fbpx
Created by potrace 1.12, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2015

We're just loading our login box for you, hang on!

Master of Malt Blog

Cocktail of the Week: The Betty

Today we’re making a refreshing gin-based cocktail inspired by the great-grandmother of the founder of Ealing Gin. She was quite a gell (say it like the Queen saying ‘girl’ not…

Today we’re making a refreshing gin-based cocktail inspired by the great-grandmother of the founder of Ealing Gin. She was quite a gell (say it like the Queen saying ‘girl’ not like something you might put in your hair). 

America has Hollywood, India has Bollywood and England has. . .  Ealing. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it but the film studios in Ealing made some of the country’s best loved films like Passport to Pimlico, Whisky Galore! and The Lavender Hill Mob. These intensely British films known as Ealing Comedies were usually about small people (in society, not stature) taking on authority and winning. These were made in the ‘40s and ‘50s but the studio was founded in 1902 and is still going strong today: Shaun of the Dead and parts of Downton Abbey were filmed there. 

Ealing Gin

Amanda and Simon Duncan, with Felicity

Ealing is also home to the Ealing Distillery. Nice segway there, don’t you think? Set up by Amanda and Simon Duncan who came to the gin business from a PR and marketing background respectively, it operates from a tiny premises with one still, called Felicity, in Duncan’s home borough. They have styled their gin rather grandly “The Queen of London dry gins”. It’s not just marketing fluff, however, but a reference to Ealing being known as “The Queen of Suburbs”, a phrase coined by the borough’s surveyor Charles Jones in a book published in 1902, and then repeated ad nauseum by estate agents and developers ever since. Still, it is a nice part of London with it low rise suburban housing, wide open green spaces such as Ealing Common and magnificent art deco architecture like the former Hoover factory (now a Tesco) on Western Avenue, which I use to gaze at in wonder as a child as we drove past on our way back home to Amersham.

The bottle with its pink and green art deco motifs takes its cue from buildings like the Hoover. And happily the contents live up to the packaging, it’s a spicy floral London dry gin smelling headily of pink peppercorns and rose petals, but it’s very much juniper-led making it a good all rounder. The Duncans have come up with a special cocktail which they have christened ‘the Betty’ in honour of Simon’s great grandmother. According to the bumf she was an it girl on the 1920s and 1930s Ealing scene. She trained at RADA, and had bit parts in some of the local films while working as a waitress in the Lyon’s tea room in Berkeley Square. She lived to the ripe old age of 96. What a gell!

Swanky bottle!

The cocktail named in her honour is essentially a Tom Collins with the addition of rose syrup instead of sugar which accentuates the rose petal notes in Ealing Gin.  It’s a great sipper for a warm spring day. So, let’s raise a glass to the little man, to Ealing and, most of all, to Betty. 

50ml Ealing Gin
25ml lemon juice
2tsp rose syrup
50ml soda water

Pour the Ealing Gin, rose syrup and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes, shake quickly then strain into a high-ball glass filled with more ice. Top up with soda water, give it a quick stir and garnish with a slice of lemon.

 

No Comments on Cocktail of the Week: The Betty

Fèis Ìle 2020 officially cancelled

We’re sorry to report that Fèis Ìle 2020 and other whisky festivals around the country will not take place this year as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic spreads.  At MoM Towers, we…

We’re sorry to report that Fèis Ìle 2020 and other whisky festivals around the country will not take place this year as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic spreads. 

At MoM Towers, we sadly received confirmation today that Fèis Ìle 2020 has been cancelled. The organisers released the following statement in The Ileach, an independent newspaper for Islay and Jura, “Following Scottish Government guidelines, with deep regret, we announce that Fèis Ìle 2020 has been cancelled. We are devastated to have to announce this. We love our festival and welcoming people from around the world. We have considered the impact on islanders, local businesses and visitors alike.” 

The statement continued: “We have made this decision after lengthy discussions between the committee and our distillery partners, and have concluded no other option was viable. Please continue to support our island and we look forward to seeing you for Fèis Ìle 2021. To those who have bought tickets direct from Fèis Ìle, you will be contacted by our volunteers in the next 14 days. Please be patient and we will be in touch. Thank you”.

Fèis Ìle 2020

The coronavirus pandemic unfortunately made the Fèis Ìle 2020 inevitable

The directors of the Islay Festival of Malt & Music had organised an emergency meeting to discuss the status of this year’s Fèis Ìle (scheduled for 22-30 May) according to WhiskyCast and in light of current events the news, while devastating, comes as little surprise. Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon had previously called for the cancellation of events with 500 more people in order to free up emergency services workers, while UK prime minister Boris Johnson warned the British public to avoid pubs, clubs and social venues in a bid to mitigate the impact of coronavirus. At the moment, we don’t know whether this will mean no special Fèis Ìle 2020 expressions from Islay’s distilleries.

The news follows a number of closures and cancellations across the industry. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2020 that was due to take place from 29 April -4 May has also been cancelled. “In response to the escalating situation with Covid-19, the board of directors have decided that this year’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is cancelled as a preventative measure,” said James Campbell, chairman of the festival. “We very much regret the inconvenience that this will cause our visitors, event providers, members, partners and local communities, and trust that everyone will fully understand why we have had to make this decision.” In addition, organisers of the Campbeltown Malts Festival have announced the cancellation of their event scheduled for 19-22 May , while The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has released a list (that will be updated daily) of Scotch whisky distilleries that have closed or suspended tours.

