Drink Like 007 With Spectre Cocktail At W London


Make it your secret mission and channel the spirit of 007 at W London – Leicester Square. To celebrate the unveiling of Spectre, W London has created the Bond cocktail, a suitably stylish tipple to toast to the world’s most famous spy.

Smooth and sharp with a punchy kick, W London’s mixologists have combined Tanqueray 10 gin and premium Belvedere vodka with plum wine, creating a rich and fruity twist on the James Bond classic Martini. This sophisticated serve is topped off with a dash of Vermouth to give the concoction a strong and spicy finish.

Whether you are meeting friends for drinks, or are on a romantic date for two, stir up a celebration with the Spectre Cocktail and live like an MI5 agent for the evening.


20ml Belvedere vodka
30ml Tanqueray 10 gin
30ml Plum Wine
10ml White Vermouth


Pour in all the ingredients, stir and serve in a coupette with a grapefruit twist

Available at the W Lounge at W London – Leicester Square for £10 from 23rd October- 8th November.

Halloween Cocktails With Hendrick’s Gin And Quaglino’s

Green Monster

This October Quaglino’s will introduce a spooky selection of bespoke Halloween Cocktails available from 26th – 31st October. With an invigorating selection that could wake the dead, celebrate Halloween and start your weekend with a flaming Zombie, a bitter sweet Green Monster or a Bloody Alexander (full cocktail descriptions below).

For those needing a pick me up after the festivities why not revive yourself this Halloween with a curiously unusual tipple from Hendrick’s Gin. A celebration steeped in history Halloween is a time to revel in the mysterious and marvel at the morbid. Yet after a hard night of sinister endeavours a recovery cocktail is in order and the Hendrick’s Corpse Reviver will provide the perfect refreshment to restore you to your former self.

A deliciously invigorating mix of Hendrick’s Gin with sweet Lillet and a tang of fresh lemon the Hendrick’s Corpse Reviver is the perfect Halloween tipple to enliven the soul and revive the tastebuds.


Quaglino’s Halloween Cocktail Menu

Zombie £12.50

Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, Overproof rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, fresh pineapple, passion fruit syrup, brown sugar cube. Garnished with half a passion fruit and a flaming sugar cube. Served long, over crushed ice.

Green Monster £12.50

El Jimador Blanco tequila, lemon juice, sugar syrup, egg white, orange bitters, green samphire. Garnished with green samphire. Served straight up.

Bloody Alexander £12.50

Hennessey fine de Cognac, Crème de Cacao Blanc, double cream, strawberry syrup. Garnished with grated nutmeg. Served straight up.

Corpse Reviver
Corpse Reviver

Hendrick’s Gin Cocktail Recipe



20ml Hendrick’s Gin
20ml Cointreau
20ml Lillet
20ml Lemon Juice
Dash Absinthe


Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker and shake briskly over cubed ice. Double strain into cocktail glass.

Celebrate National Vodka Day With Finest Call

Finest Call

The origin and history of National Vodka Day is unknown, yet since 2008, bars and restaurants across the globe have been honouring this spirit with events of all kinds.

From classic cocktails to flavoured shots, vodka has been achieveing wide acclaim since the 1940s. Data recently released by Nielsen has found that the category has grown by 4%, reaching sales of £9.9million in 2015. With Finest Call Premium Cocktail Mixes, creating cocktails has never been easier. Vodka tops the list as being the spirit of choice for many consumers, so adding these cocktails to drinks menus is a guaranteed way to boost sales:


50ml Vodka
75ml/100ml Finest Call Cosmopolitan Cocktail Mix (dependent on size of glass)

1. Shake all ingredients over ice
2. Pour into a Martini glass
3. Stir well for approx. 5 seconds
4. Garnish with a half-moon of orange

Bloody Mary

50ml Vodka
100ml Finest Call Bloody Mary Mix

1. Fill a tall glass with ice
2. Pour vodka and Finest Call Mix into glass
3. Stir gently
4. Garnish with lime wedge and celery stalk

Buffalo Trace Northern Final 2015

Buffalo Trace

One of the world’s best known bourbon brands, Buffalo Trace, came to Manchester this past week to secure a northern bartender a trip of a lifetime to America, courtesy of creating a unique British twist on an American classic cocktail. Hosted by Ross Thompson of UK distributor Hi-Spirits, and judged by the Buffalo palates of UK Brand Ambassador Tim Giles, Liverpool’s own Jim Brailsford and last years winner Amir Javaid, currently head honcho at Harvey Nichols Second Floor Bar in Manchester, 11 competitors from across Chester, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool converged at Gorilla to impress.

