National Calvados Week Returns This October

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National Calvados Week returns for the sixth time this October as UK bars and restaurants celebrate Calvados Père Magloire and Normandy’s world-renowned apple-based spirit. National Calvados Week runs from Monday 15th October until Sunday 21st October, marking the harvesting of the delicious apples for the production of Calvados.

During National Calvados Week over 100 bars, shops, supermarkets and independent retailers will have specially curated cocktail menus, Père Magloire range tastings, food pairing, and cooking with Calvados, and will be offering the classic serve of Père Magloire and tonic. To reward all pubs, bars and restaurants who participate within National Calvados Week, Emporia Brands, the UK distributor and creator of National Calvados Week, ask that Père Magloire and tonic be promoted to customers, with a complimentary case of tonic to support them.

Creativity is key too, with plenty of inspired serves needed to show off the Normandy spirit through a week-long promotional menu.

> Retailers can sign up by participating in the ‘National Calvados Week Best Retail Display’. By uploading their display to the campaign’s social media pages on Twitter or Facebook, the best display wins the retailer a bottle of the exclusive Père Magloire Memoire for their efforts.

> A bottle of Père Magloire Memoire is also on offer for the ‘NCW Most Creative Cocktail’ which is to be run on their venues’ cocktail menu throughout the week. An image of their creation is to be uploaded to the campaign’s social media pages of Twitter or Facebook where the winner will be announced at the end of the promotional week.

For more information visit http://www.emporiabrands.com/national-calvados-week

Activities already agreed include:

LONDON

> Calvados and Cigar matching at Soho Whisky Club, with Hunters and Frankau

> Special calvados drinks menus at Cocktail Trading Company, The Vault at Milroys, Frenchies, Merchant House, South Place Hotel, Trading House, Café Pacifico and others.

> In store tastings at Gerry’s and Hedonism

AROUND ENGLAND

> Special Calvados drinks menus at Milk (Reading), Wash House (Manchester), Petit Café (Liverpool), Jakes’s Bar (Leeds), Circle Lounge (Halifax), 33 Cank Street (Leicester), Wilderness (Birmingham), Boiler Maker (Nottingham), Jazz Café (Lincoln).

SCOTLAND

Tasting at Blue Blazer, Edinburgh

> Meet the Maker event at Harry’s Bar

> Calvados Cup and Voodoo Rooms

> Special Calvados drinks menus in Edinburgh at Red Teapot bars, Bullard and Worth, Nightcap, La Petite Mort, Panda & Sons, Hoot the Redeemer, Blue Blazer, Nauticus, Miss Woos and others.

> Pop up menus in Edinburgh at Harry’s Bar and Kin.

> Special Calvados drinks menus in Glasgow at Five March, The Parlour and others.

> Pop up menus in Glasgow at Atlantic, Kelvingrove Café, Porter & Rye AND Finnieston.

Sons of Armagnac Launches Across The UK

Lauvia

Sons of Armagnac is the new awareness campaign spearheaded by UK innovator Emporia Brands and its Armagnac partners Comte de Lauvia and Marquis de Montesquiou. Starting on June 12th and ending on 18th June (Fathers Day), many of the top bars and retailers across the country will be taking part in raising the profile of the Armagnac category with cocktail specials, menus, events, tastings and more.

Specially created Marquis de Montesquiou cocktails can be found across London, including Skylon, German Gymnasium, Looking Glass Cocktail Club and Hush, as well as Cottonopolis based in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Manhattan in Liverpool, Nitehawks and Bonbar in Newcastle, Vice & Virtue in Leeds and Manhattan 34 in Leicester. Some of the UK’s premier dining arenas are also combining their expertise with Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac by offering specials within Harborne Kitchen in Birmingham and the aforementioned Vice & Virtue in Leeds.

Comte de Lauvia has been the chosen brand to be highlighted within unique serves from venues such as Merchant House and The Light Lounge in London, to The Edgbaston in Birmingham and Petit Parlour in Liverpool. 155 Bar & Kitchen in London, World Service in Nottingham and Wygston House in Leicester have put together at a food pairing menu for the week to highlight the versatility of the Armagnac category.

Retailers from across the UK are also getting involved, including in-store promotions of Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac within Riddles Emporium, South Manchester, 23 Wines & Whiskey in Leicester and Fenwick’s in Newcastle. Comte de Lauvia Armagnac will be highlighted across all Harvey Nichols stores, including in-store tastings, in the UK as well as Riddles Emporium.

