We’ve got plenty of weird and wonderful stories from the world of booze including dog that can fetch gin, Arbeg’s monster ice cream truck, and Glenlivet appears on MTV Cribs. They’re all in the Nightcap: 22 October edition.
It being the 22 October today means we’re nearly in November. And that means that the year is almost done. It certainly doesn’t feel right that 2021 has almost gone the way of the dinosaurs. But the numbers don’t lie. Here we are, very close to 2022, and not even really feeling like we’ve got our heads round 2020. It’s all a bit much, isn’t it? Better to not think about it, on reflection. Let’s all distract ourselves with some lovely safe Nightcapping. Ahhhh. That’s better, isn’t it?
This week the MoM blog became home to some exciting new competitions, including one that offers you the chance to visit Campbeltown in the company of Glen Scotia and another that promises a boozy bundle from Inverroche Gin. Elsewhere, Henry did his bit to make sure Tomatin whisky gets the spotlight it deserves and made a delicious The Gimlet, while Lauren learned the art of the cooper. On-hand to report on the big news that Johnnie Walker has a new master blender was Adam, who also explained why he still dreams of Bertie’s whisky bar and then put a torch to his face to tell some spooky whisky ghost stories…
But we ain’t afraid of no ghosts. So we’re cracking on with The Nightcap: 22 October edition!
Which? reveals the best gin advent calendars
UK’s consumer champion Which? magazine has just revealed the results of its latest test, finding the best Advent calendars on the market. Taking in three categories, chocolate, toys, or gin, 23 calendars were marked by a panel to reveal which are worth your money and which are better avoided. Hotel Chocolat and the Playmobil Pirate Island were both highly rated but what you’re really interested in is gin, isn’t it? Of the five gin advent calendars tested, the Drinks by the Dram Premium Gin Advent Calendar (that’s us) came out on top. Huzzah! It received high praise for its packaging and variety of gins – featuring bottles from around the world and small niche distilleries. That Boutique-y Gin Company’s Advent Calendar (that’s us too) was also awarded an Editor’s Choice and was the second favourite of the panel, receiving praise for its selection of UK craft distilleries, and mix of sweet and dry gins. The other calendars tested did not score as highly, partly because they contained several cheaper-to-produce gin liqueurs with much lower ABVs, which did not provide the same value for money. “Our research shows it pays to do your homework when looking for an advent calendar this Christmas, as the difference in quality and value for money between the best and worst examples in our tests was huge,” says Ele Clark, Which? retail editor. Which is basically a corporate way of saying we kick ass. Get your Advent calendars here folks. They’re officially the best around, after all.
Ardbeg creates monster ‘Ice Scream’ truck
Whisky lovers are in for a treat this Halloween as Arbeg has specially commissioned an ‘ice scream’ horror truck as a homage to classic B-Movie beasts. The vehicle, which took three months and 12 people to build and comes complete with horns, tentacles and beady eyes. It will serve exclusive ice cream creations made in collaboration with top ice cream maker Ruby Viole featuring Ardbeg’s smoky single malt Scotch whisky. These include: Cookies & Scream, with Ardbeg Wee Beastie ice cream sandwiched between charcoal cookies, coated in (optional) crunchy mealworms; the Ahhh, No! Bar, made with Lapsang Souchong ice cream with an Ardbeg An Oa caramel centre coated in white chocolate; and Ice Cream Groan, a charcoal cone, filled with Ardbeg Ten smoky blackcurrant ice cream, topped with sour cherries and a brittle insect-flecked shard. The ice creams are free for Ardbeg Committee Members and are also available to buy from Ruby Violet’s King’s Cross Coal Drops Yard outlet in London from Friday 22nd October until stocks last. Visitors to the Ice Scream truck can also book an exclusive 45-minute slot in a scary Monsters of Smoke ‘cage’ and indulge in ice and cocktails. The ‘cage’ is an extension of the Ice Scream horror truck and allows visitors to experience squeamishly smoky cocktails. The Ice Scream truck will visit London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh between 26 and 31 October. Go here to purchase tickets.
Macallan launches Red Collection
It literally never stops at The Macallan. Seemingly every week, the marketing department gets in touch to tell us about another amazing rare whisky or collection of whiskies from this famous distillery. In the past month, we’ve reported on the 71 Year Old Tales of Macallan, a rather more affordable chocolate-inspired whisky, and the 30 Year Old Double Cask. You’d think the team would be off with the Macallan caravan to Hunstanton for some well-earned R&R. But no, there’s more, and it’s pretty special. Called the Red Collection, it’s inspired by the colour that runs throughout Macallan’s history. The distillery’s founder Alexander Reid’s surname means ‘the red one’, The Macallan’s Choice Old range launched in 1903 had red print on the boxes and there was the red ribbon tied around bottles of The Macallan 40 Year Old in 1980. It consists of a 40 year old, 50 year old, and a scarcely believable 78 year old, the oldest ever release from The Macallan to date. What’s more, they’re coming soon to Master of Malt! But seriously, a plea to the big wigs at The Macallan, give your staff some time off. They’ve really earned it.
