In the news this week, Mariah Carey has entered the Irish cream liqueur market. And we’ve forgotten everything else that’s happened because we’re so delighted and astounded. You’ll have to read all of The Nightcap: 20 August edition to find out what else is going on.
Before we do our usual round-up, we’d like to pay our respects to the legendary Douglas Ankrah, inventor of the Pornstar Martini. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family. We’ll be raising a glass to him tonight.
The MoM blog welcomed Lauren Eads for the first time this week as she explored the delights of the Pisco Sour, while Jess took us around Glenlivet’s new visitor centre, and Millie championed Gordon’s Wine Bar – there’s nowhere else quite like it. Henry then celebrated Cocktails in the City turning 10, before Adam introduced Dingle’s first core whiskey, found out how Reyka Vodka made its mark, and reported back from the impressive Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery. We ended the week with some seriously swanky whiskies from Diageo. They’re pretty tasty but are they worth £23,500 for the set?
Now on with the Nightcap: 20 August edition!
Apply to become ‘world’s first Prosecco taster’
The job of a lifetime is on the cards for one lucky Prosecco lover thanks to the House of Townsend. The family wine merchant is offering folks the chance to work ‘nine ‘till wine’ by becoming the ‘world’s first’ professional Prosecco taster. The role is sadly a fixed-term contract for one month, but the successful candidate will get the chance to give feedback on six different bottles within two weeks. The opportunity is open to those who can taste wine and provide constructive feedback, although the lucky winner will be chosen at random and announced on Wednesday 8 September. So the door really is open here. It should be noted that the successful candidate will be paid in Prosecco, but if you’re applying for this we’re pretty sure that’s all you’re in it for anyway. If you’d like to apply or want more info, simply head here. though apparently “those who experience wine headaches need not apply.”
Fisherman’s whisky collection valued at £15,000
About 10 years ago Jon O’Connell (no relation to our Adam) was fishing at Rothiemurchus when he began chatting to another fisherman over a dram or two of Aberlour A’bunadh. He enjoyed it so much that he started collecting a bottle from every batch ever made. This chance encounter has led to him amassing a selection of 66 bottles Aberlour A’bunadh, which has been valued at £15,884. Looks like that dram fishing has paid off, as has all those years O’Connell spent being outbid in auctions and scouring obscure whisky shops across Europe to track down more elusive releases. Now he’s going to seel his unique connection. Mark Littler will broker the deal, after helping Matthew Robson, 28, from Taunton, to sell his 28-bottle collection of Macallan single malt for more than £40,000 last year. O’Connell says he’s decided to sell as he thinks his whiskies would make for “a wonderful present for someone – certainly for that fisherman that inspired me all those years ago”. Mr Littler says that the A’bunadh whisky series is the largest collection he’s ever sold and that what makes it so unique is that O’Connell has a bottle from every batch. It will be someone very lucky that gets their hands on it.
27 year old Cara Gilbert takes over at Tobermory
Tobermory has just appointed one of the youngest ever distillery managers. Cara Gilbert from Clackmannanshire is only 27 year old and she’s now in charge of the 223 year old distillery on the Isle of Mull. What an incredible responsibility in one so young. She clearly knows her onions though with a degree in biological science and a master in brewing and distilling from Heriot Watt. She had a stint working at Tullamore D.E.W. in Ireland before joining the Distell group first at Bunnahabhain and then Tobermory. Gilbert commented: “It’s an honour to be given the opportunity to take on this role, helping to etch the next chapter for such a historic distillery. In my head, I always knew I wanted to be in a managerial position before I was 30 and a combination of hard work, seizing every opportunity thrown my way and learning from the best has made this vision a reality.” She will be working with master distiller Brendan McCarron who added: “Cara’s absolutely bursting with talent, passion and knowledge about distilling so it’s incredible to watch her tick off another career milestone. Whether it’s peated or unpeated malts, limited editions or an enticing range of gin, it’s the dream job for anyone and she’s going to do amazing things.” And talking of limited editions, we have some very special whiskis from the Distell stable landing at MoM next week. Watch this space.
Monkey Shoulder reveals new bartender competition
Monkey Shoulder whisky has a new bartender competition up its sleeves. The contest, excellently named Monkey Bars, will give teams of two or three contestants the chance to build their own brand from concept to reality. Entries must include a brand name, an idea of brand identity, three drinks (at least two made with Monkey Shoulder) and, most importantly, packaging that stands out and communicates something beyond drinks. The brand suggests a QR code for a playlist as an example, but the possibilities are endless. Go here to submit your ideas. A panel of industry experts will decide on the winning concept, which will be created and distributed nationwide through Lean Kitchen Network (LKN) and land on doorsteps across the country this autumn. The competition is open for applications between 5 until 26 August, with the three finalists announced on 6 September. The finalists will then see their ideas mocked up before pitching them live to the judges on 20 September. Imagine Dragons’ Den but less finance talk and more cocktail chat. “We hope that this is a chance to change someone’s life, with the concept being progressed and continued following the three months of funding and support from Monkey Shoulder,” says Joe Petch, Monkey Shoulder’s global ambassador. “After a hard time for bartenders, we’re hoping that this opportunity will invigorate their creativity and love for cocktails.”
