Top Tipples For Dad

Sipping and aged rums, beers brewed 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle and a cocktail seasoning to gee up a Gin & Tonic, these are just some of the top tipples we recommend for gifts for Father’s Day (or any day or relative for that matter!).

Transport Dad to the Caribbean with one sip of El Dorado 12 Year Old Rum, often voted the world’s best rum. Made with sugar cane grown on the banks of the Demerara River in Guyana, South America, El Dorado 12 Year Old is rich amber in colour with a super attractive nose, packed with aromas of sugar, honey, banana, toffee, raisins and sultanas.  The ripe, rich and balanced flavours deliver a sweetness after which the finish is delightful, elegant and dry.  A real stand-out on the drinks shelf. 

El Dorado 12 Year Old can be served on its own, with or without ice, or mixed into luxurious cocktails.  Why not use El Dorado in classic cocktails such as the Old Fashioned or the Sazerac for alternative twist.

Where to buy: RRP: £38.54, Spirited Wines –http://www.spiritedwines.co.uk/el-dorado-12-year-old-rum.html

Where to try: For an El Dorado Old Fashioned, try Mojo Bars in either Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester.  For an original drink inspired by a Sazerac and an Old Fashioned, head down to NOLA in London’s Shoreditch to try the VEP Rinse. Created by Katie Darling whilst she was working at Bellocq in New Orleans, the VEP Rinse uses El Dorado 12 Year Old, stirred down with sweet vermouth and bitters before being served on a Chartreuse VEP rinsed ice cubes and finished with a hint of lemon oil.  It’s a rich drink with a light sweetness and subtle herbal overtones. 

Staying on the rum front but moving up towards Bermuda, the home of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, a family secret has been revealed.   Kept under lock and key for over 155 years, Gosling’s deep dark secret is the Family Reserve Old Rum.  Crafted to the same exacting standards as Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, a key ingredient in the Dark ‘n Stormy cocktail, the Family Reserve Old Rum is left aging in once-used oak bourbon barrels until it has acquired an extra luscious, nuanced complexity, much like a rare Scotch or Cognac.

The bottle, which houses the Family Reserve Old Rum, pays homage to the champagne bottles that were salvaged from the British officers’ mess when the rum was first available.   They were sealed with black sealing wax and soon, people were asking for more of the ‘black seal rum’.  Today, each bottle is lovingly hand labelled, numbered, dipped in wax and placed in a straw-filled wooden box, reminiscent of days past.

Where to buy: RRP £54.35, The Whisky Exchange –http://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/P-4483.aspx

Where to try: Home to the world’s most premium rum and gin offering assembled under one roof, the Merchant House which is tucked away on Well Court just off Bow Lane, is the place to sample the Gosling’s Family Reserve. Nate, Lewis and their knowledgeable team will be able to recommend the best way to enjoy this excellent rum.

Einstök Icelandic Pale Ale is brewed just 60miles south of the Arctic Circle in Akureyi in Iceland and was created by the first Icelander in fifty years to study on the prestigious brewing program at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. 

Fresh from being awarded two gold medals at the Los Angeles International Beer Competition and the San Diego Beer Competition, Einstök Icelandic Pale Ale is the best of American and Bavarian craft beer traditions joined together with the finest Icelandic water to create this Viking version of the Pale Ale, where robust hoppiness meets smooth malty undertones. Cascade hops give it the American character, while Northern Brewer hops add just enough bitterness to make this ale refreshingly Icelandic.

Where to buy: 6 x330ml bottles of Einstök Pale Ale is £13.99 from Majestic Wine, or you can buy two cases for £10.99 each http://www.majestic.co.uk/Einstoek-Pale-Ale-zid28474;pgid=p55Cu3.ZrPlSRpdgt0CuBIWd0000M_oCKeFC;sid=avfS_2GAc9Th_jTQDSXZ_VGK8hMUavlkrGJEURdh?tracking=|searchterm:Einstok

Where to try: Ever fancied a beer cocktail?  Pop down to Oskar’s Bar in Dabbous in Fitzrovia where Oskar Kinberg has created The Drink With No Name combines Woodford Reserve bourbon, greengage ginger ale, lemon and Einstök Pale Ale, all in one delicious drink.

