Emily Says . . . . ‘The Espresso Martini’

Espresso Martini

In her third feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at the ever faithful Espresso Martini;

A cocktail that has never gone out of fashion: the Espresso Martini. A simply timeless concoction of vodka paired with espresso, this number is the go-to at the bar for a little ‘pick me up’. But how did this infamous creation come about in the bartending scene?

Rumour has it that the Espresso Martini was created in the early 1980s by London bartender Dick Bradsel whilst working at the Soho Brasserie. According to Dick himself, the story goes that a famous female model visited the bar and asked him to get her a drink that will ‘pick me up then fuck me up’. Not a request a bartender gets every day, that’s for sure! The Espresso Martini was born after Dick put together some vodka and sugar with a shot of espresso from the bars shiny new espresso machine. Revolutionary.

The growing popularity of the espresso machine in the 1980s spurred along the name of the Espresso Martini. Even to this very day, this timeless little number never fails to make an appearance in the life of a bartender. Whether it is being enjoyed as a post-dinner treat or fuelling a late night, there is always a suitable time for the Espresso Martini.

In my four and a half years of bartending, I’ve come across several different recipes in making the perfect Espresso Martini. Here is the recipe I personally have found to truly shake up something beautiful:

Glassware –

Ingredients –
1 bar spoon of fresh honey
25ml sugar syrup
25ml Café Patron XO
50ml Belvedere Vodka
1 shot of espresso

Method –
Pour all ingredients into a boston glass. Add ice and hard shake to ensure a thick head on the finishing product; the Espresso Martini is all about the foam! Double strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish – three single coffee beans.

The addition of fresh honey truly gives a smoother touch to the Espresso Martini, complimenting beautifully the smooth finish of Belvedere vodka.
Usually, the usage of any coffee liqueur is suitable in the creation of this particular drink. I, however, feel that the use of Patron’s own coffee tequila, Café Patron XO gives an exclusive touch, and certainly brings out the caffeine kick that we coffee lovers are looking for. For those true coffee enthusiasts, however, the replacement of Café Patron XO with a double espresso will work just fine.

A cocktail that one can truly not go wrong with, and a cocktail that will never go out of style: The Espresso Martini, here to pick you up… then fuck you up.

The Winners and Shakers at Cocktails in the City, Leeds


Last week saw the first northern edition of Cocktails in the City in Leeds as they took over the town hall for two evenings and invited 20 of the cities best and brightest bars to create and impress the sold out crowds!

In attendance was yours truly, and after being invited to judge the best cocktail of the show with the likes of Craig Harper of Fever Tree, I had the chance to experience all 20 creations. So, lets see who came up with some gems!

First up were Pintura Basque Kitchen and Bar with their creative collaboration with Gin Mare. Coming up with the ‘G&T Old Fashioned’, they combined the Spanish based gin with a 1724 tonic reduction, grapefruit bitters, a Gimlet ice ball alongside orange peel and basil leaf. Hotel Chocolat and their Roast & Conch bar decided to combine their in-house Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Bitters to create the ‘Hotel Chocolat Old Fashioned‘, which also saw orange and Angostura bitters blended with rum and honey.

The Botanist were up next, with their idea of using Belvedere with elderflower liqueur, red amaranth , mint, jasmine syrup and lime juice, all topped with lemonade to create the ‘Botanist’. The Chez Mal at Malmaison kept it simple and classic with ‘A Toast to Mr B‘, in homage to Dick Bradsell, the creator of the Bramble cocktail. They combined Disaronno with raspberry syrup, creme de cassis and raspberries.

MEATLiquor came to the event with ‘Too Early For Cider’ with a combination of Early Times bourbon, orange juice, lemon, maple syrup, Angostura Bitters and Hobo cider! It’s not all about cider though as next door, Bar Soba joined forces with Tsingtao to create The ‘Shandong Shandy’. This saw Tsingtao, coconut syrup, Kwai Feh, lemon juice and lemonade come together, finished with lime leaves, ginger and lemongrass.

