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Master of Malt Blog

Category: News

The Nightcap: 14 January

In the news this week: celebrate Burns Night with Batman, Guinness goes green, Marky Mark gets into Tequila, and, not to be outdone, Katy Perry, crashes the world of zero…

In the news this week: celebrate Burns Night with Batman, Guinness goes green, Marky Mark gets into Tequila, and, not to be outdone, Katy Perry, crashes the world of zero ABV drinks. All this and more in The Nightcap: 14 January edition!

Well, time continues to march on so now we’re at the weekend before Blue Monday, supposedly the worst day of the year because it’s cold, dark, and we’re all broke and guilty thanks to Christmas indulgence. The Irish have a saying that we think is quite a fitting response to this sort of thinking: what a load of ol’ shite. There’s lots to enjoy in January. Like leftovers. New presents. The FA Cup. And, of course, The Nightcap. What a treat. Let’s crack on with today’s edition.

On the blog, our Dry January coverage continued with cracking cocktails from High Point, and you can still win some goodies from them thanks to the second part of our competition. Dr. Nick Morgan returned to ask bartenders to go easy on the ice, while folks from all over MoM chipped in to recommend some of our favourite places for lunch. Elsewhere, our New Arrival was a very special rum from Guatemala, our Cocktail of the Week was inspired by one of the legends of the jazz age, and we got familiar with the weird and wonderful Pussanga as well as an Australian winery that turned its hand to whisky.

Now, onwards to The Nightcap: 14 January edition!

The Nightcap: 14 January

What is it with celebs and Tequila?

Mark Wahlberg launches a Tequila

George Clooney, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Kendall Jenner… are there any celebrities left who don’t have a stake in a Tequila brand? Well, we strike Mark Wahlberg off the list anyway as he’s invested in Flecha Azul, co-founded by Mexican PGA golfer Abraham Ancer and entrepreneur Aron Marquez. Wahlberg actually initially turned down the proposal, saying “you have all these other people out there claiming to have gone to Mexico and created Tequila and cultivated agave and all this stuff”, but was persuaded that this time was different. A visit to the brand’s distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, which has been owned and operated by a local family since 1840, surely helped. Flecha Azul has five types of expressions: Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, Cristalino and Extra Añejo, but is currently only sold in California, Texas, Nevada, and Georgia, although it plans to launch nationwide later this year. Despite every celeb and their granny having an agave brand, Wahlberg is unfazed by the competition. “The space is growing thanks to guys like Dwayne who have created a lot of awareness and excitement,” he told CNN. “We’re coming for everybody’s spot… We plan on being the best.” The Departed actor added that he’s down to host a Tequila-off with Johnson and Clooney. “I’ve tasted their product, they haven’t tasted mine! Those guys know me very well, they know my competitive spirit!'”

The Nightcap: 14 January

The portmanteaus need to stop. Please.

Meanwhile, Katy Perry launches zero ABV drinks for ‘Soberuary’ 

If you’re sick of irritating portmanteau words like ‘veganuary’, ‘staycation’, and ‘brosé’, then look away now because top pop star Katy Perry has just created the world’s worst word – ‘soberuary’. Yes, it’s a juxtaposition of January (or perhaps February) and sober. You probably won’t be surprised as to the reason behind this word crime is that the Californian singer has recently launched her own range of zero ABV drinks. Called De Soi, they are made in conjunction with, as Perry put it on Twitter, “my fellow new mama/ botany babe Morgan McLachlan.” De Soi will come in three varieties: Golden Hour made with citrus and lemongrass, Champignon Dreams with strawberries and grapefruit (and we presume mushrooms), and Purple Lune flavoured blackberry nectar, vanilla oak, and rose petals. McLachlan is the lady behind Amass, a company that makes all kinds of botanical-based goods including skincare products, gin, and non-alcoholic drinks, so she probably knows what she’s doing. And it does make a nice change from another celeb Tequila brand, we’re looking at you Marky Mark, but please no more portmanteau words.

The Nightcap: 14 January

Fifty Cheyne is one of several capital establishments marking Burns Night with Aberfeldy

Celebrate Burns Night with Aberfeldy

And if you’re on the lookout for Burns Night ideas, Aberfeldy has options across London. The Cadogan Arms, The Sitwell Supper Club, Boisdale Belgravia and Canary Wharf, and American steakhouse Smith & Wollensky will all be hosting Burns Night feasts on 25 January with traditional food and a selection of signature Aberfeldy serves. Meanwhile, No. Fifty Cheyne has an extravagant five-course set menu and whisky tasting flight and Mr. Fogg’s Society of Exploration is making three limited-edition cocktails. There’s the Burns and the Bees, a mix of Aberfeldy 12 Year Old, spiced oat milk, honey, and walnut bitters, served with an oat tuile; the Sae the Lord Be Thankit, a combination of Aberfeldy 12 Year Old combined with cold brew Lady Grey tea, shortbread syrup, and rhubarb bitters; and the Golden Ratio, a blend of tablet-washed Aberfeldy 12 Year Old, Moët N.V. Champagne and orange bitters. You can click the links to each establishment to find where to book your tickets. Sounds like there’s going to be some truly cracking Burns Night celebrations this year.

The Nightcap: 14 January

Batman is Scottish. This is canon. And he probably loves Glenfiddich

Or you could Celebrate Burns Night Batman style

Ah, Burns Night! A celebration of all things Scottish, and Batman. Wait, what? If you head down on Tuesday 25 January to Park Row restaurant, you’ll be able to take part in ‘The Wayne Family Burns Night Supper’. Yes, apparently all along Batman was Scottish. Who knew? Well, according to the press release, everyone did. The evening will draw on “Bruce Wayne’s Scottish heritage, well-known to readers of the comics”, and consists of a traditional Burns Night supper with whiskies and cocktails by Glenfiddich, followed by a ceilidh band so you can dance the night away. Tickets cost from £55 per person, with whisky pairings extra. The Soho restaurant, that’s Soho London, not SoHo New York, is billed as “the UK’s first DC-inspired restaurant,” which we initially thought was something to do with the capital of the USA but it actually refers to the comic book company behind Batman, Superman et al. A restaurant inspired by superheroes, imagine being at lunch when they came up with that one.

The Nightcap: 14 January

No emissions from this big boy

Guinness goes green with zero emissions transport

Diageo has been really stepping up its environmental commitments of late thanks to its 10-year sustainability action plan, Society 2030: Spirit of Progress, and the latest development it’s made is to introduce the first zero-emissions vehicles into Guinness’ fleet from this summer. The aim is to cut transport emissions by 70% by the end of 2025, and by 100% before 2030. There’s actually already one zero-emission vehicle already in use exclusively at the brewery, which was used in a trial to transport bulk beer in the Guinness tankers from St James’s Gate to Dublin Port, helping to determine if it can be used to transport heavy goods beyond the brewery. Four zero-emission trucks will also be tested later this year to deliver kegs to the hospitality trade in Dublin City, with an ambition to extend further if successful. “We are only 263 years into our 9,000-year lease on the St. James’s Gate Brewery, and we are in it for the long haul – for our people, our products, and our planet, and we will never settle in pursuit of a better, more sustainable future for everyone,” Barry O’Sullivan, managing director, Diageo Ireland.

