Tag Archives: cocktail

Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto

Italicus

Italian drinks are a big focus for me at the moment, with the opening of my ‘The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress‘ in Manchester a great example of utilising a variety of Italian styles. The rosolio aperitivo category escapes me though, until the arrival of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto!

I’d imagine the rosolio category isn’t one that strikes too many bells to many, so a little rundown before heading to Italicus.

Rosolio is an ancient type of Italian liqueur, deriving its name from ‘Drosera rotundifolia’, itself a species of sundew. It used to be flavoured exclusive with the herb, but now it’s known for more homemade low alcohol content spirits. The liqueur is common in Piedmont and in Southern Italy. It enjoys a special popularity in Sicily, where it has been prepared since the sixteenth century and was given to house guests as a sign of good luck.
Local ingredients are typically used depending on the region (for example Sicily with Cedro citrus fruit and fennel) and aromatized with herbs and spices.

Giuseppe Gallo has brought the category from the 1850’s of Rosolio back to the new-age with the launch of Italicus back in September 2016. Using peels from bergamots grown from Italy’s UNESCO-protected area Calabrian region and Cidros from Sicily, they are infused into cold water to release the essential oils (a process named sfumatura) prior to being blended with Italian neutral grain spirit, all within a family-owned distillery in Moncalieri, Torino.

The resulting bergamot and cedro flavoured spirit is then blended for several days with a separate maturation that contains Roman chamomile from Lazio, lavender, gentian, yellow roses and lemon balm from Northern Italy.

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

Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto – 20%

Very fresh lemon balm, bergamot, citrus peel and gentian coming through on the nose, followed by a naturally sweet chamomile flavour upon the palate. Notes of subtle lavender, honey, rose petal and lemon balm ride a lingering fresh finish.

italicus
A fantastic liquid on its own, but one recommended to be enjoyed in the following way;

“50/50 with Prosecco, over ice and garnished with three green olives”

Better get a bottle for the drinks cabinet, there are friends and family to impress.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

 

Sons of Armagnac Launches Across The UK

Lauvia

Sons of Armagnac is the new awareness campaign spearheaded by UK innovator Emporia Brands and its Armagnac partners Comte de Lauvia and Marquis de Montesquiou. Starting on June 12th and ending on 18th June (Fathers Day), many of the top bars and retailers across the country will be taking part in raising the profile of the Armagnac category with cocktail specials, menus, events, tastings and more.

Specially created Marquis de Montesquiou cocktails can be found across London, including Skylon, German Gymnasium, Looking Glass Cocktail Club and Hush, as well as Cottonopolis based in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Manhattan in Liverpool, Nitehawks and Bonbar in Newcastle, Vice & Virtue in Leeds and Manhattan 34 in Leicester. Some of the UK’s premier dining arenas are also combining their expertise with Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac by offering specials within Harborne Kitchen in Birmingham and the aforementioned Vice & Virtue in Leeds.

Comte de Lauvia has been the chosen brand to be highlighted within unique serves from venues such as Merchant House and The Light Lounge in London, to The Edgbaston in Birmingham and Petit Parlour in Liverpool. 155 Bar & Kitchen in London, World Service in Nottingham and Wygston House in Leicester have put together at a food pairing menu for the week to highlight the versatility of the Armagnac category.

Retailers from across the UK are also getting involved, including in-store promotions of Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac within Riddles Emporium, South Manchester, 23 Wines & Whiskey in Leicester and Fenwick’s in Newcastle. Comte de Lauvia Armagnac will be highlighted across all Harvey Nichols stores, including in-store tastings, in the UK as well as Riddles Emporium.

Specialist online retailers are joining in, with 31 Dover offering £3 off a purchase of Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac Fine, £4 off the Reserve expression, and £5 off the XO. The Drink Shop are running a week-long offer of 20% off both the Marquis de Montesquiou and Comte de Lauvia expressions, and finally Drinkfinder have put together 20% off the full Marquis de Montesquiou range until Father’s Day.

For more information and for a full list of activity during the Sons of Armagnac week, please visit www.emporiabrands.com/sonsofarmagnac and www.emporiabrands.com/s/Art-Of-Armagnac.pdf

#SonsOfArmagnac

Ron de Jeremy

Ron de Jeremy
Most spirit brands in the world will have some association with a celebrity, entrepreneur, fellow brand within a different sector, or in this case, a porn star. Define Ron Jeremy as an actor and all of a sudden the taboo goes away. After all, George Clooney and Dan Ackroyd are two who stand out as a perfect example of crafting a spirit and promoting it as such.

