Agave Tequila Another Go: Tequila & Mezcal Fest Returns For Its Third Year

tequila fest

Raise a toast to Mexico’s much loved (and often misunderstood) liquid export as Tequila & Mezcal Fest makes a triumphant return on 17th and 18th September 2016 for a third consecutive year, and is the UK’s first ever and only festival dedicated exclusively to showcasing the very best bits of Mexico in what continues to be the greatest ever agave extravaganza.

The event is to take place in a brand new – and bigger – venue, setting up shop in the Boiler House at the iconic Truman Brewery, in East London’s vibrant Brick Lane, where you can soak in the ambiance, tastes, smells and music of colonial and modern Mexico.

Due to last year’s unprecedented success which saw just under 3000 enthusiasts descend upon the capital, the day will be broken up into two sessions, afternoon and evening, ensuring there’s enough agave love to go around.

Tequila Fest is delighted to announce Patron tequila as one of the main partners of the festival, Patrón Tequila will be returning to Tequila Fest in 2016 as a main sponsor, offering visitors the chance to try their traditionally handcrafted 100% Weber Blue Agave tequilas, experience the very latest in digital technology to transport them to the Highlands of Jalisco and learn about tequila production and the exclusive opportunity to buy and try the ‘Margarita of The Year 2016’, as the Rosa Picante makes its first guest appearance outside of Mexico and North America. This exciting collaboration is a must see for cocktail aficionados and Tequila imbibers across the country and not to be missed!

In addition, Fentimans are proud to be the official mixer sponsor for this year’s Tequila & Mezcal Fest. Proving itself to be the perfect accompaniment to Mexico’s most famous firewater, the brand will be two creating signature cocktails, one with Peloton de la Muerte Mezcal and the other with headlining spirit Patron.

Some of the UK’s finest brand ambassadors and bartenders will be back to hold seminars and masterclasses on the art of Mexican cocktail making, such as the classic Margarita. A line up of last year supporters and new brands have joined the party too, including Patron, Olmeca, Casco Viejo, Herradura, Ocho, Fortaleza, El Jolgorio Mezcal, Nuestra Soledad Mezcal, Mezcales de Leyenda, Herencia de Plata, Amores Mezcal giving visitors the chance to discover new favourites.

Food connoisseurs will be treated to a choice of some of the capital’s most celebrated and authentic Mexican restaurants, with Barrio Bars, Lupita, Camion, Cafe Pacifico, Condesa, DF/Mexico, and all pitching up to serve hungry and thirsty revelers.

And to prove that there’s more to Mexico the creative, cultural heritage of the country will be in full bloom with a mariachi band, folklore dancers, an Aztec ceremony performance, art exhibition by artist Honorio Robledo and a photographic exhibition dedicated to the agave process.

Born with one objective, Tequila and Mezcal Fest aims to educate consumers on how to drink and enjoy Mexico’s greatest export – there will be no salt and lime, slammers and definitely no tiny novelty sombreros.
Date: 17th & 18th September 2015

Session times:
Saturday Afternoon: from 12noon to 4:30pm
Saturday Evening: from 5pm to 9:30pm
Sunday Afternoon: from 11:30am to 4pm
Sunday evening from 4:30 to 9pm

Early bird £15 or £20 at the door

Place: The Boiler house at the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane

Tickets: code ‘drinksenthusiast’ and receive a £5.00 discount!

Vogue’s Fashion Night Out at Frog Flowers Review

Susie - Vogue

Fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue came to Manchester last week with their Fashion Night Out event being held for one night only, collaborating with the likes of Manchester heavyweights Selfridges and Harvey Nichols as well as stores such as DKNY and Top Shop. With various drink brands coming on board to showcase their names with fashion designers, I took notice of something a little more intimate.