Mike Holmes with his creation BBLT
Mike Holmes with his creation BBLT

First to step up to the challenge was to be Mike Holmes of Bourbon and Black in West Didsbury. Using the classic Mint Julep as his inspiration, his creation of BBLT (or bourbon, bacon, leaves and tomato) saw him combine mint, Buffalo Trace and poppy shrub syrup within a mixing glass and stirred over smoked ice. After straining into a bean can, a sprig of mint, a vine of tomatoes and candied bacon adorned the crushed ice top.
Rebecca of The Wash House in Manchester showed her idea on a dessert based cocktail named the Aristocity Flip. Using Buffalo Trace, a spoon of Dewars marmalade, King’s Ginger liqueur, Earl Grey syrup, a pinch of cinnamon, fresh lemon and apple juice, Becca shook the ingredients over ice and strained into a coupette. Offering a garnish of apple crisps with buttered Buffalo Trace to dip, a small cone of ice cream (Cheshire Farm and Buffalo Trace syrup) attached to the glass and a cinnamon dusting over the cocktail itself, she offered the judges an idea that could entice women to enjoy whiskey cocktails!

Lewis Cooke of Epernay, Manchester was up third, twisting a Boilermaker and Bourbon Sling by using Buffalo Trace, Antica Formula, a lemon and oat shrub plus a couple of dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters. Shaken over ice and strained into a crystal cut highball glass, he topped the recipe up with BrewDog’s Dead Pony Club expression and placed a dehydrated lemon wheel and a sprinkling of citrus hops on top. Alongside came an offering to the judges of salted caramel and pecan ice cream, complete with Buffalo Trace salted caramel sauce. Say hello to the Stirling Shandy!
Almost Famous of Manchester stepped up after Lewis in the form of Jonathan Leathley, seeing his twist on a Root Beer float that he called the Brown Buffalo. Showing a de-constructed recipe of Mr Fitzpatrick’s Sarsaparilla cordial, Sacred spiced English vermouth, lime juice, Eager apple juice, homemade vanilla syrup, Fentimans Curiosity Cola and Buffalo Trace, shaken over ice and strained into a glass tankard over ice, he floated on top salted caramel and maraschino cherry ice cream.

The first Leeds representative in Tom Finnon of The Hedonist Project joined the competition, creating his Buffalo8.
Using inspiration from the brands heritage, he came up with using a homemade vermouth that had beetroot as a dominant flavour, chargrilled pineapple syrup, Owney’s NYC rum, a couple of dashes of bitters and of course Buffalo Trace. Shaking over ice and served over a large cube of ice within a goblet, this twist on the Manhattan saw Tom garnish with dry ice and a model of the HMS Mayflower.
Jon Lee of Jake’s Bar and Still in Leeds was to be next to impress, bringing to the bar a twist on the flip named A Breakfast Flip For A King. This saw Buffalo Trace, egg, Kent English porter, golden syrup, Angostura Bitter and King’s Ginger liqueur combined, shaken and strained into a tea cup, complete with a crème brûlée sugar dusting and a stag biscuit to accompany.

Joe Ballinger with Old Fire On The Meadow
Joe Ballinger with Old Fire On The Meadow

Niall McGloin, also of Leeds but this time representing Smokestack, showed his Julep Twist by bringing together a rock candy syrup that had been marinated within rhubarb, homemade custard bitters, fresh rhubarb and Buffalo Trace. Using the aged-old method of crushing ice that he called the ‘wack-a-mole’ way (beating a wrap of ice with a mallet), he filled a sweet tin with the ice and swizzled the ingredients within. His recipe, named Buffalo Rock, came adorned with rock candy and dehydrated rhubarb for a garnish.
Ben Halpin of Blind Tiger became the first to enter the stage from Liverpool, with his recipe named Buffalo From Across The Pond. A twist on a Sazerac, he used his grandmothers own marmalade, Buffalo Trace, lemon juice, almond milk, homemade sarsaparilla bitters that were infused with Buffalo Trace and fresh anise. Mixing the ingredients within a mixing glass over ice, he served his drink on a piece of turf, alleged to have been dug from the Kentucky plains themselves, via a leather drinking pouch.

