Funkin Puree Passion Fruit Margarita & Cosmopolitan Tasting Notes

Funkin Puree are a well-known brand of fruit purees commonly used in most bars and restaurants. When I contacted Funkin regarding the use of their purees back when I worked at Casa Tapas, they sent me 3 ready-to-serve pouches to try – Cosmopolitan, Mojito and Passion Fruit Margarita. The Mojito pouch has unfortunately long gone but today I review the other two classics.

Passion Fruit Margarita –

Funkin Puree Passion Fruit Margarita

I mixed the pouch with 1 25ml shot of Jose Cuervo Silver and stirred in a high-ball glass. As you can see by the picture, the cocktail would look a lot better with more ice in it – I only used two cubes for a short drink. As you can imagine, the distinctive smell of passion fruit hits your nostrils straight away and it seems to mask the tequila aroma. Upon taste there was a subtle sweet passion fruit texture until it hits your throat where it seems to release itself on your senses. You get the slight kick of the tequila but the mixer seems to subtly over-power it and I think it works well.

If you were to choose a tequila to go with the Passion Fruit or even the classic Margartia they have, try to edge for the silver variety. I think gold tequila may clash a little too much with the mix and take the enjoyment away from you.

 

 

Cosmopolitan –

Funkin Puree Cosmopolitan

This was hard to put my thumb on. The taste gave me a slight cranberry and lime on the palate, yet no hint of vodka (although admittedly that may have to do with the choice of the only open bottle of vodka I had – Co-op Imperial). The aromas gave off the same ingredients, yet they seem to mix quite well together. Don’t understand? I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s not the same Cosmopolitan you would order in a bar, and it doesn’t look like one either. But if you did a blind tasting of this, although a little thicker in texture, the only drink you would think is the Cosmo. I think it’s a hard drink to master in a puree style, it’s a little delicate if ordered fresh and is well-known to a lot of people. But I think they have just about done it. Its well worth a try, even if it’s just to check off your drinks list.

You can purchase the whole range of Funkin Purees here including Pina Colada, Daiquiri, Woo Woo and Bramble – http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=5007

 

 

Lime Bar & Restaurant Review

After an impromptu night off work, a friend of mine suggested going back to a place we visited nearly a year ago named Lime. It’s situated in Salford Quays opposite The Lowry and after a brief walk from the Metrolink, we made our way through the ample outdoor seating to the bar area.

We decided to try some of the cocktails on offer and trawled through their extensive range. Highlights include classics like Mojito’s, Margarita’s and Long Island’s while what seems to be their own creations with names like Jamaica Funk, Quiet Sunday and Boston Gold.

I plumped for a Midnight Love whilst my friend went for the Jamaican Funk. There doesn’t seem to be any table service so upon walking up to the bar and ordering, I was able to scour their spirit range. Again notable names of Grey Goose, Havana and Tanqueray mixed with the lesser seen Frangelico, Kahlua and Benedictine.

Left - Midnight Love, Right - Jamaican Funk

Our drinks were bought over, my Midnight Love served in a Hurricane glass whilst the Jamaican Funk came in a Margarita glass, both garnished with fresh strawberries. My Midnight Love consisted of both fresh and strawberry syrup, vodka, orange juice and lime which blended well to create a fresh and very drinkable fruit-based cocktail. The flavour of strawberry overpowered the rest of the ingredients, but you could tell they were a part of it all as i powered through the crushed ice to get the last drop. The Jamiacan Funk was a more tangy affair – Appleton V/X rum blended with lime, Chambord and raspberries, topped with Champagne. This deeply fruity cocktail was a hit to the senses, with the initial burst of three fruits (four if you count the strawberry garnish) and the Appleton rum, followed by the fizz of the Champagne that gave it a raw feeling as it goes down. There wasn’t much aftertaste, almost as if the champagne cleanses your palate on every sip, and it definitely wasn’t as smooth as the Midnight Love. Don’t get me wrong, Champagne does obviously make a difference when added to any drink, I just don’t think it mixes well with those ingredients.

