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Master of Malt Blog

Author: Adam O'Connell

Master of Malt tastes… Interpreted Magic at The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar

When the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar revealed its new menu, Interpreted Magic, a drinks-based journey into all things mystical and mysterious, we had to check it out. The history, drama and…

When the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar revealed its new menu, Interpreted Magic, a drinks-based journey into all things mystical and mysterious, we had to check it out.

The history, drama and romance of magic have a timeless appeal. From Merlin to Harry Potter and even that guy in Camden who keeps winning Three-card Monte against me (I’ve just realised he’s definitely cheating), we just can’t get enough of the superstitious and sensational. At the Beaufort Bar in the crazy-famous Savoy hotel in London, this fascination has led to the creation of the bar’s latest original menu, ‘Interpreted Magic’.

Interpreted Magic is separated into three sections intended to honour the ‘three pillars’ of magic, which is essentially the three-act structure that occurs in a traditional magic performance: The Pledge, The Turn and The Prestige (more about these later). Every member of the Beaufort Bar team has invented their very own cocktail, with inspirations ranging from Greek myths, fairy-tales and folklore to radical inventors, scientists and some of the world’s most famous magicians (there’s no Paul Daniels before you ask). There’s also non-alcoholic options and a complementary food menu by executive chef Fabrice Lasnon.

For head bartender Edon Soddu, it was about creating a menu that would “bring the guest on a journey”. We thought this journey was worth exploring ourselves.

The Pledge

This section of the menu refers to the first part of a magician’s trick, where they build the anticipation in the audience. Suitably, ‘The Pledge’ was designed to evoke the excited and expectant mood felt at the start of an evening. It’s the part of the menu to head straight for if you’re a fan of light mixed drinks, wines and Champagnes (the latter taking advantage of the bar’s considerable selection, which boasts plenty of grower Champagnes and English sparkling wines).

Interpreted Magic

Cocktail: Otherside

Description: “Parallel worlds exist across fiction, but have stood the test of time as well as C.S. Lewis’ fantasy land, Narnia. Through a wardrobe, his characters experienced a universe of witches and lions, where gemstones can be harvested for their juice, and anyone can be a hero”.

Ingredients: Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum, Muyu Vetiver Gris Liqueur, Discarded Vermouth, grapefruit, citric solution.

Garnish: White chocolate spray, gold spray and purple glitter. The latter is supposed to represent the aforementioned gems that make a hero of whoever picks them up. Given I’m the only person around, I’ll take that.

Thoughts: One of the best long drinks I’ve had in some time. The garnish adds a very pleasant aroma initially, but the delicately sweet combination of the rum and liqueurs is the star of the show. The touch of acidity given by the grapefruit is measured perfectly, so often this is element is overpowering and unpleasant. Not here. Otherside is fun, intriguing and, most importantly, it set the tone. Your move, err.. upcoming parts of the menu!

The Turn

The next section, ‘The Turn’, refers to the part of a performance that’s about creating intrigue. The Beaufort Bar has tried to mirror this aspect of the performance with an array of drinks that invites guests to expect the unexpected, from unusual techniques and clandestine flavours. This is the menu for those who desire agave spirits, gin, tonics and fortified wines.

Interpreted Magic

Cocktail: Frozen Petal

Description: “In Greek mythology, Persephone is taken by Hades to the underworld and her mother Demeter tries to free her. However, Persephone has been tricked into eating pomegranate, the fruit of the underworld, and so must stay. A deal is eventually struck, and Persephone will stay with Hades for a portion of each year. During these months, Demeter plunges the world into cold and so gives birth to winter, allowing warmth to return with spring only when Persephone is returned to her”.

Ingredients: Don Julio 1942 Tequila, Muyu Jasmine Liqueur, Roots Rakomelo, pomegranate, saline solution.

Garnish: Two floregano flower petals. Minimalism.

Thoughts: First thing’s first, the presentation is just so good. It’s a lesson in how to be understated and elegant. The aroma is enticing, but it doesn’t speak to the complexities of the cocktail on the palate. The floral quality arrived first, followed by a genius touch of salinity, then more perfumed floral qualities and finally the green notes from the Tequila. The perfumed element could probably be toned down a touch, but this is still a very good serve.

The Prestige

Last, but not least, is ‘The Prestige’. This isn’t a reference to the fabulous Christopher Nolan film about magic (definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it), but to the finale of the magician’s act. The pay-off. The bit where we all clap and turn to the person next to us and shot “HOW?!” at their face. This part of the menu features a blend of dark spirits, full aromas and rich flavours, but most exciting of all it takes advantage of the Beaufort Bar’s enhanced whisky selection. We’re talking rare and old, people.

Interpreted Magic

Cocktail: Sea & Land

Description: “Prophecies give real magic to storytelling. We find one of the most famous examples of this in Macbeth, when predictions from the Weird Sisters, hand in hand, posters of the sea and land’ of the tragic protagonist’s seemingly impossible undoing do unbelievably come to pass”.

Ingredients: Highland Park 18 Year Old, 30 & 40 Apéritif de Normandie, oloroso sherry and coffee syrup.

Garnish: An orange peel twist. A very dramatic one at that. Appropriately Shakespearean.

Thoughts: It’s an Old Fashioned. A really bloody good Old Fashioned. Some might wince at the spirit of choice being consumed in this fashion (not all single malt Scotch should be drunk neat, folks), but Sea & Land doesn’t drown the character of the Highland Park expression. The additions are exceptionally measured and accentuate its positives. It’s ridiculously refined and more down-to-earth tasty than it has any right to be. If they had these in Macbeth, there would be a lot less murder and a lot more boozing.

Interpreted Magic

It’s Interpreted Magic at the Beaufort Bar!

I’m a fan of Interpreted Magic. It’s imaginative and fun in a setting which could easily become stuffy with the wrong approach. I would say the drinks speak for themselves, but actually a highlight of the evening was that with each drink I had I was accompanied by an excited member of staff proudly telling me all about their contributions to their cocktail. At its core, it’s just good ol’ fashioned bartending at its best, realised in elegant, minimal serves. If you were being cheesy, you could say that’s the real magic here. But actually it would be that unicorn that ran past me as I was trying to take a photo. Completely ruined the shot. Bastard.

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Five minutes with… Bhagath Reddy from Comte de Grasse gin

From Bangalore and Kuala Lumpur to founding a French distillery that makes a perfume-inspired gin, Comte de Grasse CEO Bhagath Reddy has had quite the journey. He tells us his…

From Bangalore and Kuala Lumpur to founding a French distillery that makes a perfume-inspired gin, Comte de Grasse CEO Bhagath Reddy has had quite the journey. He tells us his story here and discusses age-old perfume extraction techniques, the potential for ultra-premium gin and plans to create rum and whisky in the future.

Comte de Grasse is not your typical gin distillery. It’s housed in a 19th-century perfume distillery in Grasse, France. It employs techniques such as ultrasonic maceration, vacuum distillation and CO2 extraction. It has even established a partnership with the University of Nice, enabling access to research facilities and technical understanding. A visitor centre in 2021 is planned, and rum and whisky could well be on the way (more on
that later). For now, spirits fans can enjoy its signature Comte de Grasse 44°N Gin, which it described as “the world’s first luxury, sustainable gin”.