Calum Adams of Bar Lounge in Chester offered the judges an inspired recipe by Mark Twain (the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) that saw his twist on the classic Whiskey Sour named Quite Frankly Dear, I Don’t Give A Dram!. Using a Bergamot and Assan tea reduction, a handful of cascade and nelson hops, Taylor’s port, fresh pink grapefruit juice, egg and Buffalo Trace, he shook the ingredients over ice and strained into an ice filled wine glass.
Joe Ballinger of Berry and Rye in Liverpool was to be the tenth to show off, with his version of the Mint Julep that he called Old Fire On The Meadow. This saw mint leaves, Peychaud’s Bitters, oaked smoked nettle infused cider syrup, homemade redcurrant wine and Buffalo Trace come together within a crushed ice filled copper tin. An extravagant garnish of wild flowers for the vessel to be served upon and red currants adoring the drink itself, a lid was put over whilst Joe added oak wood chipped smoke into the chamber.

Mani Dosanjh of Tariff and Dale in Manchester was the last to be up, with his Afternoon Tea With The Buffalo’s seeing Buffalo Trace combined with Earl Grey infused neutral spirit, Earl Grey syrup, rose liqueur Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas bitters, all shaken over ice. This twist on the Whiskey Sour came served within a tea pot and ladened with fresh homemade corn bread and a lemon zest sprinkle.

From L-R: UK Brand Ambassador Tim Giles, Amir Javaid, Jim Brailsford, Joe Ballinger, Ross Thompson
From L-R: UK Brand Ambassador Tim Giles, Amir Javaid, Jim Brailsford, Joe Ballinger, Ross Thompson

11 fantastic recipes, but who came out on top? Third place saw Rebecca of The Wash House in Manchester and her Aristocity Flip, whilst Tom Finnon of The Hedonist Project in Leeds came second with his creation Buffalo8. But it was to be Joe Ballinger of Berry and Rye in Liverpool who would impress the judges with his Old Fire On The Meadow, a twist on the classic Mint Julep.

Joe won himself a trip to Kentucky and the chance to represent the northern bartenders of the UK alongside the rest of the Buffalo Trace competition winners, including London and Scotland.
If you fancy trying the winning recipe for yourself, head down to Berry and Rye in Liverpool and seek out Joe, I’ll see you at the bar!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.




Gancia, available all over the world, yet a sort of unsung brand when talking vermouth.

Shall we rectify a little?

Carlo Gancia was born back in 1829 in Borolo, Italy and studied in Reims, France to learn the production techniques for Champagne. He returned to Italy in 1850 to establish the ‘Fratelli Gancia’ Company and set to redefine the Champagne style by exploiting and re-elaborating his knowledge and applying them to the typical muscat grapes that were cultivated in the area. With this, Gancia created a new type of champagne in 1865 and called it Italian Sparkling Wine.

At the age of 18 though (back in 1847), Carlo became the nominated partner, and later Director, of the company Dettori &C., where he created a new recipe to refine the taste and the aroma of Vermouth. Following his past intuition, Gancia used the moscato grape as a base for the infusion of the herbs commonly associated with vermouth. It’s here that the Gancia expressions came into focus.

The famous 'Vermouth Bianco' poster
The famous ‘Vermouth Bianco’ poster

1927 saw the foundation of the French Gancia company at Marseilles arise with the idea to promote the Bianco and Americano expressions, with both becoming very popular in France as a result. Two years later, Turin born Eugenio Colmo designs the famous poster “Vermouth Bianco”, and in 1950, the company celebrated its First Centenary with the official launch of Gancia Rosso.

