The Glenlivet Nàdurra Expands Into A Range Of Cask Experiences

Glenlivet NadurraThe Glenlivet, the original single malt whisky, is expanding its celebrated The Glenlivet Nàdurra brand into a range featuring different cask experiences as it aims to build on its strong development in the growing single malt whisky market*.

Nikki Burgess, Global Brand Director for The Glenlivet at Chivas Brothers, comments: “The Glenlivet Nàdurra is the purest expression of The Glenlivet that captures the original passion and production methods of George Smith’s distillery. We know that whisky connoisseurs appreciate these qualities at the heart of the range, and by expanding the Nàdurra range we aim to consolidate our strong and innovative offering in the craft single malt arena.

Each expression in The Glenlivet Nàdurra range is crafted in small batches using traditional production methods and is matured exclusively in a different cask-type, showcasing the versatility and flawless quality of The Glenlivet spirit. Unlike most modern whiskies, the range is bottled without chill-filtration, which offers the additional complexity, body, and texture of a whisky that has just been drawn from the cask.

Refreshed packaging demonstrates the handcrafted nature of Nàdurra through prominent batch number and cask-type stamps, an artisanal typeface, an emphasis on the Gaelic translation of Nàdurra, and a distinctive handmade finish.

The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso is the first new permanent expression in the range, and is the first major The Glenlivet bottling** in living memory to be matured solely in ex-sherry casks.

The first-fill, ex-Oloroso sherry casks from Jerez in Spain impart rich, distinctive dried fruits aromas, warm spices, and notes of cinnamon and liquorice. The spirit combined with the cask influence, produces a sweetness of dark chocolate and a finish which is long and sweet with a slightly dry, spicy effect from the European oak maturation.

“The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso presents a rare opportunity to taste The Glenlivet aged exclusively in ex-Oloroso casks, which we anticipate to be extremely popular with whisky fans and an enticing purchase for travellers in Travel Retail when it launches. As we continue to release additional twists on the original The Glenlivet Nàdurra, we look forward to showcasing different cask experiences to an increasing number of discerning drinkers,” adds Nikki Burgess.

The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso will be introduced to Travel Retail Europe in May 2014 via immersive experiences to help travellers gain an understanding of the new whisky’s unique taste profile. The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso will be unveiled first at Heinemann Frankfurt airport before launching in London Heathrow Terminal 5 as part of the World Duty Free Whisky Festival 2014. Striking The Glenlivet spaces created in both airports will reflect the brand’s contemporary style, enticing whisky enthusiasts to interact with the new single malt’s tasting notes and explore its rich heritage. In Frankfurt B-East and London Heathrow Terminal 5 travellers will also be invited to enjoy a dram of the new expression while playing a game of pool thanks to the installation of a miniature pool table in the dedicated brand space.

Ballantine’s Releases 17yr Signature Distillery Glentauchers Edition To Complete Set Of Four Unique Ballantine’s Blends

Ballantine'sBallantine’s, the world’s No. 2 Scotch whisky, has today announced the release of Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Signature Distillery Glentauchers Edition. This special blend completes a set of four limited editions, each of which has been created to demonstrate the unique structure of Ballantine’s 17 Year Old and how this is achieved.

Of all of the malt and grain whiskies used in Ballantine’s 17 Year Old, four stand out as ‘signature’ malts – Scapa, Miltonduff, Glenburgie and Glentauchers. Each of these plays a unique and crucial role in the creation of the final masterpiece that is Ballantine’s 17 Year Old.

Building on the successful global release of the Scapa, Miltonduff and Glenburgie Editions, Glentauchers is the last of the signature malts to be showcased in the Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Signature Distillery Editions. Located in the heart of Scotland’s celebrated Speyside whisky region, the Glentauchers Distillery is one of Scotland’s few remaining manually operated distilleries, where centuries of knowledge and traditional methods of Scotch whisky making are passed down to new generations of craftsmen.

The integrity of Glentauchers malt whisky is safeguarded by three generations of the same family, who have worked at the distillery since 1920. The whisky itself has a light citrus character, which is present after distillation as a result of the production process unique to the distillery. Its soft berry notes are the product of a fusion of influences from both distillation and maturation, while the spirit’s signature nutty character and warm, lingering finish are the result of long maturation in American oak casks.