To discuss all of this and more, we managed to get some face-to-face time with Bhagath Reddy, CEO and founder of Comte De Grasse.

Comte De Grasse

Say hello to Bhagath Reddy!

Master of Malt: Hi Bhagath! Tell us how you came to found your own distillery.

Bhagath Reddy: My background is fashion retail. I previously worked in Malaysia with luxury brands like Gomez, Rolex, Chanel etc., but I always wanted to start a distillery. It was a passion project. I always say that my family is governed by a spirit-line and not a bloodline! My dad loves his whisky, and this made me want to make the best whisky for my dad. This was around the time that Amrut was launched and I thought maybe I could make a whisky from my country, India, too. But setting up a distillery in India is a very complicated business. It’s not a very conducive environment. Most states are still conservative, where drinking is still a social taboo. I had to rethink. The essence of my idea was to make really high quality, super-premium, luxury drinks. So, why not go to the home of luxury? Which is Europe. I wanted to stay away from Scotland and the UK because the market was saturated.

MoM: So how did you make your way to Grasse in France?

It was through my research that I found Grasse and the connection with perfume. I realised that perfumers used to use copper stills, which are very similar to copper alembics but smaller in size. I thought there’s an idea there; to pick up some old perfume stills, recondition them, and make whisky out of them. That’s what I came to research the first time I came to France in March 2016. We found a contact for the University of Nice and met up with them, and that’s when things changed completely. I spoke with the head of the lab and he explained that in the past 25 years spirits and perfumes have taken a very different direction. In spirits, the investment has been in automation but the marketing and the storyline have been based in tradition. Whereas in perfume, they had to invest in technology because the raw materials are more delicate and becoming more expensive. They needed to invest in advanced sciences to be able to extract and distil better, using less energy in more efficient ways. That’s where vacuum distillation, molecular distillation, CO² extraction and all of these processes came up. I said ‘wait, hold on, why hasn’t somebody else made this connection?’. That’s when I realised that Comte de Grasse needs to be a distillery, it can’t be about just one spirit, it needs to be an innovation hub. So, we started building the company on our key fundamentals: innovation, sustainability, curiosity and art.

MoM: Tell us about Grasse itself and its history.

BR: The perfume history in Grasse is about 200 years old. Before that, Grasse was known for its tanning and its leather industry. The perfume came about completely accidentally; one of the tanners decided to perfume their gloves, because gloves then had an unpleasant smell, and gave them to Catherine the Great. She loved this so much the tanners started working with perfumers and slowly the perfume industry grew, and the tanning industry eventually died out in Grasse. It’s also very unique because it’s got a microclimate of its own. It’s located in the hills, just off the coast, and there’s plenty of good rainfall. Therefore, the soil in the area is very, very fertile and is great for growing exotic botanicals. This also helped to build up and reassert the perfume industry in and around Grasse.

Comte De Grasse

Grasse, France.

MoM: You say you employ ‘age-old perfume extraction techniques melded with cutting-edge distilling technology’, can you explain what this means?

BR: The age-old extraction techniques are actually very simple ones. For example, rose hydrolat is one of the first perfumes ever made. It’s just steeping roses in water. At Comte de Grasse, we bring the rose in on two levels. First, we bring in rose petals into the ultrasonic maceration process. We ultrasonically macerate them with pure alcohol and then distil in a vacuum distillation. What we realised is the flavour of rose that we got from this process disappeared in the middle of the palate. It didn’t remain consistent throughout. So, we introduced the rose hydrolat in a final stage, back into the drink, so that the rose hydrolat stays and remains at the back of the palate. That’s a combination of cutting-edge, where we use ultrasonic maceration and vacuum distillation, but also bringing in an age-old technique to create the depth we desired.

MoM: Tell us about the set up at your distillery.

It’s completely modern, with custom-made equipment. Everything was built from scratch. There’s no copper anywhere, no steam, no use of heat. Everything is cold-distilled, like the ultrasonic maceration we use, which is the first step in our three-step process. In ultrasonic maceration, you take GNS (grain neutral spirit), add the botanicals and bombard it with ultrasonic frequency. The ultrasonic frequency creates microbubbles in the GNS through a process called ‘cavitation’ and these bubbles extract the flavour from the botanicals. Traditionally, in a 45-minute maceration, you get the same level of extraction as you would from two weeks of steeping, or traditional maceration, depending on the botanicals. It’s a much faster process, but it’s a much higher quality process. The liquid then gets passed through a vacuum still where it gets distilled at a very low temperature. With vacuum distillation, you reduce the atmospheric pressure to create a vacuum. At low pressure, the boiling point of alcohol decreases, so you are able to boil and extract the flavours at 35-45 degrees. The freshness of the compounds that were extracted through the ultrasonic process is retained and then we get what we call the base for our gin. This base gin is then compounded with rose hydrolat. We also do CO² extractions for certain botanicals, like jasmine, which cannot be treated to any form of heat since it is extremely delicate. CO² extraction is where you pass liquid CO² over powdered jasmine or the flower itself. Liquid CO² is a universal solvent and the minute you expose it to the atmosphere it completely evaporates, leaving only the flavour compounds behind. We bring those flavours in the third stage. So that’s the three-step process for the making of our gin. We call it the Grasse (HyperX) Process.

MoM: I was going to ask you what sets your gin apart, it sounds like that’s it!

BR: Yes, that’s it – The Grasse (HyperX) Process!

Comte De Grasse

The Comte de Grasse Distillery

MoM: Tell us about distiller Marie-Anne Contamin, why was she the right person for the role? What was the process of bringing her into the company?

BR: We found Marie through the University of Nice, she was a professor there. Initially, we worked together on an experimental basis as she is one of the rare people who is experienced in both flavour and fragrance, and has spent a lot of time researching the correlation between the two. We thought that for our core USP, which is translating the perfume science of Grasse into a flavour and spirit, she was the right profile. We worked with both Marie and the other professors at the university to understand all the distillation processes. Marie helped us create a flavour profile, and instructed us how to identify and extract the best aspects of a particular botanical.

MoM: Let’s talk about the botanical selection in the gin and how you distil them.

BR: It took us almost 11 months to develop the recipe. We tried about a hundred different botanicals. The principle was to try and use botanicals from the region; if not from Grasse, then Provence. It wasn’t just about using rare or exotic botanicals, it was about making sure that we identified the ideal flavour profile. The brief we gave Marie was: ‘if light were a flavour and illumination a scent, this is what it should taste like’. This was because of the beauty of the light in Grasse, we wanted to capture that feeling and put that emotion into the liquid. Marie then started working on a pyramid, which any perfumer works on, where you have the base notes, middle notes and top notes. She started building and engineering a flavour profile lived up to that phrase and that’s how the botanical selection began. We slowly narrowed it down to 20, with the focus always on the consumer’s experience, mouthfeel and ensuring the flavour worked through the whole palate from front to back. Every botanical was put through a test, something called a GC-MS analysis. It’s a gas-chromatic graphic analysis that allows you to identify what kind of flavour extraction you are getting. That’s how we were able to zero in on the ideal timings, the ideal temperature and the ideal process for every single botanical. Of the 20 botanicals, 13 are used in the ultrasonic maceration. The other seven are introduced in different stages because they are not suitable for an ultrasonic maceration. There was some pre-existing knowledge because a few of these botanicals are already used in the perfume industry, such as rose water and lemon peels, so that helped speed up the process. But we still had to do every single test ourselves.

