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Master of Malt Blog

Author: Annie Hayes

A closer look at Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto

When Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto launched four years ago, it brought centuries of Italian drinks history to the back bar. Here, we talk contemporary rosolio with brand ambassador Luca Missaglia,…

When Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto launched four years ago, it brought centuries of Italian drinks history to the back bar. Here, we talk contemporary rosolio with brand ambassador Luca Missaglia, and share five super simple cocktail recipes to try at home…

First, a little background. Italicus is the brainchild of Giuseppe Gallo, former global brand ambassador for vermouth behemoth Martini, no less. A few years back, he spotted a rosolio-sized gap in the aperitivo renaissance and set out to reinstate the historic liqueur, which dates back to the 17th century. 

Indeed, before vermouth, bitters and amaro, rosolio was the Italian aperitivo. It became so popular that each of the country’s 20 regions had its own distinctive take on the liqueur based on the botanicals grown there. Rosolio was regarded as the ‘aperitivo of the people’ until Vittorio Amedeo III, King of Sardinia and Duke of Savoy from 1773 to 1796, incentivised the farmers to switch to vermouth production.

“The word rosolio is from the Latin ‘ros solis’, which means ‘morning dew’,” explains Missaglia. “When farmers get up early in the morning and go down to the field, they find morning dew on top of their botanicals. That’s where the name comes from – they harvest those botanicals to infuse into alcohol with sugarcane and a bit of water to make rosolio.”

Great with snacks

Using the blueprint of a rosolio recipe that dates back to the 19th century, Gallo scoured Italy from north to south and set about painting a flavour map of the country with his botanical selection. There’s lavender, gentian, yellow roses and melissa balm from northern Italy; Roman chamomile from Lazio; bergamot from the Calabrian region; and cedro from Sicily. 

Italicus’ botanical recipe centres on a traditional technique known as sfumatura, which sees essential oils extracted from the peel of the bergamot and cedro using little more than sponges and water. Meanwhile, lavender, gentian, yellow roses, melissa balm and Roman chamomile are infused together in a thermodynamic maceration over the course of around two weeks. 

The botanical liquid, which is produced at a family-owned distillery in the town of Moncalieri in Turin, is blended with neutral grain spirit, sugarcane and water before bottling. And what a bottle. The stopper features a renaissance-style Bacchus – the Roman god of agriculture, wine and fertility – harvesting bergamot; the colour of the glass represents the Grotta Azzura in Capri and the Amalfi Coast shoreline.

Flavour-wise, Italicus has ‘fresh tones of ripe citrus fruits’ balanced with ‘light, bitter, floral spice’. Perfect for pre-dinner tipples, such as the Italicus Spritz, which sees the liqueur combined with bubbles – ideally Prosecco, but any bubbles will do – in a 50:50 ratio.

“For us, the Spritz gives a real feeling of what Italicus is,” says Missaglia. “All of us have a bottle of sparkling wine in the fridge; if we don’t, we probably have tonic water. And if you still don’t, you have some soda.” 

Being an Italian brand, the serves that follow champion simple ingredients and fresh flavours. You’ll need plenty of olives for the garnish – it’s aperitivo hour after all – but if you can’t find any, a pinch of salt will suffice.

Italicus Spritz

This is Italicus’ signature serve, and it’s summer in a glass. Floral? Check. Tart bubbles? Check. A hint of saltiness to round the whole thing out? Ooh, check. 

2 parts Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto
2 parts Prosecco (or Champagne)

Build over ice cubes in a large wine glass. Garnish with three green olives.

Gin & Italicus

A Martini, except it’s holding a rose between its teeth and there’s a mysterious glint in its eye. We dig it wholeheartedly. 

1 part Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto
1 part London dry gin

Stir over ice cubes and serve straight up in a coupette glass. Garnish with three green olives.

Negroni Bianco

The Negroni twist you’ve been waiting for: fresh, slightly dry, and (almost) crystal clear. Use chunky, clear ice and Instagram the hell out of it.

1 part Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto
1 part dry vermouth
1 part London dry gin

Build over ice in a rocks glass, garnish with three green olives.

Italicus Sgroppino

Looks fancy, tastes fancy, and yet… so simple to make. This would make a winning dessert on Come Dine With Me, no doubt about it. Just don’t ask us how to pronounce sgroppino.

2 parts Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto
1 scoop citrus sorbet
Sparkling wine to top. 

Build in a coupette, garnish with grated bergamot or lemon peel.

Ipalicus

There aren’t many liqueurs that pair well with beer, but the floral, citrus-y elements found in both Italicus and your typical IPA pair beautifully together. And may we say – cracking name, too.

1 part Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto
4 parts I.P.A. Beer

Build over ice cubes in a highball. Garnish with one green olive.

 

 

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Five minutes with. . . Thea Cumming from Dangerous Don mezcal

Soft, floral and perilously quaffable? It could only be Dangerous Don’s new Joven expression, a dazzling 100% Espadin mezcal lovingly crafted in the depths of the Oaxacan countryside. We caught…

Soft, floral and perilously quaffable? It could only be Dangerous Don’s new Joven expression, a dazzling 100% Espadin mezcal lovingly crafted in the depths of the Oaxacan countryside. We caught up with the brains behind the brand, Thea Cumming, to chat about experimental destilados, the original ‘Don’, and a cowboy called Frank…

You might recognise Cumming’s name. As the co-founder of dedicated agave celebration London Mezcal Week – now in its fourth year – and co-owner of Stoke Newington music and mezcal bar Doña, she’s carved a reputation as a figurehead in the city’s mezcal scene. 

While today Cumming may have her fingers in many enchiladas (figuratively speaking), her spirited journey began on the final leg of an epic US road trip, in the port town of Puerto Escondido, situated on Mexico’s Oaxacan coast. 

“That’s where I drank mezcal for the first time,” says Cumming. “We were staying in a place called Sunset Point and met this cowboy from Colorado called Frank. He was going up into the mountains, buying mezcal and mixing it with coffee, vanilla, sugar and some other things in his kitchen, then bottling it and selling it. And he had some amazing mezcals.” 

Thea Cumming with friend in Oaxaca

A few sundowners later, Cumming was sold. “I remember being sat by the pool and deciding, ‘I’m going to start selling mezcal,” says Cumming. “And I’m going to call it Dangerous Don’. That’s my dad’s nickname – his mates from university called him dangerous Don because he had this elaborate plan to go and smuggle cigars with his best mate, big Andy.”

