We’ve got important causes, distillery expansions, trade tariff news and a Scotch whisky distillery asking fans to pick its new whisky from the cask. This week’s Nightcap is a corker….
We’ve got important causes, distillery expansions, trade tariff news and a Scotch whisky distillery asking fans to pick its new whisky from the cask. This week’s Nightcap is a corker.
Seeing as the UK enjoyed a week of Caribbean-esque weather I’d say that’s the perfect excuse to make some classic summer cocktails this weekend. Particularly given that it’s International Rum Day on Sunday (16 August). The only problem is narrowing down which serve to choose. Maybe the tropical delights of a Piña Colada? Or perhaps the zesty refreshment of a Mojito? All I know for sure is, if it’s got tasty rum and can be sipped while reading The Nightcap then it’s the right choice.
This week we kicked things off on the blog with the news that our summer sale is very much still going before we welcomed the new arrival of a gin with a purpose to support the hospitality industry. Ian Buxton’s then turned his focus to maturation and whether it can ever be manipulated or accelerated as Annie distinguished the difference between Canadian and American rye whisk(e)y and gave us the first instalment of her two-part series on Icelandic spirits. Adam, meanwhile, made the most of the glorious weather by enjoying some gin with some weird and wonderful botanicals and then an indulgent, summery serve which we recommend you make up a glass (or pitcher, it’s the weekend!) of while viewing our fabulous new video tour of Kent’s own Anno Distillery.
Glengoyne invites fans to pick latest single cask
Glengoyne announced this week that it wants you to decide what whisky will become a part of the distillery’s latest ‘Cask of the Moment’ single cask bottling. As long as you tune in to its live stream event at 8pm on Friday 28 August. ‘Casks Unlocked’ features a panel of industry figures join distillery manager Robbie Hughes and global brand ambassador Gordon Dundas tasting and discussing four single casks samples that were chosen from Glengoyne’s Warehouse #8 – including a Port pipe, hogshead, bourbon barrel, and Madeira cask. The truly exciting part is that you can join in at home by purchasing a tasting kit filled with each sample. At the end of the event the panel, viewers, and Glengoyne community will cast a vote for their preferred cask and the winner and the eventual whisky will be available to purchase at the newly reopened distillery shop and online via the Glengoyne website. “At Glengoyne, we’re incredibly fortunate to have some of the most loyal fans in the whisky world. That’s why, to show our appreciation for their ongoing support, we decided to host ‘Casks Unlocked’ – a special opportunity for our community to select Glengoyne’s latest single cask whisky,” says Hughes. “Some of the liquid in the sample kits may have never been released for sale, so this truly is a one-of-a-kind experience that we’re excited to offer our community.” Click here to purchase your Glengoyne ‘Casks Unlocked’ tasting kits.
Buffalo Trace Distillery Continues $1.2 Bil Expansion
Despite the pandemic, Buffalo Trace Distillery has made great strides in its $1.2 billion infrastructure investment over the past year. Four new 22-foot-tall cookers with 80,000 gallons of cooking capacity were installed, as were four new fermenters with 93,000-gallon capacity and a new cooling tower. A new $50 million, 110,000-square-feet high-speed bottling hall opened just in time to package essential hand sanitizer, while three more barrel warehouses each with the capacity to hold 58,800 barrels were recently built and three more are on the way. Also in the works at the 247-year-old distillery are eight more fermenters, a new dry house (the area where spent mash is dried and shipped out), a water treatment facility, a second stillhouse, more barrel warehouses, and in the future, another craft bottling hall. Another craft bottling hall will allow Buffalo Trace to produce more single barrel and small-batch bourbons. Since tours resumed on July 1, guests have also been able to see the expanded visitor centre which includes additional tasting rooms and more retail space. The work will be welcome news to fans of the brand, as demand for much of the whisky Buffalo Trace creates exceeds its supply. “We promise we are doing everything we can to make more, as evidenced by our progress we’ve made in the past year with our expansion,” said master distiller Harlen Wheatley. “But great bourbon does take time to age, and we won’t compromise age, taste, or proof just to fill more bottles. We’re just asking our fans to remain patient as we wait for our stocks to mature.” To see a video of the progress Buffalo Trace has made on its $1.2 billion expansion in the past year, click here.
‘Dominican rum’ registered as denomination of origin
Some really intriguing news this week that landed at the doorstep of MoM Towers was that the application for the ‘Dominican rum’ denomination of origin has finally been granted. While you may associate the beautiful island with golden beaches, fine cigars and Merengue music, the Caribbean island is also home to a number of delightful rum brands such as Ron Barceló, Brugal and Atlantico and thanks to its geographical location, the island has a vast fauna and flora and the most varied climate of the Antilles. The World Trademark Review revealed that it’s these particular characteristics – “quality, reputation and geographical, including natural and human factors” – that are the foundation of the denomination of origin. A rum can now only be labelled as ‘Dominican’, if producers harvest the sugarcane locally and ferment, distil and age the alcohol in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, all within the borders of the Dominican Republic territory. It’s been a long road for the Dominican Association of Producers of Rum to achieve this milestone as it applied for the denomination of origin way back in July 2014. Third parties had opposed the application on the ground that it contained technical deficiencies but all the oppositions filed were eventually rejected. However, this resolution is not final and an appeal has been lodged by certain parties. For now, Dominican rum has its denomination of origin. The Distinctive Signs Department of ONAPI, in Resolution No 00204 dated 29 May 2020, stated that: “the application for the ‘Dominican Rum’ denomination of origin fulfils all the technical requirements, as it clearly describes the human and environmental conditions required in the cultivation area, as well as the type of sugarcane from the Dominican Republic that must be used and the ageing process required”. And just in time for International Rum Day as well.