Specialist online retailers are joining in, with 31 Dover offering £3 off a purchase of Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac Fine, £4 off the Reserve expression, and £5 off the XO. The Drink Shop are running a week-long offer of 20% off both the Marquis de Montesquiou and Comte de Lauvia expressions, and finally Drinkfinder have put together 20% off the full Marquis de Montesquiou range until Father’s Day.

For more information and for a full list of activity during the Sons of Armagnac week, please visit www.emporiabrands.com/sonsofarmagnac and www.emporiabrands.com/s/Art-Of-Armagnac.pdf

#SonsOfArmagnac

Ditch Your Resolutions In Style At Slug And Lettuce

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With New Year’s Resolutions beginning to be a thing of the past, a leading bar chain, the Slug and Lettuce are offering guests the opportunity to ditch them in sophistication with fantastic offers this January*.

Available at Slug and Lettuces throughout the country, the chain of bars will be providing customers the opportunity for a guilt-free celebration with a selection of 10 drinks available, all below 100 calories. What’s more, they are all available at the minimal cost of £3.50. Whether it be a refreshing Gordons Gin and Tonic or a delicious Absolut Vanilla and Diet Coke, there will be something for all.

For those looking for more than a drink, there are also an array of food options available, set to whet anyone’s appetite. The signature ‘Fast & Fresh’ section of the menu will be on hand for all with a complimentary 20% discount on top. The selection of dishes take inspiration from around the globe, with the likes of a Superfood Salad, BBQ Pulled Pork Burrito or Noodle Boxes set to ignite the taste buds.
Full list of Slug and Lettuce January deals*:

· £3.50: Whitley Neill Gin and Bottle Green Light Tonic, Gordons Gin and Bottle Green Light Tonic, Havana Club 3yr and Diet Coke, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and Diet Coke, Midori and Bottle Green Light Tonic, Disaronno and Diet Coke, Tia Maria and Diet Coke, Smirnoff and Bottle Green Light Tonic and Absolut Vanilla and Diet Coke.

· £4.50: Beck’s Blue non-alcoholic beer and 125ml Prosecco

· Dishes for £5: Chicken Salad, Classic Burger, Chicken & Bacon Club, Butternut Squash Lasagne and Bacon, Avocado and Tomato Sandwich at the following sites: Reading, Brentwood, Nottingham Cornerhouse, St Albans, Fetter Lane and Epsom.

· Dishes for £5: Cottage Pie, Chilli Con Carne, Butternut Squash Lasagne, Steak Sandwich and Southern Fried Chicken Wrap at the following sites: Huddersfield, Beckenham, Derby, Chelmsford, Hove and Southampton.

Deal runs from Tuesday 3rd January to 31st January 2017.

*£20% off Fast & Fresh menu at 67 Slug & Lettuce’s throughout the country. Not including the following sites: Wilmslow, Marlow, South Woodford, Weybridge, Salisbury, Clapham, Fareham, Southend, Derby and Southampton. Not to be used in conjunction with any other promotion or offer.

Hard Rock Cafe Mix It Up With Seasonal Cocktails And Heineken Burgers

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Hard Rock Cafe have always seem to pride themselves in pushing the mainstream burger delights over the years, with the Lancashire Hotpot burger coming to mind! But this winter they’ve teamed with Heineken to offer up a twist, complete with a new set of seasonal cocktails for all comers.

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Heineken Brisket Burger

Hitting their Manchester venue within Printworks, you can enjoy Heineken’s take on brisket with half a pound of beef patty, primed with Heineken-braised brisket, caramelized BBQ onions (with added Heineken!), garlic aioli and Gouda cheese, all complete with seasoned fries. Although not as heavy in flavour as ale perhaps, the addition of Heineken within the patty, brisket and onion batter really does bring out the more subtle notes of the Dutch creation!

Of course, a bottle of Heineken on the side would be the easy choice to wash the burger and brisket down with, but the addition of six new cocktails can always sway you.

Take Angelo’s Passion for example. The winning drink from the 2016 Global BARocker Championship, Angelo Delgado created a recipe that see’s Bacardi Carta Blanca, Midori, Passion Fruit Real and ginger beer combined to offer a refreshing, light, fruity serve, complete with stemmed cherry and lime wedges to garnish.

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Bourbon Milk Punch

Indeed the Bourbon Milk Punch could be the order of the day, or more dessert than anything, as Jim Beam Red Stage, Malibu, Monin Spiced Brown Sugar and milk are shaken together then topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle and spiced pecan nuts. Although sounding indulgent, the cherry flavours of the Jim Beam Red Stag really comes through nicely, with the subtle kick of the coconut Malibu.

