Swedish Victory In The Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Challenge 2017

Group

The last two weeks has seen me embrace my favourite rum brand more than ever with a trip to St Lucia for the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season. Hosted at Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, the 5* venue became the hub for a host of international and island based bartenders for several days, welcoming with a Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Ice Tea upon arrival and offering the relaxed and chilled vibes St Lucia is famous for.

The aim of the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season is to culminate in a combined final of winning efforts from across the world from the last year, paired with St Lucian counterparts to crown the ultimate Mai Tai team and recipe. Representatives include the United Kingdom, USA, Spain, France, Portugal and Sweden, who each won their respective national heats to earn their way to the final.

After being inspired by a tour of St Lucia Distillers within the Roseau Valley, spiced rum talks from local producers, and an insightful chat on all things tiki by the renowned bartender and owner of Spirit of Tiki, Georgi Radev, culminating in the paired teams having the opportunity to experience the Castries Market in the capital city and pick up some local and home-produced ingredients and vessels, ready for the evenings finale.

Mai Tai

With 5 judges, including myself and Alva Preville (Taste of the Caribbean winning bartender in 2010 amongst his host of accolades), each paired team had to create a twist on the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai, using their inspiration from their trip so far, whilst also showing off teamwork and producing to us all a display that would be worthy of the top prize!

With magic tricks and crowd chants for showmanship, it all accompanied serves such as the ‘Sop It To Me Baby’ by 3rd place winners Anthony Guaetta (Twin River Casino, USA) and Daniel Francois (Capella, St Lucia) that saw Chairman’s Reserve Spiced mixed with the 6th edition of 1931 rum, a homemade spiced liqueur and Key Lime juice. Second place had the ‘Chairman’s Spiced Intellect’ presented by Andrew Turner (Milk Bar, UK) and Ron Hillar (Capella, St Lucia). They shook up a blend of their homemade spiced syrup, Chairman’s Reserve Forgotten Cask, lime juice, pineapple juice, Angostura bitters and a dash of Chairman’s Reserve Spiced, complete with a pineapple, ginger and rosemary garnish.

presentation

The winning drink though? It was the ‘Culture Paradise’ by Sharam Mohebbi of OGBG Bar & Restaurant in Sweden and his St Lucian counterpart Stephen Peter. Mixing Chairman’s Reserve Original and Chairman’s Reserve Spiced with Caribbean sherbet, ginger spice and passion fruit plus freshly squeezed lime, it won the judges plaudits! Earning them a cash prize, trophies and a trip for Sharam back to St Lucia, and Stephen to Sweden, plus local television coverage, it’s meant a truly well-deserved effort from both the winning team and all participants in placing them on the map when it comes to the Mai Tai cocktail!

Look out for the 2018 Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season as more countries become involved with the challenge, as well as plenty of opportunities to experience a variety of Mai Tai twists, or indeed you can create Sharam’s and Stephen’s today!

Winning Cocktail
‘Culture Paradise’


40ml Chairman’s Reserve Original

30ml Chairman’s Reserve Spiced
30ml Caribbean Sherbet
20ml Ginger spice & passionfruit
20ml Freshly squeezed lime

Shaken over ice and served within a bowl or goblet. 

For more information on St Lucia, visit here.
Learn more about Chairman’s Reserve by visiting here.
To experience Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, visit here.

© 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.

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Hard Rock Cafe Want To Spritz Up Your Summer!

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Hard Rock Cafe have brought out their latest cocktail creations for the Summer season, focusing on the ever-popular Spritz, twisting them with familiar names such as Bombay Sapphire, Jack Daniel’s, Grey Goose and Chambord.

Kick-start with my personal favourite of the ‘Jack and Diane’ that see’s Jack Daniel’s Old No.7 combined with Cointreau, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup and topped with lemonade for a bold hit of whiskey and orange. A close second for me is the ‘Chambord Supernova’ that see’s Chambord blended with St Germaine elderflower and topped with Prosecco, soda and a lemon twist. Rich, refreshing and offers a long finish!

A fantastic Grey Goose offering in ‘Good Limes, Bad Limes’ is available, showing the flavours of St Germaine elderflower, fresh limes, Prosecco and soda, whilst the ‘Thyme Warp’ offers a highlight of the Bombay Sapphire experience with fresh lemon juice and tonic, with a sprig of thyme to bring out the fresh aromas.

