The Don – The UK’s First Drinkable Art Cocktail Serve

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To celebrate The Year Of Mexico in 2015 Tequila Don Julio has created an innovative new fusion between art and drink called The Don, which will launch at M Restaurants in February 2015. This pioneering cocktail serve is an interactive drinkable art piece, which holds approximately 100 cocktail serves and is the first of its kind in the UK. As guests fill their cocktail glasses from different cocktail chambers within, the artwork transforms from a Mexican sugar skull to reveal a portrait of the iconic Don Julio González.

“Don Julio González was the founder of Don Julio and the man who introduced luxury tequila to the world. In the same way that Don Julio González pushed the boundaries of tequila, I am keen to come up with new and innovative ways for people to experience tequila. The Drinkable Art is the first in a series of limited edition serves and was co-created by Accept & Proceed who specialise in physical design and incorporation of technology into art pieces.” Deano Moncrieffe, Western European Don Julio Brand Ambassador.

This pioneering cocktail serve comes in at two metres tall and a metre wide, and is called The Don to honour a man who is widely respected as being the father of luxury tequila. The Don sits on top of a specifically designed stand, which allows seasonal cocktails to be served from the three cocktail chambers with ease. As guests interact with the art and fill their cocktail glass from one of three bespoke taps, the picture transforms in front of them. Changing from a sugar skull image, which is a representation of the famous Day of the Dead Festival in Mexico, to a portrait of the iconic Don Julio González, the founder of Don Julio.

The Don will launch at M Restaurants, 60 Threadneedle St, London EC2R 8HP on Thursday 12th February

Need Some More Inspiration For Christmas? Take A Look At These Festive Recipes!

The Zacanta
The Zacanta

The “Zacanta”, from James Fowler, UK World Class Winner 2014, served at The Larder House Bournemouth

Ingredients – 

2 bar spoons of Christmas mincemeat
15ml Spiced pineapple puree
50ml Ron Zacapa 23
10ml Kamm & Sons
10ml Lime juice

Method – 

Pop all in a shaker and shake with good ice, then strain into goblet filled with fresh ice. Garnish with “Hot date foam” – a hot foam flavoured with dates (recipe below). Garnish finally with shards of orange zest.

Date Foam –

10 dates
Boiling hot water 150 ml
Heat the above until dates become very soft and form purée
2 bar spoons pro espuma hot (thickening stabiliser agent)

Put into espuma gun
Keep hot until use (water bath)
All the dates, none of the hassle

Ron de Replay
Ron de Replay

The ‘Ron de Replay’ Zacapa 23 cocktail at iconic London venue BOUNCE

This winter, ultra-premium rum brand Ron Zacapa has partnered one of London’s most iconic and talked about venues, Bounce to launch the game stopping new – Ron de Replay

Sip on this perfect serve as you practice your table tennis serve in Europe’s first premium ‘Social Ping Pong Club’. Taste the rich and smooth flavours of Ron Zacapa 23, aged 2,300m above sea level in the ‘House Above the Clouds’ in Guatemala, perfectly combined with orange liqueurs and chocolate bitters in this new signature cocktail. And in a final touch befitting a creation from these two aspirational brands, the drink is crowned with a bespoke luxury Rococo chocolate ping pong ball, especially created for Bounce.

“It was interesting for me to create a drink that complements the garnish, usually it is the other way around. The orange and chocolate flavours in the drink are designed to enhance the flavours of the chocolate ping pong ball, and are best enjoyed together.” Jacek Czekaj, bartender, Bounce


40ml Ron Zacapa 23
20ml Aperol
15ml Grand Marnier
15ml Liqueur 43
2 dashes Mozart Chocolate Bitters


Luxury Rococo chocolate ball
Orange rind


Stir ingredients over a cocktail jar to blend and achieve perfect density, before pouring into a rocks glass over cubed ice. Garnish with orange rind pinched to release the oils, and finish with the luxury Rococo chocolate ball. Enjoy, order another, and repeat!

Or how about some of these simple Christmas creations?

