Bombay Sapphire’s ‘The Glasshouse Project’ Continues World-Wide Multi-Stop Tour In Manchester

Bombay Sapphire logo

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE, the world’s number one premium gin, has announced
Manchester, UK, as the next stop of The Glasshouse Project. Taking place 14-16 August, the vibrant city is the second stop in the global tour of the brand advocacy initiative following the launch of this year’s programme in Mallorca last month. Designed especially for the world’s top-tier bartenders, The Glasshouse Project aims to push the boundaries of creativity within mixology.

Through collaborative, interactive talks and seminars led by leading figures from both inside and outside the drinks industry, The Glasshouse Project looks to identify how cultural, social and economic influences and trends can affect gin consumption and cocktail creativity. The outcome is a series of workshops designed to rethink mixology in the gin category and provide attendees with the information and inspiration to create their own bespoke serves to list in their respective bars.

The session has been put together by Renaud de Bosredon and Sean Ware, U.K. and Northern Europe Brand Ambassadors for BOMBAY SAPPHIRE respectively, and will be attended by Raj Nagra, Global Brand Ambassador for BOMBAY SAPPHIRE, with speakers including Mark Shayler (Director of This is Ape, a sustainable innovation consultancy), Dr. Rachel Edwards-Stuart (Food Scientist and Flavour Expert), Chris Hines MBE (Founder of Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and former Sustainability Director of the Eden Project) and Sean Pillot de Chenecey (Futurologist and Trends Consultant).

Following the successful pilot in London last year, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE announced the global expansion of the programme. Julian Davies, Global Marketing Manager at BOMBAY SAPPHIRE, says of the initiative:

“BOMBAY SAPPHIRE has been driving the conversation in gin for the last thirty years and The Glasshouse Project is our logical next step in pursuing excellence and innovation for the gin category as a whole.

“Last year’s inaugural workshop was hugely successful in terms of opening up conversations with some of the world’s best bartenders and serves as a platform for this year. The sessions are designed to be a genuinely memorable experience for our attendees and draw in elements of other creative disciplines to add value to the art of mixology – it’s a purposely collaborative and interactive initiative, as these
bartenders are at the top of their game”.

While the initiative has a global reach, each event will have a highly localised feel with the content of each individual workshop cultivated with the specifics of each market in mind. The Glasshouse Project sessions are part of a three-step process with follow-ups taking place in each individual market. Each attendee will lead a tasting session attended by fellow mixologists, designed to showcase how they’ve incorporated learnings from the workshops into their day-to-day work, as well as taking part in various other brand initiatives at local and global levels.

Further sessions are scheduled to follow in Germany (August), Sydney (September) before wrapping up in Asia and Africa (November). The activity will culminate in an exhibition of the results of the workshops at Laverstoke, Hampshire, home of BOMBAY SAPPHIRE, at the end of the year.

The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress Launches ‘Bassano Aperitivo Season’

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Pop-up innovators Bassano Events and their Manchester venue, The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress located on First Street, are launching a tasting calendar of Italian aperitivo over the next two months.

Focusing on Distilleria Nardini, the namesake of the bar name Bassano with its origins from Bassano del Grappa in Northern Italy, guests will enjoy one of the famous serves originating from the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge distillery, the Mezzoemezzo, itself combined with soda and a twist of lemon. A closer look at the flavour profiles of Nardini Grappa Bianca 40 and a selection of their liqueurs, including the citrus peels of Acqua di Cedro, juniper led Ginepro and the almond profiles of Mandorla.

Each session looks to finish with a refreshing Nardini Ginepro and Tonic, as well as a classic offering of Italian Antipasto courtesy of PizzaExpress.

Each hosted by Dave Marsland, co-owner of Bassano Events and brand agency Drinks Enthusiast, the Bassano Aperitivo Season is said to demystify the Italian spirit category, showing off the tradition of grappa and aperitivo and its versatile use within simple mixers and flavours.

