William Grant & Sons UK Appoints Fabiano Latham As Reyka Vodka UK Ambassador

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Independent family distillers, William Grant & Sons UK has today confirmed that former Chotto Matte Bar Director, Fabiano Latham, will take on the role of UK ambassador for Reyka Vodka, as of January 2017.

Fabiano’s new role as the Reyka UK ambassador will see him focus on generating brand awareness, building brand advocacy and bridging communication between the brand and consumer, bars & restaurants, retailers, distributors and press.

Gwilym Cooke, Brand Manager at William Grant & Sons UK said: “With his vast experience and exceptional reputation in the on-trade, Fabiano is the perfect candidate to take on the role of UK ambassador for Reyka. His innovative nature, creativity and passion for the industry will be key for the work he does with the team and our on-trade partners.”

Fabiano said: “I can’t wait to work with Reyka for so many reasons; it’s a truly unique product within the vodka category and like myself, an inventive spirit. I am fascinated with the provenance of brands and also the art of flavour pairing. The story of Reyka’s production and the versatility of the liquid itself suits this passion perfectly.”

Fabiano will take over from Joe Petch who has held the role since 2013. Joe will be taking on a new role as Global Brand Ambassador for William Grant & Sons UK brand, Monkey Shoulder Triple Malt Scotch Whisky.

Worlds’ First 24 Hour Cocktail Competition

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REYKA, Iceland’s first vodka, handcrafted in preciously small batches and born from the country’s magnificent natural resources has announced the world’s first 24hr cocktail competition. Bartenders across the UK will have the chance to win one of six places on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Iceland. They will be one of the privileged few to visit the Reyka distillery, visit majestic towering waterfalls and lava rock fields, witness lava rock filtration, taste the freshest water in the world and go to the critically acclaimed Secret Solstice Festival in Reykjavik.

Reyka continues to innovate in the vodka category with this unexpected and entirely original concept, taking inspiration from the 24 hours of sunshine in Iceland on the longest day of the summer solstice. The competition will be held at Sovereign Loss, Brixton, from 12pm on Monday 1st June until 12pm on Tuesday 2nd June 2015. Ninety-six bartenders will each prepare a cocktail they have created over a 24hr period, with a panel of judges on hand to rate each drink on appearance, aroma and taste. With one drink being made every 15 minutes, the competition will be fierce to secure one of the coveted spaces on the Reyka hosted trip.

The competition is open to all professional bartenders in the UK. Entrants will need to register for a one-hour slot in which to prepare their cocktail – which can be as inventive as they like (long, short, shaken, stirred etc.) as long as the base ingredient is Reyka vodka (max. 50ml).

Reyka Brand Ambassador Joe Petch says: “The Reyka 24hr cocktail competition was inspired by the creativity and resourcefulness of the Icelandic people, and the 24hrs of sunshine on the longest day of the summer solstice. We wanted to create an unconventional competition that will excite the bartending community and inspire them to be creative and do things a bit differently. The trip to Iceland for the Secret Solstice Festival is a fantastic prize and we’re looking forward to seeing what cocktail recipes are created”.

To enter the competition and be in with a chance of winning a place on the trip, bartenders should register for their cocktail making slot by emailing: reyka24hr@margaretlondon.com

Reyka is born of inventive, resourceful people and Iceland’s magnificent natural resources, which are uniquely distilled to create a one of a kind vodka. Made from bountiful crisp arctic water, some of the cleanest air in the world and filtered through lava rocks Reyka is then distilled in a carter-head still for ultimate purity. The process is powered by geo-thermal energy to create an award-winning vodka that tastes smooth, clean and crisp, making it a perfectly versatile spirit for cocktails.

The Secret Solstice Festival (19th – 21st June 2015) is held during the summer solstice weekend in Reykjavík, Iceland. Now in its second year, Secret Solstice is the only festival where the sun doesn’t set for three entire days, with festival-goers enjoying an unforgettable experience under the Midnight sun.  Showcasing both established artists and exciting up-and-coming talent; the festival has something for all music tastes.

Please drink Reyka Vodka responsibly.

The Next Bartender Robot . . . . .

Reyka

REYKA vodka Global Brand Ambassador Joe Petch has unveiled his latest bartender robot; a charmingly unconventional and resourceful invention – the Reyka Chainsaw Shaker.

The Shaker, which Joe plans to use over the summer, was created using 3hp petrol Husqvarna chainsaw, some scaffolding and other scrap parts. Joe said; “After shaking who knows how many cocktails in more bars and events than I can even remember, I decided I wanted to build a cocktail shaking machine. My challenge was: Build a powered cocktail shaker that, like Reyka, is resourceful and requires minimal exertion from the bartender.”

“After lots of integral research & testing we have worked out that we can perfectly shake 10 x Reyka Ramos Fizz cocktails in around 25 seconds after prepping them. Joe has also created a series of inventions including the Reyka Martini Dispenser and Hot Toddy Machine.