One large bank loan, a tour of Oaxaca and 12 palenques later, Cumming met the Martinez family in Santiago Matatlan, headed by fourth generation master mezcalero Celso. Taking inspiration from Frank’s DIY kitchen blending, she and Martinez would go on to develop the very first Dangerous Don variant, a ‘mezcal destilado con café’.

It isn’t a liqueur – rather, the coffee is treated as a botanical. Martinez twice-distills his 100% Espadin agave in a copper pot still before adding medium-roasted, coarsely-ground Naom Quie coffee beans to the distillate. He allows the mix to steep for 24 hours before distilling again, resulting in a smooth sweet mezcal. 

“The production process of mezcal is unbelievable, it’s such a labour of love,” says Cumming. “Each producer has such different techniques, from roasting the agave to the fermentation process. It’s the same as being a chef – each chef will produce a different dish when they’re asked to cook the same thing.”

Coffee being prepared for distillation

Terroir is also a massive influence in mezcal, as follow-up bottling Dangerous Don Joven demonstrates beautifully. It’s made by master mezcalero Juan Nacho Diaz Cruz in picturesque Santa María Quiegolani – around seven hours’ drive from Oaxaca – where he roasts, ferments and then twice-distils his 100% Espadin agave. 

“It’s very secluded, there’s nothing around for miles and miles,” says Cumming. “I drove out to meet him and his family last April, they’re growing loads of agave and making these incredible mezcals, all super soft and floral and really approachable.”

While the Joven is just hitting shelves, there’s no slowing down for Cumming, whose next destilado is already in the works. There’s plenty of experimentation within mezcal – master mezcaleros love a botanical or two – and Dangerous Don’s master mezcaleros are no exception.

“We’ve just made a ‘destilado con mandarina’ – mandarin – which is really delicious,” says Cumming. “We distil the mezcal twice, peel [the fruit] and leave them to steep for a day, then distil again. The plan this year is to roll out a few more destilados. It’s a really great way to get people to start exploring [the category].”

While it’s beloved by bartenders and drinks aficionados, mezcal is yet to make waves in the mainstream. This presents a unique opportunity for the tight-knit mezcal community to present their liquid as the artisanal product it genuinely is, free from the ‘slammer’ and ‘shot’ connotations associated with its agave cousin, Tequila. 

El joven esta acqui

So long as the category can retain its ‘craft’ credentials, anyway. Which might prove tricky as multinational spirits companies carve their own slice of the agave action. The problem with bigger players coming in, Cumming warns, is that they’ll drive the price point down. And if this sounds like a good thing, trust us – it isn’t.

“Mezcal is an expensive product because of the process,” she explains. “We’re not talking about a grain or sugarcane – we’re talking about something that takes eight years to grow, and that comes with a price point. Many smaller brands can’t necessarily get their price down, and I don’t know that you would want them to.”

On the bright side? As drinkers, we’re more open and invested in the industry than ever before. “The way we consume has changed a lot,” Cumming says. “We care about the origin of the products we buy now, more so than ever, and with mezcal, that’s really important. If that conscious consuming mentality is applied to the mezcal category, then that’s just the dream.”

While we’d always recommend appreciating any artisan spirit neat – at least to begin with – Dangerous Don is also made for mixing. The range is exquisite with tonic (garnish with an orange or grapefruit wedge). If you’re keen to experiment, the original con café variant makes a cracking Negroni when subbed in for the gin. 

“My favourite drink is a Mezcal Tommy’s Margarita,” says Cumming. “Lime and a bit of agave with Dangerous Don Joven, it works really well. If you want to be slightly more creative, you could do a take on an Espresso Martini with Dangerous Don, cold brew, crème de cacao and a tiny dash of agave syrup and that’s delicious too.”

There’s currently £5 off bottles of Dangerous Don original and Joven at Master of Malt.

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Cocktail of the Week: The Foraged Martini

One drink, three ingredients, and absolutely no prep required: This week we’re championing stripped-back simplicity with the delightful Foraged Martini, a cocktail menu mainstay at intimate east London bar Three…

One drink, three ingredients, and absolutely no prep required: This week we’re championing stripped-back simplicity with the delightful Foraged Martini, a cocktail menu mainstay at intimate east London bar Three Sheets. Here, co-owner Noel Venning walks you through the drink…

Much like the wider cocktail menu at Three Sheets, the light, fresh Foraged Martini is proof that when it comes to ingredients, less really is more. Ever since Venning brothers Noel and Max first flung open the doors on Kingsland Road back in 2016, the bar has been known for its minimalist ethos – from the contents of the back bar to its marble-topped counters – and this is reflected not only in the way they developed each drink, but also in the design of their menu.

There are nine cocktails in total, split across three key sections. Three Sheets, if you will. While each sheet is characterised by strength and flavour, all of the drinks on the menu are designed to be approachable in nature. Over on the left, you’ll find the lightest cocktails – such as the Almond Flower Sour, which combines Bombay English Estate, almond flower, egg white and lemon. Heavier-going drinks – like Café Français, which combines Seven Tails XO Brandy, salted coffee butter and madeleine cream – tend towards the right of the menu. 

Three Sheets Dalston

Three Sheets, so minimalist

“At Three Sheets, we aim to put drinks on the menu that we think our guests will enjoy,” Noel Venning explains. “Moving away from using popular bartender products that might not be enjoyable for guests. This has led to a lighter style of drink and the Foraged Martini is a great example of that – taking a classic vodka Martini but making it more approachable for a wider audience.”

In the spirit of keeping things simple, the base structure is similar to that of a classic Martini, says Venning. Indeed, just three ingredients are required to make the Foraged Martini: Absolut Elyx, dry Italian vermouth, and Thorncroft’s Wild Nettle cordial. “The great thing about the Foraged Martini is that everything is available to buy in a shop,” he continues. “It is a wonderful example that making great drinks doesn’t necessarily have to come with fancy equipment or esoteric, obscure ingredients.”

It’s fair to say that one of the traditional Martini’s most defining features – its out-and-out ‘booziness’ in terms of flavour – is what tends to put most newcomers off. But you won’t find that brashness in the Venning brothers’ Foraged iteration. Thanks to the addition of the nettle cordial, this serve is made accessible for the non-Martini drinker, while packing enough of a punch to satisfy the drink’s usual devotees. 

“The idea behind this Martini was to have a lighter, more approachable version of a classic Martini that would appeal to a wider audience – while also being enjoyable for a guest who drinks Martinis all the time,” Venning adds. “The nettle cordial softens off the punchy nature of the Martini with some grassy, citrusy notes, and the vermouth ties it all together.”

