David Vitale has brought Australian whisky to the UK, using his Melbourne roots and their famed ‘four seasons in a day’ temperature swings. Introducing to you all, Starward.

2007 saw David create the idea of a ‘approachable, affordable Australian whisky – served neat or as a cocktail with food’. Using locally grown brewer’s barley, yeast and water are added to brew and ferment, before distilling using a traditional double distillation process within copper pot stills.

Once drawn off, the spirit enters Australian red wine barrels, the wood still saturated with wine, for the full duration of the maturation period. During this period, Melbourne’s “four seasons in a day” climate means the wood of the barrels expands and contracts more frequently than those say in Scotland or America, resulting in bolder flavours in a shorter space of time. And, unlike Scottish whisky, whilst their whisky matures the alcohol content goes up, not down, something they name the Elemental Maturation.

Two expressions are currently available, seen below, with my tasting notes to accompany –

Starward Solera – 43%

Aged in barrels of around 40-50 years old, formerly containing Apera, which is an Australian take on Spanish sherry.
Rich, ripe stoned fruits of apricot, cherry and hints of strawberry upon the nose. A tart, sharp experience of orange zest, citrus and honeycomb, followed by a long, bold finish of raisin, dried apricot and grape soaked oak.

Starward Wine Cask – 41%

Aged in steamed Australian red wine barrels. Subtle aromas of malt, red grape and dark cocoa upon the nose, followed onto the palate with riper plum, cherry and cinnamon stick flavours. A lingering profile of raspberry and citrus for the finish.

Two fantastic Australian whiskies, and great to see they are versatile to enjoy too –

Starward - Whisky Grapefruit Collins
Whisky Grapefruit Collins

Glass –


Ingredients –

45 ml Starward Solera
15 ml Aperol
15 ml Lime Juice
20 ml Grapefruit
10 g Sugar

Method –

Shake all ingredients, strain into a tall Collins glass, top up with soda and garnish with mint and lemon.

Two great expressions to enjoy from the land of Oz, with the country really striving for recognition within the whisky world; Stalwart becoming one of the leaders from Down Under. Worth of a place in your drinks cabinet.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2018. 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.






Doesn’t that just intrigue you? Three gentleman, travelling the world and becoming inspired to create wine and spirits? Where do we sign up!

I’ve recently come across their latest spirit expression, so it only seems right to dive in and explore the reasoning behind the three guys and their brand ‘Birds’. Julian, Lupo and Basti set out to counteract what they see as a over saturated gin industry, and create something never before seen. Combining their love of travelling, they set to create BIRDS, ‘a craft brand dedicated to unite the traveller lifestyle with a spirit that brings together German craftsmanship and exotic flavours from all continents.’

In a different route from gin, BIRDS is distilled from German Riesling wine and flavored with a variety of different botanicals, including;


Orange peel, apple and blackcurrant. 


Clove and jungle pepper. 


Star anise and liquorice.


Angelica root, cocoa shell and pink pepper berries. 


Mace and eucalyptus.

BIRDS is produced within an independent micro distillery located between Berlin and Hamburg, itself surrounded by 450 hektars of apple trees. Here they distill their spirit within a copper pot still by Arnold Holstein in small batches of only 700 bottles. To boot, their 7th generation winery is located at the famous Moselle in the south-west of Germany, producer of the Riesling base.

Their Adventure Edition has been tried and tested, so below, I give you my thoughts –

BIRDS Adventure Edition – 42.2%

Rich aromas of soft mint, eucalyptus, liquorice and blackcurrant upon the nose, flowing nicely onto the palate, with the added kick of the Riesling. Pepper dominates alongside cloves and star anise, but soft cocoa makes an appearance near the end.

A fantastic gin, full of flavour! One that will shine within one of these –

Birds-Spirit-Adventure-Ginger-Birds-Illustration-Drink-Kopie-300x300Ginger Birds

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

40 ml BIRDS Adventure Spirit
20 ml lime juice
150 ml Ginger beer

Method – 

Build all the ingredients over cubed ice and within a wine glass. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

One to have within your drinks cabinet for sure, especially with the spring days coming full force. A delightful tipple that will surprise many!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2018. 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.

Gin Sul

GinSul-WebsizeHamburg may not be the first place you think of for creating gin, but the rules have changed and Gin Sul has made its way to the UK from Hamburg’s only gin distillery!

Masterminded by Stephan Garbe, he was inspired by his time living in Costa Vicentina in south-west Portugal and decided to use the botanicals of the country, including lemons and Rockrose. Unable to create his idea in Portugal itself, he set up in Hamburg to produce a German version of his Portuguese idea, Gin Sul becoming the result.