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The two other Bombay Sapphire creations include ‘Gin Ginie’ that see’s the bolder profiles of Chambord mixed with the British gin and bitter lemon, topped with a sprig of mint, whilst the ‘My Gineration’ focuses on the gin with orange juice, tonic and plenty of orange peel for garnish.

Six refreshing serves, priced between £9.45 and £9.95, served up, if you wish, within a Hard Rock souvenir mason jar (for £11.80) whilst rocking out in the sunshine (or what’s left of it) on their terrace. And if you’ve ever read my previous features on Hard Rock Cafe’s food offerings, you’ll know you can make an afternoon of it!

Jack & Diane with a Guinness Bacon Cheeseburger for me. I’ll see you at the bar.

© 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.

Curio

Curio
It’s rare to come across a local gin that makes enough noise to be heard on the other side of the country, but it seems to be the case with Cornwall, led the way by Southwestern Distillers, and now continued by Curio Spirits Company. Heading to the North of England can be a daunting task for any brand who lack, for example, the personnel to consistently appear at the numerous gin festivals that pop up, who themselves are looking further afield to stand out with their brand offerings. It’s down to the power of the liquid then, the image of the brand, and the consistent approach to their values that can really win a crowd over.

With this, lets see what the hype about Curio is all about.

Originating from Mullion in West Cornwall, William and Rubina Tyler-Street have set out to train and work with two master distillers since 2012 to perfect what they believe embodies Cornwall and the natural botanicals that surround them, including the likes of rock samphire and cardamom, creating an air of wonder and curiosity.

December 2014 saw the release of Curio after the investment of two small stills, a rotary evaporator and plenty of experiments. The Rock Samphire gin expression was first to hit the shelves, followed by their Peruvian Cocoa Nib vodka, and lately their Cardamom vodka, all using natural spring water from the Cornish Spring Water Company.

 

My first taste of Curio see’s the Peruvian Cocoa Nib, a triple distilled vodka that is gently infused with Peruvian Cocoa Nibs and produced in small batches. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes;

Curio Peruvian Cocoa Nib – 40%

Soft, subtle fresh cocoa with blends of vanilla and fudge on the nose. Slight roasted cocoa nib once upon the palate, with notes of creamy toffee, sweet fudge and a lasting flavour of warm cream.

Although recommended to be served neat, I did come across this;

Curio Chocolate Orange Martini
Curio Chocolate Orange Martini

Glass – 

Martini

Ingredients –

25 ml Curio Cocoa Nib Vodka
25 ml Cointreau
2 dashes Fee Brothers Chocolate bitters
2 dashes Fee Brothers Orange bitters

Method –

Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain in chilled martini cocktail glass. Squeeze oil from orange peel onto the drink.

An impressive flavoured vodka, and it’s grabbed my curiosity to experience the rest of the range. Start your collection today for the drinks cabinet as they’re already looking to expand with plans for a larger distillery in Mullion on the Lizard Peninsular.

© 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.

 

Old Rip Van Winkle

Pappy
A rare occurrence happened recently, where an exclusive tasting event of the Old Rip Van Winkle range, or Pappy Van Winkle as it’s more commonly known within the bar trade, came to Manchester.

Your’s truly managed to bag himself a seat at the table with 4th Generation Preston Van Winkle.

Lets dive in and check out why Old Rip Van Winkle became one of the most sought after American Whiskies.

Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle began working at W.L. Weller & Sons as a travelling whisky salesman during the latter half of the nineteenth century, before ending up as the President of Stitzel-Weller Distillery after acquiring with Alex Farnsley W.L. Weller and the A Ph Stitzel Distillery (producing Old Fitzgerald and W L Weller amongst others). Pappy’s son, Julian Jr., operated the distillery from 1964 until the family sold it in 1972, resulting in the formation of J.P. Van Winkle and Son that specialised in commemorative bourbon decanters and bottling. Julian Van Winkle Jr also created a new brand in the pre-Prohibition style, using whiskey stocks he had wisely kept by from the previous distillery. Eventually, he created the Old Rip Van Winkle label as a side venture in case his son, Julian III, wanted to come into the business.