With summer just around the corner, give Dad the tools to make the ultimate gin and tonic or vodka and tonic. Like adding salt and pepper to a meal to enhance food, the equivalent in the drinks world is a dash of cocktail bitters, which are made from aromatic oils, herbs and spices.  The Bitter Truth are committed to sourcing the very best ingredients in the world to create these tinctures which add depth of flavour, balance and aroma to drinks. 

The Bitter Truth Tonic Bitters are easy to use and are a great and simple way to pep up a drink; just drop two dashes into your drink.  It’s especially good if your lime or lemon is looking a bit desperate, as the Tonic Bitters gives the drink a lovely sherbety taste.

Made with natural ingredients, Tonic bitters are made using Grapefruit, Sicilian lemon, lime and Seville oranges These leading flavours are backed up with herbal notes from juniper berries, coriander seeds  and spices such as mace creating a grassy-fresh bouquet like that of Japanese green tea.

Another bitter within the Bitter Truth range that is great for the home bar isThe Bitter Truth Orange Bitters. It provides an essential ingredient for classic cocktails such as the Martinez and the Manhattan and is also super with a few dashes dropped into a gin and tonic to bring out the citrus botanicals.

Where to buy: The Bitter Truth Tonic Bitters are available from The Drink Shop.com with an RRP of £14.42 as are The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters (£13.96): http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=13340  http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=5478

Where to try: Shrub and Shutter in Brixton has just launched its new cocktail menu and uses The Bitter Truth Orange bitters to bring out the fruitiness of the rums in the Citizen Kane cocktail.  The cocktail is an old fashioned style drink using St George’s Agricole & Atlantico private cask, smoked sugar and angostura.

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Make Something Special For Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. What to do? Yes, you could buy the usual flowers, perfumes and chocolates but why not make her something special on Mother’s Day?  We’ve scoured the land (a little bit) to find some lovely drinks we think mums might enjoy and, hopefully, you might too!

First up is the Violet Fizz from the team at The Cocktail Trading Company which they described as ‘a light explosion of amazingness’.  We couldn’t agree more.

How to make it:

Add all ingredients into a shaker and first dry shake (shake with no ice) and then wet shake (using ice cubes). Strain in a tall glass with cubed ice. Top with soda.   Make it look super pretty with meringue, blackberry dust, a dehydrated orange wheel and edible flowers.

Next up on our travels is the Lanique Negroni made by the team at Black Leaf Events.  Yes, you read that right, a Negroni made with Lanique – a spirit liqueur made with Attar of Rose. Swap a bunch of roses with this twist on a classic.

How to make it:

  • 40ml Lanique
  • 40ml Campari
  • 40ml Sweet vermouth

Add ingredients into a cognac/balloon glass with cubed ice. Add lemon twist, but first spray and then add into glass.  Stir and then add more ice to stop the drink from diluting.

Now, here’s a drink that makes us go weak at the knees, the French 75 .  Not only does it look impressive, it has a rich history too – it was one of the first recorded recipes in The Savoy Cocktail Book which was first published in 1930.  A little factoid for mum too, the drink was ordered in the film Casablanca by Yvonne’s German boyfriend.  The French 75 made with Hayman’s London Dry Gin.

How to make it:

  • 50ml Hayman’s London Dry Gin
  • 25ml fresh lemon juice
  • 10ml sugar syrup (to make sugar syrup simply add one part water to one part sugar.  Add all ingredients in a small pan and bring to the boil.  Let it cool down.  It can be kept in the fridge for up to one week.

Shake the sugar, lemon and Hayman’s London Dry Gin together and add to a large Champagne flute. Top up with Champagne and stir. Garnish with a lemon zest.

This next drink is another that’s found in The Savoy Cocktail Book, the Greyhound.  It’s a lovely, refreshing drink which is perfect for brunch or a pre-lunch drink and the good news is that its simple yet impactful with only two ingredients; U’Luvka Vodka and pink grapefruit juice.  You can use normal grapefruit juice too.

How to make it:

  • Add 50ml of U’Luvka Vodka into a tall glass with cubed ice top with 150ml of pink grapefruit juice

To give it a rummy twist, add 50ml of Gosling’s Black Seal rum instead of the vodka and top up with pink grapefruit juice.  Now you have a Salty Seal!  For a true Salty Seal experience, add a salted rim to the glass.  Like a Margarita, but not.