Fèis Ìle 2020

The island is home to some of the world’s most famous and beloved distilleries

A number of other events have been postponed, including Whisky Live London and its sister festival Gin Live London. It was announced this week that both events will go ahead “later in the year”, according to the organisers. The Wine & Spirits Show, set to take place in London next month, has also been postponed, while Think Spirits has confirmed that its event will no longer take place on April 28th and instead has been pushed back to the 15th September 2020 at the same venue, St Mary’s, Marylebone.   

It’s an awful shame. The festival’s blend of open events, music and merriment makes it a bucket-list trip for whisky-lovers everywhere and it’s an occasion we at Master of Malt love to visit and cover for the blog. Ultimately, public safety must take precedent. There will be plenty of time to enjoy delicious whisky in each others’ company in the future. For now, you can still get the best Islay and others have to offer straight to your home as we remain open for business. For more information on that, this handy blog post should answer any questions.

No Comments on Fèis Ìle 2020 officially cancelled

We’re open for business

A short message from Master of Malt CEO Justin Petszaft about the measures the company is taking to protect its staff and continue trading throughout the current Coronavirus crisis: You’ve…

A short message from Master of Malt CEO Justin Petszaft about the measures the company is taking to protect its staff and continue trading throughout the current Coronavirus crisis:

You’ve probably received a few messages like this from other businesses over the last few days, but we just wanted to reassure you that we’re doing everything we can to take care of our people and our customers during this difficult time.

We’re looking after our people, so they can look after you.

Last week we took decisive action to ensure everyone at MoM is as protected as possible, and that we could continue to operate over the next few months as we weather this crisis.

We’ve already implemented a lot of additional precautions to ensure first rate hygiene is maintained for everyone across the business, with a particular focus on those of us working in the warehouse who might come into contact with a bottle or package. These included regular hand washing, and sanitisation of work areas several times during each shift.

We’re also asking everyone to take their temperature before coming in to work each day, and anyone with a fever or cough will self-isolate for 14 days on full pay (so there’s no pressure on people to come in to work if they’re ill).

In addition to that we’ve begun cross training everyone so that if and when people do need to self-isolate, there’s someone ready to take their place and keep the business going.

Finally, since the end of last week everyone who can (about 75% of us) has been working from home to reduce the transmission risk for both themselves and those of us still in the warehouse.

We’re open for business!

We’re well prepared for what’s happening, and coping fine with the significantly increased order volumes. We have deep inventory, and the supply chain is moving with no delays on either incoming stock or outgoing shipments.

Next day delivery is still available, and we’re still here 24/7 if you need us.

We know how important being able to sit down with a good dram is at the best of times, and how much more important it’s going to be now, so we’ll continue doing everything we can to keep the drinks flowing in the coming weeks and months.

We’re going to stay open, and we’re in this for the long haul.

How can we help?

We’re in good shape, but we’re keenly aware that these are challenging times and not everybody is so lucky. If there’s anything we can do to help either you or someone you know then please email or call us if you’re stuck at home and can’t get a delivery of something you need then we might be able to ship it to you (unless it’s toilet roll).

If you can think of any other way we can use our resources to help you or your community please get in touch and let us know.

Until next time, stay safe.

Cheers,

Justin
CEO

 

 

3 Comments on We’re open for business

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. 

No Comments on Top 6 bars in Los Angeles

New Arrival of the Week: Glen Elgin 2007 (Douglas Laing)

You don’t hear about Glen Elgin as a single malt very often, mainly because 95% of its production goes into blends. So, we thought it’s time to celebrate this little…

You don’t hear about Glen Elgin as a single malt very often, mainly because 95% of its production goes into blends. So, we thought it’s time to celebrate this little workhorse of a distillery by shining the MoM torch on a Douglas Laing single cask bottling.

There’s under-the-radar distilleries and then there’s Glen Elgin. Despite its name, it’s about five miles outside the town of Elgin, in a little hamlet called Fogwatt. Actually hamlet isn’t quite the right word as there’s very little there apart from some houses and the distillery. Motoring down the A941 towards Rothes, you’ll pass famous distilleries like BenRiach and Longmorn, but you wouldn’t even know that Glen Elgin was there. That’s a shame because it’s an elegant little distillery in a beautiful setting.

Glen Elgin, it’s actually much prettier from across the water. Still lovely wormtubs, eh?

The buildings were designed by Charles Doig who worked on some of Scotland’s greatest distilleries like Macallan, Glenlivet, Talisker and Mortlach. It’s best known, if is known at all, for being the last distillery to be built in Speyside for 60 years. Work began in 1898 just as Pattison’s Whisky went bankrupt. The company, it transpired, had been committing fraud, passing off cheap spirit as finest Glenlivet, and owed money all over the industry. The resulting scandal nearly collapsed the Scotch whisky business. So, not great timing! Glen Elgin finally opened in 1900 and immediately ran into financial difficulties. But after this uncertain start, it’s had a tranquil last 90 years, bought in 1930 by Distillers Company LImited, forerunners of Diageo, and has remained there ever since. 

The distillery’s rural situation was due to the proximity of Loch Millbuies which provides the water for distillation. For all you fans of technical details, here is a little extract from the excellent recently-published World of Whisky Book by Ridley, Smith & Wishart:

“Glen Elgin was rebuilt in 1964, with a new mash house and still house, and steam heating replaced the coal-fired boilers in 1970. It uses unpeated barley and operates a stainless steel, Steinecker full-lauter mash tun, nine larch washbacks  and six onion-shaped stills.” The fermentation is long and precise to yield a clear wort, and the stills are run slowly to encourage catalysis and produce a lighter, fruity spirit despite being condensed in traditional copper worm condensers.”

