Category Archives: General

Old Rip Van Winkle

Pappy
A rare occurrence happened recently, where an exclusive tasting event of the Old Rip Van Winkle range, or Pappy Van Winkle as it’s more commonly known within the bar trade, came to Manchester.

Your’s truly managed to bag himself a seat at the table with 4th Generation Preston Van Winkle.

Lets dive in and check out why Old Rip Van Winkle became one of the most sought after American Whiskies.

Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle began working at W.L. Weller & Sons as a travelling whisky salesman during the latter half of the nineteenth century, before ending up as the President of Stitzel-Weller Distillery after acquiring with Alex Farnsley W.L. Weller and the A Ph Stitzel Distillery (producing Old Fitzgerald and W L Weller amongst others). Pappy’s son, Julian Jr., operated the distillery from 1964 until the family sold it in 1972, resulting in the formation of J.P. Van Winkle and Son that specialised in commemorative bourbon decanters and bottling. Julian Van Winkle Jr also created a new brand in the pre-Prohibition style, using whiskey stocks he had wisely kept by from the previous distillery. Eventually, he created the Old Rip Van Winkle label as a side venture in case his son, Julian III, wanted to come into the business.

Julian III did take over in 1981 after his father passed away, and despite a lull in bourbon business,  Julian purchased the Old Hoffman Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, for barrel storage and bottling purposes. Julian III’s son, Preston, finished his college degree and joined his dad in the distillery in 2001, doubling the size of the sales team at The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery after realising his passion at the 1999 Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

Buffalo Trace bought the W.L. Weller label in 1999 and had been making the bourbon with nearly the same recipe as Pappy’s, resulting in an approach to Julian III, something which he wasn’t initially interested in. It wasn’t until May 2002 that a deal was reached and Buffalo Trace started to produce the Van Winkle bourbons, using Pappy’s exact recipe.

All of the bourbon sold under the Van Winkle label is distilled from a mashbill with no rye; rather, they use wheat instead.

Pappy 2
Preston Van Winkle

So with this knowledge, lets take a look at the range –

Old Rip Van Winkle 10yr – 53.5%

Bottled as close to barrel proof as possible, with a splash of Kentucky limestone well-water.
Rich, bold butterscotch aromas on the nose, mixed with caramel, dark cocoa and a slight dry corn note. Subtly sharp upon the palate, offering a warmth with butter, cream soda and a lingering corn, spice and dry raisin.

Van Winkle Special Reserve 12yr – 45.2%

Soft caramel and subtle butterscotch on the nose, with hints of straw and olive oil coming through. A balanced texture, with light honey offering up a natural sweet profile. Long finish with corn and caramel combining for an oily texture.

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15yr – 53.5%

Crafted according to the exclusive family wheated recipe.
Banana leaf and mellow corn arrives on the nose, followed by a subtle Pedro Ximénez note. Soft sharpness on the palate, with lemon peel and a subtle stemmed cherry profile arriving for the short, thin finish.

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20yr – 45.2%

Hazelnut, caramel and chocolate hazelnut offer up a dry oak finish on the nose. Subtle hazelnut though on the palate, resulting in a dry, light oak with butter thickening up the texture into an oily, long finish.

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23yr – 47.8%

Soft notes of light butter, caramel and oak upon the nose. Subtle sweetness provided on the palate, with dry oak, straw and honey offering up a long, grass fresh finish.

A stunning range of American Whiskey, and highly sought-after for their sipping qualities. If you can find one, grab a bottle for your drinks cabinet, open, sip and enjoy.

© 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.

 

Barceló

Barcelo
Barceló, hailing from the Dominican Republic, has a slightly unique trait in that it’s the only Dominican Rum to be manufactured directly from sugar cane juice.

A good start, but how did all it come to this?

In 1929, Julián Barceló arrived from Spain to Santo Domingo and founded Barceló & Co. where soon after he began producing one of his first rums and selling it throughout the country. After experiencing the local brands on the market, he decided to create and release in 1950 the Ron Barceló brand, and with it the Barceló Blanco and Dorado, (white and gold rums respectively), followed about 20 years later with the Ron Barceló Añejo (a mature rum).

In 1974, Don Julián Barceló handed over the reins of the business to his nephew Miguel Barceló and 6 years later, in 1980 Ron Barceló Imperial was born, becoming the most internationally awarded Dominican rum.