Produced by hand, fresh lemons are sent over from Portugal, arriving at the distillery on an almost weekly basis. Peeled by hand, the fresh peels are combined with juniper berries, coriander, rosemary, peppers, lavender, cinnamon and gum rockrose (Cistus Ladanifer) amongst others. Small batches of just 100 litres are created each time.

Their distinctive white bottles are made from stoneware, then glazed and screen printed, before being filled by hand. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Gin Sul – 43%

Fresh zest of the lemons come through immediately upon the nose, followed by dry pepper and subtle lavender. Very soft upon the palate, offering up a waxy lemon peel, rosemary scent and dry pepper dusting. A lingering finish, with a slight heat on the tongue, and fresh juniper kick.

Very different indeed, and one that could work very well within a Martini or Vesper for sure. A talking point for your drinks cabinet, even if it’s the bottle alone before you crack it open.


© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2018. 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.

On The House: Celebrate The Start Of Spring With A Free Seasonal G&T


To mark the start of spring, Franklin & Sons, the award-winning range of hand-crafted premium tonics, mixers and soft drinks, has partnered with The Epicurean Club to give away a free G&T to London’s gin lovers.To mark the start of spring, Franklin & Sons, the award-winning range of hand-crafted premium tonics, mixers and soft drinks, has partnered with The Epicurean Club to give away a free G&T to London’s gin lovers.

Only found in the best of spirits, Franklin & Sons is offering a spring G&T crafted with Chase Extra Dry Gin, Franklin & Sons Natural Indian Tonic Water and fresh rosemary, for each download of The Epicurean Club app.

The seasonal serve can be redeemed in any one of the Epicurean Club’s 21 venues, and five London locations, offering Londoners a high quality and authentically British ‘experience worth sharing’ – on the house. Venues include:

• The Punchbowl, Mayfair

• The Admiral Codrington and The Cross Keys, Chelsea

• The Brown Cow and The Sands End, Fulham

Jen Draper, Head of Marketing at Franklin & Sons, says: “Following the recent cold snap, we are all looking forward to the days becoming lighter and warmer, so what better way to mark the changing seasons with a free G&T with Franklin & Sons? The British weather may leave much to be desired, but our seasonal produce is second to none and our Chase G&T is bound to put a spring in gin lovers’ steps this March!”

Proud to continue the traditions laid down by its founders in 1886, Franklin & Sons uses only natural ingredients without preservatives or artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners lending to perfectly pairing with today’s spirits. Together, Chase Extra Dry Gin, known for its distinctive botanical taste, with Franklin & Sons Natural Indian Tonic and fresh rosemary create a refreshing way to kick off the start of spring.

The Epicurean Club is a purveyor of the great British escape; from a day trip to a weekend break, the exclusive organisation makes it easier, more special and immediately rewarding to do the things we love. The Club has a collection of 21 country sites across the British countryside and five boutique London pubs that bring the country to the city.

24 Female Brewers Gather In Industry Collaboration

thumbnail (1)

Jenn Merrick, formerly of Head Brewer at Beavertown Brewery and founder of community based brewery Earth Station, is brewing a collaborative beer with a leading team of 24 female industry-leading brewers, Heriot-Watt students and lecturers that celebrates the craft and creativity of past, present and future female brewers.

Spearheaded by Jenn Merrick & hosted by Katie McCain, Brewer at Pressure Drop Brewing, the team comprising of 14 female brewers, seven undergraduates and three lecturers/former students from Heriot-Watt will work together to create a limited-edition kettle sour beer. Brewers will be in attendance from Pressure Drop, Truman’s Brewery, Cloudwater, Wiper & True, Fuller’s and Burnt Mill, to name but a few.

The team of industry leading brewers will work closely with the next generation of female brewers from Heriot-Watt University to combine the seasonal fruits, herbs and botanicals to produce this beer – and all those present on the day will be working in partnership to decide its flavour profile, final recipe, and name.

Greg Wells, founder of We Are Beer, the company behind the London, Edinburgh and Bristol Craft Beer Festivals, who commissioned the project, said:

“We identified that 35% of our festival attendees were female and this is growing year on year. We believe most people still perceive ‘beer’ as quite masculine, but in actuality, that is changing dramatically, which is good for this fast-growing sector and something we’re striving to push forward. We want to profile the incredible female talent and influence on modern brewing by creating a collaborative beer with past, present and future female brewers from across the industry.”