New gin bar The Hedonist Project and their Old Tom’s Kitchen brought with them Tanqueray 10 to create the ‘Roasted Barley Bramble‘. This saw the gin, lemon, sugar mix together, complete with a lemon foam and bramble jam garnish. Next were The East Village with ‘Amistat’, a recipe that saw Bacardi Carta Oro come together with Woodford Reserve, Amontillado sherry and coffee liqueur.

‘Figin’ Hell It’s Hot‘ came up next as the Jones Bar Group offered up Pampero Anejo Especial with lime, fig liqueur, chilli infused Velvet Falernum and egg white, whilst Jake’s Bar and Still partnered with Jack Daniel’s to bring you a ‘Cup’ o’ Jack’ that saw the whiskey blend with coffee liqueur, homemade vanilla syrup and chocolate liqueur.

Palm Sugar of Chaophraya partnered with Whitley Neill to create the ‘Pretty Little Ginger’. This saw the gin combine with Licor 43, Galangal syrup and lemon, complete with Chill Galangal flowers and spiced chocolate bitters. Next came the ‘Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned’ with Tipplesworth that featured the American whiskey with sugar, bitters and an orange zest.

The Pogues Irish whiskey joined with The Brotherhood of Pursuits and Pastimes to create ‘A Fairytale in New York’. This saw the brand show off the whiskey, Bailey’s, Irish coffee, vanilla gum and Irish chocolate! The ’20 Year Rum Punch’ saw Mojo and Appleton come together to create a blend of Appleton Estate Signature Blend, lime juice, Jamaican Sorrel Squash water and flaming cinnamon with half a lime!

Smokestack and El Dorado joined forces for the ‘Diamond Hopper’. This saw the 3 year old expression of rum combine with lime, coconut water, white chocolate liqueur and apricot, cardamom and Demerara sugar. Following this was to be the ‘Cherry Poppin‘ from Almost Famous as they came to the table with Wild Turkey, lime juice, hibiscus and wild cherry cordial, pineapple and cranberry juice, Pepsi and a dash of bitters.

The last couple of cocktails saw Skylounge team up with Ron Zacapa to create the ‘Cloud 13’ creation. This saw the rum come together with Peach de Vigne, lemon, caramel syrup, apple juice and orange flower water, whilst The Alchemist came to the town hall with Patron to create the ‘Mexican Gun Slinger’ which saw the tequila go with cherry brandy, Benedictine, L&G and grenadine.

Manahatta were also present with Santa Teresa as they came up with the ‘Passion Punch’. This has both the Linaje and Rhum Orange expressions of the rum with Peche de Vigne, guava, lemon juice and pineapple and passion fruit syrup. Cielo Blanco kept it Mexian with El Jimador and ‘Bandero de Mexico’. This saw the tequila with lime, triple sec, coconut and pineapple juice.

Not to be out-done, Roxy Leisure created ‘Curd It Be Magic’ as they teamed with Absolut. This saw their vanilla expression blended with limoncello, lemon juice, vanilla syrup, lemon curd and Marscapone cheese. Revolution de Cuba though went with Bacard Carta Blanca and  showed off the ‘Maid in the Shade’, which saw the rum bring with it Sauvignon Blanc, sugar and lemon, complete with a cucumber ribbon.

Lastly, The Cocktail Trading Company brought with them Funkin Mixed Berry and created the ‘East End Dicky Bird’, which had within Beefeater gin, rhubarb cordial, Bergamot sherbet and black pepper.

In the end though, there would only ever be a top three, and from that just the one winner. So here we go –

1) The Botanist with Belvedere
2) MEATLiquor with Early Times
3) Bar Soba with TSINGTAO

Congratulations to The Botanist and their idea of using Belvedere with elderflower liqueur, red amaranth , mint, jasmine syrup and lime juice, all topped with lemonade to create the ‘Botaniast’! Next up? Manchester on May 19th and 20th. Tickets available via www.cocktailsinthecity.co.uk

© 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.