Julian III did take over in 1981 after his father passed away, and despite a lull in bourbon business,  Julian purchased the Old Hoffman Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, for barrel storage and bottling purposes. Julian III’s son, Preston, finished his college degree and joined his dad in the distillery in 2001, doubling the size of the sales team at The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery after realising his passion at the 1999 Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

Buffalo Trace bought the W.L. Weller label in 1999 and had been making the bourbon with nearly the same recipe as Pappy’s, resulting in an approach to Julian III, something which he wasn’t initially interested in. It wasn’t until May 2002 that a deal was reached and Buffalo Trace started to produce the Van Winkle bourbons, using Pappy’s exact recipe.

All of the bourbon sold under the Van Winkle label is distilled from a mashbill with no rye; rather, they use wheat instead.

Pappy 2
Preston Van Winkle

So with this knowledge, lets take a look at the range –

Old Rip Van Winkle 10yr – 53.5%

Bottled as close to barrel proof as possible, with a splash of Kentucky limestone well-water.
Rich, bold butterscotch aromas on the nose, mixed with caramel, dark cocoa and a slight dry corn note. Subtly sharp upon the palate, offering a warmth with butter, cream soda and a lingering corn, spice and dry raisin.

Van Winkle Special Reserve 12yr – 45.2%

Soft caramel and subtle butterscotch on the nose, with hints of straw and olive oil coming through. A balanced texture, with light honey offering up a natural sweet profile. Long finish with corn and caramel combining for an oily texture.

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15yr – 53.5%

Crafted according to the exclusive family wheated recipe.
Banana leaf and mellow corn arrives on the nose, followed by a subtle Pedro Ximénez note. Soft sharpness on the palate, with lemon peel and a subtle stemmed cherry profile arriving for the short, thin finish.

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20yr – 45.2%

Hazelnut, caramel and chocolate hazelnut offer up a dry oak finish on the nose. Subtle hazelnut though on the palate, resulting in a dry, light oak with butter thickening up the texture into an oily, long finish.

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23yr – 47.8%

Soft notes of light butter, caramel and oak upon the nose. Subtle sweetness provided on the palate, with dry oak, straw and honey offering up a long, grass fresh finish.

A stunning range of American Whiskey, and highly sought-after for their sipping qualities. If you can find one, grab a bottle for your drinks cabinet, open, sip and enjoy.

© 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.

 

Barceló

Barcelo
Barceló, hailing from the Dominican Republic, has a slightly unique trait in that it’s the only Dominican Rum to be manufactured directly from sugar cane juice.

A good start, but how did all it come to this?

In 1929, Julián Barceló arrived from Spain to Santo Domingo and founded Barceló & Co. where soon after he began producing one of his first rums and selling it throughout the country. After experiencing the local brands on the market, he decided to create and release in 1950 the Ron Barceló brand, and with it the Barceló Blanco and Dorado, (white and gold rums respectively), followed about 20 years later with the Ron Barceló Añejo (a mature rum).

In 1974, Don Julián Barceló handed over the reins of the business to his nephew Miguel Barceló and 6 years later, in 1980 Ron Barceló Imperial was born, becoming the most internationally awarded Dominican rum.

Following this in the 1990’s, Barceló & Co. gave a group of Spanish businessmen, themselves enjoying a long history of producing wines and spirits, the rights to export Ron Barceló. These entrepreneurs founded Ron Barceló SRL. and by 2006, had sold into 25 international markets, resulting in Ron Barceló SRL. taking over Ron Barceló completely, with the third generation Barceló’s, namely the Barceló Díaz and Garcia families, remaining on the Board of Directors and completed with a package redesign on the Ron Barceló Imperial, Gran Añejo and Añejo.

Currently, Barceló is available in over 50 countries worldwide and enjoys being the 4th largest exporter of rum in the world.

Barceló also comply with the ‘Ron Dominicano – Designation of Origin’, meaning rum producers must harvest the sugar cane, ferment, distill and age the alcohol in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, all within the Dominican Republic.

