London, Get Ready To Rumble!

Margarita Rumble

Jose Cuervo®, the world’s number one selling tequila, has announced the sponsoring of the grand ole fiesta the ‘Margarita Rumble’ for the second year. Margarita Rumble, which is taking over The Yard in Shoreditch on April 28th, is a major competition that sees expert mixologists from top bars across the city compete for the prestigious title of Best Margarita in London.

Margarita lovers will be pleased to know that the bottomless margaritas on offer will all be made with the award-winning Jose Cuervo Tradicional 100% agave tequila, crafted using methods originated by the Cuervo family over 200 years ago.

Guests can choose to join one of three sessions, with each reveller given a token on arrival to vote for their favourite margarita. Entertainment will consist of a traditional Mariachi band, Mexican dancers and DJs. For those curious to learn more about the cocktail of the moment, the festival favourite Cuervo Tequila Truck will be welcoming guests with a tequila tasting and hosting a salt pairing masterclass, where attendees will be shown how to pair the best salts found in the UK to different flavours of Cuervo margaritas.

The first wave of top talent confirmed to compete are Trapeze, Barrio Bars, Cabana Brixton, Whistling Shop, Benitos Hat, Little Bat, Eaton Square Bar, Zebrano, Simmons, and The BootLegger. Reigning champions Café Pacifico will be returning to defend their 2017 title, awarded to the passionfruit margarita that wowed the crowds at last year’s event, and has also claimed a permanent ‘Margarita Rumble’ cocktail feature at the Covent Garden restaurant.

Tickets and more information are available here for anyone wanting to get involved, with prices starting from £35 – https://www.londonmargaritarumble.com/buytickets/

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Emily Says . . . . ‘Hot Toddy’

Hot TOddy

In her seventh feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at the pick-me-up she needed this week;

The Hot Toddy. The only alcoholic drink that is warmly welcomed when one is suffering from the typical and unavoidable British head cold. One of which I have found myself plagued with right now…

Lack of appetite, consistent headaches, blowing your nose around a hundred times a day; the common head cold is the ultimate downfall. This traditional Scottish tipple isn’t the miracle cure to this ghastly virus, but it certainly gives that little pick me up we all need when feeling a bit down in the dumps. But how did this little concoction come about?

Often known as Hot Whiskey, the Hot Toddy originates from Scotland and is typically made by mixing hot water, honey and liquor. The liquor used is more than often whiskey, but brandy and rum can also be used in this medicinal concoction. The Hot Toddy is traditionally drank before retiring for the night, and often delivers a peaceful nights sleep; just what we all need, especially us bartenders!

The drink is popular during the colder seasons when people are more prone to falling unwell, with the combination of boiling water and honey being there to sooth, and the alcohol being there to numb. But what is the perfect recipe for the Hot Toddy?

My talented colleague and wonderful friend Jonah Robertshawe has the answer. My Australian companion had a little dabble in creating the perfect Hot Toddy to soothe my sore throat; and mostly, to stop my complaining, and the spec goes a little something like this:

Glass – Mug or Latte Glass

2 slices of fresh ginger
Assorted spices (cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns)
Star Anise clove
Fresh red chilli (to taste)
25ml honey
25ml lemon juice
35ml Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whiskey
Top with boiling water

Garnish – Lemon wedge and cinnamon stick

You don’t have to be an experienced whiskey drinker to be able to enjoy the Hot Toddy. The sweetness of the honey delivers a beautifully smooth drink, toning down slightly the kick of the Monkey Shoulder; perfect for those who aren’t whiskey lovers. For those whiskey fanatics, however, a measure or two extra is always welcomed.

The combination of spices will guarantee to kick start the taste buds, making this little number the perfect winter warmer… or the perfect cold & flu medicine. When feeling under the weather, a hot drink is always the guaranteed remedy, and Jonah’s Hot Toddy has certainly made its way to the top of my list when I’m sat in bed with a box of tissues feeling sorry for myself.

A big thanks to Jonah for the little pick me up I needed! And yet another wonderful creation from Mr Robertshawe, whiskey truly is a miracle worker.