 The capacity is 1.8 million litres of pure alcohol per year but you don’t see it very often as a single malt because 95% of production goes into blends like White Horse (there’s a blend you don’t see very often in the UK, sadly) and Bell’s. Charlie Maclean described it like this: “A superb whisky that deserves to be better known. Ranked as ‘top class’ by blenders.” The 12 Year Old expression has a certain following in Japan and Italy, but it’s not one that Diageo puts any marketing muscle behind. There’s no visitor centre. 

Glen Elgin Douglas Laing

You do, however, sometimes see rare bottling from Gordon & MacPhail, That Boutique-y Whisky Company and, as here, by Douglas Laing, a company which, I am sure, needs no introduction to Master of Malt customers. This week’s New Arrival is part of the family firm’s Old Particular series of rare bottlings. It was distilled in 2007 and spent 12 years in single refill hogshead (cask number 13778, to be precise) before being bottled in January of this year. 338 bottles produced at 48.4 % ABV with no chill filtering. So, if you fancy something a little bit unusual, it’s worth taking a punt on this hidden distillery. 

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt:

Nose: Toasted teacakes, clove and ginger. Some blackberry sweetness lingering.

Palate: Slightly peppery and warming with barley and honey. Waxy citrus peels plus a touch of juicy apple.

Finish: Malty chocolate, vanilla pod and stem ginger once again.

Glen Elgin 12 Year Old 2007 (cask 13778) – Old Particular (Douglas Laing) is available to buy here

No Comments on New Arrival of the Week: Glen Elgin 2007 (Douglas Laing)

We have two bundles of awesome spirits from The Lakes Distillery to be won!

It’s no secret that we love a bundle. What do we love more than a bundle? Two bundles! That’s right, we’ve got two bundles full of wonderful spirits from The…

It’s no secret that we love a bundle. What do we love more than a bundle? Two bundles! That’s right, we’ve got two bundles full of wonderful spirits from The Lakes Distillery to give away.

We’re big fans of The Lakes Distillery, what with all the awesome spirits the beautiful distillery over in Cumbria has graced our palates with since it opened. Now, you could be in with the chance to win five bottles of its delicious liquid in a lip-smacking bundle. Oh, and did we mention there’s two bundles to be won? We know, we are good to you.

So, what’s in this wonderful bundle?

Lakes Distillery Bundle

All this could be yours!

You’ll find a bottle of The Lakes Vodka, as well as a bottle of The Lakes Classic Gin, a super classic, juniper forward tipple. Then you’ll find a bottle each of The Lakes Salted Caramel Vodka Liqueur, The Lakes Elderflower Gin Liqueur and The Lakes Rhubarb and Rosehip Gin Liqueur, all three of which are brand new!

Now that we’ve got your mouths watering, we’re sure you’ll want to know how to enter…

  1. Follow @masterofmalt Instagram account.
  2. Follow @lakesdistillery Instagram account.
  3. Like the competition post⁠.
  4. Tag a friend you’d share your bottles with.

And it’s that simple! Complete those four steps by 22 March and you’re in it to (possibly) win it. Plus, now your chances of winning have doubled! Best of luck to everyone.

MoM Competition 2020 open to entrants 18 years and over. Entries accepted from 16 March to 22 March 2020. Winners chosen at random after close of competition. Prizes not transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash equivalent. See full T&Cs for details.

No Comments on We have two bundles of awesome spirits from The Lakes Distillery to be won!

The Nightcap: 13 March

Tune into The Nightcap this week for news on Ardbeg’s Mickey Heads retiring, literature-based libations, and giraffes. Yes, giraffes.  Everyone is being told not to touch their own faces, or…

Tune into The Nightcap this week for news on Ardbeg’s Mickey Heads retiring, literature-based libations, and giraffes. Yes, giraffes. 

Everyone is being told not to touch their own faces, or other people’s faces. Some people are even being very specific and saying not to touch other people’s eyes, or touch other people with your eyes. That last one is generally a good bit of advice at any time. If that has drastically freed up time for your eyes, then direct them towards this edition of The Nightcap, our weekly round-up of the news from the booze world. Stay safe, folks. And for goodness’ sake, wash your hands.

On the blog this week, Ian Buxton returned to cast an eye at the biggest whisky market of all, before Kristy reminded us Mother’s Day is on the horizon. Don’t panic, though, she’s got you covered with this selection of delightfully boozy gifts. Adam was then on-hand to make sure you squeeze in some St. Patrick’s Day celebrations next week, and was feeling so patriotic that he even recommended a new Irish whiskey that has just landed at MoM Towers for our New Arrival of the Week. He then found time to talk Johnnie Walker Highballs with whisky ambassador Ali Reynolds, who was joined on the MoM blog this week by Scottish singer Kerri Watt and then Cointreau master distiller Carole Quinton. Annie then picked out five unmissable audiophile bars, while Henry suggested a great serve for those who like a cocktail that’s simple but sublime: The Kir

Don’t forget you’ve still got time to enter our competition to win an incredible VIP trip to the home of J.J. Corry! Now, onto The Nightcap!