MoM: So would it be fair to say you were drawn to making gin because the use botanicals mirrors that of the perfume industry?

BR: Yes, and the fact that gin is the spirit of the moment! In terms of translation and synergies between the processes, gin was the most immediate spirit into which we could apply some direct learnings from the perfume industry. Gin is all about botanicals, all about flavour and all about being able to deliver a smooth palate.

Comte De Grasse

The famous ancient Fragonard perfumery in Grasse, the world perfume capital.

MoM: What was the inspiration for the name?

BR: The latitude on which Grasse is situated. The city of Grasse is situated on 43.663 degrees north, so we adjusted it up to 44 degrees north. Grasse plays a very important role in the company in terms of technology, the terroir and everything it lends to the company – that’s why it is called Comte de Grasse.

MoM: What are your personal tasting notes?

BR: I love the citrusy notes, the verbena, and I love the smoothness that the rose and honey brings too, which rounds everything off. If you put a couple of cubes of ice into the liquid and let the gin rest a bit, you see the taste profile evolving. I sometimes feel that the liquid is a living creature! We don’t chill-filter it, we don’t remove all the nice stuff, we want the liquid to be constantly evolving.

MoM: What about any suggested serves you particularly enjoy with it?

BR: While we were making the gin, we thought a lot about the perfect serve and did a lot of research on what should it be. However, we realised that if it’s a luxury gin it should work with anything. Each consumer should be able to identify their own way of enjoying 44°N. Some people just like sipping it with ice, but we don’t claim that as a perfect serve because we want it to be a process of self-exploration. We want every bottle to be a process of self-exploration where you identify what it works with. Personally, I like having it neat, but it works very well with most premium tonics. We recommend having it with a light tonic simply because in a strong tonic the quinine can be overpowering. It works fantastically in a Dry Martini and in a Negroni.

Comte De Grasse

44°N Gin works in a variety of serves

MoM: Tell us about the inspiration behind the striking bottle design.

BR: The inspiration was the Mediterranean. Much like the inspiration for the liquid, the design of the bottle was purely emotional. We wanted to be able to transport people back to the Mediterranean, that feeling of the south of France, the feeling of light, the blue sea. We worked with two French agencies: Chic and forceMAJEURE, and they collaborated to create the bottle design. If you hold it up against the light it looks like the Mediterranean, the blue sky, shimmering water. The yellow disc on the top of the lid represents the sun shining down on the ocean. For a luxury consumer, you need to be able to provide a more holistic experience that covers all these elements.

MoM: What do you think the potential for premium gin is?

BR: In the past ten years the premium and super-premium category have been growing. But when we looked at the market at the end of 2016, early 2017, we thought that the super-premium and premium categories were very, very crowded. There was still a lot of growth, but there were a lot of brands coming in and there was a lot of saturation. That’s why our goal was always to create a very unique consumer experience. We saw a gap in what we described as the luxury sector, above premium and ultra-premium. That’s how we went about engineering the product, the bottle, the look and everything. It came from identifying potential and trying to engineer the best product that lives up to the expectations of that sector.

MoM: People have been saying for years now that gin is a ‘bubble’ that will eventually burst. What’s your perspective?

BR: It’s definitely a bubble but I think the bubble is still going to grow. It might not burst, it might saturate. There might be a consolidation eventually where some brands which are more sustainable and have stronger legs will remain, but some of the smaller brands and others might disappear. There might be a small adjustment in the market, but I don’t think the bubble will burst and gin consumption will suddenly drop to nothing. It’s all to do with consumer trends. The most popular white spirit is vodka, and vodka’s growth is down due to its association with clubbing and the fact that it’s easy to mix. But increasingly, we’re drinking less and we’re drinking better. We drink for the experience. It’s about that moment in life when you’re sitting with friends enjoying a great drink prepared by a great bartender. Gin falls into that category because it offers options, there’s scope to innovate and create new things and keep that interest going.

Comte De Grasse

The distillery, housed in a 19th-century perfume distillery, could well be a whisky-making site in the future.

MoM: Is there any possibility of you distilling rum or whisky in the future?

BR: Sure. I want Comte de Grasse to be an innovative hub in the spirits industry. The goal is to continuously challenge and innovate. We are working on a rum. Whisky is on the cards because my dad is waiting for it! We’re thinking about some other spirits as well. We have an innovation pipeline that we’re working on, but expect something different from every single spirit. None of the spirits are going to be made in a traditional manner and there will be some element where we challenge the norm with every single spirit. Hopefully in a good way and for the right reasons – not just for the sake of challenging it!

MoM: What does the future hold for the distillery, and what’s your ambition for it?

BR: The ambition is to continue to be innovative, and to continue to enjoy it. All of us enjoy what we are doing right now. That’s what drives most of the work and most of the energy that’s behind the company. The ambition is to build an environment where we are able to sustain this feeling. With most companies, as they grow big, this kind of energy starts dying out. I want to continue to love waking up every morning and going to work. I want to be able to build a work environment where this feeling resonates for everybody in the company. That’s the kind of an environment that fosters innovation, growth and the building of a great and sustainable business. So, I guess the goal is to continue having fun!

Comte De Grasse

Comte de Grasse 44°N Gin

Comte de Grasse 44°N Tasting Note:

Nose: Bright, crisp and piney juniper positions itself at the core the nose. Aromatic spice, sea salt and potpourri follow, with a touch of tart pink grapefruit. A bouquet of floral notes then develop with some warming aromatic spice in support.

Palate: The winter spices (orris root in particular) take hold initially, before more of that woody juniper returns. There are more earthy and floral elements present on the palate, with jasmine, lavender and patchouli standing out. There’s a pleasant salinity that runs through from the nose, as well as a creamy sweetness that adds balance throughout.

Finish: More of that potpourri element lingers among warming citrus, softer juniper and orris root.

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Wonderful whiskies from curious casks

From Château Léoville Barton to Rhum Agricole, taking in a combination of Tequila and mezcal, these are some of the most strange and sensational cask-finishes used to mature whisky you’ll…

From Château Léoville Barton to Rhum Agricole, taking in a combination of Tequila and mezcal, these are some of the most strange and sensational cask-finishes used to mature whisky you’ll find at MoM Towers.

Cask-finishing has become a popular phenomenon in the whisky industry over the last couple of decades as experimental producers seek to add a touch of something different and delightful to their distillates. But despite there being a glut of great expressions on the market that benefit from secondary maturation already, there’s always room for innovation and this leads some to choose a road that’s less travelled, but very rewarding.

To celebrate those who dare to do it differently, we’ve decided to shine a light on some of the most unusual cask-finished whiskies around. Enjoy the selection!

Glen Moray Rhum Agricole Cask Finish Project

Glen Moray loves a good experiment, to the joy of fans of all things unusual and writers who need ideas for a blog like this. The distillery in Speyside has finished this single malt Scotch whisky in casks that previously held rhum agricole from Martinique for around 24 months, a style that should bring a lot of grassy, fruity sweetness to the dram.