Retox And Refuel At Soho’s Hottest Hotel


Offering an escape from detox season, W London – Leicester Square has announced the launch of an immersive event series that pushes the boundaries of music, design and taste. The Vitamin Mix Series will help guests retox and refuel in the New Year, in collaboration with up-and-coming Art collective Increments, and London juicery Imbibery.

Kicking off on 22nd January, the curated events offer party seekers a compelling, multi-sensory experience that is designed to evoke feel-good emotions. The W Lounge will play host to a unique, live audio-visual performance by Increments, projecting a reactive, chromo-therapeutic light installation complimented with melodic, cinematic sounds and energising cocktails.

London’s leading cold-pressed juice company, Imbibery, will be offering guests a refreshing tipple from the new cocktail menu that can be enjoyed ‘naughty’ with alcohol, or virgin. From a citrusy Spicy Limeade Margarita combining lime, lemon, and cayenne pepper with tequila, to the Hail Mary, an exhilarating combination of tomato, beetroot, lemon, and cayenne pepper with Belvedere Vodka; the cocktails are a healthy alternative to traditional serves and offer guests their daily vitamin fix.

The Vitamin Mix Series will take place on Fridays from 22nd January to 12th February from 9pm – 1:30am. The event is free to attend and guests are encouraged to arrive early to avoid disappointment. For more information about the Vitamin Mix Series follow W London on Twitter @WLondonHotel or visit http://www.wlondon.co.uk. For more information on the W Lounge please visit http://www.wlondon.co.uk/w-hotel-bar.

The Kowloon Correspondents Club with Belvedere Vodka and The Liquorists Review


The Manchester scene has yet again been given something to look forward to. Favourites The Liquorists, aka Tom Sneesby and Jody Monteith, have taken advantage of an opportunity that came their way to showcase to you all a journey. Vodka giants Belvedere have joined forces with the duo and taken over a plot within the stunning Barton Arcade on Deansgate for the next two months. Here, they will bring you into the world of Albert Henry Belvedere,a fictional Foreign Correspondent working for the Manchester Guardian who is venturing on a trip from Manchester to Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong and back again to cover the arrival of the first British Planes to reach the Dominion in 1928.

With this, the aptly named Kowloon Correspondents Club will take you through the likes of New York, San Francisco, Hawaii, Tahiti, Rangoon, Mombassa and Cape Town, as well as Henry’s favourite haunts in Kowloon Bay. The Liquorists have devised a menu that covers your journey with the likes of the classic Martini’s to creations such as Mr Stephenson’s Rocket which has Belvedere Citrus and Black Raspberry, elderflower, homemade rhubarb syrup, lemon and spritz. From a Manchester cocktail to a Rangoon delight where you can enjoy a Rifle of the Raj with Belvedere Lemon Tea, lemon verbena cordial, gunpowder tea syrup and Fever Tree ginger ale.

KCCThere will be 14 drinks to cover your trip with Henry, with a pit-stop along the way as The Liquorists will be hosting free masterclasses every Thursday, Friday (6 and 8pm) and Saturday at 2, 4 and 6pm). These will cover the history of Belvedere itself and of course how it is created to be one of the top premium vodkas in existence. You’ll also be enjoying two Belvedere cocktails and of course the spirit itself in all its glory. You may also be able to sample (well if you ask Mr Sneesby nicely) the very exclusive Belvedere Lemon Tea, an expression you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the UK.

If free masterclasses weren’t enough, the team are bringing back the Cocktail Hour where on their opening days they will be offering half price cocktails on all their available drinks between 5 and 7pm! That’s a whole load of brand new cocktails to try or a fraction of the price!

