Emily Says . . . . ‘John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum’

Velvet Green Martini

In her fourth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at the Barbadian classic from John D. Taylor;

Coming from a bartenders experience, rum is one of the most frequently ordered drinks, whether drinking it neat, with a mixer, or as many find themselves doing, searching for the perfect rum based cocktail.

But this Caribbean classic has much more to offer than one would expect. The creation of rum all the way back in the 17th century was spurred along by plantation slaves, of whom discovered that a by-product of the sugar refining process could be fermented into alcohol.

Putting aside the technical talk, rum allowed the production of many rum-based liqueurs that were yet to come in the future of alcohol. One of these rum-based products is John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, created in Barbados some time between 1830-1930.

A beautiful blend of lime zest, sugar, ginger, cloves and pure Barbadian white rum, John D. Taylor truly created a true specimen of the 18th-19th century Barbados bar culture. Velvet Falernum offers drinkers a much smoother and sweeter experience, particularly for those who may want to avoid the rich spices of classic rum. Standing at only 11% volume however, Velvet Falernum is perfect in the use of mixology, and has even been considered a syrup rather than a liqueur due to its sweet properties.

Today in the bartending world, Velvet Falernum is well known for its usage in classics such as the Rum Swizzle, Mai Tai, Zombie and the Corn N’ Oil. But for something a bit different, Velvet Falernum plays a key role in one of these exquisite creations:

Velvet Green Martini 2

Velvet Green Martini

Glass – Martini

Ingredients –
25ml egg white
15ml lemon juice
7.5ml kiwi syrup
25ml apple juice
15ml Velvet Falernum
15ml Briottet Apple Liqueur
15ml Tanqueray Export

Method – Pour all ingredients into a boston glass, add ice and hard shake to create a thick head on the finishing result.

Garnish – Mint sprig and a pipette of chlorophyll for an ombre effect.

The Velvet Green Martini delivers a, as the title suggests, a velvety smooth drinking experience. The egg white creates the silky texture which compliments the name of this drink perfectly. Sugar syrup is not as vital as would be usually due to the sweet notes of Velvet Falernum, complementing the sweet and crisp aromas of apple and kiwi that are present in the drink. Velvet Falernum not only works beautifully with rum, but with various different spirits as the Velvet Green proves clearly.

When making this drink, I must say around 9 times out of 10, many will recoil at the thought of chlorophyll being added to their drink. Just to clarify, chlorophyll mustn’t be mistaken for chloroform. Chlorophyll is a tasteless and odourless plant extract that is used purely for appearance. Its dark colour creates an ombre effect, which is truly pleasing for the eyes, as well as the taste buds.

Credit and copyright:
The Botanist

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.

 

Lamb’s

Lamb's Navy

18 rums together. A hard task for many a rum lover, but spare a thought for Alfred Lamb, wine connoisseur and entrepreneur, who blended 18 back in 1849 to create the staple that we know call Lamb’s. It might sound like a simple story, but some of the best and well-known names are simple, and don’t need such historic backgrounds to be seen as an enjoyable brand.

Anyway, it’s the liquid that does the talking, surely?

Rums from Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana are chosen to create the Navy Rum we come to know today. Around 1871, Alfred Lamb was storing his rum within the West India Dock warehouse along the River Thames. Once stored, Alfred instructed four years to pass before the matured rum could be enjoyed. The Navy aspect of the brand comes from the British Navy, and indeed the rations of rum (an eye-watering 80% abv) being half a pint a day and introduced back in 1731. This practice came to an end July 31st 1970, mainly due to the advance in Naval equipment (no one wants a nuclear war to start due to the drunken sailors on board her Majesties vessel). Not do deter Lamb’s, they started a promotion campaign with the slogan ‘Join the Lamb’s Navy’.

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

Lamb’s Navy – 40%

Plenty of vanilla and dark caramel on the nose, with hints of burnt toffee coming through. Sweet caramel on the palate creates a short and sometimes dry finish.

Lamb’s Navy Spiced – 30%

Very light on the nose with aromas of sweet vanilla. Slight flavours of lime on the palate, with very sweet vanilla dominating the slightly dry finish.

The Lamb’s Navy is a great shout, and versatile enough to be enjoyed within cocktails too –

Rum Runner
Rum Runner

Rum Runner

Glass – 

Hurricane

Ingredients – 

37.5 ml Lamb’s Navy Rum
12.5 ml Creme de Mure
20 ml vanilla liqueur
50 ml pineapple juice
25 ml fresh lime juice
12.5 ml grenadine syrup

Method – 

Shake and strain over ice. Garnish with a pineapple slice and cherry.