That’s gypsophila (yes, we had to Google it)

Democratising the Martini is all in a day’s work for the Three Sheets duo. If you’re ready to take the Foraged Martini for a spin, you’ll find the recipe below. Now, aside from the liquid ingredients, you’ll also need ice, a twist of lemon (for the zest only), and a Nick and Nora, Coupette or Martini glass – the team usually opts for the latter, but at home you call the shots.

Oh, and if you really want to set the drink off in true Three Sheets style, source a small sprig of gypsophila for the garnish. Arty Instagram shots are not only welcomed but wholeheartedly encouraged.

Right, let’s forage up a Martini!

50ml Absolut Elyx
10ml Martini Extra Dry vermouth
5ml Thorncroft’s Wild Nettle Cordial

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and stir to dilute and chill. Double strain into a chilled Martini glass. Express a piece of lemon zest (discard the twist afterwards) and garnish with a sprig of gypsophila (if you have one).

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20 pro tips to make bar-quality cocktails at home

Curious about how the professionals make cocktails at home? Wonder no longer. From pre-freezing glassware to emulsifying egg drinks, here’s 20 expert-backed tips, tricks and hacks you can adopt to…

Curious about how the professionals make cocktails at home? Wonder no longer. From pre-freezing glassware to emulsifying egg drinks, here’s 20 expert-backed tips, tricks and hacks you can adopt to make bar-standard drinks in your kitchen…

No matter how well-versed you are at knocking up an Old Fashioned or a Daiquiri from the comfort of your own home, nothing quite beats the finesse of a bar-side serve. The question is: why?

Turns out, there’s more to making a cracking cocktail than just combining measured liquids in the correct order. But you don’t need loads of fancy kit and obscure ingredients to achieve them – all you need is a little know-how. We asked bartenders, brand ambassadors, and other knowledgeable drinks industry folks to share their hacks for making the best possible cocktails at home. Here’s what they had to say…

You’ll need ice, lots and lots of ice

Ice

Use more than you think you need

“There is one rule that I always stick to when making cocktails at home: Use good ice, and a lot of it,” says Renaud de Bosredon, Bombay Sapphire UK brand ambassador. “Using just two ice cubes in a Gin & Tonic or to stir a Martini will only add water and won’t cool the drink down properly. Don’t hold back. The more ice, the better!”

Filter before you fill up

“Ice is often overlooked as an ingredient, but in certain cocktails it can add up to 50% of dilution, so you want to be using the best quality ice possible,” says No. 3 Gin brand ambassador Ross Bryant. “Water quality is different all over the country, so anyone making ice in a hard water area should filter their water first before freezing.” 

Freeze your own large format ice 

“You can do this by filling a take-away container full of ice and leaving it to freeze, use a serrated knife to then cut it into nice big blocks,” says Dan Garnell, head bartender at Super Lyan, Amsterdam. “This will help keep the drink cold but won’t add too much dilution.” 

Know the difference between ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ ice

“If your ice is ‘wet’ – i.e. wet on every side, it has been out of the freezer for a while – it will dilute your drink quicker,” says Bryant, “whereas ice cubes taken straight from the freezer are ‘dry’ and will dilute your drink slightly slower.”

Manhattan Duke

Manhattan: 2 parts rye, 1 part vermouth, dash of bitters

Methodology

Resize drinks via ‘parts’

“Try transforming measurements in parts instead of ml or ounces,” says Andrei Talapanescu, head bartender at Pulitzer’s Bar in Amsterdam. “For example, a Manhattan will work with 2 parts base spirit, 1 part modifier and a couple dashes of bitters. Instead of 50ml/25ml or 60ml/30ml, there’s less to remember, and it’s easier to adjust according to the available glassware.” 

Introduce new flavours slowly

“You can always add more, but you can’t remove,” says Osvaldo Romito, bartender at the Megaro Hotel in London. “If you’re not sure, just start with a little bit and add more as you go.”

Look to physical cues

“Shake or stir until the temperature has reached an equilibrium,” says Talapanescu, “until you see condensation on the stirring glass or frost on the stainless steel shaker.”

Dry shake egg-based drinks

“When making drinks that contain egg, you must first ‘emulsify’ the egg,” says Bryant. “To do this, you must first shake all your ingredients without ice. Once shaken, open your shaker and add ice in order to chill and dilute your drink.”

Ask yourself, is that garnish really essential?

Garnish

Identify the essentials

“Garnishes can be divided into two: aromatic enhancers and aesthetic enhancers,” says Andrei Talapanescu, head bartender at Pulitzer’s Bar in Amsterdam. “Do not omit the aromatic ones such as citrus zest, mint, or a spray. The rest can be left out.”

Dehydrate wheels of fruit… 

“These are so easy,” says Karol Terejlis, bars manager at Baltic and Ognisko, both in London.  “Put your oven on 70 degrees celsius and dry slices of orange, mandarins, tangerines, lemons and limes for around 8 to 10 hours. I also dry out strawberries and raspberries for the same time, then blend them to make a powder. Good for garnishes with a strong colour!”

…Or alternatively, freeze them

“Pre-freeze fruit slices,” suggests Metinee Kongsrivilai, Bacardi rum UK brand ambassador. “This will help reduce food waste as it preserves the fruit, but it’s also great for chilling your drinks and it adds to the drink’s presentation. This would be most effective with perfectly diluted drinks.”

Utilise kitchen kit

“Potato peelers will cut you great citrus peel twists,” says David Eden-Sangwell, brand ambassador at Old J Rum. “The Y-shaped peelers are the best for this and will leave most of the bitter pith behind.”

Terri Brotherston in action

Prep

Chill the glass

“Making drinks without ice?,” says Eden-Sangwell. “Chill the glass with ice and water while you mix the drink and empty just before pouring the drink in. This will keep your drink cold for longer.” Alternatively, pop your glass in the freezer for a couple of minutes.

Pre-batch your ingredients

“If you are making multiple drinks, prepare in advance,” says Terri Brotherston, whisky specialist at Edrington-Beam Suntory UK. “You can make a small batch of sugar syrup in advance and store it in the fridge. You can juice two or three lemons or limes beforehand and keep it in a jug. It means your ingredients are already to hand and will make it a much smoother, more enjoyable process.”