I’m not going to focus on the man himself though for this feature, as it’s the rum that hits the table in the form of its XO and Spiced expressions.

The XO is said to celebrate the extraordinary life of Ron Jeremy, seeing a blend of selected pot and column still based rums from Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana, aged for up to 15 years within ex-American oak bourbon barrels. It’s spiced expression uses rums from Trinidad and blended with exotic spices.

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

Ron de Jeremy XO – 40%

Honey, toasted maple syrup and walnut come through upon the nose. Smooth offerings of sweet honeycomb, toffee and slight burnt cinnamon on the palate, leading to a lingering thick vanilla finish.

Ron de Jeremy Spiced Hardcore Edition – 47%

Rich nutmeg, toffee and fudge aromas on the nose, followed by toasted marshmellow. Soft, sweet caramel on the palate, with slight orange rind and warm cinnamon powder, resulting in a long lingering finish.

Good sipping rums, and a cracking base for something like this;

Ron de Jeremy
Cherry J Sour

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

50 ml Ron de Jeremy Reserva
20 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
20 ml Cherry Marnier
10 ml Creme de Cacao Dark
1 Barspoon Galliano
5 Drops Plum Bitters
20 ml Egg White

Method – 

Shake all ingredients over ice and double strain over ice filled rocks glass. Top with grated chocolate.

A great talking point for your drinks cabinet, and the spirits stand up, so it’s not just the expected gimmick!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

Zeca

Zeca

Cachaça is a criminally underrated Brazilian spirit, with most bars and restaurants stocking it out of curiosity, rather than intent. The cachaça based Caipirinha is probably the most well-known signature serve from the category, with many venues pushing flavoured variations to their customers as if the fruit were the last available.

But what about just taking a seat and enjoying the spirit for what it is? Capturing a country within its reasoning, much the same way we look at whisky from Scotland, tequila from Mexico or Armagnac from France.

With this mindset, lets take a look at Zeca, new to the UK market and recently launched into the likes of Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

Hailing from the apparent lush green mountains of Brazil’s hidden Zona Da Mata, in Minas Gerais, Zeca has been hand-crafted by the Matos family estate for over 100 years, using only traditional methods. Utilising once-pressed sugar cane grown at high altitude, the juice is distilled in old alambiques and resulting in Zeca, itself paying homage to Joseph “Zeca” de Matos, the first of the family to be born in Brazil and son of the pioneer Antonio de Matos, who moved from Portugal in 1891 to settle in the untamed region of Minas Gerais.

Created by Marcos Matos and Tony Austin, the focus is not solely on the liquid itself, but also the aesthetics of the brand, including the bottle illustration that brings to life the diversity and beautiful abundance of the Minas Gerais gem stones producing region of Zona da Mata. The blue colour apparently stands for the gem amethyst, whilst the purple celebrates the oxidised colour of the alambique copper, the most traditional cachaça distilling apparatus that they utilise.
The Tamanduá anteater is the brand’s most lively character, a natural pest control who roams the sugar cane fields at night eating the ants.

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

Zeca – 40%

Passionfruit and dried banana peel come through on the nose, with hints of fresh sugarcane present. Damp earth blended with rich sugarcane and flesh fruit on the palate, bringing in a slight zest spice. A long finish.

A real kick of artisan Brazil, perfect to be sipped. Although they do recommend it, if you wish to have a longer serve, with fresh ginger beer or homemade lemonade. One to add to your drinks cabinet if you wish to pack a Brazilian offering to your friends and family.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

Boodles

Boodles Mulberry

Standing out in the ever-growing gin world can be hard work. Staying in can be an even harder task as the consumer trends can waiver at the drop of a hat. It’s with this that I take a look at a gin that I’ve worked with on the odd occasion over the last few years, but never really sat down to take an in-depth look.

So, here goes.

Despite only hitting the shelves since June 2013, Boodles Gin is associated with the likes of Ian Fleming and Winston Churchill due to its history stretching back to 1845. Named after the Pall Mall Gentleman’s Club called Boodles, over time it became increasingly hard to find here in the UK. Resurrected by G&J Distillers, it continues to be different in not including any citrus botanicals on the assumption that it will always be served with lemon or lime.

The gin itself? British wheat spirit base with non-citrus led botanicals including nutmeg, sage and rosemary. But it’s not the original I want to focus on today, it’s their Mulberry expression.
Paying homage to the mulberry tree, a familiar site in the English countryside, they’ve taken the opportunity to feed a fresh interpretation of the more traditional sloe gin. Made with mulberries, the Boodles gin itself and a blend of natural ingredients, Boodles Mulberry became the first ever Mulberry expression to hit America.