All sessions will be held within The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress, itself opening in June 2017 to bring the modern Italian cocktail bar concept to the North of England after it follows last summer’s successful debut for The Bassano Bar and its winning Italian drinks formula within the busy ‘Magic Roundabout’ venue in London’s Shoreditch.

Offering a selected menu that combines a focus on classic Italian cocktails such as the Negroni with Campari, Aperol Spritz, Nardini Mezzoemezzo and Frizzante Frutta with San Pellegrino, the bar is also including innovative home-grown recipes, with the ‘The Haçienda Sour’ and ‘The Manchester Negroni’ featuring local gin producer, Three Rivers.

Dates of the Bassano Aperitivo Season;

18th August
25th August
31st August
7th September
21st September
28th September

Price;
£15 pp – tickets can be purchased in venue or via http://www.thebassanobar.com

General Opening Hours;
Wednesday-Friday from 5pm – 11pm and from 12noon to 11pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Address;
The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress, First Street North, Manchester, M15 4FN

#BassanoMcr

ALL DRINK IMAGERY BY GEORGIE GLASS/ WWW.GEORGIEGLASS.CO.UK / @GEORGIEGLASS_

Manchester Gin

Manchester Overboard
Manchester, until a few years ago, had no gin history at all. Never a distillery mentioned, yet within the North West a hive of gin production with G&J Distillers only a few miles away in Warrington. Since the launch of Thomas Dakin and its plans of being the first Manchester gin to be produced within the city, numerous others have taken its mantle, including Manchester Three Rivers and Manchester Gin. It’s the latter that receives a focus, as they launch their latest gin expression to the city.

“It all began at 1.30am on a wet and cold February evening in Manchester. Whilst she sat alone minding the coats, he was a spare wheel to his two friends. From across the room he spotted her and offered to buy her a drink. Her response was sweet and simple, “a G&T”. Over the next hour they sat discussing everything from travelling the world to their favourite foods. Oh and not to forget, their love of gin.

Two years quickly passed and to anyone who knew us, we became known as ‘The Poppets,’ so much so that when you look at the back of our bottle, you will see the distillers as ‘P&P’ which means we made the bottle together, with love.”

A story of true dedication, not one for the money so-to-speak, it comes across as genuine affection for the category, with Manchester the forefront to its production, adopting the symbol of the city, the working Bee, that was adopted itself during the Industrial Revolution as it embodied the work-ethic of Mancunians’.

Months passed before Seb and Jenny settled upon ‘Wendy’, a bespoke-made copper column still that creates their take on a London Dry Gin, using twelve botanicals overall that include Dandelion and Burdock Root, seasonal orange and lemon, ground almonds, coriander and juniper.

However, this time around, it’s their newly released (as of July 2017), Overboard expression, their take on the Navy Strength at 57% abv after their success in their Raspberry Infused bottle. How does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Manchester Overboard – 57%

Wax-styled lemon and pomelo aromas upon the nose, with hints of dandelion coming through. A growing profile of lemons and coriander, followed by the earthy tones of juniper that follows into a long, fresh and slightly dry finish of cinnamon and almond.

It’s that new that a signature serve hasn’t been created yet, although I’ve personally had it within a gin and tonic, using light tonic instead of Indian, which offered a refreshing finish and retained the strength well. It’s also not available yet, but keep an eye out on their website shop so you can order a bottle for your cabinet once it’s released!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

Haig Club

Haig
Haig Club was released with much fanfare after the collaboration with footballer David Beckham and British entrepreneur Simon Fuller, with many taking it as a swipe to ‘outsiders’ who attach their name to a brand to make quick cash, whilst others looked at it as a great opportunity to shed light on a brand and category that has some elements that need a 21st Century update to its customer audience.

It’s with this that I take a closer look and see if the hype is worth its name.

The House of Haig itself is built on nearly 400 years of distilling heritage and can trace its whisky producing roots back to the seventeenth century in Scotland. In 1824, John Haig established Scotland’s oldest grain distillery, Cameronbridge, and is said to have perfected the art of producing Grain Whisky in continuous Coffey and Stein stills.