What does it taste like?:

Candied lemon peel, honey, white pepper, toffee apple, dried grass, toasted brown sugar, walnut, cherry and banana.

J.J. Corry The Battalion

From Chapel Gate whiskey bonders comes J.J. Corry The Battalion, a blend of 60% grain and 40% malt whiskey that was initially aged in bourbon casks. Then the grain portion continued its maturation in a combination of Tequila and mezcal casks for seven months, while the malt portion continued maturing in just mezcal casks for seven months. Ever had a whiskey matured in both Tequila and mezcal casks? Of course, you haven’t! This bottling gets extra badass brownie points for being named after the Battalion San Patricos, a group of Irish soldiers who fought for Mexico in the Mexican-American war

What does it taste like?:

Fresh leafy notes, apple skin, tangy pineapple, ripe pear, green grass, vegetal agave, oak spice, sea salt, dried herbs, lemon curd and a slight oily nutty note.

Talisker 2007 (bottled 2017) Amoroso Cask Finish – Distillers Edition

The Distillers Editions from Talisker are always sure to deliver some true delights and this expression is no exception. Finished for a period in casks that previously held amoroso (a blend of oloroso and sweet Pedro Ximénez)  sherry, the profile pairs wonderfully with the distinctive maritime salinity of this single malt.

What does it taste like?:

Toffee, seaweed, a sharp hint of fresh citrus fruit, milky coffee, juicy pineapple, apple and some light vegetal hints of fresh thyme and basil balanced by a kick of sea spray, lingering smoke and dried fruit.

Penderyn Madeira Finish

Not many brands would make its original ‘house style’ such a distinctive profile, but then Penderyn has proved itself to be quite the experimental distillery since it first began distilling back in September 2000. This bottling was aged initially in ex-bourbon barrels before it was finished in ex-Madeira wine casks, an idea that speaks to the influence the late Dr. Jim Swan had on the Welsh whisky makers.

What does it taste like?:

Herbs, vanilla sweetness, resin, sultanas, toast, over-ripe grapes, custard and stem ginger.

Glenfiddich Experimental Series – IPA Cask Finish

You’d expect Glenfiddich’s Experimental Series to have a few single malts with a point of difference and this IPA Cask finish doesn’t disappoint. Created from a collaboration between Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman and IPA expert Seb Jones, the IPA which was in the casks before the whisky was specially brewed for this expression by the Speyside Craft Brewery.

What does it taste like?:

Fresh green apple, William’s pear, spring blossom, aromatic hops, fresh herbs, zesty citrus and creamy vanilla.

Midleton Method and Madness Single Pot Still

Another highly innovative series from an exceptional distillery, Method and Madness Single Pot Still was perhaps the most intriguing release from the first batch of Midleton’s experimental range. You won’t find many single pot still whiskies, matured initially in ex-sherry and bourbon barrels and finished in French chestnut, believe us!

What does it taste like?:

Red liquorice laces, fresh rosemary mint, grated root ginger, sweet fruit, aromatic green tea, cinnamon toast, rich wood and ripe banana.

Jefferson’s Grand Selection Château Pichon Baron Cask Finish

Jefferson’s Grand Selection range demonstrates that the Americans are no strangers to the joys of cask-finishing with a selection of excellent Jefferson bourbons finished in a variety of wine casks. This particular bottling was finished for a period in casks that previously held Bordeaux red wine from Château Pichon Baron, and it’s as downright delicious as it sounds.

What does it taste like?:

Red apples, raspberries, buttered corn, honey, heavy cinnamon heat, fresh floral notes and dense red berry elements supported by waxy peels and earthy oak.

Green Spot Château Léoville Barton

This beauty is certainly a treat. We’re always suckers for all things Spot (Red, Yellow, Green – they’re all great), but this happens to be the first-ever single pot still Irish whiskey finished in Bordeaux casks! The Bordeaux wine takes its name from the Irish wine merchant Thomas “French Tom” Barton and the grand cru Château is still run by his descendants to this day, so this is a real celebration all things awesome and Irish.

What does it taste like?:

Wild raspberry, a little potpourri, crab apple, toffee, lemon peel, warming spice, vanilla, honey and gingerbread.

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Discover Glenrinnes Distillery with Team MoM!

You would be forgiven for thinking our recent trip to Speyside was for more whisky-based adventures, but you’d be wrong. Instead, we went to discover the only distillery exclusively producing…

You would be forgiven for thinking our recent trip to Speyside was for more whisky-based adventures, but you’d be wrong. Instead, we went to discover the only distillery exclusively producing white spirits in the region – Glenrinnes!

Talk of a new distillery in Speyside is always going to pique any spirit-lovers interest. But the distillery that sits at the foot of Ben Rinnes on the Glenrinnes family estate has an intriguing point of difference. It isn’t making Gin and Vodka just to fill time before releasing a whisky. High quality, 100% organic white spirits are the focus.

We decided to pay them newcomers a visit to find out more about the family behind the project, why they focused on white spirits and more. Over the course of several exclusive videos, shot on-site at the distillery itself and its surrounding grounds, we breakdown the story of Glenrinnes Distillery and the Eight Lands brand through interviews and a magnificent in-depth tour. Enjoy the footage!

Just to whet your appetite, here’s our preview of the swanky new Glenrinnes Distillery in exciting video form!

To talk us through the history of the distillery, from the Glenrinnes Estate and organic farm to the decision not to create whisky, is founder Alex Christou!

In this video tour with Glenrinnes Distillery, you’ll meet operations manager Meeghan Murdoch and distiller Katrina Stewart and learn all about how the distillery creates its signature white spirits.

Meeghan Murdoch, the aforementioned operations manager, gives us a snapshot in the day of the life of a spirits-maker.

Next, the distillation process is broken down in further detail by Katrina Stewart, who talks us through the family values of the company and more.

Founder Alex Christou returns to talk about the creation of the Eight Lands brand, what gives the spirits a point of difference and what the future holds.

Glenrinnes Distillery

The fabulous Glenrinnes Distillery in Speyside.

Thanks for watching and be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Superb Fireside Sipping

Celebrate Bonfire Night this year with a selection of booze appropriately bursting with deliciousness. Remember, remember the fifth of November… No, seriously. Check your calendars. It’s approaching fast. Maybe you’re…

Celebrate Bonfire Night this year with a selection of booze appropriately bursting with deliciousness.

Remember, remember the fifth of November… No, seriously. Check your calendars. It’s approaching fast. Maybe you’re planning to watch all things sparkly and spectacular illuminate the sky. Or perhaps you can’t wait to get into your dressing gown and comfy slippers to wrap up warm indoors. Both sound good to us, but whether you’ll be in front of a bonfire or fireplace, we can surely all agree that it’s the perfect time to indulge in some cockle-warming drinks.

For those who need inspiration, we’ve made things nice and easy by selecting this smashing selection of spirits. Expect smoke, spice and everything nice from this round-up of bonfire-themed booze!

Smoked Rosemary Gin (That Boutique-y Gin Company)

Smoked rosemary is an absolute winner in many a cocktail, ask any good bartender. But who wants to bother with the hassle of setting fire to some fresh rosemary themselves? Save the flames for an actual bonfire and instead enjoy this delightful gin from That Boutique-y Gin Company! Sensationally smoky Martinis await…

What does it taste like?:

Well, there’s no doubt that this contains rosemary, as well as plenty of juniper, saline seashore smells, cracked black pepper, lemon, a hint of smoked bacon.