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

Boodles Mulberry – 30%

Thin notes of fresh raspberry and soft currents upon the nose, with a silky texture offering upon the palate. Slightly dry, the fresh kicks of soft berry create a sweet, warm finish that lasts long on the finish.

A tasty tipple on its own, a fizz concoction should not go unnoticed;

Boodles - Mulberry Fizz
Mulberry Fizz

Glass – 

Coupe / Collins

Ingredients – 

60 ml Boodles Mulberry
30 ml Lemon Juice
2 Mint Leaves
Soda Water

Method – 

Combine Mulberry gin, lemon juice and mint in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice and top with soda water.

A great variation on the berry styled gin liqueurs on the market, and one that seems to offer flexibility in how it can be consumed! One to offer a space to in your drinks cabinet. 

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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 Winning Formula: Antica Formula Launches Cocktail Competition

Antica Formula cocktails
Bartenders from across the UK will put their mixology skills to the test in a cocktail competition showcasing the versatility of Antica Formula, the original Italian vermouth.
At stake is the chance for four regional winners to enjoy an exclusive VIP trip to Milan to visit the Fratelli Branca Distillery, where Antica Formula is still made to the original 1786 recipe.

With Antica Formula a key ingredient in three much-loved cocktails – the Negroni, Americano, and Hanky Panky – entrants will need to demonstrate their knowledge of the heritage and character of the iconic red vermouth.

UK distributor Hi-Spirits is inviting bartenders to create their own aperitivo recipe based on one of the four classics. The drink must either feature on the cocktail menu or as a special at their bar. The shortlisted finalists will be invited to compete at four regional events in Scotland, London, the North West and the Midlands, where they will be asked to:

• Make three of their chosen cocktail from the Negroni, Americano and Hanky Panky; the drinks will be made individually and contestants judged on consistency;
• Make the cocktail which they originally submitted to the competition.
The four regional contests will be decided by a panel of judge headed by Nicola Branca, world ambassador for Antica Formula. Judges will be awarding points for drinks that reflect the tradition and strengths of Antica Formula, as well as the contestants’ technical skills.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Antica Formula is at the heart of some of the world’s best-loved cocktails. We’re not only inviting the UK’s top bartenders to show that they can make the classics expertly and consistently, but also that they have the skill and ingenuity to create an aperitivo of their own as a twist one of these great cocktails.”

The competition opens on 1 May, and entrants have until 31 July to enter their aperitivo recipe online at http://www.Hi-Spirits.com/competitions, where full terms and conditions can be found. The regional finals will be held between 4 and 8 September, with the winners heading to Milan later in September.

• Antica Formula is the classic Italian red Vermouth, sweet and with a subtle vanilla aroma. It was created by Antonio Benedetto Carpano, the inventor of the Vermouth category, in 1786. Made by Fratelli Branca Distillerie with a selected infusion of mountain herbs and spices, including saffron, Antica Formula is produced in limited quantities and sealed with a cork in a distinctive brown bottle which includes a reproduction of the original 1786 label. As well as an essential ingredient in many classic cocktail, Antica Formula is ideal to drink over ice with an orange wedge, both as an aperitivo or after dinner.

For more information, contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email info@hi-spirits.com, or visit http://www.hi-spirits.com.

A Romantic Cocktail To Warm Up Valentine’s Day

feeneys-irish-coffee
After a romantic meal with your loved one, why not end the evening sipping a delicious Feeney’s Irish Coffee in front of a roaring fire.

Feeney’s Irish Coffee is easy to make too. Heat gently 100 ml Feeney’s Irish Cream Liqueur with 1 cup of freshly brewed coffee and serve in a toddy glass topped with 1 teaspoon of whipped cream and grated chocolate.

Feeney’s Irish Cream is marketed as the world’s most luxurious Irish Cream Liqueur and contains 100% Irish whiskey. Feeney’s is masterfully distilled in the heart of Ireland and matured for at least three years and is available from:

Tesco’s which stocks 1 litre bottles RRP: £15.00 and 31Dover.com which stocks 70cl bottles RRP: £12.50 and 1 litre RRP: £15.00 and Amazon. ABV: 17%

Glen Grant Whisky Toasts Burns Night With A Haggis Cocktail

the-chieftain-3
For Burns Night, multi award-winning Scotch Whisky, Glen Grant, has partnered with The Bon Vivant bar in Edinburgh to create the ‘The Chieftain’, a haggis-infused cocktail named after Robert Burns’ famous description of Scotland’s national dish, the “great chieftain o’ the pudding race”.

