How do we even come up with these ideas anyway?
Well, actually, this one is pretty simple. The team at the Tate approached us with a request; they wanted a soda they could promote alongside their hugely ambitious upcoming Cezanne exhibition. It's a big deal. They're calling it a once-in-a-generation exhibition of Cezanne's work and want us to make a complimentary soda for it? I'm in!
But where to begin?
First, they sent me a massive document containing all their background research into Cezanne (which I've read, so now I'm, like, a Cezanne expert). He loves nature, Aix en Provence and making still-life paintings.
Taking in all this information, I arrived at the 100% original idea of making an apple soda (if you don't know, Cezanne did a lot a lot of paintings of apples). We've already made a Square Root Apple Soda before, so I need to make this one something else, something special.
Then I think of George from Flavour Fred, who I met six months before landing this project. George likes nature, foraging and, most importantly, he told me he's always wanted to do something with sweet woodruff and apples. Bingo!
So George sources me some Sweet Woodruff. It smells of absolutely nothing until you dry it, and then it smells like herbal vanilla magic. So first, we work on the best way to infuse the flavour into a sugar syrup through lots of trial and error. Then we work on pairing it with the right apples.
Now, I just so happen to know what I think is the best apple farm in the UK. Loddington is based in Kent. They have been growing apples for generations and recently switched to a regenerative agriculture model, which helps them produce some of the most delicious and nutritionally dense apples. So, seriously, if you know someone who doesn't like apples, these are the apples that will convert them.
So, Loddington supplies us with the apples. We choose sweet Gala and acidic Bramley to make blended apple juice with the perfect flavour combinations. Then George and I work on pairing it with the woodruff syrup we've made. We go through a process of trial and error until we hit the sweet spot of flavour combinations and make a small batch of the soda. We take this to the rest of the Square Root team to assess, and once they pass it, we sign off and the Apple and Woodruff Soda is born.
Is this art, you ask? I think so - art is anything that makes you feel something. And this drink makes me feel like I'm in my childhood kitchen making apple crumble with my mum. It's pure nostalgia in a bottle.
And if I can't convince you on that point, the label is one of Cezanne's paintings which is 100% definitely art.
Our Apple & Woodruff Soda is a limited-edition collaboration with the Tate. It's available for sale on our website while stocks last and in the Tate Modern until the 12th of March 2023. So get it while you can!
*editors note: Robyn, this is great but don't you think "liquid art" is a bit pretentious? Can we workshop some alternatives?