Frog Flowers is located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, away from the usual trendy places like Deansgate and King Street. Offering Manchester a unique experience in the art of flowers, the florist used its innovative and contemporary ideas that utilised a wide range of flowers & foliage. Working alongside them were Jean Jackson Bridal Wear, a South Manchester staple since the 1980’s. In return, a stunning boutique setting over three floors. Its ground floor offered me the most delight though as Manchester bartender and fashion icon in her own right, Susie Wong, offered her services to create for Frog Flowers three Vogue themed cocktails – Penelope Tree, Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy. The 60’s icons were immortalised in Susie’s creations, with each recipe written on a Vogue magazine cover instead of a menu adding the glamour touch.

Susie Wong
Susie with her Penelope Tree creation

Penelope Tree came in the form of a relatively new gin, City of London, built with The Bitter Truth Violette liqueur, tonic bitters and topped with grape soda. A recipe that Susie took with her to London after impressing the judges at the recent Bitter Truth cocktail competition held in Manchester, she took great pride in showering her creation with glitter and flowers to really set the scene for the evening. Another of her creations, Jean Shrimpton, again had a gin base of City of London, but this time shaken with Cointreau, Blossom Syrups Strawberry and cranberry juice. Helped by fellow bartender Edoardo Arcesi of Epernay, the use of strawberries and orange gave a fantastic aromatic floral nose, and came complete with a peacock resting on top. Her last creation was a simple affair, putting together Cointreau and The Bitter Truth orange flower water and topping it with Fentimans Rose Lemonade, complete with a lollipop!

With a display of spirit bottles being utilised to not only show-off Susie’s creations, but also adapted to be a part of the venues display-works (see the photos from the link below), Frog Flowers showcased the very best of the boutique styles that Manchester has to offer and display them in a way that only they seem to create. Having Susie come on board make perfect sense, with myself enjoying many a cocktail from the lady in the past, her style and approach to her creations doesn’t surprise me in her being a part of one of the biggest fashion nights out in the UK.

See, it’s not just the big boys who come out to play on these nights. And I mean that in both ways. Well done to Susie, David of Frog and the team at Jean Jackson.

Check out the rest of my photos via my Facebook page. Also see snaps from the official photographer Danielle Boxall.

© 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.

Cocktail of the Week – Dandelion Honey

The latest Cocktail of the Week by collaborator and Head Barmen at the Vineyard at Stockcross David Coveney is the rather delectable Dandelion Honey using some of my favourite items.

Dandelion Honey
Dandelion Honey

Dandelion Honey

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

50 ml Sipsmith Gin
1 Large Spoon Of Pure Honey
50 ml Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock
1 Drop Of La Fee Absinthe
2 Slices Of Red Pear

Method – 

Thrown between two Boston tins with ice.

Check out previous editions of David’s cocktail of the week here.

Fentimans & Bloom Gin & Tonic Tasting Notes

bloom and fentimans g&t


Award-winning BLOOM London Dry Gin has joined forces with the acclaimed Fentimans, combining their expertise in the blending and sourcing of the finest botanicals from around the world to create a perfect Gin & Tonic cocktail. Launching in Sainsbury’ across the UK at £3.99, Fentimans and BLOOM have crafted a perfectly balanced, perfectly blended premium cocktail to enjoy at home or on the go. Presented in the classic Fentimans curved glass bottle, savour the taste of the delicate and floral BLOOM London Dry Gin with the distinctive herbal and plant root notes of Fentimans Botanically Brewed Tonic Water.


Recognised for their respective brewing and distilling expertise and craftsmanship, Fentimans Master Brewer and BLOOM’s Master Distiller came together to create a Gin & Tonic of superior distinction. Using over 250 years of distilling expertise, BLOOM Master Distiller Joanne Moore created a delicate London Dry Gin using a selection of unique, natural botanicals inspired by England’s renowned country gardens, including honeysuckle, pomelo and chamomile. The honeysuckle gives a candied fruit sweetness balanced by the citrus aroma of pomelo, the chamomile imparts a feather-like softness of floral notes to create a lighter gin-drinking experience. Established in 1905, Fentimans continue to champion their century old brewing methods to create their renowned Fentimans Tonic Water. Rich in juniper, the woody aromas and distinctive quinine notes of Fentimans Tonic Water perfectly complement the floral notes of BLOOM London Dry Gin. BLOOM Master Distiller Joanne Moore says “Thisis an exciting launch for us and a wonderful way to showcase how BLOOM can be enjoyed with ease without compromising on quality.”