Created by Will Cox of The Bon Vivant, The Chieftain’s recipe is inspired by a traditional Burns Supper menu and includes the ingredients found in the occasion’s centerpiece.

Haggis is traditionally made from sheep’s offal (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, salt and spices. The Chieftain comprises of an oat-washed Glen Grant 10 Year Old combined with an offal stock syrup to replicate the unique meaty haggis flavour. It is served with a pickled red onion, representing the ‘heart’, a salt and pepper air, representing the ‘lungs’, a turnip cordial, a nod to the famous ‘neeps’ accompaniment, and a haggis rim.

Will Cox said: “The opportunity to team up with one of Scotland’s most iconic whiskies, Glen Grant, to make a Burns Night cocktail was too good to miss. It was very challenging, but we had a lot of fun coming up with The Chieftain and are looking forward to serving it to customers with a haggis bon bon or two on Burns nicht.”

Nick Williamson, Marketing Director Campari UK, said: “With the bard’s birthday being such a well-loved celebration, we want to mark the occasion with the same creativity the man himself approached his work. The bar team at the Bon Vivant has done a remarkable job with The Chieftain and we look forward to raising a glass or two in celebration come the 25th January.”

Glen Grant’s new range of aged single malt Scotch whiskies has continued to turn heads as it secured some of the whisky industry’s most prestigious awards in 2016, including the Glen Grant 10 Year Old winning Best Single Malt Scotch (10 Years and Younger) for the fifth year in a row in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

THE CHIEFTAIN RECIPE:

Glen Grant 10 year old, oat washed
Offal stock glaze
Salt and pepper air
Pickled red onion
Turnip cordial
Haggis butter crumb

The Chieftain will be available to buy in The Bon Vivant Bar, 55 Thistle St, Edinburgh EH2 1DY for one night only on 25th January 2016 priced at £9.

Double Dutch

doube-dutch
The use of mixers has always been defined towards the likes of a gin and tonic, rum and coke or whisky and ginger, but the names and styles of such have pretty much stayed the same over the years. Lately though, numerous tonic brands have been released of a variety of flavours, then ultimately branching out into bitter lemon and cola, ginger and lemonade expressions.

Not Double Dutch though.

Released in 2014, Joyce and Raissa de Haas originate from the Netherlands, but became frustrated with the lack of soda options to go alongside the growth of spirits. After a year of research, the inspiration of food pairing ultimately grew to the brand of Double Dutch.

Releasing two flavoured soda expressions to the market, Pomegranate & Basil and Watermelon & Cucumber, it brought interest in not only the flavours chosen, but the fact that they deviated away from flavoured tonics and exploited the lesser used soda market. With this, flavour pairings became a favourite as the likes of the Pomegranate & Basil started to match with golden rum and tequila, with the Cucumber and Watermelon a favourite with salad dishes.

With another favourite option of having two soda expressions that are also easy to drink on its own, a call was made to carry on the smooth and natural profile of each into the tonic market, ultimately resulting in the release of an Indian Tonic expression, as well as a Slimline Tonic in 2015. All are low in calorie, winning over the likes of Richard Branson and his Virgin Foodpreneur Start Up in 2015 to help fund the growth of the brand.

With each bottle made without any artificial flavourings, colouring or preservatives, instead opting for natural ingredients blended with spring water from the North of England, the Double Dutch range kept expanding with the addition of their first flavoured tonic, Cranberry, released late 2016 in collaboration with Maison Hennessy Cognac.

So how do they fare? Well below are my tasting notes on the range so far –

Double Dutch Pomegranate & Basil – 0%

Red arils from the pomegranate fruits are used within. Subtle pomegranate comes through on the nose, followed by the earthy notes of the basil. Well-balanced between the two flavours on the palate, resulting in a slightly dry, basil aroma finish.

Double Dutch Cucumber & Watermelon – 0%

Fresh watermelon shines through on the nose, followed by an underlining cucumber note. A reverse of roles on the palate though as the fresh cucumber  pulls through the watermelon, although the bold finish brings the melon back for a lingering finish.

Double Dutch Indian Tonic – 0%

Made with quinine, juniper and grapefruit. The zest of grapefruit is apparent on the nose, followed by the earthy notes of juniper. Smooth on the palate, with gentle hits of the juniper coming through, surrounded by the aromas of the grapefruit and subtle quinine.