It’s not all about the focus on spirits though, as a refreshing addition is the use of white wine! The Maria Sangria offers up Sauvignon Blanc, Bacardi Carta Blanca, tropical juices and lemon-lime soda shaken with fresh lime, orange and strawberries in a fruit-punch style cocktail, complete with a sprig of thyme to really uplift the grape and rum notes.

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Maria Sangria

But what if you’re driving? Or indeed just not a fan of alcohol? The Pomegranate Cooler is a great shout as it see’s Monin Pomegranate, sweet and sour, fresh raspberries, rosemary, lime and lemon-lime soda served up in a wine glass, complete with fresh raspberries on top. A bold, rich serve that brings out the pomegranate, backed with the well-balanced fruit kick.

Two other creations include Velvet Rain that see’s Malbec, Southern Comfort, Chambord, tropical juices and fresh berries come together, and the intriguing Pineapple Sage Rita that offers up Monin Ginger syrup, Sauza Hornitos Resposado Tequila and Agave Nectar.

Fancy it? Head down this winter as both the seasonal cocktails and Heineken brisket burger are available for a limited time only! I’ll see you at the bar.

© 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.

National Calvados Week Returns For 2016

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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.

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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.

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

Tickets:
Early bird £15 or £20 at the door

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

Tickets: http://www.tequilafest.co.uk/buy-now-london/use code ‘drinksenthusiast’ and receive a £5.00 discount!

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.

Jim Beam

Jim Beam

Jim Beam has been a staple of many a bar for many a year now, so much so that they themselves have the tag ‘The World’s No. 1 Bourbon’ stamped on every bottle. But how does a brand come to call itself that? A brand that, from my knowledge, not many people know much about? Well lets dive into the history of this supposed number one and see what comes out the other end.

Our journey starts in 1740 and the migration of the Boehm family from Germany. Translate the surname and you get the worlds ‘hell’, so a change to ‘Beam’ started the etching into bourbon history books. In 1788, Jacob Beam settled in Kentucky and set about experimenting with the corn and grains that grew on his farm. This blend of ingredients were run through a still, aged in barrels and eventually became bourbon, possibly named after Bourbon County, Kentucky. 1795 saw the year of the first ‘Jim Beam’. David Beam took over his father’s responsibilities in 1820 at the age of 18 and during his reign, America was undergoing an industrial revolution. With the country expanding itself and finding new and innovative ways to not only communicate and travel, but transporting of goods, technology such as the telegraph, steam-powered ships and the opening of waterways and railroads aided the expansion and distribution of the Beam’s family bourbon.

David M. Beam was handed the reins to the family business in 1850 and four years later, in order to be near Kentucky’s first railroad, David M. Beam moved the distillery to Nelson County. Three years after civil war broke out, David’s son James B. Beam came into the world and the family, with a real dislike for his name. Apparently a man who liked to keep things simple, he introduced himself as Jim Beam. After taking over the business from his father, the business thrived.  Once the end of Prohibition in the US in 1933, Jim Beam wanted to carry on the tradition of the original recipe from the days of Jacob Beam, so he built and moved to a new distillery in Clermont, Kentucky taking 120 days. From this point forward, the bourbon was called ‘Jim Beam Bourbon’. Son Jeremiah Beam joined the company at the same time as the opening of the new distillery and earned the title of master distiller. With his passion, he travelled the world to share his knowledge of bourbon and the Beam family legacy. After the death of his father, Jeremiah continued to grow the business, opening a second distillery in 1954 near Boston, Kentucky, which is still in use today.

Jim Beam’s grandson Booker Noe maintained the Beam family’s commitment to quality. As the Master Distiller Emeritus at the Jim Beam Distillery for more than 40 years, Booker introduced his own namesake bourbon in 1988 – Booker’s. Booker’s was the world’s first uncut, straight-from-the-barrel bourbon, and the first of the legendary Small Batch Collection. Upon the death of Booker Noe, his son Frederick Noe took over the reigns of the Master Distiller and is still in the position today.

Since the birth of Jacob Beam, the Beam family legacy has influenced 60 different bourbon brands in three countries.

Not bad. And it’s great to see after all these years, the brand is still within the family. But with longevity comes consistency, and consistency means a rigorous check of the production method. The following is taken directly from the Jim Beam website as I found that the process would be better understood as they have written it.

