The 100% agave tequila from the Orendain family, one of the original founders of the Tequila industry, Batanga is now available to UK wholesalers from Emporia Brands.
Established in 1926 by Don Eduardo Orendain, Batanga Tequila is traditionally distilled using 100% agave grown on one estate in the heart of Jalisco in Mexico. The Orendain family is considered as one of the four oldest tequila families and one of the actual founders (among Cuervo, Sauza and Herradura) of the Tequila industry. The company is run by the second generation of the family with the third generation now starting to have an active role. The CRT (Tequila Regulatory Council) recognise the Orendain legacy, naming Don Eduardo Orendain as a founder within their building.
Batanga Tequila is made using the Orendain families own agave fields to support local production and growth with only the best agaves being used to guarantee the excellent flavour and taste profiles with only traditional production methods being used (no diffusers are used at any point!).
The name Batanga comes from Don Javier Delgado Corona. In the western Mexico town of Tequila, there’s a small, nondescript cantina called La Capilla – home of the Batanga, a simple drink created in the 1950s by Don Javier Delgado Corona, the bar’s owner.
The Batanga is simple: nothing more than tequila, cola and fresh lime juice served in a tall glass with a salted rim. But as Don Javier will tell you, its flavour isn’t only in the ingredients – it’s the big knife which he uses to stir the cocktail, that’s the secret to the perfect Batanga.
Two expressions are now available to the UK market;
Batanga Tequila Blanco: 38% abv | 70cl
Classic and expressive on the nose with intense typical earthy agave notes of pepper, herbs and mint. Fresh and lively in the mouth with a clean and vivid profile and a long finish.
Batanga Tequila Reposado: 38% abv | 70cl
A fresh and vibrant nose of grass and pepper. Subtle oak plays a complementary role on a palate which shows great refinement and integration, with a crisp flavoursome finish. Aged 4 – 6 months in ex-Bourbon barrels (American White Oak).
Chairman’s Reserve St Lucia Rum is calling for entries for the 2019 Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Challenge, with the prize of a visit to St Lucia in 2020 at stake.
Between now and August, bars are asked to create their own version of this classic rum cocktail, with four finalists going head to head at a London venue in September.
For details of how to enter, contact Emporia Brands, or go to: https://www.emporiabrands.com/chairmans-mai-tai.
2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the Mai Tai, when Vic Bergeron – “Trader Vic” – created a drink in his bar in Oakland, California, for visitors from Tahiti. Their reaction to the first sip was a cry of “mai tai roa ae!”, which can be roughly translated as “out of this world!”. The original included two very different rums – one molasses, the other Agricole – with flavours of citrus and almond, which provides plenty of scope for innovation. “We had an idea to encourage bartenders to play with Chairman’s Reserve in the Mai Tai cocktail because of how well we believed our rums fit the profile of this traditional tiki cocktail,” says Sergin John Baptiste, Marketing Director of St. Lucia Distillers.
The Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Challenge is a UK bartender competition that launched four years ago with Emporia Brands. The competition is back again for 2019 after last year’s excellent challenge and final, where Café Pacifico from London were crowned the winners at The Magic Roundabout in Shoreditch and received the amazing prize of two places on the Chairman’s Reserve Rum visit to St. Lucia, following in the footsteps of previous winners Milk in Reading and Alvino’s in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The 2019 Mai Tai challenge will follow the same format – simply create a signature Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai serve, register it on the website, then promote it in your bar throughout July and August and on social media. The four teams scoring the most points will be invited to the UK final, during which they will create their own pop-up bar and re-create their signature Mai Tai serve to the trade and consumers. The bar with the most votes will win the once-in-a-lifetime trip to St. Lucia.
“I was taken aback by the passion these skillful bartenders had for Chairman’s Reserve,” comments Margaret Monplaisir, Managing Director of St Lucia Distillers. “Their attention to every detail, their enthusiasm, and knowledge of Chairman’s Reserve was remarkable.”
