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Old Rip Van Winkle

Pappy
A rare occurrence happened recently, where an exclusive tasting event of the Old Rip Van Winkle range, or Pappy Van Winkle as it’s more commonly known within the bar trade, came to Manchester.

Your’s truly managed to bag himself a seat at the table with 4th Generation Preston Van Winkle.

Lets dive in and check out why Old Rip Van Winkle became one of the most sought after American Whiskies.

Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle began working at W.L. Weller & Sons as a travelling whisky salesman during the latter half of the nineteenth century, before ending up as the President of Stitzel-Weller Distillery after acquiring with Alex Farnsley W.L. Weller and the A Ph Stitzel Distillery (producing Old Fitzgerald and W L Weller amongst others). Pappy’s son, Julian Jr., operated the distillery from 1964 until the family sold it in 1972, resulting in the formation of J.P. Van Winkle and Son that specialised in commemorative bourbon decanters and bottling. Julian Van Winkle Jr also created a new brand in the pre-Prohibition style, using whiskey stocks he had wisely kept by from the previous distillery. Eventually, he created the Old Rip Van Winkle label as a side venture in case his son, Julian III, wanted to come into the business.

Julian III did take over in 1981 after his father passed away, and despite a lull in bourbon business,  Julian purchased the Old Hoffman Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, for barrel storage and bottling purposes. Julian III’s son, Preston, finished his college degree and joined his dad in the distillery in 2001, doubling the size of the sales team at The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery after realising his passion at the 1999 Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

Buffalo Trace bought the W.L. Weller label in 1999 and had been making the bourbon with nearly the same recipe as Pappy’s, resulting in an approach to Julian III, something which he wasn’t initially interested in. It wasn’t until May 2002 that a deal was reached and Buffalo Trace started to produce the Van Winkle bourbons, using Pappy’s exact recipe.

All of the bourbon sold under the Van Winkle label is distilled from a mashbill with no rye; rather, they use wheat instead.

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Preston Van Winkle

So with this knowledge, lets take a look at the range –

Old Rip Van Winkle 10yr – 53.5%

Bottled as close to barrel proof as possible, with a splash of Kentucky limestone well-water.
Rich, bold butterscotch aromas on the nose, mixed with caramel, dark cocoa and a slight dry corn note. Subtly sharp upon the palate, offering a warmth with butter, cream soda and a lingering corn, spice and dry raisin.

Van Winkle Special Reserve 12yr – 45.2%

Soft caramel and subtle butterscotch on the nose, with hints of straw and olive oil coming through. A balanced texture, with light honey offering up a natural sweet profile. Long finish with corn and caramel combining for an oily texture.

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15yr – 53.5%

Crafted according to the exclusive family wheated recipe.
Banana leaf and mellow corn arrives on the nose, followed by a subtle Pedro Ximénez note. Soft sharpness on the palate, with lemon peel and a subtle stemmed cherry profile arriving for the short, thin finish.

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20yr – 45.2%

Hazelnut, caramel and chocolate hazelnut offer up a dry oak finish on the nose. Subtle hazelnut though on the palate, resulting in a dry, light oak with butter thickening up the texture into an oily, long finish.

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23yr – 47.8%

Soft notes of light butter, caramel and oak upon the nose. Subtle sweetness provided on the palate, with dry oak, straw and honey offering up a long, grass fresh finish.

A stunning range of American Whiskey, and highly sought-after for their sipping qualities. If you can find one, grab a bottle for your drinks cabinet, open, sip and enjoy.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

 

Barceló

Barcelo
Barceló, hailing from the Dominican Republic, has a slightly unique trait in that it’s the only Dominican Rum to be manufactured directly from sugar cane juice.

A good start, but how did all it come to this?

In 1929, Julián Barceló arrived from Spain to Santo Domingo and founded Barceló & Co. where soon after he began producing one of his first rums and selling it throughout the country. After experiencing the local brands on the market, he decided to create and release in 1950 the Ron Barceló brand, and with it the Barceló Blanco and Dorado, (white and gold rums respectively), followed about 20 years later with the Ron Barceló Añejo (a mature rum).

In 1974, Don Julián Barceló handed over the reins of the business to his nephew Miguel Barceló and 6 years later, in 1980 Ron Barceló Imperial was born, becoming the most internationally awarded Dominican rum.