The premium packaging for the Glentauchers Edition takes its inspiration from the lightness of the tasting notes: a burgundy colour from the lingering taste of soft berries, and an elegant blush sheen from the sweet, citrus fruit flavours. Staying true to the style of the previous Signature Distillery Editions, the use of metallic paper stock highlights the edition’s exclusive positioning within the Ballantine’s range, while differentiating itself from the original Ballantine’s 17 Year Old with an illustration of the Glentauchers Distillery, ‘limited edition’ script and unique colour scheme.

Sandy Hyslop, Ballantine’s Master Blender, comments: “We are proud to provide whisky enthusiasts with another opportunity to experience the single malts that shape the taste profile of Ballantine’s 17 Year Old, and to showcase the high quality of the single malt produced at the Glentauchers distillery.

“Lighter and more delicate in style, the Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Signature Distillery Glentauchers Edition highlights some of the more subtle flavours within the original blend, whilst showcasing the key contribution of the Glentauchers malt with a lingering finish of soft berries.”

Peter Moore, Global Brand Director for Ballantine’s, adds: “The release of the Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Signature Distillery Glentauchers Edition completes the picture of how Ballantine’s 17 Year Old achieves its signature style through the art of our skilled Master Blender, Sandy Hyslop. As with the other Ballantine’s 17 Year Old limited editions, the Glentauchers Edition is a highly collectible and giftable expression, and will appeal to whisky lovers looking for something unique, as well as to loyal followers of Ballantine’s.”

Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Signature Distillery Glentauchers Edition is launching within a number of Ballantine’s key markets including Asia Travel Retail, China and Japan, from May, with a retail price of $78 (USD). It was first unveiled in Korea in November 2013.

Bunnahabhain Bottle Hunt Returns to Islay

Bunnahabhain Range

Bunnahabhain Single Malt Whisky is offering an exclusive chance to attend the biggest event in the whisky calendar, Feis Ile - the Islay Festival of Malt and Music.

The digital competition, The Helmsman’s Trail, will run over a four-week period and challenges discerning whisky lovers to find four bottles of Bunnahabhain hidden around Islay. Each week, a winner will be awarded an exclusive prize before the grand prize draw on 12th May, where one lucky entrant will win a trip to Islay to attend the Bunnahabhain Open Day and welcome the Helmsman home.

This year, Bunnahabhain’s Open Day is focused on the return of the Helmsman, the iconic character at the heart of the brand. On 30th May, as part of the festival celebrations, Bunnahabhain will welcome him home from his travels on the high sea to the remote haven of rugged beauty that is Bunnahabhain.

Michelle Lansdowne, Global Marketing Manager at Burn Stewart, said: “The Islay Whisky Festival is the biggest and most popular event in our diary. The Helmsman’s Trail competition gives our Facebook fans a chance to attend, when flights and accommodation are almost impossible to find.

“The festival is the perfect opportunity to showcase all the hard work and craft that goes into Bunnahabhain’s distillery and its expressions. We’re also especially excited to unveil our two festival exclusives – Westering Home and Dràm an Stiùreadair.”

Westering Home

Matured in a rich ex-Cognac cask and then finished in a luxurious Sauterne dessert wine cask, the aromas and wood influences give this single malt a complex, opulent and exotic finish. Westering Home’s limited-edition label has been designed by Swedish artist Mathilda Holmqvist and supports the Fisherman’s Mission charitable cause. The name ‘Westering Home’ refers to a century-old traditional Islay song, which recounts the story of a mariner travelling back to his beloved Islay.

Dràm an Stiùreadair

Equally as intriguing, this 10 Year Old smoky Bunnahabhain was first matured in ex-American bourbon casks for nine years before being finished for one year in a Marsala cask. Its smoky and rich, oaky, vanilla flavours come from the unique combination of the casks.

Bunnahabhain’s Islay Whisky Festival

The Bunnahabhain itinerary is packed with music, food and of course whisky events including:

  • Distillery Open Day at Bunnahabhain on Friday 30th May
  • Special tastings with the Distillery Manager
  • A master class with brand ambassador and Michelin-star chef Geoffrey Smeddle

The 2014 Islay Festival will run from 23rd to 31st of May 2014. The competition will run via Bunnahabhain’s Facebook page from 14th April to 9th May. Full terms and conditions are available.