Spirits innovator Emporia Brands is working in collaboration with its award-winning Distilleries et Domaines de Provence range to bring to the UK for the first time National Provence Cocktail Day.
Set to be this coming Friday 3rd June 2016, a number of bars and restaurants across the UK have joined the campaign to show off their cocktail creations using either the peach vermouth of Rinquinquin, the first legal absinthe since the ban of 1914 in Absente, and the thyme flavour of Farigoule, culminating in a hub of recipes to be featured upon www.provencecocktails.com.
No region of France is as incredibly blessed as Provence with the range of raw materials for original flavours to create wondrous liqueurs and vermouths. From orchards of peaches to hillsides of wormwood, Distilleries et Domaines de Provence have a glorious palette of flavours to work from, to create spirits, liqueurs and vermouths to inspire bartenders nationally.
National Provence Cocktail Day celebrates the innovation of such, showcasing the talent and creations from a wide variety of concepts, both on and off trade, across the UK.
Highlights across the UK include The Blackbird in Edinburgh showing off Provence Cocktails in the ‘Garden Shed’(Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June), whilst their Beer Garden will be taken over with an exclusive cocktail menu of 4 Provence delights.
Bistro Provence, also in Edinburgh, are running a week of Provence Cocktails, recommending their creations with food pairings, whilst The Tippling House in Aberdeen have produced five Provence Cocktails for the weekend.
In London, Gaucho Smithfields are launching a Provence Cocktail Day menu as part of their Aperitivo terrace, including the Rinquinquin based Peach Frappe.
The Midlands see’s the likes of The Edgbaston and 40st Pauls from Birmingham and Hockley Arts Club, World Social and Annies Burger Shack (all located in Nottingham) embracing Farigoule, Absente and Rinquinquin within their trademark cocktails, whilst the North East sees an in-store tasting at Fenwicks in Newcastle from 12-6pm and a Provence Cocktail Showcase on the 2nd June at BonBar with exclusive invites to local industry figures.
On the South Coast, the General Wine Company and their Liphook and Petersfield branches will be running Absente Absinthe tastings over the weekend, with the in-store tastings also running to Amathus Knightsbridge with a look at Rinquinquin.
The North of England will see El Gato Negro creating several Rinquinquin serves, whilst Cottonopolis have for you a specialised cocktail menu with Rinquinquin and Farigoule as well as food pairings. To continue the Manchester theme, Dusk Til Pawn have been utilising Farigoule for their Provence Cocktail specials, whilst it will also be the venue for a city-wide Provence Cocktail Day competition to show off the creativity of the city.
Speakeasy venue Riddles Bar in Altrincham are serving up Absente creations following the success of National Absinthe Day back in March, whilst Leeds and Backroom Bar have a Farigoule and Casco Viejo tequila creation on offer.
To cap off the Provence Cocktail Day activity, Pollen Street Social in London are joining forces with Emporia Brands and Distilleries et Domaines de Provence on the 5th June as part of Social Sunday 2016 For Hospitality Action.
A 5-course tasting menu prepared by Chef owner Jason Atherton, Sat Bains, Tom Kerridge and Claude Bosi is available, whilst across the street at Little Social, Greg Marchand from Frenchie, will be cooking his own tasting menu.
Also getting in on the food pairings are La Petite Mort in Edinburgh who are running a week long pop-up menu of four cocktails which will have recommended food pairings, culminating in a hosted 3 course dinner with paired Provence Cocktails on the 7th June.
For more information on Distilleries et Domaines de Provence and Emporia Brands, please visit www.emporiabrands.com
This April, UK distributor Emporia Brands have put together a calendar of launch events involving its new award-winning KOVAL Distillery range.
Master Distiller Robert Birnecker will be touring four cities as he brings together the KOVAL range, which includes the American whiskey expressions of Millet, Rye and Bourbon, as well as their dry gin.
