Tio Pepe Challenge 2018: Best Year Ever

Tio Pepe

The annual cocktail competition, the “Tío Pepe Challenge” organised by leading Spanish producer González Byass, is celebrating its best edition to date with international reach growing by 40% in terms of entries and global coverage.

The 2018 Tío Pepe Challenge has expanded once again this year with master classes and
regional heats being held in 14 countries across the globe, 6 more than last year.

Regional heats are currently being held in a number of core markets globally including, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Australia, China, UK, USA, Germany, Spain, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Italy. The talented mixologists that win these regional heats will go forward to compete against their national rivals with the aim of gaining a coveted place at the Grand Final to be held in Jerez during the world famous Feria de Jerez at the beginning of May 2018.

Up to 12 different master classes have been organised in focus markets such as the USA and China since the end of last year, demonstrating the popularity of this initiative and the growing impetus behind the Sherry Revolution, pioneered by González Byass, one of the world’s leading sherry producers.

The competition allows aspiring Sherry experts to test their knowledge about this wonderful fortified wine. The master classes and regional heats events are open to all talented mixologists and are designed inform, educate and instruct on crucial aspects of Sherry including the use of a venencia (the tool traditionally used to extract Sherry from the barrel), recognition of the diverse styles of Sherry wine and how to incorporate them into the mixing of a fine cocktail.

Once the first stage has been completed via an on-line theory quiz, entrants can submit their cocktail ideas for inclusion in the national finals.

The top ten barmen who have created the best cocktail recipes from each country, will then compete to win a place at the grand final in Jerez, Spain where the finalists will battle it out live in front of a panel of renowned, international experts and be tested on their knowledge of Sherry, the use of a venencia and, of course, their ability to make delicious and innovative Sherry cocktails.

The Tío Pepe Challenge is an unprecedented opportunity for bartenders to find out about the variety and scope that Sherry has to offer. Learning from experts, participants will get to showcase their creativity and talent when it comes to mixing cocktails with Sherry. Potential entrants can find out more about the master classes and the competition at
http://www.tiopepe.es/tiopepechallenge.

 

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Sherry Christmas Everyone: Harveys Toast 220 Year Anniversary

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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-orangeHarveys over orange

Ingredients

50ml Harveys Bristol Cream sherry
Slice of orange
Ice cubes

Method

Pour Harveys Bristol Cream into glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of orange.

harveys-frosted-apple-gingerHarveys Frosted Apple & Ginger

Ingredients

50ml Harveys Bristol Cream
50ml Apple Juice
Dash of ginger ale
Cinnamon stick
Mint and apple slices to garnish

Method

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

El Gato Negro Celebrates International Sherry Week

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El Gato Negro is to join the worldwide fiesta celebrating the unique Sherry Wines of southern Spain as it hosts the official launch of International Sherry Week on Monday 7th November, in conjunction with Sherry Wines UK.

Food and wine aficionados are invited to take part in the event, which will be held in the acclaimed Black Cat – the upstairs bar at the top of the heritage building with Manchester’s only retractable roof. Guests will sample the diversity of Jerez Wines and enjoy new and emerging trends in cocktail making, including a Sherry Masterclass, hosted by Federico Sanchez-Pece, Brand Manager of Bodegas Lustau.

The Black Cat will also unveil an exclusive cocktail menu for the week. Specially created cocktails will include the Pimento Fino, a delicious Fino Sherry paired with Padron Pepper Liquor, the Chamomile Snapper, a chilled mix of Manzanilla Sherry, plum tomatoes and gin and the Grenache, a dark blend of Amontillado Sherry, Dark Rum and Walnut Bitters.

Manchester’s discerning drinkers know that good food works even better paired with a good drink. The very finest Sherries will be offered with bites to match. Specially selected food pairings will be on offer across all floors of the restaurant, with the Ground Floor Bar offering its own unique menu for the week.

Adam Day, Head Bartender, said of the event: “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to host the launch of the 3rd International Sherry Week at the Black Cat. Sherry is one of the most emblematic elements of Spanish culture and one that has long been associated with tapas. We’re looking forward to taking our guests’ palates on a journey with an adventurous array of Jerez Wines, Sherry cocktails and pairings.”

For the first time, Sherry Wines UK will launch a nationwide schedule of events for International Sherry Week 7-13 November across four different cities, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh, with each one hosting unique Sherry events.

The event at the Black Cat runs from 1800-2000. With limited places available, booking is required. Tickets are priced at £20 per person – the event will include three cocktails and small bites to complement.  For more information please visit www.sherry.wine/sherryweek.

Irish Distillers Unveils Redbreast Sherry Finish Lustau Edition

Redbreast Lustau

Redbreast has introduced a new, permanent expression to its decorated Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey family; Redbreast Lustau Edition. Finished in hand selected, first-fill sherry butts that are seasoned with Oloroso sherry from the prestigious Bodegas Lustau in Jerez, Spain, this release celebrates the iconic sherry influence found throughout the Redbreast range.