So how is the range produced? Lets take a look –

Once harvested, the sugar cane is unloaded from wagons by crane and then cut into small chunks, resulting in an easier process once it goes through the next stage, the milling. This extracts the juice from the sugar cane itself by compressing the chunks. It then heads to be fermented, which is the chemical process performed by yeast where the sugar cane transforms into predominantly ethanol and carbon dioxide, resulting in wort at around 7-8% proof that is then stored in tanks before heading to distillation.

The wort enters a column still where the vinasse and the low-grade alcohol (phlegm) are separated. The vinasse is used for fertiliser within the cane fields, and the phlegm passes through 3 more column stills where hidroselection, demethylation and rectification occur, finishing with a proof up to 95% alcohol with a balanced congener content. The resulting liquid is then stored within toasted American white oak barrels for at least one year.

All of Barceló’s rums are made by carefully selecting the lots of barrels that have completed the pre-established ageing process. These are emptied and blended in stainless steel tanks by the rum masters, before being bottled and labelled.

So, how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on my experiences so far –

Barceló Imperial – 38%

Aged for between 8 and 10 years. Heavy hints of toffee on the nose, with some intermittent hits of spice to compliment whilst on the palate, a smooth texture with a slight sweetness of vanilla and caramel. The flavours of dry fruits is also detected, although the caramel and vanilla are the dominant forces. Finishes well with a lingering after-taste of caramel.

Barceló Imperial Premium Blend – 43%

A limited edition bottling of Barceló, created in celebration of 30 years production. Every year since 1980, Miguel Barceló has set aside private reserves of his rum for two extra years of ageing, and has used these to create their Imperial Premium Blend.
Slight dry raisin upon the nose, with an orange and seasoned wood note coming through. A slight kick of butter on the palate, resulting in a ‘side-dry tongue’ that kicks up with walnut, orange rind and fresh stemmed cherry. Very long on the finish with black walnut present.

And the Barceló perfect serve?

Barceló Piña colada
Barceló Piña Colada

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

75 ml Barceló Platinum
3 tbsp Coconut Milk
3 tbsp Chopped Pineapple

Method –

Place all ingredients into blender add 2 handfuls of crushed ice and mix at high speed for 30 seconds, strain into cocktail glass.

A great choice of rums here from the Dominican Republic, with the sipping styles of the Imperial and Imperial Premium Blend highlights so far. Perfect to have one of two 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.

 

 

Scene

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Manchester has a new venue to impress its ever-expanding customer base, and a dose of India is hitting the pitch.

Positioned within Spinningfields, Scene shows off a Tardis of Indian delights in the form of its cocktail bar and street kitchen.

Upon arrival, expect to be greeted by friendly faces as they welcome you to the bar for a quick drink before the feast. With a drinks list of signature and classic cocktails, it’s hard to choose which to enjoy first, but a cold lager on the riverside terrace is always a welcome option (especially in the warm weather we’ve experienced lately). Corona, Cobra, Tiger and Estrella are part of the many options available as you wander the eyes over the elaborate street food menu.

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Tandoori Mixed Grill

Highlights include the King Prawn Tikka (£6.95) to start, which see’s King prawns marinated with yogurt, vinegar, delicate herbs and spices, cooked over charcoal and served with salad and Hydrabadi sauce. Or the Chicken Chapali Kebab (£4.95) that offers you a traditional dish from Pakistan, a very moist kebab that is prepared with minced chicken meat.

For mains? I can highly recommend the Tandoori Mixed Grill (£15.95) which serves up a delicious combination of tandoori specialities; tangdi chicken, chicken tikka,
seekh kebab, lamb chops and king prawn tikka. There’s also chef’s specialities and signature dishes, including the Monkfish Malai (£14.95) that offers fresh morsels of monkfish cooked gently in a mild masala sauce.

But it’s not the food, although excellent and well presented, that I’m concentrating on this piece for, it’s the cocktails and liquor! Once finishing your feast, expect to be offered a nightcap or two within either the bar or at your table (either position works as you are surrounded by an impressive Indian decor with striking, vibrant colours, plus the large windows overlooking the River Irwell.

