I’ve not been down to London to attend a launch for a while, but I gained the opportunity to fit in a day to be a part of a bartenders favourite, yet rather unexplored category. Reál, a brand of cocktail ingredient, has had an upgrade and expanded from the well-known Coco Reál to an additional seven flavours. To mark this, the venue of Ramusake hosted Isolde Aubuchon, Technical Director at American Beverage Marketers, and a host of bartenders including Ian Burrell, Andy Pearson, Daniele Dalla Pola and Georgi Radev, to show off the new flavours to a room of inquisitive journalists and bartenders alike.
First though, we could do with taking a look into Reál and how we get to the point of expansion.
The family owned business American Beverage Marketers base themselves out of New Albany, USA and create America’s number one brand of cocktail mixes named Master of Mixes, a position it has held for most of its existence. To the UK market, the more familiar Finest Call will be recognisable to you in most bars and clubs, a range that has been available since 1995. However it was the appointment of Isolde Aubuchon 10 years ago that heralded a new dawn of cocktail ingredients. Using her knowledge and passion from her graduate studies in the beverage industry, more specifically in the juice industry, she was the perfect match to the American Beverage Marketers ethos of belief in fresh fruit from the premier growing regions. It’s here that she was tasked to create a solution to the Piña Colada and allow bartenders to quickly and easily create with no hassle or waste.
Coco Reál was born, and became the first cocktail ingredient to be housed within a squeeze bottle. Using hand-picked tropical coconut, it’s not just the coconut milk that is used like most other coconut products, but the coconut meat as well. This makes it perfect to be used within many classic cocktails, food recipes and the fact that the liquid dissolves easily – a common problem in rival brands. The use of the squeeze bottle means that the freshness also extends to around one month after opening.
So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Coco Reál – 0%
A bold, rich aroma of coconut on the nose. Fresh, thick and inviting. Flavours on the palate of coconut shavings that offer a rich mouth-feel on a long finish, albeit a little dry.
It’s with this success of the Coco Reál that Isolde started to look into the fruits that were popular around the 70 countries that Reál is available within. From here, she developed the seven new flavours through a Gentle Processing method (effectively slow maturation) that are now readily available to be used within bars and restaurants and help enhance your cocktail experience. With this, I give to you my tasting notes on the new range –
Reál Strawberry – 0%
Infused with hand-picked Camorosa, Ventana and Albion strawberries from southern California during the first week of June. A rich, fresh and natural aroma of strawberry on the nose, followed by a thin textured, albeit it rich flavour on the palate. Again natural with fine bits of the strawberry present.
Reál Mango – 0%
Infused with Alfonso mangoes from India where each bottle has within 1 1/2 cups of mango within each. Fresh, light mango on the nose, with the delicate scent following onto the palate. Slightly sharp development that goes into a lingering finish with a slight sweetness.
Reál Peach – 0%
Infused with Elegant, Summer and Rich Lady peaches from California where you can find two peaches within one bottle. Freshm natural peach aromas on the nose, with a very light flavour present on the palate. Slightly sweet with citrus elements presenting a dry, lingering finish.
Reál Raspberry – 0%
Infused with Willamette and Glen Clova raspberries from the Pacific northwest. A lovely rich, bold aroma of raspberry on the nose, followed by a sweet, heavy hit on the palate. Deep raspberry that gives a dry finish.
Reál Blueberry – 0%
Infused with Goldtraube blueberries from the Pacific northwest. Incredibly fresh on the nose with lots of light hits of blueberry on the palate too. Very sweet developer, thick with a sharp, long finish.
Reál Ginger – 0%
Infused with Laiwu ginger puree from Hawaii. Bold, sweet notes on the nose with plenty of fresh ginger coming through. Thin on the palate with a slight spice that develops heavily on the lingering finish.
Reál Pumpkin – 0%
Infused with pureed pumpkin with hints of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger. Plenty of allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon combining on the nose. Thick, fresh and natural flavours on the palate, with a lovely dry spice creating a dry finish.
Reál Blue Agave Nectar – 0%
Infused with 100% organic blue agave from the Jalisco region of Mexico. A rich, fresh nose of sweet agave that flows onto the palate. Light though, with a thick, long and fresh finish that’s a little sharp.
A great range, with some interesting choices with the pumpkin and blue agave nectar. But when you see recipes like the below, they seem a perfect fit –
35 ml White rum
15 ml London Dry gin
12.5 ml Blueberry Reál puree
25 ml lemon juice
5 ml sugar
Shake all the ingredients together over ice and strain into a crushed ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon peel & blueberries* (*if in season).
Mangoes into a Bar – created by Andy Pearson
50 ml Mango Reál
50 ml Pusser’s Navy Strength
25 ml Apricot Liqueur
25 ml fresh Lime Juice
½ fresh Passion Fruit
1 bar spoon Demerara Sugar
Shake all the ingredients together over ice and strain into an ice filled Tiki Skull with a flaming passion fruit cup.
The above are elaborate, but they syrups can be used easily with Bellini’s, frozen Daiquiri’s and non-alcoholic recipes too. It’s a range of flavours to look out for sure as they make there way into bars over the coming months. Or if you can’t wait and want to make your own at home, pick some up, play around and enjoy the freshness of real fruit. Highly recommend fellow Drink Enthusiasts.
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