For a very British twist on this classic serve, quarter 3 strawberries and add to an ice filled glass before serving. The subtle sweetness of the strawberries is perfectly complemented by the honeysuckle notes of BLOOM whilst being balanced by the light citrus notes of pomelo and quinine flavours of the tonic.

So how does this new expression fare? Well below I give to you my tasting notes –

Fentimans & Bloom Gin & Tonic – 6.5%

A traditional aroma of lemons creates a dry nose, and become slightly bitter on the palate. Although it mellows rather quickly and burst a little with a freshness of a honey flavour that sticks around with the dry texture. Short however.


Many of you will drink a spirit with a mixer. A Gin & Tonic, Vodka & Lemonade or a Whisky & Coke would not be frowned upon if ordered at a bar, pub or restaurant. But do you ever take notice of what that mixer is? You are more than likely going to ask for your preferred brand of gin in your gin and tonic than wonder what mixer will be added. But what if I tell you that from a bartenders point-of-view, or indeed anyone who has ever tried anything other than Schweppes or Britvic, that your choice of brand for a mixer too can change not only the drink you have ordered, but possibly even made it better than you thought? Surely if you order a drink, you would expect said drink to be of the highest quality? Even if it is something as simple as a vodka and coke?

I would like to offer a challenge to anyone who reads this. The next time you order a spirit with a mixer, ask the bartender what mixers they have. If they offer you Britvic or Schweppes don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world and there’s certainly nothing wrong with them. Just politely mention that you would like to try something named Fentimans. Fentimans are an English brand with over 100 years of history steeped into each of their portfolio offerings, and one of them is a tonic water. If you enter one bar and order a gin and tonic and receive a gin mixed with Schweppes, then in your next bar order the same gin but instead mixed with Fentimans Tonic, i would like you to tell me the difference (and there will be one), and post your thoughts below / tweet your comments.
I set this challenge for one reason and one reason only. It’s only recent that I started to come accustomed to drinking a gin and tonic. Before that I thought tonic water was too dry, lacking flavour and overall rather pointless to ruining a good gin – until I tried Fentimans. As a man who will give all brands a go, hand on heart Fentimans gave me a so-called new lease of life to my gin and tonic fear. As you can see from my tasting notes below, I was genuinely surprised at how light it was on both the nose and palate. There was to be no hint of dryness at all. No wincing like you’ve sucked a lemon and no search for water to help the tonic slip down the throat. Fentimans offered something fresh – and also offered alternatives when was the last time you could say that to Britvic?

So a little history on Fentimans –

Back in 1905, an iron puddler named Thomas Fentiman, hailed from Cleckheaton, England and was to be approached by a fellow tradesman for a loan. A deal was struck and a recipe for botanically brewed ginger beer was provided as security. The loan however was never repaid so Thomas became the sole owner of the unique recipe. Thomas began using the recipe and produced botanically brewed ginger beer which he then delivered door-to-door using a horse and cart for transport. His ginger beer was stored in hand-made stone jars known as ‘grey hens’ which were stamped with an image of Thomas’ pet dog ‘Fearless’, itself an award-winning dog triumphing in the obedience category at the famous ‘Crufts’ dog competition. Fentiman’s ginger beer quickly became very popular and the family business grew, with several production factories being opened in the North East of England. The business is still in the Fentimans family to this day and is owned by the Great Grandson of Thomas Fentiman. The recipes haven’t changed either and still go by the time-honoured method of botanically brewing the finest natural ingredients. Their production processes have also been updated through the addition of mild carbonation to replace the carbon dioxide lost in during pasteurisation, which gives the product a longer life.

Hollows and Fentimans Ginger Beer

As mentioned, Fentimans prides itself on its method of botanical brewing. But what exactly is it?
Well its a simple process that involves herbs and plant roots. Thomas Fentiman’s original recipe involved milling ginger roots before tumbling them into copper steam jacketed pans and leaving them to bubble and simmer which would release all their flavour. The finest herbs, natural flavourings, sugar, brewer’s yeast and fresh spring water were then added to the liquid which was transferred into wooden vats where it would be left to ferment. Initially the liquid went on fermenting after it was bottled and corked in the old stone jars where it would fully mature and be ready to drink by the end of the week. However modern techniques of adding mild carbonation helps give the product a longer life.