This next drink, Ruffles and Frills, was created by our very own Dean McGregor for a press reception launching the new home ware collection for Laura Oakes in Debenhams.  As an aside, the collection is packed with florals and digital prints and is highly covetable…

How to make it:

  • 50ml Lanique
  • 20ml Lemon juice
  • 40ml Pressed apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon or barspoon of apricot jam

Add all ingredients into a shaker with cubed ice. Shake and fine strain into a tall glass. Flower optional.

Ahh, the Elderflower Collins. Those small little white flowers provide such a distinctive flavour, evoking the very spirit of summer.  There’s no need to wait until June though, not with this drink. The luminous colour of The Bitter Truth Elderflower Liqueur with its fresh, rich bouquet make this a drink that you’ll want to make time and time again.

How to make it:

Add all ingredients into a shaker with cubed ice and strain into a Collins/long drink glass filled with ice.  Add soda water and stir carefully. Garnish with lemon slice.

Carl Brown From Dishoom Wins Vintage To Visionary Cocktail Competition

V2V Carl Brown and Mother's Fix

Carl Brown, from Dishoom has won the Vintage to Visionary competition, a collaboration between The Bitter Truth ™ – Bitters & Liqueurs and Hayman Distillers, the English gin distiller whose family have been making gin since 1863.  The winning recipes are listed below.

The brief laid down by the team at Love Drinks, the UK distributor of the two companies and organiser of the competition, was simple– create two cocktails – one Vintage and one Visionary – using any of the products in the range.

Eight bartenders headed down to the Queen of Hoxton to compete for the £1000 prize but Carl, with his two drinks, the Senior Service Julep and Mother’s Fix, which used a homemade tangerine shrub, which was smoked and then aged, edged the judges’ decisions. 

The judges included Alexander Hauck, Co-Founder of The Bitter Truth ™ – Bitters & Liqueurs; James Hayman, Managing Director of Hayman’s and Clinton Cawood from Imbibe.

Carl Brown and Senior Service Julep
Carl Brown and Senior Service Julep

The competition was extremely close. So much so that the judges’ awarded two joint second places to Gabor Onufer from Claridges and Ami St Claire from Sohe in Newcastle. Both contestants were praised on their drinks making skills and innovative take on the brief.  Ami for her homemade cocktail candy floss and gin soaked marshmallows and Gabor for his excellently made Voyager which used Claret and was mixed in a crystal wine decanter.

Speaking about the competition, Carl Brown, whose job title Daru-wallah, literally translates into the ‘drinks guy’, said: “We use both Hayman’s gins and the Bitter Truth in our bars so for me, this was a competition that I wanted to enter and win. Making great drinks was just one element of the competition; I really enjoyed researching the two companies.  Hayman’s because of their history and heritage and The Bitter Truth because of their passion and commitment to making cocktail ingredients in order to recreate drinks that might have been lost forever were it not for them.  What really shone out for me was the commitment from both companies to using the best quality ingredients which is why I wanted to create excellent drinks for the judging panel to enjoy.”

The other competitors in the competition include; Niall McGloin from Smokestack in Leeds; Michael Mann from City of London Distillery; Tom De Santis from Electrik in Manchester; Amir Javaid from Epernay in Manchester and Lucy Horncastle from NOLA.

The recipes for Carl’s drinks are as follows:

VINTAGE  – Senior Service Julep

Glass: Indian Copper Julep Cup

Garnish: Bushel of mint and twist of grapefruit

Method: Churn ingredients with crushed ice, then cap with more ice

40ml Hayman’s Royal Dock Navy Strength Gin

20ml The Bitter Truth Elderflower Liqueur

15ml English honey syrup (1:1)

3 dashes The Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters

VISIONARY  – Mother’s Fix

Glass: Rocks

Garnish: Candied orange peel

Method: Tap off shrub from barrel over chipped ice. Add gin, bitters and soda. Stir.

100ml shrub*

30ml Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin

4 dashes The Bitter Truth Tonic Bitters

Dash of soda

*Shrub

Method: Combine ingredients with hickory smoke in barrel and leave for one week.

