Finalists announced for the Northern Restaurant & Bar’s annual cocktail competition, sponsored by Whitley Neill Dry Gin, with the chance to win a once in a lifetime VIP visit to South Africa.
Competitors have been asked to submit one unique drink, containing a minimum of 35 ml of any Whitley Neill Dry Gin expression, and adding inspiration of the gin’s South Africa influence.
Four finalists, chosen by a blind judging panel of gin experts including founder Johnny Neill, have been chosen, and they include;
Thomas Gedney-Higham, Bibi’s Italianissimo, Leeds Bettina Kovacs, Dishoom, Edinburgh Jenny Griffiths, Ten Mill Lane, Cardiff Lükas Alberti, Three Six Six (Battersea), London
Each finalist will be invited to the final of the competition at Northern Restaurant & Bar in Manchester on Wednesday 22nd March 2016 at 3:15pm. The competition is hosted by Dave Marsland aka Drinks Enthusiast and Halewood Wines & Spirits, the distributors for Whitley Neill Dry Gin, and compared by spirit writer Joel Harrison.
The winner will visit South Africa in late 2017 as the guest of Whitley Neill Dry Gin, which has previously beaten off the challenge from the World’s finest gin brands by winning gold at San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2014. The visit will also include a 1 day safari.
Northern Restaurant & Bar is the biggest hospitality show in the North. The show’s Spirit Room is the largest curated selection of spirit brands on show outside London. As well as the Casco Viejo cocktail competition, the Drinks Live theatre features a line-up of tutored tastings and masterclasses from some of the best names in the business. Tickets are free to anyone actively working in the hospitality industry, register now at northernrestaurantandbar.co.uk/webtickets
Full on flavour, light on alcohol, Arniston Bay’s new Infusions is the trend revolutionising the wine aisle this Autumn. Look out for this fresh new taste in your local Tesco store.
Arniston Bay Infusions will define this year’s infused global wine trend. Fed-up with high alcohol, heavy drinks, wine drinkers have been looking for lighter alternatives which are well-made by winemakers, in the traditional way using quality grapes and ingredients but with a lower alcohol content and without compromising on flavour. Made by leading South African wine maker Abraham De Villiers, Infusions uses a natural method to infuse sparkling fermented wine, made from grapes grown in crisp sunny vineyards in the Western Cape, with the natural tastes of peach, mango and passion fruit. The result is a high quality, well made infusion which packs a powerful flavour punch.
The bubbly wine has fresh fruity aromas on the nose, following through to a luscious full middle palate finishing with crisp freshness and zingy mouth feel. Arniston Bay Infusions – peach, mango and passion fruit, is available exclusively in Tesco stores with an RRP of £4.99 and an alcohol volume of only 5.5%. It is a natural product, infused with botanicals and fruit infusions with NO artificial flavours. It has 30% less calories than a comparable glass of wine. Infusions can be drunk on its own with friends or paired perfectly with sushi or canapés. It should be served chilled straight in the glass, over ice or used in a cocktail.
Arniston bay wine maker, Abraham De Villiers, says: “It is every wine makers dream to create something that is really unique. What I love about Infusions is that it is such great fun combined with quality and it will bring wine to a much broader audience and enable people to have a delicious lower alcohol drink without compromising on flavour. We have been overwhelmed by the positive reception that we’ve had from UK consumers and are delighted with this innovation.”
Arniston Bay Infusions is bottled in a premium, aspirational design with an affordable price. It’s a modern, stylish, convenient and a refreshingly different drink. Peach, mango and passion fruit launches exclusively in Tesco stores. Watch out for new flavours joining the Infusions range, coming soon to a convenience store near you, two further flavours – mint, lemongrass and aloe; and graviola and passion fruit.
To celebrate its UK launch Arniston Bay Infusions is giving away a chance to win a fantastic, all expenses paid pamper party pack for you and your friends and hundreds of picnic hampers. Enter via the neck collar of bottles available in Tesco or via Facebook facebook.com/ABInfusions
The 10th September saw the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) announce its Beautiful South wine results at the Wines of the Beautiful South, London Olympia.
A strong performance was seen by South Africa, as they topped the Beautiful South medal leader board with an impressive 632 medals. Eight Gold Outstanding medals were awarded in the competition, South Africa picked up seven of these as well as 29 Gold. Highlights include leading wine and spirit producer KWV picking up 22 medals and Nederburg Wines being awarded three of the eight Gold Outstanding medals.
Producers in Chile also performed well, the country collected 375 medals, including a Gold Outstanding for its Casas del Bosque Syrah Pequenas Producciones 2012 and four Silver Outstanding medals were awarded to white wines all from the Aconcagua Region.
Among Argentina’s 234 medal haul, it was the country’s famous Malbec wines from Mendoza, which stood out and were awarded four Gold medals.
Brazil, hot on the heels of Chile and Argentina, picked up 19 medals including five Silver medals. Four of these were awarded to sparkling wines, a style which the country has recently been praised for.
The supermarkets put in a strong performance, Tesco was awarded 11 medals including a Silver for its Finest* Stellenbosch Red 2011. Sainsbury’s picked up eight medals, with its Taste the Difference Morador Malbec 2013 winning a Bronze. Lidl’s Cimarosa Chilean Pedro Jimenez 2013 was awarded a Silver medal. Aldi was awarded a Bronze for its The Exquisite Collection Uco Valley Malbec 2014.