Haig Whisky quickly rose to become one of the most successful and popular Scotch whiskies in the world before falling into decline some 30 years ago as it left the Haig family ownership and was passed through a series of multinational drinks companies. In 2014, Diageo launched a new Haig whisky to add to the existing old guard whisky stable of Haig Gold Label, Haig Dimple and Haig Pinch blended scotch whiskies; Haig Club, an expression utilising a unique process that combines grain whisky from three different cask types.

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

Haig Club – 40%

Light butterscotch and fudge on the nose, with a slight hint of tropical flesh fruits coming through. Subtle notes of vanilla, butter and toasted oak on the palate, with a hint of coconut and tropical fruit provide a long, slightly dry finish.

A great flavour profile to enjoy on its own, or indeed within its signature serve;

Haig CLub - New Old FashionedNew Old-Fashioned

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

60 ml Haig Club
10 ml Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters

Method – 

Build by adding cubed or hand cracked ice in an Old Fashioned glass or tumbler. Add Haig Club and pour in 10 ml of sweet Vermouth. Drop in 2 dashes of orange bitters and garnish with a lemon twist and cherry and serve with a glass stirrer for the drinker to dilute.

The inspiration for the name Haig Club can be found in archive materials dating back to the 1920’s, in which Haig Whisky was advertised as “The Clubman’s Whisky”. Last year also saw the release of the Haig Club Clubman, the different in it being matured exclusively in American ex-bourbon casks. Either one a good call for your drinks cabinet, and its versatility means you can create a decent drink, whether cocktail or mixer. To be fair, I’d enjoy it on its own, it works!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

Skin

Skin
German gins are seen as some of the best around, with Monkey 47 leading the way in how we can approach the category. With this, Skin gin has made a splash here in the UK since its launch by Martin Birk Jensen in March 2015, and its striking packaging and different ‘skins’ that can be produced have caused many a stir in the right direction. But what about the liquid itself?

Produced in the ‘Altes Land’ (which translates as ‘Old Country’), just outside the German city of Hamburg, seven botanicals are chosen to enhance Skin gin; unique Moroccan Mint, citrus peels of orange, pink grapefruit, lime and lemon, juniper and Vietnamese coriander. Each botanical is individually distilled on a wheat based neutral spirit in a ‘Anisateur’ within an old copper still, in order to obtain close to 100% of the essential oils they contain. The essences are then blended by hand and bottled.

So how does it fare? Well, below I give to you my tasting notes –

Skin – 42%

Bold, fresh mint bursts through, followed by the pink grapefruit and the wax of lemons on the nose. Incredibly soft on the palate, with a slight menthol note flowing gently. Lime, the subtle hint of coriander, and the orange peels blend well for a long, fresh finish.

An incredibly fresh gin to enjoy, and one that would stand up well within a classic gin and tonic;

Skin Gin and tonicSkin Gin and Tonic

Glass – 

Wine / Goblet

Ingredients – 

40 ml Skin Gin
1 bottle Thomas Henry Tonic Water

Method – 

Stir over ice and garnish with orange peel.

A great gin to enjoy over summer, and with the different skins available, as well as their navy strength option, it’s a fantastic addition to any drinks cabinet.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

 

Curio

Curio
It’s rare to come across a local gin that makes enough noise to be heard on the other side of the country, but it seems to be the case with Cornwall, led the way by Southwestern Distillers, and now continued by Curio Spirits Company. Heading to the North of England can be a daunting task for any brand who lack, for example, the personnel to consistently appear at the numerous gin festivals that pop up, who themselves are looking further afield to stand out with their brand offerings. It’s down to the power of the liquid then, the image of the brand, and the consistent approach to their values that can really win a crowd over.

With this, lets see what the hype about Curio is all about.

Originating from Mullion in West Cornwall, William and Rubina Tyler-Street have set out to train and work with two master distillers since 2012 to perfect what they believe embodies Cornwall and the natural botanicals that surround them, including the likes of rock samphire and cardamom, creating an air of wonder and curiosity.