The Nightcap: 14 January

Are you intimidated by the ‘rules’ of wine?

75% people think ‘rules of wine’ intimidating

Woodbridge Wines recently sought the help of OnePoll to conduct research into how people respond to the world of wine and the response was… less than ideal. According to the findings, three out of four of people find wine etiquette intimidating, while 67% of respondents believe that there are right and wrong ways to drink wine and eight out of 10 respondents said they did not always follow the so-called “rules of wine”. A total of 2,000 U.S. respondents aged 21 and older participated in the survey, and just 22% of them said that following traditional wine etiquette greatly enhanced their experience of drinking. The good news was that seven out of 10 respondents said they drink wine more than any other type of alcohol over the winter, and a pleasant surprise was found in the research that showed 62% of men and 50% of women would choose wine over beer while watching sports. So not all bad then. We’d personally be very intrigued to see how people would respond to a similar survey about whisky.

The Nightcap: 14 January

For two days this summer, Portugal is coming to London!

Portuguese FESTA coming to London in June 

This sounds brilliant. Portugal will be coming to London for two days this summer. London’s Bar Douro has teamed up with wine expert Sarah Ahmed to put on FESTA, a two-day festival devoted to all kinds of Portuguese deliciousness at Tobacco Dock in London on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 June. There will be wines from 50 of the country’s best producers to sip as you munch on delicious Portuguese snacks like croquette de bacalhau. Max Graham, from the noted Port family and Bar Douro founder, had the original idea to “introduce wine, food and travel lovers to the Portuguese producers and products.” He continued: “I’m thrilled to be able to do this through a unique cultural event, with art and live music.” With Sarah Ahmed’s involvement, the wines are likely to be superb. She explained: “the wines have gone from strength to strength as Portugal’s dynamic producers have developed an ever-deeper understanding and respect for their country’s distinctive grape varieties, wine traditions, and terroir.” It sounds like the next best thing to actually visiting the country. And you won’t have to take a lateral flow test. We hope. 

The Nightcap: 14 January

Tax deductible wine? It’s about damn time (phone courtesy of @Trump_ton)

And finally… is wine now tax deductible?

For the self-employed, the arrival of January only means one thing. It’s tax time. The end of the month is the deadline to get your returns in so people are frantically going through their receipts trying to work out what is and isn’t tax-deductible. Printer ink is, sadly drinks aren’t. Or are they? Online funny man @mikedicks aka @Trump_ton spotted something in his local Waitrose which will provide hope to impoverished freelancers everywhere, wine classed as an office supply. This means that all those bottles you’ve been knocking back over the year are actually tax-deductible. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

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The Nightcap: 7 January

Why has Taiwan bought 20,000 bottles of rum? Have Bono and the Edge found what they’re looking for? And can you cure a hangover? We ask the big questions in…

Why has Taiwan bought 20,000 bottles of rum? Have Bono and the Edge found what they’re looking for? And can you cure a hangover? We ask the big questions in our first news round-up of the year. The Nightcap: 7 January 2022 has landed!

Hey folks, long time no see. We hope you had a lovely Christmas, a wonderful Chanukah, and a Happy New Year. We did too, thanks for asking, and are now looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. And what better way to do that than with a classic round-up of boozy news. Who’s ready to do some new year Nightcapping?

Since our last edition a fair amount has happened on the blog, so let’s run through it quickly. We made a list of our top ten favourite and most-read posts as well as our funniest stories from 2021. We also launched our famous Burns Night poetry competition and kicked off our Dry January coverage with a guide on how to do it the MoM way, as well as giving you a recipe for a delicious low-alcohol cocktail, some cracking options for which bottles to buy, and even a chance to win big. We also talked about terroir in rum, helped you find a new favourite dram, saw how New Zealand is getting on the whisky map, learned the story behind Fable whisky, and showed you which distilleries to keep an eye on in 2022.

Phew! Lots to catch up on. But for now let’s crack on with The Nightcap: 7 January edition!

The Nightcap: 7 January

These two from U2 have put some serious cash into the beer biz

Bono, the Edge, and Hozier invest in brewery

The Wicklow Wolf Craft Brewing Company has added some star power to its ranks. U2 stars Bono and the Edge, as well as fellow Irish musician Hozier, a part of a group of investors backing the craft brewery. Founded by Mountmellick native Quincey Fennelly and Simon Lynch in 2014, The Wicklow Wolf Craft Brewing Company has issued new shares for almost €2.4 million. Reports suggest Bono and the Edge put up €327,000 between them, and Wicklow native Hozier invested almost €110,000, while the largest investor was Zatrix Holdings, a company controlled by Mary Ann O’Brien, the founder of Irish chocolate maker Lily O’Brien’s. It’s not the first time the brewery has made headlines for big sums, with the company investing €4 million in a brewery in Newtown Mount Kennedy in 2019, the funding for which came from a €2 million equity raise. It’s good to see a company thriving in these difficult times, and hopefully Bono and the Edge have found what they’re looking for. We make no apologies.

The Nightcap: 7 January

We’ve all got our own methods, but let’s face it – none of them truly work

Hangover cures don’t work, say scientists 

On New Year’s Day, did you rub your aching head and reach for the ginseng? If so, we have bad news. According to the scientific journal Addiction (reported in UPI), there’s no evidence that so-called ‘hangover cures’ have any effect. Dr. Emmert Roberts and his team at King’s College London published a study based on over 20 trials of various products containing red ginseng, artichoke extract, prickly pear, and other popular hangover remedies. The doc commented: “Our study has found that evidence on these hangover remedies is of very low quality and there is a need to provide more rigorous assessment.” He continued: “For now, the surest way of preventing hangover symptoms is to abstain from alcohol or drink in moderation.” However, the study did not contain data on the effects of common painkillers like aspirin nor on that old standby, a can of ice-cold full fat Coca-Cola and a bacon sandwich. More research needed, we think.

The Nightcap: 7 January

Lithuanian rum, now very popular in Taiwan

Taiwan buys 20,000 bottles of Lithuania rum destined for China

Taiwan is sharing tips with the public on how to drink and cook with rum after it bought 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum bound for China. According to local media, Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp (TTL) purchased the rum after learning that it could be blocked from entering China. It comes after Lithuania established a de facto embassy in Taiwan using the name ‘Taiwan’ rather than ‘Chinese Taipei’, the name preferred by the Chinese government (yes it’s a bit complicated, well worth reading this on the China-Taiwan relationship). In retaliation, China downgraded diplomatic relations with Lithuania days after. The state-owned TTL said it had been notified by Taiwan’s finance minister and head of the Taiwanese Representative Office of Lithuania (great job title mate) Eric Huang that a batch of rum could be up for grabs, as past shipments of beer had been blocked. Taiwan’s National Development Council later said in a post on Facebook that the rum “could not pass through Chinese customs” and has urged locals to buy rum at the end of January when the shipment would be on sale. Recipes that have been shared include ones for a Dark ‘n’ Stormy cocktail (classic), and rum-infused French toast (nice), steak (tell me more) and hot chocolate (all great ideas). Of course, we’ve got plenty of rum recipes ourselves if anyone wants any more inspiration. 

