Luxardo Bitter Bianco launches in the UK this Spring. The distilled infusion of bitter herbs, aromatic plants and citrus fruits is made to a recipe created by the Luxardo family who have re-imagined the classic Italian aperitivo. At 30 percent abv. it has a transparent ivory colour, which makes it ideal for mixing in a White Negroni. Luxardo global brand ambassador Gareth Franklin will be creating further adventurous new serves, with an individual take on Margarita and Daiquiri styles. Luxardo Bitter Bianco has the fruity aromas of sweet and bitter oranges, balanced by hints of spices and botanicals. Its smooth taste combines fresh citrus with a gentle bitter finish.
Similar to the creation of Luxardo Maraschino, the Luxardo Bitter Bianco also stands out as a liqueur which is unusually produced by distillation. This creates a new dimension of flavours and its signature colour, whilst still staying true to its bitter-sweet heritage.
Distinctly different with a smoother taste profile, it makes for an alternative 21st century style of Negroni, when it is mixed with gin and white vermouth. To enjoy its taste in the freshest way, drink it over ice with a splash of soda or on the rocks, garnished with a wedge of orange or lemon. Luxardo global brand ambassador Gareth Franklin adds, “Luxardo Bitter Bianco is a very modern style of distilled liqueur and works perfectly as an aperitif. It has classic Italian bitter notes and is blended to be soft, floral and aromatic; a very intriguing creation. I will be hosting a roadshow to trial new mixes with bartenders in key cities, and look forward to new taste adventures.”
Marketing manager Craig Chapman adds, “The Luxardo classic liqueurs & specialities have established themselves very successfully in top bars. This year, Cellar Trends will be backing Luxardo Bitter Bianco to join the line-up of Maraschino, Amaretto and Limoncello, and the Sambuca range. They are authentic, full strength choices which bartenders can rely on to really deliver on taste.”
Black Cow is the world’s first Pure Milk VodkaTM, made in Dorset, England, from the milk of grass grazed cows. It is a super-premium vodka, distilled from the whey of milk and treated to a secret blending process created by dairy farmer Jason Barber. His inspiration came from a desire to diversify the produce from his 250 strong dairy herd and his personal interest in vodka. Black Cow was launched by Jason and Creative, Paul Archard in 2012.
Black Cow Vodka, from £28.00, is available from Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Majestic, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Berry Bros. & Rudd and quality independent retailers. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @blackcowvodka
A couple of festive cocktails to get you into the mood!
Aqua London’s Christmas Cocktail
SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS
Mince pie infused dark rum
Pinot Noir wine
Top up with Sparkling wine
Method: Shake all ingredients, double strain into a flute, top up with sparkling wine
Bulleit Crafts the Gentleman Baristas
Established in 2014, the award-winning team at The Gentlemen Baristas believe that coffee should be well-mannered and well made. They have partnered with iconic frontier whiskey Bulleit Bourbon and Dumo Mathema at The Roastery Department to create the UK’s first bourbon barrel-aged coffee. Available in two varieties – The Trucker, a rich espresso; and The Gatsby, a smooth filter – both have a spicy finish from the Bulleit ageing process.
Served up with courtesy and a warm welcome at their coffee house in Southwark, in addition to the bourbon barrel-aged coffees The Gentleman Baristas have their core range of hand-roasted coffee that is as flavourful and considered as it is whimsically named.
The range at Harvey Nichols includes: The Gatsby, £15; The Trucker, £14.95; The Tophat, £9.95; The Bowler, 10.95; The Pith Helmet, £10.95 and The Deerstalker, £9.95. SERVE UP GIN COCKTAILS THIS ADVENT WITH THIS YEAR’S GINVENT – THE ORIGINAL GIN ADVENT CALENDAR
Gin Foundry has just launched its booze-filled countdown to Christmas and the original gin advent calendar – Ginvent.
