A big hello to all Kula Magazine readers. We are Gungho! a sustainable cocktail bar in Brighton, in this article I will be telling you all about the concept behind our forward-thinking bar and will share some delicious foraged spritz cocktail ideas with you too.

My name is Julien and I run Gungho! on Preston Street (it’s an amazing street just off the seafront, full of fantastic restaurants and people). After working in a plethora of bars in Brighton for 5 years, I decided it was time to establish the concepts I learnt and do it myself. Initially, I wasn’t really sure how I would start off. I even considered providing a pop-up bar service or converting a van into an events/festival bar, but after some planning (and quite a bit of wine) I took the plunge and found myself on a whirlwind journey of opening up my own bar. All I knew at that point was that I wanted the design to use reclaimed materials inside and seasonal, local and foraged produce for the cocktails.

Our first menu included cocktails like the APPLE – made with somerset cider brandy, stewed apples and werther’s originals; PARSNIP – made with honey vodka, candied parsnip, manzanilla sherry, and champagne; and MUSHROOM – made with scotch, umeshu, lavender, and mushroom carbonation. We had an amazing response from fellow bartenders, chefs and foodies, but it seemed too adventurous for the public. People wanted a bar where they felt comfortable ordering Margaritas, Espresso Martinis and other popular cocktails…mushroom cocktails, not so much! The most important aspect of any hospitality business is ensuring that our guests are content and satisfied; off-menu and classic cocktails were vastly exceeding the number of seasonal cocktails we were producing; so it was clear we had to tweak our offering.

Whilst we could have taken the easy road, scrap our concept and just make popular cocktails, I was adamant to do it on our terms and find a happy medium. This led to us launching another menu, ancillary to our seasonal, foraged cocktails. The ‘Revised Disco Drinks’ menu: disco-era cocktails and drinks revised for the modern palate. Drinks like Strawberry Daiquiris were converted from sweet, slushy messes into fresh, zingy, rummy cocktails that a classic daiquiri has always been.

This menu took off, and we received great feedback from everyone. It was a great accomplishment, which really kick-started our project to create a sustainable version of retro and classic cocktails.

After years of tweaking, we at Gungho! have been able to create a unique bar where sustainability, local produce, and foraging is at its core; not only on our own creations but throughout classic and popular cocktails that people enjoy.