The Nightcap: 7 January

A Caribbean-infused Burns Night feast!

Dewar’s will deliver a Caribbean Burns Night feast 

Dewar’s has the perfect answer if you’re planning on celebrating Burns Night at home this year. The Scotch whisky brand has teamed up with creative consultant Mark Low, who also works with Mr Lyan Studio, and food delivery people All in a Box to deliver you a Burns Night supper with a twist. It’s not your standard haggis, neeps, and tatties fare, as it’s inspired by Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth so there’s a West Indian vibe about the whole thing. The box features haggis Scotch eggs, jerk chicken with neeps, tatties, and plantain mash, and an Irn-Bru-infused take on a Manhattan and a Cranachan-inspired Highball cocktail, all made with Caribbean Smooth, an eight-year-old Dewar’s finished in rum casks. It even comes with a special playlist, The Proclaimers covering Chaka Demus and Pliers, perhaps. Boxes cost £70 and you can order from 10 January (go here for more information) for an unforgettable Caribbean-infused Burns Night.

The Nightcap: 7 January

Drinks from the likes of Adnams, Big Drop and Lucky Saint are available

Alcohol-free off-licence comes to London

Can you imagine running down to the offie and finding out that they only have alcohol-free drinks? Surely a nightmare for some, but not for Laura Willoughby who is putting on a pop-up ‘off-license’ just off Regent Street in London with no alcoholic drinks whatsoever. Willoughby (MBE, no less) who runs Club Soda, an alcohol-free drinks site, commented: “More UK drinkers than ever are putting their health first by choosing low and no alcohol products. Substituting alcohol-free drinks for alcoholic ones is a tried-and-tested approach to cutting down or stopping drinking, and having good quality choices makes that easier.” Thankfully these days going without booze doesn’t mean going without flavour. There are over 70 brands on sale including Master of Malt favourites Everleaf and Lyre’s plus excellent zero and low ABV beers from Adnams, Big Drop, and Lucky Saint. So whether you’re doing Dry January, dry curious or just don’t drink alcohol, then head down to 59 Great Portland Street until 20 January. Deliciousness awaits. 

The Nightcap: 7 January

Your Dry January options have just increased

Bacardi releases non-alc spirit Palette

If you’re looking for non-alcoholic deliciousness, Bacardi may have the answer. It has collaborated with bartenders in Amsterdam on two spirit substitutes made with all natural flavours called Palette Roots and Palette Bold. Master of botanicals Alessandro Garneri and his team put cutting-edge technology and three different methods to good use to extract flavour. Of the two varieties, Roots is more your white spirit imitation, made with juniper berries, ginger, and the essential oils of nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon, while Bold mimics an aged spirit using the likes of American oakwood and gentian root. At the moment it’s on-trade only, the brand will launch in bars and restaurants across London including Lyaness, L’Escargot, and Christopher’s. Suggested serves include the Pink Clove which combines Roots with grapefruit soda, lime juice, and tonic, finished with a grapefruit garnish, or Bold Rush, made with Bold, lemon juice, agave syrup, and mint. “We’re calling time on sweet, tasteless ‘mocktails’,” says Marine Rozenfeld, innovation development lead for Bacardi Europe, Australia & New Zealand. “With the launch of Palette coming hot on the heels of our new Martini Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo with its groundbreaking quality and taste, we are definitely taking mindful drinking to new heights.” Exciting stuff, and right in time for Dry January. That was probably deliberate.

The Nightcap: 7 January

One of the finest Highballs in London

Swift Soho shows off swanky new menu

Did you know that Swift Soho, the award-winning bar and home of the Irish Coffee I think about at least once a week, has just turned five years old? Well, it has, and to celebrate the news the bar has put together a brand new menu: Legends. Inspired by famous drinkers throughout history and their favourite tipples, including drinks industry icons such as Dick Bradsell and his daughter Bea, Peter Dorelli and Salvatore Calabrese, historic figures like Van Gogh and Hemingway, up to present-day celebrities including Snoop Dogg and Sir Ian McKellen. The menu includes 19 fun and elegant cocktails, with new innovations as well as some classic Swift serves, all illustrated by hospitality industry artist Dan Collins, who has drawn a portrait of each of the famous faces and their respective inspired cocktails. We had the opportunity to try a couple and, typically, Swift did not disappoint. There’s a smoky Highball made with Port Charlotte 10 Year Old called the Hummingbird that is so drinkable I’d like to install a tap of it in my flat, while the Pisco Sour-inspired Shanghaied is spectacular. Right now we desperately need to support the hospitality industry, so if you need an excuse we can think of worse ones than sampling the Legends menu. Now I really fancy an Irish Coffee…

The Nightcap: 7 January

Farewell, fellow whisky lovers

And finally… monks expelled for drinking whisky at New Year

Three Buddhist monks were caught boozing at a temple in Thailand on New Year’s Day, claiming they were only drinking whisky to “deliver” the alcohol to ancestors. Police from the Mueang Kamphaengphet District Office at a temple in Kamphaengphet found the senior monks were violating the rules of monkhood after breathalyser tests confirmed suspicions. Local residents who had heard the monks drinking and partying tipped them off and the odour of alcohol was, according to the officers, very strong in the area when they entered the temple. Monk Arpat was the one who confessed, reportedly telling officials, “We don’t usually drink, only in festivals. We were drinking local rice whisky from local residents who wanted to give the spirits to their ancestors as a blessing. So we drank this whisky in order to deliver alcohol to those dead people. We were doing a good thing by blessing their ancestors and thought this would not violate the rules of being a monk.” As excuses go, it’s more creative than anything I’ve ever come up with. Unfortunately, it didn’t wash with the authorities and all three monks were expelled from the monkhood for breaking one of the major rules of conduct for Buddhist Monks in Thailand. If you think they’re bad, just wait till you see the amount of sherry Irish nuns put away at Christmas. Igniting the pudding is a high-risk endeavour. 

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#WhiskySanta is… doing overtime?!

When we got up this morning, after clearing away the tinsel and mince pie remnants and stepping over uncle George who had “gotten into” the sherry and spent the night…

When we got up this morning, after clearing away the tinsel and mince pie remnants and stepping over uncle George who had “gotten into” the sherry and spent the night in the dog’s bed, we found a strange note from #WhiskySanta.

Usually he just writes to say that he’s all done and has taken home a few bottles from the warehouse that he thinks “looked a bit lonely” and that he’ll see us next year, but this was a bit different:

“Look chaps, I gave away all the whisky you gave me, but when I got back last night I found that the elves had misunderstood the plan this year and drammed up a load of next years stock already, so I’m going to be giving that out over the next few weeks, ok?”

