The Père Magloire National Calvados Week, in association with UK creator Emporia Brands, returns Monday 16th October 2016 until the Sunday 22nd October 2017, taking place within 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 Swift, Merchant House, Baranis, German Gymnasium and Plotting Parlour.
Other venues and highlights for the week include such Edinburgh stalwarts as Panda & Sons, Heads & Tales, Voodoo Rooms, Bramble and The Bon Vivant, as well as Glasgow based The Finnieston, Porter & Rye and Drugstore Social. 45 West in Leicester are also showcasing their serves, as well as Jekyll & Hyde in Birmingham, Alvino’s in Newcastle and Last Chance Saloon in Nottingham amongst others.
Meanwhile, participating Waitrose stores will be running an in-store price promotion for the month of October, seeing Père Magloire VSOP 50cl with 20% off. Scotland are covered by Drinkmonger and Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh, plus independent stores across England including Riddles Emporium in South Manchester, 23 Wine & Whisky in Leicester and Fenwick’s in Newcastle. We’ve also partnered with The Drink Shop, who are offering 20% off all Père Magloire products throughout National Calvados Week.
Highlights of the week involve the Telegraph Aperitifs and Digestifs evening that kicks off the celebration on Friday 13th October, TimeOut London are also hosting an evening of Père Magloire to launch the promotion within MASH London, exclusive for their members, and John Lewis on Oxford St and Soho Whisky Club, both in London, are also getting in on the action with their own tasting evenings.
In addition, Fever Tree, Franklins, Fentimans, Double Dutch and Peter Spanton No.1 Tonic are the principle sponsors for this year’s signature serve, promoted within all participating venues across the UK, the Père Magloire and tonic;
50 ml Père Magloire VS Topped with chosen 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 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. To view the video, head to http://www.nationalcalvadosweek.com/press
Back in April, a brand named Vulson came out to the UK from the French Alps and showed off their first aged rye whisky, Vulson Old Rhino Rye. Ever the one to be intrigued, I thought I’d take a peek into the expression and see what’s going on in the world of French whisky.
Vulson is a working partnership between agronomist Frédéric Revol, owner and master distiller at Domaine des Hautes Glaces (located in the western Alps – 30 miles south of Grenoble in the south-eastern French department of Isère), and Xavier Padovani – director of Experimental Cocktail Club and former brand ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin and Monkey Shoulder.
Named in honour of Marcus Vulson de la Colombière, a famous heraldist and poet who constructed the domaine’s chateau in 1616, Vulson Old Rhino Rye is the second expression to be released (after the un-aged Vulson White Rhino), and see’s 100% organic malted rye, grown on the estate itself, used. After a triple-distillation, the spirit is left to aged for 4 years in the French Alps (one year in French oak followed by three more in Cognac casks), before being bottled using a gravity system (similar to Sweden’s Mackmyra whiskey).
So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Vulson Old Rhino Rye– 45%
Bright notes of toffee and fudge, with stoned cherry and soft pear upon the nose. Clean flavours of fresh spice, followed by candied orange, freshly cut wood and small burst of citrus juice. Ginger presents itself for the long, intense finish.
An interesting tipple from the French, but one that is enjoyable I’m sure for all. It lacks the dryness you can get from American rye whiskey, so this could favour the sweeter palates. One for the drinks cabinet for sure, and from what I can gather, you may need to make room on your shelf for future releases!
The classic dry martini cocktail is one of the world’s most internationally recognised cocktails and on Friday 19 June, we celebrate its longstanding reputation with World Martini Day. NOILLY PRAT®, one of the world’s finest French vermouths since 1813, is a key ingredient in the classic dry martini cocktail. Here are four ways to celebrate World Martini Day with Noilly Prat.
Enjoy the original, world class Noilly Prat classic dry martini cocktail recipe or discover three unique expressions, inspired and created by some of the world’s best bartenders for Noilly Prat’s inaugural cocktail challenge. Since the competition began in September 2014, leading drinks experts from around the world judged each bartender’s twist on the iconic classic dry martini cocktail.