Glenfiddich Experimental Series – Fire & Cane

The Experimental Series has produced some corking expressions, and Fire & Cane is no exception. Malt master Brian Kinsman created this bottling by finishing some of the distillery’s peated single malt for three-months in rum casks from a variety of South American countries. The cask complements the peated profile perfectly and makes this one an ideal fireside sipper.

What does it taste like?:

Billowing soft peat notes, rich sweet toffee, zesty fresh fruit, oak and sweet baked apple.

Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur

Ever had a liqueur made with chile ancho (dried poblano chiles) before? No? Well now is the perfect opportunity to acquaint yourself with the delights of this Mexican liqueur. It was made by macerating chile ancho in neutral cane spirit for half a year, which was then blended with a selection of other ingredients and allowed to rest a little longer for the flavour to marry. An ideal liqueur for those who want to add smoke and spice to their cocktails.

What does it taste like?:

Plenty of woodsmoke and dry, warming spice is complemented by a touch of liquorice.

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin gets its name from its star botanical, gunpowder tea, which is distilled with juniper, angelica, orris, caraway, coriander, meadowsweet, cardamom, fresh grapefruit and star anise as well as vapour infused oriental lemon and lime! Now try and tell me you don’t like the sound of a Gunpowder G&T.

What does it taste like?:

Bright citrus and green tea notes are complemented by the spices.

Smokehead Sherry Bomb

Spice and smoke feature again as a deadly duo in this whisky, made using well-peated single malt from an undisclosed Islay distillery which was then matured in Oloroso sherry casks. Smokehead Sherry Bomb is unashamedly a powerhouse of a dram and every drop of it seems tailor-made to enjoy beside a fire.

What does it taste like?:

Dark chocolate, seaweed, a hint of medicinal peat smoke, BBQ smoke, stem ginger, sherried peels, sea salt, rum-raisin ice cream, red chilli flake, treacle, prunes and clove.

Cut Smoked Rum

Cut Rum range added an extra dimension of flavour to this Jamaican rum by smoking it using oak chips, which not only made it very tasty but also perfectly appropriate for Bonfire Night! This is one you can enjoy both in cocktails or neat.

What does it taste like?:

Struck match, coffee bean bitterness balanced by vanilla.

Black Fire

Liqueurs are extremely popular at the moment, so plenty of you will be looking for a bottling that adds some heat to your Bonfire-themed cocktails. The awesomely named Black Fire was made by combining the flavours of Blanco tequila, coffee and a kick of chilli. As well as cocktails, this is superb when splashed into some good quality coffee.

What does it taste like?:

Chocolate with red chilli mixed in, slightly earthy notes of agave and red pepper, smoky at points.

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Get ready for Halloween!

Halloween approaches. But there’s nothing to fear this year because we’ve got you covered with these 10 fabulously frightening boozes. Costume? Check. Decorations? Check. Carved pumpkin you’ll forget to throw…

Halloween approaches. But there’s nothing to fear this year because we’ve got you covered with these 10 fabulously frightening boozes.

Costume? Check. Decorations? Check. Carved pumpkin you’ll forget to throw away until it’s a rancid puddle attracting half the neighbourhood’s wildlife? Check. It sounds like you’ve got everything you need to celebrate another Hallows’ Eve. Everything apart from some delicious drinks, of course.

That’s where we come in. We’ve collected some of the spookiest spirits we could find here at the haunted MoM Towers to ease your burden. Now you can focus on getting your costume right. Fake blood can be a real mess. I’ll probably just go as the bumblebee guy and save myself the time and effort.

Happy Halloween!

Poetic License Pumpkin Spice Gin

Jack-o’-lanterns are a major part of Halloween, so it’s only right we have a pumpkin-forward spirit on this list. Poetic License distilled this gin not only with a classically autumnal pumpkin spice mix but actual pumpkin and pumpkin seeds as well, making this a truly festive treat.

What does it taste like?:

Fragrant nutmeg and cinnamon, with balancing piney juniper. Mouth-coating nutty, sweet pumpkin alongside even more baking spice, with fiery ginger and just a dash of citrus peel on a warming, spiced finish.

Cloven Hoof Spiced Rum

Halloween is the Devil’s holiday and Cloven Hoof Spiced Rum is clearly a reference to the Prince of Darkness (Satan, not Ozzy Osbourne). But it also features in our round-up because it’s very tasty! Made from a blend of Guyanese and Trinidadian rum, along with a selection of spices, including cassia, anise and clove (another influence on the name), this bottling has everything you want in a spiced rum and should prove very popular among company.

What does it taste like?:

Enjoyably hot with cooking spice, with underlying caramelised fruit and brown sugar.

El Espolòn Reposado Tequila

We’ll take any opportunity we have to rally against how rubbish the usual party culture around Tequila is. Ditch the salt and the fruit and all that nonsense and instead enjoy the quality and craftsmanship of El Espolòn Reposado Tequila at your spooky soiree. It was made by Destilladora San Nicolas in Los Altos, who actually play rock music in the factories to “inspire” the agave. That’s how rad they are. The skeletons on the bottle make it suitably festive too.

What does it taste like?:

Warming spice, roasted agave, vanilla, brown sugar, vibrant fruit and a sweet hint of caramel.

Jim Beam Devil’s Cut

A bottle of bourbon fit for a prince. Of darkness. We’re talking about Satan again, although Ozzy would probably appreciate this one too, come to think of it. Made by blending Jim Beam Bourbon and the extracted spirit that was absorbed into the wood of the barrels itself, this is a punchy oak-fest of a dram.

What does it taste like?:

Immensely woody, fresh-cut oak, a whole heap of vanilla and wood spice.

Fallen Angel Blood Orange Gin

That ceramic heart-shaped bottle will be the talk of your Halloween party, and the flavoured gin inside should prove just as popular! Featuring a selection of classic gin botanicals alongside a hearty helping of blood orange, this Fallen Angel expression is one way to add some spookiness to your G&T.

What does it taste like?:

Juicy orange and drying cinnamon, with soft juniper growing on the finish.

Dead Man’s Fingers Cornish Spiced Rum

An exceptionally popular spiced rum with an appropriately festive name and bottle label, Dead Man’s Fingers was made using a blend of Caribbean rums and plenty of spices. Delicious cocktails await, although don’t underestimate how simple it is to make a really enjoyable rum and coke with this bottling,

What does it taste like?:

Pineapple, Seville orange, dried raisins dusted with cinnamon and black pepper. A touch of creamy vanilla develops later on.

Solway Apple Caramel Gin

With a flavour combination that was made for autumnal months, this gin from Solway Spirits is simply begging to be put to good use in a variety of cocktails and serves. What’s not to like about a blend of juicy apples, sweet caramel and a touch of aromatic cinnamon? Nothing. That’s what.

What does it taste like?:

Butterscotch, white grape, apple pie dusted with cinnamon, a hint of black pepper.

Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin

Plenty of you will be looking for the perfect gin to enjoy this Halloween and you can’t go wrong with Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin. Made in North Devon using a selection of 11 botanicals, including juniper, angelica, cardamom, coriander, cubeb, grains of paradise, hibiscus, Kaffir lime leaves, orange peel, lemon peel and lemongrass, this beauty is insanely tasty and versatile, making it perfect for cocktails.

What does it taste like?:

Clean juniper, fresh citrus, angelica, hibiscus sweetness, savoury thyme, drying cubeb peppery hints joined by a hint of fennel seed.

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The winner of our #BagThisBundle of English whisky from The Lakes Distillery is…

Recently we launched a fancy Lakes #BagThisBundle competition. Now the time has come to reveal our very first winner! Four delicious whiskies. One winner. That was the stakes for our…

Recently we launched a fancy Lakes #BagThisBundle competition. Now the time has come to reveal our very first winner!

Four delicious whiskies. One winner. That was the stakes for our latest competition, in which we teamed up with the fabulous folk at The Lakes Distilery. On offer were The ONE, the brand’s very first whisky, The ONE Port Cask Finished, Steel Bonnets, a blend of Scotch and English whiskies and The Lakes Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.1, a delicious dram that certainly caught our eye. It’s quite the haul.

BagThisBundle

Four delicious English whiskies were the prize

Entry was easy peasy lemon squeezy. All you had to do was slay the dragon that was terrorising… no wait, wrong competition. The awesome power of social media was all you needed here. By simply following both the Master of Malt and Lakes Distillery Instagram accounts, tagging three pals you’d share these exciting whiskies with on our competition post and then liking that same post, you put yourself in contention for the big prize.

But there can only be one victor. The winner is…

Debbie Hawkins from Cumbria!

Huge congratulations to Debbie and a massive thank you to all who took part! We’re sure you and the three friends you tagged will enjoy your many tasty whiskies!

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Brand new boozes!

There’s nothing quite like treating yourself to a bottle of something new, regardless of what you already have sitting at home. So indulge yourself with these recently released expressions… It…

There’s nothing quite like treating yourself to a bottle of something new, regardless of what you already have sitting at home. So indulge yourself with these recently released expressions…

It can be hard to keep up with the world of booze. It seems like every day there’s a different bottling launched on the market. It’s not easy to find the time to filter through all of the choices to find the perfect expression for you. That’s where we can help, by rounding-up some of the most delightful new drinks to arrive at MoM Towers.

Whether your drink selection looks like it could use a bit of a refresh, you want to broaden your horizons, or you just can’t help yourself and you want to buy some shiny new booze (we can relate), then this blog is the place for you.

1770 Peated – Release No.1

The Glasgow Distillery Company has released what it claims to be the city’s first peated whisky, made using heather-rich peat from the Highlands. The peated variant of its 1770 single malt was matured in first-fill ex-sherry casks, then finished in virgin oak casks. It’s historically significant and very tasty.

What does it taste like?

Zesty orange, toasty oak, burnt sugar, dried fruit richness, earthy peat and a hint of quince, juxtaposed by wafts of floral smoke.

Campfire Old Tom Gin

If you’ve got something a sweet tooth then an Old Tom gin might just be the thing for you. This expression is from the Puddingstone Distillery and it’s a variation of its original Campfire Gin that gets it extra sweetness from angelica root, lemon peel, cardamom and cinnamon. Traditionally Old Tom gins are sweetened with sugar or honey, so this is an interesting point of difference. Oh, and the great grandfather of the founder of the distillery was known to his friends as ‘Old Tom’. Which we think is neat.

What does it taste like?

Warming and sweet spices, with an undertone of piney juniper, fresh citrus notes and a sweet, creamy finish.

Mackmyra Vintersol 2019

Mackmyra’s seasonal release always proves popular and this expression should prove no exception. Vintersol (which translates to ‘Winter Sun’) 2019 was created in collaboration with the Port wine producer Quinta Do Vallado, who provided the Swedish whisky-makers with ex-port casks to add a rich and fruity dimension to the otherwise creamy whisky.

What does it taste like?

Oaky vanilla, liquorice, grape skins, custard creams, pear tart, fruitcake, tinned pear, vanilla custard, gingerbread and lots of dried fruit, with a subtle note of pine.

QuiQuiRiQui Tobalá

If you haven’t tried mezcal yet, you’re missing out. Let’s rectify the situation with a Joven mezcal that established lovers of the Mexican spirit will also appreciate from QuiQuiRiQui. Made from wild Tobalá agave, which is smaller than other varieties and takes around 10 or 15 years to grow to maturity, this is a complex and intriguing tipple. Production of this expression is also limited to ensure sustainable farming and protect the species.

What does it taste like?

Tropical notes of creamy coconut, tangy pineapple and corn on the cob (with a lot of butter), with a clean, grassy finish and gentle smoke lingering.

Octomore 10.1 5 Year Old

Perhaps the most accessible Octomore released to date, the first expression in Bruichladdich’s Octomore 10 series was created to explore “a different realm of ‘softer smoke’”. It’s peated to 107PPM, so those who like it smoky will still get a kick out of it, but it should prove less intimidating for those who want to start exploring the peatier side of things without smoking themselves out. Octomore 10.1 was aged for 5 years in a selection of first-fill American whiskey casks (Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace and Jack Daniel’s).

What does it taste like?

Bright stone fruit sweetness, salty smoke, toasted sugar, charred oak, dried earth, waxy peels, salted caramel, tangy mango, peach and fiery peat.

LoneWolf Cloudy Lemon Gin

Citrus-forward gins will always prove popular, so it’s a safe bet to say that you won’t regret indulging in this tangy variation of BrewDog’s LoneWolf Gin. That cloudy lemon profile is achieved by allowing the original recipe gin (which features punchy botanicals along the lines of Scots pine, lavender, fresh grapefruit peel, and more) to macerate with fresh Sicilian lemon peels for seven days.

What does it taste like?

Clearly lemon notes appear at the fore, but the spicy gin at its core is certainly no slouch, packing heavy notes of juniper and spice.

The ONE Signature Blend

The Lakes Distillery just keeps churning out great whisky, and this blend is just another example. The ONE Signature Blend features its very own single malt distilled in the Lake District at its core, which is then blended with Scotch single grain, and malt whiskies from the Highlands, Speyside, and Islay. It’s subtly smoky and delightful mixed or neat.

What does it taste like?

Toasted sugar, upside-down cake, honeysuckle, caramel, citrus, smoky spices, toasted oak, stem ginger, nutty malt, orange boiled sweets, cedar and menthol.

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Master of Malt tastes… Midleton Very Rare 2019

Once again, those fab folks at Midleton Distillery have produced a spectacular blended whiskey in the Very Rare series. We were invited to Dublin to give it a taste… There…

Once again, those fab folks at Midleton Distillery have produced a spectacular blended whiskey in the Very Rare series. We were invited to Dublin to give it a taste…

There are certain annual releases that whiskey fans always mark on their calendars. Since 1984, The Midleton Very Rare series has been one of them. A creation of former Midleton master distiller Barry Crockett, it’s a collection of exceptional blends featuring liquid that is, as you’ve no doubt deduced by now, very rare.

What began as a passion project for Crockett has since become a matter of legacy for his successor Brian Nation, who was given the task of selecting the casks that make up each release in 2014. Nation often describes it as the pinnacle of Irish whiskey, and it’s no surprise that it’s the only regularly-produced bottling from Midleton that actually features the name of the famous distillery.

