William Grant & Sons’ UK Brand Ambassadors are back with ‘Unwrapped’ Tour

unwrapped

Following the hugely successful launch last year, William Grant & Sons’ UK Brand Ambassador team are taking their industry-leading initiative – Unwrapped: The Other Side of Bartending – to a further three cities in 2019: Bristol, Manchester and London.

‘Unwrapped’ is an initiative exclusively for the UK hospitality industry, focused on a series of Brand Ambassador-led talks, designed to provide the On-Trade with key insights, knowledge and skills to enrich their careers and personal growth. Discussions range from ‘How to find the courage to be happy’ to ‘The power of storytelling’.

This year the team will continue touring the UK, bringing ‘Unwrapped’ to even more members of the On-Trade. The 2019 series will be kicking off in Bristol on 25th March, followed by Manchester on 13th May, finally hitting London in November.

Last year’s launch event in Edinburgh received an overwhelmingly positive response, attracting in excess of 120 attendees and raising more than £2,000 for SANE.

Sam Baxendale, Owner/Operator at KIN Bar, who attended the 2018 Edinburgh launch event, said:

“It was an extremely enjoyable and enlightening day of socialising and education. I found it different to other training/brand events as there was little to no “mixology” talk. The subjects discussed were those close at heart to each Brand Ambassador. I feel this makes the relevance of Unwrapped more widespread and inclusive to the whole hospitality industry, and not just those focused on cocktails.”

Fabiano Latham, Reyka Vodka UK Brand Ambassador, comments:

“Following the great feedback we received after our ‘Unwrapped’ launch event, the entire Brand Ambassador team are thrilled to be visiting even more cities and engaging more bartenders. Through this initiative we can reach like-minded individuals, share our passion and provide today’s bartenders with tools and advice to best equip them for success in this amazing industry – something which is really close to all of our hearts.”

Agenda;

11:00

Arrival for guests

11:30

Intro 5mins

11:35

Power of story telling

11:55

Be your worlds best bartender

12:15

The courage to be happy

12:35

Bar.ography

12:55

Benevolent

13:05

Lunch

13:55

How to train your nose

14:15

Secrets to opening your own bar

14:35

How to be newsworthy

14:55

Keeping good spirits with good spirits

15:15

Adventurivity & ending speech.

15:35

Activation begins

16:30

Activation ends.

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Emily Says . . . . ‘Portobello’

Portobello Road

In her fifteenth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering heads for a walk down Portobello Road;

So it turns out I haven’t exactly stuck to my previous promise of leaning away from the gin; it’s just too bloody difficult! So here’s another quick little blog about another one of my favourite gins: Portobello Road.

Portobello Road has dominated the gin scene for quite some time now, and it was five years ago when it all began at no. 171 Portobello Road; the address of Portobello Star, a cocktail bar in Notting Hill. Conveniently, the bar contained a Ginstitute on the second floor that specialised in all things gin. Taking full advantage of this, bartender Jake Burger and proprietor Ged Feltham spent nine months experimenting with different botanicals and flavours until they whipped up the perfect recipe.

Nine botanicals make Portobello Road what it is, and that includes juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, orris root, lemon and orange peel, liquorice root, cassia bark and nutmeg. With the base being an English wheat neutral spirit, Portobello Road is truly a classic London dry gin, alongside its ABV of 42%.

With it being created by a bartender, one would generally have high hopes for Portobello, and I can guarantee it isn’t one that disappoints. On the nose, an elegant and floral aroma is instantly apparent with delicate notes of citrus; clearly from the orange and lemon peel added in the distillation.

As one would expect from a London dry gin, the first taste is initially very juniper heavy. Subtle spices are also present, as would be predicted from a London dry, but the citrus notes take centre stage in the overall tasting experience. The floral notes are left in the nose, which I personally think is a beautiful little addition without giving the gin too much of an overwhelming drinking experience: little is more, remember!

The perfect serve for Portobello Road London dry gin is simply over ice with an Indian tonic (or London Essence Grapefruit and Rosemary tonic if you fancy) and a twist of grapefruit zest.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Portobello Road Navy Strength gin, with a punchy ABV of 57.1%, this little addition is definitely the one for those stronger gin lovers.