Olivier and Emile Ward from the Gin Foundry team has created the perfect recipes using drams from the calendar to help you get your festive season off to a juniper-filled start…
RRP £124.95 from w ww.ginkiosk.com
30 ml Fifty Eight Gin
5 ml Dry Vermouth
Garnish with a grapefruit Zest
Good Gin Wenceslas
30 ml Slingsby Gin
10 ml Dry Vermouth
10 ml Suze
Garnish with a lemon peel
Winter Forest Martini
30ml Napue Gin
10ml Dry Vermouth
7ml Luxardo Maraschino
2ml Absinthe Bitters
Garnish with a rosemary sprig
Fireside Flip, from Ryan Cheityawardana’s new book Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan and Friends, published by Frances Lincoln, £20. It is available from Amazon and http://www.masterofmalt.com
1 coin of ginger
1 tablespoon honey
Just over 1 shot (30ml/1.2oz) sloe gin
1 shot (25ml/1oz) honeyed-style malt whisky (such as Highland Park 12 year old, or Aberfeldy 12 year old)
1 whole egg
Dash Angostura bitters
Nutmeg, to finish
Chilled sherry glass
Crush the ginger and honey in the shaker. Add the other ingredients and shake without ice, then shake with ice and double strain into your glass.
Garnish with fresh nutmeg
This Christmas, Britain’s favourite sherry turns 220 years young. Century-on-century generations have been enjoying a classic glass of Harveys. This year – the icing on the cake – Harveys was awarded Best Wine in the World by International Wine Challenge, the first Spanish wine ever to receive this award.
With a proven global iconic status, it’s no surprise then that bartenders have embraced sherry too. Some of the best mixologists in the country love sherry for its taste profile and versatility in cocktails. Their modern take on classic ways to enjoy sherry has contributed to a rise in new sherry drinkers, particularly in the capital.
Still, Christmas isn’t Christmas without Harveys Bristol Cream, a unique wine that has cemented its place as the most iconic festive drink in British households since its creation in 1882. Crafted from a delicate blend of wines from Jerez, it’s not only known for its nostalgia but for its golden deep amber colour, hint of festive spice and sweet raisin flavours. And with these delicious, easy serves, you’ll wonder how your drinks cart has missed this essential oldie but goodie for so long:
Harveys over orange
50ml Harveys Bristol Cream sherry
Slice of orange
Pour Harveys Bristol Cream into glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of orange.
Harveys Frosted Apple & Ginger
50ml Harveys Bristol Cream
50ml Apple Juice
Dash of ginger ale
Mint and apple slices to garnish
Fill a glass with ice, Harveys Bristol Cream, apple juice.
Top up with a dash of ginger ale. Swirl with a cinnamon stick and leave in the glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and apple slices.
Harveys Bristol Cream is best enjoyed chilled at 12°C in a wine glass or mix over ice with a slice of orange. Harveys Bristol Cream is widely available nationwide for £10, 750ml
The trend for distinctive, well-crafted drinks is set to continue in 2017 – with consumers continuing to search for authentic and individual products crafted by real people. Which is why the launch of Dispense Amaro from Asterley Bros has been so eagerly anticipated. The unique blend is carefully handmade in South London using only the finest ingredients, creating a heady mix that can be enjoyed in countless ways.
When Rob and Jim, two long-time hospitality professionals, were handed their Sicilian family’s secret recipe for Amaro, they immediately knew they wanted to recreate the historic drink so that a whole new generation could enjoy this complex, spiced and aromatic liqueur. After studying recipes from the 17th century’s ‘London Dispensatory’, a catalogue of the capital’s rich history of tonics and liqueurs, the brothers came up with Dispense, specifically created to suit contemporary taste-buds: a Modern British Amaro. Sicily meets London.
Amaro means bitter in Italian, and while traditional products are usually consumed as a digestif, their Dispense Amaro is versatile enough to make a complex, yet refreshing aperitif too. Made from the perfect blend of 24 botanicals and Rob and Jim’s signature vermouth (produced from British pinot noir supplied by Gusbourne Estates in Kent) the Amaro takes over three months to make using traditional techniques, before being bottled and labelled by hand – showing care and attention right down to the smallest of details.
To help them develop their uniquely British Amaro, Rob and Jim used a dynamic Beta Testing method – comprising 500 unique tasters who helped them to achieve the perfect blend of flavours by tasting each blend and passing on critical feedback. Those keen on joining the Beta Testing ranks can sign up at http://www.asterleybros.com, though spaces are limited. The result? Rich, bitter orange aromas on the nose, moving on to candied grapefruit and gentian before the spice notes of cardamom and clove develop. The smooth texture allows the flavours to expand on the palate, from citrus peel into bitter cocoa notes. Herbal tones of fennel, rosemary and wormwood are revealed as the citrus recedes – a heady mix to delight even the most discerning of tasters.