December 2014 saw the release of Curio after the investment of two small stills, a rotary evaporator and plenty of experiments. The Rock Samphire gin expression was first to hit the shelves, followed by their Peruvian Cocoa Nib vodka, and lately their Cardamom vodka, all using natural spring water from the Cornish Spring Water Company.

 

My first taste of Curio see’s the Peruvian Cocoa Nib, a triple distilled vodka that is gently infused with Peruvian Cocoa Nibs and produced in small batches. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes;

Curio Peruvian Cocoa Nib – 40%

Soft, subtle fresh cocoa with blends of vanilla and fudge on the nose. Slight roasted cocoa nib once upon the palate, with notes of creamy toffee, sweet fudge and a lasting flavour of warm cream.

Although recommended to be served neat, I did come across this;

Curio Chocolate Orange Martini
Curio Chocolate Orange Martini

Glass – 

Martini

Ingredients –

25 ml Curio Cocoa Nib Vodka
25 ml Cointreau
2 dashes Fee Brothers Chocolate bitters
2 dashes Fee Brothers Orange bitters

Method –

Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain in chilled martini cocktail glass. Squeeze oil from orange peel onto the drink.

An impressive flavoured vodka, and it’s grabbed my curiosity to experience the rest of the range. Start your collection today for the drinks cabinet as they’re already looking to expand with plans for a larger distillery in Mullion on the Lizard Peninsular.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

 

Flor De Caña ‘Rum Frontiers’ Showcases In Glasgow

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Flor de Caña discovered the new UK ‘Rum Frontier’ Champion on Monday night, as guests basked in the electric vibes of Nicaragua enjoying street food, Flor de Caña cocktails, live street art and a world renowned DJ in one of Glasgow’s best loved venues, Drygate.

Featuring an incredible line-up of first class mixologists from all across the country, each finalist pushed the creative boundaries of cocktail making to the edge in a live heat where they were challenged to design innovative cocktails inspired by the exotic home of Flor de Caña rum. The cocktails were fashioned around many areas of Nicaraguan culture, from its world famous coffee beans to the unique and vibrant art that fills the streets, the volcano which Flor de Caña’s own distillery sits at and the fact that the country is run on 58% clean, renewable energy.

Ten finalists battled it out to be crowned the #RumFrontiers UK winner and get their hands on the coveted prize: a trip of a lifetime to Nicaragua where the winner will represent the UK in the worldwide final as well as enjoying incredible tours of Nicaragua’s top attractions.

The winning cocktail blew away the judging panel, boasting an incredibly diverse and creative skillset from bartender Ryan Rhodes of Dusk in Aberdeen. Named Lava Flava, Ryan’s drink was inspired by the artist Scott Lambeck and his colourful interpretation of Nicaragua which adorned the sides of the glass. Ryan described his cocktail as a drink which he felt reflected Nicaragua; vibrant, fun and playful.

As well as the excitement of live heats, earlier in the day attendees enjoyed a masterclass run by two of the esteemed judges: Daryl Haldane (Head of Brand Experience, Whyte & Mackay) and Tristan Stephenson (The Curious Bartender). Also tasked with judging the cocktail creations were the highly-regarded Andy Gemmell (The Drinks Cabinet) and Marc Catalan (Flor de Caña).

Jonathan Gillbanks (UK Sales Director – On Trade & Specialists, Whyte and Mackay) said: “RumFrontiers was a fantastic event; we witnessed some of the most exciting bartenders from the UK come together to learn and create with Flor de Caña premium rum. The creations from the competitors were truly outstanding.”

Ryan will experience six days of adventure in Nicaragua this September, including sand-boarding on the active Cerro Negro Volcano before spending the night in the historic city of Leon. He will then return to Managua for an exclusive tour of the Flor de Caña distillery ahead of the world wide #RumFrontiers final. The remainder of the trip will be packed full of excursions including a visit to the Masaya Volcano, Masaya Artisan Market and Apoyo Lake. There will also be a City Tour of Granada along with a trip to a private island before returning home.

Patrón Perfectionists Come Out To Play In Bristol

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The team at Patrón came around to Bristol last week to host the next round of the current programme, the Patrón Perfectionist!