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Bombay Bonfire

Instantly eye-catching is the Bombay Bonfire that see’s Chivas Regal, lemon juice, honey and ginger syrup, complete with an atomised Laphroaig garnish. Perfect is you’ve had a lightly flavoured meal. But if you’re after something more heavy and rich, the Besharam Lassi provides a blend of Old J Spiced Rum and Old J Tikki Fire, mango pulp, passion fruit, lime juice, yogurt, orange juice and Angostura Bitters.
The Kerala Cafe is a good substitute for perhaps your usual coffee, as Old Spiced Rum, Kahlua, cinnamon syrup and shot of Espresso works wonders to keep your night going. Indeed as does the Assam Negroni, with its combination of Assam Tea infused Beefeater 24, Aperol, Campari and Martini Rosso. All of these are priced at £8.95 each too.

A recommended dram or tot is also in order, as the likes of Plantation Panama and Havana Club 7 year stand out for the rum offerings, as do Lagavulin 16 year, Makers Mark and Chivas Regal 12 year for the whisky counterparts. A great way of finishing off what should be a cracking evening at Scene, and it compliments a variety of the flavours offered within the food too.

For a first-hand look at my visit to Scene, check out the video as seen on RickBVlogs.

Ladies and Gentleman. I give to you Scene. India has come to Manchester.

© 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.

Lysholm No. 52

Lysholm No52

For those of you who may have read my feature on Linie, you’ll know that I have only really been introduced to the category of aquavit in the last 12 months. It’s a surprise then for me to realise that I’ve been missing out on something rather special, and I am excited to experience their latest creation in Lysholm No.52, the first aquavit that’s ‘perfect for cocktails’.

Lets take a look.

Usually, aquavit is served neat and as an accompaniment with food, but Lysholm No.52 takes the ever-growing use of aquavit within cocktails (as seen at the annual Linie Aquavit Awards) and offers to us a base that involves 11 different botanicals, including Norwegian caraway, star anise, coriander, bitter orange peels and ginger.

Created by Master Distiller Ivan Abrahamsen, the name comes from both the founder of Lysholm aquavit, Jørgen B Lysholm, as well as being the 52nd recipe chosen when the original trials were set.

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

Lysholm No.52 – 40%

Fresh caraway and orange peel upon the nose, with swirls of the star anise, followed by fresh mint and thyme. Light on the palate, but a slow growth of ginger, caraway and lavender come through. Very fresh, plenty of warmth which offers a lingering mouth-feel.

A superb flavour sensation when drinking neat, although I can see it working well within one of these –

Lysholm52 bilde med kryddere
Tonic No.52

Tonic No.52

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

25 ml Lysholm No.52
50 ml Double Dutch Tonic Water

Method – 

Combine the ingredients over an ice filled rocks glass and serve with a slice of lemon and cucumber.

Lysholm No.52 lives up to its hype, and with its flavour driven profile, it works perfectly for the cocktail scene. With summer coming, it’s a great alternative to your normal refreshing serves!

© 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.

 

Firestarter

Firestarter

Gimmick bottles have been a staple in the spirits industry for the last couple of years. Whether bottled within a skull, an alien, a devil, a tusk, oil drums or pistols, you sometimes need to stand out to be heard on the shelves. It’s amazing to say that all the examples above are vodka (with the exception of the pistol which is rum), and I can now add another to the list in Firestarter, being housed within a fire extinguisher.

The question is though, is it all gimmick and no substance? The aforementioned examples do house some incredible liquids, so lets dive in and see if we can make it a clean sweep!

Moldova are perhaps not your typical vodka producing country, but much like Kazakhstan with Snow Queen, Moldova had been under Russian rule for over 200 years, and their knowledge and know-how of the countries national spirit lives on.

Using winter wheat from the fields in Eastern Europe within a triple distillation process, it then enters either a five or seven filtration method before being bottled within specially designed packaging which resembles a fire extinguisher. During the final distillation, the liquid is also infused with honey.

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

Firestarter (5x filtered) – 40%

Plenty of stringent wheat notes on the nose, with a good dose of soft earthy aromas to balance it out. A little sharp to begin with on the palate, but smooths out to introduce a developing warmth of citrus and earthy tones. A lingering, bold honey finish.

Perhaps more for the vodka lover to drink over ice, but it can mix, with this recipe offering a different slant to most vodka based cocktails –

Firestarter - Firestarter
Firestarter

Firestarter

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

50 ml Firestarter vodka
30 ml Cointreau
30 ml Peach Schnapps
30 ml Sloe gin
50 ml Cola

Method – 

Fill a highball glass with ice and pour all the ingredients within. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.