The Lamb’s range is a great go to brand, and can be found in most venues around the UK, and indeed the world. Whilst the spiced isn’t one of my favourites, the original Navy is up their with some of the best. For a traditional recipe, seek no further.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. 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.

Taylor’s Velvet Falernum Tasting Notes

Velvet Falernum

Falernum is essentially a sweet syrup used in various tropical drinks (think Zombies and Swizzles).  One of the more well-known brands used in the bartending arena is Taylor’s Velvet Falernum.

First created by John D Taylor of Bridgetown, Barbados in 1890, the liqueur is made with a combination of sugar cane, lime, almond and cloves. This particular brand is alcoholic, as well as the new Bitter Truth, but there are some that are non-alcoholic including Fee Brothers.

Falernum owes its name to the renowned ancient Roman wine falernian, known as falernum in Latin. It was Rome’s most favoured yet most expensive wine. Modern Falernum has almost nothing in common with its ancient predecessor except its golden tint.

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

Taylor’s Velvet Falernum – 11%

Hits of limes and cloves on the nose with a dry scent lingering. Thick, smooth texture on the palate with an incredibly sweet offering of almond and lime. Short.

It’s not uncommon to sip this over ice, but it’s probably more suited towards one of these –

Rum Swizzle
Rum Swizzle

Rum Swizzle

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

120 ml Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
120 ml Gosling’s Barbados Rum
Juice of 2 lemons
150 ml pineapple juice
150 ml orange juice
60 ml Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
6 dashes Angostura Bitters

Method –

Mix in pitcher with crushed ice, shake vigorously until a frothing head appears. Strain into cocktail glasses. Garnish with a slice of orange and a cherry. Serves 6.

Most bars, especially the tiki kind, will stock Falernum, and it’s always a good liqueur to have available if you like your Caribbean drinks at home, or indeed for some Swizzle parties!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mount Gay

Mount Gay

Every great story begins with a time and a place. One such story involves a brand that is familiar to most, Mount Gay.

Created on the Caribbean island of Barbados, the land that back in 1703 called rum ‘kill-devil’, a gentleman named Sir John Gay, a respected leader and businessman who worked tirelessly in service on the island, was requested by friend John Sober to help manage an unknown distillery he had inherited. Sir John Gay took quickly to the business of making rum. He refined the distillation process and began producing what we know today as Mount Gay Rum. With this, Mount Gay Rum is the oldest existing brand of rum in the world.

So how did Sir John Gay create Mount Gay?

Using hand cut Barbadian sugar cane, the cane is mixed with coral filtered water and a proprietary strain of yeast to ferment in the open air of Barbados. Once fermented, the mix is then distilled within traditional double copper pot stills which is then matured in charred white oak barrels which have previously held American whiskey. After ageing, it is then blended by Master Blender Allen Smith to create the Mount Gay range.

So how does the range fare? Well I’ve been lucky enough to try some of their portfolio so below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Mount Gay Eclipse – 40%

Named for the ‘double phenomenon’ of a total solar eclipse and the passage of Halley’s comet in 1910. Light, butter scent on the nose with a floral edge of vanilla striking through. A little sharp on the palate with heavy fruit flavours and banana dominating. Kicks of wood and vanilla cause it to linger for a while.

Mount Gay Black Barrel – 43%

Released in the UK in May 2014, but the US in April 2013. The only Mount Gay rum finished in charred bourbon oak barrels after blending. Black Barrel is made from sugar cane molasses, within column and pot still rums, and has a higher proportion of pot still than any of the other Mount Gay expressions.
Sublte, smooth notes of vanila on the nose,with a slightly charred aroma of treacle and toffee. Soft, buttery and slight kicks of pepper on the palate. Light cinnamon seems to dominate the finish, with thin textures of vanilla and toffee creating a long experience.

Two fantastic rums, with the Eclipse pairing well with one of these –

Rum Runner 

Glass –

Hurricane

Ingredients – 

30 ml Mount Gay Eclipse
10 ml Blackberry Liqueur
10 ml Creme de Banana Liqueur
60 ml Orange Juice
15 ml Grenadine
Crushed ice

Method – 

Pour ingredients and crushed ice in a blender. Blend until slushy and pour into hurricane glass.

A great rum, with expressions including Silver, Extra Old and 1703 also available, it’s a collection worth having. One to look out for in many tiki and rum shack’s in your local city too. Or make it a handy bottle to have within your drinks cabinet. The Black Barrel is an expression worth trying, and reminds me a little of another category taking advantage of the ‘black barrel’.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. 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.