His number is going straight to voicemail, so there’s not much we can do about it, but it looks like, although he’s already given away more than £500,000 worth of gifts to you lot, he’s going to keep going for a bit!

We’re not quite sure where he’s going to stop – but for the next few weeks, don’t be surprised if you get a gift from Whisky Santa when you place an order with us!

Merry Christmas!

– The Chaps at Master of Malt

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Last few pre-Christmas delivery spots now open!

Hey everyone, Tl;dr I just wanted to let you know that we’ve turned next day delivery back on, but it might not stay on very long – so if you…

Hey everyone,

Tl;dr I just wanted to let you know that we’ve turned next day delivery back on, but it might not stay on very long – so if you need anything delivered pre-Christmas now’s the time…

Orders have been a lot higher than expected this Christmas what with all the COVID news, and we’ve been really up against it trying to keep up and make sure everything arrives on time. The warehouse team have done an amazing job, but there have been a couple of days where we’ve had to stop taking next-day orders for a bit (today being one of them).

We’ve now caught up again, so next day delivery is back on, but it’s very likely it won’t be on for that long, and I do want to be up-front that while we will *definitely* ship your order out today for delivery tomorrow, the courier networks are now under such severe strain that I can’t guarantee they’ll be able to honour their next day commitment on every order.

If your order doesn’t arrive on time we will of course refund your shipping (as we always would) but I appreciate that isn’t going to be much use if you need it for Christmas Day.

I do believe that the vast majority of orders will still be delivered on time, but I want to be honest that they’re struggling and it’s not an absolutely sure thing.  

Ok, that’s it, health warning over 🙂

Finally then, I just want to say thank you for shopping with us and for being such a nice bunch of people – you always manage to put a smile on our faces during what can sometimes be a pretty stressful time of year.

From everyone here at Master of Malt, have a fantastic Christmas, and thank you!

Cheers,

Justin
Founder

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The Nightcap: 17 December

It’s the final Nightcap of the year and we’re signing off with an absolute cracker thanks to stories on new whisky from The Balvenie, a Port ‘speakeasy’, and the best…

It’s the final Nightcap of the year and we’re signing off with an absolute cracker thanks to stories on new whisky from The Balvenie, a Port ‘speakeasy’, and the best home bar we’ve ever seen…

Well folks, that’s it for another year. As next week is Christmas Eve (ahhh) and the week after that is New Year’s Eve (ahhhhhh) we’re afraid this is the final Nightcap of 2021. It’s been an absolute pleasure to spend the last 12 months bringing you the best of boozy news every week and we’ll be back in 2022. In the meantime, please enjoy the last Nightcap of the year, preferably with a dram of something delicious in your hand. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Just because it’s the most wonderful time of the year, that doesn’t mean we’ve slacked off from writing to eat mince pies. There was plenty of goings-on in the world of MoM this week, including a new competition with Atom Labs, a feature from Millie on how agave spirits can be sustainable, and a superbly seasonal Cocktail of the Week. There was also the usual delights of Super Wishes, Advent calendar revelations (twice!), and plenty of delicious whisky, including ten of our favourites by flavour and a new Fettercairn release. We didn’t forget about the festive fizz either, and even managed to squeeze in some time with the wonderful Louise McGuane from J.J Corry and Dr. Jim Beveridge of Johnnie Walker fame.

Phew! Lot’s to enjoy. But there’s more to come. Onto The Nightcap: 17 December edition!

The Nightcap: 17 December

Jay Bradley, co-founder of Whiskey & Wealth Club Limited

Texas authorities investigate whisky investment scheme 

We’ve run a lot on the blog recently about the dangers of whisky investment schemes making outlandish promises. Now, it looks like authorities are taking an interest. The Texas State Securities Board recently announced “an emergency cease and desist order to stop an illegal international whiskey investment scheme.” The scheme in question is the Whiskey & Wealth Club Limited, a business headed up by Jay Bradley with offices in London and Dublin. “We’re alleging that Whiskey & Wealth Club is touting its success in profiting from sales of casks of whiskey that are at least three, five or ten years old,” said Joe Rotunda, TSSB enforcement director. “That’s misleading. The company has not even been incorporated for three years.” And as the TSSB noted, its accounts with Companies House are overdue. Rotunda and team also claim that Whiskey & Wealth Club is deceiving customers in other ways including refusing to show investors the contract until a deposit has been received. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether authorities in Britain or Ireland will get involved. Meanwhile, if you’re thinking of investing in whisky, read Ian Buxton’s guide to avoiding scams

The Nightcap: 17 December

A great whisky to end a great series

The Balvenie concludes Tun 1509 series with Batch 8

The Balvenie has launched the eighth and final bottling in the distinguished and much loved Tun 1509 series. The creatively-titled The Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 8 demonstrates the expertise of malt master David C. Stewart MBE brings to the table in the blending of rare aged stocks. This latest releases is a combination of 18 whiskies from the distillery stocks, married together in the Tun, a large oak marrying vessel that sits proudly in Warehouse 24, which gives the series its name. The liquid is left to marry for three months after a long maturation in ex-bourbon barrels, second-fill sherry butts, refill puncheons and new sherry butts before being bottled without any filtration. “The Tun 1509 series draws to its completion with Batch 8. This Batch is a remarkable marriage of casks which result in a deep and rich Balvenie,” Stewart commented, “To taste we have a rich toffee sweetness, buttery vanilla and a swirl of the house honey style – layering to candied ginger and aromatic spices” Sounds delicious, so good thing we’ve got some.

The Nightcap: 17 December

The architect’s impression of The Cabrach Distillery

Cabrach Trust whisky distillery gets £3.5m funding 

The Cabrach Trust has moved one step closer to building a Scotch whisky distillery in Moray after securing a multi-million-pound investment. The distillery and heritage centre first received planning permission in September 2017 and work was due to begin work on the site in 2018 after securing £310,000 in funding, but those efforts have been boosted by a further £3.5m investment and construction is now expected to start in February 2022. Funding has come from the The Ethos Foundation, the William Grant Foundation and the Vattenfall Clashindarroch Wind Farm Community Fund, while distilling equipment provider Forsyths is also one of the project’s backers and the Bently Foundation gave a significant grant to the scheme in 2021. The site, which is due to be operational by spring 2023, is in the Cabrach area which is said to be one of the birthplaces of the Scotch whisky industry and famed for illicit stills and smuggling. The Cabrach Trust aims to regenerate the area as a sustainable community, restoring a 19th-century steading at the trust’s Inverharroch base and incorporating a renewable energy source. The distillery and traditional dunnage warehouse will occupy two wings of the steading, with the additional two wings used for the heritage centre, community bistro, tasting room and visitor reception. Intriguingly, the trust has also revealed the distillery will use ‘historic methods’ that reflect the production of malt whisky from the 1800s. We can’t wait to see what they make.