Next on the agenda was another two cocktails, Toblerone and Baby Kiss. The Toblerone consisted of Baileys, Kahlua, Frangelico, cream and Butterscotch while the Baby Kiss was a blend of strawberries, Chambord and Champagne. Whilst these were being made I took some time to check out the surroundings of Lime. It’s a spacious venue with an obvious yet subtle divide between bar and restaurant. The bar itself stretches round the back corner, with bottled beers displayed in small alcoves against bold lighting. The rest of the place has a lot of tin and copper ‘ripped apart’ to create a stunning effect, especially with the various lighting bouncing off the different angles.

Left - Baby Kiss, Right - Toblerone

My Toblerone arrived in a Martini Glass while the Baby Kiss was in a small Champagne flute. A garnish of chocolate dusting gave off the obvious smell of chocolate, with a rather striking taste. I’ll tell you know, it doesn’t taste like a Toblerone, rather a chocolate you get from an old sweet shop. Granted there’s no Creme de Cacao in the mix, and it does give you a creamy taste, but it’s not got that silky chocolate taste you expect. As for an after-taste, whether the bartender put too much in or not, Butterscotch ruins the end. It’s an unnecessary liquor to three that could have worked a lot better on their own. The Baby Kiss seemed to be a reverse of the Jamaican Funk, you got the Champagne first and then the subtle flavours of the fruit arriving after. With its basic ingredients, you won’t be disappointed, and is an excellent alternative to the Kir Royale.

Santa Helena Chilean Merlot

To end the night we decided to go for a glass of red wine. My friend had been picking at a bowl of olives so i suggested a Spanish Tempranillo, whilst i went for a Chilean Merlot. I’m a huge fan of South American wines and was very impressed with Lime’s offering. The Santa Helena Merlot was a creamy and vibrant red, with distinctive cherry notes making their way through as you drink. It didn’t leave any hints of dryness which made this red an enjoyable end to my night. The Marques de Luna Tempranillo was a rich and well-rounded wine, with no significant flavour bursting through to your pallet. Compared to the Merlot though, it did leave a rather dry taste, something that i don’t particularly like when it comes to wine.

Overall, this is a great place to come and wind down, and would be a great bar to sit outside in the sun. I’d be a little picky on the cocktails next time as some don’t sound too appealing, or cost a bit too much for what ingredients are being used, but there is a good range of wines and beers (Heineken, Peroni, Budweiser etc.) to keep you going for a night or two.

Martin Miller’s Tasting Notes

Martin Miller’s is fast becoming one of those ‘must have’ premium gins to see on any back bar or drinks cabinet. But why is it becoming so popular, and even touching the heights of Tanqueray?

It all begins in the heart of England, the Black Country, and the use of batch distillation. Combining the two traditionalists (the industrial revolution and the prefered method of production for only a few gin producers), their copper pot still ‘Angela’ is the heart of Mr Martin Miller’s creation. Over 100 years old, it distills and infuses the botanicals of juniper, orange and lemon peel, coriander, liquorice, cinnamon, cassia, nutmeg, angelica and orris root. For real attention to detail though, the water to combine the infused alcohol comes from a 3,000 mile round trip via Iceland. The reason? Iceland has the softest, purest water on the planet. The glacial waters are up to 10 times purer than the standard bottled water found on sale today.

Martin Millers London Dry

So with botanicals sourced from all over the world, to a round trip of 3,000 miles – how does the finished product taste? Below i give to you my tasting notes on the two products.

Martin Miller’s London Dry – 40%

Dominated by citrus notes on the nose, but subtle floral aromas follow slowly. Rather mellow on the palate, with a slight dryness. It gives off some interesting citrus flavours with juniper overtones with a hint of peppercorn on the odd occasion. A slow-fading after-taste of floral and citrus.

Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength – 45.2%

Juniper aromas swirl well with short, sharp hints of citrus on the nose, whilst the palate enjoys a rich yet smooth flavour of spice and citrus, which develops into a long finish.

Two fantastic offerings to get your hands on, but what happens if you create a cocktail?

The London Cup

Glass –

Jug – served with two rocks glasses

Ingredients –

50ml Martin Miller’s Gin Westbourne Strength
50ml Martini Rosso
30ml Campari
30ml Cointreau
50ml fresh pink grapefruit juice

Method –

Mix all ingredients. Top with Fever Tree lemonade and garnish with slices of cucumber, lemon, strawberry, pink grapefruit, blackberry. Add a sprig of mint for garnish.