The three usual names, Extra Dry, Rosso and Bianco, alongside the Americano, are all produced in Canelli and are a base of young white wines (or red in the case of the rosso) and a selection of herbs. The production itself is split into three phases, seeing phase one as the selection of the most neural wines which are perfect to combine the selected herbs and spices. The mix of herbs and spices itself is turned into a liquid with an abv of 30%. This is then blended with the selected wine alongside sugar and extracts, then filtered and refined within tanks. Once tasted and deemed ready, it’s bottled and enjoyed.

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

Gancia Extra Dry – 18%

Soft fresh herbal notes on the nose, with rich grape and smooth sugar beet notes. Light on the palate, with a thin texture of fresh citrus, ripe herbs and dry bark. Natural sweetness underlines, but a lingering dry finish is prominent.

Gancia Bianco – 16%

Bold vanilla and banana notes on the nose, with plenty of natural, fresh sweetness coming through. Aniseed, soft lavender and pomegranate come though. A light kick of sweetness on the palate, turning slightly sharp once it develops. Plenty of muscato grapes shine through, with stewed apple and ripe pear flavours joining on the lingering and slightly dry finish.

Gancia Americano – 14.5%

Light, natural sweetness comes through on the nose. Subtle wormwood is present, as is orange rind. Thick texture on the palate, with a well-balanced offering between sweet and bitterness. Genting notes are present, as is the expected orange and grape flavours. A bold finish with dry spices offering a subtle, lingering finish.

Gancia Rosso – 16%

Rich, fresh notes of herbs and dry spice on the nose, with bold red berry and soft sweetness. Thin texture with a fresh fruit base on the palate. Sharp herbal notes come through, with some stewed spices offering a long, slightly bitter finish.

A really good range of vermouth here, and of course are versatile enough to not just have chilled –

Americano Cocktail

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

35 ml Gancia Vermouth Rosso
35 ml Gancia Americano
35 ml Soda Water

Method – 

Combine each ingredient over an ice filled glass and stir. Garnish with a wedge of fresh orange.

Although yes, Gancia may be seen more as perhaps a wine and sparkling wine brand over vermouth, with much of their history focusing over the two categories, the vermouth is an unsung hero within the aperitif world and is not one to gloss over. Worth shaking up your drinks cabinet at home and treat yourself to a straight Gancia Bianco, or a round of Americano cocktail with friends.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.



A third brand that I came across on my French travels a few weeks back is Lecompte, a rather small yet equally stunning range of Calvados. It’s in 1923 that Alexandre Lecompte created the Lecompte House in Lisieux, and built the brand until its sale to Yves Pellerin. Seen as the premium end of the Calvados category and essentially created for the connoisseurs, Lecompte’s distillery ‘La Morinière’ within Notre-Dame-de-Courson, offers a substantial amount of old stock, created by two traditional stills for double distillation.

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

Lecompte 12yr – 40%

Very soft upon the nose with clotted fudge and vanilla notes coming through. Light on the palate, with hints of nuts and liquorice, followed by a slight fudge flavour that smooths out a dry finish.

Lecompte Secret
Lecompte Secret

Lecompte 18yr – 40%

Light fudge with a slight vanilla essence on the nose. Tropical fruit flavours on the palate, honey and apple, with memories of rum. Dry banana on the long finish.

Lecompte Multi-Vintage – 40%

Aged from stock laid in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Banana and soft fudge combine on the nose, with a light, soft offering of tropical spices and banana leaf that leaves a sweet finish.

Lecompte Secret – 40%

Using blends as old as 1923, with a minimum of 42 years. Rich on the nose with plenty of apple and oak blending perfectly. Both flavours carry onto the palate, with dark cocoa, raisin and a developing spice creating a very long and dry finish.

The Lecompte Secret has a rather interesting back story to it, with the following taken from the Lecompte website;

Eighty-five years after Maison Lecompte was first established, the new owners entrusted Richard Prével, a third-generation
Cellar Master, with the task of crafting the most extraordinary, the most perfect and the most complete Calvados ever made. Richard Prével spent five years blending, and composing hundreds of combinations of Lecompte’s precious eaux-de-vie. During the course of this tireless quest for perfection, he made an incredible discovery: several barrels laid down
by the founder of Maison Lecompte, undisturbed since 1923. This timeless treasure, crafted from over 100 individual eaux-de-vie, provided the finishing touch to a blend which was already exceptional.

