As Told by Smitty's
In this tiny jazz basement, local people, ingredients, musicians and friends come together under Sophie Jamieson’s careful bartending eye. Kansas Smitty’s provides a home for these worlds to collide, but never with pretence. They just serve delicious drinks.
Sophie pulls bottles, jars and bowls of exotic looking spices and ingredients out from well-stocked cupboards and shelves. Bottles of sticky syrups and glasses filled with dried and fresh herbs soon line the stone bar, with the black and white checkerboard tiles beneath. Behind her, the turquoise back-bar glints while the records of the band that own and run Kansas Smitty’s spin on the vinyl player.
The space is deceptively small; the bar-top is stacked with all kinds of produce. Their Head Bartender is at home behind the bar. ‘This is one of the most important hubs in the London jazz scene. Our ethos here is that the music comes first, and I like to keep that at the centre of all the
drinks we make’.
The bar’s ethos is one which is wholeheartedly embraced. ‘We’re people people. The jazz community is a community who do something together and engage with each other. We like to
spread that through to the bar as well’. Sophie mentions a few local friends, like the East London Liquor Company, and some of the other Broadway Market independents. She shows me a bottle of East London Liquor Company gin that she’s infused with tea. It’s delicate and fresh.
‘I’m really enjoying working with tea and more floral flavours at the moment. The other day I bought some first flush Darjeeling tea from an amazing tea merchants, Tiosk, which we’re incredibly lucky to have just down the road. That and Climpsons and Sons Coffee are a mine of tasty ingredients.’
Many of the ingredients Sophie uses go into their speciality cocktail, their juleps. They infuse their
four house juleps on site, both with regular and guest spirits. ‘A julep is a really tasty, classic bourbon cocktail. The function of infusing is to bring out the best flavours in each of the spirits. When we get a new or guest spirit we infuse it with the things that you can smell or taste in the alcohol, to enhance them, to make them taste even better. I throw all the ingredients in and leave them for a couple of days to steep. Then we serve them in our signature tin cans’.
Over the next few months we’ll be featuring London’s best bits, as told by Smitty’s. Head back here next month for an insight into another of our favourite Broadway Market traders.