A great sharing cocktail for the summer!

Take a look at the rest of the photos, taken at 24 Bar and Grill, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. 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.

Cocktails at The Circle 360

I decided to swing by The Circle 360 for a drink with a friend of mine after work (this really is turning out to be my new favourite place!) and then came back later in the night with another friend who said he wanted to give it a try after my recommendations!

I’m not going to dwell on the bar itself – you can find my full review at https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/review-of-new-circle-360-bar-and-taste-notes-on-jb-coke/ but i thought this might give you a better idea at the range of cocktails that they sell.

Lemon Meringue – £5.45

Lemon Meringue

An interesting idea, and one you may have seen in other high-end bars, where the drink is presented with a small meringue placed on top for garnish. It didn’t give off many aromas, although I think the layer of cream may be the culprit, however once you take the first sip, the mixture of Luxardo Limoncello, Licor 43 and citrus juices gave a burst of flavour inside your mouth. Once you start to finish your drink, the initial rush of vanilla and citrus is replaced by a more gentle zest of lemon which gives at a rather smooth finish. This is a cocktail that does what it says – it’s a lemon meringue pie in a martini glass. Classic British!

 

 

 

 

Vanilla and Apple Martini – £5.45

Vanilla and Apple Martini

My friend had a cocktail from its Martini selection and she chose a rather interesting combination of 42 Below Manuka Honey, apple schnapps and cinnamon. A simple blend of these ingredients gave off a rather strong wild apple in both its smell and taste – but don’t let that put you off. It doesn’t verge you on the cider category as the cinnamon literally drags your senses back to your cocktail. As the Lemon Meringue before, you will drink this rather quickly, and you’ll order both again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amaretto Midori Sours

Amaretto Midori Sours

A bartender recommendation – an Amaretto Midori Sours. Initially, I thought ‘I can’t see this working’ but in reality – wow! It seems to be one of those blends that just shouldn’t, but it does so well. Made the traditional sours way and served with crushed ice, it was presented to my friend with a slight lime green colour and an orange wedge as garnish. It gave off an expected aroma of melon and almond which blended rather well, as did the taste. I found it quite hard to describe, the almond didn’t overpower the melon as much as I thought it would, it complimented it rather well, while the Demerara sugar gave it a sweeter edge as the drink makes its way through your senses. A drink that wouldn’t look out-of-place in any cocktail bar, i would recommend to give it a try!

 

 

 

French Martini – £5.45

French Martini

Another classic cocktail from there Martini range, the French Martini with its blend of 42 Below Pure, Chambord, fresh blackberries and a dash of Pineapple juice. Giving off a rich dark colour on arrival with a slight berry foam top giving off some fantastic rich aromas. Its taste of the tangy blackberries hits you initially yet a smooth and rather velvety end once it settles on your taste buds. All ingredients can be tasted yet none seems to overpower too much which makes it a rather well-balanced drink. The after-taste was a bit raw but i think that could be down to my dislike of fresh blackberries.

 

 

 

 

 

The Godfather – £4.95

The Godfather

This is my all-time favourite drink – a mix of Amaretto and Bourbon. Again a simple to make drink but with their use of Luxardo Amaretto and L.G. Woodford Reserve it gives it a more sophisticated edge over the usual and more commonly seen pairing of Dissaranno Amaretto and Jack Daniels. An orange peel for garnish brought out a rich aroma of sweetness mixed with almond and a slight hint of vanilla. Unfortunately being my favourite drink, it did go down rather quickly, but the taste was very smooth with a full-bodied sweetness, and not too strong as some of these alcohol only drinks can be sometimes.

 

 

 

 

Grey Goose Le Fizz – £5.45

Grey Goose Le FizzA contemporary cocktail was chosen by my friend named the Grey Goose Le Fizz. Marketed as ‘a classical new twist’, the ingredients of Grey Goose, lime juice, elderflower cordial and then topped with soda gave off a dazzling cloudy finish in what could easily be mistaken for a Smirnoff Ice (god forbid). On the nose it had an obvious mix of lime and elderflower, with the hints of vodka slowly making its way through, and that’s what i could say about the taste too. You can taste all the ingredients, but it’s like they arrive one by one, and just make the experience better and better! Now I have to admit, I’m not a fan of soda. I think it’s a pointless liquid that ruins drinks, and I personally feel that this shouldn’t be topped with it. Now granted it does taste ok with it as you can’t really tell its there, but it would be interesting to see it topped with ginger beer, bitter lemon or even champagne.