I’m very lucky to have tried this, especially with its price tag, and it truly is one of the best Calvados expressions I have had. If the price puts you off though, the younger ages can offer some great recipes instead –

Le Bandista
Le Bandista

Le Bandista

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

50 ml Lecompte 12yr Calvados
10 ml Cherry Brandy Morand
160 ml Fresh apple juice
2 slices Fresh ginger
½ stem Fresh lemongrass
3-4 drops Fresh lime juice

Method – 

In a shaker, put the Calvados with fresh ginger and lemongrass and muddle all. Add the cherry brandy, fresh apple juice and a few drops of lime juice. Shake, strain and pour over ice.

or perhaps 

Lecompte Old School
Lecompte Old School

Lecompte Old School

Glass –


Ingredients – 

60 ml Calvados Lecompte 12yr
20 ml Saint Germain
3 dashes Chartreuse Elixir

Method – 

Pour the ingredients into a shaker and shake. Pour into a highball filled with ice and garnish with a range of apple encrusted with currant.

Although probably one of the more exclusive ranges of Calvados available, if you love the category, you need at least one of the expressions in your life. And the Secret? Wow.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.

Celebrate National Margarita Day With Finest Call

Finest CallThe margarita cocktail is one of the most popular mixed drinks around, originating in the 1940s. Any bartender worth their salt has created their own unique spin of this classic drink, but no one knows who created the original, although it is widely believed it originated in Mexico.  22nd February gives cause to celebrate with National Margarita Day this year.

Every great cocktail bar needs a truly sensational margarita gracing its menu – according to the most recent CGA report (issued in 2014) it is one of the top 5 most popular cocktails in the UK. Finest Call has spent years developing their signature margarita mix, enhancing the taste and quality of the cocktail to ensure it leads the way for pre-mixed cocktails.

Created with the perfect blend of Mexican lime juice, a touch of natural lemon juice, aromatic orange essential oils and agave nectar for a flavour that’s balanced between tart and sweet, Finest Call Margarita mix offers a smooth and refreshing taste to be combined with a customers favourite tequila.

Try Finest Call’s Margarita mix yourself and discover how to make this delicious iconic cocktail consistenly and quickly to the delight of cocktail-lovers. Visit www.Finestcall.com  for product information and more serving suggstions.

Finest Call Margarita


35ml Tequila
85ml Finest Call Margarita Mix


Strain over ice into salt-rimmed margarita glass
Garnish with a lime wedge and orange slice

Crimson Sunset
Crimson Sunset

Crimson Sunset


25ml White Rum
25ml Archers
100ml Finest Call Margarita Mix
50ml Raspberry Puree


Take a tall glass and fill with ice. Shake and strain
Garnish with a lime wedge

Dive Down The Rabbit Hole With ORSO

ORSO invites guests to follow them down the rabbit hole

To coincide with The Royal Opera House’s production of Alice in Wonderland (running until 16 January 2015), venture downstairs past the ‘enchanted’ olive tree and into ORSO’s subterranean space, for their take on a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Unique surprises and the intriguing Hatter’s Tipple, made with vodka, raspberry liqueur, lime and sugar will be on offer.

Hosting a party? Impress friends at home and concoct the recipe yourself.

As a treat for pre-theatre diners, ORSO will treat guests to ‘Eat Me’ | ‘Drink Me’ vouchers on Alice in Wonderland show nights, including lots of excellent offers, which will ensure customers leave grinning like Cheshire Cats. T&C’s apply

Authentic Italian restaurant, ORSO, lies just a stone’s throw away from Theatreland in the heart of Covent Garden. Since 1985 ORSO has been a firm West End favourite, with performers and theatre goers alike. With an entrance marked solely by a discreet olive tree, it is one of the last remaining independent Italian restaurants in the area, thanks to its unique offering and outstanding service.