 

Gilpin’s Tasting Notes

Gilpin's

Everyone has a goal in life. To do the best, succeed and fulfil your ambitions, make yourself strive to be at the top of the mountain. No matter what career path you choose, you will always have targets, little goals that keep you focused. One of my main targets in life has been surpassed and to an extent, smashed, as Drinks Enthusiast is hitting heights that I never thought were possible. Each brand could say exactly the same, whether a wine, beer, spirit or mixer. There’s no point in creating a product, just to see it pass by with no recognition. There are marketing skills that the likes of Hendrick’s, Bacardi and Smirnoff take advantage of, there’s image that Crystal Head, Ciroc and Mamont utilise, and there are flavours that can cause a storm and stand the test of time. All these had targets, to be mentioned in articles like this and to be served in your favourite bars. The next generation, so to speak, are working on this right now, and Gilpin’s gin wants to grab your attention.

The brand has two objectives;

  • To be the world’s best tasting gin
  • To be the world’s best looking gin

Bold statements and objectives. So lets take a look and see if it really does hit the marks.

Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry Gin, to give it its full title, is a five-times distilled London-based London Dry Gin hand-crafted in small batches. The first stage involves distilling English grain spirit four times within a traditional pot still, before coming infusing 8 botanicals within, including juniper, sage, and borage, lime peel, bitter orange, lemon peel, coriander and angelica. Once infused, it is distilled for a fifth time, then blended with spring water from the Holy Well Spring at Cartmel in the English Lake District, that is naturally filtered through ancient willow-peat is added too. This adds to its naturally dry finish, so they say.

Once settled, it is bottled within a clear rectangle bottle, embossed with the wild boar. Each bottle is also labelled with the year of distillation, batch and individual bottle number.

A wild boar I hear you wonder? As you can see from the picture above, each bottle is adorned with an embossed wild boar. I thought it would be easier for Gilpin’s Gin themselves to explain this; *

The Wild Boar of Westmorland, a savage beast, terrorised pilgrims in the Lake District in the time of King John.

In 1207 Sir Richard “the Rider” de Gilpin fought the great Wild Boar and after a terrible struggle was victorious.

For his courage Sir Richard was granted the Wild Boar as the symbol of the Gilpin family which has endured to the
present day.

400 years later Sir Richard’s descendent, George Gilpin, was sent by Queen Elizabeth the First as ambassador to Holland where he was one of the first Englishmen to enjoy (and bring home) the new Dutch “Genever”. We don’t know whether Good Queen Bess preferred George Gilpin’s gin to Sir Walter Raleigh’s potatoes, but we do know that within a few years there were hundreds of gin distilleries in London.

Perhaps Sir Richard would have appreciated a tipple after his victory -

Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry- 47%

Fresh on the nose, with dry herbal aromas blending with citrus. A smooth start on the palate, with a light, delicate orange moving to a dominant juniper and citrus finish that’s very long, and very warming.

Sir Richard would definitely enjoy one of these -

Gilpins - MartiniClassic Dry Martini

Glass - 

Martini

Ingredients -

75 ml Gilpin’s Gin
5 ml Noilly Prat
Olives or lemon twist to garnish

Method - 

Stir ingredients in a Boston glass or Martini jug. Strain into chilled Martini glass and add olives or lemon twist. Serve

A good tipple, and a surprise at being 47%. To be the world’s best tasting gin, various awarding bodies have confirmed this, with Gilpin’s winning gold at World Gin Awards 2014 and gold at the IWSC in 2013. To me, it’s a damn fine gin, and I can see why it has won, and probably will win, many awards. In a way, in just a couple of years it can tick the box of being ‘the world’s best tasting gin’. The look of Gilpin’s is modern, simple and easy on the eye, so again, compared to complicated gin brands with hard to read labels, fiddly bottles and awkward shapes, it could tentatively tick that box too. Until it wins an official award though, I’d tick it in pencil.

It’s always a worthy position in your drinks cabinet though, and can be found in many a bar around the UK. Give it a go, and experience something that aimed to be ‘the best in the world’ from the beginning.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Reyka Bitters Tasting Notes

Reyka

Bitters can be a bartenders best friend. Most bars will have a box full of wonderful flavours, all adding a different dimension to your favourite drink. From the most famous to the most extensive, your never short on possibilities, both in a bar or indeed at home. It’s also common these days for collaborations, creating a brand with ties with a big brother. Reyka vodka from Iceland has done such a thing in the last month, releasing their Reyka Bitters to the market.

Created by Reyka’s Master Distiller Lesley Gracie, she used botanicals such as Icelandic moss, angelica leaf and crowberry juice, all sourced from Iceland itself. To keep it exclusive, she has only produced 300 bottles, available in the UK only, and indeed only for the on-trade for the time being. 