The kettle sour will be available at each of the craft beer festivals being hosted in Edinburgh (25th-28th May 2018), London (3rd-5th August 2018), and Bristol (14th-16th September 2018) and will be released in limited edition small pack.

Heriot-Watt University proudly offers the first and longest running degree on brewing and distilling and is staffed by 50% female lecturers. Speaking of the collaboration, Assistant Brewing Professor Rachel Sutherland said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our female students to collaborate with some of the leading female figures within the craft beer industry. Beer has, throughout history, been crafted by women. Our students are proudly upholding this tradition, showing the next generation what they can look forward to. There’s a real community in craft beer and our kettle sour collaboration is testament to that – and definitely not one to be missed at any of the craft beer festivals happening across the UK.”

The Brewing team:

·       Jenn Merrick – Earth Station – Founder

·       Katie McCain – Pressure Drop – Brewer

·       Sophie de Ronde – Burnt Mill – Brewer

·       Kath Stratford – Howling Hops – Brewer

·       Alix Shaw – The Five Points – Lead Packaging Manager

·       Charlotte Cook – Truman’s Brewery – Co-lead Brewer

·       Jaega Wise – Wild Card Brewery – Head Brewer

·       Robyn Bell – Cloudwater – Cellar Manager

·       Hayley Marlor – Fuller’s – Brewer

·       Riina Laats – Signature Brew – Head Brewer

·       Flo Orford – Wiper & True – Brewer

·       Cynthia Toulouse – Wiper & True – Assistant Brewer

·       Sue Fisher – Ramsgate Brewers – Brewer

·       Marta Van der Vyver – Husk Brewery – Founder

·       Hester Boyce – Wild Beer Co. – Production

The Heriot-Watt team:

·       Rachel Sutherland – Assistant Professor at Heriot-Watt. (Formerly Sensory & Quality Manager of Innis & Gunn)

·       Margaux Huismann – Heriot-Watt Alumni and current PHD student at the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling studying the role of dry hopping on the
flavour, aroma, and haze characteristics on Scottish craft beers

·       Dr Dawn Maskell – Head of International Centre for Brewing & Distilling (ICBD) at Heriot-Watt

·       Seven Heriot-Watt students on the undergraduate and master’s degree courses

Havana Club Supports Local Cuban Artists With Limited Edition Bottle

HC3 By HandHavana Club, the only 100% authentic Cuban rum available globally, has launched Havana Club 3 Years Old “By Hand”; a new limited edition bottle with a design created by three local Cuban artists to showcase authentic Cuban art to rum fans globally and inspire them to make cocktails at home.

The design showcases a palette of vibrant colours, inspired by the streets of Havana, and was hand painted by three rising artists from the Havana Cultura programme; award winning designer, Giselle Monzón; visual arts teacher, Nelson Ponce Sánchez; and Edel Rodriquez, an internationally recognised graphic designer and illustrator. The three artists created a number of hand crafted designs for the iconic white rum bottle, taking inspiration from local symbolism including the Cuban Star, an ornamental emblem that appears in bars and cafes across Cuba.

The eye-catching design will increase stand-out on shelf and excite rum enthusiasts, art collectors and Havana Club fans alike across Europe. The Havana Club 3 Years Old “By Hand” bottle will be available in Germany from March, before launching in nine other markets including France, Austria, Netherlands, Portugal and China.

Cuban Artist, Nelson Ponce Sanchez said: “It was a delight to use our local craft and knowledge to help create the design for the Havana Club 3 Years Old “By Hand” bottle. Since being discovered by Havana Cultura, we have been on a creative journey, which has reached new heights with our work on the limited edition bottle. It’s an honour that Havana Club has put its trust in us – and we hope rum fans around the world will appreciate our design whilst enjoying a Mojito or Daiquiri.”

Nick Blacknell, Global Marketing Director at Havana Club, commented: “The limited edition Havana Club 3 Years Old “By Hand” bottle reinforces our long-term commitment to supporting local Cuban artists, who otherwise would not have a chance to showcase their artwork on a global scale. In doing this, we make sure we continue to ‘Havanise’ the world through spreading Cuban craft, culture and spirit around the world. We would like to thank Giselle, Nelson and Edel for their creativity and hard work in designing our latest limited edition, as I know that rum enthusiasts will be eager to get their hands on this rare bottle”

Emily Says . . . . ‘Yorkshire Tea’

Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin

In her fifth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at the Yorkshire Tea and Gin combination;

Gin has truly taken over the world in the last couple of years. It is what everyone is talking about, and it is what everyone is ordering over the bar. More and more brands and varieties of gin appear day by day, making ones choice of what to drink rather difficult.