If you’re even luckier, you may be able to quiz the likes of Nate Booker, a gentleman who has only just returned back from spending the last part of his life in the sunny climates of Australia, representing Belvedere to the masses. He was present at the launch this last Thursday and was the perfect host to the masterclass.

Once again, The Liquorists have pulled out all the stops. I’ll see you all at the bar!

Check out the rest of the photos of the Kowloon Correspondents Club 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.

Cocktails In The City Review

Cocktails in the city

The biggest cocktail master class came back in full force this year in the form of Cocktails in the City. Located within Manchester Town Hall, 15 of Manchester’s bars teamed up with 15 brands ranging from tequila to rum and vodka to create a cocktail that would wow the consumers and tempt them to part with their tokens. Not only that though, The Liquorists held tasters for all ranging from ‘The Taster’ which involved two cocktails, main stage demonstrations and a cocktail booklet to ‘The Connoisseur‘ which included a champagne cocktail reception, food from Almost Famous, three cocktails and a Liquorists tutored tasting session.

This year, I was lucky enough to be asked to judge, giving me the perfect opportunity to see what the bars and brands came up with.

Starting the night with the bar in the sky, Cloud 23 served up two cocktails in the form of what myself and fellow judge Keeley Watts described as a Starter and Dessert using rum brand Ron Zacapa. The ‘starter’ came with Ron Zacapa, sherry syrup, yuzu juice and whisky aged bitters that were served with bread, chorizo and feta cheese, whilst the ‘dessert’ was created using Ron Zacapa, maraschino, Tip Pepe sherry, sweet vermouth and came with smoked almonds. Pop-up bar specialists Escapade were next with their unusual takes of creation and glassware. The creations being their enthusiasm and team work to create a Blue Lagoon within a closed jam jar (check out the photos, link at the bottom, to see what I’m on about!) plus a Heinz Bloody Mary using Heinz tomato soup, vodka, lemon and spice mix – served in the Heinz soup can. Innovative, and it worked! 31DOVER,the premium online drinks retailer, collaborated with BarChick, the best bar guide on the internet, to come up with a signature cocktail for the evening named The 31 Dover – gin, lemon juice, honey syrup and topped with Champagne.

Harvey's Marmalade Fizz
Harvey’s Marmalade Fizz

One of the new kids on the scene, The Liquor Store, collaborated with well-known tequila brand Jose Cuervo Tradicional to create the Maria Pickford which involved the tequila, lime, maraschino, pomegranate syrup and topped with pineapple foam and cracked pepper. A fantastic blend of flavours, and one that used the worlds first tequila in the best way. Chase Marmalade were partners with Harvey Nichols Second Floor Bar to produce Harvey’s Marmalade Fizz. Using the ever popular marmalade vodka, Campari, lemon and lime juice as well as egg white, sugar, Seville marmalade and topped with soda, the serving of it all in a jam jar complete with a dried orange wheel created one of the more visually stunning cocktails of the evening. A look that complimented its name went to Mojo’s and their cocktail with tequila brand Calle 23. The Pink Chihuahua had the simple ingredients of a healthy dose of Calle 23, pomegranate juice, lime, orgeat and egg white, served in the classic coupette glass.

Visiting one of the bars on the outskirts of the city next in the form of Chorlton’s Proof and their collaboration with Lambs Navy Rum. Two cocktails available from these guys – Any Port in a Storm used Lambs Navy, port, ginger, sugar and lime juice whilst the Mutiny on the Bounty had Lambs Navy, dark chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao and cocoa cream complete with a piece of Bounty for the garnish. Next to them were fellow rum brand Flor de Cana and Sandinista. Going for a ‘rum connoisseurs choice of drink’, they came up with Fat Like Buddha – Flor de Cana 7yr, Antica Formula, Benedictine, Cointreau and maraschino liqueur. Venturing back on to the outskirts soon after, visiting Didsbury’s The Violet Hour and Dutch gin Sloane’s, with their two options –  Summer Picnic (Sloane’s, elderflower, lemon, apple juice, marmalade and vanilla) or a more Traditional Cocktail using Sloane’s, curaçao, sugar, lemon and Angostura Bitters.