Photo Credit: Portobello Road

Monkey Shoulder Mixes it up in Manchester and Liverpool

MOSH_Ginger Monkey_AddieChin_001

Monkey Shoulder, the 100% malt whisky made for mixing, is heading North this spring on a mission to drive advocacy with the on-trade through exciting brand collaborations and initiatives, as well as connecting drinkers with playful and mischievous experiences. Never one to play by the rules, the brand will be inspiring bartenders and consumers across both Manchester and Liverpool to with a series of high energy bar takeovers, an interactive paint balloon experience, and refreshing cocktails served from its 12-foot, 11,000 litre Mixer Truck.

The fun begins this month in Manchester (15th – 16th April), followed by Liverpool (17th – 21st April), where the newly launched Monkey Shoulder Breakdown Service is set to support bartenders during dreaded task of breaking down the bar – making it a whole lot easier and much more fun. Hot on the heels of its success across the capital during the London Coffee Festival, The Breakdown Service team will be on call between midnight and 3am, bringing with them Monkey Shoulder Lazy Old Fashioneds & Boilermakers, as well as snacks to refuel.

Joe Harper, Assistant Bars Manager at The Savoy commented: “The Monkey Shoulder Breakdown Service was a unique and wonderful way to give something back to the team; they really appreciated a helping hand and definitely gained a morale boost!”

To get involved, bar teams simply need to text or call 07981 869996 to book in their breakdown service. The Monkey Shoulder team will be handing out business cards to bars across both cities.

John Wayte, Monkey Shoulder UK Brand Ambassador comments:

“We can’t wait bring all the our Monkey Shoulder energy to the streets of Manchester and Liverpool, from our epic Mixer Truck to our interactive paint balloon experience. We’re particularly excited for the North to take advantage of The Breakdown Service, allowing some of the legendary bar teams we love and respect to put their feet up and have a drink on us. It’s our chance to say thank you for all their hard work!”

Here is what’s on the Monkey Shoulder menu this April:

Shake yo’ Monkey

We are rolling into town. Rolling into town with an 11,000 litre giant cocktail Mixer Truck that is. Look out for the 12-foot, Monkey Shoulder Mixer Truck parking up at Spinningfields in Manchester and Liverpool’s Baltic Market. With its DJ booth, t-shirt cannon and cocktails on-tap you can shake your monkey to no end. Cocktails on offer include: The Lazy Old Fashioned, Monkey Mojito, Ape Spritz, Show me the Monkey. In Liverpool, there will also be an exclusive serve from William Grant & Sons UK 1887 Collective member, Jake O’Brien Murphy, who is launching his new local bar, Present Company – coming soon.

Swing by our Mixer Truck at:

Spinningfields, Manchester, Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th, 12 – 8pm
Baltic Market, Liverpool, Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st, 12 – 8pm

Coming to a bar near YOU!

Monkey Shoulder will be taking over Baltic Market in Liverpool over Easter Weekend, kitting it out in head to toe Monkey. Expect DJs, arcade games, a Monkey Shoulder vending machine and half price Monkey Shoulder cocktails all night long.

Head down to: Baltic Market, Liverpool, Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st April

The good kind of S.W.A.T.

Special guests, the Monkey Shoulder S.W.A.T. team – a group of fun time vigilantes – will be popping up at some legendary local spots to ramp up the party with great tunes and free (*ooooooh free stuff*) whisky cocktails and Monkey Shoulder t-shirts.

Look out for the S.W.A.T team: (Further locations being added all the time)

Manchester:

Tuesday 16th April: Night & Day

Liverpool:

Wednesday 17th April: Pattersons
Thursday 18th April: Some Place, Zanzibar and Peacocks
Friday 19th April: McGuffies, Pattersons
Sunday 21st April: Castle Street Townhouse and Alma De Cuba

The Tea Trolley (we promise we won’t serve you a builders)

The notorious roaming Monkey Shoulder Tea Trolleys – pimped out drinks trolleys kitted out with DJ decks – will be spinning tracks and handing out free cocktails – including the Lazy Old Fashioned, Show me the Monkey and Ginger Monkey – at bars including B@One and Revolution in both Manchester and Liverpool.