Following this in the 1990’s, Barceló & Co. gave a group of Spanish businessmen, themselves enjoying a long history of producing wines and spirits, the rights to export Ron Barceló. These entrepreneurs founded Ron Barceló SRL. and by 2006, had sold into 25 international markets, resulting in Ron Barceló SRL. taking over Ron Barceló completely, with the third generation Barceló’s, namely the Barceló Díaz and Garcia families, remaining on the Board of Directors and completed with a package redesign on the Ron Barceló Imperial, Gran Añejo and Añejo.

Currently, Barceló is available in over 50 countries worldwide and enjoys being the 4th largest exporter of rum in the world.

Barceló also comply with the ‘Ron Dominicano – Designation of Origin’, meaning rum producers must harvest the sugar cane, ferment, distill and age the alcohol in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, all within the Dominican Republic.

So how is the range produced? Lets take a look –

Once harvested, the sugar cane is unloaded from wagons by crane and then cut into small chunks, resulting in an easier process once it goes through the next stage, the milling. This extracts the juice from the sugar cane itself by compressing the chunks. It then heads to be fermented, which is the chemical process performed by yeast where the sugar cane transforms into predominantly ethanol and carbon dioxide, resulting in wort at around 7-8% proof that is then stored in tanks before heading to distillation.

The wort enters a column still where the vinasse and the low-grade alcohol (phlegm) are separated. The vinasse is used for fertiliser within the cane fields, and the phlegm passes through 3 more column stills where hidroselection, demethylation and rectification occur, finishing with a proof up to 95% alcohol with a balanced congener content. The resulting liquid is then stored within toasted American white oak barrels for at least one year.

All of Barceló’s rums are made by carefully selecting the lots of barrels that have completed the pre-established ageing process. These are emptied and blended in stainless steel tanks by the rum masters, before being bottled and labelled.

So, how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on my experiences so far –

Barceló Imperial – 38%

Aged for between 8 and 10 years. Heavy hints of toffee on the nose, with some intermittent hits of spice to compliment whilst on the palate, a smooth texture with a slight sweetness of vanilla and caramel. The flavours of dry fruits is also detected, although the caramel and vanilla are the dominant forces. Finishes well with a lingering after-taste of caramel.

Barceló Imperial Premium Blend – 43%

A limited edition bottling of Barceló, created in celebration of 30 years production. Every year since 1980, Miguel Barceló has set aside private reserves of his rum for two extra years of ageing, and has used these to create their Imperial Premium Blend.
Slight dry raisin upon the nose, with an orange and seasoned wood note coming through. A slight kick of butter on the palate, resulting in a ‘side-dry tongue’ that kicks up with walnut, orange rind and fresh stemmed cherry. Very long on the finish with black walnut present.

And the Barceló perfect serve?

Barceló Piña colada
Barceló Piña Colada

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

75 ml Barceló Platinum
3 tbsp Coconut Milk
3 tbsp Chopped Pineapple

Method –

Place all ingredients into blender add 2 handfuls of crushed ice and mix at high speed for 30 seconds, strain into cocktail glass.

A great choice of rums here from the Dominican Republic, with the sipping styles of the Imperial and Imperial Premium Blend highlights so far. Perfect to have one of two in your drinks cabinet.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

 

 

Double Dutch

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The use of mixers has always been defined towards the likes of a gin and tonic, rum and coke or whisky and ginger, but the names and styles of such have pretty much stayed the same over the years. Lately though, numerous tonic brands have been released of a variety of flavours, then ultimately branching out into bitter lemon and cola, ginger and lemonade expressions.

Not Double Dutch though.

Released in 2014, Joyce and Raissa de Haas originate from the Netherlands, but became frustrated with the lack of soda options to go alongside the growth of spirits. After a year of research, the inspiration of food pairing ultimately grew to the brand of Double Dutch.

Releasing two flavoured soda expressions to the market, Pomegranate & Basil and Watermelon & Cucumber, it brought interest in not only the flavours chosen, but the fact that they deviated away from flavoured tonics and exploited the lesser used soda market. With this, flavour pairings became a favourite as the likes of the Pomegranate & Basil started to match with golden rum and tequila, with the Cucumber and Watermelon a favourite with salad dishes.

