Launched in 2014, World of Zing, the home of craft bottled cocktails, has quickly become recognised amongst Europe’s most innovative cocktail businesses.
Set up to bring exciting moments of mixology and cocktail innovation to a wider audience, the company operates in South East London from one of Europe’s most advanced cocktail labs. Including molecular mixology and cocktail ageing facilities – World of Zing’s cocktails are crafted in small batches using the finest spirits, handmade liqueurs and bespoke bitters.
In addition to producing delicious bottled cocktails, the Zing team is now also responsible for designing and producing cocktails for some of UK’s most famous venues, including The Langham Hotel and The Belmond British Pullman.
We caught up with the UK’s most influential mixologist, Pritesh Mody, who set up world of Zing, to hear about his inspirations, his company’s innovations and why the Margarita tops his list of cocktails.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, including where you are today, professionally, and what got you here?
Before launching World of Zing in 2014, the bills used to be paid for with a career as a booze marketing consultant and occasional food and drink writer for over 10 years. Essentially, I was paid to spot trends in the drinks industry, so World of Zing is very a manifestation of my career experience.
What inspired you to become a mixologist?
I have a somewhat unique introduction into the world of cocktails. Having spent a huge amount of time around some of the best bartenders around during my career in drinks marketing, I become somewhat obsessed with the history and craft of making great cocktails.
However, going a little further back, my family are one of the UK’s oldest spice merchants, so I’ve spent my entire life in and amongst the restaurant industry. From as young as I can remember, I was intrigued by the world of spices and flavour, so World of Zing essentially showcases my love of interesting ingredients through the medium of cocktails.
What’s your signature cocktail?
I’m a huge Margarita fan so it’s got to be my Nori Seaweed Margarita. My biggest pet hate with Margaritas is the crusty, overpowering salt rim, so my version has a seaweed infusion that essentially introduces a touch of salinity into the drink in a far more balanced way.
Why do you think ready-to-drink cocktails have become so popular?
The concept of bottled cocktails had been around since the 19th Century, and even venerable bartenders such as Jerry Thomas have dedicated recipes to this art. We launched our concept around the same time that Ryan Chetiyawardana, a.k.a. Mr Lyan was also championing a revival of this trend.
In the modern context, pre-batched cocktails have dovetailed with the rapidly increasing demand for cocktails. From a practical perspective, they are not only hugely convenient, but can also be more environmentally friendly through reduced waste, and most importantly, if properly crafted and rested, can taste even better than a freshly made drink.
How did lockdown affect World of Zing?
At our core, World of Zing is the trusted pre-batch cocktail supplier to some of the UK’s leading hospitality operators, from the bedrooms of The Pig and carriages of the Belmond Pullman to the tables of Tonkotsu and Everyman Cinema. As such, Covid initially was disastrous for us with all of our clients closing up. However, our retail bottle sales, as well as providing delivery format cocktails quickly kicked in and we still managed to deliver around 650,000 serves in 2020 despite lockdown.
Where do you think the ready-to-drink industry will be in five years?
It’s interesting to see how the ready to drink sector has segmented within itself, with everything from premium bartender quality drinks such as ourselves, through to lower abv convenient cans. Indeed, the fact that World of Zing’s retail bottles have recently been listed across all 200 Majestic Wine stores shows the level of consumer interest in bottled cocktails.
The key takeaway from this is that consumers are thirstier than ever for cocktails and are also more discerning than ever, so this is a sector that will continue to evolve, innovate and cement itself as a staple of consumer purchasing habits.
You’ve championed ingredients such as chickpea water and nori seaweed in cocktails, what is your next ingredient you wish to explore with?
We don’t necessarily develop new cocktails with the intention of being overtly innovative, but we are also constantly pushing the boundaries of flavour and styles of cocktails that can be bottled, so ingredients innovation is more of a by-product of the challenges that we face. So in that sense, our next major innovation will be to reduce carbon footprint through packaging with the launch of what we believe to be the UK’s first recyclable cocktail pouch system.
What are the most important considerations when crafting a cocktail?
Ultimately, it’s all down to flavour. It may sound obvious, but if something doesn’t taste incredible and make the drinker pause the first time they have a sip, then we don’t have a business!
All images credit: Food and Drinks Photography