300ml tangerine juice

150ml lemon juice

25ml fresh ginger juice

100ml Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin

The Bitter Truth Range of Bitter and Liqueurs and Hayman’s Gins are distributed in the UK by Love Drinks.

Cocktail Of The Week – Bloody Thyme

The latest Cocktail of the Week by collaborator and Head Barmen at the Vineyard at Stockcross David Coveney is an adaption of his own ‘The Bloody Roesemary’ that replaced the vodka found within  a Bloody Mary with house infused rosemary gin. This time though he changed the rosemary to thyme and used Martin Millers gin.

Bloody Thyme
Bloody Thyme

Bloody Thyme

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

50 ml Martin Millers and thyme infused
Yellow tomato juice
Horseradish sauce (with added white wine vinegar, black pepper and sea salt)
2 drops Master of Malt Naga Chilli Bitters
2 drops The Bitter Truth Celery Bitters

Method – 

Combine all the ingredients within an ice filled shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into an ice filled glass.

 

The Bitter Truth

 

Bitter Truth
The year 2006 saw a name come into the drinks industry that covered not only liqueurs, but also the lesser known bitters category – The Bitter Truth.

Bitters were essentially the ingredient that distinguished cocktails from other beverages and were an essential component of any good cocktail creation. Many classic cocktails use bitters and still stand the test of time today – Manhattan and Sazerac to name a few. Prohibition, as we all know, cut the drinking establishments down to size, but bitters held their ground due to their medicinal properties. Since then, and especially in the modern era, bitters have made a firm comeback and are regularly used within new creations.

Enough about bitters in general, how did The Bitter Truth come about? *

The Bitter Truth (3)At a bar show in 2006, Munich bartenders Stephan Berg and Alexander Hauck gave birth to the idea of producing and distributing cocktail bitters on a large-scale, as they were hard to find in Germany and of inferior quality. Both of them had already gained a considerable amount of experience in producing handmade cocktail bitters for the bars they were working at and in addition, Stephan owned a large collection of current and historical bitters, some of which hadn’t been produced for decades. Thus, he knew how the most well-known bitters of the world tasted and was considered a specialist in this area. They used the criteria of the choice of flavours mainly provided by old cocktail recipes that could no longer be mixed true to the original because one crucial ingredient had been missing i.e the correct bitters.

In August 2006, the first products from The Bitter Truth were released: an Orange Bitters and an Old Time Aromatic Bitters. Shortly after that, a Lemon Bitters was released. Since then, two additional flavours have been added to the range: the Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters, Creole Bitters and a Celery Bitters, which won the award as Best Spirit of the Year 2008 at the Mixology Bar Awards in Germany. In addition, The Bitter Truth has released a SloeBerry BlueGin‚ which is flavoured with fresh sloeberries, and a range of fine liqueurs: an Apricot Brandy, a Crème de Violette and a Pimento Dram. ELIXIER, a digestive liqueur in the grand tradition of the Alps. was added to range to make the bridge between the bitters and the liqueur range.

In 2016, to celebrate their 10th anniversary, The Bitter Truth released four expressions in their ‘Drops and Dashes’ range, showing off the all natural four parts of the tree of life; roots, wood, blossom and nut.

I’ve been lucky enough to sample some of their range, so below, I give to you my tasting notes –

The Bitter Truth (5)The Bitter Truth Drops and Dashes, Nut – 42%

Soft green walnut on the nose, with subtle almond coming through. Rich tobacco leaf and walnut on the palate, with notes of coffee bean and dry oak.

The Bitter Truth Drops and Dashes, Blossom – 42%

Light, scented floral notes of blossom on the nose with hints of lemon rind. Intense lavender and rose, with flavours of earth and prune coming through on the finish.

The Bitter Truth Drops and Dashes, Root – 42%

Rich smoked notes of liquorice on the nose, with sweet, fresh flavours of root blended with the bitter quinine note to finish.

The Bitter Truth Drops and Dashes, Wood – 42%

Very light, thin notes of oak and cedar wood on the nose. Softer on the palate, with bold, sweeter notes of the root coming through for a long, smoked finish.

The Bitter Truth Elderflower Liqueur – 22%

Fresh elderflower on the nose with scents of honey coming through. Sweet elderflower flavours come through on the palate, with a soft, velvet texture that creates a hint of spice. Lingers for a short while.