With another favourite option of having two soda expressions that are also easy to drink on its own, a call was made to carry on the smooth and natural profile of each into the tonic market, ultimately resulting in the release of an Indian Tonic expression, as well as a Slimline Tonic in 2015. All are low in calorie, winning over the likes of Richard Branson and his Virgin Foodpreneur Start Up in 2015 to help fund the growth of the brand.

With each bottle made without any artificial flavourings, colouring or preservatives, instead opting for natural ingredients blended with spring water from the North of England, the Double Dutch range kept expanding with the addition of their first flavoured tonic, Cranberry, released late 2016 in collaboration with Maison Hennessy Cognac.

So how do they fare? Well below are my tasting notes on the range so far –

Double Dutch Pomegranate & Basil – 0%

Red arils from the pomegranate fruits are used within. Subtle pomegranate comes through on the nose, followed by the earthy notes of the basil. Well-balanced between the two flavours on the palate, resulting in a slightly dry, basil aroma finish.

Double Dutch Cucumber & Watermelon – 0%

Fresh watermelon shines through on the nose, followed by an underlining cucumber note. A reverse of roles on the palate though as the fresh cucumber  pulls through the watermelon, although the bold finish brings the melon back for a lingering finish.

Double Dutch Indian Tonic – 0%

Made with quinine, juniper and grapefruit. The zest of grapefruit is apparent on the nose, followed by the earthy notes of juniper. Smooth on the palate, with gentle hits of the juniper coming through, surrounded by the aromas of the grapefruit and subtle quinine.

Double Dutch Slimline Tonic – 0%

With 60% fewer calories and sugar than the Indian Tonic. Soft, subtle notes of the grapefruit come though on the nose. The smooth kicks of light juniper hit the palate, offering a lingering quinine finish that’s slightly dry.

Double Dutch Cranberry Tonic – 0%

Fresh, ripe cranberry notes on the nose, with hints of stemmed ginger following. Smooth on the palate, with the cranberry offering up fresh bursts, followed by subtle warm ginger to create a lingering, slightly dry finish.

A great range to experience over ice, or the girls recommend it with one of their favourite gin brands –

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Double Dutch and Three Rivers

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

50 ml Manchester Three Rivers Gin
Top with Double Dutch Indian Tonic

Method – 

Fill a rocks glass with cubed ice and add the ingredients. Garnish with a stemmed cherry.

A refreshing change for your fridge, and with their versatility, one to play around with for sure. Pick some up for the drinks cabinet.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

 

Poetic License

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One of the main brands to cause a stir over the last 12 months originates from the North East of England, Sunderland to be exact, the home of Poetic License Distillery.

Started up by Mark Hird, a figurehead of the leisure trade for 20 years, the seeds were sown back in 2012 when Mark saw the opportunity in growing a business that could reach both the local and national community, opening a microbrewery in 2012 and naming it Sonnet 43, after the famous poem of Elizabeth Barrett Browning who was born a stone’s throw from the brewery site.

Knowing the rise of micro distilling after visiting distilleries in South Africa, he looked to Luke Smith, a man who had started his career at Sonnet 43 brewery, to help him plan and operate a new distillery. After several experiments and distilling courses, on January 4th 2015 the project became official and Luke moved to begin working within the Roker Hotel (now known as Poetic License Distillery Bar and Soul Food), one of Mark’s venues, as a full time gin distiller and using a 5 litre still to produce trial recipes.

It took 7 months to create a London Dry Gin as well as a rough Old Tom Gin within Gracie, the fist copper still to be sourced from China. The 500 litre hybrid allows the use of her as both a pot still and a column still. For their gin, hand-crushed botanicals are macerated for 24 hours and then boiled to gently and gradually release their flavours, whilst the vodka, using British wheat as the spirit base, is distilled 7 times.

This feature though won’t be focusing on their Northern Dry, Old Tom or Graceful Vodka, but their new Fireside Gin, the distillery’s limited edition gin available for autumn/ winter that focuses on ‘Mulled Winter Fruit and Juniper’. It is their second seasonal and comes following the success of their first – Picnic Gin, a strawberries and cream flavoured gin which was available throughout the summer of 2016.

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Poetic License Fireside
– 40.1%

Subtle saffron and orris come through on the nose, followed by clove and nutmeg scents. Mulled flavours of clementine, stemmed cherry and cranberry are present on the palate, with soft cinnamon and orange peel bringing a warm finish to the table.