Another new kid in Neighbourhood partnered with Absolut Elyx to create a Lavender Cosmopolitan. Using pre-steeped lavender and sugar mix to the Absolut Elyx, Grand Marnier and cranberry juice created what Neighbourhood called ‘a seductive zingy Cosmo twist’. The use of Whitley Neil and The Whim Wham Cafe to create the African Sky caught the attention of many an enthusiast, mainly for the loud toots of owner Alix and his African horn (take that how you will) but also for their creation of a cocktail that looks literally like the African sunset. Created using Whitley Neil gin, Cointreau, marmalade syrup, cranberry juice, lime and Peychaud Bitters. Dry ice bellowed from the next bar as Apotheca teamed with Ketel One and made full use of their copper kettles. Creating the Citizen Kettle, they used a double healthy dose of Ketel One, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, white grape and Peychaud Bitters.

Sandanista and Flor de Cana
Sandanista and Flor de Cana

Northern Quarter guys Dusk til Pawn went with white grain spirit Bootlegger to create the aptly named One Old Boot. Using Bootlegger, whisky barrel bitters, sugar, marmalade and ginger, they created a stirred drink with a nod to the Prohibition styles. Cross back into Europe and Belvedere vodka created a twist on the Bramble with Epernay. Using Belvedere, poppy liquor, sugar and lemon, the short yet powerful drink set us up nicely for the trip across the corridor to the The Lord Mayor’s Parlour and three of Manchester’s tiki bars.

Starting with The Liars Club and El Dorado, they created a Liars Club Party Punch using ingredients such as El Dorado 5yr, Prosecco, apple and grapefruit juice, Yorkshire tea and sugar. It came complete with an El Dorado cake courtesy of rum lover North West Nosh! Keko Moko were up next partnering with Chairman’s Reserve to create The Keko Fizz – both Chairman’s Reserve and their Spiced variety as well as cloudy apple juice, egg white, lime, passion fruit liqueur and ting. Described as ‘definitely tiki’, the next and last bar of the evening, Hula, had its work cut out with Havana Seleccion de Maestros. Creating an El Presidente using Havana Club, sweet vermouth, Cointreau and grenadine, the classic went down way too easily.

The winners haven’t been announced yet, but I can tell you that it was no easy task to narrow it down for best cocktail, best bar and best personality. If you can, try each of the above cocktails at some point in the bars, they’re definitely worth a try and maybe you can decide for yourselves who you think should be the winners. While you at it, you may want to keep your eyes peeled for next year, a fantastic atmosphere is not to be missed!

Check out the rest of the photos via my Facebook page. Also check out MWarrenDesigns and the view through his camera.

© 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.



The Liquorists Belvedere Trail Review

Ever feel like having a night of luxury? A night of sophistication? Well last week Manchester showcased themselves with a brand that oozes these qualities and more with the ever elegant Belvedere and the ever knowledgeable and glamour of The Liquorists. The usual trait of five bars. five samples and five cocktails to indulge in, with a gathering sporting a mix of bloggers and consumers set the tone for a night that despite there only being the one brand on offer, an excitement rippled through as we met in The River Bar & Restaurant in The Lowry Hotel. I knew from past experience what Belvedere has to offer, but am yet to really see what it can do when mixed with cocktails and food, so when Tom Sneesby gave us a history of Belvedere, I eagerly caught the eye of the Belvedere Polish Zephyr being handed out with a base of Belvedere Pure, pink grapefruit, almond and Fever Tree tonic water that came complimented with passionfruit jelly cubes. Heaven.