CLASSIC DRY MARTINI COCKTAIL
1 part Noilly Prat Original Dry
2 parts GREY GOOSE® vodka or BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin
Dash of orange bitters
Lucques olive to garnish
1. Place all the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice + stir well
2. Single strain into a classic cocktail glass
3. Garnish with a cocktail onion
NOILLY PRAT DRY MÉDITERRANÉE WINNER OF THE 2015 NOILLY PRAT CLASSIC DRY MARTINI COCKTAIL CHALLENGE
Created by: Romain de Saussure, Prescription Cocktail Club, Paris, France
20ml Noilly Prat Original Dry
40ml homemade tincture (Bombay Sapphire infused with Noilly Prat, green olives and rosemary)
1. Prepare and clean martini glasses and chill in the freezer
2. Fill a mixing glass with ice
3. Add Noilly Prat Original Dry and Bombay Sapphire
4. Add the grapefruit peel and stir until perfectly diluted and cold
5. Strain into chilled glasses and garnish with rosemary and cheese (optional)
NOILLY PRAT FRENCH PRIDE
Created by: Steve Lawson, MASH, London, UK
60 ml Noilly Prat Original Dry
35 ml Bombay Sapphire
Half bar spoon of truffle honey
Garnish with hand stuffed olives
1. Pour 60ml of Noilly Prat Original Dry into a mixing glass with ice
2. Add 35ml of Bombay Sapphire and stir
3. Add half a barspoon of truffle honey
4. Strain and serve in a classic dry martini cocktail glass
5. Garnish with hand stuffed olives NOILLY PRAT THE DAYBOAT’S RETURN
Created by: Piotr Sajdak, Little Red Door, Paris, France
40ml Noilly Prat Original Dry
20ml Bombay Sapphire
10ml Ocean tincture (10ml of oil of anchovies | 50ml of polish spirit | 20ml violet)
1. Fill a mixing glass with ice
2. Add Noilly Prat Original Dry and Bombay Sapphire
3. Add homemade Ocean tincture
4. Stir slowly
5. Strain into a chilled coupe glass
6. Garnish with a linen bag as a nod to the fishermen
Continuing a little from the inspiration behind the feature on the Nardini range, it was to be around this time that I came across the French name of Distilleries et Domaines de Provence. Looking at the photo above, you may be hard pressed to recognise the labels, or indeed the names, but this very reason is behind the initiative that Mal Spence had with the Inverso Masterclass, giving the light of day to a brand that offers something a little different.
Lets dive in.
Distilleries et Domaines de Provence is a name who have been in the history books since 1898, creating and producing Provençal liqueurs and aperitifs in Forcalquier, located in the Haute Provence region of France. This specific region is also recognised as a “Site Remarquable du Goût” (Site of Exceptional Taste). The inspiration behind the setup came from the tradition of collecting medicinal plants on Lure mountain, an area known for its abundance of plant species. It’s here that gatherers from as far back as the Middle Ages carefully harvested and distilled the herbs, eventually turning into pharmacists or apothecaries. Around the 19th century, beverages were starting to become popular, with digestifs and aperitifs becoming a common sight, and the act of drawing out the plants aromas and substances became the force behind many of today’s liqueurs and aperitifs.
The vermouths that are being focused on here, are produced from four different recipes using ingredients which are harvested locally and marinated with local provence wine. Lets take a look at each expression a little close –
Distilleries et Domaines de Provence Gentiane de Lure – 16%
One of the two oldest Distilleries et Domaines de Provence recipes, gentian roots are collected then dried before putting them into a liqueur wine to extract the flavours. On this base, they incorporate fresh gentian roots, sweet and bitter oranges and Peruvian bark. When maceration ends (in six months to a year), the gentian roots, citrus peels and Peruvian bark are separated from the alcohol extract called an infusion. This infusion will be mixed with the liqueur wine and alcohol and Lubéron white wine. After combining the different ingredients, the Gentiane de Lure is aged in a barrel for 6 weeks.
Plenty of herbal and citrus notes combining on the nose. Rich, ripe yet becomes slowly lighter. A burst of bold citrus on the palate, although subdues quickly to give a mellow, fresh aromatic herbal flavour. Lingering with a slight bitterness.
Distilleries et Domaines de Provence Noix de la Saint Jean – 15%
Produced by the infusion of green nuts obtained by maceration of fresh nuts (Dauphiné, Mayette and Franquette varieties) according to the tradition on St. John’s day (the origin of the name of this aperitif). The nuts are crushed in an old arm crusher then placed to macerate in a mixture of wine and alcohol for 6 to 12 days in order to extract all of the aromatic part of the fruit. A maceration of stain of dry nuts also is made.
A maceration of spices (cinnamon, cloves, peppers, nutmeg) is made fifteen days before the final product is created.
When these macerations end, they draw out the infusions: green nut infusion, nut stain infusion and infusion of aromatics to add them to the aperitif. The fruit or spices are then distilled.
The infusions, spirits and flavors are mixed into the wine, sugar and alcohol to make the Noix de la Saint Jean. Then, it will be necessary to wait 5 to 6 months in order to drink the aperitif.
Lots of walnut, dried fruit and oatmeal bread notes on the nose. Ripe berry flavours upon the palate, with a slight sweetness creating a smooth texture. Aromatic walnut is present on the lingering finish.
Distilleries et Domaines de Provence Orange Colombo – 15%
Produced by creating orange infusions made from orange rinds, Côte d’Azur type “green ribbons,” and sweet orange rinds macerated in a water and alcohol mixture. After combining the various ingredients, it is then aged in a barrel for 6 weeks.
Ripe orange ring hits the nose first, but mellows slightly with orange spice and mandarin aromas. Well-balanced on the palate, with sweeter notes counteracting the bitter orange. Plenty of aromatic orange zest on the light yet very dry finish.