The Nightcap: 17 December

Take a journey through the history of the Martini at Henson’s

Henson’s in Soho offers ‘Flights of Fancy’ cocktail menu

Top Soho nightspot Henson’s at the Mimi’s Hotel has a new cocktail menu! It is divided into five sections including Forgotten Classics, Icons Reinvented, and Classico Italiano. There’s even a No-Alcohol section for those doing Dry January, or who just fancy a break from the hard stuff. Bar manager Francesco Delfino commented: “We can’t wait to re-introduce a selection of classic cocktails to our customers old and new. We have always prided ourselves on serving the heroes of modern cocktail culture, with a strong focus on Italian serves and feel this is one of our strongest menus to date.” We, however, were particularly taken with the fifth section, called Flights of Fancy, which features three mini cocktails for £12. The Martini flight, for example, “takes drinkers on a journey from the first documented ‘Marguerite’, an early days Martini, in 1888, through to the first two parts London Dry to one part dry vermouth created in 1906.” So even if you can’t fly, you can still take a flight.

The Nightcap: 17 December

They’re bringing Porto to Marylebone this Christmas.

Port ‘speakeasy’ opens in London

The first of two speakeasy stories this week, we received word that the ‘Rebel Port Club’, a collaboration between Port giants Symington Family Estates and the Chiltern Street Deli in Marylebone, is opening. Sounds edgy! Rob Symington explained the idea behind it: “Port used to have some colourful associations, which were rooted in how and where it was traditionally drunk – particularly in private members’ clubs. Rebel Port Club takes this association and flips it on its head. Our objective is to create a cosy, welcoming and informal space where people can discover the full range of Port styles (ruby, tawny, and white) in both classic serves as well as some more rebellious cocktails. With the rise of UK visitors to Porto, we are seeing a new wave of excitement for Port, as people learn more about the category and return home eager to replicate the serves and pairings from their holidays. We are excited to bring a bit of Portugal to London this Christmas season.” The pop-up will be open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until 24 December from 5-8.30pm, and then recommence in January. Tickets cost £25 and consist of two Port cocktails, and a glass of vintage and tawny, plus charcuterie, cheese and pastel de nata. So even if it’s not particularly rebellious, it does sound pretty tasty.

The Nightcap: 17 December

Kentucky has been devastated by this tornado

Jim Beam gives $1m to help Kentucky tornado victims

Beam Suntory has made a big pledge recently to provide assistance following the tornado that hit western Kentucky last week, killing more than 80 people. The whiskey giant has responded by donating US$1 million to support organisations providing aid to those affected by the disaster. The donation is spread between the state’s Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, which has been established by governor Andy Beshear, and the American Red Cross’ disaster relief fund. Meanwhile, Beam Suntory is also matching personal donations by its US workers to relief organisations and donating single-barrel bourbons from Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek to a charity auction organised by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA). “While our facilities and teams were spared the worst of this catastrophe, we stand with our neighbours and offer this support on behalf of the more than 1,200 people of Beam Suntory in Kentucky,”  Beam Suntory CEO Albert Baladi says. It’s a great gesture and we hope it has the desired impact for the people of Kentucky.

The Nightcap: 17 December

We heartily recommend you pay them a visit

Karakana opens in Brixton offering fine Indian cuisine and  cocktails 

Ever wanted your London cocktails offerings to contain a little Indian innovation? Well, that’s exactly what you can get at Brixton’s Karakana, a restaurant that opened this month. Styled as an Indian diner and bar, the concept came from Pat and Elly Foster of Satay Bar, Market House and Nanba bar fame, and MasterChef champion Tim Anderson. General manager and 20-year industry veteran Harry Rustan has made a simple but sublime selection of drinks such as The Karakana, a mix of vodka, amaretto, lassi, mango puree and crushed pistachios, the Pina Co-Lassi, which combines rum, coconut cream, lassi and pineapple juice and garnished with a pineapple slice, as well as a Tamarind Whisky Sour which combines whisky, sugar syrup, tamarind and lime juice with an orange and cherry garnish. Co-founders of Brixton Brewery Jez Galaun and Mike Ross even brewed a spiced wheat beer especially for the restaurant. Head chef Khilesh Anand, formerly of the Cinnamon Club, made a menu consisting of tapas-style small plates like lotus blossom onion bhajis and cheese and potato samosas as well as hearty curries and innovative tandoori dishes to life. So if you fancy sipping on creative Indian serves while wolfing down lamb chops, pork ribs and even currywurst, then you know where to head.

The Nightcap: 17 December

@theresapizzaaa wins our vote for best home bar

And finally… woman reveals speakeasy bar behind kitchen cabinet

We’ve heard of a home bar but the set-up one woman can boast in her house is another thing entirely. TikTok user @theresapizzaaa has caused a stir by revealing a huge speakeasy bar hidden underneath her kitchen, with a door sneakily hidden behind a cupboard in the kitchen island. The astonishing underground speakeasy is the same size as her house and boasts racks of wine at the bottom of the staircase, a private cinema room, an old telephone box and fully-stocked bar area. There’s a live band playing in the bar for good measure. @theresapizzaaa actually first posted the footage back in May, but a recent trend to share your ‘most viral’ of the year on the app has led to renewed interest. The original video has racked over 35 million views, while the reposted version is already well over five and a half million views. We’re very happy to verify its awesomeness in person, if @theresapizzaaa fancies sending an invitation our way…

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End of the line for Drinkworks :-(

I’m really sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we’ve just found out from Drinkworks that they have decided to wind down their business and stop supplying Drinkworks…

I’m really sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we’ve just found out from Drinkworks that they have decided to wind down their business and stop supplying Drinkworks machines globally (including in the UK).

That means going forward we won’t be able to offer repairs or replacements for any Drinkworks machines, and that we won’t have any more pods, CO2 Canisters, or cleaning tablets available after the stock we already have runs out.

We will of course be offering anyone who has bought a machine from us a full refund, and the machine will be yours to keep (you won’t have to return it).

If you’ve bought a machine from us then you should receive an email from us in the next few minutes.

I’m so sorry for the inconvenience and hassle we’ve caused anyone who has bought a Drinkworks machine from us, and I can only apologise for the very sudden announcement – we literally only just found out about this.

Sincerely,

Justin
Founder

FAQ

Why are you offering machine refunds?
As the Drinkworks system will no longer be able to be replaced or serviced, we are offering everyone who bought a machine a full refund and a sincere apology for the inconvenience.

Will the warranty on my Drinkworks machine continue?
Afraid not. By giving you a full refund for the machine we’re effectively voiding the warranty as we won’t be able to service or get replacement machines.

Who is eligible for a refund?
Everyone who bought a machine. If you were given one then it’ll be the person who bought it in the first place who gets the refund – if you’re still friends then hopefully they’ll use the money to buy you something nice.

Who is not eligible for a machine refund?
Anyone given a machine rather than buying one.

Assuming I’m eligible (as in, I bought it) how and when will I get my refund?
We should be able to send the refund back to the same card you used to order from us, and all of these should go out over the next few days and be with you well before Christmas.  However, if for some reason we can’t send the refund back to your card, we’ll drop you another email and ask for your bank details or other method (like PayPal) we can use to send you the money.

