Bon Vivant Tonic Syrup Launches In London And Barcelona

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American Beverage Marketers, leading specialists in the cocktail ingredient category, have worked with drinks industry expert Giuseppe Gallo to create Bon Vivant Tonic Syrup. Launching to the on-trade from mid-April, and with listings in high profile accounts, the tonic syrup allows bartenders to experiment with the fundamental flavour profile of tonic water. Under development for almost two years, and inspired by the original formula of the Dutch West India Company, Bon Vivant Tonic Syrup can be used as a base for homemade tonic waters or added to cocktails to create an elegant bitterness.

Capitalising on the worldwide trend for the Gin & Tonic, Bon Vivant Tonic Syrup has been developed in response to demand from bartenders for a cocktail ingredient that allows them to consistently make their own tonic water. After researching original tonic recipes dating back to the 1600s, Bon Vivant is made using natural quinine from cinchona bark of the highest quality, sourced from the Congo, and lemons from California and Argentina. The citrus oils provide a refreshing, crisp flavour, whilst the quinine rounds off the syrup with a bitter finish at the end. Transparent in colour with a light golden hue, it is less sweet than pre-made tonic waters, and the natural flavourings allow the flavour profile of the gin or spirit it is paired with to shine through.

Giuseppe Gallo comments, “We are very excited to be launching Bon Vivant Tonic Syrup to the on-trade, especially at a time when we have seen a trend for lower-ABV cocktails gain traction, as well as a more considered approach to alcohol-free offerings. Customers’ palates are also becoming more sophisticated with a return to classic cocktails such as the negroni and bitter aperitivo style drinks, and the gin boom doesn’t show any signs of slowing. We have designed Bon Vivant Tonic Syrup in the hope that bartenders will be able to offer a more unique, authentic tonic water option, as well as opening up new flavour profile opportunities in mixed drinks.”

In a Gin & Tonic, Bon Vivant Tonic Syrup works particularly well with London Dry gins that have a strong juniper note, however the amount can be adjusted to accommodate different botanical profiles across the gin category. It also works well with different spirits and liqueurs, with recommended serves including Amaro & Tonic, Vermouth & Tonic and Italicus & Tonic. As a cocktail ingredient it can be used in sour classics such as an Aviation or White Lady instead of sugar, and there is the opportunity for bartenders to experiment with their own infusions and serves.

On the launch, leading bartender and UKBG president Luca Cordiglieri comments, “Bon Vivant Tonic Syrup is a great addition to the market with its floral and herbal flavour, and a sweetness that is not overpowering. I find it’s great for making your own Gin and Tonic, or as a cocktail ingredient.” Noting its usefulness as a cocktail ingredient, Simone Caporale also comments, “Whereas before you might have had to use lots of different elements to create a drink, the use of Bon Vivant Tonic Syrup creates an interesting complexity using just one ingredient, opening up avenues of creativity for bartenders to explore.”

#bonvivanttonicsyrup

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Estrella Damm Tasting Notes

Estrella Damm Portfolio

Theres always a staple brand that will catch your eye when you glance into a bars bottle fridge. One that everyone knows, but may not usually see is Estrella Damm. Why? It’s one of Spain’s most famous brands, shouted at you with a smile by your Spanish waiter on your yearly holiday to sunnier climates, yet in 2012, ‘The Beer of Barcelona’ aired their first UK commercial featuring the band Billie the Vision and the Dancers. So in a way, the UK has only just been officially introduced with a marketing avenue that many brands take advantage of straight away. But after sampling some of the Estrella Damm range, I can understand why they haven’t been in such a hurry. Before I come onto them, let me tell you a little about Estrella Damm, and how it came to such prominence.

In the spring of 1872, August Kuentzmann Damm and his wife Melanie left their native Alsace due to the Franco-russian war and settled for Barcelona. Whilst taking advantage of the climate, food and the better quality of life that Barcelona offered, August founded his own beer company in 1876 to continue doing what he had always done – produce beer. This trend carries on to the present day where currently we are into the eleventh generation of Master Brewers.

With generations of Master Brewers comes consistency.

Estrella Damm work with the farmers in the Ebro basin to obtain barley that hold all of the characteristics that the Master Brewers are after. They continue to malt in the very own Bell-Lloc (Lleida) malthouse, making them one of the few breweries in Spain and in the world, that still produces all of its malt barley in its own malthouse.  With this, they continue to use the original recipe as the basis, including the Mediterranean pearl rice.

So how does ‘The Beer of Barcelona’ fair? Well below I give to you my tasting notes –

Estrella Damm – 4.6%

A light malty aroma on the nose with a little spice drifting through slowly. The palate enjoys a smooth offering of darker malts, toasted flavours and creamy hops. A slight dryness near the end with a low carbonation.

As mentioned above, I’ve also been lucky enough to try four other Estrella expressions –

Free Damm
Free Damm

Estrella Damm Daura – 5.4%

Gluten-free beer, brewed with barley malt. A good mix of hops and slightly toasted cereal aromas on the nose with slight sweetness and spice coming through. Fruits flavours dominate the palate, with a light, sweet malt character and a slightly dry end.

Estrella Damm Lemon – 3.2%

Created using six parts beer to four parts lemon. Fresh citrus instantly noticeable on the nose with a rather light scent. Smooth and subtle citrus on the palate, not as strong as expected. A mouth-watering long finish with no hints of dryness. Refreshing.

Estrella Damm Inedit – 4.8%

Inedit means “Never been done before”. In cooperation with the Brew Master of Estrella Damm, Inedit was crafted by the globally acclaimed chef Ferran Andria, Juli Soler and sommeliers Ferran Centelles and David Seijas from ElBulli Restaurant. It’s a skilfully brewed blend of lager and wheat beer styles, using a combination of barley malt, wheat, hops, coriander, orange peel, yeast and water which is then aromatised with coriander, orange peel and liquorice.
Subtle orange and grain aromas on the nose, with malt and spices following. Fresh wheat and a small kick of spice present themselves on the palate, with the citrus flavours keeping themselves till the long finish. Easy drinking.

Free Damm – O%

Made with the same ingredients used to make alcoholic beer. Yeast is added and allowed to ferment to produce alcohol in the natural way. Then, thanks to an advanced technique they call ‘vacuum distillation’, they are able to bring the percentage of alcohol down to 0.0% without changing the beer in any way.
Plenty of wheat on the nose, with a soft, refreshing aroma coming through near the end. Light on the palate, with hints of toasted malt making their way around. Lingers slightly.

For me, it’s a rather stunning portfolio, and I can appreciate why it has done so well in International competitions, winning in Vienna 1904, London 1905, Munich 1906, Paris 1964, The World Beer Championship 1998 – Australia and The World Beer Championship 2004 – Chicago. And it goes well with food. The Estrella Damm combining with fish, chorizo, ham, salads, and squid – covering a good range of food categories which makes it ‘The King of Barcelona’ time and time again.

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.