Stranger and Sons Gin Launches in the UK

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Stranger & Sons, one of the first gins to be made in India since the country gained independence in the 1940s, as well as one of only a handful to reach UK shores, has launched. Stranger & Sons is the debut gin from the team at Third Eye Distillery, based off the beaten track in Ponda, a district in South Goa with a rich history of spice farming.

Introducing Stranger & Sons

The creation of Mumbai-based Sakshi Saigal, alongside her husband Rahul Mehra and her cousin Vidur Gupta, Stranger & Sons celebrates the abundance and diversity of high quality botanicals and inherently Indian spices, which provide the gin with its unique flavor.

An ode to India’s agricultural and spice heritage, Stranger & Sons is distilled with a selection of seven botanicals found in the country’s household kitchens, in addition to juniper and angelica root. These include a bouquet of locally cultivated and handpicked spices such as coriander seeds, black pepper and cassia bark along with a blend of four Indian citrus peels.

The resulting gin is a light and refreshing, three-dimensional spirit with spiced overtones, followed by an earthy, sweet aftertaste.

Inspired by the wonderful strangeness found in India’s cultural diversity, colour and customs, the founders named their gin ‘Stranger’, whilst ‘& Sons’ refers to the common suffix of traditional Indian family-owned businesses that are passed down through generations within that family.

Third Eye Distillery

Utilising the best in contemporary technology, Stranger & Sons gin is distilled in small batches in a state of the art iStill which has been calibrated to highlight the individual flavours of each of the nine botanicals and spices that lend this three-dimensional spirit its characteristic complexity and aroma, and ensures a consistent batch every time.

Crucial to the Third Eye Distillery’s operation is the support of the local community. Women from a local self-help group are employed to peel the four local citrus fruits that perfume the gin, before the distillery returns the flesh of the fruit to them. The women then use this surplus fruit to create pickles and cordials for Stranger & Sons’ cocktails, thus providing them with additional income and minimising food waste.

Stranger serves

Stranger & Sons has created two signature serves that celebrate the relationship they have with the local community in Goa, and India’s history of pickling: the classic Gibson Martini, made using pickles, and the Gimlet, made with fruit cordial. Versions of these serves are currently available at the likes of Happiness Forgets, Sager + Wilde and TT Liquor.

Stranger & Sons is offering bartenders a cordial invitation to join its peculiar path of pickling, encouraging each to put their stamp on these signature cocktails and inspiring them on a journey of making pickles and cordials.

Stranger & Sons will be available later this month to the on-trade through Scotch+Limon, Third Eye Distillery’s exclusive UK distribution partner.

Speaking on the upcoming launch, Stranger & Sons co-founder Sakshi Saigal said:

“As avid gin drinkers, we always heard of India spoken about in gin circles, as the country has long been a vital supplier of botanicals for the international gin market; but surprisingly there weren’t many craft gins being created in India. So we decided to distil our own quality Indian spirits, starting with this small batch gin which uses common spices and botanicals found in every Indian household.

“We have carefully sourced the majority of our spices from the Indian spice belt, and fruits from across the country to create a gin which perfectly captures the spirit of India. We are so excited to be launching Stranger & Sons in the UK, and we can’t wait to see the creativity of UK bartenders and the serves they come up with.”

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Rampur Single Malt Indian Whisky From The Himalayas Launches In The UK

rampurbottlewithglassRadico Khaitan’s Rampur Indian Single Malt Whisky launches in October. Rampur is an Indian Single Malt Whisky, handcrafted and aged in the foothills of the Himalayas. Distilled in India’s oldest distillery, this super premium malt whisky is steeped in rich Indian heritage and tradition.

Rampur Single Malt is distilled in traditional copper pot stills, matured in India’s largest and oldest distillery dating back to 1943 and is then non chill-filtered and bottled at 43%. The unique distilling location of the Himalayan foothills exposes the whisky to polar opposite climate conditions throughout the year, with the flavour of the famous Indian Summer giving Rampur an added dimension and depth. As Indian whisky matures significantly more quickly than other whiskies, such as Scotch and Irish, Rampur benefits from a smooth, mellow taste with a long-lasting finish.

Master Blender, Anup Barik brings decades of expertise and perfection to the blending of this fine whisky and is the Master behind Rampur’s distinctive malty, creamy vanilla taste, with hints of apricot & apple and sweet & wine-like finish.