But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes - 

Reyka Bitters – 40%

Light and fragrant angelica on the nose with a slight sweetness of honey coming through. A bold start on the palate, with the honey becoming more dominant, followed by the sweetness of caramel that creates a short mouth-watering effect. Superb. 

A really lively tipple, especially compared to other brands of bitters. Reyka recommend it to be served best within one of its signatures too -

Bitter Reyka

Glass - 

Rocks

Ingredients - 

50 ml Reyka vodka
2-3 drops of Reyka Bitters

Method - 

Pour the Reyka vodka over a couple of cubes of ice and add the bitters.

To coincide with the launch of Reyka Bitters back in March, William Grant (the company looking after Reyka Bitters here in the UK) ran a foraging expedition to Iceland with Reyka brand ambassador Joe Petch, for a group of British bartenders. For an expedition like this, and to really see the enthusiasm that Lesley Gracie had to create something a little different within the bitter category, must have been fantastic. To see a brand willing to open its world of not just how to produce, but to an extent how to create, is a rare treat, one that I hope to explore in the future! 

In the meantime, join me at the bar with a bottle of Reyka and some of their bitters. It’s time to enjoy.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Win With Ballantine’s Brasil!

Ballantine's Brasil Cocktail Kit 2

To celebrate the launch of Ballantine’s Brasil, a brand new lime-infused spirit drink from the world’s No 2 Scotch whisky brand, I’ve teamed up with Ballantine’s to offer one lucky winner the chance to win their very own Brasil Cocktail Kit!

Ballantine’s Brasil has been created by selectively cask steeping Scotch whisky with Brazilian lime peel, deliciously fusing the traditions of Scotland with the passion of Brazil. Featuring a combination of citrus, complemented with vanilla notes, the taste is both smooth and consistent, with the sweet and creamy flavours of Scotch perfectly balancing the refreshing lime.

Peter Moore, Global Brand Director for Ballantine’s, said: “There is a huge opportunity for spirit drinks that are made with whisky, as it’s an exceptionally dynamic new category that is already demonstrating a strong rate of growth. Ballantine’s Brasil is a venture into new territory for us, but we’re excited to have a product that can take advantage of this opportunity and one that can truly inspire those who have not yet found their perfect way to enjoy a Scotch whisky drink. We hope that Ballantine’s Brasil will excite a new generation of consumers with the combination of Scottish authenticity and Brazilian passion!”

Ballantine’s has developed some great Brazilian-themed cocktails, from the signature ‘Highland Samba’ to the elegant ‘Flower O’Brasil’, with interactive demonstrations available to view on the website www.mixitwithbrasil.com – perfect for learning how to mix it with Brasil using your own cocktail kit!

To be in with a chance of winning, simply visit www.mixitwithbrasil.com and tell me the name of your favourite serving suggestion, tweeting your answer to @DrinksEnthusist and using the hashtag #BallantinesBrasil. Terms and Conditions apply.

Good luck!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

By entering this competition, you agree to the Terms and Conditions which can be found below.

“By entering this competition, you agree to the following terms and conditions of entry: You are of legal drinking age and entering from and resident of one of the eligible countries listed below.  The competition closes at 11.59pm on Sunday 27th April. To enter the competition, you must tell me the name of your favourite serving suggestion, tweeting your answer to @DrinksEnthusist and using the hashtag #BallantinesBrasil. One winner will be randomly selected from all complete & correct entries. One entry per person, no bulk or third party entries. The prize is a Ballantine’s Brasil cocktail kit which includes a 70cl bottle of Ballantine’s Brasil. There is one prize to be won, and no cash or prize alternatives. No purchase necessary. The winning entry will be drawn at random from all valid entries received before the deadline. The winner will be notified by email and no responsibility is taken for incorrectly supplied email addresses. The winner must provide sufficient legal proof of age to Drinks Enthusiast (passport, drivers licence or as otherwise notified by them) as a condition of accepting the prize; and you will personally need to accept delivery of the prize from Drinks Enthusiast or Chivas Brothers Limited. We reserve the right to check proof of age on delivery as well. You give consent for Drinks Enthusiast and Ballantine’s to use your name and photograph on Drinks Enthusiast and Ballantine’s website/social media, in association with this competition. Drinks Enthusiast reserves the right to amend, vary or withdraw the Competition at any time owing to circumstances beyond its reasonable control. This competition will be governed by laws of England & Wales. The Promoter: Drinks Enthusiast, 30 Gawsworth Close, Timperley, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 7EG.

Countries eligible to enter the competition: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom.