Keep bottles in the freezer

“If you’re more of a stirred-down, spirit-forward – dry vodka Martini, for example – kind of person, whack that pre-diluted spirit in the freezer,” says Nicole Sykes, bartender at Satan’s Whiskers in London and Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition 2020 UK Winner. “That way you’ll get consistently ice cold Martinis with a great texture, straight from the bottle and you don’t have to panic if you don’t have any ice. Pour straight into a pre-frozen glass.”

Blend your cocktail

“Utilise that blender,” says Sykes. “For really quick, consistent and cold drinks, stick your favourite cocktails into a blender, add 10ml more sugar syrup – which you can also make in your blender using equal parts caster sugar and water by weight – and blend with supermarket ice to make a slush!”

Pre-batch your cocktails

“I’ve got bottles of pre-batched drinks ready to go,” says Bartender Paul Mathew, owner of Bermondsey bar The Hide and founder of Everleaf, “including a Negroni, a Last Word (just add lime and shake), and a Diplomat (my wife’s favourite) – plus plenty of Everleaf for non-drinking evenings and aperitifs.”

The Nightcap

Sometimes, the best tip is just to keep it simple

Creativity 

Create your own cordials

“Experiment with home cordials,” suggests Garnell. “For instance, after doing fresh orange juice in the morning, boil the husks in a mixture of water, orange juice and spices such as clove, cinnamon or nutmeg. Leave it to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes and strain – you have your own spiced orange cordial!”

Try a milk wash

“Add one part spirit to a bowl and one quarter of its volume in lemon juice,” says Adam Rog, senior bartender at The Four Sisters bar in Islington. “Pour your spirit and lemon mixture into milk and watch it curdle. Once split, usually after 10 minutes, run it through a filter – try a microfibre cloth or some kitchen towel, as you’ll want it to catch the curds but keep the lactose. After this, you can add whatever flavours you think best. We milk wash coffee liqueur and add vodka, sugar, vanilla essence and cacao to create a smoother take on a White Russian.”

Or, just keep it simple

“One of my favourite cocktails to make at home is a Negroni,” says Ben Flux, bartender at Merchant House in London. “It’s simple, but a bartender’s favourite! Add a sustainable twist with Discarded Cascara Vermouth and spent coffee grounds to create a cold brew Negroni.”

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Five classic spirits from unusual places

Until fairly recently, beyond international stalwarts like vodka or whisky, there were certain native drinks that were not made outside their home countries. Now, however, this is beginning to change….

Until fairly recently, beyond international stalwarts like vodka or whisky, there were certain native drinks that were not made outside their home countries. Now, however, this is beginning to change. From Canadian aquavit to Australian vermouth, we lift the lid on five classic spirits made in non-traditional places…

The French have Cognac. The Scots have Scotch whisky. In Mexico they make Tequila, and the US boasts bourbon. There are rules and regulations that tie these spirits to their geographical location. But some spirits aren’t bound by such legalities. And with a bit of distiller ingenuity, they can be made anywhere in the world – and often with interesting results. Here, we look at five classic spirits made in unusual places…

Gin from Japan

Holland is widely credited as the birthplace of gin. Following the creation of genever – the region’s beloved malt-based spirit – gin is thought to have been invented by Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius, who used it for medicinal purposes back in 1550. By the time the 1600s rolled around, there were hundreds of gin distilleries in the city of Amsterdam alone.

Around the same time, gin started to emerge in England in various forms, giving way to a rather bleak period dubbed the ‘Gin Craze’ until production was eventually licensed and tamed. Today, the juniper-forward white spirit is produced in countless western countries the world over, but rarely in the east, which is one of the reasons we were particularly excited to see Ki No Bi Gin launch back in 2016. 

The inaugural release from the Kyoto Distillery – and the first Japanese gin produced in Kyoto – Ki No Bi is made from a rice spirit base and flavoured with locally-sourced botanicals that include yellow yuzu, green sansho and gyokuro tea. The botanicals are split across six flavour categories – base, citrus, Tea, spice, fruity & floral and herbal – and these groupings are distilled individually before being blended together to make the final liquid.

Shochu from California

Historians believe shochu first originated in Persia (or possibly China or Korea) but it’s best known as Japan’s national spirit, having made its way to the rural south of the island country sometime in the 16th century. While it’s typically made from rice, barley, sweet potatoes, buckwheat or brown sugar, Japanese distillers have been known to use chestnut, sesame seeds, potatoes and even carrots to make the clear white liquor – so flavour-wise, it’s super diverse.

Generally speaking, shochu is little-known outside its east Asian home, with confused westerners sometimes referring to the spirit as ‘Japanese vodka’. However in recent years, a handful of experimental distillers, such as those at St. George Spirits, have sought to create their own regional take on the traditional spirit – in this instance, “a full-flavoured shochu from California rice that would complement a hearty bowl of ramen”. 

To create St. George California Shochu, steamed Calrose rice is inoculated with koji spores and fermented (known as ‘sake lees’). Once the rice starch has been transformed into sugar, yeast is added, and the mix is fermented cold. It’s then blended with non-GMO neutral grain spirit and distilled in a copper pot still. On the nose you’ll find cashew, pistachio, sweet mushrooms and dried cocoa, they say – with the latter developing on the palate as bittersweet chocolate.

Absinthe from Scotland

Unlike other spirits categories, we know precisely when and where absinthe was created: the canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, 1792. It was the handiwork of French doctor Pierre Ordinaire, who set out to capture the powerful healing effects of wormwood in a potable form. Fast-forward 70 years or so, and this potent anise-flavoured spirit had become the alcoholic drink du jour among bohemian Parisian writers and other arty types.

Where traditional absinthes are bottled anywhere up to 74% ABV – and modern variants up to an eye-watering 90% – Hendrick’s Absinthe stands at an altogether far more reasonable 48%, somewhere in the region of your typical single malt. In a step away from the stereotypical green-tinged liquid we’re accustomed to seeing, this spirit runs clear.

Crafted by master distiller Lesley Gracie at the gin brand’s headquarters in Girvan, Scotland, this variant is flavoured with Hendrick’s signature rose and cucumber botanicals, as well as traditional wormwood and star anise, making it an approachable introduction to absinthe.

Aquavit from Canada

Distilled from grain (or sometimes potatoes), this herbaceous tipple has been produced in Scandiavian countries since the 15th century. Aquavit is characterised by its predominant flavours of caraway or dill or both – the style varies depending on whether you’re in Sweden, Norway or Denmark – and may be matured in a barrel or bottled unaged.

