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

St Lucia Distillers Set to Travel Around the UK

Distillers-Final-LogoThis March and April, UK distributor Emporia Brands have put together a calendar of events involving its award-winning St Lucia Distillers range, after the initial success of last year’s programme.

Brand Ambassador Dave Marsland and the Emporia Brands team will be touring fifteen cities as they bring together the Chairman’s Reserve range, which includes Gold, Spiced, White Label and Forgotten Cask, the Admiral Rodney, and an edition of premium expression 1931, plus a selection of the distillates from which they are blended.

In 1931, the Barnard family founded a distillery at Dennery, St Lucia. Now based on the other side of the island at Roseau, the distillery has been considerably modernized and new technologies and improvements constantly incorporated. The installation of pot stills in 1998 added considerably to the variety of rums being produced in this highly regarded distillery which received the accolade of Individual Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge, one of six trophies received in six years – a unique achievement.

With the premise of a flavour experience, the tour sees an approach to the range that offers bartenders and key industry figures invited to not only learn about St Lucia, but ideas on how to embrace the versatility of St Lucia Distillers, from the Spiced variety to the rare 1931.

Cities on the tour include Manchester, London, Leeds, Brighton, Liverpool, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester, Newcastle, Cardiff, Reading, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow, with Emporia Brands looking to strengthen their campaign as they look ahead to the next instalment of the ‘Chairman’s XI’ with their ever-expanding sales team seeking out some of the UK’s best and brightest to follow in the footsteps of some of the industries key figures, including Lyndon Higginson of The Liars Club in Manchester, Danny Murphy of Aloha in Liverpool and Adam Binnersley of the MOJO Group.

Places are limited for each session, due to the rarity of gaining the exclusive 1931 and distillates for the tasting’s. To secure your place, please contact Dave Marsland at dave@emporiabrands.com, stating the session you wish to attend from the list below.

Manchester       Mojo’s, 9th March, 1:30pm

London                 Burlock, 15th March, 2pm

Leeds                    Mojo’s, 15th March, 1:30pm

Brighton              Oki Nami, 21st March, 1pm

Liverpool             Maya, 23rd March, 1:30pm

Birmingham       Island Bar, 4th April, 2pm

Nottingham       Brass Monkey, 5th April, 3pm

Leicester             The Queen of Bradgate, 6th April, 2pm

Newcastle          Alvino’s, 11th April, 1pm

Edinburgh           Reekie Tiki, 16th April, 4pm

Cardiff                  The Dead Canary, 21st April, 2pm

Aberdeen           Bos’n, 23rd April, 3pm

Dundee                 Draffens, 24th April, 4pm

Reading                               Milk, 26th April, 2pm

Glasgow              Distill, 26th April, 4pm

 

Follow Chairman’s Reserve on Twitter @ChairmansUK, Facebook at www.facebook.com/ChairmansReserveUK and Instagram at  www.instagram.com/chairmansreserveuk

Follow Emporia Brands on Twitter @EmporiaBrandsUK, Facebook at www.facebook.com/EmporiaBrands and Instagram at www.instagram.com/emporiabrands

The Winners and Shakers at Cocktails in the City, Leeds

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Last week saw the first northern edition of Cocktails in the City in Leeds as they took over the town hall for two evenings and invited 20 of the cities best and brightest bars to create and impress the sold out crowds!

In attendance was yours truly, and after being invited to judge the best cocktail of the show with the likes of Craig Harper of Fever Tree, I had the chance to experience all 20 creations. So, lets see who came up with some gems!

First up were Pintura Basque Kitchen and Bar with their creative collaboration with Gin Mare. Coming up with the ‘G&T Old Fashioned’, they combined the Spanish based gin with a 1724 tonic reduction, grapefruit bitters, a Gimlet ice ball alongside orange peel and basil leaf. Hotel Chocolat and their Roast & Conch bar decided to combine their in-house Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Bitters to create the ‘Hotel Chocolat Old Fashioned‘, which also saw orange and Angostura bitters blended with rum and honey.