Matured initially in a combination of exceptional ex-Bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry casks, Redbreast Lustau Edition has been wholly finished for one year in prized sherry butts from Bodegas Lustau in Jerez, the sherry capital of the world.

The result is a new interpretation of the signature Redbreast character with a distinctive twist; Redbreast Lustau Edition offers a nose of dark fruits, prunes and marzipan, a luxuriously rich and creamy texture on the palate with iconic Redbreast spices, and a long, sweet finish complemented by notes of Spanish oak and Oloroso sherry.

With a shared history and kinship for excellence, Redbreast Lustau Edition has been born out of the longstanding relationship between the Midleton Distillery, County Cork, and the unrivalled sherry house, Bodegas Lustau. The unique bond between these two houses was established decades ago, built upon mutual respect for craft production processes, tradition and camaraderie.

Crafted to the exacting standards of Midleton Head Blender, Billy Leighton, Redbreast Lustau Edition is a permanent addition to the Redbreast range. Bottled at 46% ABV and without chill-filtration, Redbreast Lustau Edition is available from this month at the following RRPs; Canada, $90; France, €65; Ireland, €69; and UK, £55. It will also be available in the United States from October 1st 2016, at RRP $69.

On the launch of Redbreast Lustau Edition, Leighton comments: “With Redbreast Lustau Edition we seized the opportunity to celebrate the iconic sherry influence on the Redbreast range, and to do this we turned to our old friends at Bodegas Lustau to source the finest Oloroso sherry casks in the world. I am honoured to be able to finally reveal Redbreast Lustau Edition to the world as it represents the mutual bond, based on our commitment to excellence in craftsmanship, which we have built over time with Bodegas Lustau. Language is no barrier to this marriage of Spanish and Irish craft, and the result is an exceptional new Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey that champions the iconic sherry influence of the Redbreast range, and I hope that whiskey drinkers the world over enjoy it.”

Brendan Buckley, Global Innovation & Prestige Whiskey Portfolio Director at Irish Distillers, adds: “We are delighted to introduce a fifth, permanent expression to the Redbreast range as it demonstrates the appetite among whiskey connoisseurs and spirits aficionados alike for new, innovative and diverse Irish Whiskey offerings. Since we re-launched the brand in 2011, it has gone from strength to strength and we are committed to spreading word of Redbreast around the world as the Irish Whiskey renaissance continues.

“Our work on Redbreast is part of a wider commitment from Irish Distillers to lead the revival of the quintessential Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey style and Irish Whiskey in general, to educate whiskey fans about the breadth and quality that the category has to offer.”

#RedbreastLustau

El Gato Negro

 

 

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Manchester has a new venue to impress its ever expanding customer base, and a dose of Yorkshire is hitting the pitch.

Reolcating from Ripponden, West Yorkshire after 9 years to the heart of King Street, Manchester, the award-winning El Gato Negro shows off three floors of Spanish delights in the form of two bars and an open kitchen restaurant.

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Pineapple & Sage Sour

Upon arrival, expect to be greeted by friendly faces as they welcome you to the bar for a quick drink before the feast. With a drinks list devised by Garry Foy, he’s embraced the Spanish flavours with a delight of tonics, serves and creations, including the Pineapple & Sage Sour (£9) which sees Pisco, Dark Rum, pineapple, sage and sherry vinegar that comes together for a sharp hit on the sherry, before balancing out to the pineapple and Pisco flavours. Catching your eye as you take in the menu include the likes of their House Tonics (all £8.50), seeing Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum & Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup & Soda, orange bitters, lime, apple slices and cinnamon sugar being brought to the table, or perhaps Bloom Gin and Thomas Harvey Tonic, mint, lime, vanilla sugar and strawberry for a fresher start to your visit. It’s not all about tonics though as the Agua De Valencia (£8.50)
is Spain within a glass as it combines the elements of gin, the Spanish Solerno blood orange liqueur, orange juice, lemon and Cava.

tumblr_o37wq5z6vS1ttt0l6o2_1280Once finishing your welcome, expect to be whisked upstairs to the 1st floor, where the sight of a long, thin room invites you to sit on the quaint tables and booths, or if you’re lucky, the Chef’s Table in view of the busy open kitchen. With a food menu ladened with delights, the team recommend 5-6 dishes between two people to really experience the flavour of El Gato Negro. Indeed, the likes of Pork chicharrón with crackling, apple purée, olive oil and toasted sourdough (£6), or the Fillet of line-caught hake, parsley sauce and buttered new potatoes (£11), which incidentally offers some of the finest cooked fish in Manchester, are highlights to rival the stunning Confit of belly pork with rosemary-flavoured arrocina beans (£9.50). Keeping the sherry element going, try the Sourdough bread with olive oil and Pedro Ximénez balsamic (£2.50), or perhaps the classic meatballs with tomato fritarda sauce (£7.50) that’s fresh with a light, creamy sauce, perfect to accompany a bottle of Celler del Roure Setze Gallets 2012, Valencia (£29), picked by Master of Wine Miles Corish.