The spirit has found favour outside its Nordic home in the likes of Iceland, Germany, the US, and Canada – the birthplace of Long Table Långbord Akvavit. Produced at Vancouver’s first microdistillery, Long Table Distillery, the liquid is made in small batches according to traditional Scandi style.

Långbord Akvavit is flavoured with six botanicals including caraway, fennel, anise and Seville oranges, and it’s bottled unaged, so there’s no cask influence. Expect ‘complex licorice and orange notes’, ‘a smooth, sweet finish of lingering marmalade’ and ‘prevailing herbal notes on the palate’, the team say.

 

Vermouth from Australia

While it’s more commonly associated with Italy, the history of this fortified wine is rooted in 16th century Germany. In fact, the origin of the word ‘vermouth’ comes from the way French people would pronounce ‘wermut’, the German word for wormwood (an original ingredient that remains a staple to this day). Modern vermouth – as we know it today – was first produced in the 18th century in Italy, with French and Spanish producers creating their own iterations not long after.

Australia may be renowned for its outstanding vineyards, but even so – when Regal Rogue debuted its inaugural new world vermouth, the brand caused a bit of a stir. The four-strong range sees 100% Aussie wines – from Barossa Valley shiraz to Hunter Valley semillon – married with native aromatics including anise myrtle, quandong, pepper berry and more.

This Wild Rosé bottling introduces pale, dry Barossa shiraz rosé from Adelaide Hills to native illawara plums, rosella and strawberry gum, and rhubarb and kina, resulting in a semi-dry vermouth characterised by tropical fruit and fruit spice notes. Delightful.

 

 

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10 different ways to customise your G&T

The shelves of your local supermarket may be leaving a little to the imagination right now, but that’s no reason to sip a lacklustre G&T in isolation – go beyond your…

The shelves of your local supermarket may be leaving a little to the imagination right now, but that’s no reason to sip a lacklustre G&T in isolation – go beyond your typical tonic and garnish variation with a few smart and simple additions. Here, we’ve collected 10 pointers from the pros about how to DIY your favourite juniper serve…

If nothing else, having a little extra spare time allows us to flex our creative muscles a little more than usual – and as we’ve seen in our favourite bars in the world over, no cocktail recipe is more readily adaptable than the Gin and Tonic. 

Usually, this might mean changing our tonic water or experimenting with a new garnish. But let’s be real for a second: half of us are struggling to buy loo roll at the minute. Now is not the time to forage the fresh produce section for exotic fruits.

Luckily, you don’t need wild Himalayan pears to level up your G&T. In fact, you don’t even need to set foot in a supermarket. Whether you’re a fan of flavoured gin or simply adore London dry, you’ll find 10 different expert-approved ways to customise your G&T below…

1) Flavour your ice

With ice being a key element of the serve, it’s an added opportunity to elevate your G&T for both visual and taste benefits, explains Laura Bonner, founder of The Muff Liquor Company. Try freezing your tonic or mixer into ice cubes with botanicals that compliment the tasting notes, such as fruit, herbs, spices, and even edible flowers. Alternatively, you could freeze fruit juice or tea into cubes, or even fresh produce like grapefruit, watermelon or cucumber.

Bombay Bramble, inspired Dick Bradsell’s classic cocktail

2) Introduce a liqueur

Why not add a splash of flavour and colour with a liqueur? Bombay Sapphire has just launched Creations, a colourful gin liqueur range, specifically for this purpose. “Our four trend-based floral and fruity blends all expertly pair with the balanced juniper and citrus notes of our world-famous gin, adding a subtle pink hue from the Rose, a sweet hint of summer from the Strawberry or Raspberry or a more aromatic touch from the Hibiscus,” explains Bombay’s UK brand ambassador Renaud de Bosredon.

Alternatively, pick out the key tasting notes of your gin and experiment with any liqueurs you have at home. “Marylebone London Dry Gin has a very classic base with a great, delicate accent from the lemon balm, lindon and camomile,” says brand ambassador Chris Dennis. “I like to think these give a floral and citrus note. Small additions can go a long way in accentuating these flavours, such as 10ml St.Germain, 10ml Italicus, or 10ml Merlet Pear.

3) Add a dash of bitters

For a subtler approach, try using bitters to intensify certain flavour notes within the gin, say Andrew Kearns and Alex Palu, directors of modern Italian bar Hey Palu in Edinburgh. As a general rule of thumb, they suggest using orange or grapefruit bitters to highlight citrus notes, peach or rhubarb bitters to target fruit flavours, and celery bitters for savoury notes.

Eddie Brook, Cape Byron

Eddie Brook from Brookie’s Gin

4) Pick a fruit-forward gin

Experiment with different styles of gin to enhance the experience, suggests Eddie Brook, the founder of Brookie’s Gin. “Our Brookie’s Byron Slow gin makes for an interesting take on the classic mix,” he says. “We use half tonic and half soda with a strawberry and mint leaf garnish – we call it the Take It Slow.”

Or you can explore other fruit-forward gins. Bombay Sapphire is about to introduce Bombay Bramble, a blackberry and raspberry flavoured gin inspired by the classic Bramble cocktail – “a sophisticated option for those that enjoy a touch of fruit in their G&T,” says de Bosredon.

5) Switch up your glassware

A balloon glass – or copa de balon – is a great choice for bringing out the flavour profile of a gin and tonic, especially gin with a strong citrus or floral fragrance, suggests Bonner. “The bowl shape allows the flavours to be trapped in the glass whilst the carbon in the tonic expands,” she says. “You get a hit of aroma on the nose before drinking the G&T, which gives a more rounded flavour profile experience.”

6) Spritz a mist

Liquid garnishes are all the range, didn’t you hear? You could fashion your own if you have an atomiser bottle, or buy one ready-to-go, à la gin brand Silent Pool. “Our mist garnishes work like a citrus twist garnish as they release the oils and provide that same amazing aroma, but using more unusual botanicals,” explains Silent Pool brand ambassador India Blanch. “Flavour mainly comes from aroma, so this really works to lift certain notes in your G&T.” They’ve just launched a psychedelic CBD-spiked mist. Trippy.

Spritz your G&T to make it up to 20% more delicious

7) Rinse your glass

We don’t mean in the dishwasher (although, make sure you do that too). For an intense herbal aromatic layer, you could try spraying the glass with absinthe first, suggest Kearns and Palu.