A great gin to serve straight over ice in front of the fire, but one of these will still work well for a refreshing mulled long drink, with the team suggesting “to be enjoyed while cosying up around glowing amber warmth of the fireplace. Pour over large chunks of ice with premium tonic and garnish with cranberries.”

Be rude not to add this to your drinks cabinet now, and these cold nights don’t seem to be easing up anytime soon!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

Foxhole

foxhole-gin
Normally, grapes would be closely associated with wine, Champagne and brandy if used to create alcohol, but the steady need to explore ahead of the usual limits, gin and its floral complexities creates an ideal category to invoke the use of a variety of grape styles.

G’Vine and Ciroc are your two commonly seen brands that use grapes for their base ingredient, but the UK has entered the fray with their first gin to be made from English-grown grapes, created by Sam Linter and James Oag-Cooper.

The South East of England offers a climate suitable for both still and sparkling wines, with English wine producer Bolney Wine Estate a leading name. Due to their shared focus on quality and sustainability, Foxhole Spirits have partnered with the team at Bolney Wine Estate to create Foxhole Gin.

But how do we create such a product?

The end of summer see’s the grapes picked and ready to head to the winery for pressing. Not all the grape material is used for wine production though, with by-products and unused grape juice being left behind, becoming the inspiration for the gin. Once the grapes are bought to the winery, they are placed in the press and would normally go through one cycle which would extract the juice for wine production, leaving between 30-40% of the juice in the grapes. The remaining grape material would be thrown away, but now, the process has changed and it see’s a second pressing occur after the first press has been collected. This extracts more of the grape juice, which is collected in a stainless steel tank.

Within the tank, yeast is added and the juice ferments into an English Wine. Once complete, the wine is drawn from the tank and delivered to the distillery in Albury, Surrey where it is added in small batches to a 350 litre copper pot still. Then, the first of two stages occur.

To create an English grape spirit, the wine is heated using steam from a wood fired boiler, resulting in a high percentage spirit being distilled. The second stage involves the process of adding the botanicals (Juniper, Coriander, Angelica Seed, Orris Root, Liquorice Root, Bitter Orange, Fresh Lemon Zest, Fresh Grapefruit Zest) to the distilled wine spirit for 48 hours maceration. The spirit is then added back into the still for a second time and distilled with the botanicals present.

Once distilled, the gin has natural on-site spring water added to it, before being bottled and labelled. Named after the Foxhole Vineyards and Foxhole Lane, the location where Foxhole Spirits is based, lets see what the finished result is like –

Foxhole – 40%

Very light on the nose, with subtle aromas of peach, zest of grapefruit and fresh juniper coming through. Smooth as it hits the palate, becoming slightly intense as the grapefruit and lemon zest come together. Rich grape flavours follow, with the coriander bringing a warm, lingering finish.

A delicate offering that is one to be enjoyed over ice, crystal cut glass, and a healthy measure. One for the drinks cabinet as we head into Spring.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

 

 

Rumchata

rumchata

Cream liqueurs in the drinks market are seen as a Marmite category; some people love them, some see it as too sweet. But yet, nearly every bar and restaurant will have some sort of cream liqueur, whether it’s the well-known Bailey’s or the likes of Amarula, there will always be a place for them when drinks are offered.

Launched in the USA back in 2010, Rumchata is one such name that’s starting to bring the rum based cream liqueurs back to the forefront. It brings a unique blend of premium five times distilled Caribbean rum to the table, adding dairy cream from Wisconsin to the blend and finally a world-wide sourced secret spice mix.

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

Rumchata – 15%

Notes of hazelnut and a cinnamon dusting on the nose, moving to a rich nut flavour upon the palate. Subtle vanilla follows, offering a soft, sweet profile that warms to a lingering cinnamon finish.

I can see why Rumchata reportedly sells more than Bailey’s across the US! I can see it working well within this classic serve too –

rumchata-white-russian
Rumchata White Russian

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

25 ml Rumchata
25 ml Kahlua
25 ml Vodka
25 ml Milk or Cream

Method  –

Combine all the ingredients within a rocks glass over ice and serve.

A different look to your evening, especially after dinner, and although perhaps not for the purest rum lovers, it’s a good shout if bringing friends and family together who aren’t into the traditional rum sip. One for the fridge.

© 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.

