Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour heads to capital for its first foray out of The Americas.
WHAT: Tales of the Cocktail on Tour is to reveal the programme for its much anticipated visit to Edinburgh in April. The four-day extravaganza will see leading hospitality professionals from all over the world head to Scotland’s capital for a series of events designed to educate, illuminate and entertain bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts from the city and beyond.
WHY: The world famous annual conference and festival takes place in New Orleans every July. It also goes ‘On Tour’ once a year and after visiting Buenos Aires, Vancouver and Mexico City, it is heading to Europe for the first time. Edinburgh has been selected due to its highly accomplished and sophisticated cocktail culture. In a country with such a fantastic distilling heritage, the city’s bartenders have a great hunger for knowledge and will be looking to learn from illustrious speakers attending the 2017 event.
HOW: Tickets for Tales of the Cocktail on Tour will go on sale on 9th January, upon announcement of the initial programme. Tickets are available from http://www.talesofthecocktail.com, priced $329.00 USD. The event runs from Saturday 1st – Tuesday 4th April 2017 at the Roxburgh Hotel and bars around the city.
The Père Magloire National Calvados Week, in association with UK creator Emporia Brands, returns Monday 17th October 2016 until the Sunday 23rd October 2016, taking place bars and retailers across the UK, including London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
For some, Normandy’s lush green pastures reach their ultimate expression in the region’s famed cheeses and rich dairy butter. We all know that it’s always been about the Calvados. The magical alchemy that transforms green apples into golden nectar, it produces apple brandy as soft, fresh and pure as the beguiling French countryside from which it’s born. The week long celebration marks the harvesting of the delicious apples for the production of Calvados. During National Calvados Week over 100 bars, shops, supermarkets and independent off licenses, including London based Demon Wise & Partners, NOLA, Cocktail Trading Company, Skylon and 155 Bar & Kitchen, who are pairing their special cocktail creation ‘Apple Turnover’, perfect to be matched with their Beetroot-cured Salmon served with chicory and apple salad, or the Scallops with smoked belly of port.
Other venues and highlights for the week include such Edinburgh stalwarts as Blackbird, Heads & Tales, Voodoo Rooms, La Petite Mort and The Bon Vivant, as well as Glasgow based The Finnieston and Porter & Rye, plus Rye & Soda in Aberdeen. Manhattan in Leicester are also showcasing their serves, as well as The Edgbaston in Birmingham and Bonbar in Newcastle amongst others.
Meanwhile, participating Waitrose stores will be running an in-store price promotion for the month of October, seeing Père Magloire VSOP price reduction of £2. (Original price £22 – promotional price £20). Scotland are covered by Drinkmonger in Edinburgh and The Good Spirits Company in Glasgow, plus independent stores within the likes of Cheshire with Corks Out, The Vineyard Wine Shop in Lancashire, Starmoreboss in Yorkshire, Dorset’s Shaftesbury Wines, Kent based Chiselhurst Wines, Cornwall with North Coast Wines and Wales with Gales of Llangollen. We’ve also partnered with The Drink Shop, who are running free delivery for the month of October on all Père Magloire expressions, as well as Drinkfinder who are offering 10% off all Père Magloire products throughout October.
Highlights of the week involve Soho Wine Supply in London, who will be hosting a Père Magloire tasting table on the 20th, with Soho Whisky Club and Brahms & Liszt hosting a Père Magloire range tasting on the 19th and 21st respectively. TimeOut London are also hosting an evening of Père Magloire on the 18th at MASH London, exclusive for their members and hosted by Brand Manager Matthew Dakers. Manchester will also see Brand Ambassador Dave Marsland showcase Père Magloire at Epernay Champagne Bar on the evening of the 19th, with support from Yelp! John Lewis on Oxford St in London are also getting in on the action, hosting a Père Magloire VSOP and Pont L’Eveque cheese tasting in the food hall, with the offer of a free glass to anyone who buys a bottle!