Are accessories like Bar Locks and Storage Towers eligible for a refund?
Of course.

What about pods and CO2 canisters, can I get a refund for those as well?
Of course, but you will need to return them in unused condition.

How are the refunds determined?
Based on your order details with us.

Where do I go if I have a question that isn’t tied to the refund program?
Just get in touch with us as normal and we’ll do our best to help you out, alternatively you can contact Drinkworks directly 001 (888) 255-8181.

Do I have to send the machine back?
Nope, the machine is yours to keep 🙂

Is this a result of a product defect or recall?
No, the machine isn’t being recalled and is safe to use. It’s just that because Drinkworks is shutting down their business we can’t continue to replace and service machines or indeed buy new pods, so we’re giving everyone a refund.

Where do I get a “reimbursement ID”?
You don’t – that’s only for if you’ve bought your machine in the USA rather than from us.  If you bought your machine from Master of Malt your refund will be processed automatically in the next few days – there’s nothing you have to do.

I received an email from Drinkworks with a reimbursement ID in it – what should I do?
Just ignore it – reimbursement IDs are only for machines bought in the USA, not those bought from us.  If you bought your machine from Master of Malt then you can just ignore all of that stuff as your refund will be processed automatically in the next few days.

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The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

New whiskies from Glengoyne and Glen Moray, Singleton turns a feast into art, and a man who pretended to be a wine merchant to hide model train obsession. As you…

New whiskies from Glengoyne and Glen Moray, Singleton turns a feast into art, and a man who pretended to be a wine merchant to hide model train obsession. As you do. They all feature in the penultimate Nightcap of 2021!

We had so much content on the blog last week that we worried it was going to buckle like the truck in that old advert for Castlemaine XXXX. But luckily thanks to IT boffins at MoM Towers it held firm, like that bit in Gladiator where Russell Crowe goes “AS ONE!” But there’s even more to come in the form of the Nightcap. Let’s hope it holds!

But first a recap of this week’s embarrassment of riches. We had not one but four competitions. One with Brown-Forman to win a trip to America, another to win a year’s whisky subscription with Pour & Sip, and a chance to get your hands on some delicious Bushmills Irish Whiskey. Then #WhiskySanta was back with a chance to win a bottle of 40-year-old Glenfiddich. Compmegeddon! 

We also had two visits to the Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendar to see what was behind this week’s doors. But that’s not all. We looked at a new single harvest, single field Tequila from Ocho, made a twist on a G&T with Fever-Tree tonic water, and rounded up our favourite Ports just in time for Christmas. Plus Adam visited Aber Falls in North Wales, Ian Buxton outlined his seven rules for investing in whisky casks, and our glorious leader Justin took over the blog to let us know that carrier choice is now a thing. Oh and the Connaught in London won the best bar in the world award. Again. I think that’s it. Phew, what a week!

But the blog still has the capacity for some more information, so let’s round up all the news from the world of booze. On with The Nightcap: 10 December edition!

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

Sherry bomb lovers, rejoice!

Glengoyne releases sherry bomb Teapot Dram Batch 008

The latest batch of Glengoyne’s Teapot Dram is here! No, it isn’t distilled in a teapot, though wouldn’t that be brilliant? Instead it harks back to the time when workers were given a dram of whisky straight out of a sherry cask. When some younger workers couldn’t finish theirs, then they would pour them into a teapot for more seasoned employees to enjoy. Or so the story goes. Anyway, every year the distillery releases a limited-edition heavily-sherried young whisky in honour of this practice. The eighth release was aged exclusively in first-fill European and American oak ex-sherry casks and comes in at 59% ABV, so if you like sherry bombs, you’ll love the Teapot Dram. According to Barbara Turing, brand manager at Ian Macleod Distillers, the ageing process has given  it “a luscious dark copper colour and a rich, mouth-coating palate of cooked apple, subtle spice and soft oak.” Only 3,000 bottles have been filled and they are only available from the distillery or via its website. Yours for £120.

Turn your evening into art with The Singleton

Have you ever enjoyed an evening so much that you wish you could preserve it somehow? Well, thanks to The Singleton, this might now be possible. The single malt brand is offering to create bespoke dining experiences for (very wealthy, we imagine) customers. Then at the end of the evening, guests receive artwork inspired by their movements throughout dinner, in the form of a moving digital piece and a solid piece of actual art that you can hang on your wall. The first such event, entitled ‘The Course of a Feast’ took place recently and featured a five-course feast created by top chef Ollie Dabbous to celebrate the launch of The Singleton of Glen Ord 39-Year-Old. Master of malt (nothing to do with Master of Malt) Maureen Robinson explained: “The Course of a Feast was an unforgettable experience to be a part of. To see the flavour journey of The Singleton 39-Year-Old, some of my life’s work during my 40 years at Diageo, come to life and inspire the menu by Ollie Dabbous was incredible.” If you’re interested in having your own art feast go to Malts.com for more information. Bring your goldest credit card. Or it might be simpler to buy a bottle of The Singleton of Glen Ord 39-Year-Old and accept that pleasures are transitory. 

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

What a heart-warming festive story

Guinness supports pubs with £30m fund

More than 3 million Brits have already booked a reservation at a pub or restaurant over the Christmas period, because we all love a good festive celebration. Guinness obviously does too, because it has donated £30 million towards keeping pubs, bars, and restaurants open in 2021. The brand will be lighting up locals up and down the country with a dazzling Christmas light display, celebrating each pub’s role in bringing local communities together. 22 pubs nationwide have been selected as part of the display including The Lock Tavern in Camden, Queens Vault in Cardiff, and The Pickled Sprout in Harrogate. To help ease another challenging festive period ahead, Guinness will also provide financial support, staff training, and equipment to help operators weather the impact of cancellation rates, currently at 10% (UKHospitality) as well as other factors through owner Diageo’s Raising the Bar programme. The initiative has already supported over 30,000 publicans and the 500,000 bar staff throughout the UK to help weather the impact of the pandemic measures and ensure pubs are safe environments. Guinness says there will be further investment in the fund in 2022. Hopefully, there’s a pub near you taking part in the ‘Light Up the Local’ campaign, but if not, be sure to support your town’s watering holes this Christmas. It’s good for the economy, after all. And fun.

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

Congratulations guys!

GlenWyvis Distillery launches first whisky

The world’s first 100% community-owned distillery, GlenWyvis Distillery, has launched its first-ever whisky. The first 3,600 individually numbered bottles of the three-year-old GlenWyvis Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky have been allocated to GlenWyvis Distillery shareholders as it was their investment that enabled the build and development of the distillery. There were a further 2,000 bottles that were available to pre-order in October 2020, but they unsurprisingly sold out almost immediately. There will also be 200 bottles available at selected local retailers, which again is a really nice idea. That does mean we don’t have a drop of it, but we’ll let them off this time because they seem very lovely. As for what those who have got the whisky can expect, it’s made from a batch of 18 casks, including 15 first-fill ex-Tennessee whiskey (80%), two first-fill ex-Moscatel (15%), and one refill hogshead (5%), and is described as a grain-forward whisky that showcases the unique fruitiness of extra-long fermentation. The whisky is 50% ABV, non-chill filtered, and no colouring added, which are all big ticks for us, and also has the distinction of being the first whisky to be produced in Dingwall in almost 100 years. The last whisky distillery in the region, Ben Wyvis, closed its doors in 1926. Congratulations, guys.