Competition closes on Sunday 27th April, the winner will be selected at random and notified on Monday 28th April.

 

Chivas Celebrates The Skill Of The Master Bartender With Exclusive New Cocktail Competition

Chivas Masters

Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury Scotch whisky, is celebrating the craftsmanship at the heart of bartending with the launch of its first-ever global cocktail competition, The Chivas Masters.

The Chivas Masters sees the iconic brand highlight its rich heritage by challenging the world’s best bartenders to create classic cocktails from four of the great cocktail eras – the Classic Age (1880-1920) which saw the birth of Chivas Regal; the Post War Boom (1945-1965) during which time, Chivas 12 was introduced; the Disco Years (1975-1990) which saw the brand become a truly global icon, and the present modern Age of Revivalism, as Chivas continues to build its reputation as an icon of timeless luxury, renowned for its exceptional quality.

The high level of expertise required from entrants into the Chivas Masters is highlighted by the involvement of world-renowned, award-winning* bartender, Agostino ‘Ago’ Perrone of London’s prestigious Connaught Bar. A previous winner of the World’s Best Bartender award at Tales of the Cocktail, Ago has created an exclusive cocktail in celebration of the Chivas Masters and will also use his unique expertise as a member of the panel of judges during the competition.

The exclusive competition culminates in a two-day grand final, to be held in New York in July which will be judged by a distinguished panel of leading bartenders, past and present, from New York’s bar scene. They will be tasked with judging competitors on various criteria, including their knowledge of each era’s cocktail heritage, their creativity and ability to bring the story behind their serves to life for the judges, as well as the name, appearance and quality of their cocktail creations. The overall winner will be announced at an exclusive ceremony in New Orleans at the world’s premier cocktail festival, Tales of the Cocktail.

Richard Black, Global Brand Director for Chivas Regal, comments: “As one of the only truly global brands that has been present in each of the great cocktail eras, Chivas has a long association with the global on trade. We respect the hard work required to become a highly skilled mixologist, just as bartenders around the world respect the quality of Chivas.

“The Chivas Masters aims to harness this mutual admiration and demonstrate how relevant Chivas remains in today’s global bar scene, over 100 years since it first took the US by storm. We hope that the unique format of the Chivas Masters will inspire the world’s best bartenders to get involved and create a timeless classic cocktail – as timeless as our iconic brand.”

The Chivas Masters UK national final will take place June 5th in London. Over the next few months, heats will be taking place in an additional ten markets, including China, Japan and Chile. Only one competitor from each market will be selected to travel to New York to take part in the grand final in July.

Hoptimum Prime Roll’s Out’ To Pubs

Hoptimum Prime pump clipHoptimum Prime, Robinsons’ spring seasonal ale, has ‘rolled out’ across the country. This carefully crafted 4.1% ABV amber ale has returned and is exclusively available to pubs until the end of April.

Returning for a second year, this delicious quaffable brew exhibits a rich array of malt flavours which are complimented by a crisp, dry finish. Brewed using only the finest British hops and barley malts, the unique flavour of Hoptimum Prime changes as each individual ingredient combines to tease your taste buds and satisfy all of your hoppy needs.

Hoptimum Prime has been going down a storm with drinkers, selling over 66,000 pints in a single month and becoming Robinsons 4th best-selling ale for March, chasing the heels of their beer champions: TROOPER, Unicorn and Dizzy Blonde.

Hoptimum Prime is available nationally via listings with Heineken, Carlsberg and Punch, and regionally via selective Robinsons’ pubs across Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, Wales and Staffordshire. Available only until the end of April – so get it while you can

A Night Of Living Ventures In The Suburbs

Hale Bar and Grill

Guest writer Keeley Watts experienced once of my spirit evenings a few weeks back. Take a look at what she thought of the expressions I had on offer;

Most drink related events in the North West tend to take place in Manchester City Centre. This is great for me as I live there so can just wander out but I know friends who live in the suburbs really struggle to get to some of them. Quick to recognise this was The Drinks Enthusiast who joined forces with Hale Grill for a spirit tasting with a difference.

We started with a chat about what spirits we liked and disliked. Lucky for me I had tried all the spirits Dave brought to the tasting but it was lovely to listen to others in the group who had never been to an event like this.