Following this in the 1990’s, Barceló & Co. gave a group of Spanish businessmen, themselves enjoying a long history of producing wines and spirits, the rights to export Ron Barceló. These entrepreneurs founded Ron Barceló SRL. and by 2006, had sold into 25 international markets, resulting in Ron Barceló SRL. taking over Ron Barceló completely, with the third generation Barceló’s, namely the Barceló Díaz and Garcia families, remaining on the Board of Directors and completed with a package redesign on the Ron Barceló Imperial, Gran Añejo and Añejo.

Currently, Barceló is available in over 50 countries worldwide and enjoys being the 4th largest exporter of rum in the world.

Barceló also comply with the ‘Ron Dominicano – Designation of Origin’, meaning rum producers must harvest the sugar cane, ferment, distill and age the alcohol in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, all within the Dominican Republic.

So how is the range produced? Lets take a look –

Once harvested, the sugar cane is unloaded from wagons by crane and then cut into small chunks, resulting in an easier process once it goes through the next stage, the milling. This extracts the juice from the sugar cane itself by compressing the chunks. It then heads to be fermented, which is the chemical process performed by yeast where the sugar cane transforms into predominantly ethanol and carbon dioxide, resulting in wort at around 7-8% proof that is then stored in tanks before heading to distillation.

The wort enters a column still where the vinasse and the low-grade alcohol (phlegm) are separated. The vinasse is used for fertiliser within the cane fields, and the phlegm passes through 3 more column stills where hidroselection, demethylation and rectification occur, finishing with a proof up to 95% alcohol with a balanced congener content. The resulting liquid is then stored within toasted American white oak barrels for at least one year.

All of Barceló’s rums are made by carefully selecting the lots of barrels that have completed the pre-established ageing process. These are emptied and blended in stainless steel tanks by the rum masters, before being bottled and labelled.

So, how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on my experiences so far –

Barceló Imperial – 38%

Aged for between 8 and 10 years. Heavy hints of toffee on the nose, with some intermittent hits of spice to compliment whilst on the palate, a smooth texture with a slight sweetness of vanilla and caramel. The flavours of dry fruits is also detected, although the caramel and vanilla are the dominant forces. Finishes well with a lingering after-taste of caramel.

Barceló Imperial Premium Blend – 43%

A limited edition bottling of Barceló, created in celebration of 30 years production. Every year since 1980, Miguel Barceló has set aside private reserves of his rum for two extra years of ageing, and has used these to create their Imperial Premium Blend.
Slight dry raisin upon the nose, with an orange and seasoned wood note coming through. A slight kick of butter on the palate, resulting in a ‘side-dry tongue’ that kicks up with walnut, orange rind and fresh stemmed cherry. Very long on the finish with black walnut present.

And the Barceló perfect serve?

Barceló Piña colada
Barceló Piña Colada

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

75 ml Barceló Platinum
3 tbsp Coconut Milk
3 tbsp Chopped Pineapple

Method –

Place all ingredients into blender add 2 handfuls of crushed ice and mix at high speed for 30 seconds, strain into cocktail glass.

A great choice of rums here from the Dominican Republic, with the sipping styles of the Imperial and Imperial Premium Blend highlights so far. Perfect to have one of two in your 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.

 

 

British Bartender Launches New Book, Bar & Art Gallery In Vietnam

Richie Fawcett, Bartender Artist

Cocktail-artist Richie Fawcett has invented a new dimension of drinking artistry which tantalizes the senses in every respect. As a self-styled ‘bartist’, he has launched his book Cocktail Art of Saigon featuring 41 original recipes. They are accompanied by his own cocktail illustrations, with fine-art street scenes of the capital Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and fascinating stories of the city’s history. He is set to open his own bar and art gallery later this Spring. The Studio Saigon will be located in the heart of downtown Old Saigon on the first floor of a 1930s residential block. Entry is through a hidden entrance that is used as a motorbike parking hall. The adventurous initiatives reflect the fast emerging bar scene in Vietnam, with many talented bartenders and an increasing clientele seeking discerning cocktail experiences with world-class standards.