In addition, Fever Tree are the principle sponsors for this year’s signature serve, promoted within all participating venues across the UK, the Père Magloire and Fever Tree tonic;
50 ml Père Magloire VS Topped with Fever Tree Tonic Water Fresh Ice (at least 4 big cubes) Slice of Fresh Apple
Using a large wine glass or a tall, slim glass, add the ice first then pour in the Père Magloire VS, followed by the Fever Tree Tonic Water. Cut a full slice of apple and drop into the glass.
A promotional video has also been commissioned by Emporia Brands, the exclusive UK importer of Père Magloire and National Calvados Week, which aims to see people coming together from across the UK to enjoy Calvados.
8O8 whisky hasn’t got your traditional background story, but an intriguing one none-the-less.
Who would have thought i’d be mentioning DJ TommyD in a feature on whisky? But then again, sometimes the best spirits just need passion of creation to be behind the reasoning of their existence. DJ’s are creative people, needing to be on the pulse of their audience to create the sounds they wish to hear. Whisky distillers are the same, having to think of the trends and tastes of their ideas years in advance. So it makes sense then that DJ TommyD has come together with his business partner Paul Pullinger and whisky legend Jonathan Driver.
After designing their liquid, they took it to the North British Distillery in Edinbrugh, and one of the oldest grain producers around. Using this inspiration, they created a finished liquid using a blend of different grains including maize and barley.
The bottle and label itself has been designed by Mark Farrow of the Pet Shop Boys fame. The name though comes from the Roland Tr-8O8, an electronic drum machine, said to give ‘soul’ to the beat, now 8O8 gives ‘soul’ to the whisky experience.
So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
8O8 – 40%
Very light and thin on the nose, with hints of lemon juice and subtle grain. Thick texture of oat and damp charred oak, with a butter profile following into a very light, yet dry cracked black pepper finish.
Good to sip over ice, but take a look at some of these recipes for some mixer inspiration –
40 ml 8O8 whisky
25 ml St Germain elderflower liqueur
20 ml Rosemary syrup
25 ml fresh lemon juice
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
First fill your wine glass with crushed ice to chill it as much as possible. Add 40ml of 8O8, 25ml St Germain, 20ml Rosemary syrup and 25ml of fresh Lemon juice to your shaker. Fill your shaker with cubed ice and shake hard. Empty your wine glass and refill with fresh crushed ice and strain the cocktail over the ice. Give the drink a gentle stir and cap with more crushed ice. Garnish the drink with 2 Rosemary sprigs and a Lemon wheel.
Coco8 Hiball, by Ryan Chetiyawardana (Mr Lyan, International bartender of the year 2015)
35 ml 8O8
35 ml Coconut water
Build in a hiball over cubed ice, stir briefly, then add spanked mint sprig. Serve on a beach…
Disaronno, the UK’s number one non-cream liqueur, has announced the return of its Disaronno Terrace series. Following a hugely successful launch in the UK last year, the 2015 campaign will kick off at London’s rooftop bar, Golden Bee, on Wednesday 24th June. The music based events launch in the capital before touring the cultural hotspots of Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh.
The parties will be sound-tracked by live performances from some of the hottest new talent around, including Italian sing-songwriter Jack Savoretti and British vocalist Ghostpoet, who will both be taking to the decks in London on 24th June. Other headline acts at the Terrace parties include Dry The River and Mystery Jets. More artists will be announced shortly.
Last year’s Disaronno Terrace series was a great success, attracting thousands of cocktail lovers across the country. The events will showcase the brand and engage drinkers during the key summer sales period. The Terrace parties will focus on the brand’s signature serve, the Disaronno Sour, which is hugely popular with its loyal consumers but will also be demonstrating the versatility of the liquid by introducing some new cocktails.
The Terraces will kick start an exciting summer for the brand. Illva (brand owner for Disaronno) is heavily investing in Disaronno in the UK this year and will be revealing more impactful and new brand activations in the coming weeks.
Over the past five years, the Disaronno Terrace has made an international name for itself touring the likes of New York, Milan, Rome, Tokyo, Madrid, Amsterdam and Los Angeles.