The Botanist were up next, with their idea of using Belvedere with elderflower liqueur, red amaranth , mint, jasmine syrup and lime juice, all topped with lemonade to create the ‘Botanist’. The Chez Mal at Malmaison kept it simple and classic with ‘A Toast to Mr B‘, in homage to Dick Bradsell, the creator of the Bramble cocktail. They combined Disaronno with raspberry syrup, creme de cassis and raspberries.

MEATLiquor came to the event with ‘Too Early For Cider’ with a combination of Early Times bourbon, orange juice, lemon, maple syrup, Angostura Bitters and Hobo cider! It’s not all about cider though as next door, Bar Soba joined forces with Tsingtao to create The ‘Shandong Shandy’. This saw Tsingtao, coconut syrup, Kwai Feh, lemon juice and lemonade come together, finished with lime leaves, ginger and lemongrass.

New gin bar The Hedonist Project and their Old Tom’s Kitchen brought with them Tanqueray 10 to create the ‘Roasted Barley Bramble‘. This saw the gin, lemon, sugar mix together, complete with a lemon foam and bramble jam garnish. Next were The East Village with ‘Amistat’, a recipe that saw Bacardi Carta Oro come together with Woodford Reserve, Amontillado sherry and coffee liqueur.

‘Figin’ Hell It’s Hot‘ came up next as the Jones Bar Group offered up Pampero Anejo Especial with lime, fig liqueur, chilli infused Velvet Falernum and egg white, whilst Jake’s Bar and Still partnered with Jack Daniel’s to bring you a ‘Cup’ o’ Jack’ that saw the whiskey blend with coffee liqueur, homemade vanilla syrup and chocolate liqueur.

Palm Sugar of Chaophraya partnered with Whitley Neill to create the ‘Pretty Little Ginger’. This saw the gin combine with Licor 43, Galangal syrup and lemon, complete with Chill Galangal flowers and spiced chocolate bitters. Next came the ‘Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned’ with Tipplesworth that featured the American whiskey with sugar, bitters and an orange zest.

The Pogues Irish whiskey joined with The Brotherhood of Pursuits and Pastimes to create ‘A Fairytale in New York’. This saw the brand show off the whiskey, Bailey’s, Irish coffee, vanilla gum and Irish chocolate! The ’20 Year Rum Punch’ saw Mojo and Appleton come together to create a blend of Appleton Estate Signature Blend, lime juice, Jamaican Sorrel Squash water and flaming cinnamon with half a lime!

Smokestack and El Dorado joined forces for the ‘Diamond Hopper’. This saw the 3 year old expression of rum combine with lime, coconut water, white chocolate liqueur and apricot, cardamom and Demerara sugar. Following this was to be the ‘Cherry Poppin‘ from Almost Famous as they came to the table with Wild Turkey, lime juice, hibiscus and wild cherry cordial, pineapple and cranberry juice, Pepsi and a dash of bitters.

The last couple of cocktails saw Skylounge team up with Ron Zacapa to create the ‘Cloud 13’ creation. This saw the rum come together with Peach de Vigne, lemon, caramel syrup, apple juice and orange flower water, whilst The Alchemist came to the town hall with Patron to create the ‘Mexican Gun Slinger’ which saw the tequila go with cherry brandy, Benedictine, L&G and grenadine.

Manahatta were also present with Santa Teresa as they came up with the ‘Passion Punch’. This has both the Linaje and Rhum Orange expressions of the rum with Peche de Vigne, guava, lemon juice and pineapple and passion fruit syrup. Cielo Blanco kept it Mexian with El Jimador and ‘Bandero de Mexico’. This saw the tequila with lime, triple sec, coconut and pineapple juice.

Not to be out-done, Roxy Leisure created ‘Curd It Be Magic’ as they teamed with Absolut. This saw their vanilla expression blended with limoncello, lemon juice, vanilla syrup, lemon curd and Marscapone cheese. Revolution de Cuba though went with Bacard Carta Blanca and  showed off the ‘Maid in the Shade’, which saw the rum bring with it Sauvignon Blanc, sugar and lemon, complete with a cucumber ribbon.

