection, why not try them for yourself? Using the links below, you can find all the details you’ll need to make any of these drinks yourself – as well as the details of our other non-alcoholic cocktail and mocktail collections.

Gemstone  |  Mocktail   |  Non-alcoholic

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