The Nightcap

Here’s to Duncan

Former Bruichladdich manager Duncan McGillivray passes away

Incredibly sad news to open The Nightcap with this week. Duncan McGillivray, the man who worked at Islay’s Bruichladdich for almost half a century and was a compelling force in bringing the distillery back to life, passed away aged 68. He dedicated so much of his life to Bruichladdich and the wider island, and his loss will be felt keenly across the whisky world and beyond. He first joined the distillery as a trainee stillman back in 1974, then became a brewer in 1977. The distillery was mothballed in 1994, but he re-joined the team in 2001 when it was reopened by its new owners. “Looking back to 2001, the Bruichladdich re-birth seemed a dream too far; this was a time when distilleries where still being closed, a far cry from today,” said Simon Coughlin, a friend of Duncan’s, a Bruichladdich founding member, and now head of whisky for parent company, Rémy Cointreau. “If it was not for the patience of Duncan and his unwavering commitment to the cause (even if he thought we were mad sometimes!) we would not be here today.” He also said: “His influence and association with the distillery go back almost 50 years and, put simply, the resurrection of Bruichladdich and much of the success that has followed would not have been possible without the dedication of Duncan. Selfless, hard-working, gentle, determined and funny… and that’s just for starters. Everyone at Bruichladdich and those that enjoy any of our spirits can raise a glass today to thank this wonderful man.” We have our own memories of Duncan. On a 2015 visit to the distillery, our Kristy recalls a warehouse tasting with him. “He had such an incredible energy, was full of passion for the whisky, and was just so generous with his knowledge. And with the whisky… he filled our Glencairn glasses almost to the brim straight from the cask with a valinch. It was hilariously impractical. Let’s just say the pours were not delicate, but Duncan’s glee to be sharing these samples was clear to see. He was such a character.” We know what will be in our glasses this evening. Here’s to Duncan.

The Nightcap

Thanks for everything, Mickey!

Mickey Heads from Ardbeg retires

Sticking with Islay for a moment, and there’s double Ardbeg news this week: the distillery has released its first beer, and we have just heard that the much-loved and admired manager at the distillery, Mickey Heads, will be retiring in October. We’ve been assured that the two events are not related. Under his watch, Ardbeg picked up more Whisky of the Year and Distillery of the Year accolades than any previous manager. He has spent his whole working life on Islay and Jura, taking on the coveted role at Ardbeg in 2007. Mickey Heads said: “Being at the helm of Ardbeg for 13 years has been a great privilege. The whisky we make here is of wonderful quality, and being part of the team that creates it is fantastic. Ardbeg has such a long history, I’ve always seen myself as a custodian carrying it forward for the next generation. So, you just do it as well as you can, and with as much passion as you can.” Thomas Moradpour, CEO of The Glenmorangie Company, said: “Mickey Heads is a hugely respected figure in the world of single malt whisky and will be sorely missed by Ardbeggians everywhere. There cannot be many distillery managers who combine such a wealth of knowledge, depth of passion and warmth of welcome. On behalf of everybody who has had the pleasure of meeting or working with Mickey, I want to express gratitude for all his hard work in maintaining the quality and reputation of the Ardbeg brand. His successor will have a hard act to follow.” Thanks for all the whisky, Mickey!

The Nightcap

If you’re having whisky this good launched in your honour, you know you’ve had a great career

Johnnie Walker launches Master’s Ruby Reserve 

When you’re an OBE-honoured master blender with a remarkable career spanning four decades, there’s really only one way to celebrate your legacy properly, with delicious whisky! That’s exactly what Johnnie Walker has done for Dr. Jim Beveridge’s with its latest release, Master’s Ruby Reserve. Said to be made from “some of the finest Scotch in the Johnnie Walker reserves”, the expression is composed of eight rare whiskies that are at least forty years old from ‘ghost’ distilleries of Cambus, Carsebridge, Pittyvaich and Port Ellen as well as Talisker, Royal Lochnagar, Glendullan and Cragganmore. The good doctor personally selected all the whiskies and chose ones that evoked his earliest whisky-making memories in an attempt to create a Scotch whisky that provides a window into his distinguished career. “Every whisky that has gone into the creation of this new expression holds a special place in my heart. I worked at each of these distilleries during various points of my career and the flavours and smells of those whiskies transport me back to very happy times throughout my career at Johnnie Walker,” said Beveridge. “The ‘ghost’ whiskies from Cambus, Carsebridge and Pittyvaich bring layers of rich fruit flavour. We’ve combined this with the flavours of dark chocolate, plums and cherries found in the wonderfully aged expressions of Royal Lochnagar, Glendullan and Cragganmore and the soft aromatic sea salt notes of Talisker and Port Ellen – creating a beautiful, full-bodied whisky.” The celebratory limited-edition was bottled at 43% ABV and will retail for £15,000 exclusively through DFS duty free stores, so if you’re in the market, you’ll have to pack your bags. Only 398 bottles are being released in hand-crafted golden-red Baccarat crystal decanters as a tribute to Beveridge’s ruby anniversary. Fancy stuff.