Lastly, The Cocktail Trading Company brought with them Funkin Mixed Berry and created the ‘East End Dicky Bird’, which had within Beefeater gin, rhubarb cordial, Bergamot sherbet and black pepper.

In the end though, there would only ever be a top three, and from that just the one winner. So here we go –

1) The Botanist with Belvedere
2) MEATLiquor with Early Times
3) Bar Soba with TSINGTAO

Congratulations to The Botanist and their idea of using Belvedere with elderflower liqueur, red amaranth , mint, jasmine syrup and lime juice, all topped with lemonade to create the ‘Botaniast’! Next up? Manchester on May 19th and 20th. Tickets available via www.cocktailsinthecity.co.uk

© 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.

 

St Lucia Distillers Set to Travel Around the North of England

Distillers-Final-LogoThis April, UK distributor Emporia Brands have put together a calendar of events involving its award-winning St Lucia Distillers range.

Brand Ambassador Dave Marsland will be touring four Northern cities as he brings together the Chairman’s Reserve range, which includes Gold, Spiced, White Label and Forgotten Cask, the Admiral Rodney, and the latest edition of 1931, the 4th release.

In 1931, the Barnard family founded a distillery at Dennery. Now based on the other side of the island at Roseau, the distillery has been considerably modernized and new technologies and improvements constantly incorporated. The installation of pot stills in 1998 added considerably to the variety of rums being produced in this highly regarded distillery which received the accolade of Individual Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge, one of six trophies received in six years – a unique achievement.

With the premise of a flavour experience, the tour sees an approach to the range that offers bartenders and key industry figures invited to not only learn about St Lucia, but ideas on how to embrace the versatility of St Lucia Distillers, from the Spiced variety to the rare 1931.

With Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle on the agenda, Emporia Brands are looking to strengthen their campaign as they look ahead to the next instalment of the ‘Chairman’s XI’ with their ever-expanding sales team seeking out some of the UK’s best and brightest to follow in the footsteps of some of the industries key figures, including Lyndon Higginson of The Liars Club in Manchester, Danny Murphy of Aloha in Liverpool and Adam Binnersley of the MOJO Group.

Places are limited to 30 maximum for each session, due to the rarity of gaining the exclusive 1931 4th Edition for the tasting’s. To secure your place, please contact Dave Marsland at dave@emporiabrands.com, stating the session you wish to attend from the list below.

 

Wednesday 6th April: Manchester – Almost Famous Great Northern

Wednesday 13th April: Liverpool – 81LTD

Wednesday 20th April: Leeds – Almost Famous

Wednesday 27th April: Newcastle – Tiger Hornsby

(All sessions run from 2-4pm)

 

A welcome drink will be offered, as well as a half-time serve of a Chairman’s White Label Daiquiri, and a finish of the 1931 4th edition.

Buffalo Trace Northern Final 2015

Buffalo Trace

One of the world’s best known bourbon brands, Buffalo Trace, came to Manchester this past week to secure a northern bartender a trip of a lifetime to America, courtesy of creating a unique British twist on an American classic cocktail. Hosted by Ross Thompson of UK distributor Hi-Spirits, and judged by the Buffalo palates of UK Brand Ambassador Tim Giles, Liverpool’s own Jim Brailsford and last years winner Amir Javaid, currently head honcho at Harvey Nichols Second Floor Bar in Manchester, 11 competitors from across Chester, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool converged at Gorilla to impress.

Mike Holmes with his creation BBLT
Mike Holmes with his creation BBLT

First to step up to the challenge was to be Mike Holmes of Bourbon and Black in West Didsbury. Using the classic Mint Julep as his inspiration, his creation of BBLT (or bourbon, bacon, leaves and tomato) saw him combine mint, Buffalo Trace and poppy shrub syrup within a mixing glass and stirred over smoked ice. After straining into a bean can, a sprig of mint, a vine of tomatoes and candied bacon adorned the crushed ice top.
Rebecca of The Wash House in Manchester showed her idea on a dessert based cocktail named the Aristocity Flip. Using Buffalo Trace, a spoon of Dewars marmalade, King’s Ginger liqueur, Earl Grey syrup, a pinch of cinnamon, fresh lemon and apple juice, Becca shook the ingredients over ice and strained into a coupette. Offering a garnish of apple crisps with buttered Buffalo Trace to dip, a small cone of ice cream (Cheshire Farm and Buffalo Trace syrup) attached to the glass and a cinnamon dusting over the cocktail itself, she offered the judges an idea that could entice women to enjoy whiskey cocktails!