 

Hard Rock Cafe Mix It Up With Seasonal Cocktails And Heineken Burgers

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Hard Rock Cafe have always seem to pride themselves in pushing the mainstream burger delights over the years, with the Lancashire Hotpot burger coming to mind! But this winter they’ve teamed with Heineken to offer up a twist, complete with a new set of seasonal cocktails for all comers.

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Heineken Brisket Burger

Hitting their Manchester venue within Printworks, you can enjoy Heineken’s take on brisket with half a pound of beef patty, primed with Heineken-braised brisket, caramelized BBQ onions (with added Heineken!), garlic aioli and Gouda cheese, all complete with seasoned fries. Although not as heavy in flavour as ale perhaps, the addition of Heineken within the patty, brisket and onion batter really does bring out the more subtle notes of the Dutch creation!

Of course, a bottle of Heineken on the side would be the easy choice to wash the burger and brisket down with, but the addition of six new cocktails can always sway you.

Take Angelo’s Passion for example. The winning drink from the 2016 Global BARocker Championship, Angelo Delgado created a recipe that see’s Bacardi Carta Blanca, Midori, Passion Fruit Real and ginger beer combined to offer a refreshing, light, fruity serve, complete with stemmed cherry and lime wedges to garnish.

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Bourbon Milk Punch

Indeed the Bourbon Milk Punch could be the order of the day, or more dessert than anything, as Jim Beam Red Stage, Malibu, Monin Spiced Brown Sugar and milk are shaken together then topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle and spiced pecan nuts. Although sounding indulgent, the cherry flavours of the Jim Beam Red Stag really comes through nicely, with the subtle kick of the coconut Malibu.

It’s not all about the focus on spirits though, as a refreshing addition is the use of white wine! The Maria Sangria offers up Sauvignon Blanc, Bacardi Carta Blanca, tropical juices and lemon-lime soda shaken with fresh lime, orange and strawberries in a fruit-punch style cocktail, complete with a sprig of thyme to really uplift the grape and rum notes.

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Maria Sangria

But what if you’re driving? Or indeed just not a fan of alcohol? The Pomegranate Cooler is a great shout as it see’s Monin Pomegranate, sweet and sour, fresh raspberries, rosemary, lime and lemon-lime soda served up in a wine glass, complete with fresh raspberries on top. A bold, rich serve that brings out the pomegranate, backed with the well-balanced fruit kick.

Two other creations include Velvet Rain that see’s Malbec, Southern Comfort, Chambord, tropical juices and fresh berries come together, and the intriguing Pineapple Sage Rita that offers up Monin Ginger syrup, Sauza Hornitos Resposado Tequila and Agave Nectar.

Fancy it? Head down this winter as both the seasonal cocktails and Heineken brisket burger are available for a limited time only! I’ll see you at the bar.

© 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.

The BEAT Society Takes Refuge In Manchester

 

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The Pernod Ricard BEAT Society rolled into Manchester this week with its 6 strong team of some of the UK’s influential and engaging industry figures taking over the new Refuge bar and restaurant in the city centre.

Concentrating on seven categories, the likes of Phil Huckle (UK Brand Ambassador Chivas Regal), Liam Sparks (Irish Whiskey Ambassador), Megs Miller (UK House of Tequila Ambassador), Matthias Lataille (UK Brand Ambassador Martell), Michael Foster (UK Brand Ambassador Havana Club) and special guest Jake O’Brien Murphy of Callooh Callay in London showed off their respective brand and category, but with a twist that offered an insight ‘outside the box’.

With only two more cities out of the initial seven to visit, I thought I’d offer an insight into what you can expect for the day as the BEAT team head to Newcastle (31/01/2017) and Liverpool (28/02/2017).

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Prepare to demystify the style of Irish Whiskey and the impact that Jameson and Midleton Distillery have created within the whiskey market as Liam Sparks talks through the process of creation. From both column and pot distillation, to the wood styles within ageing, Liam engages with his knowledge and stories over a couple of drams, including distillates from the column and pot stills, as well as the likes of Redbreast 12yr and Jameson Caskmates.

Following the Irish closely are the Scots, championed by Phil Huckle with his focus on the luxury blend of Chivas Regal. Promoting towards the history of the whisky cocktails and how Chivas Regal have been at the forefront of some of the most iconic classics, experience the styles and profiles of such forgotten gems as the Morning Glory Fizz, as well as last years Chivas Masters winning drink by Chelsey Bailey. You can also hear how you can enter the 2017 edition of the Chivas Masters, as well as experience The Huckster!