Throughout August, Drambuie will open the ’Drambuie Summer Hut’ in the heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Guests will be able to enjoy a range of Drambuie cocktails including the deliciously refined Mackinnon Punch, the extraordinary Scottish Sangria, the novel Dram-brew-ie, and of course the refreshing (and ever popular) Drambuie & Ginger Beer.
The bar is designed in a style inspired by the surreal optical illusionary art of Salvador Dali. An incredible metallic hand with a Dali inspired eye welcomes you in to this extraordinary world, and upon entering, you are invited to experience the depth and complexity of Drambuie.
Visitors are encouraged to step into our surreal photo wall – prizes will available to those who encounter out our cast of Drambuie Players as they bring a taste of the extraordinary to visitors throughout the Fringe.
The bar will be open from 12pm till late each day and is located under the Pasture area at Underbelly, Bristo Square.
Underbelly Bristo Square Edinburgh EH8 9AL
For the latest information, find Drambuie on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/UKDrambuie and Twitter @Drambuie #drambelly
Award-winning boutique craft gin Darnley’s View now has an elegant new label to match its Spiced Gin stable-mate.
Darnley’s View gin is from Edinburgh based Wemyss Malts. It first came on the scene in 2010 and can now be found in over 20 countries across the gin drinking world. The main botanicals in this gin are juniper, elderflower and citrus.
Two years ago, Darnley’s’ View Spiced Gin was added to the range with warming spice botanicals such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. The two gins are now both presented with a two-part label printed on craft paper featuring the Wemyss family crest.
Owned by the Wemyss family from Fife in Scotland, the name “Darnley’s View” celebrates the meeting of Mary Queen of Scots and her husband Lord Darnley at Wemyss Castle in 1565. The elderflower which grows at the Castle inspired the choice of botanicals for this fresh, floral gin.
William Wemyss, Managing Director of brand owner Wemyss Malts, commented: “We are delighted to present Darnley’s View with its new two-part label. Designed to accentuate the craft feel of our range and now cementing the family look with Darnley’s View Spiced Gin. Already a firm favourite on many gin menus, we are sure that our customers will appreciate the new style label.”
As part of Clans & Drams, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s month-long activities during Whisky Month in May, the Society has joined forces with one of Edinburgh’s leading mixologists, Stuart McCluskey of The Bon Vivant and The Devil’s Advocate fame, for a night of innovative hands-on cocktail making on Friday 2nd May.
The Society is creating a special ‘secret bothy’ hideaway on the top floor of its beautiful Georgian townhouse venue, 28 Queen Street club in Edinburgh for the event. Stuart will be serving up four innovative drinks that reinvent classic whisky cocktails in this magical setting using the Society’s finest rare malt whiskies. His ingenious creations will also contain Caorunn Gin and Inveralmond beer, plus a host of other surprising ingredients. Guests will be invited to get involved in the cocktail-making process for a real hands-on experience.
Guests will be served a special ‘Bothy’ supper alongside their drinks and during the evening they will also be regaled with historic tales of Scottish imbibing from down the years by Society Ambassador Anna Wilkie.
The cocktails will be served up to guests in the Society’s special sample bottles before being poured into glasses for an added twist. After the event, the cocktails will then be on sale at the Society’s three venues – The Vaults in Leith, 28 Queen Street and 19 Greville Street in London – throughout Whisky Month in May.
Stuart said: “I can’t reveal what the cocktails are as I want to surprise people on the night, but what I can say is expect the unexpected – I will be taking the Society’s rare malt whiskies and using them alongside other unusual ingredients to flip people’s perceptions of traditional whisky cocktails completely on their head! There will be lots of theatre around the way the drinks are created and I will be using all manner of unusual things such as atomizers, citric acid, tinctures and homemade liqueurs.”