Credit:
Jonah Robertshawe at The Botanist
Photo – Epicurious

Emily Says . . . . ‘Old Mout Cider’

Old Mout

In her sixth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at her favourite Summer cider;

Any bartender will be familiar with the famous brands of fruit cider. Fruit cider, whether one likes it or not, is the nation’s favourite summer time drink and certainly will be for a long time. And with summer creeping around the corner, I thought I’d write up a little something about one of the best brands and what wonderful things this company has to offer… and most importantly, how to pronounce it correctly!

Established 65 years ago in Nelson, New Zealand, Old Mout began on a cycling trip in England. Wanda Tait sampled the traditional local ciders and fell in love instantly. Bringing this love back to NZ, she set up her own cidery in a shed and the infamous company was born.

A couple of young pioneers then took over. Justin and Scottie helped give Old Mout the name they are so famous for with their tantalising and unique fruit flavours, rather than sticking to the traditional apple or pear flavours. The pair were inspired by the beautiful island fruits and went on to develop a range of fruit flavours that would later win them awards and, of course, a step up the ladder in the competitive cider industry.

Today in the UK, Old Mout is slowly but surely becoming a household name. With the strong competitors of Kopparberg and Rekorderlig fruit ciders, it was certainly a gradual process getting the word out about this NZ number. And it still is a gradual process on how to pronounce it correctly…

Its spelling causes understandable confusion. Rather than pronounce it as ‘Mout’, as the spelling suggests, it is in fact pronounced as ‘M-oo-oo-t’. Nor is it pronounced as ‘Moat’ either, which I’ve heard a few times over the bar as I’ve struggled to hold back my laughter.

Old Mout features four very unique flavours over here in the UK:

Kiwi & Lime
Strawberry & Pomegranate
Summer Berries
Passionfruit & Apple

Rather than sticking to the generic ‘Strawberry & Lime’ favourite that dominates most fruit ciders here in Britain, Old Mout have put a twist on the classic flavours of traditional cider. Pairing passionfruit with apple delivers bittersweet notes, and the combination of kiwi and lime gives something truly refreshing. Pomegranate has truly made an appearance in the bar over the last year, and it makes a superb flavour for a cider as Old Mout has proved.

So for this summer, make sure you are equipped with sunglasses and a bottle of Old Mout cider when sitting in your favourite beer garden; the sunshine and the exotic fruits of New Zealand have been brought to the UK!

Starward

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

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

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

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

Starward Solera – 43%

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

Starward Wine Cask – 41%

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

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

Starward - Whisky Grapefruit Collins
Whisky Grapefruit Collins

Glass –

Collins

Ingredients –

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

Method –

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

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

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Birds

BIRDS-Adventure-Travel-Spirit
“WE ARE JULIAN, LUPO & BASTI – THREE GERMAN GLOBETROTTERS CREATING EXTRA TASTY WINES AND A UNIQUE WINE-BASED CRAFT SPIRIT, INSPIRED BY OUR ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD.”

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

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

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

EUROPE;

Orange peel, apple and blackcurrant. 

AFRICA

Clove and jungle pepper. 

ASIA

Star anise and liquorice.

AMERICA

Angelica root, cocoa shell and pink pepper berries. 

AUSTRALIA

Mace and eucalyptus.

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

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

BIRDS Adventure Edition – 42.2%

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

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

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

Glass – 

Wine

Ingredients – 

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

Method – 

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

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

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gin Sul

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

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

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

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

Gin Sul – 43%

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

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

Genießen!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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

franklin

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

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

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

• The Punchbowl, Mayfair

• The Admiral Codrington and The Cross Keys, Chelsea

• The Brown Cow and The Sands End, Fulham

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

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

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

Emily Says . . . . ‘Yorkshire Tea’

Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit:
Masons Gin
Buon Vino

Neptune

Neptune

“Many are the ships wrecked due to Neptune’s wrath. Drink to his better nature and pray that his storms are stilled”.

I do love a good marketing slogan! They capture the brand in one or two sentences, and with the above coming from Neptune rum, you don’t half expect something to blow you away! With this, Neptune has arrived to the UK shores like a breath of fresh air, offering up a rum that is distilled and aged at the renowned Foursquare Rum Distillery within the former 17th century sugarcane plantation in Barbados.

Launched after the first bottle run in May 2017, Richard Davies has created a liquid that mixes both pot and column still variations before being aged within American bourbon oak barrels for a full 3 years. Neptune is then transported to the UK at 63% abv before soft water added to reduce its strength down to 40% abv and caramel to enhance the colour before bottling.