British bartender Richie Fawcett moved to Vietnam in 2011. He set up numerous bars in the country and progressed to manage the city’s first rooftop destination, Shri Restaurant and Lounge, where he gained a reputation for inventive mixology. As a talented photographer and fine artist, he took inspiration from the exotic corners of old Saigon to create a portfolio of pen drawings. The energy and curiosity of his pen racing across the paper creates exuberantly detailed street scenes. His book Cocktail Art of Saigon draws ideas from the culture and idiosyncrasy of the streets and its characters. It immerses you into the city’s history, and his cocktails are inspired by everyday life, emperors and missionaries, poets and revolutionaries. For the first time, the Cultural Department of Vietnam has officially authorized the interpretation of the country’s history in this way. The lavish book serves as the cocktail menu at Shri Restaurant and Lounge, and will become the central inspiration for his new bar & gallery The Studio Saigon, where a selection of these cocktails will be served.

As a judge in the prestigious Academy for selecting the World’s 50 Best Bars, Richie has an expert’s eye for perfection. Describing his own dual venture, Richie adds, “My book is about how much I enjoy this amazing city, its warmth and its history. Each drawing is equally detailed, and the street scenes and friendly people have inspired me to create these new cocktails. My new bar is for friends and customers who I have enjoyed drinking with. The bar and the book reflects the way in which I discovered the city – hopping on a scooter or walking at random, and discovering a thrilling new experience around every corner.”

Cocktail Art of Saigon, the book / menu – drinks with a view
The hard-back book features 41 original cocktails by Richie Fawcett – to celebrate 41 years of peace after the war. His pen illustrations flow throughout, showing a tour of historic landmarks and lesser known corners of old Saigon, as the eye is drawn to the cocktails. Recipes feature ingredients from local markets, house-made specialities, local liqueurs, and premium spirits brands. Easy enough for fans of fine cocktails to savour and appreciate, they will inspire you to turn your hand to mixing yourself, even if to enjoy the heady aromas of the exotic fruits and spices. Fascinating narratives about the city keep you reading as you sip, and make the book ideal for fans of world-travel and gourmet discoveries. The book is currently available from Shri Restaurant and Lounge for VND500,000. (approx. £17.50 / US $22) and soon via Amazon.

The Studio Saigon, the bar
This curious hybrid bar-gallery is set to open in April 2017. It epitomizes so many aspects of Richie Fawcett’s admiration for the city. Even the balcony overlooking the historic street corner holds a significance – simply watching passers-by in every corner of the city inspired him to create his book and his bar.

Inside, classic white walls create a gallery space for Richie’s black and white sketches. Step in further to be surprised by a floor to ceiling panorama of the city. Walk through an invisible door cut into the picture, as if to enter Old Saigon by stepping through a frame. The bar area, in contrast to the gallery, is an intimate and cosy awakening of sensations. Enter through another door to an area which serves as Richie’s storage for traditional oriental herbals. It is decorated with tones of grey, warm orange and silver. Curios and ornaments which he has sourced from local antique markets are displayed on the many shelves. They include a collection of balance scales, which are also a symbol in his book to indicate the taste balance of the cocktails. The array of local herbs in the drawers are used in cocktails from the book for bespoke omakaze creations by Richie.

Sink into leather sofas and armchairs next to the fire and enjoy one of the cocktails from the menu, inspired by the country. As if you were in a private lounge, the open bar is like a bar in reverse. The open cabinet gives the impression you are sitting amidst the action, in the same way as at a chef’s table in a fascinating, skilled kitchen. With an additional drinks trolley for table side mixing, the mood recalls old Saigon during the height of colonial French rule, when it really was called the Pearl of the Orient.

From there, double doors open onto an intimate balcony. In early evening, as the heat of the day subsides, the sounds of the street echo into the room. The imagination drifts into the night, as calls from streets sellers grow fainter as they move past.

The cocktails
Exotic ingredients, through to simple, humble produce from local street markets, are adventurously prepared in Richie’s cocktails. Aromatic peach and vanilla, lychee and ginger, cucumber and elderflower, almond and cherry – then you are hit with the surprise of smoked barbeque or the refreshing tang of beer. The cocktails in the book follow three categories to reflect Richie’s artistic concepts: area, landmark buildings, and streets. Areas are represented by small batch bottled cocktails, and buildings and streets are individually represented in formats from handmade wooden carved boats, turtles to mini BBQ trays. His collection of six original small batch, bottled cocktails bear labels with illustrations of old Saigon. They are already on sale at the iconic lifestyle shop and bar L’Usine http://lusinespace.com Ho Chi Minh City.