The Nightcap

Glenmorangie wants to do its bit for this majestic creature

Save the giraffe, drink Glenmorangie

The giraffe is the mascot of Glenmorangie on account of its enormously tall stills. Now, the distillery is doing something to help preserve these most majestic of creatures whose numbers have fallen by 30% in the last 30 years. Glenmorangie has announced a three-year partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) which will help protect them in the wild, but also provide a place for them at Edinburgh Zoo. Much of the work will be focused in Uganda where half the world’s critically-endangered Nubian giraffes live, and will include protecting the animals from poaching and loss of habitat. Thomas Moradpour, president and chief executive of The Glenmorangie Company and back for a second turn in the Nightcap this week, said: “For 175 years we have created whisky, in stills as high as an adult giraffe, the tallest in Scotland. Over time, this majestic animal has become a beloved symbol of our brand. It seems only right that we should channel our passion for this animal into our new global conservation partnership with GCF and RZSS. Together, we will work to protect giraffes in the wild and shine a light on their predicament before it’s too late.” So your dram will be doing good as well as tasting good.

The Nightcap

The World Class GB Final 2019 wasn’t much more diverse…

Diageo Reserve reveals World Class GB bartenders… just 9% are women

It’s that time of year again – Diageo Reserve’s World Class bartender competition is ramping up! After a record-breaking digital entry stage (more than 450 people threw their hat into the ring), The World Class GB Top 100 has been revealed – and it’s a glittering who’s-who of the current UK bartending scene. Those on the list are now required to submit their next online entry by 6 April, ahead of an in-bar judging stage. This is when stuff really gets serious, as the 100 are whittled down to 20. But there’s one small problem. We say small, it’s actually pretty sizeable, and blindingly obvious when you take in the list. Just nine people in the top 100 are women. To put that in context (as if any more is required), there are more men on that list named some variation of Matthew or Michael (we counted. There’s 11.). Clearly something has gone amiss. Could it be that for some reason, significantly fewer women bartenders decided to take part? It’s definitely possible. And it may be the sole explanation. Or are women not progressing in cocktail competitions? If not, why not? We asked Diageo Reserve Talisker and World Class ambassador Jason Clark for his take: “Now in its twelfth year, World Class was created as a platform for everyone. Our aim is to educate and encourage all bartenders to become part of our community, to challenge themselves and compete to be the very best they can be. All entries for the competition are judged blind and based purely on the drink submission. Last year we had women finishing in third and fourth place overall and, over the GB competition’s history, we’ve had many exceptional female bartenders enter and reach the finals. We continue to look at ways to celebrate women in the industry and we can’t wait to see what the next stage of the competition holds.” One thing’s for sure – if we want to see more women reach the top of the game in the bar industry, something’s got to give.

 

The Nightcap

The Italian liqueur based around the brilliance of bergamot

Pernod Ricard splashes out on Italicus aperitivo

Just last week drinks mega-group Pernod Ricard got its wallet out to invest in Japan’s first gin producer, The Kyoto Distillery. Well, it’s a case of another week, another transaction! This time it’s bergamot-infused aperitivo Italicus that’s joining the Pernod portfolio. The 20% ABV product is described as ‘distinguishable yet versatile’, and has already become a bartender favourite since it was founded by Italian spirits expert Giuseppe Gallo in 2016. Pernod Ricard hasn’t shared the financial details of the deal, or whether the ‘strategic partnership’ – as they call it – includes any level of acquisition, but Gallo will remain the active CEO going forward. “Since its launch, the brand has experienced success with both the on-trade and consumers, and it is now time to consolidate with this heavyweight strategic partner in order to accelerate our global distribution,” he said. “We have an ambitious plan to build Italicus into one of the world’s most successful aperitivo brands.” Gilles Bogaert, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard EMEA-LatAm, added: “We are thrilled to add Italicus to the Pernod Ricard portfolio and for the Group to help drive its future development.” The future’s bright, the future’s bergamot-scented.

The Nightcap

Teeling is bringing its own brand of Paddy’s Day celebrations to London

Teeling bring St Paddy’s Celebrations to London

You may have heard of the luck of the Irish, now it’s time to show your love of the Irish! This St Patrick’s Day, Teeling Whiskey is bringing the Spirit of Dublin to London, in a special all-Irish celebration at Milroy’s of Spitalfields. And what a night it promises to be, with Irish fiddlers, food for the nibblers, Celtic cocktails, and of course some delicious Irish drams. And the best part of all (apart from the whisky of course…) is that the entry is free! Milroy’s doors will open at 6pm, we’ll see you there! Obviously in the current environment do check back nearer the time for confirmation that the event will go ahead. But you can still mark your diaries for St Patrick’s Day. Pop a bottle of Teeling in your basket now to make sure you can still sip along and celebrate, even if it’s at home, on 17 March!

The Nightcap

Joe Fattorini, wine merchant and TV presenter, has campaigned for lower wine taxes

Drinks industry reacts to duty freeze

It’s been a tough year for the drinks industry with trade tariffs, Brexit uncertainty and now the Coronavirus, but there was some good news as Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a freeze in alcohol duty rates in Britain, a country with some of the highest drink taxes in the world. Joe Fattorini, wine merchant and TV presenter, who has been campaigning for a lowering of such taxes, commented: “The recognition by the Chancellor that wine is the nation’s favourite alcoholic drink and therefore shouldn’t be singled out for tax rises is welcome news for the 33 million wine fans in the UK. Now it’s time to go one step further and cut back wine tax in the coming year.” But it wasn’t just the wine trade celebrating (responsibly, natch).  Dayalan Nayager from Diageo said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s duty freeze which will provide much-needed stability in these difficult times for the industry. We are delighted that he announced his intention to reform the duty system to bring fairness for gin and Scotch whisky, which should ensure that these iconic homegrown products no longer face punitive levels of tax.” But Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association), thinks that more needs to be done: “Our industry needs continued support, through the upcoming review of UK alcohol taxation and while our exports remain subject to US tariffs. The fact remains that duty on spirits in the UK is already very high and puts Scotch whisky at a competitive disadvantage to wine, beer and cider, with £3 in every £4 spent on an average-price bottle of Scotch whisky going to the government in tax”. Regular readers, however, will only really want to know what Nightcap favourite Miles Beale thinks. Well, the chief executive of the WSTA had this to say:  “While he has not cut duty, it is reassuring to see that in his first Budget as Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP, has taken steps to address the UK’s excessively high duty rates. He has shown he is in touch with British consumers – from all walks of life – who want to enjoy a drink without getting stung by further tax hikes. We will all raise a glass to the Chancellor tonight, who has recognised that everyone benefits from a freeze, including the Treasury.” We’ll raise a glass with you, Miles!