To fit so much into a night, you have to experience and savour to the best of your abilities as you’re soon whisked off to the next venue which in our case was The Liquorists own #22redbank. Here, Jody Monteith was busy creating us a bartender favourite – Bloody Mary using the aptly named Belvedere Bloody Mary. An expression I rate well on its own, it was interesting to see it used in its primary use, and also in a traditional form – vodka, Tabasco, Worcester sauce, dash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Complete with celery stick, it was a smooth addition to its rather spicy self when sipped on its own. The added olives and chorizo slices completed the visit to the speakeasy style venue and we were soon whisked off to a relatively new addition to the Manchester bar scene in Kosmonaut. First ventured into on the tequila trail, I was glad to be back and also trying something new to me. Belvedere Citrus made an appearance here with a fresh nose and long, smooth offering on the palate. Perfect then for Kosmonaut’s own Amir Javaid and his trail created cocktail named the Belvedere Triangle. A mix of citrus, Briotett rhubarb liqueur, egg white, clementine juice and grenadine, it served very well with a rather unusual accompaniment, a Mr Kipling lemon slice. Genius!

Belvedere Polish Zephyr and passionfruit jelly

Driven to the other side of the city, Epernay was back into the trail loop with Belvedere Grapefruit ready and waiting with a black forest gateaux with Belvedere Grapefruit infused cream. A nod to Ernist Hemingway while we were there too as we savoured the Ayala Champagne heavy Hemingway Royale which also housed grapefruit juice and maraschino. Although not the biggest fan of grapefruit, the use in Belvedere doesn’t overpower so it resulted in a rather enjoyable tipple, especially with the nice touch of a vodka based gateaux. Last on our whirlwind tour was to be Manchester’s newest pop-up in The Ski Club.
Housed in Spinningfields, its decor, as you would imagine, resembled a ski club, complete with melted cheese fondue, meat and cheese platters and Belvedere Intense. This version in their portfolio was saved till last with its instant mouth-watering effect that seemed to last for ever. Food a plenty and a gathering that all easily got on well together made for a great ending to a night that promoted luxury, glamour and excitement.

Sound good? GET ON IT.

Check out the rest of the photos 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.

Belvedere Tasting Notes

I’ve recently been blessed with the chance to add one of the worlds premium vodkas to the sites growing vodka category – Belvedere. I’ve been using Belvedere lately as part of my spirit training sessions, and thought it would be only appropriate to recognise this Polish delight and let you all know a little bit about it. So here goes –

As mentioned, Poland is the home of Belvedere, yet has only been around for the past 19 years. Their distillery however has been in use for over 100 years. Situated in the small town of Zyrardów, west of Warsaw, two brothers – Dawid and Mejer Pines, established the ‘Żyrardów Polmos (Belvedere) distillery in 1910. The distillery was originally home to the production of spirit and vodka and soon after World War 1, the distillery was purchased by the Dauman family who ran the business until the outbreak of World War 2. Once 1932 rolled around, all the equipment was modernised to become one of the most technologically advanced distilleries in Europe at that time. At the end of the war, the new communist regime nationalised Żyrardów along with 24 other vodka distilleries, all renamed ‘Polmos’ followed by the name of the nearest town (i.e. Żyrardów Polmos). During this time, vodka’s including Wyborowa, Zubrowka and Luksusowa were all produced here amongst others.

After the end of communism, Polmos Żyrardów decided to create their own vodka that would distinguish them from the other Polmos distilleries. Belvedere was born. Named after the Belweder Palace in Warsaw, which itself translates as ‘beautiful to see’, it became the acid-etched drawing that embraces each Belvedere bottle. The first bottles of Belvedere vodka were produced in 1993, where it quickly gained a reputation in Poland. Around this time, the USA were in the midst of seeing a boom in premium spirits, and one American, Edward Jay Phillips who was a third generation liquor distributor, travelled to Poland in search for the next premium vodka. After discovering Belvedere, he created the Millennium Import Company in 1994 and acquired the sole US distribution rights where in 1996, Belvedere was launched to growing sales in the US. The distillery was privatised in 2001, where a year later, Louis Vuitton • Moët Hennessy (LVMH) purchased Millennium Imports with a 70% stake, and then fully purchased only 3 years later.