Heading to the grape side of the spirit categories, Matthias Lataille shows his insight into Martell by bringing it to the forefront of your mind when modifying your cocktail creations. Sample classic cognac drinks such as the Sidecar using the VSOP expression, as well as twists on staples including the Pierre Collins as Matthias shows his creativity and knowledge on cognac and tips of how to invite your customers to experience.

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Special guest star Jake O’Brien Murphy of Callooh Callay in London is on hand for the tour to offer an honest insight into the world of cocktail competitions, using his own experiences of entering competitions, including Jameson and Havana Club, in his career that includes positions within famed bars in Liverpool such as 81LTD. The do’s and dont’s of performance etiquette, how to approach those all important judges, understanding the brief set out, and adapting yourself to the live situation with confidence, Jake goes through the motions of before, during and after as you set out to highlight yourself to your peers and industry figures.

Demystifying tequila is Megs Miller, one of the latest additions to the BEAT Society family, as she focuses on Olmeca and how agave is riding the trend of the bartenders inquisitive. Serving up samples of Blanco, Reposado and Anejo, she’ll guide you through the tequila process, how Olmeca has grown over the years to accommodate changing tastes and attitudes towards the category, as well as her own agave experiences and stories when visiting Mexico and teaching across the world.

You can listen to Michael Foster’s stories too as he talks about Havana Club, with an emphasis on Cuba itself. Diving into how Havana Club has impacted the island in regards to cocktails such as the Mojito, Cuba Libra, Daiquiri and El Presidente, the enjoyment of the traditional recipes of such too, plus an understanding of how these classics have been devised through the stalwart bar scene within Cuba itself.

Mr Jake O’Brien Murphy also talks candidly on the vodka category, with the focus on Absolut and twisting the pre-conception that vodka is a ‘dying category’. He talks about the iconic Pornstar Martini and Cosmopolitan whilst giving his own views on how vodka can be best utilised in any bar through some simple changes.

Of course, no day of learning would be complete without a tipple of Mumm Champagne, with Matthias Lataille guiding you through the brand as you finish off the BEAT Society experience.

If you’re anything like me, having the opportunity to listen to one iconic figure in the industry is amazing, but to have seven in one room, offering their slant on their chosen category, is beyond an experience. Get yourselves signed up to Newcastle and Liverpool, immerse within the BEAT and take it all in.

© 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.

Rhum J.M.

rhum-jm
The island of Martinique heralds some of the most well-known agricole brands available, including Rhum Clément, but it’s the partner in Rhum J.M. that this article will be focusing on, as we dive into this northern based rhum.

The journey begins in the late 17th century where the famous Pére Labat, the Jesuit priest credited with proliferating sugar cultivation in the French West Indies, was the parish priest of Macouba while he operated a sugar refinery at his house on the Roche River. Antoine Leroux-Préville purchased Father Labat’s estate in 1790 and gave the plantation the name it goes by today, Habitation Fonds-Préville.

In 1845, Antoine Leroux-Préville’s daughters sold the property to Jean-Marie Martin, a merchant from Saint-Pierre and husband of Marie Ferment who was the daughter of one of the island’s most famous sugar planters of the day. Jean-Marie Martin recognized the quality of the sugarcane he found on the Fonds-Préville estate and decided to shift the cultivation practices away from producing huge quanities of sugar and to focus on growing sugarcane. He built a small distillery on the estate and branded his initials “J.M.” on the first oak barrels used to mature his rum. Since then, these two letters have become and remain the emblem of the brand.

In 1914, Gustave Crassous de Médeuil, already owner of the Maison Bellevue, purchased Habitation Fonds-Préville from his brother Ernest. From this day, Maison Bellevue and Fonds-Préville became one entity. Located at the foot of the volcano Mont Pelèe, north of the island, Habitation Fonds-Préville remains to this day a family farming property, belonging to the heirs of the Crassous de Médeuil.

The sugarcane itself is 100% cultivated on the volcanic slopes of Habitation Bellevue, down from Mont Pelée. Once harvested and selected, the sugar cane is pressed to obtain the sugarcane juice. It is then distilled within column stills, in which the resulting liquid is bottled with volcanic mineral water to become the Rhum J.M Blanc expression. Parts of this run of rhum though will be placed in oak barrels to age in the cellars neighboring the distillery. The rhums begin to age in “rhum charred” American oak barrels.