Lewis Cooke of Epernay, Manchester was up third, twisting a Boilermaker and Bourbon Sling by using Buffalo Trace, Antica Formula, a lemon and oat shrub plus a couple of dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters. Shaken over ice and strained into a crystal cut highball glass, he topped the recipe up with BrewDog’s Dead Pony Club expression and placed a dehydrated lemon wheel and a sprinkling of citrus hops on top. Alongside came an offering to the judges of salted caramel and pecan ice cream, complete with Buffalo Trace salted caramel sauce. Say hello to the Stirling Shandy!
Almost Famous of Manchester stepped up after Lewis in the form of Jonathan Leathley, seeing his twist on a Root Beer float that he called the Brown Buffalo. Showing a de-constructed recipe of Mr Fitzpatrick’s Sarsaparilla cordial, Sacred spiced English vermouth, lime juice, Eager apple juice, homemade vanilla syrup, Fentimans Curiosity Cola and Buffalo Trace, shaken over ice and strained into a glass tankard over ice, he floated on top salted caramel and maraschino cherry ice cream.

The first Leeds representative in Tom Finnon of The Hedonist Project joined the competition, creating his Buffalo8.
Using inspiration from the brands heritage, he came up with using a homemade vermouth that had beetroot as a dominant flavour, chargrilled pineapple syrup, Owney’s NYC rum, a couple of dashes of bitters and of course Buffalo Trace. Shaking over ice and served over a large cube of ice within a goblet, this twist on the Manhattan saw Tom garnish with dry ice and a model of the HMS Mayflower.
Jon Lee of Jake’s Bar and Still in Leeds was to be next to impress, bringing to the bar a twist on the flip named A Breakfast Flip For A King. This saw Buffalo Trace, egg, Kent English porter, golden syrup, Angostura Bitter and King’s Ginger liqueur combined, shaken and strained into a tea cup, complete with a crème brûlée sugar dusting and a stag biscuit to accompany.

Joe Ballinger with Old Fire On The Meadow
Joe Ballinger with Old Fire On The Meadow

Niall McGloin, also of Leeds but this time representing Smokestack, showed his Julep Twist by bringing together a rock candy syrup that had been marinated within rhubarb, homemade custard bitters, fresh rhubarb and Buffalo Trace. Using the aged-old method of crushing ice that he called the ‘wack-a-mole’ way (beating a wrap of ice with a mallet), he filled a sweet tin with the ice and swizzled the ingredients within. His recipe, named Buffalo Rock, came adorned with rock candy and dehydrated rhubarb for a garnish.
Ben Halpin of Blind Tiger became the first to enter the stage from Liverpool, with his recipe named Buffalo From Across The Pond. A twist on a Sazerac, he used his grandmothers own marmalade, Buffalo Trace, lemon juice, almond milk, homemade sarsaparilla bitters that were infused with Buffalo Trace and fresh anise. Mixing the ingredients within a mixing glass over ice, he served his drink on a piece of turf, alleged to have been dug from the Kentucky plains themselves, via a leather drinking pouch.

Calum Adams of Bar Lounge in Chester offered the judges an inspired recipe by Mark Twain (the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) that saw his twist on the classic Whiskey Sour named Quite Frankly Dear, I Don’t Give A Dram!. Using a Bergamot and Assan tea reduction, a handful of cascade and nelson hops, Taylor’s port, fresh pink grapefruit juice, egg and Buffalo Trace, he shook the ingredients over ice and strained into an ice filled wine glass.
Joe Ballinger of Berry and Rye in Liverpool was to be the tenth to show off, with his version of the Mint Julep that he called Old Fire On The Meadow. This saw mint leaves, Peychaud’s Bitters, oaked smoked nettle infused cider syrup, homemade redcurrant wine and Buffalo Trace come together within a crushed ice filled copper tin. An extravagant garnish of wild flowers for the vessel to be served upon and red currants adoring the drink itself, a lid was put over whilst Joe added oak wood chipped smoke into the chamber.

