Dive Down The Rabbit Hole With ORSO

ORSO invites guests to follow them down the rabbit hole

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

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

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

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

Mad Hatter's Tipple Recipe[1]

New New Zealand Based Craft Beer Launches To The On-Trade

Monteith's

Monteith’s Brewing Company, the iconic and oldest craft brewery in New Zealand, made its debut in the UK on-trade on the 11th September by showcasing a range of four beers, available with immediate effect via HEINEKEN® UK.

Established by Stewart Monteith in 1868 for the pioneering gold mining communities on the country’s South Island West Coast, this heritage brand has long been loved by a series of successive generations and is now recognised as a leader in the New Zealand craft beer market.

The launch event took place at the New Zealand-inspired restaurant Kopapa in Convent Garden, where a host of media and Kiwis joined the team at HEINEKEN for an exclusive introductory food-pairing session hosted by beer expert, award-winning beer writer, comedian and one half of the ‘Thinking Drinkers’, Ben McFarland.

Speaking about the brand event Ben McFarland said: “It’s never been a better time to be a discerning beer drinker in the UK where consumers are enjoying an unprecedented level of choice in terms of flavours, styles and drinking experiences.

“With a plethora of highly sought after hop varieties and a thriving craft brewing culture, New Zealand has emerged as one of the world’s most exciting brewing nations in recent years and Monteith’s, whose history dates back nearly 150 years, has been instrumental in this.

“Back in New Zealand, Monteith’s has been celebrating beer’s kinship with cuisine for some time now and having partnered with Kopapa, a restaurant owned and ran by Kiwis, it was interesting to see how chef Peter Gordon dovetailed Monteith’s quartet of beers with a range of different dishes.”

Pedro Cruz, Manager Export Western Europe, of HEINEKEN adds, “With consumer interest in the indie beer market continuing to accelerate, we are delighted to bring the unique and refreshing Monteith’s range to the UK. Even before its UK launch date the brand is already developing a powerful buzz on social media across the UK as craft beer fans eagerly anticipate the arrival of the ultimate expression of New Zealand’s proud brewing heritage.

Monteith’s has developed a cult following outside its home nation and is perfectly suited to today’s consumer demands for more from a beer, particularly in the versatility of pairing Monteith’s variants with contemporary food options.

The combination of great flavour, unique heritage and a natural affinity with food makes Monteith’s an exciting and appealing new option for UK restaurants and bars to offer to their customers.”

The Monteith’s range presented in 33cl bottles:

Monteith’s Bohemian Pilsner Beer – An eastern European-style lager with immense flavour and enormous hop character, this premium beer leaves you with a smooth, clean and bitter taste and pairs particularly well with tomato-based pasta dishes or shellfish.

Monteith’s Southern Pale Ale – The intensity of North West American hops with the liveliness of New Zealand hops, filtered to give a clear straw appearance. Beginning with a zesty citrus aroma, this pale ale has a full malt flavour and crisp finish, pairing well with fish and poultry dishes or ripe Camembert.

Monteith’s Summer Ale – The malts give it the smooth heart, the single hop and ginger its touch of spice. A little rata honey finishes things off nicely, leaving a truly refreshing taste experience and it’s great with summer salads, stir-fries or creamy Brie, pine nuts and honey oat bread.

Monteith’s India Pale Ale – With a fruity aroma, this ale has a distinct Kiwi taste thanks to the special New Zealand hops. With plenty of rich maltiness and a touch of bitter this premium beer leaves you wanting more and is perfect with fish ‘n’ chips, as well as creamy cheeses.

All Monteith’s beers are naturally brewed without artificial additives or preservatives. In fact, the only additives are ingredients like rata honey.

Available from HEINEKEN UK.

