At Wester we’re always excited to collaborate with like-minded people, who share our sense of civic pride, fondness for good food and drink, and like to indulge in a good old fashioned knees up every now and then.  So - it is with great pleasure that we introduce a partnership with the Undercover Dinner Society this June. We’re letting them into our Meadow Road distillery and giving them the run of the place for three nights; in return they’re giving us a six course tasting menu with a focus on the finest Scottish seafood.

Undercover Dinner Society is a family business, headed up by award-winning chef John Traynor and his wife Lyndsey, established in April 2018. ‘I first realised that I had a keen interest in food when I was around 8 years old and would watch cookery programmes,’ says John, who - intoxicated by the world of food - left school at 16 to start his career right away. By the age of 21 he was already Head Chef at Argyle Street favourite The Finnieston - something he’s understandably proud of. ‘Not only was it my first Head Chef position,’ he says, ‘at the time it was also a brand new restaurant!’

These days, John works as a development chef for a seafood manufacturer, giving his creative muscles an additional flexing with the continued success of the Undercover Dinner Society. The team have been running nights in weird and wonderful locations across Glasgow since its inception, with immaculately presented plates and innovative twists aplenty. Despite having no shortage of tricks up his sleeve, John’s mission statement, from a culinary standpoint, is a simple one. ‘My philosophy is - where possible - to use Scottish grown and Scottish farmed produce,’ John says. ‘I also love to buy from local businesses - it’s important to support them and invest back into the local economy.’  

That locally minded approach, allied to a playful menu that’s inspired by food from all over the world, means that the Undercover Dinner Society has a strong identity of its own, even with the popup nature of the operation meaning no location is ever the same. Indeed, for John, the chance to move around Glasgow is a big part of the fun. ‘For me one of the main benefits is definitely being able to showcase the Undercover Dinner Society in various different venues,’ John says. ‘I like the fact that we’re not tied to one part of the city too! It’s definitely liberating.’ He pauses, adding, ‘and a tad stressful at times - but I actually thrive off the buzz of it.’

For their takeover, which takes place on Fri 14th, Sat 15th and Sun 16th of June, John is keeping tight lipped on exactly what he’s serving up - though we’ve no doubt it’ll blow us all away. ‘Some of the dishes will be inspired by the ingredients used in Wester rums,’ he says, adding, ‘and as always with our events - ‘there will be good food with creative twists.’ 

Each of John’s courses will be paired with one of our own Wester cocktails, crafted by our own Ben Miller, who worked under some of the city’s best mixologists at Nonya, before being given the licence to design a full menu for their downstairs bar. Ben says the challenge of working to a theme allows him to experiment and innovate. ‘In terms of pairing spiced rum with mostly seafood courses,’ Ben says, ‘it might seem like it would be difficult to make it work. The way I worked around this was by using ingredients that classically work with seafood; citrus, dry wines, vinegars and aniseed - and also by keeping most of the drinks quite simple and light, with not too much sweetness or overpowering flavours. I like to mix it up and use Wester in cocktails that spiced rum wouldn't usually be included in,’ he adds, citing a few of his favourites - Negroni, Shrub and Penicillin. 'That shows how versatile Wester is as a spirit.’ We’re not sure exactly what John and Ben have up their sleeves, but we’re extremely excited.

Undercover Dinner Society comes to Wester Spirit Co on Fri 14th-Sun 16th June. Tickets for the six course meal are on sale now.