St Lucia Distillers Set to Travel Around the UK

Distillers-Final-LogoThis March and April, UK distributor Emporia Brands have put together a calendar of events involving its award-winning St Lucia Distillers range, after the initial success of last year’s programme.

Brand Ambassador Dave Marsland and the Emporia Brands team will be touring fifteen cities as they bring together the Chairman’s Reserve range, which includes Gold, Spiced, White Label and Forgotten Cask, the Admiral Rodney, and an edition of premium expression 1931, plus a selection of the distillates from which they are blended.

In 1931, the Barnard family founded a distillery at Dennery, St Lucia. Now based on the other side of the island at Roseau, the distillery has been considerably modernized and new technologies and improvements constantly incorporated. The installation of pot stills in 1998 added considerably to the variety of rums being produced in this highly regarded distillery which received the accolade of Individual Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge, one of six trophies received in six years – a unique achievement.

With the premise of a flavour experience, the tour sees an approach to the range that offers bartenders and key industry figures invited to not only learn about St Lucia, but ideas on how to embrace the versatility of St Lucia Distillers, from the Spiced variety to the rare 1931.

Cities on the tour include Manchester, London, Leeds, Brighton, Liverpool, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester, Newcastle, Cardiff, Reading, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow, with Emporia Brands looking to strengthen their campaign as they look ahead to the next instalment of the ‘Chairman’s XI’ with their ever-expanding sales team seeking out some of the UK’s best and brightest to follow in the footsteps of some of the industries key figures, including Lyndon Higginson of The Liars Club in Manchester, Danny Murphy of Aloha in Liverpool and Adam Binnersley of the MOJO Group.

Places are limited for each session, due to the rarity of gaining the exclusive 1931 and distillates for the tasting’s. To secure your place, please contact Dave Marsland at dave@emporiabrands.com, stating the session you wish to attend from the list below.

Manchester       Mojo’s, 9th March, 1:30pm

London                 Burlock, 15th March, 2pm

Leeds                    Mojo’s, 15th March, 1:30pm

Brighton              Oki Nami, 21st March, 1pm

Liverpool             Maya, 23rd March, 1:30pm

Birmingham       Island Bar, 4th April, 2pm

Nottingham       Brass Monkey, 5th April, 3pm

Leicester             The Queen of Bradgate, 6th April, 2pm

Newcastle          Alvino’s, 11th April, 1pm

Edinburgh           Reekie Tiki, 16th April, 4pm

Cardiff                  The Dead Canary, 21st April, 2pm

Aberdeen           Bos’n, 23rd April, 3pm

Dundee                 Draffens, 24th April, 4pm

Reading                               Milk, 26th April, 2pm

Glasgow              Distill, 26th April, 4pm

 

Follow Chairman’s Reserve on Twitter @ChairmansUK, Facebook at www.facebook.com/ChairmansReserveUK and Instagram at  www.instagram.com/chairmansreserveuk

Follow Emporia Brands on Twitter @EmporiaBrandsUK, Facebook at www.facebook.com/EmporiaBrands and Instagram at www.instagram.com/emporiabrands

Altos Tequila Launches The Tahona Society Cocktail Competition 2017

TAHONA_2107
Altos Tequila is inviting bartenders across the world to increase their understanding of Tequila, perfect their mixology skills and gain international exposure by entering the Tahona Society Cocktail Competition 2017. Considered the world’s leading Tequila education programme, national heats are set to begin this month ahead of the global finale in Mexico in September.

Founded in 2010 by leading bartenders Dré Masso and the late Henry Besant, the Tahona Society welcomes mixologists to ‘Join the Mexican Evolution’ in its 2017 edition in response to the cultural movement in Mexico towards a renewed focus on craft, mastery and sustainability. These values are at the core of the creation of Altos Tequila and are reflected in the Tahona Society programme, as entrants must craft a cocktail that represents sustainable values, celebrates the flavour of agave and can be paired with a variety of authentic Mexican street food.

Local heats are set to take place from this month until September in a record 28 markets, such as USA (Texas, LA and NYC), London, and Paris. Designed to educate bartenders about the quality and provenance of Tequila, the importance of sustainability in bartending, and feature a comparative Tequila tasting, the heats will culminate with the national Tahona Society Cocktail Competition.