8) Flavour your own tonic syrup

Sure, you could make your own tonic tincture from cinchona bark, but being admitted to A&E with accidental quinine poisoning is quite literally the last thing any of us need. However, you could buy (ready-made, safe-to-consume) tonic syrup and use it to flavour your own tincture. “You can make a simple syrup at a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water,” suggests Yusif Al Baggou, bar manager at London’s Tavla. “Once it’s made, add 50ml of the tonic tincture to 500ml of the simple syrup and you have a tonic syrup.” The great thing about making your own syrup is you can add in other flavours to infuse it further, he says, such as cloves and lemongrass. “It’s all about experimenting and finding what flavours suit your palate and gin.”

The magnificent back bar at Hey Palu in Edinburgh

9) Add a splash of cordial

You could also try adding a small measure of cordial, like elderflower, pear or rhubarb, to sweeten and add flavour. “One of the most important things you shouldn’t do when making a G&T is lose the DNA of it,” says Dan Garnell, head bartender at Super Lyan in Amsterdam. “It’s quite a delicate drink when you think about it, as it’s just two ingredients. So you always have to make sure you are amplifying notes either in the gin or a certain spice in the tonic you would love to champion.”

10) Repurpose flat tonic water

Turn your classic G&T into a M&T (that is, a G&T Martini) by boiling flat tonic water and reducing it by half, suggests Tiago Mira, bar manager at The Goring Cocktail Bar in London. “If you want to be more creative, you can simply add aromatic herbs or perhaps some berries to the mix,” he explains. “Once reduced, let it cool, then keep in the fridge.” To make the G&T Martini, add 50ml of your favourite gin and 25ml of the tonic reduction to a mixing glass with plenty of ice. Stir and serve.

 

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 Introducing Martini’s alcohol-free aperitivo

Indulging in your typical Italian aperitivo hour is usually a lowish ABV affair – placing the Negroni firmly to one side – but it’s almost impossible to enjoy the drinking…

Indulging in your typical Italian aperitivo hour is usually a lowish ABV affair – placing the Negroni firmly to one side – but it’s almost impossible to enjoy the drinking occasion totally sans-booze. Until now, that is. Martini has just launched a duo of delectable non-alcoholic aperitivo, made with wines used in its classic vermouths. We take a look at the range…

Beloved by our Italian neighbours, aperitivo is that golden period – generally between 7pm and 9pm – to unwind from the day’s events over a glass of something satisfying and a few choice nibbles. Traditionally that glass has been filled with something boozy, be it a sparkling Sbagliato or an Aperol Spritz. When you’re taking a break from alcohol, be it for one night or one month, there aren’t many sundowner options. 

“In the past, deciding not to drink alcohol meant a fizzy water while everyone else enjoyed cocktails; or staying at home on a Friday while your friends go out and enjoy aperitivo time,” Nick Stringer, global vice president of Martini, explained in a press release. “But times are changing, and consumers don’t want to feel like they are missing out when they are being more mindful about their drinking.”

Try it on its own. . .

Too true. To remedy this terrible dilemma, Italian spirits behemoth Martini has very kindly released a two-strong range called Martini Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo, which are made using the same white wines as its classic vermouths. Drawing on hundreds of years of distilling know-how, master herbalist Ivano Tonutti and master blender Beppe Musso remove the alcohol from the wine using vacuum distillation before infusing the resulting liquid with a special selection of botanicals.

“We always use a mix of botanicals – we’re never using one single botanical, because we’re really going for the complexity,” says global brand ambassador Roberta Mariani. “Artemesia is the main botanical for the production of vermouth, and it’s really the signature of Martini. Any of our products, from our bitters, to our amaros to vermouth, they all contain artemisia.”

Martini’s new fruity Vibrante variant is centred on Italian bergamot, while Floreale focuses on Roman chamomile to give a floral profile (as the name indeed suggests). Like with its regular alcoholic aperitivo range, the historic producer uses a variety of techniques to extract flavour from the botanicals. As Mariani explains, each part of the plant benefits from slightly different treatment. 

“You’ve got flowers, you’ve got leaves, seeds, barks, roots – so each item needs a different method to extract the flavours, such as infusion, maceration or distillation,” she says. “Usually there are three: one is a bitter extract, one is herbal, and one is a distillate.” Typically, herbal and bitter extracts deliver body and mouthfeel, while the distillate dictates the nose. “Most of the aroma comes from the distillate,” she continues. “Oranges, raspberries… Anything that has a big perfume is usually distilled.”

MARTINI NON-ALCOHOLIC VIBRANTE AND TONIC WINTER (WITH BOTTLE)

Or even better, with pizza

Removing alcohol from the equation was a pretty big challenge, Mariani admits. While a touch of sugar certainly goes some way towards carrying the flavours found in any vermouth, booze brings a certain texture and mouthfeel that’s especially hard to replicate in such a complex product. This is where the extra botanicals really came into their own. “It took a little bit of time to balance the aperitivo without alcohol, because it usually plays a big part in the production,” she says. Time well spent, we say.

You’re probably wondering how to drink the fruits of their labour. The essence of aperitivo boils down to creating a refreshingly simple serve – less time pouring over recipes, more time snacking on nocellara olives, amiright? – and the Martini Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo range very much fits in with that philosophy. 

If long drinks are your bag, Martini suggests combining 75ml of Vibrante or Floreale with 75ml tonic over a generous serving of ice in a balloon glass before garnishing with an orange wheel. Alternatively, simply pour 75ml Martini Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo over ice and sip slowly to appreciate the depth and complexity. 

If you’re a whizz behind the back bar, you could even pair a Martini Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo bottling with any one of the many alcohol-free gins on the market and – can you see where we’re going with this? – attempt your own weeknight-safe Negroni with a touch of Martini Bitter (which comes in at a reasonable 25% ABV). Close your eyes, whack some Arancini in the oven and pretend you’re sipping cocktails in a vineyard as the sun sets over Sicily. Bellissimo!

Martini Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo will be coming soon to Master of Malt.

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Top 6 bars in Los Angeles

Now that we’re all cooped up indoors waiting for the Deliveroo driver, we have to lead our nightlife vicariously through films and articles on drink blogs. Not quite as fun…

Now that we’re all cooped up indoors waiting for the Deliveroo driver, we have to lead our nightlife vicariously through films and articles on drink blogs. Not quite as fun as the real thing, but anyway here are some places to visit in L.A. when we’re allowed out of the house again. Let’s hope it’s soon. 