Founded in 2008 by Robert and Sonat Birnecker, KOVAL produces organic whiskey, liqueurs and specialty spirits in Chicago’s first distillery since the mid-1800s. After choosing to leave their academic careers to bring the distilling traditions of Robert’s Austrian family to America, they vowed to make organic spirits from scratch (avoiding the common industry practice of purchasing and bottling pre-made spirits) and to change the way people understand whiskey by creating a new, signature style – using only the “heart” cut of the distillate – affording a brighter, cleaner take on whiskey.
Robert will be visiting the UK from the 18th April, hosting a masterclass at MASH Steakhouse in London from 4-6pm, before heading to Edinburgh on the 19th April to visit Bramble Bar for his second masterclass launch, one that will be co-hosted with Royal Mile Whiskies. A consumer dinner is also planned at The Hanging Bat, involving a three-course meal matched with KOVAL cocktails.
The 20th April see’s Glasgow and The Finnieston welcome Robert, in conjunction with Glasgow Bartender’s Club, for his third masterclass launch before heading to Manchester on the 21st April for his final class at Cottonopolis. To round-off his visit, Robert will be at Harvey Nichols in London on the 22nd April as we launch into the luxury retail outlet.
In the meantime, to whet your appetite just that little bit more, why don’t you experience the ‘Whiskeys Will’, created at the Citizen Pub in Boston.
50 ml KOVAL Bourbon
15 ml Gabriel Boudier Elderflower
15 ml Gabriel Boudier Maraschino
15 ml Lemon juice
Method: Shake, then strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.
Premium lager brand Kolson Export has announced its partnership with Nordic Noir film for a series of nation-wide events to celebrate the Copenhagen based company’s recent launch in the UK. Kolson Export is a 5% premium lager brewed to suit the contemporary appetite for clean, crisp tasting beer with a quality process overseen by renowned brewer Anders Kissmeyer. With Kolson’s origins stemming from an old Nordic recipe, the sponsorship deal seeks to align the two great Nordic exports in order to boost sales following the huge success of the Nordic Noir film genre on UK television screens. With programmes such as The Killing, Borgen, Wallander and The Bridge drawing massive UK viewing figures, the partnership aims to raise awareness of both Nordic Noir and Kolson Export with audiences around the UK.
The trademark dark thrillers have become a genre in their own right, and Kolson hopes to use its distribution points (on-trade and off-trade) to help bring the genre to a wider audience. Kolson will be taking the films and series to various trade events across the UK on a National Film Tour and will introduce a Film Club promotion to the pubs and clubs of the UK, in order to promote the Kolson product range, which is available in bottles, cans, and kegs.
Stewart Rowley, Kolson’s Managing Director, comments: “It’s with great pride that our marketing campaign will be associated with Nordic Noir, bringing two great exports from the same region together. We are all massive fans of the genre, and we’re looking forward to bringing Kolson Export and Nordic Noir to a wider audience across the UK.”
Served in bottles and keg through the on-trade, Kolson Export is also available in cans. Launched in the UK in April 2015, it is also very quickly gaining distribution in Europe and the Far East.
Love Drinks has made an addition to its portfolio of premium and hand-crafted range of spirits, liqueurs and beers with the introduction of the super-premium, luxury vodka, U’Luvka.
U’Luvka has had a presence in the UK market since 2005. However, it is the first time that the brand has appointed a sales agency to create advocacy within the bartending community as well as growing distribution and brand awareness in the on and off trade.
Over the years, U’Luvka has won over 60 awards for its distinctive, iconic packaging and its smooth, sippable and full-flavoured taste. The origins of U’Luvka can be traced back to the 16th century Polish Royal Court where a famous alchemist was commissioned to develop a vodka of the finest purity and the most exceptional quality to be enjoyed by the Royal Court. The alchemist, Sendivogius, proved his worth by delivering a spirit of legendary finesse.