Dave started with Grey Goose vodka and the fascinating story of Sidney Frank. Frank was responsible for the promotion and development of Jagermeister in the States which, was huge, and decided he wanted to hit the market currently enjoying Absolut vodka. He was originally beaten by Belvedere being recognised as a premium brand. Not deterred he upped his game and decided to search for a brand in France rather than the more traditional vodka producing countries of Russia and Poland. He found an excellent base in winter wheat which gives the vodka a smooth and light taste ideal for sipping.
The product has ‘slow legs’ in the glass showing no sugar has been added. On the nose are notes of butter and almond with this buttery taste coming through on the palate. It is sweet and smooth; so unlike any other vodka I have tried.

Up next was a personal favourite of mine, Portobello Road gin. Now I like gin, this isn’t a secret. But then it comes to a sipping gin I prefer something smooth and slightly sweet with no spikiness. That is exactly what you get from Portobello Road which was brought to us by Jake Burger, Gerard Feltham and Paul Andrew Lane. Juniper is quite heavy on the nose as is lemon anise and liquorice. The liquorice is prominent on the palate too which is likely to be thanks to the cassia bark, coriander and nutmeg used in the distilling process.

A whiskey followed with Monkey Shoulder. I’m not a fan, the flavours just don’t work for me but if you are thinking of trying whiskey for the first time, this is definitely one to start with. It is a blend of whiskeys from Speyside and other none whiskey drinkers in the room described it as incredibly drinkable. Dave had a few converts on the night!

Last but most definitely not least was Old J spiced rum. Formulated by Tom Hurst in 2009 who tried 60 varieties to find the perfect blend, this rum is delicious. Butterscotch and slight honey aromas on the nose yet toffee, vanilla and lime are prevalent on the palate with a gentle spice kick.

Hale Grill has launched their new summer cocktail and invited us to try one of two cocktails featured. I chose the honeyed rum daiquiri which blends honey, lime and Old J spiced rum. A classic this is slightly sweet with the lovely toffee flavours coming through from the rum. I also got to try the apple, mint and raspberry cosmopolitan as other guests ordered this on the evening. Stoli raspberry, Cointreau, mint and apple juice gives a fresh twist to the classic cosmopolitan whilst the mint provides a lovely freshness.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening and a feast for the senses, it was really interesting to hear what beginners thought of the spirits neat. All are readily available at your favourite bar in the City but this just goes to show that you don’t need to venture too far to get your fix.

Two UK Bartending Superstars Win Colombia Lifetime Experience

Walter Pintus of The Ritz, LaHechiceraWinner2

Alex Lawrence from Orchid bar in Aberdeen and Walter Pintus from The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz London have been selected from over 60 entrants to win one of the most intrepid prizes in cocktailing history. As the two winners of La Hechicera Rum’s #WanderlustColombia challenge, they will go to live and work in the vibrant and exotic capital of Colombia for a full month, later this year.
They will fly to the capital Bogota, and also travel to Cartagena the fashionable Caribbean city. A bespoke programme hosted by the Riascos family will immerse them in the bar-life of both cities’ most prestigious bars. Accommodation and salary will be paid during the month. The visit will also include blending their own rum with the Maestro Ronero (master blender) of La Hechicera.

The hotly contested grand final took place with 15 competing finalists at MASH in London on 7 April 2014, cheered on by their peers. Co-founder Miguel Riascos arrived from Colombia to judge the final and commented, “We were very excited to host such a range of finalists, from popular bars through to 5-star hotel bars. All showed inspired and creative originality, and many were keen to challenge convention. Our judging panel was treated with
unexpected flavour combinations, adventurous mixing with exotic rare fresh ingredients and the results of refined techniques such as dry-smoking. At the end of the day, the winning cocktails were judged on taste.”

Winner 1 – Alex Lawrence, Orchid bar in Aberdeen

Lady Colombia

60ml La Hechicera Rum
20ml Martini Extra Dry
5 ml Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur
5 ml maple syrup
2 dashes house blend bitter, pinch of sea salt

Stir over ice and strain into an old fashioned glass.
Garnish with lemon zest.

Winner 2 – Walter Pintus. The Rivoli Bar. The Ritz London

The Rum Baroness

50ml La Hechicera Rum
20ml Tintilla De Rota fortified wine
10ml maple syrup blended with Tahitian vanilla beans and
Egyptian chamomile blossoms, house-made cocoa bitters
3 drops of cocoa oil

Stir over ice and strain into a large stemless wine glass.
Garnish with fresh caviar lime and serve with chocolate truffles

Freelance Bar Advisor/Consultant, Events Organisation/Collaboration & Reviewer, Taster & Guide to the World of Drinks

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