The Venning Brothers: Three Sheets (London)

Max and Noel are the owners of Three Sheets in London. They make two cocktails for us, one with Whisky and Miso Paste and the second with Gin and Verjus.

Max and Noel introduce yourselves
We are Max and Noel Venning from Three Sheets in London. We were born two years apart and both did bar work while we were at university. We both worked in various bars over the years, but I moved down to London and Noel stayed in Manchester. My last job was at 69 Colebrooke Row and Noel was at Crazy Pedro’s which is a tequila and mezcal bar. We always talked about opening a bar together and this bar actually started on the spur of the moment. As I previously said, I was working in London and Noel was working in Manchester.  I happened to pass by the site after a bad day at work, I saw this space and put in an offer on the spot. At the time I hadn’t even discussed it with Noel and we did not have the money to start it. The estate agent told me it had already been taken, but I called Noel and we decided to start getting the money together to start our own bar. About two months later the agent called me back and said it was ours if we wanted it. So we did a re-furb with my cousin who’s a builder (it’s been a real family business) and we opened. We are both local to the area and we wanted to create a neighbourhood bar, where you can stop in for a coffee in the morning, have a bite to eat during the day or drink in the evenings… that was really important to us. The first two months were pretty stressful, but we are so happy we’ve done it. We’ve had amazing support from the industry, but our bread and butter is the locals that live within a two mile radius.

The classic you want to show us
Shiso Miso
50ml of Nikka All Malt Fat Washed with Shiso Leaves and White Miso Paste
10ml of Sugar Syrup
6 dashes of Angostura Bitters

The bar you dream of
MAX: We love this place, so the only thing I would do is add a metre onto the width as it’s a very narrow space. Or if money was no object, we’d open another Three Sheets in Manchester.
NOEL: I/we would also like to open a classic english pub or a fresh pasta restaurant that serves simple, fresh quality pasta dishes.

What do you do in your time off
We watch a lot of football, go to Sager and Wilde, P Franco in Clapton or hang out in local pubs. Basically we just eat and drink.

The spirit you like the most
MAX: I think vodka is interesting as it gets such a bad rap. I think it’s pure and has an unusual texture.
NOEL: It’s very much a mood thing with me. At the moment I’d choose agave based spirits. Having worked at Pedro’s we were exposed to so many great mezcals. I really like the flavour and I appreciate the traditional way it’s produced.

What makes a good cocktail
MAX: I don’t care about techniques or weird ingredients, a great cocktail should taste good.
NOEL: For the first time ever I’m going to have to agree with my brother. What’s the point of a drink if you don’t like it?

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
NOEL: I’m not going to say an ingredient, but rather a technique we are using a lot at the moment. You can pretty much ferment anything and we’ve just made an amazing fermented rhubarb cordial. The fermentation of the rhubarb adds such a complex acidity to the fruit.
MAX: I was going to say that! This is weird, we are agreeing on everything today. Ok, I like differing types of acidity, like verjus for example. It adds acidity to a cocktail instead of relying on citrus, which most people tend to use.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
French 75
108g of Star of Bombay Gin
30g of Lemon Juice
50g of Sugar Syrup
95g of Minus 8 Verjus
180g of Dry Moscato
1g of Orange Flower Water
300g of Water

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
NOEL: Go to Barking Dog and Bronnum in Copenhagen.
MAX: I’d say talk to Marcis from Sager and Wilde and check out The Punch Room in The Edition Hotel, both in London. In Singapore see Joe at Tippling Club, visit Operation Dagger and check out the Clumsies in Athens .