William Grant & Sons UK Appoints Fabiano Latham As Reyka Vodka UK Ambassador

Independent family distillers, William Grant & Sons UK has today confirmed that former Chotto Matte Bar Director, Fabiano Latham, will take on the role of UK ambassador for Reyka Vodka, as of January 2017.

Fabiano’s new role as the Reyka UK ambassador will see him focus on generating brand awareness, building brand advocacy and bridging communication between the brand and consumer, bars & restaurants, retailers, distributors and press.

Gwilym Cooke, Brand Manager at William Grant & Sons UK said: “With his vast experience and exceptional reputation in the on-trade, Fabiano is the perfect candidate to take on the role of UK ambassador for Reyka. His innovative nature, creativity and passion for the industry will be key for the work he does with the team and our on-trade partners.”

Fabiano said: “I can’t wait to work with Reyka for so many reasons; it’s a truly unique product within the vodka category and like myself, an inventive spirit. I am fascinated with the provenance of brands and also the art of flavour pairing. The story of Reyka’s production and the versatility of the liquid itself suits this passion perfectly.”

Fabiano will take over from Joe Petch who has held the role since 2013. Joe will be taking on a new role as Global Brand Ambassador for William Grant & Sons UK brand, Monkey Shoulder Triple Malt Scotch Whisky.

Ditch Your Resolutions In Style At Slug And Lettuce

With New Year’s Resolutions beginning to be a thing of the past, a leading bar chain, the Slug and Lettuce are offering guests the opportunity to ditch them in sophistication with fantastic offers this January*.

Available at Slug and Lettuces throughout the country, the chain of bars will be providing customers the opportunity for a guilt-free celebration with a selection of 10 drinks available, all below 100 calories. What’s more, they are all available at the minimal cost of £3.50. Whether it be a refreshing Gordons Gin and Tonic or a delicious Absolut Vanilla and Diet Coke, there will be something for all.

For those looking for more than a drink, there are also an array of food options available, set to whet anyone’s appetite. The signature ‘Fast & Fresh’ section of the menu will be on hand for all with a complimentary 20% discount on top. The selection of dishes take inspiration from around the globe, with the likes of a Superfood Salad, BBQ Pulled Pork Burrito or Noodle Boxes set to ignite the taste buds.
Full list of Slug and Lettuce January deals*:

· £3.50: Whitley Neill Gin and Bottle Green Light Tonic, Gordons Gin and Bottle Green Light Tonic, Havana Club 3yr and Diet Coke, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and Diet Coke, Midori and Bottle Green Light Tonic, Disaronno and Diet Coke, Tia Maria and Diet Coke, Smirnoff and Bottle Green Light Tonic and Absolut Vanilla and Diet Coke.

· £4.50: Beck’s Blue non-alcoholic beer and 125ml Prosecco

· Dishes for £5: Chicken Salad, Classic Burger, Chicken & Bacon Club, Butternut Squash Lasagne and Bacon, Avocado and Tomato Sandwich at the following sites: Reading, Brentwood, Nottingham Cornerhouse, St Albans, Fetter Lane and Epsom.

· Dishes for £5: Cottage Pie, Chilli Con Carne, Butternut Squash Lasagne, Steak Sandwich and Southern Fried Chicken Wrap at the following sites: Huddersfield, Beckenham, Derby, Chelmsford, Hove and Southampton.

Deal runs from Tuesday 3rd January to 31st January 2017.

*£20% off Fast & Fresh menu at 67 Slug & Lettuce’s throughout the country. Not including the following sites: Wilmslow, Marlow, South Woodford, Weybridge, Salisbury, Clapham, Fareham, Southend, Derby and Southampton. Not to be used in conjunction with any other promotion or offer.

The BEAT Society Takes Refuge In Manchester


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).

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.

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.



I’ve noticed a trend this year in that I’ve seen a lot more ‘premium’ vodka brands come out and hitting the scene. The latest one did catch my eye, and with its gold plating, I’d be surprised if you missed it yourself!

So Au vodka, lets dive in.