I’m slowly making my way through their cocktail menu and will be posting up reviews as and when. I’ll also be trying some of their champagnes and wines to see how they compare.

Gosling’s Tasting Notes

Gosling's

On a recent rum master class I hosted here in Manchester, I showcased Gosling’s Black Seal as an example of Bermuda. It was only then that I realised that despite knowing of the brand since my early days as a bartender, I have never covered it here on my site. So without further hesitation, lets take a look at why I don’t seem to be the only man giving such high praise to Bermuda.

The year is 1806 and James Gosling set out on a voyage to America from England, carrying £10,000 worth of merchandise. After 91 days at sea, his ship’s charter had expired, forcing him to set into the nearest port – St George’s in the north of Bermuda. Instead of finding alternative travel routes to America, he decided to stay in Bermuda, establishing a shop in December on King’s Parade in St George’s. 18 years later in 1824, James Gosling returned to England whilst his brother Ambrose rented a shop on Front Street in the new Capitol of Hamilton for £25 a year, a location for the next 127 years.
In 1857, the firm was renamed Gosling Brothers by Ambrose’s sons, and three years later the first oak barrels of rum distillate arrived in Bermuda. 1863 saw the now distinctive Bermuda black rum formulated and offered for sale from the barrel by customers bringing their own bottles to ‘fill up’. This carried on until the First World War where the name Black Seal came into practice. The black rum was sold in champagne bottles, reclaimed from the British Officer’s Mess, and the corks sealed with black sealing wax. The icon is born.

The name ‘Black Seal’ became the rum of choice between many, with the popularity probably explaining the idea of the little barrel juggling ‘Black Seal’ which adorns every bottle.

The production of Gosling’s is a family recipe (made after many trials and errors) from over two centuries ago, consisting of independently aged distillates aged for at least three years in once-used, charred, American oak bourbon casks, resulting in a blend of aged pot and continuous still distillates.

But how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Gosling’s Black Seal – 40%

Sweet on the nose with hints of herbal aromas and spice coming through very slowly. Rather well-balanced on the palate, with sweet notes of molasses combined with dry liquorice and cinnamon. Stewed apple and dry wood flavours makes a presence near the long, lingering and slightly dry finish.

Gosling’s Family Reserve – 40%

Dried fruit and oak notes on the nose with a rich flavour of prunes and dark fruits on the palate with a hint of smokiness that creates a mellow finish.

Both great tot’s on their own, but it did contribute to two signature cocktails, with the Dark ‘n Stormy® name owned by Gosling’s –

Dark ‘n Stormy
Dark ‘n Stormy

Dark ‘n Stormy®

Glass –

Highball

Ingredients –

50 ml Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
75 ml Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer

Method – 

Build in the glass over cubed ice and serve with a lime wedge.

or

Bermuda Rum Swizzle

Glass – 

Martini

Ingredients – 

(Makes 6)
120 ml Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
120 ml Gosling’s Gold Rum
150 ml Pineapple Juice
150 ml Orange Juice
25 ml Grenadine or 60 ml Bermuda Falernum
6 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

Method – 

Into a pitcher, fill ⅓ of crushed ice and add Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, Gosling’s Gold Rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, Grenadine or Bermuda Falernum and Angostura bitters. Churn vigorously until a frothing appears or mix in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a Martini glass.

Two incredible classics that everyone should have at least once in their lives. Gosling’s also goes well with food, from appetisers to desserts including Bermuda fish chowder and Bermuda onion soup.

Today, Gosling’s is the only company that blends and bottles in Bermuda, and is the largest exporter of a Bermuda made product. In the UK, their range include the two above and also the 151 proof Black Seal Rum, the Gold Bermuda Rum, Stormy Ginger Beer and the ready-to-drink Dark ‘n Stormy®. A collection worthy of any rum lover, and indeed even to novices.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.

The Circle 360 – again!