The winner from each country will be invited to Mexico for the week-long global Tahona Society Cocktail Competition in September. During the festivities, competitors will take part in a series of masterclasses – led by global bartending legends such as Dré Masso and Mexican agave spirits expert, Alberto Navarro – receive a tour of the Altos distillery and have the opportunity to explore the Los Altos region in the highlands of Mexico, where Altos Tequila is crafted using traditional production methods.

The second and third place winners will also travel to Mexico for the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the country’s ancient tradition of agave spirit production, as well as to guest bartend in one of Mexico City’s leading bars.

The final contest will be judged by a jury including Dré Masso, a worldwide famous surprise guest bartender and the Tahona Society’s 2016 winner, Kelsey Ramage; and will challenge the finalists to create their cocktails with an added local-flavour twist, sustainable values and lead a short presentation and Q&A explaining the rationale behind their serve. The overall winner of the Tahona Society 2017 is set to become the Tahona Society Global Ambassador for one year and will have the opportunity to choose four countries to deliver a Tahona Society event next year.

Dré Masso, co-creator of Altos Tequila, says: “Our mission with the Tahona Society Cocktail Competition is to spread the love and knowledge of authentic Tequila around the world. It is important that we continue to provide support and education for future bartending generations by encouraging sustainability, which is at the heart of our business and at the future of the industry. We are proud of Altos’ sustainability credentials – in fact the total waste from our distillery would fit into a car boot – and we’re hoping this will inspire our 2017 entrants. Previous winners have completely blown us away with their innovation and skill, and I cannot wait to see what this year’s competition holds!”

The 2016 Tahona Society crown was given to Kelsey Ramage from renowned London bar, Dandelyan. Ramage overcame fierce competition from 20 of the world’s most talented bartenders with her winning creation, Never Die. Chosen by the expert panel of judges for its exceptional taste and ingenious use of local ingredients.

Bartenders from around the world can follow the competition and register their interest on the Tahona Society Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TahonaSociety and are invited to contact Altos Tequila representatives in their markets for more details.

Double Dutch

doube-dutch
The use of mixers has always been defined towards the likes of a gin and tonic, rum and coke or whisky and ginger, but the names and styles of such have pretty much stayed the same over the years. Lately though, numerous tonic brands have been released of a variety of flavours, then ultimately branching out into bitter lemon and cola, ginger and lemonade expressions.

Not Double Dutch though.

Released in 2014, Joyce and Raissa de Haas originate from the Netherlands, but became frustrated with the lack of soda options to go alongside the growth of spirits. After a year of research, the inspiration of food pairing ultimately grew to the brand of Double Dutch.

Releasing two flavoured soda expressions to the market, Pomegranate & Basil and Watermelon & Cucumber, it brought interest in not only the flavours chosen, but the fact that they deviated away from flavoured tonics and exploited the lesser used soda market. With this, flavour pairings became a favourite as the likes of the Pomegranate & Basil started to match with golden rum and tequila, with the Cucumber and Watermelon a favourite with salad dishes.

With another favourite option of having two soda expressions that are also easy to drink on its own, a call was made to carry on the smooth and natural profile of each into the tonic market, ultimately resulting in the release of an Indian Tonic expression, as well as a Slimline Tonic in 2015. All are low in calorie, winning over the likes of Richard Branson and his Virgin Foodpreneur Start Up in 2015 to help fund the growth of the brand.

With each bottle made without any artificial flavourings, colouring or preservatives, instead opting for natural ingredients blended with spring water from the North of England, the Double Dutch range kept expanding with the addition of their first flavoured tonic, Cranberry, released late 2016 in collaboration with Maison Hennessy Cognac.

So how do they fare? Well below are my tasting notes on the range so far –

Double Dutch Pomegranate & Basil – 0%

Red arils from the pomegranate fruits are used within. Subtle pomegranate comes through on the nose, followed by the earthy notes of the basil. Well-balanced between the two flavours on the palate, resulting in a slightly dry, basil aroma finish.

Double Dutch Cucumber & Watermelon – 0%

Fresh watermelon shines through on the nose, followed by an underlining cucumber note. A reverse of roles on the palate though as the fresh cucumber  pulls through the watermelon, although the bold finish brings the melon back for a lingering finish.