Get messy with Monkey

One giant billboard. Hundreds of paint-filled balloons. And a splash of messy Monkey mischief. Get ready for the world’s messiest advert, brought to you by Monkey Shoulder. Come down to Liverpool’s Ropewalks Square, grab yourself a paint bomb and chuck it at our 16-foot billboard to reveal a hidden Monkey message. It’s going to get messy.

Come join us: Friday 19th and Saturday 20th April, 3-8pm, Ropewalks Square off Bold Street, Liverpool

All activities will only be available to adults aged 18+ and all participants are encouraged to drink responsibly.

ShopTalk Shakes Things Up For Chase Cocktail Contest And Festival

chase

Chase Distillery launches its cocktail competition, Chase Cup, in line with this year’s Rock the Farm music festival, with a new brand identity by London design agency ShopTalk.

The website has just gone live, and mixologists from all over the world are being invited to submit cocktail creations that celebrate Chase Distillery’s single-estate potato vodkas and botanical-rich gins. The final showdown will take place during the festival, which is being held at Chase Distillery’s family-run potato farm in Herefordshire on 3rd and 4th June.

Chase brand guardian ShopTalk was asked to develop an identity that would celebrate the family, the farm and the spirits – and give bartenders and drinks industry professionals an opportunity to get to know, love and appreciate the brand ‘from the ground up’.

Unearthing brands

The Chase family has farmed potatoes in Herefordshire for generations. Father and son, William and James Chase, wanted the festival and its new branding to bring to life Chase’s earthy field-to-bottle production values and artisanal spirit.

The ShopTalk team responded to the challenge with a craft-inspired identity that places the potato at the very heart of the brand. Alongside the identity, ShopTalk created a bespoke typeface, Spud Sans, which celebrates the potato and is completely ownable by Chase.

The new font was developed using old-fashioned potato-printing techniques, before being refined digitally. The resulting alphabet has a truly homespun feel but is clean and clear-cut, so it can be used effectively across event and directional signage.

Cultivating success

James Wood, ShopTalk’s Co-founder and Creative Director, says: “At Chase Distillery, everything starts with the humble spud, so we felt it was important that the new brand and identity did too. We took inspiration from the stencilled potato crates, jute sacks and enamelled signs that can be found all over Chase Farm, and devised a unique typeface using potato carving.”

The main logos for Rock the Farm and Chase Cup are in a serif font to achieve stand-out, but have been given the potato-print texture to maintain brand cohesion, and Spud Sans appears on posters, lanyards, digital platforms, promotional material and wayfaring signage. Collages on promotional posters introduce British iconography, including the Union Flag, as well as images of musicians, mixologists and potato plants, bringing together all of the festival’s essential ingredients.

James adds: “Having previously created the brand and packaging for Chase Potato Vodka, we had already established that Chase is nostalgic and proudly British, with a strong sense of integrity, so it was important that the additional collateral communicated all that to Rock the Farm festival visitors, too.”

James Chase, the distillery’s Head Ambassador, says: “The new identity really gets across that Chase is a from-scratch, home-grown operation. It conveys so much complex messaging but in a simple, unadulterated fashion. We’re confident that ShopTalk’s work will communicate very effectively who we are as a business to all the festival-goers.”

COYA Partners With Bacardi To Launch Bespoke Cocktail Menu

Coya Cocktails-7

COYA Mayfair, the modern Latin American restaurant and its award-winning bar team, led by John Toader, Assistant Bar Manager, have partnered with Bacardi’s Facundo Rum to introduce an exotic new drinks menu, celebrating the relaunch of their new terrace and the stunning gardens of Ecuador.

The menu launches at the end of November and the selection of cocktails have been created with the rich fauna of Ecuador in mind. The flavours centre around the nature of an Ecuadorian garden in which you can discover an array of tropical birds. Each drink is named after a bird and the menu details a fact that makes the bird and the cocktail unique.

