There’s whisky in Manchester, sparkling wine at Kent County cricket games, and free pints to be had at Greene King pubs. Want us to explain? It’s all in the Nightcap: 15 July edition!
One of the advantages of a heat wave is that they’re a great excuse to have a nice drop of something boozy. Like breakups or the World Cup, they’re an occasion that calls for a refreshing drink, and so this week has had us in our element (when we’re not melting into the furniture). But a good drink needs an accompaniment. Company, food, and music are all essential. But some cracking reading material goes a long way too. Like The Nightcap. Thanks for choosing us today. Let’s see what happened on the blog, then in the world of booze this week.
We had a double dose of features on Ardbeg’s record sale, first reporting on the news and then reacting to it, plus we gave you a chance to win tickets to the UFC with Howler Head. The new arrival was Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment, the weekly cocktail was Sangria, and when we weren’t enjoying those we were having a refreshing Highball in the sun doing some light reading on Chase Distillery, Basil Hayden bourbon, and Torabhaig Scotch.
Now we get to catch up on all the latest happenings. It’s The Nightcap: 15 July edition!
Texas SSB hits back at Whiskey & Wealth Club claims of ‘false allegations’
We reported back in December about the Texas State Securities Board issuing a ‘cease and desist’ to Dublin-based investment company Whiskey & Wealth Club. Now we have just learned that the Texas State Securities board has dismissed the emergency order following a hearing. Whiskey & Wealth’s Jay Bradley described it as “a hugely important victory for Whiskey & Wealth Club in a case that has been hanging over our business for 8 months and which cost a significant amount of money in legal fees, drained resources, defamed our company.” He continued: “The Securities Board shot from the hip and asked questions later in what was an ill-advised solo run. The Board has now rectified its mistake and recognised our substantial cooperation with the investigation. The retraction and dismissal of the case is the closest thing to an apology that we are going to get.” On closer examination, however, it’s not a clear cut victory for Bradley’s company. The document from the TSSB reads: “Whiskey & Wealth Club is committed to reviewing its marketing materials and purchase contracts.” Travis Iles from the TSSB responded by saying “the SSB did not ‘retract false allegations.’ To the extent that the company’s characterization of the resolution suggests otherwise, it is misrepresentative of the facts and circumstances related to the administrative proceeding and its resolution.” He went on to say: “Implicit in the resolution was the respondents’ acknowledgment that they would no longer sell securities in the United States unless certain securities requirements were satisfied.” So it looks like Whiskey & Wealth Club is going to have to make changes to the way it does business in America.
Spirit of Manchester Distillery is making whisky
Following forays into gin, rum, vodka, and more, The Spirit of Manchester Distillery is about to tick whisky off its list. Called OnePointSix English Whisky, after Leonardo Fibonacci’s golden ratio because it “represents the perfect balance between natural beauty and human endeavour” according to master distiller and co-founder Seb Heeley-Wiggins, the whisky is being casked this month and the first bottle will be available in 2025. It’s made from English roasted and kilned malts, a really interesting recipe combining both a distiller’s and brewer’s approach, and will undergo a long four-day fermentation period to create a fruity spirit. Following distillation, the new make will be matured in casks such as first-fill bourbon, STR red wine and sherry casks. It all sounds very promising, and those who join the brand’s Founder’s Club will get the first taste of its first ever single malt English whisky. “We are so excited to be entering the English whisky market. We are delighted to join the small number of pioneering distilleries who are working with the same goal of putting English whisky on the global map in the next 10 years. With English whisky being relatively young, we’re not bound by traditions or heritage which allows us to use the flavour-forward approach we’ve always followed,” says Heeley-Wiggins. We’re fans of the distillery anyway, but this might just take our love up a notch.
Courvoisier launches Cognac aged in mizunara casks
This week we had the pleasure of being hosted at The Connaught’s Red Room for a spot of French afternoon tea to celebrate the launch of Courvoisier Mizunara, an East-meets-West, France-meets-Japan, legendary spirit-meets-legendary wood collab that is sure to get people reaching for the wallets faster than a British shopper who finds a tub a Lurpak for under a fiver. The collaboration came after master blender Patrice Pinet from Courvoisier met chief blender from Suntory Shinki Fukuyo (who was presumably in France as both are part of Edrington-Beam-Suntory) and the former asked the latter if he would be a mate and chuck a mizunara cask his way. Only 200 casks are made using this special oak every year, and 195 of those go to Suntory, so it’s a big ask, but Fukuyo obliged. Pinet filled the mizunara with Cognac made from Grand Champagne that was aged first in French oak barrels. The notoriously difficult to work with Japanese wood was used for a secondary maturation, and supposedly showed little sign of impact for the first year-and-a-half. Fukuyo preached patience, and sure enough Courvoisier soon had an expression that it felt was worthy of becoming its first prestige offering in a long time. It is pretty special: sandalwood, coconut and rich spice bursts through the delicate marzipan garden that I always get from Courvoisier, then so much tropical fruit (passionfruit, papaya) follows. It’s very expressive, and was paired outstandingly by the Red Room in a with a Choux Bun made with cherry puree, white chocolate mousse, and matcha that’s as good a pastry as I’ve ever had. It makes the spirit even juicer and spicy and warming. An extremely limited release of 500 bottles, Courvoisier Mizunara will be available soon with an RRP of £2000…
Equiano raises £10,000 for anti-slavery charity
Equiano has teamed up with Anti-Slavery International to raise more than £10,000. Since partnering with the international human rights charity in January 2021, the African and Caribbean rum brand has been working to raise awareness and says the funds have helped change thousands of lives while pushing for legal changes that protect the vulnerable. The work is also a way of celebrating the incredible legacy of the man who inspired the brand, Olaudah Equiano. He was an abolitionist and victim of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the 18th century who was able to pay for his freedom by selling puncheons of rum. If the fact it wasn’t very tasty wasn’t enough to convince you to pick up a bottle, for every rum sold through equianorum.com, £2 is donated to Anti-Slavery International on a quarterly basis. Stellar work all around.
