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.

Cointreau

Cointreau Noir

After taking a look at Grand Marnier, it’s only right that we seek out its fellow orange – Cointreau.

Cointreau prides itself with a mix of tradition and modernity since its creation way back in 1875. A gentleman named Edouard Cointreau, son of Edouard-Jean (a famous master confectioner), distilled himself a spirit from sweet and bitter orange peel with a highly crystalline robe – a major novelty at the time. Edouard Cointreau also at that time invented the square-sided amber-coloured bottle which to this day still houses the liqueur.

In 1898, the creation of the Pierrot character, which became the symbolic image of the brand by famous poster artist Nicolas Tamago, was first published, and a year later Edouard Cointreau launched the first advertising film featuring Pierrot.

1923 saw the brands success grow to countries such as the United States, Canada and Latin America. Edouard’s sons, Louis and André Cointreau, replaced him at the head of the family business and invent the concept of ‘the worldwide brand’. This slogan is used on most of the brand’s poster campaigns across the globe. Even James Bond got in on the act, using Cointreau as part of its marketing exploits. Rémy Martin merged with Cointreau in 1989 and became a leading brand when high-quality came into mind, which in 2007, completed its image with the signing of Dita Von Teese becoming the Global Brand Ambassadress.

So its a simple history, and a simple production too. The orange peels are fully dried, macerated and finally distilled in copper stills to extract the drops of essential oils.

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

CointreauCointreau – 40%

Fresh orange on the nose with a slight sweetness mixing. Ripe orange rind flavours on the palate produce a mouth-watering effect, with sweetness dominating near the lingering end.

In October 2014, a brand new expression was released under the Cointreau banner, Cointreau Noir. Spearheaded by Cointreau’s Master Distiller of 30 years, Bernadette Langlais, Cointreau Noir is a unique blend of Cointreau and the Cognac Rémy Martin. It was inspired by Majestic, a spirit originally created by Édouard Cointreau in the 1900’s, and has been macerated with walnuts and almonds.

Cointreau Noir – 40%

Rich orange peel on the nose with a lick of burnt zest with a slight dryness. Thick, smooth and a developing spice on the palate. An underlining of sweetness with plenty of orange creating a very long, warm finish. Rich grape flavours are also present.

As you can imagine, Cointreau goes well with many a cocktail, including these –

Cosmopolitan

Glass – 

Martini

Cointreau Fizz Cucumber Basil
Cointreau Fizz Cucumber Basil

Ingredients –

20 ml Cointreau
10 ml Lime juice
20 ml Cranberry juice
40 ml Vodka

Method –

Pour into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes,shake well, then pour into a chilled Martini glass.

or

Cointreau Fizz Cucumber and Basil

Glass – 

Wine

Ingredients –

50 ml Cointreau
20 ml Fresh lime
3 cm Fresh cucumber
4 fresh Basil leaves
50 ml Soda water

Method –

In a Boston shaker glass : muddle the cucumber dices with basil leaves, add Cointreau and lime juice. Fill with ice. Shake until the metal tin is frosted. Strain into the glass over ice, and top off with soda water. Garnish with basil leaf

Cointreau doesn’t stop itself at cocktails though. Food creations have also been a staple recently including Chocolate Roll with CointreauCaramelised Risotto Pudding and Chilean sea bass.

A staple in many a bar, Cointreau will be seen, used and enjoyed by not only bartenders, but also by yourselves at home.

© 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.

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.

Grand Marnier Tasting Notes

Grand Marnier

Extravagant. Stylish. Chic. Words many would use to describe a bottle that sits upon many a back-bar – Grand Marnier. The orange liqueur from France is also steeped in history, dating back to 1827.

In this year, a gentleman named Jean-Baptiste Lapostolle founded a distillery in Neauphe-le-Château, France that produced fruit liqueurs. In 1876, his granddaughter married Louis-Alexandre Marnier, the son of a wine-making family from the Sancerre region, culminating in the Marnier Lapostolle family. The original name and product of ‘Curaçao Marnier’ came about in 1880, but when inventor Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle had his friend César Ritz (gentleman behind such hotels as Hôtel Ritz in Paris and The Ritz Hotel in London) taste his creation, he enjoyed it so much that he suggested the name we now all come to know so well – Grand Marnier.

Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle loved his fine cognac, and had the innovative idea of blending cognac with a rare variety of orange from the Caribbean. This ‘Citrus bigaradia’ was a luxurious item and combined the cognac with essence of distilled orange. The start of Grand Marnier, the year is 1880. Recognition followed and at the turn of the century, Grand Marnier had been awarded numerous medals in national and international competitions including Universal Expositions in Chicago in 1893 and in Paris in 1900. The fan-fare had many trying to purchase, including Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph who is said to have ordered 12 cases of Grand Marnier after tasting it at the Grand Hotel in Monte Carlo. The Ritz hotel also had Grand Marnier offered to each client at the end of every meal – a testament to César Ritz and his belief that this was something unique. 

Over the years, Grand Marnier has been the staple of many an event, milestone or drink, and now enjoys limited edition bottling’s to really pay homage to the French craft. I’m lucky enough to have one of the more recent stylings that gives a nod to Parisian chic. A bottle design of midnight blue overlaid with gilded gold frieze outline of the Parisian skyline. This is the eleventh specially designed bottle that first started back in 1927 and Grand Marnier Cuvée du Centenaire.

Grand MarnierBut the liquid inside, how does it come about?

Each year the finest eaux-de-vie, made exclusively with Ugni Blanc grapes, go through two distinct distillations, using traditional copper pot stills. It is then stored in handcrafted oak casks, and aged in the cellars of the Marnier Lapostolle family’s Château de Bourg-Charente. The ‘Citrus bigaradia’ is handpicked at the Marnier-Lapostolle plantation in the Caribbean, where the oranges are then cut into quarters while still green at their aromatic peak. The pulp is removed and the peels are left to dry in the sun. Upon arrival at Château de Bourg-Charente, the dried orange peels are macerated in neutral alcohol and then carefully distilled to produce an aromatic concentrate – essence of ‘Citrus bigaradia’. The two main components are then carefully blended with other ingredients, according to a secret recipe transmitted from father to son for generations , and is then slowly aged in French oak casks.

So with such high prestige, how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge – 40%

A soft nose of orange with a sweet chocolate aroma slowly arriving. Rather strong on the palate though with a slight burn, however it soon becomes rather refreshing with a long, sweet offering.

Of course, over time, Grand Marnier has adapted itself behind bars to become a staple within the cocktail world. Famous for its B52 and Grand Cosmopolitan, its flavours can create some stunning offerings –

Red Lion

Glass – 

Coupet

Ingredients – 

30 ml Grand Marnier
30 ml London dry gin
22.5 ml Orange juice
22.5 ml lemon juice
1 dash Grenadine

Red Lion
Red Lion

Method – 

Shake with ice and strain.

or

Grand Marnier Sour

Glass – 

Martini

Ingredients – 

60 ml Grand Marnier
30 ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
15 ml Freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 fresh egg white

Method – 

Shake with ice and strain. For guaranteed effect, place a maraschino cherry in the bottom of the glass. Serve the cocktail in a tumbler.

Grand Marnier doesn’t just stop at drinks though, food has long been associated with the liqueur. In 1905, the chef Escoffier, father of modern French cuisine, made the crêpe Suzette and the Grand Marnier soufflé famous throughout the world. Both desserts were enjoyed by the Prince of Wales, a great fan of the liqueur, and are still considered masterpieces of French cuisine. And now you can enjoy them too –

Classic Crêpes Suzette

Ingredients –

Crêpe batter:
(makes 15 crêpes 20 cm in diameter)

250 ml milk
50 ml lager
2 eggs (100 g)
110 g flour
25 g butter
15 g sugar
1 g salt
25 ml Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge liqueur

Crêpe Suzette
Crêpe Suzette

Suzette butter:

200 g butter
125 g sugar
Zest of ½ orange, finely grated
Zest of ½ lemon, finely grated
125 ml orange juice
50 ml lemon juice
35 ml Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge liqueur

Method – 

Combine the salt and sugar with the flour. Add the eggs one at a time. Gradually stir in the beer followed by the milk. Pour in the melted butter followed by the liqueur. If possible, let stand overnight in the refrigerator. Allow the butter to soften. Warm together the sugar, lemon and orange juice as well as the zests which have macerated for 15 minutes in the liqueur. Gradually add this mixture to the butter then beat with a mixer for 3 minutes. Warm the crêpes then coat them with the Suzette butter using a pastry brush. Serve immediately.