Guests are offered the experience and a biology lesson at the same time in the menu. The presentation of the drinks is kept simple in order to focus on the ingredients, flavour and concept which is complimented by the foliage on the COYA terrace.

The first cocktail in the quartet is the Toco Toucan which was made with the tropics in mind and contains Facundo Neo rum, sweet pineapple, bitters, citrus, spicy pepper, vanilla, tea, milk and zingy ginger, encompassing a light and bitter long drink.

The next is the Capuchinibird which is a savory mix of Facundo Eximo, milky coconut, tonka and a special exotic sauce. A lighter choice is the Scarlet-Banded Barbet which is a herbal cocncoction containing Facundo Exquisito, Chartreuse, zesty lime, a cola reduction and finished with sesame.

For those wanting something extra special, the Waved Albartross is a delicious dark, aged rum drink with Facundo Paradiso, sugar cane and chocolate bitters.

Guests are also welcome to try the bespoke selection of Bacardi rums by themselves in order to get the full experience of the delicious spirits.

For full details of the drinks menu visit : www.coyarestaurant.com

William Grant & Sons Appoints Alex Walker As Glenfiddich National Brand Ambassador

walker

Independent family distillers, William Grant & Sons UK has confirmed that former Artesian bartender, Alex Walker, has taken on the role of National Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich, with immediate effect.

Alex’s new role will see him focus on elevating brand awareness and understanding, by bringing to life Glenfiddich’s experimental nature; and bridging communications between the brand and whisky drinkers, bars & restaurants, retailers and press.

Alex takes over from Stephen Rutherford, who previously held the role as Glenfiddich National Brand Ambassador, up until last year when he took on the position of Glenfiddich UK Brand Manager.

Stephen Rutherford, Glenfiddich UK Brand Manager said: “Alex has proved himself to be an exceptional candidate and a passionate whisky enthusiast, ticking all of the boxes for the role. He is a welcome addition to the team and I look forward to working with him to drive Glenfiddich’s brand advocacy forward with the exciting upcoming projects we have lined up.”

Alex said: “I am extremely excited to be joining the William Grant & Sons UK family. It is a huge honour and privilege to work for a brand that represents over 130 years of history, heritage, and experimentation. I can’t wait to be part of this journey and help craft future success for Glenfiddich!”

Emily Says . . . . ‘Forest’

Forest

In her fourteenth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering heads to Cheshire and into the Forest;

The gin hype certainly isn’t over (I doubt it ever will), and I’m here this time with a local delight that is Forest Gin.

The story of this little number indeed begun in a Macclesfield forest, founded by husband and wife Karl and Lindsay Bond. The couple shared a passion for their fine alcoholic beverages, and whilst enduring the dull days of the nine to five life, they would spend their evenings away from computer screens and instead with a pint sized pot still and a radio.

With Lindsay being a coeliac, drinking beer was simply out of the question for her (sadly!), so the couple turned to the next best thing: gin! The pair assembled a rather impressive gin collection, which ignited the spark of inspiration. From buying supermarket-branded vodka and distilling it with juniper that was bought online, Karl slowly but surely began to understand the process of making gin – and I mean making gin properly.

What makes a gin truly unique are the botanicals that go into it, and Karl and Lindsay made sure to find ingredients that were one of a kind, and would be difficult to find anywhere else. Living nearby a local Macclesfield forest, the couple put on their walking boots and embarked on a foraging adventure, discovering a whole range of fantastic botanicals to put in their gin.

With the traditional additions of juniper, angelica, cassia and coriander, Forest gin also includes botanicals such as wild grown bilberries, raspberries, blackberries, moss, ferns, pine, tree bark and wild flowers. As one can imagine, the addition of these unusual botanicals give the gin a taste that is truly unique.

On the nose, Forest gin literally smells as it is expected to smell: like a forest in the rain. The fresh and earthy smells from the foraged ingredients are very much apparent, particularly the herbaceous notes from the tree bark and wild flowers. Sweet notes follow from the berries, but are somewhat underwhelmed from the strong dewy forest-like notes.

