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New: Antique Cocktails from The Experimental Series

by Ben Ellefsen     15. October 2012 15:45

So – a few weeks back you may remember we launched a couple of ‘experimental’ cocktails - the Hanky Panky and the Boulevardier. The good news on this front is that the Hanky Panky has rapidly earned itself a promotion to the exalted ranks of the main series of the Handmade Cocktail company’s core offering, such was its popularity. I’ve just got to do a bit more mucking about with it (I’ve been experimenting with some of the fresh oak barrels we’ve recently acquired, and it takes exceptionally well to a bit of this – so it’s going to get some oak influence methinks) and with any luck it’ll be out before Christmas.

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Categories : News | Cocktails | News


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Summer Fruit Cup from Professor Ampleforth

by Ben Ellefsen     15. August 2012 16:16

So – Summer’s here. Sort of. From time-to-time. When it’s not flooding or what-have-you.

With this in mind, Professor Cornelius Ampleforth has turned his attention to perhaps the most quintessentially British drink that there is – the Summer Fruit Cup.

Now – it’s worth noting that there are several other cups on the market, from the Ubiquitous Pimm’s, through several distillers’ own recipes (Chase is rather good – coming soon – watch this space) to the really rather excellent Sipsmith. There was one thing that the Professor had deemed to be missing from all of these concoctions though – pure, distilled Madness*. More...

The Martinez

by Gareth     19. March 2012 15:50

The handsome devils at The Handmade Cocktail company have mixed a very tasty martinez, the latest addition to a range of superbly convenient cocktails.

The origins of the martinez are mysterious. More mysterious than people who profess to enjoy Coldplay; more mysterious than the location of Mike’s passport; more mysterious even than the fact Greg Wallace keeps getting presenting jobs.

Stories as to the provenance of the martinez abound; some say it was created by legendary bartender “Professor” Jerry Thomas at The Old Occidental Hotel in San Francisco to satiate a thirsty miner on his way to the town of Martinez. More...

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Categories : Tasting Notes | Cocktails


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Secret Leap Year Cocktail

by Michael Orson     22. February 2012 17:46

Secret Leap Year Cocktail

We are soon approaching that quadrennial day in which we un-married men must hide fearfully from our other halves in case they try to enslave us in a life of penury and servitude. That's right – the 29th February. I have already prepared for myself the finest secret cellar this side of Austria, and plan on sequestering myself away in it for the duration of the day.

Marriage-related terror aside, the idea of gaining an extra day is rather novel, and so we've set about creating a very special something by means of celebration – the Secret Leap Year Cocktail (OK - naming things isn't our strong suit). We're also giving away a pretty exciting prize too…More...

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Categories : Cocktails | Cocktails | Competitions | Competitions | News | News


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Monkey Shoulder, Callooh Callay, and other abject nonsense

by Ben Ellefsen     7. February 2012 14:12

Monkey Shoulder Bar

It really only struck me as I was trying to explain to a (non-whisky-loving) friend the weekend after this event that I was, to all intents and purposes talking in tongues. “Oh yes – well earlier in the week, I went to a Monkey Shoulder event at Callooh Callay” could just as easily have been “Oh yes – well earlier in the week, I went to a Badger Scapula event at Lorks a Lawdy”. Nonsense. Just nonsense.


Anyway – muggle-confusing industry Jargon aside, I’ve been asked by a few people to jot down the recipes and photos from the evening, as it was by all accounts one of the best whisky cocktail events I’ve ever been to.


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London Cocktail Society Bitters

by Ben Ellefsen     16. December 2011 15:48

It all began last month, when I was invited by the founders of the London Cocktail Society to go up to London and present our range of bitters to their members. Throughout the course of our conversation it became clear that we could potentially do even more than this, and turn the event into a bitters blending competition.

Throughout the course of another couple of conversations (and over a few lovely cocktails with The Cocktail Geek at the superb Shaker and Company), it became clear that not only was it our moral duty to bottle and release the winning bitters, but that more research at the bar was required as to which cocktails exactly contained bitters, and what were cocktails again, and who are you and why am I here? Ah. Cocktails.

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Bathtub Gin Cocktails

by Ben Ellefsen     8. December 2011 14:41

Okay – I’m not going to lie – it’s busy around here at the moment. Anyone would think that there’s some kind of holiday impending…


Anyway, it turns out that despite the craziness of the ‘tide, my wife’s sister wasn’t prepared to move her Hen Party back by a couple of weeks to accommodate the fact that I’d promised to develop a bespoke cocktail for them, and was quite busy at the moment. Something to do with already having booked her plane tickets over from Australia or something. Selfish if you ask me…


Anyway – yesterday evening, I finally settled in to make a cocktail both sufficiently special for the event, but which also reflected the turning season, and seeking to get the most out of our new Bathtub Gin.


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Categories : Cocktails | Gin


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Hot Buttered Rum

by Michael Orson     18. November 2011 12:39
Hot Buttered Rum

Every year on the 5th of November here in the UK we set off fireworks and burn an effigy of a man who tried to overthrow a king who enforced religious oppression against Catholics living in England. To an outsider, Guy Fawkes night looks like an insane, cult-like pagan ritual, but really it’s just about merriment, the partaking of yummy winter cocktails, and watching fireworks in awe and wonderment with their loud noises and pretty colours (we’re easily amused).

For the unofficial Master of Malt 2011 Firework More...

Dry Martini, Barcelona – Bar Review

by Ben Ellefsen     30. September 2011 15:01

It’s hot today in Tunbridge Wells. Really hot.

Whilst it’s never too hot for whisky (by Jingo I could go for a Great King Street Highball right about now), the palate does tend to crave something a bit more refreshing and crisp on occasion. If the last few days’ sales of our new Bathtub Gin are anything to go by, it’s Gin that the nation turns to when things start to hot up.

If I’m honest, I thought I’d stowed the trusty flip-flops away for good, but they’ve made a re-appearance. Here they are next to the Christmas bitters: More...

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Categories : Cocktails | Gin | News | Review


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The Bushmills Nectarine Sour – Whiskey Cocktail Recipe

by Ben Ellefsen     1. September 2011 16:54

I’ve long held up Bushmills 10yo as one of my all-time favourite Irish Whiskeys, predominantly because it has such an incredibly clear and obvious flavour component within it, that of Nectarine.

In fact, I can be more specific than that. It’s the taste of the little pieces of Nectarine that are present in yoghurt. I can go further than that, too if you like – it was the standard range of Safeways (before they got eaten by Morrisons) yoghurts available in the late 1980s. Only available as a 4-pack with Strawberry, Peach Melba, and Vanilla I believe (seriously - who eats vanilla yoghurt?). More...

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Categories : Cocktails | Whisky


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