Millie Milliken wins IWSC Spirits Communicator of the Year
We are delighted that one of Master of Malt’s writers has won one of the biggest awards in the British drinks industry. Last night at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Millie Milliken fought off stiff competition to be crowned IWSC Spirits Communicator of the Year. It was quite the shortlist with ex-Master of Malt editor Kristiane Sherry, Moa Nilsson aka ‘Swedish Whisky Girl’, Felipe Schrieberg of ‘The Rhythm and Booze’ project and Forbes fame, and Billy Abbot from the Whisky Exchange all in the running. The year, however, didn’t begin so well for Milliken, as Imbibe magazine where she was deputy editor closed its doors, but since then she has gone from strength to strength, launching the Drinks Community with the Drinks Trust, and writing for a huge variety of publications including the Master of Malt blog (read her stuff here). She told us: “Winning this award is a huge honour. Looking back at the previous winners, it’s unbelievable to think I am now the latest to hold this accolade. The world of spirits communication has never been more exciting thanks to incredible people making incredible liquids. I hope I can help bring a new wave of thirsty drinks writers through the ranks with the plans I have over the next year – and beyond.” Congratulations Millie!
Glencairn Glass launches crime short story competition
Did you know that for the past two years Glencairn Glass has been a headline sponsor of the McIlvanney and Bloody Scotland Debut crime-writing prizes? Yep, the whisky glass experts have been helping to celebrate the finest in Scottish crime writing talent and now it’s building on this creative collaboration by launching its very own crime short story competition, in partnership with Scottish Field Magazine. The competition opened for entries on 20 October and runs until 31 December, inviting all budding crime writers to build their stories around the theme: ‘A Crystal-Clear Crime’ in no more than 2,000 words. Prizes for the winning trio of authors includes £1,000 for first place, whilst the two runners up will each receive £250. All three winners will also get a set of six engraved Glencairn glasses. The overall winning entry will be published in Scottish Field and the Glencairn website in spring after the winners are announced in March 2022. The judges include Scottish Field’s drinks columnist and author of the historical thriller Hare, Peter Ranscombe, the 2020 winner of the Bloody Scotland Debut Crime Novel of the Year for her book Hold Your Tongue, Deborah Masson, as well as Glencairn’s marketing director Gordon Brown, who has written eight crime novels and is one of the founding directors of the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival. So, if you fancy yourself to be the new Ian Rankin, then make sure you submit your short story entries here before midnight on the Friday 31 December 2021.
Brewdog’s solid gold beer can ad misleading, ASA says
Cast your mind back to the balmy days of July, we ran a story on how some customers were up in arms about a misleading gold can of Brewdog beer. The maverick brewers ran a promotion which said customers could win ‘solid gold’ beer cans. Now advertising watchdog (so many dogs in this story) the ASA says the claim was misleading, as some winners complained after discovering the cans were not solid gold, but were gold-plated instead. The ASA received 25 complaints in relation to three social media adverts and in its ruling said it “understood the prize consisted of 24 carat gold-plated replica cans,” but added “because the ads stated that the prize included a solid gold can when that was not the case, we concluded the ads were misleading”. In response, James Watt, co-founder and chief executive at Brewdog, said: “We hold our hands up, we got the first gold can campaign wrong.” Brewdog said its social media posts which contained the words “solid gold” did so in error due to miscommunication, which also claimed the can’s value was £15,000. The ruling comes amid heavy criticism of Brewdog in recent months, with a letter from ex-workers stating former staff had “suffered mental illness” as a result of working for the craft beer brewer. Perhaps a period of quiet reflection might be in order for the bad dogs of brewing.
The Glenlivet gets the MTV Cribs treatment
Trading Beverly Hills for Speyside, The Glenlivet and comedian Iain Stirling have released a new episode of the hit show, MTV Cribs. Offering an exclusive tour of the Glenlivet’s new Speyside home and tapping into some premium noughties nostalgia, there might not be sports cars or entourage-packed jacuzzis, but the distillery does have an interactive barley field. Take that, Snoop Dogg. The episode – available to view here – features the classic MTV Cribs peek inside the fridge, which is filled top-to-bottom with the Glenlivet Capsule Collection. There’s also a glimpse at some of the other exciting experiences on offer, which could even tempt Mariah to pop down and jump in a bath of cocktail capsules sometime soon. Taking cues from the original episodes, Stirling even introduces viewers to a few friends along the way, including the oracle of The Glenlivet and master distiller, Alan Winchester, who he attempts to catch out in a quick fire round of questions. If you’d like to check out Speyside’s finest crib, then you’ll be pleased to know that it is now open to the public and you can book here.
And finally… dog taught to fetch gin
More canine-based news: it has been revealed this week that a woman has managed to teach her dog to fetch her a drink when she says ‘it’s gin o’clock!’ Somerset residents Janice, and her husband Dave, first realised their dog had the capacity for exceptional customer service after taking a break from gardening. Janice turned to their labrador Bear and said, ‘ooh, it’s gin o’ clock’ and off he went to the kitchen to retrieve a premixed can of Gin and Tonic with his mouth. Bravo, Bear. It does make us wonder what the implications of this news is. Might this be the answer to staff shortage in the hospitality industry? Can we expect to see dogs working the back bar? And have dogs secretly always wanted to be involved in the drinks industry? There’s a lot of questions to answer. But what’s not in doubt is who’s a good boy then. It’s Bear. What a good dog.