Oriole launches new cocktail menu
Oriole has a new cocktail cocktail menu. It draws on the migration patterns and habitats of its avian namesake, celebrating the ingredients and traditions of the Old World, the New World and the Orient. We got a chance to taste a few creations, like the Padma Punch (Ketel One vodka with 5 Rivers Indian Spiced Rum, papaya yoghurt, zara lemon oleo and curry ice cream), the Siam Martini (Plymouth gin, jasmine dragon pearls, lemongrass & kaffir vermouth and ambrette seed liqueur), and the Wakayama Highball (Italicus Bergamot liqueur, purple shiso cordial, umeboshi brine, mediterranean tonic). It’s a superb selection, very well-composed and considered with some really interesting flavours you may not have encountered before. All in a bar that should get more attention than it does. Do head down if you get a chance.
Havana Club partners with Burna Boy on new bottle
The Grammy-winning Burna Boy, who won ‘Best World Music Album’ at last year’s awards for his record Twice as Tall, has collaborated with Havana Club to create a new bottle. The Cuban rum brand has an initiative that aims to support generational voices, and you might recall earlier works with rappers Frenna and Skepta. In this case, Havana has made a label that celebrates the Nigerian artist. Traditional cultural headgear worn in South Nigeria inspired the design, with tassels and a multi-coloured ‘aso oke’ background, which is a hand-woven cloth created by the Yoruba people of West Africa that is worn to celebratory ceremonies, like weddings. A palm leaf crown decorates the brand’s logo, while the label also features Burna Boy’s signature and integrates the Rivers State region of Nigeria, where he was born. “It takes a great person to overcome daily trials and tribulations, and an even greater person to intentionally decide that life is for living. As we share in the beauty of culture, community and heritage, let’s celebrate in united liberations, says Burna Boy, rather poetically. “Please remember that you are a giant, today and always.” Above you check out a short film Havana Club and Burna Boy made together, narrated by the artist.
Chapel Down becomes Kent Cricket partner
Kent Cricket latest high-profile partnership is a delightfully boozy one with local wine producer, Chapel Down. England’s leading wine producer brings over 50,000 visitors a year to the Kent countryside to its base in Tenterden, where it makes over 1.5m bottles per annum. The move comes shortly after Chapel Down became the ‘official sparkling wine’ of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) this year, and the partnership will see its award-winning sparkling and still wines served across main bars and hospitality areas and will be supported by advertising within the Canterbury grounds. The sparkling wine will also be offered to winning teams on the podium at all Men’s International, Women’s International and Domestic Finals, which are watched by millions worldwide. The launch will take place during the 170th Canterbury Cricket Week, the oldest surviving cricket festival in the world. “Our brand home is in Kent and we are delighted to be partnering with Kent Cricket this summer. Not only is it one of England’s first-class county clubs, it is also at the centre of our county’s sporting community,” says Chapel Down CEO, Andrew Carter.
Enjoy a Bathtub G&T at Luna Cinema outdoor events
Do you remember the old days when the best you could buy at the cinema was a can of Panda cola and one of those strange hot dogs on roller that looked like they had been there for years? How times have changed. You can now get sourdough pizza, fancy burgers and if you’re at Luna Cinema event a Bathtub Gin & Tonic. Yes, the award-winning gin will now be available at over 180 outdoor screenings at 30 locations across the country. Much more delicious than a Panda cola. Hannah Burden-Teh, Bathtub Gin Brand Manager, commented: “We are very excited to be the exclusive gin of Luna Cinema. We believe that a Bathtub Gin and Tonic is perfect to enjoy whilst picnicking or watching your favourite film – and Luna Cinema combines these two activities to perfection!”
And finally… Greene King offers free pints to people with certain surnames
Any headline that contains the words ‘free pints’ are always going to catch our eyes, but this week’s announcement from Greene King is particularly cool. The brewer and pub-chain giant’s new initiative will only be giving you a free beer if you’re lucky enough to have one of these 23 surnames: Bright, Bronze, Carter, Daly, Earps, England, Greenwood, Hampton, Hemp, Kelly, Kirby, Mead, Parris, Russo, Standway, Scott, Stokes, Toone, Walsh, White, Williamson, or Wubben-Moy. Football fans will have noticed that those are the names of the England squad, currently competing in the women’s European Championships, which kicked off last week. We should note that you can only take advantage of the offer during matches, which are being screened by the pub group at 810 of its locations, with the hope being the promotion will generate support for women’s football and the national team. Not that they need much help, tonking Norway 8-0 this week after smashing viewing records for their opener against Austria, with 68,781 watched in attendance to watch the narrow victory. So, what we have here is a chance for a double win: a chance to support a great team in what could be a victorious tournament on home soil, and a free pint!