See. Just like I said – Extravagant. Stylish. Chic.

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

Taboo Tasting Notes

taboo

Now this is a brand that you probably see in many a bar or club. Taboo has been a mainstay in the ready-to-drink sector ever since it launched in 1988. Aimed towards woman between 18 and 24 years, Taboo is a combination of vodka, white wine and tropical fruit juices, which as you can imagine produces a variety of tropical heavy cocktails.

But before we get onto how to mix, how does the original Taboo fair? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Taboo Peach and Tropical Juices – 14.9%

Soft peach on the nose before being dominated by tropical aromas of strawberry and honey. On the palate, lots of fresh berry flavours mixing well with citrus. A little sweet at the end.

I can see why this was popular back in the 80’s, and its resurgence in the past year or so, and with it coming under the category of a liqueur (meaning the measure of 50ml if served neat or over ice), it can be great marketing for the clubs and young adult bars. Especially if they have cocktails like these –

Jumanji

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients –

25ml cherry brandy
25ml Taboo
15ml port
25ml grenadine syrup
75ml pineapple juice

Method –

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake well. Pour into a large cocktail glass and garnish with fresh fruit.

Skittle 

Glass –

Highball

Ingredients –

25ml Taboo
25ml Bols Blue Curacao
50ml orange juice
dash lemonade

Method – 

Mix Taboo, blue curacao and orange juice in an ice filled glass and top with lemonade.

Simple, easy, tropical. Not everything has to be complicated in the world of drinks, and can be a good introduction for young adults to the rigours of the more palate challenging spirits!

Purchase a bottle here, as well as the two other flavours Pineapple and Mixed Berry and Fruit.

© 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.

The King’s Ginger Tasting Notes

the kings ginger

A liqueur fit for a King? Berry Bros. & Rudd are steeped in tradition themselves, but to produce a liqueur that will warm the cockles of King Edward VII is a mighty step in the right direction. But how did it all come about?

In the early days of King Edward VII’s reign, the royal doctor approached Berry Bros. & Rudd for something to ward off the chill felt by His Majesty when out in his “horseless carriage”. Henry Berry promptly produced Berry Bros. & Rudd’s brandy and ginger cordial originally known as “Ginger Brandy – Special Liqueur”, but in 1906, three years after its creation, it was the next generation who thought to add it to the price list and in 1934 rename it “The King’s Ginger Liqueur” as it is known today.

The King’s Ginger is created by the maceration of ginger root and the addition of citrus in the form of lemon oil. Sounds perfect for these cold, bitter nights! So how does it fare?

The King’s Ginger – 41%

Light and fresh on the nose with a mix of ginger and citrus that doesn’t dominate and overpower too much. Slight sharpness of ginger to begin, it develops nicely with an instant warming. Sweet ginger near the end as the soft velvet texture coats your mouth. A little spice on this long offering.

Now it’s only fitting to showcase a cocktail that hits the spot during winter –

The King’s Winter Cup

Glass –

Brand snifter or wine glass

Ingredients –

30ml The King’s Ginger
20ml cloudy apple juice
100ml apple cider
Cinnamon stick to garnish

Method –

Add all ingredients into a pan or soup urn. Simmer on a gentle heat for 30 mins then serve. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Or something to have all year round?

The King's Ginger Liqueur
The King’s Ginger Liqueur

The King And Tonic

Glass –

Highball

Ingredients –

50ml The King’s Ginger
100ml Fever Tree tonic water
1 dash of Angostura Bitters

Method –

Combine and serve in a highball glass with ice. Serve with lemon slice.