Distilleries et Domaines de Provence Rinquinquin – 15%
Three variety of peaches are picked when ripe, including The Cardinale, The Coronet and The Junegold. The peaches are picked at the end of October when they start to take on their golden colour. The fruit and leaves are placed to macerate separately in mixtures of alcohol and wine, and takes between 6 and 12 months to obtain the fruit and leaves aromas for the resulting infusions. After blending the three peach infusions, the Rinquinquin is aged in barrels for 6 months.
Intense, ripe peaches on the nose, with a slight citrus zest coming through. Natural sweetness of the peaches come through on the palate, with a bold, dry hit of the peach hitting near the flesh driven finish.
Some fantastic aperitifs here, and ones to enjoy either on its own, over ice, or as part of one of these –
45 ml Rye Whisky
15 ml Rinquinquin
1 drop of Angostura Bitters
Mix the ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Martini glass.
40 ml Orange Colombo
20 ml Cranberry juice
10 ml lime juice
Mix all the ingredients in a shaker and serve in the ice-filled glass. Decorate with 2 cherries on a stick in the glass.
Some fantastic ideas to enjoy a refreshing alternative to your usual tipple. Bartenders are coming across these flavours more and more, offering simple ideas to enjoy not just before a meal, but whatever time of day. Pick yourself a bottle or two up and take your palate in a different direction this Spring.
Make your Mum feel like one-in-a-million this Mother’s Day by whisking her up a Fruity Muma. Created by Shaker and Company especially for Bénédictine, this fruity fizz is an elegant twist on the classic Bellini, and the perfect cocktail indulgence for your Mum.
A blend of sweet, herbal Bénédictine, sublime juicy peach and piquant pineapple flavours topped off with ice-cold Prosecco to lighten and lengthen, Fruity Muma is a dream drink for Mum’s who are fans of fizz with a zing!
It’s also a breeze to make, just follow the simple instructions below:
15ml Peach Puree
15ml Pineapple juice
10ml Lemon Juice
Top with Prosecco
Garnish: Lemon Twist
Measure the Bénédictine, peach puree, pineapple juice and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker. Add lots of ice and shake vigorously for 4 seconds. Strain the liquid into a chilled champagne flute then slowly top up the drink with Prosecco, stirring carefully to ensure all the ingredients are properly combined.
Finally, a vibrant lemon twist garnish is sure to make the Fruity Muma appealing to the eye as well as the pallet, but we suggest personalising the experience by topping with her favourite fruit, making your Mum feel special on her special day.
Liqueurs is a funny category. Many of you may not realise how much liqueurs you can consume in a life-time. Cocktails, after-dinner, pre-dinner, coffee, hot chocolate all could have some kind of liqueur to usually sweeten up or emphasize a flavour. They can be seen on bars around the world but rarely would you point one out and know what flavour it’s going to unleash. Well if you see the following – I’ll ask you to tip your hat.
First bottled in 1892, but produced some time before, Mandarine Napoléon was said to be a personal favourite of the Corsican-born emperor, Napoléon Bonaparte. Napoléon’s physician, Antoine-Francois de Fourcroy, first had the idea of macerating mandarins in alcohol and then blending the distillate with cognac. The finest essential oils of mandarins and its distinctive flavour comes from Sicilian oranges. Four spices, rich in essential oils and aromatics, and two plants achieve this unique composition of flavours, with the colour drawn from these giving the spirit a natural look.
Due to the status of mandarines being rather exclusive, and able to thrive on the Corsica island of home-boy Napoléon Bonaparte. It is believed that he acquired the taste for the macerated mandarines served to him by his physician.
The liqueur as we know it today started out in 1892 after being refined according to a recipe with cognac, mandarin orange peel from Corsica, Sicily and Andalusia and a secret mix of herbs and spices. It was then matured for three years. The recipe hasn’t changed and is now sold world-wide and winning awards along the way.
So how does Mandarine Napoléon fair? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Mandarine Napoléon – 38%
Fantastic fresh, ripe mandarin aroma on the nose that carries on nicely onto the palate. Incredible sweetness but hit with a bold, warmth of fresh fruit and citrus as it draws out.
Mandarine Napoléon XO – 40%
Just 2000 bottles of this were produced in 2008. Mandarin peels are macerated and blended with the 27 herbs and spices that make the Mandarine secret recipe. The resulting distillate is then combined with Grande Champagne XO cognac (which makes up a generous 43% of the total) to create this Grande Reserve.
Light and fragrant upon the nose, with soft notes of the mandarine coming through. Sharp and rich once on the palate, with plenty of long, warm manadrine flavours on the finish. Exquisite.
Simple, bold, fresh. Perfect for this –
Mandarine’s Old Fashioned
50ml Mandarine Napoléon
Place one brown sugar cube into a glass and muddle with the bourbon. Add two splashes of Angostura Bitters and the Mandarine Napoléon with a good scoop of ice and stir well. Garnish with a mandarin peel twist.
Something easily created at home or in any bar that stocks a decent bourbon. Better get hunting. Bring a Napoléon styled hat too.