So a rather simple brewing process that is steeped in traditionalism and can offer so many possibilities too. Take a look below at the Fentimans range, both soft drinks and mixers, as well as my tasting notes on each –

Mixers –

Fentimans Tonic Water

Very fresh on the nose with subtle herbal aromas. Incredibly light on the palate with no hint of dryness but rather a mouth-watering effect. A long offering.

Fentimans 19:05 Herbal Tonic Water

Bold, fresh notes of juniper and orange blossom on the nose, with a soft flavour of lime and lemongrass upon the palate. Slight dry spice with a long finish.

Fentimans Rose Lemonade

A blend of lemons and pure Rose Otto oil from the Rose Valley in Kazanlak, Bulgaria.
Delicate rose on the nose, with lots of floral citrus aromas following behind. Light, with a dry rose texture that also offers some ginger flavours slicing through. Long and refreshing.

The Latest Additions
The Latest Additions

Soft Drinks – 

Fentimans Wild English Elderflower

Sweet elderflower aromas on the nose that become delicate and bold. Clean, light with subtle pear and elderflower flavours blending nicely on the palate. Short and crisp on the finish

Fentimans Rose Lemonade

Very light on the nose with a small hint of rose compared to a good dose of fresh lemon. Rather sharp on the palate but mellows quickly with a balance of rose and lemon more obvious. A long offering.

Fentimans Cherry Tree Cola

Fresh and lively on the nose with lots of cherry and a dry herb aroma. Soft herbal flavours on the palate balance well with the cherry, with a refreshingly subtle sweetness.

Fentimans Brewed Shandy

Instant dark, bold hit of malt on the nose followed by a lively attack on the palate. Very dark and very sweet but is smooth and with a long after-taste. Not as fizzy as you would expect.

Fentimans Cool Ginger Beer

Strong on the nose, although rather fresh and ripe that mellows slowly. Fresh ginger flavours on the palate that are incredibly soft and smooth, albeit a little dry near the end.

Fentimans Dandelion and Burdock

A strong, rustic aroma that mellows quickly on the nose, however the palate enjoys a very soft offering with small hints of flavour that doesn’t overpower the senses.

Fentimans Curiosity Cola

Soft and light on the nose with a slight sweet aroma. Refreshing burst on the palate that instantly mouth-waters, with a slight tangy ending with a dose of malt.

The Fentimans Range

Fentimans Victorian Lemonade

Lots of citrus flavours on the nose that are both light and fresh. A good hit of lemon is present on the palate too, but softens out over a lengthy period. A little dry at the end.

Fentimans Traditional Ginger Beer

Slight musty aroma lingers around a strong dry ginger offering on the nose. A soft entry on the palate though with a slight kick near the end of spice which creates a mouth-watering feel.

Fentimans Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger

Fresh with a slight sharpness on the nose with lots of rich orange aromas. Very smooth on the palate that’s soft with a slight ginger flavour creeping in.

Hollows and Fentimans Ginger Beer – 4%

Lively and fresh on the nose with lots of ginger aromas. An instant ginger flavour hits the palate with a smooth, soft feeling. Slight dryness near the end.

Fentimans & Bloom Gin & Tonic – 6.5%

A traditional aroma of lemons creates a dry nose, and become slightly bitter on the palate. Although it mellows rather quickly and burst a little with a freshness of a honey flavour that sticks around with the dry texture. Short however.

Personal recommendations? Hendrick’s and Rose Lemonade is a quirky alternative to a normal gin and tonic, whilst the Cool Ginger Beer would be an excellent addition to rum and ginger beer, with the use of Havana 7yr or possibly Bacardi 8yr.

Fentimans is widely available and can be found in most places, just make sure you ask for a certain brand next time – you will not be disappointed.

© 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.