Delicious served with tonic, or as an addition to a classic G&T, Dispense Amaro is an ideal cocktail ingredient. Try these unique blends to wow your friends and family:
Twilight / Aperitif: London Primer
35ml Dispense Amaro
35ml Sipsmith London Dry Gin
75ml BTW Tonic Water
Fill a tall glass full of ice and pour over the ingredients. Serve with a sprig of rosemary.
After Hours / Digestif: Dispense With The Niceties
35ml Dispense Amaro
35ml Sweet Vermouth
35ml Dark Rum
Add ingredients to a tumbler with ice, stir for 60 seconds and serve with a strip of grapefruit zest.
Warninks, the UK’s number one Advocaat, best known as the hero ingredient in the Snowball cocktail, returns for the festive period with new twists to its famous serve.
As part of this year’s Warninks Christmas campaign, the brand has partnered with UK bartenders to show that the Snowball (advocaat, lemonade and lime) is perfectly suited to every Christmas occasion – whether it’s celebrating with friends at a yuletide party, enjoying a quiet drink during the pre-Christmas prep, or the start to a family festive feast.
The new takes on the Snowball, to be enjoyed at home, are as follows:
THE SNOWBALL TO GET INTO THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
Enjoy whilst decorating the tree or wrapping gifts with your favourite Christmas song playing in the background
1. Shake 100ml of Warninks Advocaat and 50ml freshly squeezed lime juice or cordial together with ice, strain into a glass jar and top up with lemonade or soda and some cubed ice.
2. Decorate with a cinnamon stick tied with string or ribbon to the side of a glass mug or jam jar and finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
THE SNOWBALL FOR PARTY LOVERS
Serve this decadent chocolate twist at your glamorous festive get-together
1. Moisten the rim of a wine glass and roll on a plate of chocolate powder until covered.
2. Shake 50ml of Warninks Advocaat and 25ml freshly squeezed lime juice or cordial together with ice, strain into the glass and top up with lemonade or soda.
3. Garnish with dark chocolate shavings.
THE SNOWBALL FOR WINTER NIGHTS IN
Enjoy warming cinnamon and star anise whilst watching movies by the fire or as an aperitif at a Christmas dinner party
1. Shake 50ml of Warninks Advocaat and 25ml of freshly squeezed lime juice or cordial together with ice, strain into a coupe or martini glass and top up with lemonade or soda.
2. Delicately float a scroll of cinnamon bark and a whole star anise on top and finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
THE SNOWBALL FOR THOSE WITH A SWEET TOOTH
Enjoy with a slice of Christmas cake
1. Shake 50ml Warninks Advocaat and 25ml freshly squeezed lime juice or cordial together with ice, strain into a glass mug and top up with lemonade or soda and some cubed ice.
2. Garnish with a gingersnap and lightly toasted mini marshmallows.
According to Matthijs Wilhelmus, Global Marketing Manager, Warninks, “Without Warninks, it just wouldn’t be Christmas. With more people experimenting at home with cocktails and looking for stylish drinks to serve over the festive period, we thought it was the perfect time show that there are more ways to enjoy the Snowball than with a glacé cherry on top.
“With only three key ingredients, the Warninks Snowball is quick and easy to make, and with some simple yet stylish garnishes, looks and tastes great. We hope these new twists on a popular drink loved for generations will inspire more people to try Warninks Advocaat this season.”
The Warninks Christmas campaign will run from 1st – 24th December and will be supported by OOH activity, a radio campaign on Heart and Smooth, as well as PR. Warninks branded Christmas jumpers will also be provided to on-trade and off-trade customers.
Warninks is available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrison’s, Waitrose, and any good convenience stores at an RRP of £11.00 for a 70cl.
The team at Buffalo Trace came around to Manchester once again to host their annual cocktail competition, but armed with a twist that saw the bartenders of the North West face a variety of challenges in a couple of unique settings.