The nightlife scene in sprawling L.A. is second-to-none. No matter what you’re looking for – be it raucous dive bars, bustling neighbourhood wine bars or elegant cocktail lounges – the county’s characterful cities have it all by the bucketload. From Beverly Hills to Hollywood to Santa Monica, we sipped and swigged our way across Los Angeles to uncover the very best drinking dens. In truth, you’d need several lifetimes to explore the entire city, so there are many we didn’t – couldn’t – visit, but we gave it a go. 

Here’s our pick of L.A.’s most inviting bars, with top cocktail recommendations to boot. Behold!

Broken Shaker 

Address: 416 West 8th Street, Downtown 

You should try: Neon Nights – Vida Mezcal, Ancho Reyes Verde, Aperol, burnt citrus, togarashi cordial, wood sorrel tincture and fresh lime juice

Miami bar Broken Shaker has brought its cutting-edge drinks to a rooftop in Downtown LA, combining exotic ingredients, homemade tinctures and local flavours. Their garnish and glass game is particularly strong – pink pipe-cleaner flamingos and tropical flower arrangements in bright patterned glasses and intricate tiki vessels – set against a sound track of reggae, funk and soul beats. And yes, oh yes, there is a pool. Oh course, there is.

Thunderbolt 

Address: 1263 West Temple Street, Echo Park

You should try: Tropipop – rum, coconut, pineapple 

We wish Thunderbolt was our neighbourhood bar. With its fried green tomato sandwiches, buttermilk biscuits and list of Madeira wines, this welcoming hangout effortlessly captures the essence of the American South – and its cocktail menu is almost otherworldly. Armed with the latest kitchen tech and a nigh-on molecular understanding of flavour, the erudite team has concocted a concise menu that rivals those found in the industry’s best-known bars. It includes The Tropipop, above, a clarified, carbonated Piña Colada unlike any we’ve ever tasted. 

Genever 

Address: 3123 Beverly Boulevard, Historic Filipinotown

You should try: The Perfect Candidate – Botanist Gin, Giffard Banane, pandan, lime, house-made banana puree, clove, nutmeg, mint  

At female-owned, female-operated art-deco speakeasy Genever, the focus is juniper-based spirits. Twenty gins and four genevers adorn the back bar – many from brands owned by women – waiting to be stirred and shaken into a bevy of fresh libations along with local produce and house-made syrups and shrubs, each one dedicated to women in film. The Perfect Candidate, above, is named after a film directed by the first female Saudi filmmaker, Haifa al-Monsour. 

The Varnish

Address: 118 East 6th Street, Downtown

You should try: After School Special – Irish whiskey, amaro, banana, mole bitters, orange peel

You’ll find this influential speakeasy tucked away in a refurbished storage room in an historic restaurant called Cole’s, The Originators of the French Dip Sandwich (a mouthful in every sense). Co-founded by startending trio Eric Alperin, Cedd Moses and the late Sasha Petraske back in 2009, The Varnish prides itself on meticulously constructed classics ‘made with passion and precision’, with thoughtful service set to a soundtrack of live jazz.

Ever Bar

Address: 1800 Argyle Avenue, Hollywood

You should try: Night Market Sweats – chorizo fat-washed Basil Hayden Bourbon, lemon, thyme, cabernet, egg white, chicharonnes

Ever’s website claims it serves ‘clever twists on classics’, but that’s something of an understatement. Were it up to us, we’d call them ‘chef’s interpretations of classics’, because the menu exhibits Michelin Star-level ingenuity. Split across five sections – Riffs, Reissues, Basement Tapes, Zero-proof Highballs and the Hits – each cocktail boasts all manner of unique and flavourful ingredients, from Hawaiian black lava salt to a Cointreau-based gai-lan broccoli and black garlic shrub.

Death & Co LA

Address: 810 East 3rd Street, Arts District

You should try: Badlands Cobbler – Carpano Antica Vermouth, Fernet Branca, 8 year old Demerara rum, banana, eucalyptus

A relative newcomer on the LA cocktail scene, New York institution Death and Co flung open the doors of its intimate and inviting subterranean west coast venue mere days before New Year’s Eve in 2019. It’s split into two: a walk-up bar dubbed Standing Room boasts an eight-cocktail list of classics, while the main lounge offers 25 original drinks spread across five categories: fresh and lively, light and playful, bright and confident, elegant and timeless, and boozy and honest. 

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The world’s best audiophile bars

Even though we engage all our senses when enjoying a cocktail or sipping a spirit, the one that we rarely (if ever) acknowledge is sound – but thanks to music-mad bar…

Even though we engage all our senses when enjoying a cocktail or sipping a spirit, the one that we rarely (if ever) acknowledge is sound – but thanks to music-mad bar owners across the globe, things are slowly starting to change. Meticulous about quality sound and excellent drinks in equal measure, we’ve picked out five unmissable audiophile bars to add to your bucket list…

They may be a relatively new phenomenon in the west, but in Japan, soundscaped lounges or ‘listening bars’ have been an institution since the 1920s. The oldest of them is Tokyo’s Lion Meikyoku Kissa, a two-story theatre established in 1926. It plays exclusively classical music, and boasts more than 5,000 records, 3-metre high wooden speakers and a strict ‘no talking’ policy.

While today’s cocktail venues might not take such a hardline stance with their own guests, the importance of background sound has never been so well-understood. “Sound, particularly music, plays a key role in creating the right atmosphere in a bar because it’s a medium that everybody can connect with,” explains Adam Castleton, CEO of music technology company Startle. 

Castleton says mood-setting playlists help to set a venue’s tone, a subtle factor that’s crucial in today’s drinks world. “Due to the highly competitive nature of the industry and the growing number of options out there, every little detail needs to be considered to give people a reason to visit a venue,” he adds. “Music absolutely falls into this bracket.”

Whether you’re mad on jazz, can’t get enough guitar, or prefer an uptempo house beat, there’s an eclectic audiophile bar out there for you. We’ve picked out five of the world’s best where you can pull up a pew and get lost in their especially-chosen music selection. Just remember to switch your phone to silent first.

1. In Sheep’s Clothing

Where? 710 East 4th Place, Los Angeles, California

‘To hear more, say less,’ is the mantra at all-day venue In Sheep’s Clothing, and it’s a philosophy that carries throughout the venue, where guests are asked to keep conversation volumes low and refrain from taking pictures. A sanctuary for music lovers, the vinyl-only bar boasts an immensely expensive and carefully created sound system that allows listeners to savour every note. Drinks-wise, expect cocktails, craft beer, wine and plenty of Japanese whisky.