For more information on Monteith’s please visit http://www.monteiths.co.nz or visit http://www.facebook.com/Monteiths

Anthology of Gin Review

Hendrick’s. A gin that signifies the quirky, the pompus and the extraordinary – and they didn’t disappoint! Taking over a small premises near Covent Garden, they transformed the place into a Victorian haven full of extravagant ornaments, quaint wooden tables, a traditional stall serving Hendrick’s cocktails and even a Hendrick’s bath! The tasting session i was to embark on though was situated down a flight of wooden stairs leading to a ‘theatre’, with wooden chairs and tables scattered around and Victorian styled umbrellas hanging from the ceiling. Duncan McRae (the Hendrick’s UK ambassador) was on hand to greet us all with a G & T as we sat to listen about the history of Hendrick’s.

Hendrick's bath & gin

Launched in 1999, the history of Hendrick’s Gin actually goes way back to 1860 where the Bennet still was created in London, and the Carter-Head still in 1948 by John Dore & Co. Both these copper stills were bought by Charles Gordon (the great-grandson of William Grant) in 1966 at a London auction and after some restoration work, the first beginnings of Hendrick’s Gin were put in motion.

The distillation process of Hendrick’s Gin combines the two spirits from both the Carter-Head and Bennet stills to create the finished Hendrick’s product.

The Bennett still allows most of the flavour characteristics of the botanicals to pass into the spirit. The still is filled with neutral spirit and the botanicals are added to the liquid, along with  water. This is left to steep for 24 hours and then heated. As the pot begins to boil, vapour moves up the short column of the still and makes its way to the condenser. There, the vapours are turned back to liquid and collected.
The Carter-Head method of production differs, with only the neutral spirit and water added to the pot of this still. All the botanicals used with the Carter-Head are added to a flavour basket at the top of the still. Rather than boiling the botanicals, (which produces the strong spirit of the Bennett still) the Carter-Head bathes the botanicals in just the alcohol vapours. As these rise up through the still, they enter the base of the flavour basket. Inside the flavour basket, the botanicals are held in copper baskets, which hold them together while allowing the vapours to be fully exposed. As the evaporated alcohol moves through the botanicals, it extracts flavours from them. These are then carried out of the basket along with the alcohol until they reach the condenser. Only the lighter, floral and more sweeter flavours are extracted by this method.
The combining of the spirits from each still, with the addition of cucumber and rose-petal essence, creates the final product.

Laid out in front of us were 7 different tasting glasses, each with a different step of the Hendrick’s distillation process. Below are my tasting notes on each one –

Bennet Still Distillation – 80%

Concentrated juniper on the nose, with spice, citrus and pepper mixed in. The palate intensified the aromas but a little water added created an earthy, chocolate flavour. It was noticeable to see oils forming from the botanicles too.

Carter-Head Distillation – 80%

Lighter on the nose and palate than the Bennet still with no main flavour hitting the senses.

The Distillates Combined

A mix of both Bennet and Carter-Head stills, a high and intense flavour with a strong juniper flavour.

Cucumber & Rose Petal (both in separate tasting glass)

A very high concentration of both with strong flavours.

Hendrick’s Gin Uncut – 80%

A subtle scent on the nose yet the palate encounters a very strong, potent mix of juniper, cucumber and rose petals, with a kick just before it mellows for a long after-taste.

Hendrick's Umbrellas

Hendrick’s Gin – 41.4%

Small mixes of cucumber, rose and juniper on the nose create a mouth-watering effect on the palate that enjoys a smooth and very well-balanced gin. Clean and crisp on the after-taste.

I unfortunately had to duck out fairly quickly to get to my next event for the London Cocktail Week, but I enjoyed an interesting insight into a unique history of what I can safely say is now one of my favourite gins. Duncan also recommended a classic reading material too – The Mixellany Guide to Gin by Geraldine Coates
I’ll be sourcing that one some time soon!

If you ever get the chance to sample Hendrick’s Gin, take it. You might be pleasantly surprised!
You can check out the Hendrick’s Gin website here – http://www.hendricksgin.com

Purchase a bottle here – http://www.corksout.com/products/Hendrick%27s-Gin.html

 

© 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.