Christmas Cooler
Christmas Cooler



• 60 ml Ron Zacapa Rum
• 8 tablespoons of watermelon
• 2 dash angostura bitters
• 15 ml Mint Syrup
• 5x mint leaf


• Muddle the watermelon in a cocktail shaker
• Shake all the ingredients together
• Double strain into a chilled Martini glass
• Garnish: mint leaf

Midnight Kiss
Midnight Kiss



• 30 ml Ketel One
• 20 ml fresh lemon juice
• 25 ml basil-strawberry syrup
• Champagne
• 1 kg crystal sugar
• 50 gm of fine chopped basil
• 10 large mashed strawberries
• Mint


• Boil 1 litre of water with the crystal sugar, add chopped basil and mashed strawberries
• Cool down for 24 hours in your refrigerator
• Shake the ketel one, syrup, lemon juice and 1 barspoon chartreuse vert with ice for about 15 seconds
• Pour in Collins glass with ice cubes and top with champagne and crushed ice
• Add mint covered in powdered sugar and some rose water bitters to top off
• Garnish: mint sprig covered with powdered sugar and a strawberry

Frosted Berry
Frosted Berry



• 60 ml Don Julio blanco
• 20 ml fresh lime juice
• 15 ml Agave water
• 5 fresh blackberries
• 2 grinds of black pepper
• Agave and black pepper rim


• Muddle blackberries, add the rest of the ingredients,
• shake hard and double strain into a rimmed rock glass over ice
• The black pepper and agave nectar lifts up the natural character of blanco tequila (Don Julio), balanced with fresh lime and some fresh blackberries for some extra depth and a fruity feel

Festive Rum Butter Punch
Festive Rum Butter Punch


Ingredients (Per serve)

• 50 ml Ron Zacapa
• Small fingernail of butter
• Pinch of any spice including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, cardamom
• 10 ml honey or Agave nectar
• 30 ml hot water


• Add all ingredients to a Punch bowl, stir and serve

Fever-Tree’s Hot Ginger Punch


Fever-Tree’s Hot Ginger Punch
Fever-Tree’s Hot Ginger Punch

– 150 ml Havana 7 Year Old (or suitable alternative)
– 600 ml Fever-Tree Ginger Beer
– 200 ml Fever-Tree Ginger Ale
– 15-20 cloves
– 6-10 Star Anise
– 1 vanilla pod
– Orange peel.


Gently heat the rum, ginger beer and ginger ale in a suitable pot for 5-10mins. Do not bring to the boil. Meanwhile, slice vanilla pod from top to bottom and add to the pot along with the rest of the spices and stir. Keep pot on a low heat.
Add a few twists of orange peel and gently stir to taste. Heat for further 5 minutes gently ensuring liquid does not come to boil.
Ladle punch into a small glass tankard along with spices and peel.

Maybe a tasty recipe for rum and food?

Edible Stories Zacapa Reserva Christmas Beef

Step one

Ask your butcher for a three inch cut short rib cut, also know as the Jacobs ladder.
Make up your Zacapa Reserva marinade, for 1 kilo of meat mix 300 ml of the rum with 200 ml of water and a table spoon of salt and teaspoon of cinnamon. Take your whole piece of beef and place in a deep tray with the marinade ensuring the fat side of the meat is face down in the marinade. Cover with cling film to make air tight to keep the aromas in and leave in a fridge for 48 hours.

Step two

After the marinade has soaked in to the meat, drain the left over marinade into a deep baking tray add 700mls of red wine, four bay leaves, 500gms of sliced carrots and 500gms of slice white onions. Then place the beef bone side up to ensure the meat is in you rich revamped marinade. Cover with foil (double layered) again ensuring it is air tight. Place in an oven at 130 degrees and leave for 7 hours to braise slowly.

Step three

After the braising carefully take the foil off and drain the juices passing your well cooked vegetables through a sieve giving you your rich Zacapa reserva sauce. Cut your beef into the desired portions which should be so succulent and tender the bones should be falling off the meat which for presentation can be used as a base for your meat on.

Diageo Still Popping Up At The Edinburgh Fringe

Get yourself to Edinburgh and check out a whole host of pop-up bars from Diageo –

tanqerayTanqueray Secret Garden

56 North, Tanqueray Gin and Diageo World Class are delighted to present the “Secret Garden”. Located behind the home of Scottish Gin at 56 North this previously unused space is being transformed into a summer garden for the Fringe Festival 2014. Be sure to try the Tanqueray No.TEN Grapefruit & Chamomile Fizz.

don julioDon Julio at Festival Square

Make sure you visit the Don Julio hut in the heart of the festival, Festival Square and grab a Don Julio frozen margarita before you shoot off to see a show.

zacapaThe Zacapa Experience at Chaophraya

Situated at exactly 23 metres above street level is ‘The Zacapa Experience’ at Chaophraya with unparalleled views over Edinburgh’s famous George Street. The must have drink here is the Zacapa 23 vanilla and banana smoked pina colada, best enjoyed with sunshine.

johnnie walkerJohnnie Walker at Harvey Nichols

The Harvey Nichols rooftop terrace has had a makeover and transformed into a Johnnie Walker experience complete with a World Class cocktail menu. If you get time you can even warm up for the Ryder Cup by practicing your putting skills whilst sipping on a Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

A World Class House

Diageo World Class House

From today until Sunday 3rd August, the industry’s most prestigious and respected mixology competition World Class, will open its doors to consumers for the very first time. For the whole week the World Class House will host a series of immersive, engaging and inspiring brand experiences in each room of the five story Georgian townhouse everyday from 5.30pm – 11.00pm.