The second noticeable icon to the look of the bottle is that the brand name is written in the chemical element of gold itself, the symbol Au and atomic number 79. Within each bottle, the vodka itself grows from English grain that is combined with spring water and distilled five times.
But to reflect the brands image, the vodka is filtered using at first traditional charcoal, but soon after it hits a high pressure filter chamber that contains gold. Gold is seen to have mineral properties that offer a smooth and velvet taste, and Au say that they are using one of the only gold filtration processes in the world.

Once created, the vodka is housed within gold coloured glass bottles from Italy and adorned with a hand crafted pewter label.

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

Au – 40%

On the nose, a clean, soft grain aroma with subtle fresh bread. A sharp hit of light citrus upon the palate, growing to a lemon rind profile. Smooth, with hints of fresh coriander coming through on the lingering finish.

More flavour than expected, which is a good sign, and I can see it working well within something like this –

Au - Cocktail 79
Cocktail 79

Cocktail 79

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

50 ml Au Vodka
35 ml Lime Juice
30 ml Brown Sugar Syrup
Dash of Lemonade

Method – 

Build in a tumbler over hand-cracked ice. Stir well, top with lemonade and garnish with a sprig of mint and lime wedge.

An interesting addition to the premium vodka category, one that from what I can tell, is not just for the sipping crowd either, which can be a great move depending on how they position themselves in the market. One for the drinks cabinet, even if it is to say you have a vodka filtered with gold!

© 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.



Outerspace Vodka Makes Landfall In Australia

Award winning, meteorite filtered vodka touches down! Think Spirits has proudly been appointed as the exclusive Importer & Distributor of Outerspace Vodka for the Australien market.

Enjoying tremendous success in the USA, Outerspace Vodka is now available in over 30 states across America and is now set to hit stores and bars across Australia from July 1st.

Five-times distilled from corn in Iowa, USA, the vodka boasts 100% gluten-free credentials and is filtered through meteorites for ultimate purity and uniqueness.

Picking up a Gold Medal at the prestigious 2016 SIP Awards, it seems that the experts agree. “It wasn’t just about creating radical packaging” says Jim Denoon, co-founder of the brand, “we had to develop an exceptional liquid too”.

Clearly the bottle deserves a mention. Truly from outer space, the bottle represents the widely understood notion of an alien. “It’s ironic”, says Denoon, “no one knows what an alien looks like, but then at the same time, everyone sort of does and is fascinated by the notion that we’re not alone.”

It’s clearly a brand that’s centered around fun. The alien even writes his own social media feeds reporting on all he finds curious about his new home on planet earth: @outerspacevodka #madeforaustraliens

“We’re super excited to introduce Outerspace Vodka to our portfolio”, says Patrick Borg, Managing Director of Think Spirits, Australia. “We expect our little green friend to thrive in the Australien market! He has already enjoyed high profile acceptance nationwide, which is out-of-this-world!”

Keep a keen eye out in your local liquor store or bar for Outerspace Vodka or ask for it by name. At least we now know that we’re not alone!

Available in 700ml & 50ml bottles at 40%ABV.

Beluga Vodka Launches Limited Edition Noble Celebration Bottle

Beluga Nova
Super-premium brand Beluga Vodka has launched Noble Celebration, a limited edition bottle created to commemorate the 115th anniversary of the Mariinsk Distillery in Siberia, where the entire Beluga Vodka range is produced.

Contained within the Celebration bottle is Beluga Noble Vodka straight from the Mariinsk Distillery. Situated in the heart of Siberia 300 km from the nearest town, the Mariinsk Distillery is based in one of the most tranquil areas of Russia and uses industry-leading, cutting-edge equipment. Made with special malt spirit and the purest water from Siberian artesian wells, Beluga Noble Vodka combines sugar syrup, natural honey, oatmeal infusion, holy thistle and a touch of vanilla before undergoing a unique 30-day resting period, resulting in an exquisite velvety and luxurious taste.

Beluga Noble Celebration is currently available to purchase online atwww.thedrinkscellar.com and from Selfridges, priced at £49.99 (RRP).