2. Spiritland

Where? Venues across London, England

Split across three distinct London venues – a café-workspace-bar in King’s Cross, a restaurant located on South Bank, and a ‘headphone bar’ in Mayfair – Spiritland boasts an impeccable rosta of guest selectors along with talks, album launches and more. It was born of a desire to “engage with music in the deepest possible way,” the website states, “to hear it as the artist intended, to connect with the emotions within – with food and drink to match.”

3. Bridge

Where? Parkside Kyodo Bldg 10F, 1-25-6 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Being located on the top floor of an office building, Bridge offers unparalleled tenth-floor views of the famous Shibuya crossing, but its impeccable Rey Audio sound system remains the most compelling reason to visit. Serving up a selection of locally-inspired cocktails, the focus here is on electronic music – they call it a ‘DJ’ bar, since the venue regularly has guest sets from Tokyo’s finest DJs – but it’s nothing like your typical nightclub. 

4. Rhinoçéros 

Where? Rhinower Str. 3, 10437 Berlin, Germany

With a focus on jazz, soul and funk, cosy Prenzlauer Berg-based bar Rhinoçéros spins records from its vast collection and occasionally invites guest selectors in, too. Guests are welcome to bring their own records and give them a whirl on the incredible vintage sound system, which dates back to the early Seventies. Drinks-wise, there’s a wine and whisky focus. They have a dedicated Highball cocktail menu and make a mean classic too.

5. Public Records

Where? 233 Butler St, Brooklyn, New York

Listening bars have had a real renaissance in New York, with one of the newest being Brooklyn’s Public Records, located in an historic building on the Gowanus Canal. Essentially a hi-fi vegan cafe, cocktail bar, and ‘sound room’ (a performance space) split across three stories, the venue features custom sound systems that represent the pinnacle of acoustic design. Expect live acts, vinyl DJs and tasty AF drinks.

 

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Cointreau: it’s all about the oranges

Cointreau features in some of the world’s best-known cocktails, from the Margarita to the Singapore Sling. But how much do you actually know about this bartender staple? Here, we chat…

Cointreau features in some of the world’s best-known cocktails, from the Margarita to the Singapore Sling. But how much do you actually know about this bartender staple? Here, we chat with master distiller Carole Quinton – the ‘nose of Cointreau’ – to peel away the layers of this historic orange-flavoured triple sec liqueur…

Cointreau was first created by Edouard Cointreau at a distillery in Angers, France where he combined sweet and bitter orange peels with sugar beet alcohol, initially naming his creation Curaçao Blanco Triple Sec. Today the colourless liqueur is produced 20 minutes’ drive away in neighbouring Saint-Barthélemy-d’Anjou under the watchful eyes of master distiller Carole Quinton, who manages each step of the process from ingredient selection to blending, distillation and the finished product. 

“Cointreau is a very versatile liqueur with more than 40 scent notes,” Quinton explains. “The essences from the bitter and sweet orange pair perfectly in any cocktail. Whether it’s sweet notes of chocolate and cherry, or fresh and floral such as basil and mint, Cointreau can be paired with countless fruits and herbs.

Carole Quinto, not to be confused with Caroline Quentin from Men Behaving Badly

“Thanks to its exceptional sensory qualities, you can enjoy it as it is, on ice, in a cocktail or even cook with it,” she continues. “On my side, I’m regularly trying new associations. For example, this summer, I experimented with an infusion of meadowsweet, a wild mint syrup, a homemade raspberry liqueur, and a liqueur of wild blueberries.”

When she isn’t travelling the world testing oranges and their peels – citrus fruit has ‘terroir’ too, it turns out – or dreaming up delicious flavour pairings, you’ll find Quinton working with bartenders around the world to showcase what Cointreau can do. Here’s five things she taught us about the iconic liqueur…

  • 1) Quinton started her career breeding fruit

After graduating from the Graduate School of Agricultural Studies of Angers, Quinton trained as a small fruit plant breeder at the James Hutton Institute in the United Kingdom. “I then built my career in research and development in the spirits sector, and since Spring 2016, I have been in charge of transmitting and enhancing the precious expertise of Cointreau,” she says. When it comes to her leisure time, Quinton’s passions include “gardening, the Impressionists of the Musée d’Orsay, and the harmonious music of Mozart and Vivaldi.” 

  • 2) She’s the sixth-generation custodian of the brand

On a ‘typical day’ at the distillery, Quinton arrives early to meet the operators – distillation begins at 7am – and taste the Cointreau production of the day. “My role is varied,” she explains. “Sometimes I work as an engineer, keeping a close watch on the production settings, sometimes as a craftsman, implementing routines passed down through generations, and sometimes as a perfumer, guided by the olfactory and gustatory notes of the liqueur.” 

Margarita? Don’t mind if I do

  • 3) It’s all about the oranges

Quinton also oversees the brand’s orange terroirs and evaluates the quality of peels. The selection “is part of the ​Cointreau know how,” she says. “The perfect oranges come from different parts of the world, where I visit our partners. The terroir is different in each place where oranges are grown around the world, and terroir is what influences the quality and aromatics of the peels that we use to create Cointreau. This, in turn, gives us a selection of incredibly special oranges, grown in different terroirs around the world.”

  • 4) The House of Cointreau was founded in 1849

It was a very different world back then, says Quinton. “The train line had just arrived in Angers directly from Paris, and it was a true revolution at the time for those who lived there,” she says. “It was during this time of immense change that two brothers, Adolphe and Edouard-Jean, created the House of Cointreau distillery.” Back then, most liqueurs were created in kitchens, so the Cointreau brothers were the first in the area to scale up production. The same year, Edouard Cointreau – son of Edouard-Jean – was born. “He invented a new distillation process that made it possible to obtain a transparent liquid with three times the concentration of aromas, but less sweet than the other products of the era,” says Quinton. “It was Edouard’s passion that gave birth to the original orange liqueur that is known today as Cointreau.”

No bar is complete without a bottle of Cointreau

  • 5) Cointreau is created by a distiller-liqueurist

The title isn’t frequently used in the industry these days, but liqueurists maintain and develop the flavours of liqueurs, creating “his or her own aromas from the distilled product,” says Quinton.  The bitter peels and the sweet orange peels are distilled in one of 19 alembic copper pot stills unique to the House of Cointreau, “with a plates column and a long, swan-neck pipe,” she continues. The aromatic distillate is then “combined with sugar, water and alcohol to create the liqueur. Creating our product in this unique way is what really sets us apart from our competitors.”

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