Emily Says . . . . ‘Budvar Hoptails’

The Budweis Mule

In her second feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at Budvar Hoptails: The Budweis Mule;

The beauty of mixology is having the freedom to mix whatever one likes in order to create the perfect drink. And who says one must stick to just spirits in this art?
The art of mixing beer with classic cocktail ingredients is ever growing in the bartending industry today. More and more concoctions are being created, all with the one compound in common; beer. Whether it’s a lager, a pale ale or even a cask, beer is the key ingredient in creating something rather special in the competitive world of mixology.

You don’t have to be a qualified beer guru to have heard of Budweiser Budvar, one of the world’s most famous beer brand. Most commonly known for its infamous pale lager, Budweiser Original, the Budvar brand dates back centuries; all the way back to 1265 to be precise. The town České Budějovice of Czech Republic was founded by Ottokar II, the King of Bohemia, and was granted many important privileges; one of which being able to brew beer. And so the story begins.

The year of 1872 welcomed the export of beer from České Budějovice to the United States, strongly spurred along by millions of Czech locals relocating to the states for a better life; and bringing their thirst for beer with them!
Since then, Budvar has become a global sensation. And it is this global popularity that has introduced Budvar Hoptails; a platform that showcases the greatest beer cocktail creations that bartenders across the world have created.

The Budweis Mule 2

The Budweis Mule: a fiery twist on the classic Moscow Mule.

Glass – Tankard

Ingredients –
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Fresh lemon thyme
Fresh ginger
15ml sugar syrup
20ml lemon juice
15ml Cointreau
30ml Tanqueray Export Gin
Bottle of Budweiser Budvar Original

Method –

Firstly, muddle in the lemon thyme and ginger with the sugar syrup and lemon juice in a boston glass – in order to achieve the best flavour! Add the Angostura bitters, Cointreau and Tanqueray and shake hard with plenty of ice.
Single strain over cubed ice, and top with the bottle of Budweiser Budvar Original. Garnish with a lemon thyme sprig and lemon zest.

This exclusive creation was stirred up by Jonah Robertshawe. Coming all the way from Sydney, Australia, Jonah has brought his Australian expertise to Manchester’s bartending scene, where he currently resides at The Botanist. From taking part in the Budvar Hoptails national competition, Jonah’s creation earned himself a name in Budvar and the sales of the Budweis Mule in Botanists across the country, and here is what he has to say about his concoction:

“I’ve always been a big fan of the Moscow Mule style cocktails, but I wanted to work with the flavour of the saarz hops in the Budvar using complimentary spirits, which is the Tanqueray gin, which are then backed up by the citrus notes of Cointreau.”
“However, I didn’t want to stray too far away from the classic Moscow Mule. So rather than ginger beer, I paired together fresh ginger and lemon thyme so the essential flavour of the Mule wasn’t lost”.

The fiery essence of the ginger beautifully complements the bitter-sweet bite that the drink delivers. Rather than sticking to the traditional Mule spec by using vodka, Tanqueray Export gin has been used purely for its floral aroma, which balances the hoppy and fragrant Budweiser Budvar perfectly.
An admirable creation from Jonah Robertshawe, The Budweis Mule offers a tantalising and sensual drinking experience, and certainly something that will be very hard to come by anywhere else.

Credit and copyright:
Budvar Hoptails
Budweiser Budvar Original
The Botanist

Babička Tasting Notes

Babicka

For vodka lovers there can be quite a divide. Some stick with the well-known brands like Grey Goose, Belvedere, Chase or Absolut, others on the other-hand are quite adventurous and try new flavours and differences like Zubrowka, Snow Queen or a flavoured Stolichnaya. Babička comes under the latter – something a little quirky with a history to boot.

A wormwood vodka, Babička (pronounced ba-bitch-ka) was inspired by 16th century Czechoslovakian wise old women called “babičkas”. These babičkas freely used wormwood in their potions for its reputation of enhancing sensuality, creativity and love, and of course its mildly hallucinatory effects. The babičkas rapidly became renowned for having mystical healing powers and practicing the art of witchcraft. These recipes created by babičkas represent some of the earliest vodka formulas ever created – a witches’ brew.

Less than 150 miles south-east of the Czech capital Prague, Moravia’s landscape is one of a few quaint villages nestled in acres of fertile, green fields that comes with a rich and diverse history. Marked by the borders of mountain ranges, 16th century Czechoslovakia was named Bohemia and initially a part of Greater Moravia. In the unconventional kingdom of Bohemia, ruled by the Hapsburg dynasty, babičkas were revered by their communities for their invaluable and invigorating recipes and charms using the native aromatic plant of the Old World, wormwood. Unlike their European sisters, the babičkas were not persecuted or burnt at the stake and have since become legendary figures of wisdom and compassion in Czech literature.

Entrepreneur Alex Clarke, was inspired to create the world’s first original wormwood vodka after years of experience in the drinks, travel and music industries. After the discovery of a 500-year-old distillery in the Czech Republic that produced both absinth and vodka, Alex wanted to keep the spirit and name of his creation as close to its birthplace as possible.

So what did Alex do to create a vodka inspired by legend and folklore?

Distilled in the unspoilt landscape of the eastern region of the Czech Republic, Prostejov, Babička is created using only natural ingredients from the wormwood fields to the pure crystal waters of the low mountain ranges and fertile low lands of Moravian corn. The wormwood itself is collected using a traditional method of hand-picking the plant in full bloom before hanging it upside down to dry naturally. Once dried, thujone, a property of wormwood, is extracted from the plant and used to infuse the vodka.

To capture the smoothness that Alex was after, he sourced pure clear waters from two different natural sources, natural spring water from the low mountain ranges near Hana and spring water drawn from a deep 10,000 year old spring near the city of Prostejov. The only grain used in Babička is grown in the fertile low lands just outside of Prostejov and is harvested when young.

Once harvested, the Moravian corn is fermented to create the vodka, before being triple distilled. Separately, the wormwood is macerated along with other key herbs and spices, including fennel and anise, to make a herb distillate. The wormwood extract, thujone, is then added before the distillate is twice distilled.

The vodka is then combined with the herb distillate before being distilled one last time, the sixth step in the distillation process before finally being coal filtered to ensure a smooth texture. The vodka is then left to rest for around 2 months where the flavours and aromas of the herbs and spices become more pronounced to create the final liquid.

So with a rather storied history and production method, how does it fare? Well below I give to you my tasting notes –

Babička – 40%

A good hit of aniseed on the nose with subtle citrus aromas slowly coming through. Rather rich on the palate, with vanilla and caramel noticeable, finished with a smooth hit of wormwood.

So a rather unusual vodka to drink, yet an easy sipper. Great to be mixed too –

The Babička Martini

The Babička Martini

Glass –

Martini

Ingredients –

75ml Babička
Wash of vermouth

Method –

Wash glass with vermouth and discard, stir vodka straight into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist or an olive

Classic, easy to create at home or in a bar, and is perfectly blended to showcase the worlds only wormwood vodka.

There’s never anything wrong in trying something new! Give it a go, soon.

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.