The centuries old recipe was rediscovered in ancient records and has been meticulously recreated using the finest Polish rye and grain by one of Poland’s most respected master distillers, Elzbieta Goldyka to create U’Luvka.
Kirsty Loveday, Founder and Managing Director of Love Drinks said; “It’s fantastic that U’Luvka is now part of the Love Drinks portfolio and we’re delighted to be working with a brand that has so much history and heritage. One of the most important criteria for us when choosing a brand to complement our existing range is that the liquid must be of the highest quality and that’s absolutely the case with U’Luvka.
“We’ve been on the look-out for a straight vodka that would be the perfect for our portfolio for many years and we’re delighted to be working with U’Luvka. We’re looking forward to further establishing U’Luvka’s credentials as a super-premium luxury vodka and ensuring that it has its deserved place on the back bars of the best bars and on the shelves of quality retailers, both on-line and in-store.”
Nick Kirkpatrick, Co-founder of U’Luvka Vodka said: “The quality and reputation of U’Luvka speaks for itself. We are investing in the brand with renewed vigour and are confident that we have found a great partner in Love Drinks who share and understand the very essence of U’Luvka which is lovingly created and drunk with Friendship, Love and Pleasure.”
From June 25 2014, DISARONNO is inviting cocktail lovers from across the UK to a one-off series of rooftop parties touring London, Manchester and Scotland this summer. The DISARONNO Terrace will be sound-tracked by live performances from the hottest new talent around; including incredible, singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey, who will be playing this intimate show ahead of opening the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury the day after. Hot off the back of touring with London Grammar and Sam Smith, Rhodes will be captivating audiences with his haunting vocals. Whilst indie giants The Maccabees, Alt J and Charlie XCX will be taking to the decks to make these THE parties of the summer.
The events launch in the capital against the stunning backdrop of London’s skyline, on the roof terrace at The Platform Bar, London Fields every Wednesday night for four weeks before touring the cultural hotspots of Manchester and Scotland. To apply for complimentary tickets which each include two DISARONNO Sour cocktails, Londoners must RSVP to DISARONNOTerrace@housepr.com.
Up and coming artists and illustrators including Benjamin Taylor (creator of Paolo Nutini’s latest album artwork) and Matthew Daniel Swan (championed by It’s Nice That) will be entertaining guests throughout the evening by creating live works of art on La Tela Nera (The Blank Canvas). Each work of art will come to life as the night unfolds revealing an original interpretation of the romantic history of DISARONNO.
Experts in the art of cocktail making will be running complimentary master classes and tasting sessions throughout the evening teaching guests about the secrets behind the perfect DISARONNO Sour. This timeless cocktail mixes the sweet taste of DISARONNO with the sharp, punchy flavour of freshly squeezed lemon to complete the ultimate cocktail to while away the long summer evenings. Guests will also be encouraged to create their own twist on this classic from an assortment of fresh ingredients and garnishes.
Over the past four years, the DISARONNO Terrace has made an international name for itself touring likes of New York, Milan, Rome and Los Angeles. This year, in addition to its UK debut, the Terrace will also take residence in Tokyo, Madrid, Amsterdam, Milan and Rome.
I’m always on the look out for new and exciting products to try, and one in particular has apparently been causing a stir down in London town. The following is the latest press release from them detailing their latest achievements –
Jax Coco is excited to announce their recent listings in multiple London venues.
Premium coconut water brand Jax Coco is now available in the Eurostar Lounges, Ricker Restaurants and at Maybourne Group hotels. The popular and hydrating drink has also just become available at Michelin-Starred Tom Aikens Restaurant in Chelsea, taking the hospitality industry by storm.
As well as offering Jax Coco as a soft drink or mixer in Ricker Restaurants (E&O, XO, Cicada, Eight over Eight, La Bodega Negra and also the newly opened Casa Negra in Shoreditch), La Bodega Negra have also found innovative ways to incorporate Jax into their menus where the product now features on the ever impressive cocktail list. Head to the Soho eatery and try the ‘Jax Cooler’ for £5.50, a refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail with a vanilla twist.