Mark Van Der Vijver, SMWS UK Sales Manager, said: “Having someone of Stuart’s calibre in the cocktail world on board to create a series of extraordinary cocktails for us is something really special and allows us to showcase the diversity of flavours in our whiskies in new exciting ways.”
Clan Cocktails in the Society’s secret bothy Friday 2nd May, 2014, 7pm – 9.30pm The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 28 Queen St, Edinburgh, EH2 1JX – North View Room
Over the past two years, I’ve been enjoying two rather nice drams from Ballantine’s. The Christmas reserve blew me away back in 2012, and I hailed it as one of the best drams that I have experienced. One year later, I’ve been sent the latest expression in the Christmas Reserve portfolio, but as I conducted some research, I realised that I’ve never covered the rather iconic brand on my website. So, without delay, lets take a look into what, and indeed who makes Ballantine’s.
George Ballantine was the son of a farmer. Born in 1809 Broughtonknowe in Peebleshire, he moved to Edinburgh when he was 13 and set himself up with an apprenticeship. Over the next 5 years, he learnt the trade and by 1827 at the age of 18 he rented a small grocers in the city. By 1836, he capitalised on his growing success and moved into a bigger premises, specialising in whisky and malts. 1846 saw George utilise what we now take for granted, the option of delivery. George advertised his new idea and took advantage of the trains, offering a unique customer service. 1867 saw George honour his eldest son Archibald by naming his store ‘George Ballantine & Son’ in Edinburgh. George set up a new store in Glasgow in 1865, which he deemed a more profitable location, whilst his son Archibald ran the Edinburgh operations. At this time George Ballantine began creating his own blends.
1858, George could boast 2000 gallons on whisky in his warehouse, but in a measure of his rapid reputation, came to have 20,000 gallons of blended stock in bond by 1883. 1891 saw George hand over his business to his sons, and a year later passed away. 3 years after, Ballantine’s was awarded the Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria.
Business thrived under George’s sons, and the family sold profitably to the firm of Barclay and McKinlay in 1919. Building on the reputation and goodwill of the “Ballantine’s” name, the new owners focused on developing it as a brand for their blended whisky. When increasing resources were needed to compete fully in the growing world market, the internationally experienced Canadian distillers of Hiram Walker Gooderham & Worts acquired Ballantine’s in 1937. Ballantine’s Finest, 17yr and 30yr were released during this time, culminating in Lord Lyon granting the Heralding Arms, the shield of Ballantine’s. 1960 saw the 12yr released which catered for the growing cocktail market, whilst the 21yr came in 1993.
In 2006, Sandy Hyslop was appointed as Ballantine’s Master Blender, only the 5th Master Blender in Ballantine’s 180 year history.
Below, I give to you not only my notes on the Christmas expressions, but the core range available too, as well as my adventure with their incredibly rare 18yr and other limited editions –
Ballantine’s Finest – 40%
Oldest recipe in the current range, created in 1910 and uses more than 40 malts and grains, carefully selected from 4 different iconic Scottish regions.
Soft apricot and peach notes on the nose, with hints of delicate almond and lemon coming through. Soft, with a slight developing citrus sharpness. Ripe soft fruits, green apple and pears with walnut, spice and sweet, thin honey.
Ballantine’s 12yr– 40%
Predominant American as well as European oak casked used to mature, with Glenburgie and Miltonduff malts within.
Subtle smoke on the nose with hints of green apple, coconut and oak. Incredibly soft on the palate, with a slight citrus burst mid-way before long, smoky elements combined with red berries, damp forest and thin treacle.
Ballantine’s 17yr – 43%
Soft smoke on the nose with plenty of aromatic citrus and vanilla. Slight kick to begin, with fresh fruits darting through for a lingering warm finish.
Ballantine’s 21yr – 40%
Rich nut aromas with cinnamon and dry, prickly spice. Plenty of ripe, red fruits with good kicks of damp oak, thin fudge and a long whisper of citrus smoke.