Mad Hatter's Tipple Recipe[1]

Five Trends For Cocktails In 2015

Real Launch

2015 trends predicted by the leading fruit-infused syrups brand Re’al Cocktail Ingredients

1) Some like it hot:

Warming, soothing, and bang on trend – hot cocktails are set to be even more popular in the colder months of 2015.  And what could be better than using a local, craft cider as the base (local, British-made drinks are of course hugely sought after these days)?  The rich flavour of the Pumpkin Re’al is utterly delicious with apples and spice.

Glowing Pumpkin

20ml Pumpkin Re’al
200ml good quality, dry, bottled English cider
1 teaspoon fine-cut marmalade
Cinnamon stick
Slice of fresh apple

Heat the cider gently then thoroughly stir in the Pumpkin Re’al and the marmalade. Pour into a thick, stubby glass tumbler, pop in the apple slice and stir well with a cinnamon stick, leaving it in the glass to stir and sip while it’s steaming hot.

2) Time for Tea…

Tea is set to follow coffee as the next big trend in caffeine drinks, with serious tea sippers turning to a wider range of styles and flavours, and drinking various brews at different times of the day. And in the evening, elegant tea cocktails! Green tea makes a delicate, exquisitely refreshing cocktail, here combined with ginger and lemongrass for an Eastern take. This is a warm, clean-tasting, non-alcoholic cocktail:

Ginger Tea Garden

20ml Ginger Re’al
200ml freshly made green tea
One stalk lemongrass, outer leaves discarded
Fresh wedge of lemon
Honey to taste (optional)

Put the hot tea in a bowl, cut the lemongrass into four pieces and add, together with the Ginger Re’al, and stir well, bruising the lemongrass lightly with a spoon. Strain into a tumbler, and squeeze the lemon briefly before adding the wedge in. Stir in a little honey for a slightly sweeter drink.

3) Herbal heaven…

Using fresh herbs – homegrown, organic, straight from the kitchen garden, ideally! – in cocktails is a new trend that follows hot on the heels of the new craze for herby vermouth. Vermouth is fortified wine flavoured with herbs and spices, and premium examples from Italy and France, as well as homemade versions, are going to be everywhere in 2015. Here’s a sparkling cocktail that uses Blueberry Re’al, fresh herbs and herby vermouth, a delicious combination of dry and herbal with sweeter, fruity depths. Using prosecco simply references another big trend for this currently hugely popular Italian sparkling wine.

Blueberry Herbal Fizz:

15ml Blueberry Re’al
15ml dry vermouth
100ml chilled prosecco
Long stalk of fresh thyme

Pour the Blueberry Re’al into the bottom of a Champagne flute, and add the vermouth. Gently bruise the sprig of thyme and use it to stir the mix, then stand it upright in the glass. Top right up with cold Prosecco.

4) Whisky galore!

Whisky is set to be the big spirit trend for 2015. All the top bars now stock a magnificent wide range of whiskies, not only from Scotland, but America, Ireland and Japan too, and whisky cocktails are big news. Raspberries and whisky is a particularly lovely, Scottish combination, so Scotch whisky really should be used here!

Raspberry Ginger Re’al:

10ml Raspberry Re’al
30ml Scotch whisky
20ml chilled dry ginger ale
Fresh raspberry to garnish

Pour the whisky into a tumbler with a couple of ice cubes, then add the Raspberry Re’al. Stir with a spoon, and top up with ginger ale. Pop a raspberry in the drink to garnish.

5) Coming up Rosés

No one can have failed to notice wine lists turning bright pink over the past few years as sales of rosé – French, Spanish, Italian, New World – went through the roof. This Spring/Summer expect more rosé cocktails to appear; refreshing, pretty, mouthwatering. Here’s one which combines the margarita with Blue Agave Nectar Re’al and dry rosé to create a vivacious, colourful, hot weather cocktail!

15ml Blue Agave Nectar Re’al
15ml tequila
10ml orange liqueur
60ml dry rosé wine
15ml fresh lime juice
Strand of lime zest

Shake all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a cocktail glass, twist the lime strand and add to the cocktail.