A gin that stands out to me is Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin… and I promise this has nothing to do with the fact that I’m from Yorkshire! Masons was created by Karl and Cathy Mason, a pair of gin enthusiasts who initially began blogging and reviewing different types of gin prior to their creation.

What makes their gin truly unique is what the Masons decided to put in it. Using pure Yorkshire water and the classic essence of Juniper, alongside Fennel, Coriander seeds, Cardamom and Szechuan pepper, Masons gin became known for its bold and distinctive dry taste.

But I am not here to talk about Masons original dry gin. Masons Dry Yorkshire gin Tea Edition has taken centre stage. Again, I’m sure this has nothing to do with me being from Yorkshire, but I absolutely love tea… as do many of us Brits. And what could possibly be better than a collaboration of gin and the finest Yorkshire tea?

The distillation process of this 42 percent gin involves 665 Yorkshire teabags (to be precise!) being cut up and mixed with the rest of the classic recipe before being distilled. A pairing of flavours that doesn’t often trend, the combination of tea and gin is truly an unusual one, but one of curiosity and individuality.

On the nose, this gin delivers lovely dark tannin notes, mixing beautifully with the bold juniper and the spices of fennel and cardamom. On first sip, these spices instantly bring out the crisp punch of Yorkshire Tea; something pleasantly different compared to a usual gin and tonic. The risk of collaborating tea with gin is the chance of bringing out the perfumed notes, of which can be way too tangent on the mouth. The presence of citrus fruits such as lemons in Masons, however, prevents the gin from being overpowered by these perfume essences, and instead gives a refreshing and punchy finish.

The perfect serve of Masons Dry Yorkshire gin Tea Edition is recommended to be served with a premium Indian tonic, and a simple twist of lemon peel for a garnish. Perfect!

Masons Gin
Buon Vino

Bunnahabhain Unveils Limited Edition Expressions Including Rare Peated Malt

Pedro Ximenez Bottle Shot

Islay’s most remote distillery, Bunnahabhain has unveiled two new limited edition expressions – a peated Bunnahabhain 2004 Moine Brandy Finish and an unpeated Bunnahabhain 2003 Pedro Ximénez Finish.

The 2004 Moine Brandy Finish is a peated malt that has latterly been matured in brandy casks, which is a first for the distillery. Bottled at 55.7%, the naturally coloured whisky has a complex and intriguing nose of honeyed nuts and rich oak, with hints of dried fruit and grapes, and a smoky peppery finish. Truly distinctive, it has a rich and smooth palate, created by a perfect balance of dried fruit, rich brandy influence and strong smokiness with a lingering sweet finish. The malt has been released to select markets with an RRP of £80.

The second release, a 2003 Pedro Ximénez Finish, is in Bunnahabhain’s more traditional style, an unpeated malt finished in limited edition Pedro Ximénez butts. The rich, syrupy malt has a sweet nose of toffee, dried fruit, nuts and chocolate. Bottled at 54.8%, this exceptional whisky is golden in colour, reflecting a deep palate of Pedro Ximénez influence with a taste of toffee, honeyed nuts and notes of raisins and sultanas creating a deliciously long and sweet finish. It will be sold at an RRP of £85.

Bunnahabhain’s location at the northernmost tip of the sound of Islay ensures that all of the on-site warehouses are continually exposed to the seaside elements. This means every bottle of Bunnahabhain has an indelible mark from the sea and a coastal influence, creating to a selection of malts that truly express their geography. This signature salty brine of Bunnahabhain lends itself particularly well to new cask finishes such as the latest releases from the distillery.

Derek Scott, Brand Director – Malt Whisky, at Distell said: “These latest limited editions give whisky enthusiasts the opportunity to experience unique malts from a truly special distillery.”

“We are extremely proud to showcase our gently peated malt, the 2004 Moine Brandy Finish. The influence of the brandy casks in its final years of maturation has created a wonderful richness and complex palate that really complements the salty character of Bunnahabhain.”

“Our 2003 Pedro Ximénez has been finished in hand-selected sherry casks creating a unique combination of the classic elegant style of Bunnahabhain contrasted by a sweet note drawn from the sherried wood. This has become a favourite of our Distillery Manager, Andrew Brown – having worked in the distillery for over 30 years, he’s certainly qualified to pick a great Bunnahabhain dram!”