Considered the Kohinoor of Single Malts, Rampur is a touch of understated luxury. Each bottle is presented in a white and gold drum with a hand crafted silk pouch reflecting India’s style and heritage.

Sanjeev Banga, President of International Business for Radico Khaitan, comments, “Rampur is for the discerning single malt consumer. Single Malt consumers prefer uniqueness in the taste. They are always keen to try a new malt. Rampur is different yet pleasing, spicy but balanced.”

Head to The Whisky Exchange, www.thewhiskyexchange.com, and splash the cash for only  £40.95!

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.

Hard Rock Cafe World Burger Tour

Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe are well-known for their burgers across the world, and all 199 sites have been coming up with creations that define their corresponding city. For the next two months though, customers are being invited to sample the aptly named Local Legendary Burger offerings, with 8 being highlighted at Manchester’s Hard Rock Cafe over the coming weeks.

So, if you pop in this weekend, you can grab yourself the Indian styles of the Tandoori Spiced Chicken Burger, coming complete with chicken breast marinated with authentic tandoori spice and fresh herbs, topped with Jack cheese, cucumber and mint yoghurt. Or perhaps the Java Lava Burger from Seattle, America that involves the beef patty rubbed with espresso to release a subtle flavour of coffee, alongside homemade lava sauce, java onions, Cheddar cheese and smoked bacon. This works perfectly with its American cousin the Maple Old Fashioned, Hard Rock Cafe’s twist on the classic American cocktail that uses Makers Mark bourbon, cherries, maple syrup and orange juice, garnished with a stick of crispy bacon.

Hard Rock CafeSan Antonio in America are also featured, giving you an insight into the city’s culture with their Jalapeño Cream Cheese Burger. This comes layered with double-battered jalapeño slices and jalapeño cream cheese, alongside red onion and Sriracha mayonnaise. The South Pacific island of Guam also makes an appearance with their Chamorro Burger, using island spices that are rubbed into the beef patty, with layers of Pepper Jack cheese and homemade Chamorro glaze and chilli paste on top. Perfect to accompany is the Mai Tai One On that features Mount Gay Eclipse rum, Cointreau, Monin Orgeat, fresh lime and orange juice.

Other cocktails that work perfectly with the World Burger Tour include the likes of the Pomegranate Mule, blending Absolut vodka, Monin Pomegranate and ginger beer together, as well as the Mezcarita that offers Del Maguey Mezcal, Cointreau, Malibu and fresh strawberries for a Mexican flavour.

Of course no visit to the Manchester cafe would be complete without the Lancashire Hot Pot Burger that features a de-constructed Lancashire Hot Pot, minted lamb pate, potato rosti and onion frazzles, all topped with gravy!

As of June 1st though, four new burger variations will be available, including delights from Miami, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Guatemala. So you have two reasons to pop in and really splash out on your cultured cuisine!

See you on the big booth at the back!

© 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.

Manchester Whisky Club Review – August

Manchester Whisky Club - Going Global

This past Thursday saw the eighth meeting of the Manchester Whisky Club, held at The Castle in Manchester. Just like last month, a theme was the order of the day, and as we had covered Ireland, Scotland, Japan and the USA, it made sense to take look at some of the lesser known whisky producing countries including Sweden, Taiwan and England. Club founder Andy brought with him 6 expressions, so without further a do, lets see how they all fared –

Mackmyra First Edition – 46.1%

Swedish. Very dry on the nose, a little damp but some sweetness follows. Ripe on the palate, a slight sweetness follows with wisps of cocoa coming through slowly. Short.

Three Ships 10yr Limited Edition – 43%

South Africa. Very light with a sherry and fruit salad nose with hints of vanilla. A sharp start on the palate with bold citrus flavours and a slight blend of peat and smoak.

Going Global
Going Global

Kavalan King Car Conductor – 46%

Taiwan. Rich fruit and a sherry nose, with a sharp, dry texture and flavours of banana on the palate. Creates a long finish.

Amrut Fusion – 50%

India. Dry yet bold with toasted barley aromas on the nose. Very sharp on the palate, with a mouth-watering and long flavour of citrus. It soon dries though, with a salty finish.

English Whisky Company Chapter 6 – 43%

England. Slight smoke on the nose with a light sweet peat aroma coming through. Very sweet on the palate though, with a long flavour of dark chocolate creating a smooth yet dry finish. Hints of iodine and sea salt pop through too.

Penderyn Madeira – 46%

Light on the nose but with sweet honey notes lingering around. Sharp citrus cuts through on the palate, with a dry spice and hints of green fruit coming through. Creates a long finish.