Reyka, Iceland’s first vodka is born of volcanoes and glaciers and handcrafted in preciously small batches by inventive people with creative minds.  Born from a country separated from the world and surrounded by magnificent natural resources it is filtered through lava rock and born of towering waterfalls of arctic spring water and some of the cleanest air in the world. It boasts a smooth-taste, silky finish and distinctive flavour, which makes it a perfectly versatile spirit for cocktails.

Reyka Designs Innovative Martini Machine To Guarantee The Perfect Serve

Reyka Martini Dispenser

The UK Ambassador for Reyka, the premium Icelandic vodka, has invented a Martini Dispenser that delivers perfect, ice cold Reyka cocktails every time.

Fuelled with a mix of Reyka vodka, vermouth and limited edition Reyka bitters; at the push of a button the Martini Dispenser pumps the cocktail through flash coolers that chill the liquid down to -18 degrees Celsius before neatly dispensing it from a brass tap into your martini glass. All that’s needed to perfect the cocktail is a final red grapefruit zest garnish.

Joe Petch, UK Brand Ambassador for Reyka, commented: “With several events on the horizon, I’ve been looking for a way for guests to serve their own perfectly cold Reyka Martinis. The machine we came up with reflects the inventive culture of Iceland, where people do things a little bit differently but also in a resourceful way – reinventing unwanted or unused objects to fulfil another purpose.”

“The continued growth in cocktails has meant that consumers are hungry for new and interesting brands, unique serves and creative bartending. More than two thirds of consumers are willing to pay more for a unique serve in the on-trade*, so being able to create the ‘perfect serve’ has never been so important.”

The Rekya Martini Dispenser was unveiled at Fortnum and Mason on Tuesday 9th December and will appear at various UK bars throughout 2015.

Kick Start Summer With Reyka Vodka Summer Solstice Cocktails

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The summer solstice is a national holiday in Iceland. In ‘the land of the midnight sun’, locals make the most of the 24 hours of continuous sunshine by packing in as many dinners, parties and festivals as possible.

Reyka, Iceland’s first vodka, is celebrating the holiday in the UK with summer solstice kits which have been placed in top bars to encourage bartenders to create innovative cocktails for the longest day of the year.

60 kits will be made available nationwide. The rugged packing crate contains information on the summer solstice and Iceland, sun jars, a terrarium, Reyka Icelandic bitters and a flavour mapping cocktail guide.

UK Reyka Brand Ambassador, Joe Petch will be visiting accounts using the Reyka summer solstice kits looking for creativity and inventive serves, and the top six bartenders will win a trip to Iceland to visit the home of Reyka vodka.
Alongside the on-trade kits, Reyka has created a series of solstice cocktails to encourage celebration of this year’s summer solstice in true Icelandic style. Eight Reyka cocktails have been developed, each with an inventive twist, taking inspiration from Iceland’s 24 hours of sunshine over the summer solstice.

Senior Brand Manager for Reyka vodka at First Drinks, James O’Connor commented: “Summer solstice is a major event in Iceland and a real source of creativity and inventiveness for islanders. We want to bring this spirit and energy to the UK with Reyka, and share it with UK bartenders.
“Vodka is still the most popular spirit in the on-trade and we’re seeing top bartenders getting more and more creative with it. We’re excited to see the kinds of serves the kits inspire and look forward to sharing the Icelandic experience with the six winning bartenders.”
Celebrated on Saturday 21st June this year, the summer solstice is a significant event in the Icelandic calendar. The day is marked with 24 hours of celebrations, festivals and activities.

Reyka Bitters Tasting Notes

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Bitters can be a bartenders best friend. Most bars will have a box full of wonderful flavours, all adding a different dimension to your favourite drink. From the most famous to the most extensive, your never short on possibilities, both in a bar or indeed at home. It’s also common these days for collaborations, creating a brand with ties with a big brother. Reyka vodka from Iceland has done such a thing in the last month, releasing their Reyka Bitters to the market.

Created by Reyka’s Master Distiller Lesley Gracie, she used botanicals such as Icelandic moss, angelica leaf and crowberry juice, all sourced from Iceland itself. To keep it exclusive, she has only produced 300 bottles, available in the UK only, and indeed only for the on-trade for the time being. 

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

Reyka Bitters – 40%

Light and fragrant angelica on the nose with a slight sweetness of honey coming through. A bold start on the palate, with the honey becoming more dominant, followed by the sweetness of caramel that creates a short mouth-watering effect. Superb. 

A really lively tipple, especially compared to other brands of bitters. Reyka recommend it to be served best within one of its signatures too –

Bitter Reyka

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

50 ml Reyka vodka
2-3 drops of Reyka Bitters

Method – 

Pour the Reyka vodka over a couple of cubes of ice and add the bitters.

