Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Category: Features

The debatable details and directions of gin

With news just in from the WSTA that the gin boom is showing no sign of abating, we have a look at some potential problems in the category and find out what the industry is planning to do about it.

A forthcoming report from the WSTA (Wine and Spirit Trade Association) outlines how the gin craze is crazier than ever. British gin sales (domestic and export) broke £2 billion this year, doubling in value in five years, and sales are up 38% on last year. Time to crack open the gin and celebrate responsibly? Not so fast! There are clouds on the horizon. Firstly, in his next budget, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, is planning a rise in duty on spirits of 3.4% in line with inflation. Booo! The second problem is more existential – it’s a debate as to the very nature of gin itself. So it’s time to put on our thinking berets and ask, what is gin?

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Behind the scenes at London’s new Ziggy Stardust-inspired bar

In 1973, David Bowie toasted the retirement of his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, with a star-studded bash dubbed ‘The Last Supper’ at Hotel Café Royal. Now, 25 years on, the historic London venue has immortalised the influential artist by opening a bar in his honour, called – what else? – Ziggy’s. MoM pinned down the hotel’s bars and beverages manager Fabio Spinetti for the inside scoop before the doors fling open for the first time this week…

Oh, to be a fly on the wall at Hotel Café Royal on the night of July 3, 1973. Just hours before, ‘Ziggy played guitar’ for the final time at a sold-out concert at London’s Hammersmith Odeon Theatre. The Soho venue, a natural choice for Bowie’s bash, was packed to the rafters with famous faces.

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Craft Distilling Expo 2018: The epicentre of the craft distilling world

If you want to know what you’ll be drinking in the future, head over to the Old Truman Brewery for the sixth annual Craft Distilling Expo on 26th and 27th September. We give you the run-down on this essential event for distillers, buyers or just mad keen spirits lovers.

Fancy taking your spirits geekiness to the next level? Then Craft Distilling Expo is for you. It’s where the world of small and small-ish scale distilling meets to learn, shop and (most importantly) to sample some delicious drinks.

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Piedmont part two: The sparkling union between Bava Winery and Giulio Cocchi

Aperitif and sparkling wine producer Cocchi recently welcomed MoM to its Italian home in Piedmont. We marvel at the brand’s fascinating history, take a peek at aromatised wine production at Bava Winery, and touch on the world of Futurist cocktails…

“Our family tree dates back to 1682 – and it started on that hill,” says company director Roberto Bava, as he gestures at a vineyard opposite the Bava Winery. “We were farmers who came from the Savoy area to run the farm. We’ve been there ever since.”

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Want to imbibe like Bond? London’s top bartenders show you how…

Shaken – Drinking with James Bond and Ian Fleming

From the Vesper in Casino Royale, to his iconic Martini ‘shaken, not stirred’ in Diamonds are Forever, James Bond’s penchant for high-class tipples is something we can certainly get behind. We go behind the scenes of brand new cocktail compendium Shaken – Drinking with James Bond & Ian Fleming, curated by the folks behind London bar Swift…

If you’re a fan of James Bond, you’ll know he’s fond of dishing out some pretty specific drink specs to bartenders. Now, 65 years after he first became immortalised in ink, 007 has his very own recipe book to draw from.

The Shaken compendium, launched in collaboration with The Ian Fleming Estate and Ian Fleming Publications, contains 10 classics lifted directly from the novels – along with 40 brand new recipes that pay homage to the people, places and plots of the original novels.
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Q&A: Moses Odong, Cabby’s Rum founder

The winner of The Rum & Cola Trophy at this year’s IWSC wasn’t from Jamaica or Cuba; it was Cabby’s Rum from London. We met with its founder Moses Odong, who you won’t be surprised to hear is also a cab driver. On the agenda? Rum, Bradley Wiggins and whether the Knowledge makes you a better distiller…

A railway arch in Bow, East London, is probably the last place on earth you’d expect to find a rum distillery, but step inside the home of the Taxi Spirit Company and there’s a gleaming copper and stainless steel still. Its proud owner, Moses Odong, took the time out of his busy schedule of distilling, cabbing and being father to four children (how does he have the time?) to answer some searching questions.

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Piedmont part one: The epicentre of Italian vermouth

Piedmont: home of slow food, fine wine, and… medieval horse festivals? Well actually, yes. Aperitif and sparkling wine producer Cocchi recently welcomed MoM to the region for a weekend packed with bareback horse racing and vermouth-flavoured ice cream. Here’s what we discovered…

Many people go through their entire life without hearing those three little words. Unforgettable words that, when uttered together, promise the recipient that life will never, ever be the same from that moment on. No not ‘I love you’ – we’re talking about ‘medieval horse festival’. Or, if you want to be specific, ‘Palio di Asti’.

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This is why your next drink should be a bottled cocktail

Pre-batched cocktails have experienced something of a glow-up in the last few years. Forget ‘shaken or stirred?’, we’ll take ours bottled, please. Here’s why you should, too…

When you consider our collective obsession with theatricality, traceability and quality ingredients, on the surface the bottled cocktail phenomenon almost presents itself as an anti-trend. But delve a little deeper and you’ll find that the concept offers all three by the bucketload.

Once a cardinal cocktail sin, the stigma long associated with pre-made tipples has dissolved, and bartenders alike have welcomed the challenge of turning batched ingredients into bar-worthy serves. James Law, co-founder of London-based tonic, seltzer, and soda maker the Longflint Drinks Company, says a “huge shift in quality” is enticing drinkers to the burgeoning pre-batched category.
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In Pictures: Bombay Sapphire’s Laverstoke Mill Distillery

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

In the first of our new occasional series we showcase one of the UK’s most visually striking distilleries: Bombay Sapphire’s Laverstoke Mill!

What would any discerning gin enthusiast enjoy most? The chance to expand their gin knowledge? An opportunity to uncover the secrets, skill and artistry behind world-famous brands? A window into how their favourite spirit is made? A distillery tour, of course, where you can do all these things and more!

If you need a good place to start, then we have a suggestion… Hampshire’s Laverstoke Mill, where Bombay Sapphire gin has been made since 2014. You can learn about the brand’s history in the heritage room, see the botanicals used to create the gin in the iconic glasshouses and dry room, say hello to Mary and Thomas* in the Dakin Still House, and enjoy the dedicated bar (yay!) and gift shop (double yay!!).

Interest piqued? Why not take a look at the distillery in pictures right here – so you can get an idea of the treat you’re in for if you do stop by and visit.
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Kanpai! 10 things you should know about sake

It’s complex, versatile and seriously cool, but how much do you know about sake? If your knowledge is lacking, fret not – we’ve got all the info on this lip-smacking Japanese tipple (for starts, don’t refer to it as ‘rice wine’). From the origins of the drink to its intricate production processes, here are 10 things you need to know about sake…

Japan: the home of elaborate toilets, bizarre vending machines, Studio Ghibli, selfie sticks, and matcha lattes. The island nation is also known for making an array of delicious boozes, from the popular – in the case of Japanese whisky and its waning stocks, we’re drinking them a bit too quickly – as well as some lesser known ones (think: shochu).

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