Double Dutch Slimline Tonic – 0%

With 60% fewer calories and sugar than the Indian Tonic. Soft, subtle notes of the grapefruit come though on the nose. The smooth kicks of light juniper hit the palate, offering a lingering quinine finish that’s slightly dry.

Double Dutch Cranberry Tonic – 0%

Fresh, ripe cranberry notes on the nose, with hints of stemmed ginger following. Smooth on the palate, with the cranberry offering up fresh bursts, followed by subtle warm ginger to create a lingering, slightly dry finish.

A great range to experience over ice, or the girls recommend it with one of their favourite gin brands –

double-dutch-and-three-rivers

Double Dutch and Three Rivers

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

50 ml Manchester Three Rivers Gin
Top with Double Dutch Indian Tonic

Method – 

Fill a rocks glass with cubed ice and add the ingredients. Garnish with a stemmed cherry.

A refreshing change for your fridge, and with their versatility, one to play around with for sure. Pick some up for the drinks cabinet.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

 

Rhum Clément

rhum-clement
Agricole is becoming more and more frequent within bars across the UK as bartenders are starting to embrace its sugar cane juice qualities. There are numerous brands leading the way, including Rhum Clément of Martinique, part of the French Caribbean Islands that also includes the likes of Guadeloupe and Saint-Barthélemy.

It’s Rhum Clément I’ll be focusing on here, looking back from the late 1800’s to the modern-day.

1887 is where we start with the purchase of the prestigious 43 hectare sugar plantation, Domaine de L’Acajou by a gentleman named Homère Clément, a physician and mayor of Le François. It’s here he pioneered Rhum Agricole. In 1917, Homère Clément created a distillery to fulfill the large request of alcohol during the first World War, using the fresh free-run sugarcane juice available to him.

After the death of Homère Clément in 1923, his son Charles Clément took over the business. He is credited with perfecting his family’s Rhum Agricole method and honed his craft while studying distillation at the famous Louis Pasteur School in France. It was Charles Clément who first bottled Rhum Agricole in Martinique and branded it after his father. Charles Clément was also the first to export bottles of Martinique Rhum Agricole and developed France as the first great market for Rhum Agricole outside of the Caribbean.

In 1973, Charles Clément  passed away, succeeded by his son, Georges-Louis, who was in charge of production and his two brothers Jean-José and Marcel-André, who increased the visibility of Rhum Clément throughout the Caribbean, Europe, Central and South America, and North America.

Once 1986 rolled around, Rhum Clément was sold to the Hayot family, who remained close to the Clément family in order to keep what was now one of Martinique’s great cultural assets, Habitation Clément, in Martinique hands. The Hayot family continue to this day to maintain the heritage, culture and passion of the Clément family and Rhum Clément.

In 1996, the agricultural rum of Martinique gains the Denomination of Controlled Origin (AOC), alongside the Creole home, the terrace and the dependences all classified as Listed buildings by the Ministry of Culture, a testament of Habitation Clément that had been re-vitalized previously with investment in new cellars for aging rhum, a reception for tourists, art galleries and tasting room for visitors.

So steeped into the Martinique history, but how does it all fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on my experiences so far –

Rhum Clément Canne Bleue – 50%

The first mono-varietal rum in the world, resulting from the juice of one single variety of sugar cane called ‘canne bleue’.
A sweet grass note on the nose, with soft earth and subtle cane juice coming through. A good hit of the fresh-cut grass on the palate, with the natural sugars imparting nicely and its builds to a fresh, thin yet bold finish.

Rhum Clément Select Barrel – 40%

Crafted with a unique blend of rhums matured in selected oak barrels with a particularly heavy toasting selected by their cellar master.
Subtle dry oak upon the nose, with hints of orange rind and cocoa nip following. A smooth profile on the palate, with a fresher note of the orange and cocoa hitting. Subtle fresh sugar cane creeps in on the lingering finish.

Amazing tots to enjoy on their own, even the 50% stylings of the Canne Bleue is easy to sip. Of course, for a simple mix, the traditional signature serve is always a good shout –

clement-ti-punch
Ti’Punch by Clément

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

60 ml Rhum Clément Canne Bleue
30 ml Sugar Syrup
1 wedge of Lime

Method –

Stir all ingredients over ice, squeezing in the lime wedge. Serve.

A fantastic example of Martinique rhum agricole, one that seems to offer a wide range of versatility, whether enjoyed straight, over ice or within a simple served cocktail, a bottle or two would not look out-of-place within your drinks cabinet.

© 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.