Aperol Tasting Notes

Aperol

Aperol has seen a bit of a resurgence lately, or to be fair, most summers. Why? Their signature serve comes into play and graces many a bar top. But do you really know what it is?

Way back in 1919, the Barbieri brothers presented to the International Fair of Padua a bright orange liqueur named Aperol. With the Italians embracing its bittersweet characteristics, the brothers took full advantage and created advertising campaigns, not only for the outside of bars, but inside too, effectively inviting customers in for an Aperol drink. They also targeted women, creating a campaign that was published in major newspapers expressing the fact that Aperol has a low alcohol content for the fitness conscious.

1950 saw the emergence of a classic twist. Based on the traditional Venetian white wine and soda, Aperol changed the rules and showcased 40 ml Aperol, 60 ml Prosecco and a splash of soda. Speaking of changes, the 1980’s saw Aperol begin to use the Aperol girl within promotional advertising, starting the now historic slogan: ‘I drink Aperol, what about you?’. Another famous phrase coined by Aperol is the 2007 advert with Amanda Rosa Da Silva walking along a row of tables to serve her customers, leading to the ending of ‘Happy Spritz, Happy Aperol’.

With classic ingredients in orange and rhubarb, how does this Italian aperitif fair? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Aperol – 11%

Light on the nose with soft scents of orange. The lightness continues onto the palate, with originally a sweet offering, before developing a slight bitterness on the finish. Fresh orange is evident, with rhubarb aromas lingering.

A great liqueur on its own, but its most famous for its signature serve –

Aperol Spritz
Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients – 

3 parts Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 splash of soda

Method – 

Combine together in a glass with ice and garnish with half a slice of orange.

* 1 part = 25 ml

A great summer drink, and indeed all round year drink too. Aperol grows by the year and with its iconic marketing, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Better grab yourself a bottle and join in!

© 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.

Bepi Tosolini Tasting Notes

Bepi Tosolini

Liqueurs is a growing category, one that can include virtually any ingredient. There are your diverse brands who distinguish themselves away from the norm, but there are also your classics that will be in many a cocktail or drink. One classic flavour to be found is strawberry, and recently I’ve come across a brand that takes it a little differently.

Bepi Tosolini is not just the name of the brand, but also the name of the master distiller and the reason for its existence. But its origins start with an Italian brandy named grappa. Bepi was the first to use ash barrels for the aging of brandy to capture all the aromas of the distillate. The intuition and expertise of Bepi Tosolini lead to innovations in the field of the production of distillates and Bepi specially built his stills manually, which are still used today.

The steam within the still has been devised to gently transport the alcohol vapors upwards, while keeping intact the scents and aromas, to obtain that pure distillate.

The Spezieria range of fruit liqueurs is a branch to the wide portfolio that Bepi Tosolini offers, which below, I offer my tasting notes on one of this range –

Fragola – 24%

4 months infused and distilled wild strawberries. Sweet notes of strawberry on the nose with a ripe, slightly bitter flavour of the wild strawberry on the palate. A sweet, lingering ending.

An intriguing flavour of strawberry, helped with the small strawberries inside the bottle to give that extra boost. With others in the range including coffee, liquorice, bitter lemon and blueberry, they’re onto something rather unique.

 

Other expressions that branch off the Bepi Tosolini range include –

Mascarada Amaretto – 28%

Light but a heavy almond follows on the nose, with sweet hints. Again light on the palate with spice evident from the beginning. Not as sweet but it lingers for a while and a warmth grows.

I am yet to see these in any bar or restaurant, but if you ever come across the range, give them a go. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

© 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.

Disaronno Amaretto Tasting Notes

Disaronno

1525 was a long time ago. Santa Marta, the first city in Colombia, was founded and the Bubonic Plague spreaddi in southern France. Also, during the Italian Renaissance, the artist Bernardino Luini, a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci, was commissioned to paint a fresco of the Madonna of the Miracles in Saronno. To portray the Madonna, he chose a beautiful local innkeeper. As a mark of her gratitude, she prepared for the artist a special gift of a flask full of an amber liqueur. The legend that is Disaronno had begun.