So how does Rhum J.M. fare? Well below, I give to you my experiences so far –

Rhum J.M. XO – 45%

Aged 100% in re-charred Bourbon barrels. Light, subtle notes of oak on the nose, followed by toasted nuts. A sharp kick of sugar cane mellows into a bright voice of orange and cocoa, cinnamon and nutmeg on the palate. A long finish includes dashes of white pepper.

An exquisite tot of rhum to enjoy neat. Simple. Although I’ve only experienced the XO, if you’re looking for a sipping style, this should have a place in your drinks cabinet for sure, especially if you’re a whisky drinker looking to make the jump to rhum.

© 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.

Rhum Clément

rhum-clement
Agricole is becoming more and more frequent within bars across the UK as bartenders are starting to embrace its sugar cane juice qualities. There are numerous brands leading the way, including Rhum Clément of Martinique, part of the French Caribbean Islands that also includes the likes of Guadeloupe and Saint-Barthélemy.

It’s Rhum Clément I’ll be focusing on here, looking back from the late 1800’s to the modern-day.

1887 is where we start with the purchase of the prestigious 43 hectare sugar plantation, Domaine de L’Acajou by a gentleman named Homère Clément, a physician and mayor of Le François. It’s here he pioneered Rhum Agricole. In 1917, Homère Clément created a distillery to fulfill the large request of alcohol during the first World War, using the fresh free-run sugarcane juice available to him.

After the death of Homère Clément in 1923, his son Charles Clément took over the business. He is credited with perfecting his family’s Rhum Agricole method and honed his craft while studying distillation at the famous Louis Pasteur School in France. It was Charles Clément who first bottled Rhum Agricole in Martinique and branded it after his father. Charles Clément was also the first to export bottles of Martinique Rhum Agricole and developed France as the first great market for Rhum Agricole outside of the Caribbean.

In 1973, Charles Clément  passed away, succeeded by his son, Georges-Louis, who was in charge of production and his two brothers Jean-José and Marcel-André, who increased the visibility of Rhum Clément throughout the Caribbean, Europe, Central and South America, and North America.

Once 1986 rolled around, Rhum Clément was sold to the Hayot family, who remained close to the Clément family in order to keep what was now one of Martinique’s great cultural assets, Habitation Clément, in Martinique hands. The Hayot family continue to this day to maintain the heritage, culture and passion of the Clément family and Rhum Clément.

In 1996, the agricultural rum of Martinique gains the Denomination of Controlled Origin (AOC), alongside the Creole home, the terrace and the dependences all classified as Listed buildings by the Ministry of Culture, a testament of Habitation Clément that had been re-vitalized previously with investment in new cellars for aging rhum, a reception for tourists, art galleries and tasting room for visitors.

So steeped into the Martinique history, but how does it all fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on my experiences so far –

Rhum Clément Canne Bleue – 50%

The first mono-varietal rum in the world, resulting from the juice of one single variety of sugar cane called ‘canne bleue’.
A sweet grass note on the nose, with soft earth and subtle cane juice coming through. A good hit of the fresh-cut grass on the palate, with the natural sugars imparting nicely and its builds to a fresh, thin yet bold finish.

Rhum Clément Select Barrel – 40%

Crafted with a unique blend of rhums matured in selected oak barrels with a particularly heavy toasting selected by their cellar master.
Subtle dry oak upon the nose, with hints of orange rind and cocoa nip following. A smooth profile on the palate, with a fresher note of the orange and cocoa hitting. Subtle fresh sugar cane creeps in on the lingering finish.

Amazing tots to enjoy on their own, even the 50% stylings of the Canne Bleue is easy to sip. Of course, for a simple mix, the traditional signature serve is always a good shout –

clement-ti-punch
Ti’Punch by Clément

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

60 ml Rhum Clément Canne Bleue
30 ml Sugar Syrup
1 wedge of Lime

Method –

Stir all ingredients over ice, squeezing in the lime wedge. Serve.

A fantastic example of Martinique rhum agricole, one that seems to offer a wide range of versatility, whether enjoyed straight, over ice or within a simple served cocktail, a bottle or two would not look out-of-place within your drinks cabinet.

© 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.