The production of Belvedere is rather a simple affair. Its base grain is a Polish 100% Dankowski Gold Rye, from the Mazovian soil in Zyrardów where it is slow fermented for several days. The raw spirit is distilled at several agricultural distilleries and sent to Polmos Zyrardow for rectification. The spirit then goes through a three column distillation process at the distillery. Belvedere use their own water source, an artesian well, where it is purified and then blended with the spirit of Belvedere until it reaches an ABV of 40%. The vodka is then filtered twice, once through a cellulose filter that will remove microscopic particles and then through an activated carbon filter. After filtration, the vodka is ready to be bottled, where it passes through 33 quality control checkpoints. As the iconic bottles are filled they are individually inspected and hand finished with the application of the famous blue strip stamp.

Belvedere Range

So with a rather localised feel to Belvedere, how does it fare? Below i give you my tasting notes.

Belvedere – 40%

The nose embraces light floral notes with subtle hints of parma violets and vanilla. A full, round, smooth taste of vanilla creates a velvet texture on the palate, with hints of white pepper and spice coming through near the end. A long finish of clotted cream and almonds is rather welcoming.

Belvedere vodka is also an award-winning product, having won two silvers and a gold at the 2010 Annual Vodka Masters. They also have 9 other variations, including five infused flavours (bloody mary, pink grapefruit, orange, black raspberry and citrus), an award-winning 50% ABV version named ‘Intense’, a special edition bottle (BELVEDERE) RED that contributes 50% of the bottles global profits to the (RED) AIDS charity, Belvedere ‘Unfiltered’ which is distilled from Dankowskie Diamond Rye and Belvedere IX which is a maceration of nine natural ingredients and botanicals – guarana, ginger, ginseng, jasmine, cinnamon leaf, sweet almond, eucalyptus, black cherry and acai juice. Hopefully I’ll be able to add all these variations to the site very soon!


Belvedere Black Raspberry – 40%

Lots of fresh, dark raspberries on the nose with a strong, deep aroma. However rather light on the palate, with only subtle hints of the raspberries. Rather short.

Belvedere Grapefruit –  40%

Very fresh and ripe on the nose and doesn’t overpower the senses. Very light on the palate with a long, refreshing flavour of grapefruit.

Belvedere Orange – 40%

An almost perfume fragrance aroma on the nose, which carries on to the palate in much the same way. Very light and short.

Bloody Mary – 40%

Soft spice mixes well with ripe tomatoes on the nose, with a slight harshness at the end. A good balance of tomato and spice, with creamy textures coming through.

Belvedere Unfiltered – 40%

A slight natural alcohol nose, but deepens near the end. Soft and smooth on the palate, with a bold tingle as it finishes.

Belvedere Intense – 50%

Very clean on the nose, with hints of chocolate slowly released. Intense smoothness with an instant mouth-watering effect that creates a long offering.

Belvedere is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a reasonable priced premium vodka, and can be found in most bars and restaurants and mixing with the cocktail likes of a Martini or Moscow Mule. Below is a simple recipe to create at home, or ask your local bartender to create for you. Enjoy!

Belvedere Masquerade

Belvedere Masquerade

Glass –


Ingredients –

50ml Belvedere Vodka
15ml sugar syrup
20ml lemon juice
6 fresh raspberries or 20ml raspberry puree
Dash egg white

Method –

Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with a splash of soda and garnish with a raspberry.

To see the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, visit 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.

24 Days of Christmas Cocktails – Day 1

So December is upon us and to celebrate, Drinks Enthusiast is offering the best of the best christmas cocktails out there, sourced from some exciting brands as well as throwing in some home-own creations.

Mulled Cosmopolitan

Day 1 – Mulled Cosmopolitan – Belvedere

A typical Belvedere twist. Baking spices and citrus oils add layers of warm notes onto this classic summer drink.