The Nightcap

The study found millennials and Gen Zers prefer a traditional boozer

Millennials and Gen Zers’ perfect pub revealed?

It’s fair to say that in the last half-a-century or so, quite a bit has changed. We can carry our phones with us wherever we go, fax machines are something of an urban myth, and you can’t even smoke indoors anymore! Despite this (or perhaps because of it), a recent study by SpareRoom found out that, when it comes to pubs, millennials and Gen Zers are most fond of your traditional boozer. And you can wave goodbye to millennial pink. 60% of 18 to 34-year-olds prefer your traditional wooden interior, complete with fireplaces and period fixtures, with 70% preferring wooden flooring to the carpet (though we don’t think it’s just millennials that feel this way…). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s not a total step back in time that the younger generations are after. 62% prefer speedy card payments to cash, and 41% want free wifi along with their wooden beams. The humble pint has even lost its place as the drink of choice, with 49% saying that spirits are their go-to tipple. Perhaps even more interestingly, 45% say that low-alcohol serves are their top choice when taking a trip to their local! It just goes to show that even though younger generations value a trip down memory lane, if there’s not a charging point then… you’ve gone too far.

The Belloni, named in honour of Virgina Woolf’s sister, artist Vanessa Bell

And finally. . . . literature you can drink at the Academy Hotel

Books and booze go way back, from the Bible through to Shakespeare, not forgetting Dorothy Parker’s quip about her favourite drink: ‘I like to have a Martini, two at the very most. After three I’m under the table, after four I’m under my host’. Now the Academy Hotel is celebrating this special relationship with a series of cocktails inspired by that most literary part of London (and the hotel’s location): Bloomsbury. There’s The Lighthouse to honour Virginia Woolf made with Tanqueray Gin, one for her husband called the Old Fashioned Leonard made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, and, keeping it in the family, a Belloni, a take on the Negroni paying homage to her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell. According to the press bumf all the drinks are “created especially using the finest ingredients and hand-selected garnish”. No machines picking the garnishes at the Academy. No sir!

No Comments on The Nightcap: 13 March

The five winners of our Merser & Co. Double Barrel Rum competition are…

Just last month we found ourselves with five bottles of Merser & Co. Double Barrel Rum to give away. The time has come to reveal our quintet of winners! Usually,…

Just last month we found ourselves with five bottles of Merser & Co. Double Barrel Rum to give away. The time has come to reveal our quintet of winners!

Usually, the way these things go is all rather dramatic. “There can only be one victor” and all that jazz. Well, not this time! We promised you five bottles of Merser & Co. Double Barrel Rum would be won, and won they have been, each full of delicious Caribbean rum which was blended by the Merser folks in London, and rested in good old oak. 

Plus, as well as increasing the chance of winning fivefold, we made it super duper easy to enter through the wonders of social media! 

merser & co double barrel rum

Who will be getting their lucky hands on a bottle of this?

If you simply followed both the Master of Malt and Merser & Co. Instagram accounts, tagged a friend you’d share the awesome rum with on our competition post and then gave that post a quick like, you were in.

Anyway, that’s all in the past now. We know why you’re here. Let’s get down to it!

The five lucky winners are…

Ben Lutener

Steven Young

Soeren Bendixen

Heather Haigh

Karen Sands

Congratulations to our victors! And a huge thanks to everyone who took part. 

No Comments on The five winners of our Merser & Co. Double Barrel Rum competition are…

Master of Malt tastes… Johnnie Walker whisky highballs

We tried the exclusive new collection of bottled Johnnie Walker whisky Highballs with Johnnie Walker’s whisky ambassador Ali Reynolds and discussed the role this simple but sublime serve will play…

We tried the exclusive new collection of bottled Johnnie Walker whisky Highballs with Johnnie Walker’s whisky ambassador Ali Reynolds and discussed the role this simple but sublime serve will play in the future of the spirit.

“Whisky has been quite a tired category for a while and it’s been aimed at men of a certain age for a long time. We were telling people how to drink it in terms of ‘you can only add a dash of water’ or ‘maybe one ice cube’,” says Ali Reynolds, whisky ambassador for Johnnie Walker. “There are all these flavours within the Scotch category and we should be exploring them more in cocktails. I’m always asking why isn’t whisky one of the biggest spirits on more cocktail lists? Brigadiers have been brave enough to stock four pre-bottled whisky sodas and it’s just a great way to get people into Scotch. We need to relax that conversation. Talk less about Scotch, talk more about the flavours within it”.

We’ve met to talk about the whisky Highball and its potential to bring new drinkers to the whisky category at Brigadiers, an Indian restaurant and bar in the City of London inspired by the army mess bars of India where military regiments eat, drank and socialise. It’s recently launched a series of four Highballs which are carbonated and bottled in-house made with various types of Johnnie Walker. 