Now, I’m a big fan of using spirits within food and being able to get the best of both worlds. So maybe try one of these –

The King’s Ginger Cheesecake

Ingredients –

110g ginger biscuits
50g unsalted butter
350g cottage cheese
1 sachet powdered gelatine
2 large free range egg yolks
60g caster sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
3 tbsp The King’s Ginger
150ml double cream
20cm flan tin with removable base

Method –

  • Prepare the base by breaking the biscuits into a fine rubble and add the melted butter. Mix thoroughly. Press evenly into the bottom of the flan tin. Refrigerate whilst preparing the filling.
  • Put the gelatine into a small cup with three tablespoons cold water and stand this in a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Leave for 10 minutes until the gelatine looks transparent.
  • Next blend the cottage cheese, egg yolks and sugar in a liquidiser for one minute. Add the lemon zest, juice and gelatine (pass it through a strainer). Blend until well combined and the mixture smooth. Whip the cream into soft peaks and fold this, together with The King’s Ginger into the cheesecake mix.
  • Pour into the flan tin, cover and chill for three hours. Serve: Decorate with small pieces of chopped crystallised ginger.

Always a winner when a spirit can not only be drunk neat, but also combined with other ingredients to create not only a great drink, but also fantastic food. If I were you, I’d grab a bottle or two, one to drink – one to play with!

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at Dawnvale Leisure Interior Solutions, 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.

Southern Comfort Tasting Notes

Southern Comfort Cherry

Southern Comfort is a brand that everyone knows. Go to any bar and you will see it showcased with your favourite mixer or blended into a cocktail. But have you ever tried it straight? Over a couple of cubes of ice? It’s a rarity you ever hear this spirit called over a bar to be drunk neat, but for me, a spirit is created to be drunk on its own. Add anything to it means your after a longer drink. This trend is now the social norm, but Southern Comfort is one of those liqueurs that can easily start a resurgence in drinking on the rocks. Why I hear you ask? Southern Comfort is unique with its blends of spice, natural fruits and whisky flavours – and it’s been around since 1874. An old-timer to lead a comeback? Well here’s some reasons of why Southern Comfort is still considered the general from New Orleans.

Martin Wilkes Heron was born July 4th 1850 in St. Louis Missouri and made a living as a bartender. M.W. Heron was pouring drinks at McCauley’s Saloon in New Orleans when he realized his customers were after a smoother, more refined drink. So, he experimented with fruits, spices and flavors to create “Cuffs and Buttons.” M.W. Heron renamed “Cuffs and Buttons” as Southern Comfort and his creation was dubbed “The Grand Old Drink of the South” at the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition. Even back then, Southern Comfort was in a category all its own and in 1889 Heron bottled Southern Comfort for the very  first time. In 1898, M.W. Heron registered his Southern Comfort trademark with the U.S. Patent Office and printed the bottle with his promise, “None Genuine But Mine,” which you can still find on every bottle today.

At the Paris World Exposition in 1900, the world took notice as Southern Comfort was awarded a Gold Medal for quality and fine taste. Four years later, the world’s first Southern Comfort cocktail was created – the St. Louis Cocktail, showcased at the World’s Fair. Unfortunately M.W. Heron died in St. Louis, Missouri in 1920 but luckily entrusted his secret recipe upon his colleague, Grant M. Peoples.

After the end of Prohibition, Southern Comfort made a comeback with its new ‘flute’ styled bottle as well as the illustration of Woodland Plantation, located along the Mississippi River near New Orleans. Hollywood beckoned in 1939 as they celebrated the release of the film “Gone with the Wind” and created the Scarlet O’Hara cocktail. With this, the international market started to take notice and the UK experienced Southern Comfort for the very first time in 1945. In 1988, sales reached 200,000 cases worldwide.

So with a rather rich history involving a gentleman with a vision, how does Southern Comfort fare? Well below i give to you my tasting notes –

Southern Comfort – 35%

A slow release of spice on the nose followed by sweetness and aromas of fresh red fruit. The sweetness carries onto the palate with the fruit becoming riper. A little spice hit near the long end.

Southern Comfort Bold Black Cherry – 35%

Sweet nose with lots of cherry aromas dancing. A well-balanced texture on the palate with fresh cherry flavours being drawn out over the long offering.

Now as mentioned, Southern Comfort is great on its own, and with their experimental flavours coming out with the likes of Cherry, Lime and Fiery Pepper they have started to claim a taste that everyone can enjoy. But if you do prefer a Southern Comfort cocktail, maybe try this –

Southern Hurricane
Southern Hurricane

Southern Hurricane

Glass –

Hurricane

Ingredients –

45ml Southern Comfort
45ml Sweet and Sour Mix
45ml Orange Juice
45ml Pineapple Juice
Splash of Grenadine

Method –

Stir all ingredients together in an ice filled glass. Garnish with an orange wedge and cherry.