When it comes to the taste, Forest gin delivers what the title suggests: a fresh and strongly herbaceous gin with hints of sweetness and a bold character. Fresh spring water from the Peak District is used in the distillation, giving the gin a fantastically smooth drinking experience. Subtle hints of spices are present, perhaps from the cassia and even from the addition of cinnamon…? The beauty of drinking a gin such as Forest is the guessing game of what has indeed gone into it to create its unique taste, and as cliché as this may sound, it literally tastes like a forest; the only way in which I can perfectly describe it! Forest gin is paired perfectly with ice, an Indian tonic water with a garnish of a couple of blackberries and a sprig of rosemary.

And for any of my fellow tea lovers, the Forest Earl Grey edition is not one to be missed. The earthy and fruity notes of the original recipe are still apparent, but the fragrant and dry touches of Earl Grey tea beautifully overwhelm the palate. Paired with ice and an Indian tonic water, the drinking experience reminds one strongly of a refreshing and fruity iced tea: perfect.

Photo Credit: Forest Distillery

Emily Says . . . . ‘Martin Millers’

Martin Millers

In her thirteenth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at what’s next in her journey now Dry Ginuary is over;

So Ginuary may be officially over on the calendar, but that doesn’t mean my obsession with the good stuff is over. At all. Forever being on the look-out for the perfect gin, I have come across this fantastic little number and it is certainly one not to be missed.

Launched in 1999, Martin Miller’s gin was founded by the man himself, Martin Miller. Mr Miller and two friends were regular drinkers in and around the London bar scene, and were generally appalled by the poor quality of gin available in pubs and bars. Wanting to bring something new to the back bar and to encourage a younger group of consumers to gin, Miller and his two friends set out to try and create the best gin possible; and, in my opinion, they did rather well.

Pot distilled in the Langley’s distillery, Martin Millers is distilled here in the UK; but the story doesn’t start in England. It indeed starts in Iceland in which the distillate is diluted with fresh Icelandic water. A pollution free country, and one of the world’s most active volcanic hot spots, Iceland is the perfect geographical location in terms of sourcing only the best fresh produce.

Taking on a ten day journey for Martin Millers from Immingham on the East Coast of England, Borganes is located at the head of Iceland’s remote west coast. From the depths of the beautiful basalt mountains that frame the Icelandic skyline, the water is drawn from Martin Millers very own spring in this remote and exclusive little location.

The botanicals that go into Martin Millers consist of the relatively straight-forward ingredients, such as juniper, coriander, angelica root, cinnamon, cassia, liquorice, nutmeg and Seville orange; straight-forward, perhaps, but timelessly perfect.

In terms of tasting notes, fresh juniper and bitter orange flavours are instantly apparent. Notes of Seville orange gently dominate the overall taste, with the distillation of Icelandic water delivering a beautifully smooth texture. These notes last throughout the entire drink, leaving a fresh and slightly peppery taste on the palate to finish.

In a personal opinion, this is the gin to go to when wanting a simply fresh and smooth drinking experience; Martin Millers have created the most fantastic gin. To be drank alongside an Indian tonic over ice, garnished with a fresh strawberry and a sprinkle of black pepper.

Photo Credit: Martin Millers

Celebrate Galentine’s Day with Gordon’s Premium Pink Distilled Gin and Baileys Original Irish Cream

Galentines-Day-JustinDeSouza-2 hannah edit

Forget Valentine’s Day, this year the big event is ‘Galentine’s Day’! February 13th is the day entirely dedicated to celebrating friendship over food and drinks!

To mark the occasion, winners of the The YBFs and runner up of the Great British Bake-Off The Sister Table has created the ultimate Galentine’s Day 3-course meal paired with 2 delicious cocktails. The menu is full of all the indulgent foods you really want to eat on a date but probably shouldn’t! Served with a Gordon’s Premium Pink Distilled Gin cocktail to start, and an indulgent Baileys Original Irish Cream cocktail to finish. .