In 1600, many families would distill their own liqueurs and digestives, with the Reina family doing just that after rediscovering the innkeeper’s old recipe. Passing it down over generations, the popularity of the closely guarded recipe grew as during the first years of the twentieth century, Domenico Reina decided to open a store and workshop near the terminus of the tram line from Milan, situated in the heart of Saronno. It was here that the Disaronno Originale was produced and sold commercially.

1942 saw the iconic ‘square bottle’ come into force and during the 1960’s, the rest of Europe and the USA grew to enjoy the brand. In the seventies, a master glass maker from Murano, Venice, hand-crafted the unique ‘square bottle’ made from softly sparkling glass, and formed the now familiar design.

So with over 448 years of history, how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Disaronno Amaretto – 28%

Instant hit of sweetness on the nose with a strong dominating almond aroma. Softer on the palate however with a rather short, sweet flavour of almond and marzipan.

Although primarily offered as a digestif, lately many a Disaronno cocktail has popped up –

Disaronno Julia
Disaronno Julia

Disaronno Julia

Glass – 

Martini

Ingredients – 

40 ml Disaronno
15 ml White rum
25 ml Liquid cream
15 ml Grenadine
4 Fresh strawberries

Method – 

Mix all ingredients in a blender with ice and pour into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a strawberry.

or

Godfather

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients –

20 ml Disaronno
30 ml Scotch whiskey

Method –

Pour ingredients over ice.

Great versatility for a classic Amaretto. Always a staple of many a bar too, and quite possibly in your drinks cabinet at home.

Check out more photos via my Facebook page and purchase a bottle here.

© 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.

Galliano Tasting Notes

Galliano

Everyone loves a fancy bottle. Bartenders especially, love to create a drink using something a little quirky, plus it’s always a fantastic talking point. Galliano is no exception.

Created in 1896 by Italian distiller and brandy producer Arturo Vaccari of Livorno, Tuscany, he named his creation after Giuseppe Galliano ‘Maggiore Galliano’, an Italian Hero. According to the Galliano website, ‘Giuseppe Galliano in Christmas 1895, during the 1887 – 1896 Italian campaign in Abyssinia, he spent 44 days holding the Fort of Enda Jesus against an Abyssinian force of some 80,000 troops. He had a force of 2000 hardy soldiers, meaning he was outnumbered by 40 to 1. Some feat. For his efforts he received an immediate promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and a silver medal from the King’.

Arturo Vaccari noticed a gap in the market when it came to honouring fallen heroes, and in 1896, set about creating a new liqueur at his distillery. After a bit of research, Vaccari created a liqueur that, legend has it, was based on a homemade tipple that Galliano always carried into battle. In a nod towards the efforts of Italian’s travelling to America for the Californian gold rush, he also decided his liqueur would be golden in colour.

Vaccari’s efforts paid off when in the 1970’s, Galliano became America’s biggest selling liqueur. The blend of over 30 different herbs, spices, roots, barks and flower seeds (including Mediterranean anise, juniper, musk yarrow, star anise, lavender, peppermint, cinnamon and vanilla) even created one of the worlds most famous cocktails, and with it a legendary story –

A bumbling surf dude called Harvey, who after a few too many Screwdrivers that he had laced with Galliano, found himself bouncing down the hallway to his room. Hence the craze began for that most famous of Galliano cocktails – The Harvey Wallbanger. 

Galliano is also rather unique in its creation, enlisting the help of a tiny premises at Via Cavour, Numero 11, Torino. It was here in 1880, that brothers Riccardo and Pietro Maraschi established their liqueur extracts business involving hydraulic infusions of herbs and spices. Such was the Maraschi brothers’ talent for extracting intense and true flavours and fragrances, that the celebrated collaboration between the liqueur maker and supplier flourished for over 100 years. Maraschi & Quirici are still found in Torino and to this day, Maraschi & Qurici are the sole providers of the ingredients for Galliano.

So how does Galliano fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Galliano L’Autentico – 30%

Fresh nose of soft vanilla and a slight hint of aniseed, although this becomes stronger once onto the palate. Vanilla and liquorice flavours dominate and creates a slight burn near the end.