Cocktails in the City returns with Community Spirit Edition
Cocktails in the City is back! On Friday 11 and Saturday 12 September 2020 an alfresco summer garden party at the Bedford Square Gardens will celebrate the city’s best bars that are now reopening, raising money and awareness for the industry. In total, 30 of the city’s most innovative bars will gather at the socially distanced event, including Callooh Callay, 68 & Boston, Nightjar, Trailer Happiness and more. Brands including Moët & Chandon, Belvedere Vodka, The London Essence Company, Campari, Hennessy, Glenmorangie and more will also be making an appearance and guests will be treated to live music from Nightjar and The Piano Works. There will be tasting sessions hosted by The Mixing Class, and complimentary interactive demonstrations throughout the weekend including the Art of the Aperitivo and cocktail making sessions hosted by TT Liquor. This year’s event partners are the wonderful folks at The Drinks Trust and all profits from tickets will be donated to further their outstanding work. Cocktails in the City is the brainchild of Sophie Bratt and Sly Augustin, who created the initiative in the wake of the Grenfell Towers fire in 2017 to raise funds for worthy causes and bring the hospitality industry together. “Boasting nearly two acres of wide-open space, Bedford Square Gardens is the perfect place to bring people together in a safe and socially distanced environment,” says Andrew Scutts, the organiser. “It is a unique opportunity to rediscover the venues that have been forced to close for so long, take part in a series of interactive experiences and enjoy great drinks with friends whilst raising money for a worthy cause”.
Glenmorangie House reopens to the public
Highland whisky fans, you can visit Glenmorangie House once more! The 17th-century country house is back open for business as of today, so long as you’re a group of between six and 10 people. Groups of six will have to shell out £1,500 per night, though this gets you a private chef, waiting staff and concierge, and of course, the run of an absolutely breathtaking house. “Prior to our reopening we have introduced additional, rigorous health and safety procedures to ensure social distancing can be adhered to,” said Glenmorangie brand home manager Stuart Smith. “Our team are fully ready to host guests and deliver the very best luxury retreat, accompanied by the finest Highland hospitality all with the aim of restoring our guests’ tranquillity.” If lockdown all got a bit much and you fancy a Highland escape, then this could do the trick. The rest of us will just have to settle for a delicious dram instead.
Wine auction to raise money for Lebanon
Following what Anglo-Lebanese writer Michael Karam described as: “a perfect storm of revolution, financial crash, Covid-19 and now this terrible blast,” Lebanon faces a worrying future of food shortages, poverty and political turmoil. Many of us are asking what we can do to help. Madeleine Waters, who knows the country well from organising the award-winning Wines of Lebanon publicity campaign, is organising a charity auction to raise money. She commented: “Wine is pretty much Lebanon’s only export, and one which is bringing much-needed export dollars into a country in the midst of a financial crisis. I would love this to all be about Lebanese wine, but that will limit what we can achieve – so I want it to be a celebration of all wine-producing countries, acting in solidarity with Lebanon.” Expect rare vintages of Chateau Musar and Ksara as well all manner of boozy goodies. Proceeds will go to the re-building Kamal Mouzawak’s Souk el Tayeb & Tawlet, a farmers market and restaurant in Beirut where Lebanese of all religious denominations sell food side-by-side, and Impact Lebanon, which distributes funds to vetted NGOs. The online auction will take place over four days from 28-31 August. Click here if you want to get involved. Or just buy some of Lebanon’s wonderful wine or arak. You won’t regret it.
US trade tariffs will not extend to British gin
There’s a new development in the seemingly ongoing US/EU trade war saga! No, don’t scroll down, this time it’s good news: the US will not be extending the tariffs which apply to Scotch whisky, among other things, to British gin. With exports of £672 million, gin is a big money-spinner for the British economy. As you might expect, Miles Beale from drinks industry body WSTA had something to say: “The news that the US has decided not to escalate tariffs is encouraging. This will come as a huge relief to the growing UK British gin sector which has seen distilleries more than double in number in the last five years. Our innovative British distillers, particularly those working in the SME distilleries that the WSTA represents, can breathe easy and raise a glass to America. This is the first important step in what should prove to be a closer trading relationship, and should provide the necessary space for constructive discussions between the US and UK Governments, and for both administrations to work to remove the remaining tariffs against liqueurs, bourbon and Scotch products – and all wine products affected as well. Industry’s voice on both sides of the Atlantic for a free and fair trade agenda is being listened to and that is good for business and good for consumers.” See, we told you it was good news.
And finally… Drink whisky on International Rum Day?
As we are sure you are aware, it’s International Rum Day on the 16 August, so you have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the team at Smokehead who are using the day as an excuse to push their latest Islay single malt; almost as bold as the English whisky distillery who tried to muscle in on Burns Night earlier this year. A Sassenach whisky on the Bard’s own night? Is nothing sacred? At least there is a proper hook as this latest Smokehead is aged in an actual rum cask. Iain Weir, brand director, explained: “We are overwhelmed by the boldness of flavour in our new bottling and can’t wait to see our Smokeheads’ reaction. When our rich, smoky, salty Islay Smokehead collides with spicy, sweet Caribbean rum casks, carnage is inevitable.” We can confirm that not only is Rum Rebel delicious, the sweetness and smoke combining into an exquisite hell broth, but also that it’s coming soon to MoM. Furthermore, on International Rum Day itself, this coming Sunday, top bartender Mikey Sim will be showing you how to make a special Smokito on Facebook and Instagram, go to @smokeheadwhisky. So rebellious.