You can imagine how excited we were to try the 2019 edition at its launch at The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. That excitement quickly turned to elation when we realised we would not be tasting one Midleton Very Rare bottling, but five. Nation had arranged a ‘Tasting Through the Decades’, which featured Midleton Very Rare 1984, the first expression released, Very Rare 1989, which turned 30 this year, Very Rare 1997, the year Nation joined Irish Distillers and Very Rare 2014, the first released with Nation as the master distiller.

Midleton Very Rare

It’s the 36th edition in the renowned and highly collectable range

Only once we had enjoyed a dram of each did we then taste the 2019 edition of Midleton Very Rare. What the taste through the decades demonstrated that while every bottling in the series is made from special single pot still and single grain Irish whiskeys, each individual expression is markedly different from the last. Every year is a different story, a new revelation about the sheer quality of Midleton’s inventory and a personal statement from the master distiller. The only consistency is the quality.

So, what’s the story with Midleton Very Rare 2019? It’s a blend of whiskeys matured exclusively in lightly-charred ex-bourbon American oak barrels for between 13 and 34 years, making it the oldest collection of casks ever used to create a Midleton Very Rare. Nation described this as adding “a level of fruitiness you don’t tend to get from the other releases”. He also revealed that this year there were four or five iterations of the whiskey that were tested until he settled on the chosen blend before us, “you don’t normally get it right first time!” As usual, there won’t be much of it to go around, with Nation estimating there’s around 5000 cases of this edition. It’s notable that the number increases every year to cater for the demand.

The only question that remains is, how does this year’s dose of annual-awesomeness compare? First thing’s first, it’s delicious. But then, you already guessed that. Midleton Very Rare 2019 has an individual profile, like the other expressions, and there’s a raft of notes here that weren’t present in the other drams. Most notably tropical fruit, which Nation said is a result of the older casks. The genius of the blend, however, is that it doesn’t lose the distillery character, which is still present in every drop. It’s another sublime demonstration of what Midleton Distillery has to offer, and I’d happily fight each and every one of you for a bottle. Good thing it will be arriving at MoM Towers soon…

Midleton Very Rare

Midleton Very Rare 2019 Tasting Note:

Nose: Pot still spices – tannic oak, cinnamon and nutmeg – are straight out the block before they are tempered by creamy vanilla, rich toffee and plenty of ripe orchard fruit (green apple and Conference pear). A complex sweetness then builds underneath from muscovado sugar, tropical fruit in syrup and a touch of oak char.

Palate: More green apple, ginger root and just a flicker of tablet fudge sweetness, then sugary cereal and a prickle of oak spice before hints of pineapple and mango add another wave of tropical goodness. Charred vanilla oak also returns from the nose to provide the backdrop among a touch of creamy nuttiness.

Finish: An earthy element to the spice appears in the finish among more crisp, ripe and almost candied fruits and gentle tannins.

Overall: An artful, intriguing and well-integrated blend, the older casks have given this edition an almost rummy element (mostly tropical fruit), but its standout strength is the exceptional clarity of the distillery character that forms the core of the expression.

Midleton Very Rare

The 2019 Edition is a blend of whiskies matured lightly-charred ex-bourbon barrels between 13 and 34 years.

To partner the launch of Midleton Very Rare 2019, the brand announced that it has created an online members’ programme named the ‘1825 Room’, Made for discerning whiskey lovers to pay homage to Midleton Distillery’s influence on Irish distilling since its foundation in 1825, it will offer information and features about Midleton Very Rare. There’s also an exclusive online store that will have five rare vintages for sale from 2nd October for one month. “The new 1825 Room gives us a unique opportunity to offer rare releases, which we have acquired over time or released from our archives, to whiskey fans and collectors around the world,” explains Brendan Buckley, international marketing director at Irish Distillers.

Here’s where things get really interesting. To mark the new 1825 Room, Midleton has offered members the opportunity to purchase a bottle of the very first 1984 vintage at the price of £40 Irish punts, which equates to about £45 sterling or €50.80 now. As you can imagine, demand will be high, so purchasers will be selected through a ballot system. You can access the ‘1825 Room’ through midletonveryrare.com.

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London Cocktail Week: 10 things to look out for

We’ve rounded up some of the standout events from the upcoming London Cocktail Week (4-14 October) so you can focus your energy on enjoying its many delightful boozy offerings. What…

We’ve rounded up some of the standout events from the upcoming London Cocktail Week (4-14 October) so you can focus your energy on enjoying its many delightful boozy offerings.

What was already one of the biggest dates in the drinks industry calendar is even bigger this year. London Cocktail Week has returned and has chosen to mark its 10th anniversary by broadening its showcase of the capital’s best bars, mixologists and drinks with an extended ten-day celebration. Because what’s better than a week of cocktails? Ten days of cocktails, that’s what.

Ten years already. Where does the time go? It’s been quite the journey since DrinkUp.London’s Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne founded LCW (as we in the ‘biz’ call it) as a pop-up in Selfridge’s to showcase London’s cocktail scene in 2010. Great oaks from little acorns grow: there are now over 300 bars taking part, tons of quirky pop-ups making temporary homes across London, and endless masterclasses where you can improve your shaking and stirring skills. There’s even a cocktail-meets-doughnut van courtesy of Maker’s Mark and Crosstown Doughnuts, for goodness sake.

As such, many of you will be looking forward to making yourself at home in the Cocktail Village at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane between 4-14 October. But, you also might be feeling slightly overwhelmed by the significant number of events on offer. That’s why we’re here to offer a helping hand by highlighting some of the most intriguing, exciting and engaging opportunities London Cocktail Week has presented for 2019.

London Cocktail Week: the events

Ten options are listed below, but before we start it’s worth noting that you will need to purchase your £10 festival pass and download the DrinkUp.London app to activate it to enjoy London Cocktail Week. This will give you access to £6 drink deals at participating bars as well as entry to the Cocktail Village, so even if you don’t have the chance to make it to the good times below, there’s still plenty to be had all around this fair capital city of ours.

Now, let’s check out some events!

London Cocktail Week

All kinds of whisky-based shenanigans are to be expected

The Whisky House take over at Black Rock

Where?: Black Rock Tavern, 9 Christopher Street, London, EC2A 2BS

When?: Friday 4 October to Saturday 12 October

What’s it all about?: The fabulous Black Rock Tavern hosts brands like Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, Talisker, Copper Dog, Johnnie Walker and Roe & Co for a series of amazing events. The blend of pop-up whisky takeovers, experiences and late-night DJs across nine days will take place within the newly furbished first floor Blending Room and ground floor Tavern at East London’s specialist whisky bar.

Why would I like this, Adam?: There’s endless whisky-based fun to be had and a 185-year old interactive cocktail ageing tree trunk. Yes, you read that right.

London Cocktail Week

An award-winning G&T in a sauna? We’re in.