British Luxury 5* hotel operator the Maybourne Hotel Group is the perfect fit for a premium product like Jax Coco. The group stocks the hydrating drink in the mini bars at iconic London venue, Claridges, allowing guests to enjoy Jax Coco from the comfort of their rooms.
Jax Coco, a hydrating 100% pure coconut water drink which provides a tasty alternative to water, is packed full of goodness for the body and soul. Produced in the Philippines from the finest coconuts, Jax Coco contains no added sugar or sweeteners and supports the immune system by removing toxins and increasing the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. The stylish glass bottles of Jax Coco designed by Alasdhair Willis, husband to Stella McCartney, make Jax the perfect drink when dining out.
So what’s all the fuss about then? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Jax Coco – 0%
Aromas of light coconut on the nose, with a very soft offering on the palate. Aromatic flavours of coconut creates a creamy texture that short but refreshing.
So this versatile mixer has been promoted as not only a refreshing drink on its own, but also good enough to be a part of some of London’s elite cocktail menus. Well with recipes like this, I’m not surprised * –
Pour bitters into a boston glass and add a dash of plain water. Fill the glass with ice cubes and add Jim Beam, then stir. Strain into chilled coupette, then garnish with ice ball.
Who thought coconut could be used with a classic such as an Old Fashioned? If you like your coconut, it’s definitely worth a try, and i wouldn’t be surprised if you started to see this within your local bars. If it’s catching on in London, it’s on its way round the UK.
A liqueur fit for a King? Berry Bros. & Rudd are steeped in tradition themselves, but to produce a liqueur that will warm the cockles of King Edward VII is a mighty step in the right direction. But how did it all come about?
In the early days of King Edward VII’s reign, the royal doctor approached Berry Bros. & Rudd for something to ward off the chill felt by His Majesty when out in his “horseless carriage”. Henry Berry promptly produced Berry Bros. & Rudd’s brandy and ginger cordial originally known as “Ginger Brandy – Special Liqueur”, but in 1906, three years after its creation, it was the next generation who thought to add it to the price list and in 1934 rename it “The King’s Ginger Liqueur” as it is known today.
The King’s Ginger is created by the maceration of ginger root and the addition of citrus in the form of lemon oil. Sounds perfect for these cold, bitter nights! So how does it fare?
The King’s Ginger– 41%
Light and fresh on the nose with a mix of ginger and citrus that doesn’t dominate and overpower too much. Slight sharpness of ginger to begin, it develops nicely with an instant warming. Sweet ginger near the end as the soft velvet texture coats your mouth. A little spice on this long offering.
Now it’s only fitting to showcase a cocktail that hits the spot during winter –
The King’s Winter Cup
Brand snifter or wine glass
30ml The King’s Ginger
20ml cloudy apple juice
100ml apple cider
Cinnamon stick to garnish
Add all ingredients into a pan or soup urn. Simmer on a gentle heat for 30 mins then serve. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Or something to have all year round?
The King And Tonic
50ml The King’s Ginger
100ml Fever Tree tonic water
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
Combine and serve in a highball glass with ice. Serve with lemon slice.
Now, I’m a big fan of using spirits within food and being able to get the best of both worlds. So maybe try one of these –
The King’s Ginger Cheesecake
110g ginger biscuits
50g unsalted butter
350g cottage cheese
1 sachet powdered gelatine
2 large free range egg yolks
60g caster sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
3 tbsp The King’s Ginger
150ml double cream
20cm flan tin with removable base
Prepare the base by breaking the biscuits into a fine rubble and add the melted butter. Mix thoroughly. Press evenly into the bottom of the flan tin. Refrigerate whilst preparing the filling.