Start With Sweet, Sweet Water

Much has been said about Central Kentucky’s water. It’s famous for making fast horses, pretty women and good bourbon. (We’ve also heard it as:, pretty horses… but the good bourbon never changes.) Because we’re sitting on top of a limestone shelf, our water has a natural filter. This creates an iron-free, calcium-rich water that’s perfect for making bourbon. Perhaps that’s why 98% of all bourbon distilleries are located here.

Jim Beam MapleThe Secret Is Yeast

Our jug yeast is a closely guarded family secret. It’s the same strain of yeast we’ve used in our bourbon-making process since prohibition ended. It’s more than 75 years old—and it ensures the same Jim Beam® bourbon consistency in every bottle. So the bottle of Beam® in your granddad’s hand in that picture from his fishing trip in 1953? Same DNA as the bottle you can buy right now just about anywhere in the world. Our yeast is so important to us that Jim Beam used to take some of it home with him on the weekends, a tradition that continues today with Jim Beam’s great-grandson and seventh generation Beam family distiller, Fred Noe. We put the jug yeast in a tank and feed it a hearty diet of ground up grains to create “dona yeast.” We use this yeast in the fermentation process once we’ve cooked our mash.

Mix, Mash & Cook

Hammer mills grind our “mash spill”—our top-secret mix of corn, rye and barley malt. Milling breaks it down for easier cooking. The mash spill feeds into a 10,000-gallon mash cooker. Here we add some of that pure limestone-filtered Kentucky water, along with some “set back”—25% of the old mash from the last distillation. This is the “sour mash” part of our bourbon-making process—ensuring the same Jim Beam® Bourbon from batch to batch.

Fermenting Cooked Mash

From the cooker, the mash heads to the fermenter. We cool the mash down to 60-70°F and add our 75-year-old yeast strain to the mix. And the yeast eats. And eats and eats and eats, feeding on sugars in the mash, heating the fermenter as it eats and multiplying as it goes. The upshot of all this activity? Carbon dioxide and more importantly for us, alcohol. This transforms the mash into “distiller’s beer.” Because it looks, smells and tastes like a rich, light beer.

Distilled Twice. So Nice.

The beer travels into our 35-foot-tall column still. We heat it to about 205°F, which is hot enough that the alcohol turns into a vapor that rises up the still, but not so hot that the beer boils. As the vapor cools and falls, it turns back into a liquid. This “low wine” is 125 proof (62.5% alcohol) of strong-willed goodness. From the column still, the low wine flows into the doubler for a second distillation in our pot still. It gets heated and condenses into “high wine”—at a paint-peeling 135 proof (67.5% alcohol).

Barreling And Aging

After distilling the bourbon, we tap the high wine into brand new charred American oak barrels. We like our barrels to have what we call “alligator char”—that is, they’re fired enough that the insides take on the scaly, bumpy look of a gator’s skin. Each barrel holds about 53 gallons (more than 500 pounds) of what will be the the world’s finest bourbon. The loaded barrels are rolled to rest in one of our airy hilltop rackhouses. As the seasons change, Kentucky’s climate expands and contracts the barrel wood, allowing bourbon to seep into the barrel. And the caramelized sugars from the gator-charred oak flavor and color the bourbon. Throughout the bourbon making process, a fair portion of the 53 gallons of bourbon escapes the barrel through evaporation or stays trapped in the wood of the barrel. We call this the “angel’s share” or “Booker’s share.”

Jim Beam bourbon ages for at least four years—twice as long as the U.S. government requires. 

So there we have it. A fascinating history, one that I myself have only realised has influenced so many bourbon distilleries and brands to this day, and a production method that creates such a varied range. I’ve been lucky enough to try a couple of the range lately, therefore below I give to you my tasting notes –

Jim Beam Original – 40%

Aged for 4 years. Light vanilla notes on the nose with a sweetness slowly appearing. Vanilla carries onto the palate, mixed with a little spice that leads to a lengthy finish. Slight touch of oak lingers.

Red Stag Black Cherry – 40%

Through a slow infusion process, four-year-old Jim Beam Bourbon infused with natural flavours. Sweet, ripe dark cherries on the nose with a sugar ladened palate of cherry on the palate with a cinnamon spice to finish. Amazingly long, and a little dry at the very end.

Jim Beam Maple – 35%

Created using 4yr Jim Beam, slowly infused with maple and aged in oak barrels.
Subtle nose of maple syrup, following onto the palate nicely with plenty of bourbon, oak and a rich, sweet maple finish that lingers.