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

Anyone think they can turn BA’s wine game around?

British Airways to recruit a Master of Wine

What do you do when your wine offering is described as “rock bottom”? Get a new Master of Wine, of course. At least, that’s the course of action British Airways is taking. A report in The Daily Mail stated that the airline is looking to recruit a Master of Wine to overhaul its drinks selection, which has come in for some flack. Until 2010, British Airways (BA) employed noted wine experts like Jancis Robinson MW to choose the wines that would be available on flights. However, the carrier opted to appoint a single exclusive supplier for each of its three classes, and Robinson subsequently resigned. Now it would appear BA is going back to the method that worked before. The airline is looking for a “passionate individual with a strong knowledge of all drinks categories – particularly wine”. So, if that sounds like you or someone you know and you’d like to be responsible for the wine you basically can’t taste at that altitude anyway, why not apply?

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

Coming soon to Master of Malt, Glen Moray’s 2008 Warehouse 1 Manzanilla finish

Glen Moray releases new Waterhouse 1 Manzanilla bottling 

If you like a limited cask strength Speyside bottling at a reasonable price (and who doesn’t?) then the Warehouse 1 range from Glen Moray has long been a happy hunting ground. Now the latest release is here, or nearly here, it’ll be at Master of Malt soon, and it’s delicious. It was distilled in 2008, aged in ex-bourbon casks before finishing in Manzanilla sherry barrels. As you might expect if you know Manzanilla, the lightest crispest style of sherry, the result is very much not a sherry bomb. The Manzanilla provides a lick of salt at the end to go alongside the fresh orchard fruits, and subtle toffee and vanilla notes. Brand ambassador Iain Allan elaborated: “We started to wonder what would happen if we brought Glen Moray spirit and Manzanilla casks together? If Speyside met Cádiz in the barrel, what would the results be? Soft with salt? Citrus with herbaceous? Questions like these can get the team quite animated, to say the least, but only time can ever answer their restless curiosity – and these results have been worth waiting for.” Only 1,240 cask strength (54.6% ABV) bottles have been filled and as usual with this range the price is reasonable, £74.95. We’re hoping to get some in before Christmas. 

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

Stock up now!

Port and sherry prices set to rise

There’s no need to panic buy but…. Port and sherry are about to get much more expensive. Fortified wines have been undergoing a revival recently but this might be jeopardised by chancellor Rishi Sunak’s proposed changes to the tax system. Previously fortified wines had a set rate of duty, currently £2.98, now they, like others drinks, will be taxed on a sliding scale depending on their alcoholic strength. Under the new measures, the duty on a bottle of 20% ABV Port will be £3.88 and then you have to factor in 20% VAT on top of that. As you can imagine, fortified wine producers are not happy. Andrew Hawes from Mentzendorff, the agents for Taylor’s, Croft, and Fonseca Port described it as “the largest single alcohol tax rises in UK history” and went on to say: “Ultimately I fear it will be the consumers who will pay the price. which is a shame especially as we’ve invested so much to attract a new following to the joys of these fortified wines, which to date have offered incredible value.” We are sure Nightcap readers will be especially interested in what Miles Beale from the WSTA has to say. So here he is: “Government needs to ensure that we aren’t left with a new system that is demonstrably less fair and more administratively complex, which were the tests the Treasury set itself.” Unless the industry’s pleas are heeded, these changes will come in next year. It might be an idea to stock up now. 

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

We have so many questions. Mostly… why?

And finally… Man pretends to be a wine merchant to hide model train obsession

Well this is one of the strangest stories to appear on the Nightcap. This week, Simon George from Yorkshire unveiled an enormous 200ft (61m) miniature railway that he had been building in his basement for eight years. It’s a replica of the Calder Valley line at Heaton Lodge junction in Kirklees exactly as it was when George was a boy in the 1980s right down to period-specific cars. The model railway is currently on display in Wakefield Market. It took three lorries to transport it. A tremendous achievement no doubt but in the end just another story of a hobby getting a bit out of control. But where it gets peculiar is that George tried to hide this gigantic railway from his girlfriend. He commented: “She knew I leased a mill with a huge basement, but I kind of led her to believe I was a wine merchant because that sounded cooler than building a model railway.” Of all the excuses he came up with to hide a nerdy hobby, he came up with something even nerdier, wine. In fact, there are probably many wine merchants out there who have pretended to be into model trains to impress potential lovers.

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The Connaught Bar named World’s Best Bar… again

The Connaught Bar in Mayfair, London, has done it again, taking the crown of World’s Best Bar at last night’s World 50 Best Bar ceremony. And it was a double…

The Connaught Bar in Mayfair, London, has done it again, taking the crown of World’s Best Bar at last night’s World 50 Best Bar ceremony. And it was a double celebration for the British bar trade as a another London venue came second, Tayēr + Elementary

Fancy a drink? Well, we can certainly recommend a good spot because we attended last night’s World 50 Best Bar event to witness the Connaught Bar be crowned The World’s Best Bar for the second consecutive year and also The Best Bar in Europe. The event,  sponsored by Perrier, also awarded Tayēr + Elementary the Disaronno Highest New Entry after it placed second compared to last year when it came in fifth.

London also has a third bar on the list, with Kwānt at no.31. While outside the main list, the UK also takes the title for Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu, with Cardiff’s Lab 22 winning the award. This particular award was open to any bar in the world, not just those in the 50 Best list. 

Singapore is the city with the most entries in the top 50 with six, including the no. 9 ranked Jigger & Pony. Spain, meanwhile, has the distinction of leading Europe in the list, with four bars including Barcelona’s Paradiso at no.3, followed by Two Schmucks, which climbed 15 places to no.11. New York did not fare as well, with Dante, no. 2 last year, and was named the world’s best bar in 2019, ranking no. 30 this year.

World's Best Bar

Congratulations once again, guys!

The world’s best

The Connaught Bar was acknowledged for its ability to create innovative new menus while retaining its old-school prestige. The bar is famed for drinks like its signature Martini for two, made with Tanqueray No. 10 Gin, dry vermouth, and your choice of flavoured bitters which are stirred together for a good few minutes, and then theatrically poured from a great height into the glasses and garnished with a lemon peel. It’s all served on a black lacquer trolley with engraved crystal glasses, because why the hell not?

The Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award, meanwhile, was announced last week to be Lynette Marrero, bar manager at the Peruvian restaurant Llama Inn, in New York. It’s a great honour as the award is voted upon by the bartenders who make up this year’s Top 50. 