Hosted at El Gato Negro, the competitors found their way to the final by offering a unique Buffalo Trace serve, but knowing that if they got through, a set of challenges awaited them. Hailing from the likes of Epernay in Manchester, Salt Dog Slims in Liverpool and Filter and Fox, also in Liverpool, the competitors were joined by UK Brand Ambassador Tim Giles, who alongside his team at Hi-Spirits (the UK distributor of Buffalo Trace) of Ross and Jack, set the day off with a ‘Buffalo Migration Tour’. Asking the bartenders to work on their starting clue, this led them to one of four venues across the city of Manchester, where once found, they were set a task that would test the knowledge of each individual when it came to the world of Buffalo Trace.
Tasks included getting the correct barrel maturation letters and numbers out of a series of 8 to choose from, a blind tasting of a selection of the Sazerac whisky range, including Buffalo Trace, as well as the family tree of the company itself. If correct, the competitor receives the key to the mystery box that contains items that can be used within their migration cocktail, if wrong, they have to pick an item, but not one you would necessarily find within a classic whiskey cocktail!
Once all 4 challenges have been completed, a rendezvous back at El Gato Negro kicked off the main portion of the cocktail competition, as each competitor had to re-create their Pioneering American cocktail that they entered with, as well as a Buffalo Trace cocktail using the ingredients won (or lost) over the four challenges.
With myself, Tim and last years competition winner Joe Ballinger judging, each competitor showed off their skills in creation, as well as their knowledge of Buffalo Trace and the links from this to their ideas, both in the original recipe, as well as their quick-fire migration cocktail.
The top three will be showcased here today, so in third place saw Liverpool represent with Beth Leigh of MOJO Bar. Her original Pioneering Creation saw her create the ‘Trial by Jury’, which saw Buffalo Trace mixed with a spiced porter syrup, Giffard’s dark cacao, almond milk and egg white, served with an atomiser which contained White Dog whiskey, almond and chocolate bitters. Her Mystery Migration cocktail though saw her create the ‘Bloody Long Derby’, offering up Buffalo Trace, fresh tomatoes, lemon juice, mint, Antica Formula and sugar, topped with San Pellegrino Lemon and garnished with a mint sprig and fresh cherry tomatoes.
Anthony Hogan of Epernay, Manchester earned second place with his two cocktails. His Pioneering Cocktail, named the ‘Bottle Shock’ saw Buffalo Trace built with a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon, Peychaud’s bitters, lemon juice and blueberry with bluebell soda, garnished with mint and fresh blueberries. His on the spot Mystery Migration recipe, named ‘Hunters of Kentucky’, saw him build a recipe with Buffalo Trace, peach and Red Bull syrup, fresh tomato juice, Antica Formula and Peychaud’s Aperitivo, garnished with a peach fan and lemon zest.
The winning serves though, both seen as equal and of a high-standard when we were discussing the drinks in general, came from Will Meredith of El Gato Negro. His original entry saw him show off the ‘New Orleans Fizz’, a blended serve containing Buffalo Trace, egg white, milk and cream, homemade Creole New Orleans ketchup (fig, date, prune and cayenne pepper flavoured) and a corn, malt and rye syrup. His Mystery Migration serve saw a thrown creation of Buffalo Trace, Peychaud’s Aperitivo, a mango and Dijon mustard syrup, topped with Stella Artois, capped with the fantastic name of ‘Celine Dijon’.
So congratulations to Will, who wins himself a trip to the home of Buffalo Trace in Kentucky! A great idea for a cocktail competition, really getting the competitors to immerse themselves in the brands history and heritage, bringing it to the forefront in their Pioneering America cocktail, and testing their skills with the Mystery Migration serve. All whilst having their knowledge tested, really bringing out the best bartender in the North West and earning their stripes as they head to America.
As Lord Byron said, “There’ s nought no doubt so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion.” Take his advice and mix up a cocktail or two this August 16th, in honour of National Rum Day. Try something a little different, like a saintly Coco Loco or a twist on the Old Fashioned, or stick to the classics with a zesty Daiquiri or a Dark and Stormy.
With a range of rums to suit every taste and purpose, multi-award winning Diplomatico hails from the foothills of the Venezuelan Andes. Their portfolio of rums is famed for its delectable flavour profile and extensive versatility; it is easy to find the perfect component to stand up in a wide range of cocktails.