Not a bad digestif, but Galliano has been used in many a cocktail too –

Livorno Cup
Livorno Cup

Livorno Cup

Glass – 

Wine

Ingredients – 

15 ml Galliano L’Autentico
30 ml Gin
30 ml Martini Rosso
1 Lime squeeze
Top up with ginger beer

Method –

Build ingredients into an ice-filled wine glass. Garnish with a mint twig, orange and lemon slice.

or

Daiquiri Milano

Glass – 

Martini

Ingredients –

20 ml Galliano Vanilla
40 ml Light rum
20 ml Fresh grapefruit juice
10 ml Fresh lime juice

Method – 

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a pre-chilled glass. Garnish with a grapefruit zest.

You may have noticed the Daiquiri variation above asks for Galliano Vanilla, created from a demand that some consumers preferred to have a stronger tone of vanilla. Galliano also has one more variation to add to its portfolio – Ristretto. An espresso liqueur that uses two different types of coffee beans as well as a variety of countries used including strong, bitter Robusta beans from Kenya and India blended with the creamy chocolate Arabica coffee beans from Brazil and Colombia.

So for something a little different, Galliano is the way to go, whichever variant you choose.

Check out more photos 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.

Frizz Coffee Tasting Notes

Now I’m not a coffee loving person, but my palate is always open to new and exciting products, with Frizz Coffee being the latest to tantalize. Frizz Coffee is a premium Italian espresso drink with hints of caramel and vanilla mixed with soda. Made in Calabria, Italy, Frizz Coffee is based on a century-old recipe and markets itself as a great alternative to other ready-to-drink beverages.

Frizz Coffee

Instant hit of coffee on the nose, but mellows nicely to become a rather light and fresh. Again light on the palate with a slight carbonated feel. Reminiscent of cola, but has a more mild flavour of coffee and vanilla that creates a lasting after-taste.

Frizz Coffee is also been advertised to being a mixer in cocktails including –

Frizz & Cream – Pour Frizz Coffee over ice and add Half & Half to taste for a decadent creamy drink.

Frizz Float – Fill glass with vanilla ice cream, pour in the Frizz Coffee.

Frizz Mudslide – Fill glass with ice, add one shot each of Irish cream liqueur & coffee liqueur.  Pour in Frizz, stir and serve.

Frizzkey –  Pour whiskey in large glass filled with ice, add Frizz Coffee, stir.

“White” Frizztini – Mix in cocktail shaker with ice; 1/2 shot Kahlua, 1/2 shot Vanilla Vodka, 1/2 shot half & half or cream, 1/2 bottle Frizz Coffee.  Shake, strain into glass and serve.

“Black” Frizztini – Mix in  a cocktail shaker with ice; 1/2 shot Amaretto, 1/2 shot Brandy, 1/2 bottle Frizz Coffee.  Shake, strain into glass.

It can of course be enjoyed on its own, preferrable chilled or over ice.

© 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.

Corks Out Summer Classics Tasting

Last week, Corks Out in Timperley hosted their monthly wine tasting, this time looking at offerings suited for the BBQ summer weather. Hosted by Karim, we were to be delving into Prosecco, three white, a rose and two reds all from various old and new world countries.

So below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Le Dolci Colline Prosecco, Italy – 11.5%

Very fresh, light citrus and lively on the nose that follows onto the palate. Slightly dry to begin with, but flows into a creamy texture with a long tingle of peach and grapefruit.

Nostros Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Chile – 13%

Rather intense and aromatic on the nose, with grapefruit dominating. A sharp beginning on the palate, with long flavours of grass and fresh green fruits mixing well. Slightly dry and acidic at the end. Goes well with salmon.

Surani Fiano 2010, Italy – 13.5%

Slow, mellow hints of apple on the nose. Smooth and slightly creamy on the palate, but evolves into a rich and slightly sweet ending that is perfect for creamy pasta dishes.

Corks Out Summer Classics

Casa de Mouraz Branco 2008, Portugal – 13.5%

On the nose there are lots of honey and sherry aromas blending well with a sweetness at the end. A bold offering of apricot on the palate that gives a long and intense ride.

Gayda Rose, France – 12.5%

Intense on the nose with lots of fresh strawberries. A mouth-watering flavour of summer fruits hits the palate that continues into a long, fresh finish.

Chateau de Fleurie 2010, France – 13%

A soft cherry and pepper nose evolves into a sharp hit on the palate, but soon softens. A long finish with a slightly dry end.

