Duo Laurent and Adrian Share a Bit About Starting a New Cocktail Line & Their Secret to the Perfect Gin & Tonic
Laurent Rolle and Adrian Whylly first met when they both started working at the Bon Vivants Café & Cocktail Bar, in 2019. The mixologists both started on the same day, and quickly bonded due to their Family Island upbringing, passion for creating new and unique cocktails, art and the creative process. In recent months, the duo joined forces to create a brand new, made-to-order, craft cocktail line called Free Spirit.
Laurent, who first discovered his love for mixology and developing new and innovative cocktails at his father’s bar in Great Harbour Cay, and Adrian, who spent much of his youth growing up in Abaco and has been working in the bar and hospitality industry for a number of years, are both artists. They both enjoy expressing themselves visually and through the cocktails that they create. During the development stage of the brand, they not only wanted to create a cocktail experience that was delicious, but also visually appealing. They also noted that they didn’t want to simply recreate Bahamian classics, or generic cocktails that can be found on any menu.
Free Spirit, which includes 15 unique and diverse cocktails, features vibrant bottles and edgy names. And, while the aesthetically pleasing packaging may be an initial draw, the quality liqueurs, spirits, wines, assorted bitters, herbs, spices, and juices offer something for just about every palate. The menu ranges from light, fruity and sweet, like the shimmery coconut and toffee infused “Smuggler’s Paradise” or the “Sine Cura” which features vodka, dry vermouth, fresh orange juice, lime and chocolate bitters, peach liquor, organic cranberry juice and Demerara syrup; to more complex, strong and robust flavors, in cocktail additions such as the “Para Qué?”, which features mezcal, black peppercorn syrup, olive juice, black pepper, lime juice, and a bit of a kick from a spicy liqueur.
Below, they also offer a few tips for at-home or budding bartenders looking to diversify their cocktail making skills.
Firstly, Laurent and Adrian both emphasize the importance of using a jigger and measuring ingredients for consistency, as well as utilizing glassware that makes your beverages feel special. They also recommend using quality ice made from bottled instead of tap water, and ensuring that the ice is not impacted by other aromas that may be picked up in a freezer. Their final at-home bar tip is using fresh citrus. While many Bahamian menus use lime juice extensively, they recommend adding fresh lemons to brighten up almost any cocktail.
One of the duo’s favorite cocktails is a simple Gin & Tonic. They recommend starting with 1.5 - 2oz of your favorite gin over ice, they recommend Tanqueray, before topping with tonic water and a slice of lemon. But, to elevate your G&T experience, experiment with tonic water varieties, such as elderflower or grapefruit, as well as different bitters.
Free Spirit is currently available for purchase via the Free Spirit website or their Instagram page.