Castles & Cocktails
A Highclere Castle Gin Blog

Feature Contributor: Khalid Williams

Chief Mixologist - Highclere Castle Gin

Meet Khalid Williams, Chief Mixologist at Highclere Castle Gin.

Let us build a castle, and let our castle be in a glass.

The Castle that I have has seen the company of celebrities, royalty and nobility. The secrets contained within are infinite, to be explored by those who seek abundance. It’s existed for more than 200 years and makes a promise of beauty to future generations.

I speak not of the Victorian structure that sits on 5,000 acres in Hampshire, our beloved Highclere Castle. I speak of the cocktail in my glass-a monument to simple perfection, a structure built on history and collaboration. While many may never make the trek to Hampshire to see the world’s most famous country home, the liquid castle that’s built in the glass can be experienced anywhere, at any time.

I am a bartender by trade, and by virtue of my career have been entrusted with the most precious and finite resource of my valued guests-leisure time. Every adult has reconciled that time is fleeting and not always accompanied by freedom. Each of us wakes up with countless missions to fulfil and roles to play. Our hours are spent trying to perform on our pledge of the role that we choose, and the better we perform, the less free time we are afforded. It is my most sacred duty to make these stolen moments of leisure memorable, to leverage an infinite world of beverage and food into fellowship and happiness for those who I am fortunate enough to serve.

My journey as a bartender has gone far beyond the “stick” (our affectionate moniker for the bar itself, that most lovely piece of wood that physically separates the mixologists from the guests and serves as a stage for an eternal epic of enjoyment) and has evolved into a never-ending search for two main things-drinks that matter and people who care.

A drink that matters is simply one that is crafted thoughtfully. It can be rendered by a bona fide professional or an amateur enthusiast.

The people who care are the artisans that are forever pushing boundaries in the drinks space, be it the distillers whose mastery is rarely seen but felt with every sip, the culinary masters of the kitchen who invent new pairings and edible accompaniments (bartenders learn flavor from chefs. It has been and so shall be.) or the home bartender that has marked Saturday evening as a sacred cocktail night of discovery and wonder in their very own kitchens.

Over the next month, I’ll be shedding light on the people and places that espouse the virtues of Highclere Castle Gin, the processes behind the scenes that are integral into producing not only the world’s finest spirit, but everything that embodies inspired liquid, luxury and leisure.

The sheer vastness of the liquid castle cannot be quantified. It may present itself as a creation of chemistry with sous vide syrups, caviar like fruits and botanical foams, or it can be the simple perfection of a highball.

The highball is simply X and Y, this and that. Gin has the distinction of being one half of the most iconic  highball in history- the gin and tonic.

Much like our beloved Highclere Castle, the gin and tonic has seen a journey that hasn’t been without woe. Corn syrup that was created in a lab was doused upon wet, poorly formed ice cubes, ruining perfectly fine gin for far too long. The collective public has invested time and attention into refining palates round the world and the internet has uncovered the secret of craft tonics, making the standard G&T a thing of beauty that deserves the same attention as a well stirred martini or a perfectly shaken Ramos Gin Fizz.

I invite you to be a guest in my digital country home. This castle is built on a foundation of drinking boldly, eating with gusto, listening with empathy and thinking critically about how to make our next drink our best drink, our free time a magical series of inspired events.

Every cocktail that we taste and each moment that we spend in the company of loved ones, reflecting on the happenings of the day and the possibilities of tomorrow are truly royal moments. I humbly invite you to join me and be my traveling partner on a never-ending journey to an infinite destination-the tiny castle in our glass.