Diplomatico Blanco is a hugely flavoursome velvety white rum, extremely complex with beautifully creamy, chocolate profiles. Charcoal-filtered (hence its colour) this is a sensationally smooth and versatile rum that works incredibly well in cocktails as it does sipped on the rocks. Diplomatico Reserva is blended from rums aged up to eight years in ex-bourbon casks, for an eight year old rum this has a great deal of complexity, making it ideal to use both in cocktails and as a sipping rum. With more than 20 awards to its name, Reserva Exclusiva is a seductive dark sipping rum that has rich flavours of fruit cake, rum ‘ n’ raisin ice cream, cinnamon and cocoa on the nose, developing into a fudgy, syrupy gingerbread and orange taste. Described by global rum ambassador, Ian Burrell, as‘ Tiramisu in a glass!’ , it is the jewel in the crown of the Diplomatico collection.
Use these delicious cocktail recipes for inspiration at home:
Given the nature of the drink, the charcoal filtered Diplomatico Blanco is a natural choice for this twist on a classic Daiquiri.
50ml Diplomatico Blanco
15ml Lime Juice
7.5ml Vanilla Syrup
Add all ingredients into a shaker add ice and shake until the tin is frosted. Double strain into chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Coco no Loco
Simple, refreshing and low-sugar, this is perfect for a summer’s day. This super-easy serve brings out the best in its ingredients.
50ml Diplomatico Blanco
150-200ml Coconut Water
Simply add all ingredients into the glass filled with
ice and serve.
Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Old Fashioned
Add a ray of Venezuelan sunshine to your old fashioned for National Rum day. Diplomatico’s Reserva Exclusiva brings complex aromas and delicious notes of vanilla, spice and orange zest to the classic.
50ml Diplomatico Reserva Exlclusiva
10ml Pedro Ximenez sweet sherry
3 dashes chocolate bitters
Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, stir for 30 seconds and pour into a chilled glass over ice
An unsung classic from the 1930s this cocktail underlines the fresh sweetness of pineapple, perfectly complementing the spicier notes of the Diplomatico Reserva.
50ml Diplomatico Reserva
40ml Pineapple Juice
7.5ml Orgeat Syrup (Almond)
15ml Orange curaçao
Add all ingredients into a shaker add ice and shake until the tin is frosted. Pour over crushed ice filled rocks glass .
There seems to be a wave of new world gins coming over to the UK in the past 12-18 months, with Australia taking the ground of offering innovative brands and expressions. Oceania as a whole seem to offer a good selection, with Lighthouse gin from New Zealand already making its mark on the UK mainland with their original and navy strength formula, but experiencing a full range can be tricky, especially here in Manchester. With the growing bar scene and their willingness to experience the full potential of each brand, the city have been inviting Australia over to show off their look, with West Winds starting the trend, followed closely by Four Pillars.
Four Pillars is the showcased brand here as Stuart Gregor, one of the co-founders of the brand, visited last week as part of his UK tour (hitting also Liverpool, Leeds, London amongst others). Created back in 2013, Stuart and fellow marketing and wine maker Cameron Mackenzie and brand guru Matt Jones used Pozible (the Australian version of Kickstarter) to fund their dream of a craft distillery within the Yarra Valley, close to Melbourne. Using a CARL copper pot still (originating from the CARL workshop in Stuttgart, Germany, also the first of her kind commissioned in Australia) named Wilma which holds 450 litres and comes equipped with a botanical basket (for the whole oranges used within the recipe).
There’s enough capacity to create 460 bottles per seven hour distillation, but recent expansion now means that Wilma is joined by Jude (600 litres) and Eileen (50 litres and predominantly for experimental runs).
The water used to cut the gin down to the desired strength comes from the Yarra Valley, itself seen as some of the best water available due to the area’s protected water catchment area. The 157,000 hectares of mountain forests mean the rain water falls and filters naturally through eucalyptus foliage, ferns and dense forest floor, resulting in an alkaline water base with a crystal clear finish and a crisp, fresh sweet taste. This is filtered three times before being added to Four Pillars.
The botanicals within Four Pillars took 18 months of trials to get to the finished recipe, resulting in 10 botanicals featured. Included are two native botanicals in Tasmanian pepperberry and lemon myrtle (both in dry leaf form), plus cassia, star anise, cardamom and coriander seeds, juniper, lavender, whole oranges and angelica root.
