Winter is a really under-rated season. No, it doesn't scream BBQ and al fresco drinking, but this time of year is so visually beautiful to experience. The deep reds, golds and browns around Autumnal Bristol make way to being bathed in the crisp blue atmosphere of Winter. We instinctively begin to seek the comforting snug of a well-worn pub (preferably near a roaring open-fire).
One venue that really comes into its own in Winter is Milk Thistle. A hidden-away warren of a cocktail bar in the centre of Bristol that's part prohibition, part hunting lodge. Its interior is escapism to another era - rich mahogany, deep leather sofas and early 20th century 'curiosities' greet you after making your way through their secretive entrance.
This bar isn't all aesthetic though. It's backed up with a talented team of cocktail makers who make the classics as perfectly as crafting their own creations. With that in mind, we thought we'd set a challenge to the team there: to create a uniquely Bristolian cocktail that celebrates both the region and the season.
We've been working with 6 O'clock Gin recently - a Bristol-based distillery - and remembered they had this amazing limited 'Brunel Edition' gin that was the perfect base for this wintery ode to Bristol. Full of spicy botanicals like green cardamom, nutmeg and cumin, it's perfect for the colder months.
After that, we just let Alex at Milk Thistle do his thing. What came back was the 'Brunel Bentley' which you can see being made by Alex's fine hands in our video. Like anything proper Bristol, it had to have some cider in didn't it? Equal measures of Somerset Cider Brandy and Fig Liquer give it a deep sweet and spice that sets off the gin's botanicals perfectly.
This is a serious, grown-up cocktail that's exactly what we were looking for. Proper Bristol and full of winter-warming goodness. You can either head to Milk Thistle right now and order one for yourself or have a crack at it with our recipe card below.
You can grab your limited edition Brunel Edition 6 O'clock Gin here.