The surrounds of exposed brick, soft lighting, toned red booths and authentic Spanish artwork are a perfect transport to bringing Spain to Manchester, but The Black Cat could top off your El Gato Negro experience. Especially if the weather is kind. Just head to the 2nd floor to finish.

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The Chef’s Table

The Vísperas (£10) offers you a combination of Belvedere, Sipsmith gin, dry vermouth, olive brine, Lagavulin spray and Balsamic Caviar as you sit in the lounge area, adorned with table service from the knowledgeable barkeepers. Perhaps the Boulevardier (£10) which offers to you Eagle Rare Bourbon, Antica and Campari, could be a winner, especially when served within a glass pipe. And if it’s sunny in Manchester? Expect the magic of El Gato Negro as the roof of The Black Cat will retract and offer you the rays that adorns King Street every once-in-a-while.

Spain, as expected, is well served across all three floors, with Moritz, Estrella Damm and El Gaitero cider available to enjoy, plus the best Sherry menu Manchester has to offer, mixing the well-known Emilio Lustau range with examples of Rodriguez La-Cave Manzanilla ‘Barbiana’ and Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada 2013, Montilla Moriles.

I suppose what I’m trying to get across is, if you love Spain, appreciate its culture, its food and its drinks, El Gato Negro is the place to top the list. The hype is heard and rewarded, the service is as expected for an award-winning venue, the drinks fit the style of both the decor and reasoning behind El Gato Negro, essentially offering you a Manchester gem, and the food is beyond exceptional.

Ladies and Gentleman. I give to you El Gato Negro. I’d book a table if I were you.

© 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.

Emporia Brands Release Their Festive Cocktail Recipes

PX Reserve

Here at Emporia Brands HQ, we asked a number of our award-winning brands to send us across their festive recipes, perfect to impress your friends and family with.

Ron Prohibido – ‘the forbidden rum’ – is a unique premium Latino rum from Mexico. Made in a traditional 12 year solera with a unique combination of column still rums, Ron Prohibido was, in the 17th century, shipped in used sweet wine barrels to Spain where the distinctive sweet and bitter taste it acquired during the voyage was much appreciated…so much so that local producers in Spain persuaded King Felipe V to ban it – hence “prohibido”, the forbidden rum. Now, over 300 years later, this delicious rum is available in the UK for the first time.

Try their simple ‘Prohibido’:

Glass: Mug

Ingredients:

60 ml Ron Prohibido
2 tsp caster sugar
½ cup hot fresh coffee
1 cinnamon stick
Orange zest

Method:

Stir the coffee and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Stir in Ron Prohibido and add the cinnamon and the strip of orange zest. Garnish with whipped cream, grated chocolate and grated orange zest.

 

Prohibido
Prohibido

Osborne is one of the oldest and most prestigious wine and spirit producers in Spain. Founded in 1772 by Thomas Osborne Mann to supply sherry to the UK, it remains 100% family owned, and is now run by the seventh generation.

The brightest vinous jewels in Osborne’s considerable crown are the very old rare sherries (vors). these are exceptional sherries from very special soleras, all of which were established nearly two centuries ago, and the solera for Sibarita is in fact the oldest in Jerez, dating back well over 200 years to 1792. These precious sherries have found worldwide acclaim, and are found on the lists of top restaurants around the world.

Try out their ‘PX Reserve’ recipe:

Glass: Coupette

Ingredients:

40 ml Chairman’s Reserve
10 ml Osborne PX
2 dash Angostura

Method:

Stir all the ingredients within a mixing glass over ice, then strain into a coupette.

 

Founded in 1874, Gabriel Boudier is a family owned company famous around the world for its fruit liqueurs which are used by Michelin star chefs and in top cocktail bars in over 140 countries. Gabriel Boudier uses only the finest quality fresh fruit in its liqueurs with no artificial colourings, flavours or additives. In a unique process, the fruit is frozen immediately it is picked and then macerated six times a year to ensure the optimum freshness without oxidation.

Try their ‘Fruits of Dijon’ recipe:

Glass: Rocks

Ingredients:

30 ml Gabriel Boudier Ginger
50 ml Distil No.9 vodka
50 ml Cranberry juice
1 dash Angostura

Method:

Shake all the ingredients within an ice filled shaker and strain over a ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with cherry stick.

Ron Prohibido, Gabriel Boudier and Osborne PX are all available from all leading retailers including Whisky Exchange, Latitude, Gerry’s, Corks Out and Wine Rack.

For more information on all these brands and Emporia Brands, please visit http://www.emporiabrands.com

Follow Emporia Brands on Twitter @EmporiaBrandsUK or Facebook at www.facebook.com/EmporiaBrands

Follow Ron Prohibido on Twitter @RonProhibido or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RonProhibidoUK

Follow Gabriel Boudier on Twiiter @Gabriel_Boudier or Facebook at www.facebook.com/GabrielBoudierUK