Jim Beam Black Label – 43%

Aged for 6 years. Soft vanilla on the nose with hints of orange lingering. Smooth on the palate with a hint of spice, honey and toffee creating a long finish.

Jim Beam Signature Craft – 43%

Aged for 12 years. Plenty of red fruit, smooth on the nose with hints of cherry near the finish. Rich on the palate though, with a slight spice but a long, bold finish with a little dryness. A couple of sips makes this a cracking dram.

Jim Beam Double Oak – 43%

Launched in April 2016, this expression is first matured in new charred American white oak barrels before being transferred into a second freshly charred oak barrel for a further period of ageing.
A nose of vanilla and caramel blended with freshly cut wood. Rich notes of oak, followed by scorched wood, vanilla and intense red fruits that leads to a long, slightly dry finish.

Jim Beam isn’t just for a great sip, it can also be housed within a cocktail –

Jim Beam - Double Oaked Fashioned
Jim Beam Double Oak Fashioned

Jim Beam Double Oak Fashioned

Glass –

Old Fashioned

Ingredients – 

50 ml Jim Beam Double Oak
4 dashes bitters
2 sugar cubes
1 orange
1 lemon

Method –

In an Old Fashioned glass, add the sugar cubes and bitters along with a little bourbon and ice. With a bar spoon, muddle and stir the liquid so the sugar starts to dissolve – repeat until complete. Then, cut a thin slice of peel from the orange. Pinch the orange peel and rub around the rim of the glass to coat with citrus oils. Repeat with the lemon. Garnish with the orange and lemon twists

or maybe this,

Man O' War
Man O’ War

Man O’ War

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients – 

20 ml Jim Beam Bourbon
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
12.5 ml water
10-15 large fresh mint leaves

Method – 

Combine all ingredients with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

But sometimes the best way to involve Jim Beam is within food –

Jim Beam Bourbon Whisky Cake

Ingredients – 

1 pound candied cherries
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 pound golden raisins, halved
6 eggs, separate yolks
2 cups Jim Beam Bourbon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces butter
1 pound pecans
2 cups sugar

Preparation – 

Soak cherries and raisins in Jim Beam Bourbon overnight. Grease a 10-inch tube pan and line with brown paper or parchment. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Sift flour and reserve 1/2 cup. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add egg yolks and beat well. Add soaked fruit and the remaining liquid, 4 1/2 cups flour, nutmeg, and baking power to butter mixture. Stir to combine. Beat egg whites by hand or with an electric mixer until they just barely hold stiff peaks. Fold into batter. Toss nuts with 1/2 cup reserved flour and fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 3 to 4 hours or until cake tests done. Remove from oven, cool slightly and turn onto rack to cool completely. To store when thoroughly cool, place in tightly covered container. Stuff centre hole with cheesecloth soaked in Jim Beam Bourbon. Drink any extra Jim Beam®. Wrap in heavy wax paper. It isn’t necessary to soak the cake in Jim Beam® Bourbon as it will be moist and flavourful. Keep very cool, in refrigerator if necessary. Makes 15 servings.

So not only is Jim Beam rich in history, it also shows off with its range as well as its versatility within both cocktails and food. What more can you ask for? It really does prove some valuable points for Jim Beam’s statement of being ‘The World’s No1. Bourbon’. See for yourself.

© 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.

El Gato Negro

 

 

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

Reolcating from Ripponden, West Yorkshire after 9 years to the heart of King Street, Manchester, the award-winning El Gato Negro shows off three floors of Spanish delights in the form of two bars and an open kitchen restaurant.

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Pineapple & Sage Sour

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 devised by Garry Foy, he’s embraced the Spanish flavours with a delight of tonics, serves and creations, including the Pineapple & Sage Sour (£9) which sees Pisco, Dark Rum, pineapple, sage and sherry vinegar that comes together for a sharp hit on the sherry, before balancing out to the pineapple and Pisco flavours. Catching your eye as you take in the menu include the likes of their House Tonics (all £8.50), seeing Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum & Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup & Soda, orange bitters, lime, apple slices and cinnamon sugar being brought to the table, or perhaps Bloom Gin and Thomas Harvey Tonic, mint, lime, vanilla sugar and strawberry for a fresher start to your visit. It’s not all about tonics though as the Agua De Valencia (£8.50)
is Spain within a glass as it combines the elements of gin, the Spanish Solerno blood orange liqueur, orange juice, lemon and Cava.