Highland Park launches Cask Strength Release No.2
We’ve got some cracking news for fans of Highland Park this week as the Orkney based distillery revealed it is launching the second in the series to its award-winning cask strength range. The whisky is a great opportunity to taste some full-blooded Highland Park goodness without any dilution and at 63.9% ABV. Release No. 2 promises more robust and intense flavours. While each whisky will share the same underlying character, every batch will showcase different characteristics based on the cask make-up. In this case, Highland Park Cask Strength Release No.2 has been matured predominantly in sherry-seasoned European and American oak casks, and a small quantity of ex-bourbon casks. The resulting aromas and flavours are said to be of pear and almond cake, toasted oak, liquorice, cracked black pepper and aromatic peat. “Cask Strength Release No.2 celebrates the harmonious balance of tastes in the classic Highland Park style,” says masker whisky maker Gordon Motion. “I want to give everyone who loves Highland Park the chance to experience our single malt whisky in its purest form, its full flavour allows you to discover the taste and strength that appeals to your palate by adding ice or water according to your preference.” Highland Park Cask Strength Release No.2 is on its way to MoM Towers now.
Breaking Bad-inspired bar opening in Newcastle
You’d probably think there’s one thing you wouldn’t want your bar associated with, and that’s the mayhem and misery caused by trafficking in a dangerously-addictive drug, but the team behind a new venue clearly thinks differently. Newcastle is the latest city to get an ABQ, also known as the ‘Breaking Bad-inspired bar.’ The experience is based on the hit TV series. Visitors have to dress up in hazmat suits before entering an RV (motorhome) where they then ‘cook-up’ drinks – just as if they were making methamphetamine, but with cocktails. What larks! There is already a permanent ABQ in London, and pop-ups in Paris, Manchester and New York. The new addition opens mid September at Lane 7, a retro bowling alley. Seb Lyall, founder of Lollipop, the bar group behind it, explained: “We have always wanted to open our concepts in other great cities in the UK. We are proud to be partnering up with Lane 7 in Newcastle to bring this experience up north.” ABQ isn’t the only novelty venue in the Lollipop stable, there’s also London’s only naked restaurant, Bunyadi in Borough. On second thoughts, hazmat suits sound quite appealing.
Tamdhu’s sixth mighty Batch Strength is on its way
If there’s one thing we love here at Master of Malt, it’s Tamdhu. This is one of the very few distilleries in Scotland to use only Oloroso-seasoned casks to mature its whisky. So, if you’re into sherry bombs, then you need some Tamdhu. The core range is pretty tasty, but what gets whisky nuts really hot and bothered is the distillery’s Batch Strength releases. You can read more about this magnificent series here. And now a new one is on its way! Sandy McIntyre, Tamdhu Distillery Manager, explained: “The Batch Strength series is one of our most popular releases – and Batch Strength No.006 is sure to appeal to our fans old and new. The high proportion of first-fill Oloroso sherry casks give this whisky a rich, complex taste and long, rewarding finish.” It’s a NAS whisky bottled at a mighty 58.6% ABV with no chill filtering. Expect massive quantities of dried fruit, spice and all kinds of sherried richness. Previous releases have been exceptional, winning gold medals at San Francisco World Spirits Competition and many others. All this for a very reasonable RRP of £79.99. Keep watching the new products page, it’ll be with us soon.
Try a ‘zero waste’ cocktail during Zero Waste Week
So, what’s everyone doing for Zero Waste Week, 6-10 September? Us, we’re terrified of doing anything in case we generate any waste. Happily, we can go out and have a drink while producing very little waste thanks to a new cocktail that’s been created by Discarded, hard seltzer brand Served, and top chef Adam Handling. Called the Full Circle, it’s available from Handling’s Eve bar in Covent Garden, London from 6-30 September. It combines Discarded Grape Skin Vodka, Muyu Vetiver Gris, Italicus, mind and thyme syrup, lime juice, and it’s topped with Served Lime hard seltzer. Both Served and Discarded are made with unwanted or leftover ingredients. According to the press release, in Europe we throw away 50 million tonnes of fruit and veg because “it does not meet aesthetic standards of retailers.” Ellie Goulding, founder of Served and UN Environment Programme ambassador, explained: “Zero Waste Week is an increasingly important UK initiative at this crucial point, and it has been great to partner with the talented bar managers at Adam Handling’s Eve Bar to create a cocktail using Served and upcycling ingredients from the kitchen that would have otherwise been thrown away. Being able to partner with like minded spirits such as Discarded Grape Skin Vodka has shown us all that we can all make a difference to the environment by what we eat and drink”. Handling recommends drinking this special cocktail with a dish of thinly-sliced ‘ethically-farmed’ sturgeon, smoked mousse, and caviar. It’s gourmet environmentalism, darling.
And finally… Mariah Carey launches Irish cream liqueur
Sometimes you write something so bizarre it’s tempting to think that everyone in the world is playing some kind of prank on you. But this news appears to be very real. In truly baffling, but admittedly also quite brilliant scenes, an Irish cream liqueur has entered the celebrity drinks market and Mariah Carey, of all people, is behind it. Seriously. That picture above isn’t photoshopped. While you, and every Irish person, may be wondering what the hell is going on, the truth is we don’t even really know. The little info the brand has revealed confirms the award-winning artist owns the brand and that she was inspired by her Irish grandparents. The drink is said to be a blend of “decadent Irish cream with aged Irish whiskey” with aromas and flavours of “freshly roasted coffee, milk chocolate and warm spices”. On Monday the singer tweeted: “Introducing Black Irish. Two years in the making. Truly a cause for celebration!!! @goblackirish”. To add even more confusion into the mix, there’s already a booze called Black Irish. So a trademark dispute is probably en route too. One thing’s for sure, Mariah Carey will not stop until every inch of Christmas is hers. She has the traditional glass of Baileys in her sight. Lord knows what she’ll try and conquer next.