Easy, refreshing and delicious – on its own that is! Maybe give Southern Comfort a go over ice. Theres no harm in asking and if you think it needs a splash of lemonade or you would like to see it in a Southern Hurricane, then your bartender, or indeed you yourself at home, can easily create no trouble at all.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360 and Exchange Bar & 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.

 

Mandarine Napoléon

mandarine-napoleon-orange-liqueur-290x290

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.

Mandarine Napoléon XO
Mandarine Napoléon XO

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 –

Mandarines Old Fashioned
Mandarines Old Fashioned

Mandarine’s Old Fashioned

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients –

50ml Mandarine Napoléon
50ml Bourbon

Method –

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.

© 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.

A Very Drambuie Christmas

Drambuie 15 Bottle Shot2A VERY DRAMBUIE CHRISTMAS

 

 

Drambuie is an extraordinary blend of the finest aged Scotch whisky, spices and heather honey that will delight and intrigue discerning drinkers this Christmas.

 

Produced in Scotland since the late 19th century, Drambuie became synonymous with the classic Rat Pack cocktail – The Rusty Nail – in the 1950s.

 

Today, Drambuie is enjoyed as a long, refreshing drink mixed with ginger beer, topped off with fresh lime wedges. Drambuie is also used to create exceptional experimental cocktails,where the hints of heather honey and spice offer an extraordinary taste experience. Drambuie 15 Year Old is our connoisseurs’ expression, created using our rarest Speyside malt whiskies. Best sipped neat or over ice, it is the perfect Christmas gift for whisky lovers.

 

Drambuie Brand Ambassador, Bruce Hamilton, has developed three festive cocktail recipes in time for Christmas. If you’re throwing a party, use Drambuie’s recently launched 50cl size to create one large festive punch that will serve up to 20 people.

RUSTY HOT APPLE TODDY  
For one For twenty
50ml Drambuie Original

150ml Pressed Apple Juice

1 Cinnamon Stick

4 Cloves

20ml Sugar Syrup

25ml Lemon Juice

2 Orange Twists

50cl Drambuie Original

150cl Pressed Apple Juice

4 Cinnamon Sticks

15 Cloves

20cl Sugar Syrup

25cl Lemon Juice

10 Orange Twists

 

Heat all the ingredients together except the Drambuie. Add the Drambuie to a teacup or handled latte glass, then, strain in the warm apple juice mixture. Garnish with a lemon slice and a fresh cinnamon stick.

 

WINTER SPICED COOLER  
For one For twenty
35ml Drambuie Original

1 Bottle Apple / Pear Cider

1 Cinnamon Stick

4 Cloves

1 Star Anise

20ml Sugar Syrup

25ml Lemon Juice

2 Dashes Orange Bitters

50cl Drambuie Original

2L Apple / Pear Cider

4 Cinnamon Sticks

15 Cloves

3 Star Anise

100ml Sugar Syrup

1L Pink Grapefruit Juice

15ml Orange Bitters

 

Heat all the ingredients together except the Drambuie. Add the Drambuie to a teacup or handled latte glass, then, strain in the warm cider mixture. Garnish with a lemon twist.

DRAMBUIE MULLED WINE  
For one For twenty
35ml Drambuie Original

100ml Fruit White Wine / Cooking Wine

100ml Pressed Apple Juice

1 Cinnamon Stick

4 Cloves

20ml Sugar Syrup

2 Grapefruit Twists

2 Dashes Grapefruit Bitters

1 Black Grape

50cl Drambuie Original

2 bottles of Fruity White Wine / Cooking Wine

1.5L of Pressed Apple Juice

4 Cinnamon Sticks

15 Cloves

30cl Sugar Syrup

10 Grapefruit Twists

25ml Grapefruit Bitters

20 Black Grapes

 

Heat the wine and burn off the alcohol (Not required for cooking wine). Add the remaining ingredients together, heat and strain into a teacup or handled latte glass. Garnish with the black grapes.