Kyrö Gin Sauna

Where?: The Cocktail Village, 146 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU

When?: Wednesday 9 October to Monday 14 October (Wed-Sat 12-11pm, Sun 12-7pm)

What’s it all about?: Kyrö Distillery conceived in a Finnish sauna by a group of friends with a shared love of rye. That’s the kind of back-story that deserves to be celebrated, and that’s exactly what this feature is all about! Plenty of rye gin and, yes, an actual sauna, will be present in the Cocktail Village once again this year, as well as an opportunity to blend your own gin in a gin-blending masterclass. Tickets for the blending workshops can be found here.

Why would I like this, Adam?: Because there’s a sauna involved, for goodness sake. Plus plenty of Kyrö’s award-winning G&Ts.

London Cocktail Week

Refreshment is guaranteed

That Boutique-y Gin Company’s Instant Refreshment Service

Where?: The Cocktail Village, 146 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU.

When?: Wednesday 9 October to Sunday 13 October (Wed-Sat 12-11pm, Sun 12-7pm).

What’s it all about?: That Boutique-y Gin Company’s Instant Refreshment Service means one thing: lots of delicious and easily accessible cocktails. You can help yourself to the independent bottler’s range of Craft Cocktails via a brilliantly Boutique-y vending machine, which will also be available on draft.

Why would I like this, Adam?: That Boutique-y Gin Company has made it clear its dream is for every attendee of London Cocktail Week to be fully refreshed at all times. This is a noble goal, and it involves consuming delicious cocktails. Which is the whole point of the entire enterprise, people.

London Cocktail Week

Is this the death of the whisky tumbler? No, but it’s still lots of fun

The Glenlivet’s Capsule Collection

Where?: Tayér + Elementary, 152 Old St, London EC1V 9BW

When?: Friday 4 October from 4-6pm.

What’s it all about?: Ever had an edible cocktail capsule before? No? Well, here’s your chance. A partnership between co-owner of Tayēr + Elementary, Alex Kratena and Scotch whisky distillery The Glenlivet has resulted in this selection of glassless cocktails, which will attempt to redefine the way whisky is traditionally enjoyed. The edible capsules are 23ml in size, fully biodegradable and housed in a seaweed-extract casing courtesy capsule designers Notpla. Simply pop them in your mouth an enjoy three original cocktails inspired by the elements and flavours of The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve: Citrus, Wood and Spice.

Why would I like this, Adam?: You get to eat cocktails. There’s no need for glass, ice or cocktail stirrers here.

London Cocktail Week

The ultimate Cointreau Margarita cocktail awaits

Alfred Cointreau at The K Bar in celebration of London Cocktail Week

Where?: The K Bar, 109 – 113 Queen’s Gate, South Kensington, London SW7 5LP.

When?: Thursday 10 October from 6-9pm.

What’s it all about?: A celebration of both the week and Cointreau’s 170th Anniversary, this event sees Alfred Cointreau (the clue is in the name) taking the reins behind the wonderful K Bar in Kensignton to mix up classic and twists on the iconic Margarita while telling the story of Cointreau.

Why would I like this, Adam?: You get to meet some drinks industry royalty and learn how to make the ultimate Cointreau Margarita cocktail.

London Cocktail Week

Go wild in the isles, folks!

Supermarket Sweep

Where?: London Cocktail Club Shoreditch, Unit 12, 29 Sclater Street, London, E1 6HR

When?: Wednesday 9 October to Sunday 13 October (3.30-9pm)

What’s it all about?: If you’re somebody who’s looking for any excuse to get their 90s game show vibe on, then London Cocktail Club Shoreditch’s pop-up is the one for you. Inside the re-creation of a miniature supermarket you’ll get an opportunity to make a cocktail from JJ Goodman’s book ‘Kitchen Cocktails’ and sample cocktail recipes made from everyday ingredients like angel delight to Coco Pops. Best of all, you can whizz around the aisles Supermarket Sweep-style. So, choose your teams, grab your basket and indulge in some nostalgia! To book your ticket you’ll need to email reservations@londoncocktailclub.co.uk.

Why would I like this, Adam?: You can channel your best Dale Winton impression while enjoying some unorthodox cocktails.

London Cocktail Week

Karaoke and cocktails is a good night by anybody’s estimation

The House of Suntory Masterclass & Cocktail Karaoke

Where?: Shochu Lounge, Roka Charlotte Street, 37 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RR

When?: Monday 7 October to Tuesday 8 October (6-11.30pm)

What’s it all about?: An evening of learning about Japanese culture while imbibing Suntory’s Roku Gin, Haku Vodka and Toki Whisky in the company of UK ambassador James Bowker sounds pretty great. But the Japanese distillery has turned a great night into an unforgettable one by also hosting ‘Cocktail Karaoke’. Simply you choose your base spirit (gin/vodka/whisky) and your favourite classic track then the team at Roka will create a Japanese riff on your song choice. How good does that sound? You can book your ticket here.

Why would I like this, Adam?: Two words: Cocktail. Karaoke.

London Cocktail Week

How often do you get to create your own whisky?

The Blend by Chivas Regal

Where?: Mac & Wild, 9A Devonshire Square, London, EC2M 4YN

When?: Monday 7 October to Thursday 10 October (various slots from 6.30pm)

What’s it all about?: A chance to create a whisky you can call your own should never be passed up. That’s exactly what Chivas Regal is offering at a special masterclass at Mac & Wild, Devonshire Square, to celebrate the launch of The Blend campaign. The guided tasting sessions will provide a window into the life of a master blender as you learn the history of Chivas Regal and how to make your own whisky highball twists with UK brand ambassador Phil Huckle. But best of all, you’ll leave this event 200ml of your very own whisky, blended from a combination of floral, citrus, fruity, creamy and smoky flavours. Book your ticket here.

Why would I like this, Adam?: You literally get to make a whisky of your own. What are you waiting for?

London Cocktail Week

Science is finally put to good use

The Essence House by the London Essence Company

Where?: 5 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB

When?: Thursday 3 October to Saturday 5 October (12-10pm)

What’s it all about?: If there’s one thing you want from London Cocktail Week, it’s amazing cocktails. Thanks to The London Essence Company you can do just that as it treats you to a bespoke cocktail, matched to your palate using real science by some of the world’s top bartenders. The Essence House, described as an “interactive journey of flavour discovery”, is an experience curated by Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart, an expert in gastronomy and flavour perception, who will help you to get hands-on with botanicals, flavours and aromas over the course of a 45 minute session that includes that personal palate profiling experience and two cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic options available). Tickets are available here.

Why would I like this, Adam?: You know you want tasty cocktails, and The London Essence Company know what you find tasty…

London Cocktail Week

Over the last century, the Negroni has stood the test of time

The Experimental Negroni Club

Where?: Henrietta Hotel, 14-15 Henrietta St, London, WC2E 8QG

When?: Friday 4 October to Sunday 13 October (12pm-close)

What’s it all about?: It’s been 100 years since the Negroni first entered our lives and we haven’t looked back. The Experimental Group, however, will actually be looking back to celebrate this illustrious history through the Experimental Negroni Club a partnership with Campari at the Henrietta Hotel. Vintage ingredients selected in partnership with the Old Spirit Company will ensure the recreation of cocktails served in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s and to make the perfect vintage Negroni, which will be accompanied by a light show created by Frankie Boyle (not the Scottish comedian, thankfully).

Why would I like this, Adam?: We love Negronis. You love Negronis. Go forth and toast its brilliance the only way how. With a Negroni.

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