Pick up a bottle for a party as it’s sure to go down a storm! To answer the question of whether it’s just a gimmick? It’s not. Just.

© 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.

Mr Black

Mr Black

Coffee liqueurs are a staple of many a bar and restaurant, with the likes of Tia Maria and Kahlua some of the mainstays. But as with a lot of spirits these past few years, there’s been a call for some re-imagination.

Mr Black, the cold press coffee liqueur, is such that.

Back in 2012, two Australian’s from Sydney going by the name of Tom Baker (designer) and Philip Moore (one of Australia’s highest awarded distillers) united over their love of coffee. Over 9 months of trials followed to create Mr Black, the first all coffee liqueur, resulting in a gold medal at the London International Wine and Spirits competition.

But to get to such triumphs, what makes the cold press such an important aspect to Mr Black?

Different coffee beans are used, resulting in a variety of roasting profiles and different flavours. Specifically, Brazilian Arabica (a combination of the more traditional French roast and a lighter roast), Ethiopean Djimmah (a light-medium roast that offers fruit, toffee and chocolate flavours) and PNG (offers a zesty, citrus orange marmalade flavour). To gain such flavours from the beans though, Mr Black uses cold-extraction. A process that is done at significantly lower temperatures to espresso (23 degrees), resulting in a less acidic brew yet an abundance of the coffee bean flavours. Creating a coffee that can stand up to blending with spirits though is a different matter, and Mr Black use a significantly higher coffee-to-water ratio as well as a longer steep time than traditional cold brew.

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

Mr Black – 25%

Freshly brewed espresso notes on the nose, with an underlining citrus zest coming through. Slightly bitter upon the palate, yet balanced out with roasted chocolate, caramel and hints of toffee. A lingering finish.

Does exactly what it says on the bottle, and make a cracking cocktail, a recipe taken from www.onyamagazine.com:

Mr Black Rye Ball

Something very different indeed, and from the Australians, the country that really knows how to offer artisan coffee houses and liquids. Worthy of a place within your drinks cabinet for sure.

© 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.

 

The Buffalo Trail Stopped For Food At Hawksmoor

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Last week, the Buffalo Trace Trail came into Manchester as it meanders its way across the UK. Working alongside restaurants within key cities such as London and Liverpool, UK Buffalo Trace Brand Ambassador Tim Giles hosted an evening at the ever-popular Hawksmoor, a venue that Time Out has said is “a place to blur day with night over cocktails and the country’s finest meat”.

With a focus on their 2015 Antique Collection, including expressions such as Eagle Rare, Sazerac and Thomas H Handy, the team at Hawksmoor came up with a fantastic menu, complimented by Buffalo Trace serves from the bar team.
Starters included short-rib nuggets with kimchi, fried oysters with tartar and roast beetroot salad with Dorstone, enjoyed with a serve named ‘Zenith of Man’ which saw Buffalo Trace paired with Pimento Dram, PX, apple and mint.

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Tim (l) and Ross (r)

Entwined between courses was a short look into Buffalo Trace by both Tim and Ross Thompson of Buffalo’s UK distributor Hi-Spirits, before indulging into the main course of a Hawksmoor burger with Ogleshield, triple cooked chips and vinegar slaw, showed off with a serve from the bar named ‘Trace It Back To Bill’, which saw Buffalo Trace roast plum and pepper syrup, soda and lemon come together.

For pudding, a delicious honeycomb sundae paired with with the ‘Trailblazer’; Buffalo Trace, Tawny port, Chartreuse and bitters that worked well to finish the evening in style.

Well I say style.

Tim and Ross introduced the 2015 Antique Collection by Buffalo Trace. 5 expressions of highly commended and award-winning liquids, with enough for one or two drams to really finish the evening!

An evening such as this really got the audience in attendance looking at Buffalo Trace in a different way, as the 3 courses by Hawksmoor worked perfectly with the Buffalo Trace serves created by the bar team (special thanks to Richie West and Anthony Hogan). With a look at the Antique Collection, it really made the evening a special one, and a potential break of the bank as I now search for a bottle of the Thomas H. Handy!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.