Ballantine’s 30yr – 43%
Plenty of pear notes on the nose with rich, juicy aromas coming through. Hints of honey sweetness too. Incredibly smooth on the palate, with a slight dryness kicking in quickly. Well balanced with citrus and light honey counteracting. Rich red berry fruits come through with slight dashes of vanilla on the long, warm and elegant finish.
Ballantine’s Christmas Reserve 2012 – 40%
Slight spice on the nose with a hint of sweetness and rich fruit blending nicely. Soft on the palate with a slight spice nearing the long finish. Flavours of ginger and caramel swirl nicely with a lingering sweetness.
Ballantine’s Christmas Reserve 2013 – 40%
Fresh raisins on the nose, combined with ripe pear and soft ginger. A small amount of spice on the palate to begin with, although grows into toffee apples, caramel and orange peel. Long, lingering and a little dry on the finish.
Ballantine’s 18yr – 43%
Discontinued. Lots of soft raisins on the nose, with sherry aromas coming through. Slight sharpness on the palate, although soon smooths out in a warming honey dram. Lingering lemons and a touch of barley to finish.
Ballantine’s Brasil– 35%
Created for the FIFA World Cup 2014, cask steeped with Brazilian lime peel.
Sweet aromas of lime on the nose, with chocolate hints, alongside honey to finish. Very light on the palate, with citrus, predominantly lime, giving off short, lively kicks. Slightly sweet on the lingering finish.
As mentioned, the 12yr came out during the cocktail boom of the 1960’s, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the Christmas Reserve in this way too! –
Spiced Hot Chocolate
50ml Ballantine’s Christmas Reserve 2012
3/4 mug of high quality chocolate
Make hot chocolate to suit personal preference. Gently add Ballantine’s Christmas Reserve. Decorate with a handful of mini marshmallows and finish with rich chocolate sauce.
50 ml Ballantine’s 12yr
15 ml Sweet Vermouth
Chill a Martini glass. Pour Ballantine’s into a mixing glass over ice. Add one bar spoon of aromatic bitters and sweet vermouth. Stir mixture with a bar spoon for 30 seconds and strain into the glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.
One of Europe’s biggest whisky brands can boast a rich legacy, and expressions which I am very much looking forward to experiencing. Respected whisky writer Jim Murray even went as far as announcing that the Ballantine’s 17yr was his Scotch Blend of the Year back in 2010. Who care’s to enjoy a couple of drams with me? Or at least try your hand at the 18yr?
First season in November to showcase the work of Oscar-winning actor Jack Nicholson
Drambuie and Filmhouse Edinburgh have announced the renewal of their extraordinary cinema partnership to bring another series of special film seasons to cinema audiences over the next twelve months.
To kick-start the first season of the renewed partnership, Filmhouse and Drambuie present the extraordinary work of Jack Nicholson in November and December. The retrospective season will showcase films that explore the depths of Nicholson’s career spanning over five decades, including Chinatown, Easy Rider, The Shining, The Crossing Guard, The Last Detail, Reds, The Passenger and The King of Marvin Gardens.
The American actor, producer, screenwriter and director is not only one of three men to win a record of three Oscars, but is also the most nominated male actor ever with 12 Oscar nominations in total.
The partnership will see Scottish film audiences taste the extraordinary Hot Apple Toddy over the winter months, as well as an array of bespoke cocktails created to celebrate each season.
Vicki Wonders, Marketing Manager at The Drambuie Liqueur Company Ltd, said: “We are really pleased to be continuing our partnership with Filmhouse, following the huge success of our first collaboration. Drambuie recognises the importance of promoting arts and culture and providing unique and extraordinary experiences that resonate with the brand, so we are privileged to be working with Filmhouse to bring these experiences to Scottish cinema audiences.”
Graeme Davies, Head of Communications & Development at Filmhouse, said: “A year ago Filmhouse and Drambuie forged an extraordinary partnership, that over the past 12 months has enabled us to bring unique film seasons to our screens, alongside the new releases and world cinema that we also show. Our audiences have responded really well to this partnership, attending these amazing films and sampling Drambuie’s unique range of cocktails. We are delighted that Drambuie has chosen to continue this partnership, and we look forward to bringing “A Taste of the Extraordinary” to even more of our customers over the next twelve months.”