Johnnie Walker as a brand is all over cocktails. The distillery’s website has a dedicated cocktail section that and a quote: “The mark of a truly great whisky is its versatility and even when mixed”. As the distillery enters its 200th year and prepares to open the Johnnie Walker whisky experience in Edinburgh, it’s understandable how much time and resource its devoting to converting people into whisky lovers. The Highball is clearly at the centre of its strategy and there’s a good reason why. As a serve it has a realistic chance of opening up the world of whisky to people who never considered it before. It’s whisky’s closest relative to the gin and tonic and a favourite of bartenders. And Japan, for that matter. It makes whisky seem modern, enticing and refreshing. 

Johnnie Walker whisky highballs

Look, it’s Johnnie Walker’s whisky ambassador Ali Reynolds!

One of the challenges for the 2019 World Class bartender competition, which was to create a pre-canned Johnnie Walker Highball. “It’s a daunting challenge because a lot of people would question how many flavours could you possibly get out of it. But every single drink was different,” Reynolds explains. “But the way bars are heading now, they want drinks that mean quick service, simplicity and easy access for their bartenders. There’s no longer five deep at the bar, someone shaking and stirring drinks until their arms are falling off. It’s quick, easy, clean and about dedicating more time to the customer than just being behind the bar, busy. Pre-bottled Highballs offer a really good way to do that”. 

Changing perceptions around whisky is very much an ongoing process, however. Reynolds recalls being told off a few years ago for combining Lagavulin 16 Year Old and Coca Cola. He was told in no uncertain terms that you don’t make a 16-year-old whisky to be mixed with Coke. By Fèis Ìle 2019, he was serving a ‘Smokey Cokey Floaty’, made with Lagavulin 16, Coca Cola and a scoop of ice cream on top. “We’re always looking to bring more diversity to the category, whether that’s women or young people. At a lot of recent events and festivals we’ve been making Highballs with peach tea, green tea, lemon, ginger and elderflower, so that’s five very different flavours,” he says. “If you went back 15 years and talked about mixing elderflower with Scotch, people would recoil and say ‘What are you talking about, what’s going on here?’ But that’s silly because I can’t honestly name another spirit category that has that breadth of flavour that Scotch has. We have the smoke, we have the sweetness, the fruit, the waxiness, the wood. It’s incredible. Accessibility is the key for us”. 

With this in mind, the first of the four expressions arrives. It’s the Jal-Jeera, a mix of Johnnie Walker Black, apple and chaat masala ginger ale. “The smoked apple note and then that addition of masala has just given it such a unique taste. It reminds me of smoked fish, kedgeree style, which is such a weird tasting note to put into something so refreshing but it really works. I’m a fiend for spicy food, I absolutely love it and this one is perfect for it,” Reynolds says of it. I think it’s fabulous, instantly refreshing and beautifully spiced and the aromatic combination of the ginger and apple is wonderful. 

Johnnie Walker whisky highballs

The Jal-Jeera, Sandalwood Sharbat and Passion Fruit Lassi

We then moved on to the Passion Fruit Lassi, a combination of Johnnie Walker Gold, passion fruit, pandan and clarified yoghurt soda. “This one I think is very much based around the Pornstar Martini. The fact that they’ve used passion fruit, yoghurt and pandan just makes it a little bit more accessible to the regular drinker. It’s super-fruity and creamy,” says Reynolds. “Gold Label has got this amazing viscosity to it and oiliness which kind of coats the palate and they’ve taken that element from it and then recreated it in a soda. If you gave this and the Sandalwood Sharbat to anyone they wouldn’t bet their money on whisky being in it.” We both agree that this isn’t our personal favourite of the selection, but it’s interesting because it totally differs from what your expectation of a whisky and soda would be in the best possible way.

Next, we tried that Sandalwood Sharbat, a Highball consisting of Johnnie Walker Green, amontillado sherry, sandalwood and banana soda. “The Green Label has got Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore and Caol Ila in there and the sandalwood brings out all the wonderful wood characteristics from the four distilleries. The amontillado sherry complements the bit of saltiness from the Caol Ila, but again this is a really refreshing and easygoing serve,” Reynolds says. “Throughout this range, they’ve done a really good job of dissecting the whisky in terms of its flavours”. This was probably the highlight of the range for me, it’s complex and bittersweet and ridiculously moreish. I’d drink the soda element on its own happily and the touch of sherry is beautifully measured.

Finally, we tried the showstopper of the range. The Nepalese Butter Tea, which was made from Johnnie Walker Blue Label, pineapple caramel, brown butter, milk oolong tea and Champagne, is served in a Champagne-style bottle and intended for four people to share. “The flavours are great. Whisky and Champagne is an overlooked pairing, for sure. But when we did the Blue Label tasting we agreed that it’s got waves of flavours which is why the ingredients they’ve used here, the milk oolong, the Champagne, they’re quite delicate so they don’t take away too much from the whisky,” Reynolds explains. This is by far the most indulgent of the range and it’s an interesting demonstration into how you can turn a humble serve into a premium cocktail. It’s still  refreshing enough to work as a Highball, but the butter element, in particular, adds a decadent richness that’s amazing, although I would say best enjoyed in small quantities.