For the Navy Strength expression, fresh finger limes are added to offer a more South East Asian feel to the gin.
So how do they all fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Four Pillars Rare Dry – 41.8%
Subtle coriander and cardaman come through on the nose, with both flavours expressed more vibrantly upon the palate. Orange comes through with a bold statement, with the lemon offering a fresh, long, slight earthy finish.
Four Pillars Navy Strength– 58.8%
A savoury nose, with lavender and coriander coming through well. Sharp on the palate to begin, with dry citrus, slight salt too with a long, bold, sweet liquorice finish.
Four Pillars Barrel Aged – 43.8%
Soft, subtle oak on the nose, with subtle vanilla notes, slight Sauterne that offers onto the palate a sweet and very long bold, fresh finish.
Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz – 37.8%
Dried stoned fruits upon the nose, moving to a bold, naturally sweet profile on the palate. Plenty of dried prune and ripe grape coming through for a balanced, light finish.
Four Pillars Spiced Negroni– 43.8%
The first in the Bartender Series, this expression has been created in collaboration with Cameron (Four Pillars distiller) and Jason (then Manager of Sydney bars including The Rook and one of the World’s Top Ten Bartenders), bringing the Negroni cocktail as its inspiration.
Subtle white pepper upon the nose, with cardamon, lemon zest and grapefruit rind following. A soft start on the palate, growing in intensity with fresh grapefruit, lemon peel and cinnamon bark combining. Nutmeg and a soft anise are present on the long finish.
An amazing array of Australian gins that are perfect to enjoy over ice, but these recipes do look intriguing –
The Drop Bear
50 ml Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin
10 ml elderflower liqueur
30 ml eucalyptus syrup
30 ml fresh lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
10 ml egg white
Add ingredients to a shaker without ice and shake for 10 seconds (this will get that egg white nice and frothy). Add ice to the shaker and shake again. Strain into a chilled coupette.
20 ml Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin
20 ml Campari
20 ml Dry Curacao (or any other orange liqueur, such as Cointreau)
20 ml fresh lemon juice
1 dash of Regan’s Orange Bitters
Lemon twist for garnish
Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupette glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
A range to entice you for sure, and should be a part of anyone gin collection. The Bloody Shiraz offers something different to the flavoured gin category, and the Barrel Aged is one of the better one’s, I believe, on the market today.
Shame we don’t get the sunshine enough to enjoy it the proper Australian way!
Jim Beam has been a staple of many a bar for many a year now, so much so that they themselves have the tag ‘The World’s No. 1 Bourbon’ stamped on every bottle. But how does a brand come to call itself that? A brand that, from my knowledge, not many people know much about? Well lets dive into the history of this supposed number one and see what comes out the other end.
Our journey starts in 1740 and the migration of the Boehm family from Germany. Translate the surname and you get the worlds ‘hell’, so a change to ‘Beam’ started the etching into bourbon history books. In 1788, Jacob Beam settled in Kentucky and set about experimenting with the corn and grains that grew on his farm. This blend of ingredients were run through a still, aged in barrels and eventually became bourbon, possibly named after Bourbon County, Kentucky. 1795 saw the year of the first ‘Jim Beam’. David Beam took over his father’s responsibilities in 1820 at the age of 18 and during his reign, America was undergoing an industrial revolution. With the country expanding itself and finding new and innovative ways to not only communicate and travel, but transporting of goods, technology such as the telegraph, steam-powered ships and the opening of waterways and railroads aided the expansion and distribution of the Beam’s family bourbon.
David M. Beam was handed the reins to the family business in 1850 and four years later, in order to be near Kentucky’s first railroad, David M. Beam moved the distillery to Nelson County. Three years after civil war broke out, David’s son James B. Beam came into the world and the family, with a real dislike for his name. Apparently a man who liked to keep things simple, he introduced himself as Jim Beam. After taking over the business from his father, the business thrived. Once the end of Prohibition in the US in 1933, Jim Beam wanted to carry on the tradition of the original recipe from the days of Jacob Beam, so he built and moved to a new distillery in Clermont, Kentucky taking 120 days. From this point forward, the bourbon was called ‘Jim Beam Bourbon’. Son Jeremiah Beam joined the company at the same time as the opening of the new distillery and earned the title of master distiller. With his passion, he travelled the world to share his knowledge of bourbon and the Beam family legacy. After the death of his father, Jeremiah continued to grow the business, opening a second distillery in 1954 near Boston, Kentucky, which is still in use today.