Located at 33 Fitzroy Square the World Class House will act as the Central London hub, as the 49 most talented bartenders in the world compete to win the much-coveted accolade of World Class Global Champion.

This one-week luxury pop-up will delight and surprise guests with a host of bespoke drinking experiences, World Class cocktails and a selection of very special guests. It is available for £20 to those who register at and includes you two tokens that can either be redeemed for two welcome cocktails or put towards one of the experiences – each experience will have a token value. Additional tokens can be bought
at the Hub in £5 denominations.

Comprising of five floors and a stunning rooftop terrace, the World Class House will have something for everyone, from the cocktail beginner to the most discerning drinker and will include the following experiences:

• The World Class Hub – a stylish bar and lounge at the heart of the World Class House, hosting lively seminars and the world’s best mixologists

• Alexander & James – discover the perfect mixologist-at-home package whilst learning about food and drink pairings with La Fromagerie and Allens of Mayfair. Join a cocktail master class and learn how to host the perfect party and pick up a bottle personally engraved with a message of your choice

Don Julio Visit Jalisco and La Cantina – discover a taste of Jalisco, Mexico via this underground secret bar fronting as a Latin American traditional travel agency. Can you find the vintage telephone that allows visitors access to the backroom?

• Johnnie Walker Blue Label Screening Room – exclusive screenings of Johnnie Walker Blue Label’s new short film staring Jude Law, called The Gentleman’s Wager

• Tanqueray No.TEN Martini Cocktail Bar – the glamour, style and
sophistication of the Art Deco movement is brought to life in the Tanqueray No.TEN martini cocktail bar, where ten unique martini cocktails have been created to pay homage to the ultimate classic cocktail

• Zacapa experience – fully immersive journey where guests will experience the story of Zacapa through all five senses followed by a tasting created by a renowned guest chef.

• Ketel One Sonic Tastings – Ketel One has worked closely with sensory experts to create a selection of scientifically-proven soundscapes and lighting effects that bring the liquid to life in a revolutionary way. What’s more also discover how to make the perfect Bloody Mary

As well as cocktail master-classes from some of the world’s most famous bartenders, debates featuring Michelin starred chefs and intimate tastings of premium whiskies such as, Johnnie Walker, Bulleit and Mortlach, the World Class House is not to be missed. Explore the World Class House this summer to discover incredible cocktails and a new world of spirits.

Follow the competition on Facebook at the World Class Facebook page at:

Don Julio Tasting Notes

Don Julio

Tequila is another one of those brands that can split opinion right down the middle. As explained when i touched on blended whisky, stigma seems to carry most onto the trend that tequila is there to be slammed down with some salt, lemon and lime. Well i couldn’t agree more. It’s traditional to mask the taste of tequila with citrus and salt just to make the experience more palatable. But what you shoot in the bars and pubs is not the good stuff, and in good stuff i mean made using 100% blue agave. To non-tequila fans that means nothing, but a staple in the tequila world in Don Julio is more than happy to show the way.

The journey of creating Don Julio is a process in that each bottle consists of 100% pure blue Weber agave plants from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Each plant is allowed to grow for seven to ten years before being harvested which develops its unique flavour for Don Julio. Aged in American white-oak barrels, Don Julio has been able to create the worlds first luxury tequila. And it all came about due to one man.

Don Julio is named after its founder, Don Julio González-Frausto Estrada, who began distilling tequila in 1942 at age 17. Gonzalez-Frausto established his own distillery, La Primavera in Jalisco, Mexico, and spent the next 40 years improving his craft. In 1985, Don Julio González-Frausto celebrated his 60th Birthday, with his sons commemorating the date by creating a Tequila in his name, Don Julio. After guests enquired if it will be available for sale and following the sheer popularity of the tequila in Guadalajara and neighbouring cities, they decided to launch the tequila in 1987.

So a relatively new tequila, created essentially as a birthday present. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on each expression that I’ve been lucky enough to experience –

Don Julio Blanco – 38%

Soft notes of citrus and lime on the nose that develops into a smooth offering on the palate. Quite light to begin but has a heavier finish with hints of pepper lingering.

Don Julio Reposado – 38%

Barrel aged for 8 months. Soft lemon and fruit aromas on the nose followed by delicate hit of spice. Very soft on the palate with vanilla and cinnamon mixing well. Sweet ending.