IWSC General Manager, Ewan Lacey commented, “South Africa has done extremely well in the Beautiful South results. This year IWSC hosted showcases in South Africa and South America earlier this year, and the level of wines discovered were outstanding. Interestingly, looking at the results as a whole, it was interesting to see that we found that 2013 vintages were the strongest in this year’s competition.”
This past Thursday saw the eighth meeting of the Manchester Whisky Club, held at The Castle in Manchester. Just like last month, a theme was the order of the day, and as we had covered Ireland, Scotland, Japan and the USA, it made sense to take look at some of the lesser known whisky producing countries including Sweden, Taiwan and England. Club founder Andy brought with him 6 expressions, so without further a do, lets see how they all fared –
Mackmyra First Edition – 46.1%
Swedish. Very dry on the nose, a little damp but some sweetness follows. Ripe on the palate, a slight sweetness follows with wisps of cocoa coming through slowly. Short.
Three Ships 10yr Limited Edition – 43%
South Africa. Very light with a sherry and fruit salad nose with hints of vanilla. A sharp start on the palate with bold citrus flavours and a slight blend of peat and smoak.
Kavalan King Car Conductor – 46%
Taiwan. Rich fruit and a sherry nose, with a sharp, dry texture and flavours of banana on the palate. Creates a long finish.
Amrut Fusion – 50%
India. Dry yet bold with toasted barley aromas on the nose. Very sharp on the palate, with a mouth-watering and long flavour of citrus. It soon dries though, with a salty finish.
English Whisky Company Chapter 6 – 43%
England. Slight smoke on the nose with a light sweet peat aroma coming through. Very sweet on the palate though, with a long flavour of dark chocolate creating a smooth yet dry finish. Hints of iodine and sea salt pop through too.
Penderyn Madeira– 46%
Light on the nose but with sweet honey notes lingering around. Sharp citrus cuts through on the palate, with a dry spice and hints of green fruit coming through. Creates a long finish.
A great look around the world, with some surprising results. My personal favourite out of the range would have to be English Whisky Company Chapter 6, although the Mackmyra First Edition came a close second. There seemed to be a split divide on which whisky favoured each member, but the great thing about the club is, and I could guarantee on my behalf, there would have been a hesitation in purchasing a dram in a bar if I had ever come across these brands, now though, I’d not only purchase, I’d recommend.
Next on the agenda for the Manchester Whisky Club is a touch of India, with Paul John whisky being showcased by the chaps themselves.
Amarula is a cream liqueur from South Africa and uses the unique fruit of the Marula tree. Marula is an exotic fruit found only on the sub-Saharan plains of Africa, where it grows in the wild for just a few weeks of the year.
Harvesting of the fruit, ripened under the African sun, happens at the height of the African summer, from mid-January to mid-March. Many of these wild-growing trees, indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa, are found in the sub-tropical region of Phalaborwa in Limpopo Province.
When the fruit falls to the ground it is collected by the women of the local rural communities before being delivered to the Amarula production plant in Phalaborwa.
At the plant, each fruit is individually checked to ensure it is fully ripened and free of blemishes before the flesh is crushed with the skins. In a de-stoning tank, rotating blades separate the flesh from the hard seeds or nuts. The fruit pulp is pumped into cooling tanks, where it is kept at a consistent temperature below 6 degrees centigrade to prevent uncontrolled fermentation. The marula pulp is then transported to the cellars in Stellenbosch where it is fermented under conditions similar to wine making. After fermentation, the marula wine is distilled twice, first in column stills and then in copper pot stills, to create a young marula distillate. It is essential that the fresh marula wine is distilled as quickly as possible to retain the fresh fruity flavours. During the second distillation the marula flavours are further concentrated. One distilled, the spirit is aged slowly in wood, spending two years in small oak barrels. Fresh dairy cream is then blended with the Amarula.
So how does Amarula fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Amarula – 17%
On the nose, a very light aroma of the exotic Marula fruit makes its way through, with the taste almost bursting as it hits your palate. A sweet tang to it, it covers your palate nicely and gives off a slow release of Marula that lasts.
A great fruit cream liqueur to enjoy over ice after a meal, or ask your bartender for one of these –
160 ml Amarula Cream
2 Tbs crushed brownie or (Chocolate biscuits)
2 Tsp Hazelnut liqueur
2 Tsp Orange liqueur
30 ml Peppermint Liqueur
Pinch of cinnamon
Chocolate shavings to garnish
Fresh ginger to garnish
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker or blender. Close, shake or blend for 30 seconds, pour over ice cubes into a hi-ball glass and add crushed ice as a top layer. Garnish with wedge of cookie or with chocolate shavings and fresh ginger.
A great cocktail to enjoy not only all year round, but with one of these –
Amarula Bread and Butter Pudding
500 ml Milk
375 ml double cream
5 ml vanilla essence
40 g butter, melted
6 large eggs
200 g castor sugar
125 ml Amarula Cream
6 small soft bread rolls
25 g sultanas, soaked in water and drained
100 g apricot glaze, warm
In a pan, bring the milk, cream and vanilla essence to the boil. Use a little of the butter to grease a large oval pie dish. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and castor sugar until pale. Gradually add the milk-cream mixture, stirring. Add the Amarula Cream and strain through a fine sieve. Cut the bread rolls into thin slices and butter them. Arrange in the pie dish and sprinkle over the sultanas. Pour the Amarula mixture over the bread. The bread will float to the top. Place the dish in a bain-marie on top of folded newspaper and pour in hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake in a preheated oven, 160.
You have to love such a versatile liqueur! Ever since its release back in 1983, its been a staple for both bars and kitchens world wide. Which means only one thing, your missing out.