Beluga Vodka Launches International Cocktail Competition


As part of a European-wide initiative, super-premium brand, Beluga Vodka, is proud to announce the launch of Beluga Signature; an on-trade educational brand programme encompassing a roadshow and cocktail competition in nine major cities across the UK, France and Germany. Commencing in June, it is hoped that the multiple stage programme will build and strengthen the understanding of the Beluga Brand with the European bartender community, while pushing the boundaries of high-end mixology.

Open only to those that work in Beluga-stocked bars, the “Creative Competition Stage” launching in July will invite bartenders throughout the UK to create a 1920s-1930s Great Gatsby style Art Deco-inspired cocktail with a modern Beluga twist, suitable for high gastronomic black tie occasions. Entrants will then have 15 minutes to present their creations in front of a panel of judges at the Creative Stage Events in London (26th July), Manchester (2nd August) and Birmingham (3rd August).

In total, five entries will then be shortlisted and put through to the “Promotional Stage”, where participants will be required to promote their own creations in their bars from the 8th August – 8th October. The final winning cocktail will be judged on sales, creativity and visibility of the drink.

Following the Promotional Stage the panel of judges, will announce 1st, 2nd and 3rd places from each UK city in October. The 1st place winners will be announced in October and will be invited on an ‘all-expenses paid’ trip to Moscow in November. This will encompass an incredible Russian experience, visiting key Moscow attractions and prestige trade accounts, as well as taking part in the “Beluga Signature Grand Final” competition alongside the six other 1st place winners from the competitions running in parallel in France and Germany. The overall Beluga Signature winner will receive a monetary reward and an exclusive Beluga trophy.

UK Group Marketing Manager, Katie Warren, says: “The launch of the Beluga Signature programme is an incredibly exciting time for the brand in the UK. Not only will bartenders be able to show off their mixology skills, they will also be receiving excellent one-on-one training from a variety of our experts, including our brand ambassador team. We are really looking forward to the UK cocktail entries, and to see how they compare to those from our French and German entrants.”

For full assessment criteria, entry requirements and terms and conditions, please email UK brand ambassador, Zoran Peric (Zoran@realmix.co.uk).

Stoli Presents A Summer Of Glitz, Fun And Cocktails Inspired By This Year’s Hottest Film – Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie!

They’re back…and just as fabulous! To celebrate the release of Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (in cinemas 1st July 20163), Stolichnaya® Premium vodka is partnering with Fox Searchlight Pictures to add an extra dash of glitter to the party.

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE sees Edina and Patsy still oozing glitz and glamour, living the high life they are accustomed to; shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London’s trendiest hotspots. But when they accidentally push Kate Moss into the river Thames at an uber fashionable launch party, Eddy and Patsy become entangled in a media storm surrounding the supermodel’s untimely demise and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. Fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forever more!

Inspired by the highly anticipated film, Stoli has created a series of suitably marvelous cocktails fit for the Ab Fab ladies. These delicious cocktails will not only be served at the film premiere’s fabulous after-party, but will also be available nationwide for you to have your own absolutely fabulous moment at a selection of the UK’s top bars such as Freedom.


Arguably the most famous and fabulous cocktail inspired by the film, ‘The Stoli Bolli’ is fit for any glamorous occasion:

35ml Stolichnaya premium vodka

1 white sugar cube

2 drops lavender bitters

60ml Bollinger® champagne

Garnish: Rose petal

Add drops of bitters onto the sugar cube and place into a chilled champagne flute. Pour over Stoli and gently crush the sugar cube. Top with Bollinger champagne, stir gently and garnish with a rose petal. Serve Immediately.