Mani Dosanjh of Tariff and Dale in Manchester was the last to be up, with his Afternoon Tea With The Buffalo’s seeing Buffalo Trace combined with Earl Grey infused neutral spirit, Earl Grey syrup, rose liqueur Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas bitters, all shaken over ice. This twist on the Whiskey Sour came served within a tea pot and ladened with fresh homemade corn bread and a lemon zest sprinkle.

From L-R: UK Brand Ambassador Tim Giles, Amir Javaid, Jim Brailsford, Joe Ballinger, Ross Thompson
From L-R: UK Brand Ambassador Tim Giles, Amir Javaid, Jim Brailsford, Joe Ballinger, Ross Thompson

11 fantastic recipes, but who came out on top? Third place saw Rebecca of The Wash House in Manchester and her Aristocity Flip, whilst Tom Finnon of The Hedonist Project in Leeds came second with his creation Buffalo8. But it was to be Joe Ballinger of Berry and Rye in Liverpool who would impress the judges with his Old Fire On The Meadow, a twist on the classic Mint Julep.

Joe won himself a trip to Kentucky and the chance to represent the northern bartenders of the UK alongside the rest of the Buffalo Trace competition winners, including London and Scotland.
If you fancy trying the winning recipe for yourself, head down to Berry and Rye in Liverpool and seek out Joe, I’ll see you at the bar!

© 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.

 

7 Greek Street Social

Greek Street Social

Leeds has a new speakeasy. A secret bar, open only at weekends, in the heart of the city. Intrigued?

I was. And so I travelled over to a show-off evening full of cocktail delights, canapés and a sense of wonder for the ideas they have in mind.

Boothed seating, bright neon sign and a bar stocked with premium offerings, this underground venue could soon be seen as a haven away from the hustle of Leeds, with drinks created by some of the drinks trades legendary bartenders. How about the concoction we were served on arrival; the Yorkshire Punch which has within Absolut vodka, Passoa, mango, pineapple, orange, lime, vanilla and ginger? Or maybe a Jalisco Old Fashioned for that ‘hard day at work’ drink that sees Olmeca tequila combined with Campari, sweet vermouth and Peychaud’s bitters, complete with a salted rim on the glass.

Greek Street SocialThere does seem to be a cocktail for everyone, with the Salt and Caramel Old Fashioned a pick, with Jack Daniel’s, caramel, Angostura Bitters, salt and sugar coming together. Or maybe one from the ‘Sinners 7’ part of the menu, which has the likes of Sinner’s Sour, bringing together Knob Creek whiskey, Rhum Orange from Santa Teresa, orange juice, lime and lemon, complete with a pineapple leaf.

Of course it’s not just cocktails served here, but a chilled selection of beers ranging from Estrella to Heineken to Old Engine Oil, all surrounded by a well-stocked back bar. But how would you get to such a venue? Perhaps look into the odd phone box down Leeds’ back-streets.

Just saying.

© 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.

The New Ellington Hotel’s ‘The Gin Garden’

New Ellington Gin Bar

A completely new saloon experience, The Gin Garden, boasts over 100 varieties. Whether a gin novice or connoisseur, this treasure trove of gins is bound to have something to tickle your tastebuds, stocking unique blends that even the biggest gin fan has yet to discover.
From the rare Monkey 47 to the Hendricks and cucumber classic, the Gin Garden invites you to escape the chaos of the city and sip your gin in style.

Choose from the selection of over 100 varieties, served on the rocks with your choice of tonic. Or, for those in search of gin with a twist, a collection of gin based cocktails, from the ‘Ginito’ to a ‘Sloe Gin Fizz,’

Welcome to the garden and let the expert bar tenders advise you on the gin to suit your character and taste.

http://www.bespokehotels.com/ellingtonleeds