A great look around the world, with some surprising results. My personal favourite out of the range would have to be English Whisky Company Chapter 6, although the Mackmyra First Edition came a close second. There seemed to be a split divide on which whisky favoured each member, but the great thing about the club is, and I could guarantee on my behalf, there would have been a hesitation in purchasing a dram in a bar if I had ever come across these brands, now though, I’d not only purchase, I’d recommend.

Next on the agenda for the Manchester Whisky Club is a touch of India, with Paul John whisky being showcased by the chaps themselves.

Join Manchester Whisky Club here or follow them on Twitter at @MCRWhiskyClub and Facebook.

Check out the rest of the photos of the first meet via my Facebook page.

© 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.

Magic Moments Tasting Notes

Magic Moments

India is a growing country. Not one where you’d expect spirits to originate from, or be the fore runner in sales. But hold on though, India is one of the biggest consumers of whisky, and at the end of calendar 2012, McDowell’s No. 1 from Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits Ltd overtook Johnnie Walker to become the world’s largestselling whisky by volume, clocking sales of 19.5 million. Surprised? Working in the trade for a while now has thrown up the odd curve-ball, with names 5 years ago dropping out of the top selling spirits like flies, and countries like India taking full advantage. But it’s not just whisky that India has dabbled into lately, they’ve also made there presence felt within the vodka category, releasing Magic Moments to the UK.

Magic Moments originates from the second largest distillery in Asia, Radico, itself only established back in 1943. With its 4 distilleries and a whopping 33 bottling plants, it can say that it has had such illustrious customers such as Pernod Ricard, Diageo and Bacardi. It of course produces its own brands too, with names such as Whytehall and 8pm for the whisky market, Contessa and Bermuda for the rum category, Morpheus and Old Admiral brandy and of course Magic Moments vodka. This article though will concentrate on their new vodka experience.

Named alongside the tag line of ‘It’s Magic When Purity Blends With Smoothness’, Magic Moments is a triple distilled, rice grain gluten free vodka and launched back in 2006. Since then, it has won itself 36 international awards, not only for its standard variant, but also its six flavours. Magic Moments prides itself on being a versatile product, so below, i give to you my tasting notes alongside some recipe inspiration –

Magic Moments – 42.8%

Light to begin with on the nose, but develops a hard finish. A growing warmth on the palate, resulting in a slight spice hit on the back of the throat and a bold, long finish.

Magic Moments Lemon Grass and Ginger – 37.5%

Fresh on the nose with lots of citrus followed by subtle ginger. Soft on the palate, with the ginger dominating. A hit of freshness comes through before drying on the finish. Mixes well with lemonade, sparkling water or cola, a substitute for rum within a mojito, or within cure salmon with lemon grass.

Magic Moments Raspberry – 37.5%

Subtle nose of wild raspberry, leading to a sharp flavour on the palate. Bold raspberries with a slightly spiced finish.

Magic Moments Chocolate – 37.5%

Rich chocolate on the nose, with a bold cocoa aroma. The richness follows onto the palate, resulting in a lingering finish that has dominate toasted chocolate flavours. Mixes well with coffee and drizzled on top of ice cream.

Magic Moments Lemon – 37.5%

Very light on the nose with fresh lemons dominating the end. Soft on the palate, with the lemon more subtle. Short. Mixes well with cola.

Magic Moments Orange – 37.5%

Subtle on the nose, with dry orange aromas coming through. A developing flavour on the palate, with the orange rind with a slight burnt texture present. Very long and dry.

Like most vodkas, Magic Moments can be sipped straight or over ice, but if you ever come across the name in your local bar, try one of these –

Oriental Ale
Oriental Ale

Oriental Ale

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

60 ml Magic Moments Lemon Grass and Ginger
20 ml Sugar Syrup
15 ml Lime juice
3 pieces Fresh lemon grass
Ginger ale
Mint Sprig

Method –

Muddle lemon grass within a highball glass and add Magic Moments, sugar and lime juice. Add crushed ice and top with ginger ale. Garnish with lemon grass and mint sprig.

In only seven years, Magic Moments is already established within 24 countries around  the world, and the UK is embracing the versatility of the flavours. The Lemon Grass and Ginger as well as the Chocolate are my personal highlights, and two flavours you don’t usually associate with the vodka world.

India – pushing the boundaries. No wonder it’s a fast growing country in the drinks world.

© 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.