There’s no better excuse to gather your best friends and sip on a fruity flavoured aperitif with Gordon’s Premium Pink Distilled Gin. The Gordon’s Pink Rhubarb and Ginger Sour is the perfect drink to enjoy before you put up your hair and dig into The Sister Tables’ butter drenched garlic dough balls served with shell-on prawns and a vibrant dipping sauce, which compliments the zesty gin cocktail. For mains, tuck into BBQ feast sharing platters: including finger licking sticky harissa chicken wings, pile ’em high’ Texas ribs; ranch style corn on the cob; loaded sweet potatoes with feta; tossed green salad. No Galentine’s Day date would be complete without a dessert that’s oozing in chocolate sauce! The Sister Table has created the perfect combination to end your meal, a delicious Chocolate Brownie & Marshmallow S’more paired with a Baileys Original Irish Cream Honey & Hazelnut martini cocktail. No need to feel judged when you dip your brownie into the cocktail when you’re with great friends…

To celebrate, grab your gal pals and head to Wingmans, a UK & EU Award Winning Streetfood restaurant specialising in Chicken Wings & Homemade Comfort Foods!From 11th Feb – 18th Feb, you can enjoy a Gordon’s Pink Rhubarb and Ginger Sour before getting saucy with some wings, then treat yourselves to a Baileys Honey & Hazelnut martini cocktail to finish. Galentine’s Day sorted!

Recipes

Gordon’s Pink Rhubarb and Ginger Sour [1.8 units]

Rhubarb Ginger Syrup:
Approx 300g fresh rhubarb, chopped
30g Fresh Grated Ginger
150ml Water
150ml Sugar

Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 mins until fruit has softened. Pour syrup through a strainer and leave to cool.

Cocktail:

50ml Rhubarb Ginger Syrup
50 ml Gordon’s Premium Pink Distilled Gin [1.8 units]
25ml Lime Juice

Pour in tumble and stir, add ice

Baileys Honey & Hazelnut martini cocktail [1.2 units]

25ml Honey Syrup (equal parts honey and water)
25ml Hazelnut Liqueur
75ml Baileys Original Irish Cream [1.2 units]

Pour all into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and pour into martini glass

Casa Agave Named Exclusive Importers Of Mezcal Real Minero

real-minero-range-full-ancestral-artesanal-casa-agave-ltdHaving launched last year as importers and promoters of all thing’s agave, Casa Agave is very proud to announce the latest addition to their range: Mezcal Real Minero!

Real Minero: ‘Porque solo lo autentico perdura’ (‘Because only the authentic endures’)

Considered across the globe as one of the finest mezcal producers, the family has been making mezcal for many generations in Santa Catarina Minas. They are famed for their traditional approach using natural fermentation and small clay pot stills giving their product a smoother and softer character in comparison to many others available.

As incredibly small batch distillates there are some batches that have been imported which have only had 78 litres produced in total. Using combinations of either entirely wild or cultivated agaves and both ancestral and artisanal production methods, which involves back breaking crushing methods of the baked agave hearts with mallets.

If this isn’t reason enough to get your hands on one of these incredibly delicious and rare bottlings, they also have one of the largest and most diverse sustainable agave reforestation programs!

The imported range of 7 mezcals, consisting of 3 ancestral and 4 artesanal creations include an Espadin (51.1%), a Largo (48.9%), a Barril (49.6%), an ensemble of Espadin and Largo (50.7%), ensemble of Tobala and Largo (51.8%), ensemble of Espadin, Madrecuishe, Barril, Largo (52.7%) and an ensemble of Barril and Madrecuishe (53.4%). Each one has an incredibly unique character, and is very gentle on the palate, a reason for which is that the distilled product is left to rest in glass for several months, before they are bottled by hand.

Casa Agave aim to further promote the wonders of agave spirits to consumers and industry professionals alike through training, education, pop ups and trying to increase consumer awareness and understanding of the category.

All their brands are available through their website (www.casa-agave.com) to both consumers and trade. And for more information about Casa Agave or any of their brands, feel free to get in touch via email: info@casa-agave.com

Salud y viva Mexico!