The Bitter Truth Apricot Liqueur – 24%

Very light and fresh on the nose with apricots dominating. Refreshing on the palate, with a light almond that lingers with a hint of sweetness. Creates a slightly dry end.

The Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur – 22%

Very light with a slight violet aroma on the nose. Thin flavours of the violet carry onto the palate and produces a smooth offering with a slight sweetness.

The Bitter Truth Pimento Dram – 22%

Rich with a dry spice and a little sweetness coming through on the nose. Quite aromatic on the palate, with a dry yet sweet offering on a short finish.

The Bitter Truth Golden Falernum – 18%

Very rich and sweet on the nose with scents of fresh almond and ginger. Rich on the palate too, with plenty of sugar, vanilla and almond blending together. A subtle finish.

The Bitter Truth Elixier – 30%

Rich on the nose with a fresh bitterness of herbs. Sweet on the palate, a slight spice kicking in with caramel following. Plenty of herbal notes on a rich finish.

The Bitter Truth (4)The Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters – 39%

Rich with plenty of herbal notes on the nose, and a dry pepper finish. Spice flavours of cinnamon and cloves dominate the palate, with a short, dry finish.

The Bitter Truth Tonic Bitters – 43%

Plenty of citrus and rich green tea aromas on the nose, albeit it a dry experience. Very dry on the palate, with the citrus rather harsh, although the green tea combats to a bitter finish.

The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters – 39%

Fresh lemon on the nose with a slight sweetness coming through. Rich, dry lemon flavours on the palate, with a  bitter and short finish.

The Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters – 44%

Fresh grapefruit on the nose, with a rich, bitter finish. A bitter development on the palate, although fresh and produces a long finish.

The Bitter Truth Original Celery Bitters – 44%

Rich, slight spice and a dry aroma on the nose. Soft and subtle once upon the palate, with a slight fresh spice on the finish.

The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters – 39%

A rich hit of fruit on the nose with a bold, fresh aromatic scent. Dry on the palate, with fennel and anise dominating a bold finish.

The Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters – 44%

Rich with a very dry cocoa aroma on the nose. Sweeter on the palate, with a roasted cocoa flavour which produces a long yet slightly dry ending.

The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas’ Bitters – 30%

Fresh on the nose with a slight herbal and citrus blend. Fresh spice and bark on the palate, producing a short yet dry finish.

The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters – 39%

Ripe orange rind on the nose with hints of orange flesh making an appearance. Sharp beginning on the palate but mellows very quickly with orange dominating. Slight spice develops soon after on a short offering.

The Bitter Truth (2)The Bitter Truth Peach Bitters – 39%

Bold peach notes at the beginning, with hints of freshness following. Ripe peach on the palate with a spice following that produces a mouth-watering finish.

The Bitter Truth Rose Water – 0%

Very fresh on the nose with plenty of aromatic rose aromas, albeit a little dry. Very light on the palate, producing a long, fresh finish of rose.

The Bitter Truth Orange Flower Water – 0%

Very aromatic on the nose with plenty of fresh orange scented flowers. A lingering soft orange flavour on the palate produces a slightly bitter finish.

As you can imagine, many a cocktail has been created using The Bitter Truth range –

Boothby Cocktail
Boothby Cocktail

Boothby Cocktail

Glass – 

Coupette

Ingredients –

50 ml  Bourbon Whiskey
20 ml Sweet Vermouth
20 ml Brut Champagne
2 dashes The Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters

Method – 

Stir and serve straight up, add Champagne on top and garnish with a cherry.

It’s always worth having a bottle or two of the bitters in your own drinks cabinet, and you’ll find many uses for the liqueurs too. If you see them in your local bar, challenge your bartender to see if they can come up with something creative! Especially as the range is still winning awards. At the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition 2010 The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Bitters was crowned with a “Gold Medal” and voted “Best in Class”. In addition to that The Bitter Truth`s Original Celery Bitters and Creole Bitters won a “Silver Medal”. At Tales of the Cocktail New Orleans 2010 The Bitter Truths Celery Bitters took away the top price for “Best New Product”.

*History and awards taken straight from The Bitter Truth website. Subtle changes made for narrative purposes.

© 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.