Jim Beam’s grandson Booker Noe maintained the Beam family’s commitment to quality. As the Master Distiller Emeritus at the Jim Beam Distillery for more than 40 years, Booker introduced his own namesake bourbon in 1988 – Booker’s. Booker’s was the world’s first uncut, straight-from-the-barrel bourbon, and the first of the legendary Small Batch Collection. Upon the death of Booker Noe, his son Frederick Noe took over the reigns of the Master Distiller and is still in the position today.
Not bad. And it’s great to see after all these years, the brand is still within the family. But with longevity comes consistency, and consistency means a rigorous check of the production method. The following is taken directly from the Jim Beam website as I found that the process would be better understood as they have written it.
Start With Sweet, Sweet Water
Much has been said about Central Kentucky’s water. It’s famous for making fast horses, pretty women and good bourbon. (We’ve also heard it as:, pretty horses… but the good bourbon never changes.) Because we’re sitting on top of a limestone shelf, our water has a natural filter. This creates an iron-free, calcium-rich water that’s perfect for making bourbon. Perhaps that’s why 98% of all bourbon distilleries are located here.
The Secret Is Yeast
Our jug yeast is a closely guarded family secret. It’s the same strain of yeast we’ve used in our bourbon-making process since prohibition ended. It’s more than 75 years old—and it ensures the same Jim Beam® bourbon consistency in every bottle. So the bottle of Beam® in your granddad’s hand in that picture from his fishing trip in 1953? Same DNA as the bottle you can buy right now just about anywhere in the world. Our yeast is so important to us that Jim Beam used to take some of it home with him on the weekends, a tradition that continues today with Jim Beam’s great-grandson and seventh generation Beam family distiller, Fred Noe. We put the jug yeast in a tank and feed it a hearty diet of ground up grains to create “dona yeast.” We use this yeast in the fermentation process once we’ve cooked our mash.
Mix, Mash & Cook
Hammer mills grind our “mash spill”—our top-secret mix of corn, rye and barley malt. Milling breaks it down for easier cooking. The mash spill feeds into a 10,000-gallon mash cooker. Here we add some of that pure limestone-filtered Kentucky water, along with some “set back”—25% of the old mash from the last distillation. This is the “sour mash” part of our bourbon-making process—ensuring the same Jim Beam® Bourbon from batch to batch.
Fermenting Cooked Mash
From the cooker, the mash heads to the fermenter. We cool the mash down to 60-70°F and add our 75-year-old yeast strain to the mix. And the yeast eats. And eats and eats and eats, feeding on sugars in the mash, heating the fermenter as it eats and multiplying as it goes. The upshot of all this activity? Carbon dioxide and more importantly for us, alcohol. This transforms the mash into “distiller’s beer.” Because it looks, smells and tastes like a rich, light beer.
Distilled Twice. So Nice.
The beer travels into our 35-foot-tall column still. We heat it to about 205°F, which is hot enough that the alcohol turns into a vapor that rises up the still, but not so hot that the beer boils. As the vapor cools and falls, it turns back into a liquid. This “low wine” is 125 proof (62.5% alcohol) of strong-willed goodness. From the column still, the low wine flows into the doubler for a second distillation in our pot still. It gets heated and condenses into “high wine”—at a paint-peeling 135 proof (67.5% alcohol).
Barreling And Aging
After distilling the bourbon, we tap the high wine into brand new charred American oak barrels. We like our barrels to have what we call “alligator char”—that is, they’re fired enough that the insides take on the scaly, bumpy look of a gator’s skin. Each barrel holds about 53 gallons (more than 500 pounds) of what will be the the world’s finest bourbon. The loaded barrels are rolled to rest in one of our airy hilltop rackhouses. As the seasons change, Kentucky’s climate expands and contracts the barrel wood, allowing bourbon to seep into the barrel. And the caramelized sugars from the gator-charred oak flavor and color the bourbon. Throughout the bourbon making process, a fair portion of the 53 gallons of bourbon escapes the barrel through evaporation or stays trapped in the wood of the barrel. We call this the “angel’s share” or “Booker’s share.”