tumblr_o37wq5z6vS1ttt0l6o2_1280Once finishing your welcome, expect to be whisked upstairs to the 1st floor, where the sight of a long, thin room invites you to sit on the quaint tables and booths, or if you’re lucky, the Chef’s Table in view of the busy open kitchen. With a food menu ladened with delights, the team recommend 5-6 dishes between two people to really experience the flavour of El Gato Negro. Indeed, the likes of Pork chicharrón with crackling, apple purée, olive oil and toasted sourdough (£6), or the Fillet of line-caught hake, parsley sauce and buttered new potatoes (£11), which incidentally offers some of the finest cooked fish in Manchester, are highlights to rival the stunning Confit of belly pork with rosemary-flavoured arrocina beans (£9.50). Keeping the sherry element going, try the Sourdough bread with olive oil and Pedro Ximénez balsamic (£2.50), or perhaps the classic meatballs with tomato fritarda sauce (£7.50) that’s fresh with a light, creamy sauce, perfect to accompany a bottle of Celler del Roure Setze Gallets 2012, Valencia (£29), picked by Master of Wine Miles Corish.

The surrounds of exposed brick, soft lighting, toned red booths and authentic Spanish artwork are a perfect transport to bringing Spain to Manchester, but The Black Cat could top off your El Gato Negro experience. Especially if the weather is kind. Just head to the 2nd floor to finish.

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The Chef’s Table

The Vísperas (£10) offers you a combination of Belvedere, Sipsmith gin, dry vermouth, olive brine, Lagavulin spray and Balsamic Caviar as you sit in the lounge area, adorned with table service from the knowledgeable barkeepers. Perhaps the Boulevardier (£10) which offers to you Eagle Rare Bourbon, Antica and Campari, could be a winner, especially when served within a glass pipe. And if it’s sunny in Manchester? Expect the magic of El Gato Negro as the roof of The Black Cat will retract and offer you the rays that adorns King Street every once-in-a-while.

Spain, as expected, is well served across all three floors, with Moritz, Estrella Damm and El Gaitero cider available to enjoy, plus the best Sherry menu Manchester has to offer, mixing the well-known Emilio Lustau range with examples of Rodriguez La-Cave Manzanilla ‘Barbiana’ and Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada 2013, Montilla Moriles.

I suppose what I’m trying to get across is, if you love Spain, appreciate its culture, its food and its drinks, El Gato Negro is the place to top the list. The hype is heard and rewarded, the service is as expected for an award-winning venue, the drinks fit the style of both the decor and reasoning behind El Gato Negro, essentially offering you a Manchester gem, and the food is beyond exceptional.

Ladies and Gentleman. I give to you El Gato Negro. I’d book a table if I were you.

© 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.

Burns Night At Merchants Tavern

london burns night

Head Chef Neil Borthwick (a Scot himself, through and through) at Merchants Tavern in Shoreditch has hatched a bespoke menu to celebrate this great Scottish tradition in true Tavern style. Expect his usual seasonal fare with a distinctly Scottish stamp including haggis croquettes, red deer, a mouth-watering Scottish heather and honey tart and Isle of Aran cheese (£40 per head, full menu below).

At the bar, guests will be treated to the Rabbie’s Dram cocktail (£9.50) mixed with Laphroaig, Drambuie, Cherry Heering liqueur, honey and grapefruit and served with a Robert Burn’s poem on a neat little scroll. For £25 guests can also sample a whisky flight comprising Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Talisker 18yo and Lagavulin 10yo.

Serving seasonal modern European food, Merchants Tavern in Shoreditch is a creative collaboration between Angela Hartnett and Head Chef Neil Borthwick. The ethos behind the critically acclaimed restaurant is focused on top quality drinks and food that is refined yet honest.

BURNS NIGHT AT MERCHANTS TAVERN

Haggis croquettes.

Cock-a-leekie soup & prunes.
Salmon & dill mousse, soda bread.

Red deer haunch of venison with creamed cabbage endive.
Chicken pie, grain mustard & whisky.

Scottish heather honey tart, creme fraiche.
Isle of Arran cheese and oatcakes.

£40

(Vegetarians are also welcome – an alternative menu option will be available)

WHISKY FLIGHT

Johnny Walker Blue Label
Talisker 18year old
Lagavulin 10year old

£25

RABBIE’S DRAM COCKTAIL

Laphroig 10 Year Old peated whisky
Drambuie
Cherry Heering
Grapefruit and honey

£9.50