This bar is growing and growing on me! I’ve been twice today and both times have been excellent. Excellent service, excellent atmosphere and most importantly excellent drinks!

Pornstar Martini

1st time around was to try there Pornstar Martini. I asked for mine to be in a hi-ball glass which was duly served with the classic shot of champagne to its side. Their version included 42 Below passion fruit, Licor 43 and pineapple juice. Now i have 1 word to sum this up – exquisite. A smooth almost velvety tropical fruit taste with the taste of vanilla lingering in the back of your throat, made the drink disappear as quick as it was made! The best Pornstar Martini i previously had been in Amba Lounge in Hale but this beat it by a mile. Now understandably i didn’t have it in a Martini glass because i wished for an ice cold drink and you should never have a Martini drink with ice, but a drink is the same no matter what you serve it in, and that was served well!

Licor 43 Sours

2nd time around my friend joined me and i purchased a Licor 43 sours while a Signature 360 was also ordered. As mentioned in my tasting notes on Licor 43, this is one of my favourites. I had Licor 43 sours on the cocktail menu (or 43 Sours as i called it) so i was intrigued to see if it could be made as good as mine. The bartender on duty made my Licor 43 whilst the Bar Manager Dalia made The Circle Bar’s Signature 360 (previously recommended by The Circle Bar on their Twitter feed last week). It’s good to see that Bar Managers actually get themselves involved, especially when it comes to creating cocktails, and not just sat crunching numbers and barking orders.

Signature 360

Once the cocktails were created, they were gone within minutes. The Licor 43 sours was truly irresistably (almost on par with mine!) whilst the Signature 360 was given a huge thumbs up as the Hendricks Gin cocktail was slowly disappearing.

After now being properly introduced to the Bar Manager, and herself starting to recognise me and my friend, i’m going to have to start making this my new place to drink!

Licor 43 Tasting notes

The ‘Spanish Smooth Sensation’ has made a comeback recently, with Licor 43 being ever-present on many new and existing back bars. This Spanish liqueur is made from citrus and fruit juices, flavoured with 43 different vanilla and aromatic herbs and spices (hence the name). Its origin though starts in the early 20th century at a small factory in the Mediterranean city of Cartagena.

Three brothers (Diego, Angel and Josefina Zamora Conesa) and Mrs Conesa’s husband Emilio Restoy Godoy started the company and became the most sold liqueur in the South East of Spain. Since the beginning, the Diego Zamora company (still family owned to this day) has been a pioneer in Spain for its use of advertising on radio, TV, press and cinema, with the 60’s paying off as Licor 43 went global to 55 markets to become the most international Spanish liqueur ever. Licor 43 are rather proud of their history and recipe, and the 43 herbs and spices are a guarded secret, however this doesn’t stop you from enjoying the moment as you try to work it out for yourselves –

Licor 43 – 31%

Subtle vanilla aromas blend their way through on the nose accompanied by sweet fruit and spices. A smooth, instant mouth-watering vanilla taste hits the palate first with subtle citrus hints following. Creates a long, sweet after taste.

Licor 43 makes an ideal ingredient to use to balance out a Daiquiri, or even used in a dark Mojito to add a slight extra vanilla flavour to the rum used. Or try one of these –

Cosmo 43

Glass –

Martini

Ingredients –

50 ml Licor 43
50 ml Vodka
75 ml Cranberry juice
50 ml Lemon juice

Method –

Shake all ingredients together and serve in a chilled Martini glass

Spanish Temptation

Spanish Temptation

Glass –

Hurricane

Ingredients –

125 ml Licor 43
50 ml Vanilla Syrup
75 ml Cream
175 ml Passion Fruit Nectar
125 ml Orange juice
25 ml Cherry juice

Method –

Mix all ingredients without the cherry juice with ice in a shaker. Add the cherry juice once poured into a hurricane glass.

This versatile liqueur really shows what it’s made of, and has even caught the judges eyes, winning gold in the 19th Cocktail Challenge Edition at Shaker & Company in 2012 and silver at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2011.

Expect to see a lot more of Licor 43 of the coming years, not only in cocktails, but offered as part of your after-dinner range as well as over desserts such as ice cream, fruit salads and strawberries. Or better still, have one in your drinks cabinet.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. 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.