‘The Glitteratti’, a zesty twist on a classic:

25ml Salted Karamel Stolichnaya premium vodka

25ml lemon juice
Garnish: Apple

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass




Keep the party rolling in true Ab Fab fashion with ‘The Bombshell’ cocktail:

50ml Stolichnaya premium vodka

25ml lemon juice
12.5ml Gomme

4-6 fresh raspberries

50ml Sparkling water

Garnish: Raspberries

Pour all ingredients over ice in a glass, top with sparkling water and garnish

Twitter Campaign Sees English Craft Spirit Producers Triumph Over Scottish Distillers


· 20,388 votes counted in UK’s first consumer powered craft spirits leaderboard
· 80% of top ten producers based in England
· Vodka producer beats 166 gin brands to the top spot

English distillers have triumphed over Scotland in a recent Twitter campaign.

Over 20,000 votes were cast to create the #HotCraftSpirits Twitter leaderboard where consumers were asked to vote for their favourite small producers. The top ten was dominated by English or Northern Irish producers with Scotland and Wales lagging behind.

The overall winner was a Northamptonshire distiller, Jelley’s Vodka gaining 5,012 votes.
Cornwall is emerging as a hot craft county with six of the top 20 producers generating 5,124 consumer votes. Hicks & Healey whiskey was Cornish winner finishing 3rd with 3,176 votes.

Northern Ireland based Ruby Blue Vodka and Jawbox Gin also performed strongly finishing in 5th and 7th place respectively.

The campaign tracked over 200 brand of which 80% were gin however half of the top ten winners comprised of whiskey (10%), rum (20%) or vodka (20%).

Launched in March #HotCraftSpirits encouraged consumers to support their favourite spirits brand by voting for them on Twitter. By using the campaign hashtag and the brands Twitter handle Tweets were turned into votes which powered the leaderboard which ran from March through to May. 20,388 votes have been counted.

All brands finishing in the top ten have won listings with 31Dover.com, #HotCraftSpirits online retail sponsor.

Jason Navon, co-founder of social media agency Clarity Comms who created the campaign said; “We expected gins to dominate given the amount of brands out there. However, we were pleasantly surprised to see half the top ten taken by vodkas, rums and whisky.
Jelley’s vodka and Muttuga rum show there is an appetite for interesting premium spirits and that gin isn’t the only player in town. We’re looking forward to seeing how this develops next year.

It was also interesting to see English distillers are challenging Scotland’s crown, this is likely to increase as many of these producers will be introducing whiskies over the coming years.

Thanks to all the brands that got involved. The results exceeded our expectations and it’s been fantastic help drive consumer awareness for the UK’s small batch distillers.”

HotCraftSpirits 2016 Results

1. Jelley’s Vodka, Northamptonshire 5,012 votes
2. Masons Yorkshire Gin 3,200 votes
3. Hick & Healey Whiskey, Cornwall 3,170 votes
4. Wight Mermaids Gin, Isle of Wight 1,460 votes
5. Ruby Blue Vodka, Belfast 1,091 votes
6. Matugga Rum, 995 votes
7. Jawbox Gin, Belfast 865 votes
8. Revolver Rum, Cornwall 740 votes
9. Trevethan Gin, Cornwall 495 votes
10. Twisted Nose Gin, Winchester 449 votes



The Polish brand of Toruńska offers to you today an inspired story on Nicolaus Capernicus, the famed astronomer from Torun. It’s known that Capernicus molded himself to become such a widely known name in this world, using his success in science and art to achieve.

Toruńska too looks at this legacy, using Capernicus’ hometown as the base for its production of a 130 year old tradition. Interestingly enough, the brand has been around since 1884 and is still independent, yet is not known outside of its borders until this year, which could make it one of Poland’s best kept secrets.

Using water from nearby Cretaceous-era deposits, it becomes part of a unique rectification process that includes distillation at 180°  and a 4-stage filtration.

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

Toruńska – 40%

A clean, fresh nose with little aroma. A creamy texture on the palate, with a soft anise scent coming through, followed by earthy notes with oak and grain. A lingering, bold finish.

A good vodka to sip, with a good bold flavour profile which would work well for a classic Vodka Martini perhaps. No official serves have been recommended, but it’s a versatile liquid, housed in a traditional Polish look of a bottle.

Poland’s best kept secret? Pick up a bottle and see what you think.

© 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.