Award sponsored by Franklin & Sons

Cocktail List of the Year



Cocktail List of the Year

Serene and maybe even a bit sedate, York isn’t somewhere you’d expect to find one of the most adventurous cocktail lists in the UK. And the Banks family’s Roots restaurant does not exactly play to type either - it doesn’t even have a bar (at least not one you can sit at). Undeterred by these limitations, James Banks and team have created a hyper-creative selection of cocktails and other drinks that are largely crafted using the produce grown on the family’s farm down the road in Oldstead.

The selection would almost be overwhelming were it not explained so skilfully by the Marygate restaurant’s front of house team. First up are ‘seasonal’ cocktails based on produce that has been preserved in the warmer months using various methods including infusing, drying and freezing. These include rhubarb and rose punch; wild garlic margarita; and crabapple bellini. 

There are also a selection of liqueurs made with the glut of fruit the family is faced with in Autumn, including rhubarb vodka; damson brandy; and seabuckthorn vodka. Needless to say, these are about as far away from the sickly sweet libations that languish in elderly relative’s drinks cabinets as one can imagine. The team also have a line in what it describes as Garden Spirits - drinks created by distilling in a low temperature vacuum distiller that captures the freshness of summer as a clean crisp libation (options include blackcurrant leaf, and fennel pollen).

Throw in some great soft drinks and some tempting after dinner options - we would recommend Roots’ espresso martini, which involves woodruff and Bourbon - and you have a comprehensive package of delicious but also thought-provoking drinks that chime with Roots - and its equally brilliant sister restaurant The Black Swan at Oldstead - focus on self-sufficiency. We’ll drink to that.