Hosted at Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the competitors found their way to the South West heat by offering a unique Patrón serve, worthy of impressing the judging panel and ultimately winning a place in the final, held in London later in the year.

Hailing from the likes of Dirty Martini in Cardiff, Be At One in Bournemouth and Salt Room in Brighton, the competitors were joined by UK Brand Ambassador Karine Tillard as they re-created their serve to the panel of myself, Karine and last-years South West winner Steven Young of Academy Espresso Bar in Barry.

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The top three will be showcased here today, so in third place saw Brighton represent with Jake Goldstein of Plotting Parlour. His ‘Commin Mathca’ saw him combine Patrón Silver, sustainable sherbet, pretzel syrup, matcha green tea and aquafaba together, complete with a garnish of a tiny pretzel and matcha.

Ben Alcock of host venue HMSS earned second place with his creation, ‘Beez-Ness Thyme’. A sour styled drink that saw Patrón Reposado, bee mix (honey, Aquavit, burgamot, fig, salt and absinthe), lemon juice, aquafaber and chickpea water, it came garnished with a simple twist of a lemon peel.

Bristol Preview 23
The winning serve though came from Chelsie Bailey of Red Light in Bristol. Named ‘El Camienzo Perfecto’, it saw Patrón Reposado, pineapple sherbet, cream, lime juice and egg white, topped with Mexican lager, dehydrated chilli and pineapple leaves.

So congratulations to Chelsie, who wins herself a trip to London to compete in the final against the other finalists from around the UK!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

Iconic ‘Rue Bourbon’ Street In New Orleans Temporarily Transformed Into ‘Rue Londres Sec’

Beefeater Gin at Tales of the Cocktail 2017

The iconic ‘Rue Bourbon’ street in the heart of New Orleans was temporarily transformed into ‘Rue Londres Sec’ (London Dry Street). The takeover was carried out by iconic London Dry Gin brand, Beefeater, to launch its global MIXLDN 7 cocktail competition to the world’s best bartenders who have gathered in the city for the Tales of the Cocktail festival. Beefeater’s Master Distiller Desmond Payne, the most experienced gin distiller in the world, and Global Brand Ambassador, Sumaiyah Connolly, pictured in the shot, are asking bartenders around the globe to enter the world’s biggest gin competition via http://www.beefeatermixldn.com.

Borough Wines Partners With Hub Velo For A Series Of Tour De France Tastings And Competitions

Over four weeks during the Tour de France (1 – 23 July), Borough Wines is celebrating
cycling culture and highlighting wines from the regions the race passes through, with free tastings in their nine London shops each weekend.

The regions they are celebrating are:

WEEK 1
1 – 6 July – Germany, Alsace & Jura

WEEK 2
7 – 13 July – Bordeaux

WEEK 3
14 – 20 July – Languedoc & Roussillon & Rhône

WEEK 4
21 – 23 July – Rhône, Provence & Champagne

These 12 wines will also form the Borough Wines x Hub Vélo Tour de France Wine
Tasting Case​, which is available to buy online from http://www.boroughwines.co.uk and in the
Borough Wines shops at a special price of £175.

Clapton cycle club and bike shop Hub Vélo, has also created a 40km cycle route around all nine Borough Wines & Beers shops in London. The wine company is giving away a free 20cl bottle of Prosecco to anyone who completes the route on two-wheels and
logs it on cycle app Strava. All riders will also be entered into a prize draw to win a Magnum of Gosset Champagne and cycling goodies from Hub Vélo.

For cycle fans whose calves are less Mark Cavendish and more, er… actual baby cows – there’s also a less energetic competition running in Borough Wines’
shops.

For the chance to win a full 12-bottle TDF17 Wine Tasting Case and a Hub Vélo cycle kit, entrants just need to take a picture of the cycle jersey currently on display in the Borough Wines London shops or in Hub Vélo, and share it on Twitter or Instagram using #VeloVin,​ tagging @boroughwines ​and @hubvelo​.