Jack Nicholson: presented by Drambuie starts on Monday 25th November and runs through December. For more information on screenings, and to book tickets, please visit: http://www.filmhousecinema.com
For updates and giveaways on Drambuie’s ‘A Taste of the Extraordinary’ cinema seasons, visit facebook.com/UKDrambuie or @Drambuie.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel around the UK to visit various cities as brands host themed evenings, master classes or even visits to distilleries themselves. But one event that I’ve been looking forward involved me travelling to a city that I’ve only been to as a child, so this counts as a relatively new experience, despite hearing so much about it within the trade.
The rum and bitters brand Angostura were my hosts as I made my way to Edinburgh yesterday to enjoy what I can only describe as a comedy night with plenty of rum. Not knowing what to expect, and of course doing my usual way of approaching these things with an open mind, my first port of call was the rather stunning building of The Assembly Rooms. This 230 year old structure has apparently played host to many an event including royal banquets and even readings from Charles Dickens. Last night though, they were the venue for a rather unique performance titled “The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol”, created by the team aptly named Thinking Drinker’s, aka Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham.
With a background of being a triple-crowned winner of “British Beer Writer of the Year”, Ben brought to the show his unique understanding of the finer details of not only the history of alcohol, but also the production methods too. Tom has the impressive title of being a former editor of the well-known trade publication CLASS magazine, so able to combine his knowledge and experience of writing about many a brand to the sold out audience. Covering everything from Jesus Christ to Hemmingway, the Thinking Drinker’s played on the stereotypes of many a brand, whilst covering categories such as whisky, gin, rum and even absinthe. Of course, no drinks related show would be complete without samples to be enjoyed. Johnnie Walker Gold, Buffalo Trace, Angostura 1919, Tanqueray No.10 and Pernod were all on offer to run alongside the starter beer from the Czech Republic’s oldest brewery.
If you ever get the chance to check these guys out, I’d highly recommend, even if you’re in the trade. You’ll love some of the idea these guys have got when it comes to explaining the natures of alcohol. Just watch out for the samba!
After the show we headed to Timberyard restaurant, where we were to enjoy a four course meal with a list of Angostura based cocktails to enjoy and savour. A starter of iced pea, asparagus, mint and hyssop was a surprise, with the chilled peas going down well (and I’m not usually a lover of this either).
This was followed by lemon sole, langoustine, tomato, samphire, shallot, potato and sea plantain – beautifully presented and went down far too quickly. Beech smoked sirloin came next, complete with shallop, parsnip, beetroot, chickweed and wood sorrel. Cooked to perfection, but went cold a little too quickly for my liking. However, a clean plate was left and ready for our last course in chocolate pudding, Angostura ice cream, brown bread, oats, marshmallow and mint. A great final course to enjoy, to the point of some of us shared a second! The cocktails were well done too, with myself opting for a Woods – Angostura 3yr, Licor 43, Aperol, apple and juniper. A great venue to enjoy, with the food and drink pitching the standards I’ve heard so much about in Edinburgh.
Our last place to visit came in the form of one of Edinburgh’s more well-known haunts, Voodoo Rooms. The award-winning bar showcased a back-bar with delights to suit all, including Angostura Old Fashioned’s, Caorunn Negroni’s and my cocktail menu choice of Elixir of Life – Flor de Cana 7yr, Benedictine, almond and a shot of espresso with a peat whisky rinse for the glass. The bar’s reputation in my eyes was set pretty high as Voodoo Rooms are a name that pop up in some way or form whenever a cocktail competition is in the area, and they smashed it with their service and drink creativity.
Although a whistle-stop tour of Edinburgh, a thoroughly enjoyable time has been had. I’ve met new colleagues, visited some great venues that I would highly recommend, and of course, the whole idea of the trip in the first place, drank Angostura rum alongside plenty of laughs.