Put the gelatine into a small cup with three tablespoons cold water and stand this in a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Leave for 10 minutes until the gelatine looks transparent.
Next blend the cottage cheese, egg yolks and sugar in a liquidiser for one minute. Add the lemon zest, juice and gelatine (pass it through a strainer). Blend until well combined and the mixture smooth. Whip the cream into soft peaks and fold this, together with The King’s Ginger into the cheesecake mix.
Pour into the flan tin, cover and chill for three hours. Serve: Decorate with small pieces of chopped crystallised ginger.
Always a winner when a spirit can not only be drunk neat, but also combined with other ingredients to create not only a great drink, but also fantastic food. If I were you, I’d grab a bottle or two, one to drink – one to play with!
There are spirits out there who have defined their own category within a category. Bloodshot has become the latest to add themselves to this trend, the trend being a vodka flavour to help create a certain cocktail. Absolut did it with their Absolut Pepper, Belvedere released Belvedere Bloody Mary and now Bloodshot have come into the frame with a vodka spirit created solely to enjoy a Blood Mary ‘the right way’.
Bloodshot is a British invention, masterminded by Mark Douglas Hill who himself is a life-long Bloody Mary & Bullshot drinker. With a background of a development chef and food and drinks waiter, it seemed only right to use his skills to create a product that can perfect his favourite tipple.
The first bottles of Bloodshot were produced at home in Mark’s Notting Hill development kitchen in 2009, with two years passing to perfect the recipe until it had its first bottling in June 2011. Launched initially in Selfridges, it is now available on three continents only one year later.
Bloodshot has been defined as ‘one of the world’s most complex spirits to produce’ involving three intricate production processes, over twenty ingredients, two stills, four maceration vats, one master distiller, one master wine-maker and absolutely no artificial additives. The first production process is the distillation of English wheat into what they think is the finest Vodka in the world. The primary distillation is in the UK’s tallest tower still. This continuously rectfies the fermented grain through 43 rectification plates into a spirit of un-rivalled purity. They then run the wheat spirit through Angela, a 108 year old heritage copper pot still.
In a process similar to Gin production, a maceration of a carefully balanced blend of spices, aromatics and botanicals is combined with the distilled wheat Vodka. Although a closely guarded secret, it does include smoky chipotle chillies from Mexico, cracked black pepper from Kerala, Spanish lemon peel, German horseradish root, Hungarian coriander seed, hot cayenne pepper from Lousiana and celery seed. All these flavours are extracted for 36 hours to create a complex flavour that is then filtered and moved to the blending vats.
The final stage is the blending process which marries the spice infused spirit with lemon and lime, the savoury Worcestershire Sauce and the finish of award-winning Port, shipped direct from the Douro Valley. The blended Bloodshot is left to mature, mellow and fuse for a further three weeks before a four step filtration process finally reveals the deep red finish.
Bloodshot is bottled & labelled on-site and only then is ready to leave its rural Sussex birthplace in Windfall Wood.
So a rather interesting back-story, but the question is, how does it fare?
A strong aroma of Worcester sauce hits the nose first, but mellows rather quickly into a smooth, pepper sense. A huge hit on the palate that awakens all the senses! Very concentrated in flavour with a powerful punch of pepper, citrus and spices. Creates a long, lasting experience that slowly mellows.
Now there’s only really one cocktail something like this can go with –
200ml tomato juice
Mix Bloodshot with tomato juice and serve with ice, lemon and your preferred garnish (celery is the usual serve, however grated pepper can be used too).
A rather surprising spirit here, and not one for the faint-hearted. It’s also recommended to be served as a shot, with beef consume and tomato juice or just over ice. With these flavoured spirits though, don’t let them put you off. I always recommend to give these brands a try, and if you don’t like it, try it in its original purpose which in this case is a Bloody Mary. Bartenders love customers trying new drinks, and this one should be hitting many a bar in the very near future.
Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.