Double Dutch Indian Tonic – 0%

Made with quinine, juniper and grapefruit. The zest of grapefruit is apparent on the nose, followed by the earthy notes of juniper. Smooth on the palate, with gentle hits of the juniper coming through, surrounded by the aromas of the grapefruit and subtle quinine.

Double Dutch Slimline Tonic – 0%

With 60% fewer calories and sugar than the Indian Tonic. Soft, subtle notes of the grapefruit come though on the nose. The smooth kicks of light juniper hit the palate, offering a lingering quinine finish that’s slightly dry.

Double Dutch Cranberry Tonic – 0%

Fresh, ripe cranberry notes on the nose, with hints of stemmed ginger following. Smooth on the palate, with the cranberry offering up fresh bursts, followed by subtle warm ginger to create a lingering, slightly dry finish.

A great range to experience over ice, or the girls recommend it with one of their favourite gin brands –

double-dutch-and-three-rivers

Double Dutch and Three Rivers

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

50 ml Manchester Three Rivers Gin
Top with Double Dutch Indian Tonic

Method – 

Fill a rocks glass with cubed ice and add the ingredients. Garnish with a stemmed cherry.

A refreshing change for your fridge, and with their versatility, one to play around with for sure. Pick some up for the 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.

 

Poetic License

poetic-license
One of the main brands to cause a stir over the last 12 months originates from the North East of England, Sunderland to be exact, the home of Poetic License Distillery.

Started up by Mark Hird, a figurehead of the leisure trade for 20 years, the seeds were sown back in 2012 when Mark saw the opportunity in growing a business that could reach both the local and national community, opening a microbrewery in 2012 and naming it Sonnet 43, after the famous poem of Elizabeth Barrett Browning who was born a stone’s throw from the brewery site.

Knowing the rise of micro distilling after visiting distilleries in South Africa, he looked to Luke Smith, a man who had started his career at Sonnet 43 brewery, to help him plan and operate a new distillery. After several experiments and distilling courses, on January 4th 2015 the project became official and Luke moved to begin working within the Roker Hotel (now known as Poetic License Distillery Bar and Soul Food), one of Mark’s venues, as a full time gin distiller and using a 5 litre still to produce trial recipes.

It took 7 months to create a London Dry Gin as well as a rough Old Tom Gin within Gracie, the fist copper still to be sourced from China. The 500 litre hybrid allows the use of her as both a pot still and a column still. For their gin, hand-crushed botanicals are macerated for 24 hours and then boiled to gently and gradually release their flavours, whilst the vodka, using British wheat as the spirit base, is distilled 7 times.

This feature though won’t be focusing on their Northern Dry, Old Tom or Graceful Vodka, but their new Fireside Gin, the distillery’s limited edition gin available for autumn/ winter that focuses on ‘Mulled Winter Fruit and Juniper’. It is their second seasonal and comes following the success of their first – Picnic Gin, a strawberries and cream flavoured gin which was available throughout the summer of 2016.

poetic-license-fireside-gin-and-tonic
Poetic License Fireside
– 40.1%

Subtle saffron and orris come through on the nose, followed by clove and nutmeg scents. Mulled flavours of clementine, stemmed cherry and cranberry are present on the palate, with soft cinnamon and orange peel bringing a warm finish to the table.

A great gin to serve straight over ice in front of the fire, but one of these will still work well for a refreshing mulled long drink, with the team suggesting “to be enjoyed while cosying up around glowing amber warmth of the fireplace. Pour over large chunks of ice with premium tonic and garnish with cranberries.”

Be rude not to add this to your drinks cabinet now, and these cold nights don’t seem to be easing up anytime soon!

© 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.

Foxhole

foxhole-gin
Normally, grapes would be closely associated with wine, Champagne and brandy if used to create alcohol, but the steady need to explore ahead of the usual limits, gin and its floral complexities creates an ideal category to invoke the use of a variety of grape styles.

G’Vine and Ciroc are your two commonly seen brands that use grapes for their base ingredient, but the UK has entered the fray with their first gin to be made from English-grown grapes, created by Sam Linter and James Oag-Cooper.

The South East of England offers a climate suitable for both still and sparkling wines, with English wine producer Bolney Wine Estate a leading name. Due to their shared focus on quality and sustainability, Foxhole Spirits have partnered with the team at Bolney Wine Estate to create Foxhole Gin.