Glass –

Martini glass

Ingredients –

50ml Belvedere Citrus or Orange
25ml mulled cranberry juice*
15ml lemon juice
Dash premium triple sec

Method –

Shake all ingredients with cubed ice and garnish with a 3 clove studded orange twist.

*To Mull Cranberry Juice: simply warm 1 litre of Ocean Spray Cranberry juice with 5 drops of grapefruit bitters, 3 cinnamon sticks, 2 cloves and 4 orange twists. Allow to cool and serve. Will keep for 2-3 days if refrigerated.

Each day for the next 24 days their will be a different christmas cocktail added to the site, so sign yourself up to be the first to find out! Make sure you follow me on Twitter or Facebook for instant updates.

For the Belvedere site, click here to be directed to the links page

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. 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 Liquorists Vodka Trail Review

Last night was another installment into The Liquorists busy calendar, the vodka trail. Following the same concept of their Nominees & Spirited Ventures trails last month, we were to be enjoying 5 different vodka’s, 5 different vodka cocktails in 5 different bars accompanied by 5 different light bite appetizers. Sound daunting? Challenge accepted!

Finlandia Caiproska at Blackdog Ballroom

Starting the night in the Blackdog Ballroom in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, we gathered in the bar’s Ballroom, a quietly tucked away private member’s bar which is perfect for events like this. Mr Tom Sneesby would be our host for the evening as he explained a brief history on vodka, what The Liquorists are all about and why we had a shot of Finlandia in front of us. Finlandia is a perfect example of how a spirit can get better when mixed properly. Although nice on its own, the Finlandia Caiproska that came after brought this Finnish vodka more alive. A small bite to eat followed in the form of breaded chicken strips and chips and then we were hopping into a taxi to our next venue, 24 Bar & Grill.
Cariel Vodka was the choice of vodka at this newly re-branded bar (formerly Obsidian), and one of my personal favourites in the cocktail world, the Pornstar Martini, was made to perfection using Cariel’s vanilla flavour. Nestled at the end of the bar in their boothed seating, we enjoyed small pineapple and coriander salsa pastries to accompany the cocktail, as well as a shot of Cariel vodka to finish the visit off.

Pornstar Matini with Cariel Vanilla vodka at 24 Bar and Grill

Epernay was the next port of call, with the stunning champagne venue offering us Belevedere vodka to sip while French 76 cocktails were being hand crafted for our pleasure. Tom gave us a little history lesson on Belvedere, and mentioned that the building on the front of every bottle is the Polish presidential palace Belweder, with the vodka being named after it. From Poland to Sweden, Absolut vodka was next to showcase themselves at Hula, with a tiki cocktail being elaborately concocted while we munched on what I can only describe as a volcano of sweets – literally. Sherbert straws were on hand in our tiki drinks, while we drank amid a beach bar with hammocks and fire (no joke with the fire part!).
Our last bar for the night was in Manchester’s mecca when it comes to cocktails in the Northern Quarter – Socio Rehab. The French vodka Grey Goose was sipped, while Grey Goose le Fizz cocktails were brought over to us amid vegetable and meat toasties to warm the cockles of the rainy weather outside.

Grey Goose le Fizz at Socio Rehab

A great night was had, with a round of applause given to Tom by all  in attendance. And it truly was. My friend came with me last night as the trail was a great idea for an early Christmas present, and he’s now raring to go back to all 5 bars again, with Hula and Epernay his highlights. As for me, all 5 bars are favourites of mine for various reasons, but the Pornstar Martini with Cariel Vanilla vodka at 24 Bar & Grill would be the recommendation of the night, but this is coming from a guy who loves vanilla!

They’ll be more trails coming up in the near future, so keep an eye on The Liquorist’s website and Facebook page for more information

Click on my Links page for links to all the bars and brands mentioned in this article


© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. 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.