Johnnie Walker whisky highballs

The decadent and delicious Nepalese Butter Tea

Tasting this range, my immediate thought is that I know people who don’t like whisky who would happily drink these cocktails. It’s an impressively comprehensive selection for just four drinks and I can imagine that there will be something there for everyone. If these Johnnie Walker whisky highballs are a sign of the direction that whisky drinking is going in, I think we’re on to something. 

No Comments on Master of Malt tastes… Johnnie Walker whisky highballs

Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

Make sure you’re her favourite this Mother’s Day – these are the most delicious gifts to put a smile on her face (and cement your position as top child) on…

Make sure you’re her favourite this Mother’s Day – these are the most delicious gifts to put a smile on her face (and cement your position as top child) on 22 March!

Choosing the perfect Mother’s Day gift can be a tricky game. You want to make her day. You want to be the generous one round the table. But, if you’re like us, you probably don’t want to spend a fortune either. Well, you’re in luck! We’ve scoured the warehouse shelves to pick out some of our favourite liquid pressies guaranteed to delight both your mum’s palate and your wallet. Hurrah! 

(Pssst… for the latest deals and even more gift ideas, check out our dedicated Mother’s Day page!)

Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

Silent Pool Gin Gift Pack, £62.95

If your mum adores all things juniper and is also partial to the prettier things in life, we can think of no better pressie than Silent Pool’s gorgeous Gift Pack. Not only is there a full-size bottle of delicious gin (botanicals include chamomile, lavender and honey locally sourced from the Surrey Hills), but there’s a pair of striking glasses, too! She’ll just have to share that G&T with you…

Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

Two Swallows Cherry & Salted Caramel Rum, £23.95

This flavoured rum is right up our street – and it could well be perfect for your mum, too! The rum base comes from Guyana’s Diamond Distillery (a MoM Towers’ fave), and with cherry and salted caramel too, it’s almost like a Bakewell Tart in a bottle! We also adore the 20s vibes the label is serving us. Winning all round!  

Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

Glenmorangie Lasanta 12 Year Old, £41.75

An absolute classic from the world of Scotch whisky, this 12 year old, sherry cask-finished Glenmorangie single malt is a joy to behold. The influence from the Oloroso and PX casks used in the latter stages impart delectable dark chocolate, honey and dried raisin notes – a highly giftable bottle, especially if your mum likes her whisky on the luxuriously creamy side…

Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

Manchester Gin – Raspberry Infused £33.95

If your ma likes to try her hand at mixing drinks, this is a marvellously versatile gin. Infused with oodles of raspberries, Manchester Gin’s fruity concoction works splendidly in a Bramble, a Gin Smash, a twist on a Martini, or even splashed into a glass of fizz. A perfect gift, or one to snap up now so you can make her a drink on Mother’s Day…

Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

Premium Gin Tasting Set, £19.95

What if your mum’s a bit of a drinks chameleon? Perhaps exploring a world of different tipples is her favourite pastime? We’ve got all sorts of solutions! This Premium Gin Tasting Set looks the part, and comes with five deliciously different 30ml expressions to keep her entertained. But what if she likes whisky, rum, Tequila, vodka, something else? We’ve got all bases covered with our Tasting Sets range. You could even build your own for something truly tailored!

Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

Bowmore 15 Year Old, £52.90

Perhaps your mum is of a peated whisky persuasion and you’re stuck for what to get her. We’re big fans of Bowmore 15 Year Old, a classic Islay expression that balances that signature smoke with the rich dried fruit sweetness from its sherry cask finish. She’d have to share a dram with you – which means she’d get the gift of a catch-up, too. Two pressies in one! 

Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

J.J. Corry The Sonas, £59.95

Ok, ok, we’re a bit biased on this one. But it’s our very own Irish whiskey, so how could we not be! Our editor Kristy actually blended this one with our buyer Guy, under the watchful eye of J.J. Corry founder Louise McGuane. A proper sunshine dram (‘Sonas’ means ‘happiness’ in Irish Gaelic), full of fresh fruitiness, creamy vanilla and caramelised pecan notes. And, if you buy a bottle from the J.J. Corry range, you could win a trip to Ireland to blend your very own bottling, too! That would make an epic Mother’s Day gift…

Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

Bathtub Gin, £28.95

A multi-award-winner, Bathtub Gin is made using a traditional cold compounding method which sees the likes of juniper, orange peel, coriander, cassia, cloves and cardamom-infused in copper pot-spirit for up to a week. The botanicals are depicted on the gift tin as well, which makes it as pretty as a bunch of flowers, but with the added bonus that you can actually drink it. What more could your mum possibly want?!

Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

Aske Stephenson Garden Bramble, £28.83

We’re well on-board with this pre-mixed cocktail delight. Take the traditional blackberry-based cocktail and add in a host of florals, including elderflower and clary sage, and you get this delectably refreshing sipper that you can simply serve over ice, or give it a go with tonic. Another one that makes a cracking gift, or alternatively it’s an easy solution for pre-Mother’s Day dinner apéritifs. We think of everything. 

Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

That Boutique-y Gin Company Fruit-y Gin Gift Set, £19.95 

Another splendid solution to Mother’s Day gifting dilemmas if your mum is into all things gin. This brightly colourful gift set features four 50ml bottles of four fabulously flavoursome expressions (Cherry Gin, Chocolate Orange Gin, Strawberry & Balsamico Gin and Spit-Roasted Pineapple Gin) from That Boutique-y Gin Company! It’s a taste extravaganza that’s highly giftable and we’re here for it. 

No Comments on Top 10 brilliantly boozy Mother’s Day gifts!

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search