Cockspur Rum Tasting Notes

Cockspur

If you look into a brand you expect to see the usual kind of story. A process of distillation is involved which to put simply means separates the good stuff from the bad stuff. Does it ever cross your mind though to think who started all this? Especially when it comes to the distillation of rum and more importantly, the mass production of rum? Cockspur is your answer.

A brand that most have probably heard of and indeed come across in your local bar and it does frequent for a reason. Before we come onto that though, lets see how it all came about.

Cockspur rum can trace itself back to 1884 when the Danish seaman Valdemar Hanschell settled in Barbados. He created his own rum and used Barbados’ shipping port to help the Cockspur become one of the best-selling rums from Barbados. Valdemar Hanschell can only be credited for masterminding it all though – the crafting of the rum came from the Stade Brothers. The brothers shared the same vision as Valdemar Hanschell which culminated in a rum that was free from impurites. A revolutionary end-product to the other brands around at the time.

During this time, the Stade Brothers established the West Indies Rum Distillery which houses the production of Cockspur rum (now also Malibu, Gilbeys and Popov) which is located on Brighton Beach, north of Bridgetown, next to a pure coral filtered water aquifer. The addition of the first ever continuous column still alongside their copper pot-stills in Barbados rum production meant that they could produce a consistent profile. This consistency also includes using the coral-filtered water as well as being aged in used American white oak barrels under the Caribbean sun and the ocean breezes.

So the rum itself, how does it fare? Well below I give to you my tasting notes –

Cockspur Fine Rum – 37.5%

Quite light on the nose with a slight sherry that sweetens. A smooth start on the palate that develops into a spicy pepper offering. Causes a fresh feeling that lingers but dries out.

Cockspur Spiced – 22%

Very light with a slight spice lingering around a sweet butter and toffee aroma. Incredibly smooth on the palate, with an almost velvet layer of butter masking a slowly developed spice.

Not a bad pairing showcased by Cockspur with the fine rum going down well on the rocks. Although some of these cocktails look rather tempting –

Cockspur - CreamsicleCockspur Creamsicle

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

50ml Cockspur Fine Rum
50ml Coconut cream
100ml Pineapple juice
50ml Grenadine

Method –

Shake all the ingredients and serve over ice. Garnish with a pineapple slice and cherry.

Cockspur Applejack

Glass –

Tumbler

Ingredients –

50ml Cockspur Fine Rum
Apple juice

Method – 

Shake the ingredients together and pour into a glass-filled tumbler. Garnish wish a slice of apple and grated cinnamon.

Simple recipes are sometimes the best! Especially when you can assure yourself that Cockspur is also an award-winning brand including a Double Gold medal at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Easily available, easily enjoyable. Give it a go.

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

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Virgin Gorda Tasting Notes

virgin gorda

What do you think of if I said the word blended? Whisky maybe? How about rum? You might ponder at this one, rum production isn’t as widely known compared to whisky so you could easily say yes to this without realising. Virgin Gorda is one of the first mainstream rums to be blended from three different islands – Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica, and is said to explore the most sensual side of the Caribbean.

Virgin Gorda is categorised as a golden rum, produced by distilling fermented sugar cane in the traditional pot still method, then spending an average age of seven years in old, American oak Bourbon barrels. Within these barrels includes 20% of 8yr rum. A factor taken with pride that sets Virgin Gorda from others is the 100% natural state – no colour, flavour or aroma additives are used and instead seek out the essences of Trinidad freshness and vanilla, Jamaican body of molasses and a woody aged characteristic from Barbados.

Virgin Gorda is a tribute to the explorers of all time, in particular Christopher Columbus. During his second voyage to Americas in 1493, he became amazed with the beauty of the third largest island in The Virgin Islands, promptly naming it ‘Virgen Gorda’. Todays spelling comes after The Virgin Islands came under British rule.

So with a slightly patriotic edge to this rum, how does it fare?

Virgin Gorda – 40%

Intense vanilla and toffee dominate the nose with a freshness flowing through. A long offering of toffee warms the palate up with vanilla following to a sweet end.

With three Caribbean islands represented, it’s only apt that you should try the following –

Virgin Caribbean Heat

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients –

60ml Virgin Gorda
30ml Amaretto
Cranberry Juice
Maraschino Cherries
Orange Slice

Method –

Shake the Virgin Gorda and Amaretto in a ice-filled cocktail shaker, pour into a rocks glass with ice and fill with cranberry juice. Garnish with Maraschino cherries and a slice of orange.

Could it become any more refreshing? Virgin Gorda will be a highlight in any night, and is becoming increasingly popular for both bartenders and consumers. Don’t be surprised if you happen to see this blended rum on many a bar – it’s some damn fine Caribbean stuff.

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

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.