The Scottish government moves to restrict whisky marketing while Irish whiskey exports reach €1bn value, but that’s nothing compared to a sober pub crawl. It’s all in The Nightcap: 13 January edition!

It’s Friday! Which is good. It’s also Friday the 13th. Which is bad. Supposedly. How can a Friday possibly be bad or cursed? It’s a question that has stumped scholars for generations. We’d like to propose an argument that may sway the debate. The Nightcap is published on a Friday, including the 13th. We rest our case. Our case being that The Nightcap is a good thing, of course. You got that, right?

The blog this week was certainly full of good things, like whisky aged in rum casks, Freaks and Geeks co-creator Paul Feig talking cocktails, and the launch Defilement 40 Year Old. Our Burns Night poetry comp is still open if you fancy yourself a hidden artist. We also had cocktails, both Dry and wet, tasted Dewar’s Double Double sherry cask blends, and reported back from Glenmorangie House, while Felipe Schrieberg popped in to respond to an article on whisky writing by Dr. Nick Morgan last week. We’d love to hear your views on this contentious issue. 

For now, let’s enjoy The Nightcap: 13 January edition.

The Nightcap

Johnnie Walker advertising on Princes Street, something that might become a thing of the past

Scottish government aims to restrict whisky marketing

Whisky is one of Scotland’s biggest earners, with exports exceeding £4.5 billion in 2021. But now the Scottish government is moving to severely restrict the Scotch whisky industry at home. It has issued a consultation paper outlining severe restrictions on the marketing of alcoholic drinks. This includes advertising in public, online and in the media, in-store promotions, and the sponsorship of sporting events. So this would end Famous Grouse’s association with the Scotland rugby team and mean no whisky displays in shops on Princes Street in Edinburgh. The aim of the proposed legislation is to combat high rates of alcohol abuse, Scotland has some of the worst rates of alcohol-related deaths in Europe. Maree Todd, Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, writes: “By restricting alcohol marketing in Scotland we hope to reduce the appeal of alcohol to our young people. This will support a reduction in consumption of alcohol and subsequently improve their health and health prospects as adults. It will also reduce the potential triggering effect that alcohol marketing can have on heavy drinkers and those in recovery or treatment.” The big question is whether these proposed changes will have the desired effect on the small minority of Scots who are problem drinkers, the jury is very much out on the efficacy of such measures, and there’s a huge potential to damage one of Scotland’s biggest industries. Consultation on this goes on until March. You can have your say here. We’ll be following up on this with a longer article.

Irish whiskey sales

The Irish whiskey boom is getting boomier

Irish whiskey exports hit milestone €1bn value

The export value of Irish whiskey hit a figure tabloids would deem as “whopping” or “eye-watering”, of €1 billion last year. Which does a little tear to our eye, to be honest, particularly as this milestone has been hit post-pandemic, during an era of price hikes and a difficult time financially for most people. Still, the desire for Irish whiskey is there, with The Irish Whiskey Association saying it’s proof of the “global demand for premium, higher priced Irish whiskey.” Director of the IWA and increasing Nightcap regular William Lavelle had this to say: “Breaking one billion in export value represents another important milestone in the Irish whiskey renaissance and confirms the importance of our unique all-island industry to our shared economy, north and south.” He continued: “Across the island of Ireland, the growth in Irish whiskey exports has created more quality jobs, brought more investment into regional and rural communities, and led to more purchasing from Irish farmers.” But hold your happy horses, because the Export Performance and Prospects 2022/2023 report from Bord Bia, the Irish food board, is going to give us even bigger reason to smile. It shows that the value of exports of Irish drinks total (so not just whiskey) reached €2 billion for the first time. The report says 119 markets across the world enjoyed a drink of something Irish, but when you do the math (1+1=2), it’s clear that Irish whiskey had a huge effect on this surge. We might just celebrate this good news with a glass of something. Irish whiskey, probably.


Light gin? Don’t mind if I do

Hayman’s creates new Dry January offering: ‘light gin’

Are you Dry, Damp, or Try Januarying? The now imperative question that comes every new year (yay) is one that results in a variety of answers and an increasing amount of solutions for those looking to change things up. Hayman’s has done particularly well in our book with its Small Gin, so perhaps it’s not surprising to see the brand tap into that success with a new product, a ‘light gin’. “Hayman’s London Light is an evolution of our Small Gin innovation, and comes in a 700ml bottle,” explains co-owner James Hayman. “It is delightfully smooth, and when served with chilled tonic and a twist of lemon it doesn’t compromise on the taste of a regular G&T, even though it has 70% less alcohol.” The brand also notes that recent research reveals that four in five bars are planning to increase its low-alcohol range in 2023 to meet the needs of the consumer who wants to drink in moderation. Of course, if you’re not making any new year commitments (good for you, you run your own race), then Hayman’s has plenty of classic expressions like its London Dry, Old Tom, and navy strength Royal Dock Gin, as well as some flavoured expressions like sloe gin and Exotic Citrus to enjoy.


Do you have what it takes to take part in the Italicus Aperitivo Challenge?

Entries open: the Art of Italicus Aperitvo Challenge 2023

Want to win an exclusive mentorship from Paradiso Barcelona, the no.1 bar in the world? Then you’ll need to best your fellow bartenders in The Art of Italicus Aperitivo Challenge 2023. The competition is back across 11 countries worldwide to challenge drink makers to do their best impression of George’s Marvellous Medicine and get creative with ingredients in order to present something unique in the apertivo mould. Obviously, they have to use Italiscus Rosolio di Bergamotto citrus liqueur, and take inspiration from any form of art, with a focus on sustainability. The title of the ‘Italicus bar artist of the year’ and to work in the bar that topped 50 Best Bars 2022 awaits and applications opened this week on the 9 January and will run until 6 March 2023 on the brand’s website.

Ferrand year of the rabbit

Crouching tiger, hidden rabbit

Ferrand releases Year of the Rabbit Port-cask Cognac

To celebrate the Chinese new year, which in case you didn’t know is the Year of the Rabbit, Ferrand has created a very special Cognac. It’s called Ferrand 10 Générations Cognac Port Cask finish. It’s aged first in French oak barrels before spending a finishing period in casks that previously held Port. Ferrand supremo, Alexandre Gabriel, pioneered wine cask finishes in Cognac in recent years by showing that far from being innovations, in the past eaux-de-vie were often matured in used wine casks. This special edition comes in a gift box and the label features a hidden rabbit which you can only see if you look very carefully. It comes in a 50cl bottle at 44% ABV. Best of all, it’s just landed at Master of Malt. We can’t think of  a better way to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit

Club Soda bar crawl

You can drink all of these cocktails and still churn out high quality content

And finally… take a bar crawl with a difference

We love a bar crawl here at Master of Malt but we also love, LOVE responsible drinking. In the past the only way to reconcile the two was to not have a cocktail at some of the bars. That way we could remain clear-headed, fresh-faced and bushy-tailed the next day. Now, however, you don’t have to forgo the deliciousness because a group of Covent Garden and Soho bars have come together with Club Soda, the “London’s mindful drinking specialist”, to produce a sober bar crawl this January. Go to Club Soda for more information. Participating bars include Tempest at Swift Soho (one of The World’s 50 Best Bars 2022), SOMA, The Lower Third, Nightjar Carnaby, and Barrio, Each one has created its own alcohol free cocktail so you can visit as many bars as you like, and you won’t fall asleep on the night bus and wake up in Stratford.