To coincide with the launch of Reyka Bitters back in March, William Grant (the company looking after Reyka Bitters here in the UK) ran a foraging expedition to Iceland with Reyka brand ambassador Joe Petch, for a group of British bartenders. For an expedition like this, and to really see the enthusiasm that Lesley Gracie had to create something a little different within the bitter category, must have been fantastic. To see a brand willing to open its world of not just how to produce, but to an extent how to create, is a rare treat, one that I hope to explore in the future! 

In the meantime, join me at the bar with a bottle of Reyka and some of their bitters. It’s time to enjoy.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. 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.

Einstök Tasting Notes

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‘The Einstök Brewery is located just 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle in the fishing port of Akureyri, Iceland where water flows from rain and prehistoric glaciers down the Hlíðarfjall Mountain through lava fields, delivering the purest water on earth and the perfect foundation for brewing deliciously refreshing handcrafted ales.’

Sounds good doesn’t it? It’s like that Icelandic story telling you hear when you visit museums. But instead of picking up pencil or rubber from the gift shop, you can grab yourself some Einstök instead. Ale lovers rejoice as Iceland has given us a name to toast all year round, and personally, what a cracking toast they make.

So how do I come to this conclusion? Let’s take a look at how the brand came about.

Baldur Karason became the first Icelander in fifty years to train at the prestigious brewing program at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. With this mighty qualification, he was named as Brewmaster and using his knowledge and creativity, he became the ideal man to become the head brewer for Einstök. It’s three founders Bernard La Borie, David Altshuler and Jack Sichterman hatched the idea to bring the hand-crafted Icelandic beer to the world, taking advantage of the location of Akureyri and the water available to them from the prehistoric glaciers, they have been able to create four expressions for the world to enjoy. I’ve been lucky enough to try the three main varieties, so below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Einstök White Ale – 5.2%

Clean and crisp on the nose with a very soft offering of orange. The softness continues onto the palate, with the orange present and a slightly creamy texture. Crisp, dry finish.

Einstök Pale Ale – 5.4%

Instant malt and citrus aromas on the nose that sharpens but soon mellows again. Soft on the palate, with a deep malt flavour and a thick caramel texture that creates a long after-taste.

Einstök Toasted Porter – 6%

Chocolate, roasted malts and dark fruit combine well on the nose, with coffee hints following. Malt dominates the palate, with the sweet fruit coming through alongside toffee and licorice. Slight dry finish.

They also have a limited edition winter brew named Doppelbock which I am yet to come across on my Einstök journey. The Toasted Porter is my personal favourite, but the Pale Ale and White Ale are a close runner. I never would have had Iceland down as an ale producer, but to come out with a brand like this, and for me to instantly warm to all three is by no mean feat. Grab yourself some bottles, and do as the Vikings did; Drink – Conquer – Repeat.

© 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.

Martin Miller’s Tasting Notes

Martin Miller’s is fast becoming one of those ‘must have’ premium gins to see on any back bar or drinks cabinet. But why is it becoming so popular, and even touching the heights of Tanqueray?

It all begins in the heart of England, the Black Country, and the use of batch distillation. Combining the two traditionalists (the industrial revolution and the prefered method of production for only a few gin producers), their copper pot still ‘Angela’ is the heart of Mr Martin Miller’s creation. Over 100 years old, it distills and infuses the botanicals of juniper, orange and lemon peel, coriander, liquorice, cinnamon, cassia, nutmeg, angelica and orris root. For real attention to detail though, the water to combine the infused alcohol comes from a 3,000 mile round trip via Iceland. The reason? Iceland has the softest, purest water on the planet. The glacial waters are up to 10 times purer than the standard bottled water found on sale today.

Martin Millers London Dry

So with botanicals sourced from all over the world, to a round trip of 3,000 miles – how does the finished product taste? Below i give to you my tasting notes on the two products.

Martin Miller’s London Dry – 40%

Dominated by citrus notes on the nose, but subtle floral aromas follow slowly. Rather mellow on the palate, with a slight dryness. It gives off some interesting citrus flavours with juniper overtones with a hint of peppercorn on the odd occasion. A slow-fading after-taste of floral and citrus.

Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength – 45.2%

Juniper aromas swirl well with short, sharp hints of citrus on the nose, whilst the palate enjoys a rich yet smooth flavour of spice and citrus, which develops into a long finish.

Two fantastic offerings to get your hands on, but what happens if you create a cocktail?

The London Cup

Glass –

Jug – served with two rocks glasses

Ingredients –

50ml Martin Miller’s Gin Westbourne Strength
50ml Martini Rosso
30ml Campari
30ml Cointreau
50ml fresh pink grapefruit juice

Method –

Mix all ingredients. Top with Fever Tree lemonade and garnish with slices of cucumber, lemon, strawberry, pink grapefruit, blackberry. Add a sprig of mint for garnish.

A great sharing cocktail for the summer!

Take a look at the rest of the photos, taken at 24 Bar and Grill, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. 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.