But how do we create such a product?

The end of summer see’s the grapes picked and ready to head to the winery for pressing. Not all the grape material is used for wine production though, with by-products and unused grape juice being left behind, becoming the inspiration for the gin. Once the grapes are bought to the winery, they are placed in the press and would normally go through one cycle which would extract the juice for wine production, leaving between 30-40% of the juice in the grapes. The remaining grape material would be thrown away, but now, the process has changed and it see’s a second pressing occur after the first press has been collected. This extracts more of the grape juice, which is collected in a stainless steel tank.

Within the tank, yeast is added and the juice ferments into an English Wine. Once complete, the wine is drawn from the tank and delivered to the distillery in Albury, Surrey where it is added in small batches to a 350 litre copper pot still. Then, the first of two stages occur.

To create an English grape spirit, the wine is heated using steam from a wood fired boiler, resulting in a high percentage spirit being distilled. The second stage involves the process of adding the botanicals (Juniper, Coriander, Angelica Seed, Orris Root, Liquorice Root, Bitter Orange, Fresh Lemon Zest, Fresh Grapefruit Zest) to the distilled wine spirit for 48 hours maceration. The spirit is then added back into the still for a second time and distilled with the botanicals present.

Once distilled, the gin has natural on-site spring water added to it, before being bottled and labelled. Named after the Foxhole Vineyards and Foxhole Lane, the location where Foxhole Spirits is based, lets see what the finished result is like –

Foxhole – 40%

Very light on the nose, with subtle aromas of peach, zest of grapefruit and fresh juniper coming through. Smooth as it hits the palate, becoming slightly intense as the grapefruit and lemon zest come together. Rich grape flavours follow, with the coriander bringing a warm, lingering finish.

A delicate offering that is one to be enjoyed over ice, crystal cut glass, and a healthy measure. One for the drinks cabinet as we head into Spring.

© 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.

 

 

Rumchata

rumchata

Cream liqueurs in the drinks market are seen as a Marmite category; some people love them, some see it as too sweet. But yet, nearly every bar and restaurant will have some sort of cream liqueur, whether it’s the well-known Bailey’s or the likes of Amarula, there will always be a place for them when drinks are offered.

Launched in the USA back in 2010, Rumchata is one such name that’s starting to bring the rum based cream liqueurs back to the forefront. It brings a unique blend of premium five times distilled Caribbean rum to the table, adding dairy cream from Wisconsin to the blend and finally a world-wide sourced secret spice mix.

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

Rumchata – 15%

Notes of hazelnut and a cinnamon dusting on the nose, moving to a rich nut flavour upon the palate. Subtle vanilla follows, offering a soft, sweet profile that warms to a lingering cinnamon finish.

I can see why Rumchata reportedly sells more than Bailey’s across the US! I can see it working well within this classic serve too –

rumchata-white-russian
Rumchata White Russian

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

25 ml Rumchata
25 ml Kahlua
25 ml Vodka
25 ml Milk or Cream

Method  –

Combine all the ingredients within a rocks glass over ice and serve.

A different look to your evening, especially after dinner, and although perhaps not for the purest rum lovers, it’s a good shout if bringing friends and family together who aren’t into the traditional rum sip. One for the fridge.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2016. 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 Limited-Edition Fever54 at The Savoy

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-16-29-51
The Future Laboratory, World Class Future of Cocktails Report has revealed that as consumers are increasingly exploring their emotions and looking for more interesting emotional stimulation, restaurants and bars are thinking of new and creative ways to offer experiences which resonate with their feelings.

Future-facing bars are using scent to enhance the sensory experience of the cocktail, and to activate a deeper, emotional connection through the sense of smell and taste.

The Fever 54 at the Beaufort Bar
Embracing this trend, renowned fragrance house The Perfumer’s Story, known for its ground-breaking scents and iconic client portfolio, has partnered with ultra premium gin Tanqueray No. TEN and The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar to create a cocktail that is inspired by the fragrance and emotions of The Perfumer’s Story’s signature perfume. The Fever 54 is often described as “provocative, confident and fun” and Kyle Wilkinson at The Beaufort Bar has replicated this effect within his cocktail:
 
Fever 54 
Tanqueray No. TEN 
Lemon juice
Sandle wood maraschino 
Banana and violet falenum