Explorer Pinot Noir 2009, Chile – 14%

Lots of cherry, chocolate and raspberry flavours on the nose, with a slight gooseberry aroma creeping in at the end. On the palate, a fresh yet heavy dose of vanilla and plum mix well in this offering that is neither short or long.

A fantastic selection was on offer to us all, with Karim explaining well the origins and back-story of each wine. His hints and tips on food pairings and his insight into the correct temperature to enjoy were well received, with many of the group purchasing bottles there and then! I myself passed on the opportunity, but for the sole reason of saving the pennies for when I attend Corks Out next big extravaganza – The Summer Tasting at the Park Royal in Warrington. There will be around 200 wines, spirits and Champagnes on show, so I’m sure to come away with something good!

© 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.

Roberto Cavalli Tasting Notes

Some of you may know Roberto Cavalli as a leading Italian fashion designer, the creator of the ‘sand-blast look’ for jeans, and detailed exotic prints which has made him a cultural icon. But did you also know that he has created Italy’s first wholly produced vodka?  “Inspired and dedicated to the sexy woman who is the iconic, eternal muse for Cavalli style”, Roberto Cavalli has moved into the premium vodka market with optimism for which he is renowned worldwide and which have always characterized his collections.

Intended for the most discerning palates, the vodka was made according to traditional Italian distillation excellence. Created using the finest selection of wheat cultivated in the valleys where the South-Western Alps meet the Po, a soft type of wheat which, by using a higher content of type A starch, converts the sucrose into a very pure form and makes the distilled alcohol purer and smoother. The water used in the dilution process flows directly from the slopes of Monte Rosa and, with a low natural mineral content, gives the vodka an unique quality. The alcohol is then distilled carefully to give just the right flavour that will define Roberto Cavalli.

There are four columns for the first stage of distillation, and a special copper recipient for completing the procedure to give absolute purity. The filtering process uses not only the typical cellulose panels but also marble powder, important for guaranteeing the correct pH levels for the finished product. Bottling in small batches is the final act in creation of its exclusive character.

So with all this style, finesse and Italian art, i give to you my tasting notes –

Roberto Cavalli – 40%

Very light with a slight pepper aroma on the nose with citrus following soon after. Follows nicely onto the palate, creating a silky smooth texture with a slight buttery flavour. Small hints of sweetness dance around for a long finish. Almost delicate.

So it goes very well on its own, but how about mixing with fresh fruit?

Cavalli Tiger

Cavalli Tiger

Glass –

Martini

Ingredients –

50 ml Roberto Cavalli Vodka
30 ml passion fruit pulp
20 ml pineapple juice
5 ml grenadine
5 ml Grand Marnier

Method –

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into chilled Martini glass. Garnish with half passion fruit.

A fantastic combination of flavours to ask your bartender to create for you, or easy enough to create at home!

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, 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.

Frangelico Tasting Notes

Frangelico is one of those liqueurs you see all the time on the back bars of trendy cocktails places or sophisticated restaurants, yet you never seem to know what it is. Well I’ll tell you, it’s a hazelnut liqueur that can go well with a wide range of drinks including coffee, orange juice, on its own with fresh lime and can be drizzled on top of desserts too. A wide range of uses for a bottle that is usually seen languishing on the side of back bars. I use to have my own bottle of Frangelico at Casa Tapas Bar & Grill and used it as part of my range of liqueur coffee’s, and with its oddly shaped bottle and friar like rope wrapped around it, it was a great talking point for promotion.

Frangelico

Frangelico is produced in Italy and has a ABV of 24% and as you can see by the bottle, has a history of produce by the Italian monks nearly 300 years ago.

The nose of Frangelico gives an instant hit of hazelnut, a reminder of digestive biscuits also crossed my mind, although on taste, the hazelnut becomes very subtle. It’s a light, almost creamy liqueur that leaves only a hint of nut in your mouth. It’s a short, sharp drink that I think will surprise you. Great for a sweet tooth like myself!

Its rrp is around the £20 bracket, but it’s a worthy price for a liqueur that has many surprising uses.

You can purchase a bottle here –  http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=336

Check out Frangelico’s website – http://www.frangelico.com