As you can imagine, the versatility of Don Julio can also rack up some impressive cocktails –

Reposado Paloma
Reposado Paloma

Reposado Paloma

Glass – 


Ingredients –

30 ml Don Julio Reposado
60 ml Grapefruit Juice
Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
Salt Rim (optional)
Lime Slice

Method –

Combine Don Julio Reposado and grapefruit juice in an ice-filled highball glass. Top with a splash of lemon-lime soda and garnish with a lime slice. Salt rim optional.


Blanco Luxury Margarita
Blanco Luxury Margarita

Blanco Lxury Margarita

Glass –


Ingredients – 

50 ml Chilled Don Julio Blanco
20 ml Agave Nectar
20 ml Fresh Lime Juice
Lime Twist

Method – 

Mix Don Julio Blanco, agave nectar and lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with a lime twist.

The great thing about Don Julio is that its versatility doesn’t just stop at cocktails, it’s also a great food pairing –

Farmer’s Cheese With Herbs

Ingredients – 

1 Farmer’s Cheese (from Los Altos)
1 Romaine lettuce
1 Package of pita bread
Olive oil

Preparation – 

The day before, cut the cheese into small squares and marinate it with olive oil, oregano, thyme and basil. Wash the lettuce and tear into small pieces by hand. Make a bed with the lettuce, then spread the cheese with herbs on top and serve the pita bread on the side.

Pairing With Don Julio Blanco –

The lactic tones of the farmer’s cheese are heightened by the spices. The olive oil gives it very nice tones when accompanied with Don Julio Blanco, as the sweet notes of the cooked and raw agave, with its fruity and delicate spicy and herbal tones, enhance the cheese’s flavor and bring out the herbal notes of the spices.

I always find your onto a winner when you can really use your spirit collection in so many ways. Grab yourself a bottle and get creative!

© 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 Tequila Trail Review

Last week I took part in the latest installment of the hugely popular spirit trails hosted by the ever knowledgeable The Liquorists, with this night focusing on that sometimes forgotten category – tequila. A ‘veteran’ so to speak of these trails (I’m now on eight and counting – living up to my Drinks Enthusiast name!) With five bars to view and five tequila brands to explore, you could sense both an air of excitement and worry as the gathering learnt about the history of tequila from Tom Sneesby, whilst having the nagging thought of ‘will he be bringing out the salt and lemon’??

Starting off at The Liqourists HQ, #22Redbank , we were treated to one of the more well-known brands of the tequila world – Jose Cuervo. However instead of the standard gold and silver liquids you find in most pubs and clubs, we were to be on the good stuff, the Tradicional. Coming with a slight harshness on the nose, it softened nicely until it hit your palate. A short, sharp but fresh blast set you up nicely for the complimenting cocktail, the traditional and classic Margarita. Served up by Jody Monteith, the simple blend of triple sec, agave syrup and a double dose of Jose Cuervo Tradicional went down as quickly as the food – barbequed sweet corn, tacos and nacho pots with lashings of salsa, guacamole and cheese.

A short taxi ride to Apotheca, a bar that is no stranger to hosting a spirits trail, had Don Julio Reposado waiting for us. The first luxury tequila to hit the spirit market gave the gathering a sense of the difference that tequila can offer between Blanco, Reposado, Anejo and Extra Anejo. As you can imagine, the ‘rested’ tequila (meaning it has been aged for a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels) had a little more sweetness to it, with a spice which went well with our Mango and Rosemary Margarita complete with a rosemary salt rim.

Tabatio Anejo Blanco at Kosmonaut

El Jimador Blanco was to be the next offering in one of Manchester’s favourite bars – Socio Rehab. Comparing the El Jimador to our starter brand of Jose Cuervo, the El Jimador created a more peppery nose but a mouth-watering palate which balanced well against the Paloma cocktail created by Manchester’s finest and involving pink and white grapefruit. Hula shook the night up though with their blanco brand Casa Herradura Plata. Complete with a Tommys Margarita that uses agave nectar for a twist on the classic, the soft nose counteracted the spice start on the palate, but re-wrote the rules on longevity.

Last but not by any means least, the new addition to the Manchester bar scene was to be showcasing Tabatio Anejo as Kosmonaut came complete with a long cocktail of tequila sweetened with the ever favourite crème de cassis.

As mentioned before, I’m a veteran of these trails, but can easily say i still get rather giddy when these approach, especially when it involves brands that even I have never got round to trying. It’s also introduced me to Kosmonaut and taken me to old haunts which make you truly appreciate that these bars really know what they’re doing on a wider scale when on the topic of spirits. As for The Liquorists though – well, 5 cocktails, 5 venues, 5 spirits with food thrown in? You’ll be foolish not too. GET ON THEM

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.