The new Re’al line boasts favourites such as Blueberry, Mango, Peach, Strawberry and Raspberry, as well as more unusual flavours including Pumpkin, Ginger and Agave Nectar.  The product benefits for Re’al Cocktail Ingredients are simple but compelling:

·         Flavourful: premium fruit purée sweetened with 100% cane sugar delivers impactful flavour with a clean finish

·         Mixable:  dissolves easily in hundreds of beverage applications

·         Squeezable:  proprietary wide-mouth bottle/closure combination features a built-in oxygen barrier and a unique volcano-shaped spout to ensure no wastage

·         Long-lasting: lasts for four weeks in the fridge once opened


Price and Availability:

Prices start at £4.35 for Coco Re’al, increasing to £6.80 for Agave.  Available from UDAL Ltd. www.syrupsandstuff.co.uk

Masons Distillery


It’s always a pleasure to hear that producers of spirit don’t just go for the easiest way or the quickest route to making money. Karl Mason, the man behind one of Yorkshire’s most prominent distilleries in Bedale, rejected many a recipe in search for a gin that you would ‘choose to drink’.

Launched back in 2013 on World Gin Day (June), a recipe was deemed suitable and he utilised the services of the English Spirit Company to help his idea become reality. Fast track two years later, and Karl has reached the heights of being able to have his own distillery, and more importantly, his own copper pot still named Steve. The move has changed the recipe slightly from the early days of Masons Yorkshire gin, but with more positivity as shown with the awarding of a silver medal at the New York World, Wine and Spirits competition in 2014, as well as another silver at the San Francisco World Spirits competition this year.

Using originally just one small copper alembic still, but as of August 2015 a second still to help with the demand, both hold just 200 litres. Karl and his Head Distiller Gerrard Macluskey (an ex Tanqueray gin distiller) find the ‘right balance of juniper, citrus elements and secret botanicals’, and utilise Harrogate spring water to reduce down to its bottling strength before being bottled and labelled by hand. Each bottle also comes adorned with a hand-written batch and bottle number on the neck.

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

Gerrard and Karl
Gerrard and Karl

Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin – 42% – Original bottle from 2013

Plenty of fennel on the nose with a slight hint of coriander making its presence known. Fennel and pine take centre stage on the palate, producing a smooth base. A little citrus follows, with some sweet liquorice found near the end. Long, and a little dry.

Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin – 42%

Light fennel upon the nose with fresh, damp grass notes mixed with soft juniper, lime and orange rind, leading to a subtle aniseed finish. On the palate, a ripe aniseed start, becoming sweet with fresh, bold citrus flavours including deep orange rind. Plenty of fennel, green apple and dandelion blend well, leading to a warm, long, mouth-watering finish.

Masons Yorkshire Vodka – 42%

Fresh, soft with a creamy scent upon the nose. Very smooth once onto the palate, with a soft texture and bold, creamy flavour profile. Fresh grain notes come through, with a tingle on the tongue after several sips. A sharp, slightly bold, long finish.

Masons Dry Yorkshire Tea Gin – 42%

Dry notes of Yorkshire tea are present on the nose, with fresh, light hits as the aromas swirl around. Rather light upon the palate, with a slight citrus sharpness hitting the senses. Plenty of dry Yorkshire tea notes blast through, with fresh aniseed making an appearance upon the long finish.

Masons Lavender Edition Gin – 42%

Dry lavender notes upon the nose, creating a rather soft and subtle experience, followed by a slight fennel aroma. Soft texture once onto the palate, with a fresh candied lavender sweet flavour dominating. Rather subtle across the senses, with anise creeping in on the dry finish.

Four great expressions, with the limited editions of the Yorkshire Tea and Lavender a surprise hit. Karl recommend a good gin and tonic to go with his creations, but he also suggests the following –

“Masons Moors Martini
Make a standard dry Martini with Vermouth but then also add a few drops of lavender syrup and garnish with lavender. Of course, the lavender has to be from Yorkshire!”

“Gin Yorkshire Rose
Take 1 measure each of Masons Yorkshire Gin and Cointreau, add a wedge of fresh orange and a little sugar syrup. Garnish with a white rose petal.”

Always good to have one in your collection for something to show your friends that not all gins are the same, and the vodka makes a great addition to the British vodka market. Look out for some other creations that are in the pipeline too. When I popped over a month or so ago, there’s some more interesting ideas coming to fruition!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.