World’s 50 Best Bars compiles its best bars list from the votes of over 600 participants around the world, including drinks writers, bartenders, and cocktail aficionados. It is based on visits made from March 2020 through September 2021. The voting guidelines and requirements were reevaluated this year to reflect the limited travel opportunities due to the pandemic. For instance, this year there was no requirement to cast international votes, whereas in prior periods at least three of a voter’s seven named bars were supposed to be international.

World's Best Bar

Winners Maura Milia, Giorgio Bargiani, and Ago Perrone at the Connaught

… and the rest

The live awards ceremony last night at the Roundhouse in London hosted some of the world’s finest bartenders, journalists, and brand ambassadors to hear how bars from 17 countries placed, with 18 new entries spread across Australia, India, Mexico, Russia, Argentina, Sweden, Spain, China, and the UAE

The World’s 50 Best Bars also announced the 51-100 list last week, and the UK leads continental Europe with five bars of a total of 21 from 10 countries, The UK has the most in Europe with five bars in London represented. Lyaness is at No.55 followed by Swift at no.57. Satan’s Whiskers is a new entry at no.73, as are new openings A Bar with Shapes for a Name at no.77; and Side Hustle at no.80.

It was a night that reminded us how far we’ve come since the COVID-19 restrictions impacted the recovery of the bar sector, as a wide range of bars got to celebrate their achievements. We look forward to next year, which should hopefully have even more freedom and fun. We’ve listed the top ten below in case you’re on the lookout for a new watering hole.

The top ten:

1. Connaught Bar, London
2. Tayēr + Elementary, London
3. Paradiso, Barcelona
4. The Clumsies, Athens
5. Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires
6. Licorería Limantour, Mexico City
7. Coa, Hong Kong
8. El Copitas, St. Petersburg
9. Jigger & Pony, Singapore
10. Katana Kitten, New York

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Carrier choice is now a thing!

We’ve been getting a lot of calls recently from people who would like to be able to choose which carrier we use to send their order with. Often there’s a…

We’ve been getting a lot of calls recently from people who would like to be able to choose which carrier we use to send their order with. Often there’s a particular carrier who does a good job in their neighbourhood (or more often one they want to avoid!)

Well, good news – you can now let us know which carrier you’d like us to use in the checkout!

Now, there’s a reason it says “Carrier preference” rather than “Carrier we’ll definitely for sure use, and you can take that to the bank 100% guaranteed”, and that’s because (very occasionally) we’ll actually need to send your order with a different carrier than the one you asked for due to operational constraints, however we’ll always do our absolute best to accommodate your preference if we possibly can.

What are these “operational constraints” I hear you ask? Well, there are quite a few, but here are the most common reasons:

  • Carriers have different collection times, so it might be that there isn’t enough time to pick and pack your order before that carrier leaves.
  • Sometimes a particular carrier doesn’t have any more space on their vehicle or capacity in their network.
  • Sometimes a particular carrier can’t deliver next day to specific post codes

In general, we assume that you’d rather have your order delivered on time by a non-preferred carrier than late with a preferred carrier, so we’ll always prioritise that.

Thoughts / ideas / suggestions? Let us know what you think!

Cheers,

Justin

Founder, CEO, sweeper-upper

1 Comment on Carrier choice is now a thing!

Single cask Master of Malt exclusives have landed!

Just landed at MoM Towers, some bottles that you can’t find anywhere else. We have offerings from Caol Ila, Glenfarclas, Glenallachie and, heading over to America, Smooth Ambler. These are…

Just landed at MoM Towers, some bottles that you can’t find anywhere else. We have offerings from Caol Ila, Glenfarclas, Glenallachie and, heading over to America, Smooth Ambler. These are all single cask bottlings and did we mention they are Master of Malt-exclusives?

The thing that gets our buying team really excited is the chance to get hold of whisky that nobody else can and selling it to Master of Malt customers. They spend their lives hunting out rare casks that have that extra-special magic.

And now, just in time for Christmas, they’ve landed a quartet of splendid single cask bottlings: one from Islay, two from Speyside, and a bourbon from the US.

And they are all Master of Malt exclusives.

Caol Ila 9 Year Old (James Eadie)

In contrast to its neighbours, Bowmore and Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila keeps a low profile. It produces a lot of whisky but most of its production goes into blends like Johnnie Walker Black Label. Nevertheless, its Islay single malts are usually excellent and much-prized by independent bottlers.

This comes from independent bottler James Eadie, a recently-revived name from the 19th century. It was distilled in 2011 and aged in a re-charred hogshead. It was bottled in 2021 exclusively for Drinks by the Dram at cask strength, 57.6% ABV. Only 276 bottles are available.

How does it taste?

Oatcakes, seaweed and ocean breezes, with waxy green apples, butter crumpets, spicy peppercorn, caraway and anise.

GlenAllachie 12 Year Old 2009 (Drinks by the Dram)

GlenAllachie lies in Aberlour on the bank of the River Spey. It’s a relatively recent distillery, built in 1967, and in the past, most of its production went into blends. In 2017, however, it was bought by a consortium including ex-BenRiach MD Billy Walker, and the emphasis is now on single malts.

This 12-year-old was distilled in 2009 before ageing in an ex-bourbon cask. In 2018 it was racked into a single Oloroso sherry puncheon, before bottling in 2021 at cask strength for Drinks by the Dram. 359 bottles are available.

How does it taste?

If you love sherry, then you’re going to love this. Think rum and raisin, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla and dark chocolate. 

Glenfarclas 1991 29 Year Old Family Cask

Glenfarclas is one of the few family-owned distilleries in Scotland. It’s been in the hands of the Grant family since the 19th century. It is also one of the last distilleries in Scotland to use direct-fired stills, and all its whiskies are aged the traditional way in ex-Oloroso casks in a dunnage warehouse.

Here’s a very special bottling. It was distilled in 1991 and spent 29 years in a single refill Oloroso sherry hogshead. It was bottled exclusively for Master of Malt at 55% ABV with only 213 bottles produced. 

How does it taste?

Dried fruit, raisins, apricots and orange peel on the nose with a whiff of furniture polish. Lively, spicy and tangy on the palate with creamy barley, gingerbread and nutty chocolate.

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 5 Year Old Bourbon (Drinks by the Dram) 

West Virginia’s Smooth Ambler began in 2009 as a gin and vodka distillery, but founder John Little saw an opportunity when he came across casks of quality mature bourbon that nobody else wanted. Since then, Little has begun producing his own whiskey but still sells sourced spirits under the Old Scout label. 

This was distilled at the vast MGP distillery in Indiana, source of so much high-quality bourbon. The mash bill is 60% corn, 36% rye and 4% malted barley. Following ageing for five years it was bottled with minimal filtration at 59.6% ABV.

How does it taste?

Sweet, smooth and very spicy, you’ll find cinnamon gum, brown sugar, coffee, cracked black pepper, liquorice, and Crunchie Bars in here. 

These whiskies are available in very limited quantities, once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Glenfarclas 60 Year Old

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