It’s already picking up some fanfare in the awards world, winning Silver in both the Spirits Masters in 2017 and New York World Wine and Spirits, plus picking up a Gold Medal at the China Wine and Spirits Awards earlier in the year.

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

Neptune – 40%

A light, tangy note of fresh banana, vanilla and subtle citrus. A soft kick of caramel comes through to the palate, followed by  ripe green fruits, scented orange oils and a fresh lick of molasses. A long, thin finish that makes you grab the bottle for another.

A great Barbadian rum on its own, but how about a variation on the Manhattan for a twist on your rum experience?

cocktails-1Neptune’s Due

Glass –

Martini

Ingredients –

60 ml Neptune Rum
15 ml Sweet Vermouth
2-3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Maraschino Cherry

Method –

Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

One for the rum collection for sure, versatile and you’ll be in love with the story and label. ‘Drink it on a boat’ sort of rum!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Emily Says . . . . ‘Budvar Hoptails’

The Budweis Mule

In her second feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at Budvar Hoptails: The Budweis Mule;

The beauty of mixology is having the freedom to mix whatever one likes in order to create the perfect drink. And who says one must stick to just spirits in this art?
The art of mixing beer with classic cocktail ingredients is ever growing in the bartending industry today. More and more concoctions are being created, all with the one compound in common; beer. Whether it’s a lager, a pale ale or even a cask, beer is the key ingredient in creating something rather special in the competitive world of mixology.

You don’t have to be a qualified beer guru to have heard of Budweiser Budvar, one of the world’s most famous beer brand. Most commonly known for its infamous pale lager, Budweiser Original, the Budvar brand dates back centuries; all the way back to 1265 to be precise. The town České Budějovice of Czech Republic was founded by Ottokar II, the King of Bohemia, and was granted many important privileges; one of which being able to brew beer. And so the story begins.

The year of 1872 welcomed the export of beer from České Budějovice to the United States, strongly spurred along by millions of Czech locals relocating to the states for a better life; and bringing their thirst for beer with them!
Since then, Budvar has become a global sensation. And it is this global popularity that has introduced Budvar Hoptails; a platform that showcases the greatest beer cocktail creations that bartenders across the world have created.

The Budweis Mule 2

The Budweis Mule: a fiery twist on the classic Moscow Mule.

Glass – Tankard

Ingredients –
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Fresh lemon thyme
Fresh ginger
15ml sugar syrup
20ml lemon juice
15ml Cointreau
30ml Tanqueray Export Gin
Bottle of Budweiser Budvar Original

Method –

Firstly, muddle in the lemon thyme and ginger with the sugar syrup and lemon juice in a boston glass – in order to achieve the best flavour! Add the Angostura bitters, Cointreau and Tanqueray and shake hard with plenty of ice.
Single strain over cubed ice, and top with the bottle of Budweiser Budvar Original. Garnish with a lemon thyme sprig and lemon zest.

This exclusive creation was stirred up by Jonah Robertshawe. Coming all the way from Sydney, Australia, Jonah has brought his Australian expertise to Manchester’s bartending scene, where he currently resides at The Botanist. From taking part in the Budvar Hoptails national competition, Jonah’s creation earned himself a name in Budvar and the sales of the Budweis Mule in Botanists across the country, and here is what he has to say about his concoction:

“I’ve always been a big fan of the Moscow Mule style cocktails, but I wanted to work with the flavour of the saarz hops in the Budvar using complimentary spirits, which is the Tanqueray gin, which are then backed up by the citrus notes of Cointreau.”
“However, I didn’t want to stray too far away from the classic Moscow Mule. So rather than ginger beer, I paired together fresh ginger and lemon thyme so the essential flavour of the Mule wasn’t lost”.

The fiery essence of the ginger beautifully complements the bitter-sweet bite that the drink delivers. Rather than sticking to the traditional Mule spec by using vodka, Tanqueray Export gin has been used purely for its floral aroma, which balances the hoppy and fragrant Budweiser Budvar perfectly.
An admirable creation from Jonah Robertshawe, The Budweis Mule offers a tantalising and sensual drinking experience, and certainly something that will be very hard to come by anywhere else.

Credit and copyright:
Budvar Hoptails
Budweiser Budvar Original
The Botanist