Personalise your wedding cocktails

Hi! My name’s Dean and I’ve been the Beverages Manager here at The Kedleston Country House since November 2016. I started in hospitality way back in 2009 and I’ve since worked in just about every beverage related outlet you can imagine! From nightclubs to student union bars. From 5 star hotels with Michelin starred restaurants to some of the best boutique hotels in the country!

The Kedleston attracted me as a unique opportunity. As a country house with a brewery at the heart of it all; for me the position seemed to encompass something of everything I had experienced before, with a new addition for me of bespoke weddings!

I love that every wedding we cater for here is not only unique but personal. Every little detail thought-out; if ever I imagined my own wedding I know I haven’t even scratched the surface in my head compared to the thought that goes into not only the planning of weddings here at The Kedleston through to the delivery. It’s a real team effort with everyone involved invested in pulling off the biggest day of a couples lives! So no pressure!

As for the bar itself, it is perhaps one of the best stocked bars I have ever come across, and it’s always expanding! With over 80 wines including 6 red, 6 white and 2 rose offerings by the glass, 5 real ales on hand-pull, 8 draught to choose from and more than 60 spirits and liquors, there really is something for everyone. With such a huge range of drinks I love to share them with our guests although we appreciate people will have favourites. A lover of wine may not appreciate a great whisky or a real ale drinker may not fancy trying a fancy New Western gin but I genuinely believe with all the selection on offer now days that anyone can find something from any branch of beverage that really stands out for them. And that’s where I come in!

Part of my job – if not the most important part as far as I’m concerned – is not to be the decision maker for the guest but to poke and prod their curiosities, tempting them with something that is entirely out of their comfort zone and watching expressions change from uncertainty to delight. I’ve never understood why but I get a genuine kick out of that.

Having said all this, there’s always a spirit I’ve never heard of! A speciality wine I didn’t even know existed! With every wedding couple we meet, I thrive when tasked with sourcing something out of the ordinary! Not only is it exciting for me to discover something new but sometimes it can be a real challenge locating an item that isn’t in our expansive inventory.

Possibly the most difficult of these to find was Akvavit, which is a Scandinavian spirit not dissimilar to vodka. Its name derives (as most spirits do) from the Scandinavian word for ‘water of life’. Not only did this involve scouring my suppliers to see where I could source it but it also involved a real history lesson in the distillation process of Scandinavian sprits! Not everybody’s cup of tea I’m sure but for me that’s like finding a book you just cannot put down!

I suppose that just about sums up what we are trying to achieve here. Everything we stock on our bar has a back-story, a history, a character.

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