Super Lyan And Jack Daniel’s Launch Tennessee Nitro Tours

This spring and summer London-based cocktail bar Super Lyan will be visiting cities across the UK with Jack Daniel’s Whiskey for the Tennessee Nitro Tours. In honour of Super Lyan’s innovative cocktail the Tennessee Nitro Martini, which was the first of its kind when it launched, the team will be collaborating with local, like-minded bars. For one night only at each stop, Super Lyan will be behind the bar allowing cocktail
fans across the UK to sample the Tennessee Nitro Martini as part of a special Jack Daniel’s cocktail menu. Kicking off in Manchester on 20th March at Peggy’s, Super Lyan will then go on to visit Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Belfast and do a bar takeover in its home city of London.

Super Lyan is the third venue from internationally renowned and multi-award winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan. A basement bar in Hoxton, it takes seemingly familiar classic cocktails and spruces them up with a touch of Lyan magic, with sustainability a key focus.

The Tennessee Nitro Martini is one of the bar’s signature drinks, and takes the espresso martini to the next level. It combines Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey with a homemade cola syrup and Sandows Cold Brew Coffee, which is then pulled through a nitrous keg system for a soft, effervescent texture reminiscent of Guinness. Served in a coupe and finished with a spritz of bergamot, the result is a creamy, complex cocktail that can be served extra quick. The first cocktail of its kind to use such technology, it also means the cocktail can be kegged making it sustainable, and was at the forefront of the eco-friendly cocktail trend.

In each city Super Lyan will be partnering with a bar which took part in last year’s Tennessee Calling programme, and will be working with the local team to develop a menu for the evening. Alongside the Tennessee Nitro Martini there will also be cocktails such as the Chattanooga Cooler and a special serve from the host bar. The line-up currently includes:

March – Peggy’s Bar in Manchester
April – Bramble in Edinburgh
May – Hedonist Project in Leeds
June – Filter & Fox in Liverpool
July – Callooh Callay in London
Belfast –to be announced soon…

Follow @super.lyan on Instagram for further details of dates and locations.

Finalists Announced at Northern Restaurant & Bar Cocktail Competition with Double Dutch Drinks!

Product Range

Finalists announced for Northern Restaurant & Bar’s annual cocktail competition, sponsored by Double Dutch Drinks, with the chance to win a VIP visit to Holland.

Competitors have been asked to submit two unique drinks, a Summer style and a Winter style, containing any of the current Double Dutch Drinks range, and adding inspiration of the sparkling mixers Dutch heritage.

Four finalists, chosen by a blind judging panel of cocktail experts including founders Joyce and Raissa de Haas, have been chosen and they include;

Hamish Smith, Neighbourhood in Leeds – @NBHDRestaurants
Mycol Cavalieri, Coco Tang in Nottingham – @houseofcocotang
Leah Jones, Mr Coopers in Manchester – @MrCoopersMcr,
Thomas O’Connor, Silversmith’s Restaurant in Sheffield – @Silversmiths,

Each finalist will be invited to the final of the competition in the Drinks Live theatre at Northern Restaurant & Bar in Manchester on Wednesday 21 March 2018 at 15:15.

The winner and a guest will visit Amsterdam in 2018 as the guest of Double Dutch, with complimentary flights and visiting the cities Double Dutch venues for VIP signature serves.

Awarded Virgin Foodpreneur by Sir Richard Branson for most creative, inspiring and disruptive F&B start-up in the UK and Best Premium Adult Soft Drink at the World Beverage Innovation Awards in 2016, Double Dutch offer unique flavours that revolutionise the world of beverages. Raised in the Netherlands, Double Dutch’s twin founders, Joyce and Raissa have a natural affinity with superlative drinks and excellent blending’s. Their love affair turned to frustration. While the world’s choice of spirits has continued to grow, mixers and sodas have remained bland, resulting in the Double Dutch love affair that unites great spirits with complementary mixers that enliven and enhance.

“The Perfect Twin for your spirit”

Northern Restaurant & Bar is the North’s hospitality exhibition. Returning to Manchester Central on 20 & 21 March, NRB18 hosts 275 exhibitors providing every product and service a hospitality business needs, delivers 65 exciting live food & drink demos, and brings the entire Northern hospitality industry together for two days of networking, discovery and inspiration. The show’s Spirit Room is the largest curated selection of spirit brands on show outside London. As well as the Double Dutch Drinks cocktail competition, the Drinks Live theatre features a line-up of tutored tastings and masterclasses from some of the best names in the business.

Free trade only tickets are available now at