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Callooh Callay - Bar Review

by Michael Orson     11. April 2014 11:56

Callooh Callay

The streets of Shoreditch are roamed by tight-chino’d packs of hip London youth, gyring and gimbling in the wabe like those slithy toves in Lewis Caroll’s brilliant work of nonsense, Jabberwocky. Fitting, it will transpire, that cobbly little Rivington Street’s Callooh Callay should be named after the poem. I must confess I remember little of my first visit (an ill-fated absinthe tasting some years ago), and thinking up preconceptions at Callooh Callay is nigh-on impossible.

In the main bar there’s that kind of Victorian chic thing that a lot of cocktail bars go in for, only, not quite. And then you walk through the wardrobe at the far end (I promised myself I wouldn’t use the term “Narnia-esque”), and you’ll find a hidden secondary lounge area, replete with gaudy Vegas-style leafy centrepiece, barbershop sign, and bathroom bedecked with old tape cassettes. And then there’s the Oyster Card-themed menu, which is something else entirely.

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Ardbeg Auriverdes – Coming Soon

by Ben Ellefsen     10. April 2014 12:40

Ardbeg Auriverdes

So – it’s that time of year again isn’t it? I checked my calendar the other day, and realised it’s 6 weeks until Feis Ile. 6 weeks. I’ve got no idea who’s stealing all the time, but as whoever it is takes with one hand, they surely give with the other – we’re only 7 weeks away from the release of this year’s Ardbeg Day special edition.

This year’s offering is called ‘Auriverdes’ – a portmanteau of the latin ‘Aurum’ (Gold) and Portuguese ‘Verdes’ (Green) – Gold for the colour of the whisky, and Green for the iconic green* bottle in which Ardbeg is presented.

Why Portuguese, I hear you ask? Well apparently there’s some sort of kickball tourney on later this year in Brazil? Not really my sort of thing, but I’m sure Jake will use it as an excuse to bore the crap out of you / keep you entertained (delete per your preference).

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How to make clear ice for cocktails – redux

by Ben Ellefsen     8. April 2014 10:05

Clear ice balls

As I’m sure you all remember, about 3 months ago I told you all how to make beautiful clear ice for your cocktails.

Today, I’m going to show you an easier way. You know how much we all like things that are easy, right?

It started when a chap called Dan Skinner* posted an innocent comment at the end of the post mentioned above, saying that there were some guys in the USA making directional freezing equipment.

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Categories : Cocktails | News


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Master of Cocktails - Bloody Mary

by Ben Ellefsen     7. April 2014 12:25

Master of Cocktails Bloody Mary

This week we're making a classic drink on #MasterofCocktails – a Bloody Mary. We'll get through this, and then I'll explain what you should have made instead. Clear? Good.

Now for me, when it comes to Bloody Marys, it's all about seasoning. Hence the (frankly ridiculous) list of ingredients.

What we're after is something to compliment the umami-rich flavour of tomato juice and work with the spice of the Worcestershire sauce. These are really the two key ingredients in this drink, and we're aiming to add to them.

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Taste The World’s Rarest, Most-Expensive Whiskies… For Free

by Michael Orson     1. April 2014 09:46

Joculus Snift

Imagine a world where you could taste any whisky you wanted, instantly, for free, and in the comfort of your own multi-million-pound caravan-home or luxury yachts-vessel. And just picture yourself, if you will, browsing an immense digital library with fine single malts flashing majestically before your very eyes like that bit in Minority Report.

The time is 9pm, the day is today, and you’re sitting in a wingback chesterfield armchair. It’s slightly old – still maintains its shape, but the burgundy leather has become softer and more forgiving. In essence, you’re the mayor of comfort city. It’s liquor o’clock, and Mrs Hammersworth, the nice lady who looks after you, is strapping a slightly cumbersome though thoroughly modern-looking headset onto your face. The device, pictured below, is the groundbreaking “Joculus Snift” – a unique multi-sensory media experience which stimulates four of the five senses with state-of-the-art (SOTA) technology.

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Categories : News | Old | Rare | Whisky


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Master of Cocktails - The Palmetto

by Ben Ellefsen     31. March 2014 12:20

Master of Cocktails The Palmetto

So – the clocks have changed, and we've either gained an hour, lost an hour, or gone back in time. It's unclear which... Either way, it's time for #MasterofCocktails! This week's drink is a Palmetto.

Traditionally, this drink would be made with rum, vermouth and bitters, but as we're using Rumbullion! There's no need for the bitters in this one. I'm using the Navy-Strength, as that's what's behind the bar, but you could certainly use the regular stuff. No problem either way.

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Global Online Whisky Retailer of the Year, World's Best Blended Whisky & more...

by Ben Ellefsen     28. March 2014 10:53

World Whiskies 2014 Awards

So – it's that time of year again.

Last week, we attended the Whisky Magazine World Whiskies Awards (and Icons of Whisky), and came away with a slew of trophies and awards to show for another year's hard work.

First things first – we're absolutely delighted to announce that we've retained our crown as 'World's Best Online Whisky Retailer' for the third year on the trot. An absolutely fabulous achievement which we're immensely proud of. We've said this before (and will keep on shouting it from the rooftops) but our site remains the only purpose-built online whisky shop coded from the ground up. It took an extraordinary amount of effort to build something that wasn't based on a standard e-commerce platform, and we're all hugely proud of the software stack we've built.

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Peaty Whisky Returns To Knockdhu

by Sam Smith     27. March 2014 15:46

Knockdhu Distillery

Considering that the Knockdhu distillery was founded over 100 years ago in a land brimming with peat, they’ve certainly taken their sweet time bringing out some peated whisky in the shape of the anCnoc Peaty collection. What have they been doing with all that peat all this time? Hoarding it in case Islay ever runs out? Using it to run some very slow trains? Dirt clod fights?

In actual fact, back in 1894 when Mr. John Morrison and his cohorts first started producing whisky at the Knockdhu distillery up near Aberdeen, a location chosen for its proximity to the Great North Railway line and the abundance of barley, peat and springs of Highland water, the malted barley was indeed dried using peat-fired kilns. They were making peated whisky all the way back in the 1800s!

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Master of Cocktails - The (Original) Martinez

by Ben Ellefsen     24. March 2014 12:21

Master of Cocktails The original Martinez

This week we're re-visiting a recipe for the first time on #MasterofCocktails – The Martinez.

The reason we're doing this is that the first recipe published way back in October was the distinctly modern version. Heavy on the gin, and light on Vermouth. Today we're going back to the old-school, with a 1:1 Gin:Vermouth recipe.

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Gin, Sin & 5 Soaking Barrels!

by Jake Mountain     19. March 2014 11:00

Gin, Sin & 5 Soaking Barrels

On 16th March five top London bartenders faced off in a fantastic cask-aged gin cocktail competition, which may also have been the best named event of all time!

Maverick Drinks had armed each bartender with a different gin that had been aged or rested in casks, all from their awesome portfolio. Following a preview tasting where this fascinating crossover category was discussed, it was time for the #ginsin main event held at Megaro Bar. The winner would be chosen by 7 'tasters' (they're the fun version of judges) and would subsequently win the opportunity to create their very own cask-aged gin, which will have their name and even their face on it if they really want. (The latter, it was said at the time, may actually depend on who wins...) There should also soon be a Gin, Sin & 5 Soaking Barrels Tasting Set from Drinks by the Dram we hear, so you'll be able to sample all of these eminently mixable aged gins for yourself...

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