Jim Beam bourbon ages for at least four years—twice as long as the U.S. government requires.
So there we have it. A fascinating history, one that I myself have only realised has influenced so many bourbon distilleries and brands to this day, and a production method that creates such a varied range. I’ve been lucky enough to try a couple of the range lately, therefore below I give to you my tasting notes –
Jim Beam Original – 40%
Aged for 4 years. Light vanilla notes on the nose with a sweetness slowly appearing. Vanilla carries onto the palate, mixed with a little spice that leads to a lengthy finish. Slight touch of oak lingers.
Red Stag Black Cherry – 40%
Through a slow infusion process, four-year-old Jim Beam Bourbon infused with natural flavours. Sweet, ripe dark cherries on the nose with a sugar ladened palate of cherry on the palate with a cinnamon spice to finish. Amazingly long, and a little dry at the very end.
Jim Beam Maple – 35%
Created using 4yr Jim Beam, slowly infused with maple and aged in oak barrels.
Subtle nose of maple syrup, following onto the palate nicely with plenty of bourbon, oak and a rich, sweet maple finish that lingers.
Jim Beam Black Label– 43%
Aged for 6 years. Soft vanilla on the nose with hints of orange lingering. Smooth on the palate with a hint of spice, honey and toffee creating a long finish.
Jim Beam Signature Craft– 43%
Aged for 12 years. Plenty of red fruit, smooth on the nose with hints of cherry near the finish. Rich on the palate though, with a slight spice but a long, bold finish with a little dryness. A couple of sips makes this a cracking dram.
Jim Beam Double Oak– 43%
Launched in April 2016, this expression is first matured in new charred American white oak barrels before being transferred into a second freshly charred oak barrel for a further period of ageing.
A nose of vanilla and caramel blended with freshly cut wood. Rich notes of oak, followed by scorched wood, vanilla and intense red fruits that leads to a long, slightly dry finish.
Jim Beam isn’t just for a great sip, it can also be housed within a cocktail –
Jim Beam Double Oak Fashioned
50 ml Jim Beam Double Oak
4 dashes bitters
2 sugar cubes
In an Old Fashioned glass, add the sugar cubes and bitters along with a little bourbon and ice. With a bar spoon, muddle and stir the liquid so the sugar starts to dissolve – repeat until complete. Then, cut a thin slice of peel from the orange. Pinch the orange peel and rub around the rim of the glass to coat with citrus oils. Repeat with the lemon. Garnish with the orange and lemon twists
or maybe this,
Man O’ War
20 ml Jim Beam Bourbon
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
12.5 ml water
10-15 large fresh mint leaves
Combine all ingredients with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
But sometimes the best way to involve Jim Beam is within food –
Jim Beam Bourbon Whisky Cake
1 pound candied cherries
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 pound golden raisins, halved
6 eggs, separate yolks
2 cups Jim Beam Bourbon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces butter
1 pound pecans
2 cups sugar
Soak cherries and raisins in Jim Beam Bourbon overnight. Grease a 10-inch tube pan and line with brown paper or parchment. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Sift flour and reserve 1/2 cup. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add egg yolks and beat well. Add soaked fruit and the remaining liquid, 4 1/2 cups flour, nutmeg, and baking power to butter mixture. Stir to combine. Beat egg whites by hand or with an electric mixer until they just barely hold stiff peaks. Fold into batter. Toss nuts with 1/2 cup reserved flour and fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 3 to 4 hours or until cake tests done. Remove from oven, cool slightly and turn onto rack to cool completely. To store when thoroughly cool, place in tightly covered container. Stuff centre hole with cheesecloth soaked in Jim Beam Bourbon. Drink any extra Jim Beam®. Wrap in heavy wax paper. It isn’t necessary to soak the cake in Jim Beam® Bourbon as it will be moist and flavourful. Keep very cool, in refrigerator if necessary. Makes 15 servings.
So not only is Jim Beam rich in history, it also shows off with its range as well as its versatility within both cocktails and food. What more can you ask for? It really does prove some valuable points for Jim Beam’s statement of being ‘The World’s No1. Bourbon’. See for yourself.