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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Cocktail Bitters

That’s amaro! The best and bitterest liqueurs from Italy and beyond.

Amari (plural of amaro) are traditional Italian bitter liqueurs which are madly fashionable among the cocktail cognoscenti. No wonder, as they make versatile mixers as well as being delicious on…

Amari (plural of amaro) are traditional Italian bitter liqueurs which are madly fashionable among the cocktail cognoscenti. No wonder, as they make versatile mixers as well as being delicious on their own.

Italians love bitterness. You can taste it in the coffee, in the wine (there’s a Puglian grape called negroamaro – black and bitter) and, most notably, in a class of liqueurs called amari, meaning ‘bitter’. They are made all over the peninsula by steeping herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables in alcohol, then sweetening and diluting the concoction. The best known is Campari but each part of Italy has its own amaro, like Fernet Branca from Milan, or Amaro Montenegro from Bologna. These brands have their roots in the 19th century, but Italian families and monasteries have been making versions for much longer.

Until recently, they were seen as a bit old-fashioned, the sort of things drunk by old men in cafes alongside an espresso. But in recent years they have become fashionable with bartenders all over the world. This has inspired people outside Italy to make their own. There are now a number of boutique producers in America and Britain, and even specialist amari bars like Amor y Amargo in New York.

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Nature distilled: Exploring Oslo Håndverksdestilleri (OHD) in Norway

With its idyllic fjord, lush forested hills, bountiful indigenous botanicals and laid-back stance on foraging, Oslo is a city that practically lends itself to distilling. Last December I ventured to…

With its idyllic fjord, lush forested hills, bountiful indigenous botanicals and laid-back stance on foraging, Oslo is a city that practically lends itself to distilling. Last December I ventured to Oslo Håndverksdestilleri (OHD) for a tour and tasting during a trip to the country’s vibrant capital.

They say that in Oslo you’re never more than a 15-minute walk from nature, and there’s not a single doubt in my mind that statement is true. But the city is much more than the wild and breathtakingly beautiful nature that surrounds it.

Cosmopolitan yet quintessentially Nordic all at once, Oslo’s bustling cafe culture, eclectic architecture, and dynamic food and drink scene rival the likes of its hip Scandinavian sisters Stockholm and Copenhagen. Amid the coffee-slash-cocktail bars and microbreweries lies Oslo Håndverksdestilleri, which was established by Cask Norway’s Marius Vestnes and Number One Drinks’ Marcin Miller back in 2015.

No matter where you are in the world, it’s a given that the ultimate way to experience a country – particularly if the visit is fleeting – is to eat and drink like a local. With that in mind, I found my way to a red brick building by the city’s longest river, the Alna, where commercial manager, Elias Vega, and head distiller, Matt McMillan, greeted me with a cracking Nordic spread.

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Master of Cocktails – Tasting Notes; Reconstructed

Greetings one and all to another edition of #MasterofCocktails. If you didn’t catch last week’s instalment, you might not have seen that we’re changing up how we do this –…

Master of Cocktails Tasting Notes Reconstructed

Greetings one and all to another edition of #MasterofCocktails. If you didn’t catch last week’s instalment, you might not have seen that we’re changing up how we do this – a much less step-by-step affair, though you’ll be getting more advanced, exciting recipes, with more focus on presentation and garnish. This week we’re going to be using the ‘Beast of Dufftown’, Mortlach single malt Scotch whisky.

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Master of Cocktails – The-Candy-Apple-Jack-Hammer

It’s the return of #MasterofCocktails! And there are a few changes to the format… We’re going to be making this a much less step-by-step affair – in return though, you’ll…

Master of Cocktails Candy Apple Jack Hammer

It’s the return of #MasterofCocktails! And there are a few changes to the format… We’re going to be making this a much less step-by-step affair – in return though, you’ll be getting more advanced, exciting cocktail recipes, with more focus on presentation and garnish. We’re also moving to once a fortnight, although still at the usual time of 6pm Sunday on twitter and on the blog the very next day.

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Master of Cocktails – I’m a Fun Guy

Right then everyone. Are we all ready for this week’s #MasterofCocktails? We’re going somewhat off-piste this week, making a riff on the Boulevardier, but introducing massive Umami by firstly subbing…

Master of Cocktails I'm A Fun Guy

Right then everyone. Are we all ready for this week’s #MasterofCocktails?

We’re going somewhat off-piste this week, making a riff on the Boulevardier, but introducing massive Umami by firstly subbing the Campari for Cynar and secondly garnishing with a pickled Shiitake Mushroom, courtesy of the Pitt Cue Co. Cookbook.

The acid-umami it adds to the drink is truly wonderful, and transformative. If there was ever a cocktail for food…

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Master of Cocktails – IL Beetz

Right everyone – ready for another instalment of #MasterofCocktails? This week’s is pretty awesome, and has a pretty awesome name too – IL Beetz. I’ll explain the reasoning behind that…

Master of Cocktails IL Beetz

Right everyone – ready for another instalment of #MasterofCocktails? This week’s is pretty awesome, and has a pretty awesome name too – IL Beetz. I’ll explain the reasoning behind that later…

We’re putting together this drink using FEW Spirits American Gin – super-rich and ‘whisky-like’. It’s more than enough to stand up to the rich, roots-y quality of the Beetroot juice we’re using.

So – to business.

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St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland with Jameson!

It was 11am in Gatwick airport on Saturday 14th March. The plane taking a small drinks press contingent over to Ireland for Jameson’s extended #HelloDublin St. Patrick’s Day celebrations was…

Hello Dublin Jameson St Patricks Day Live

It was 11am in Gatwick airport on Saturday 14th March. The plane taking a small drinks press contingent over to Ireland for Jameson’s extended #HelloDublin St. Patrick’s Day celebrations was due to leave in just over an hour from Heathrow. Had I made a terrible mistake?

In fact, I’d just arrived back from a holiday and had always known I couldn’t make that flight, just as I knew all I’d be seeing on my return to blighty was Gatwick airport itself. My flight to Cork was later, and until then I’d simply be pretending I was Tom Hanks in The Terminal. (Although there were no Catherine Zeta-Jones love interest developments to speak of.)

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Master of Cocktails – Pink Gin

Well greetings one and all. Ready for another installment of #MasterofCocktails? Good then. This week’s is a very, very straightforward drink, but one that seems to have fallen somewhat out…

Master of Cocktails Pink Gin

Well greetings one and all. Ready for another installment of #MasterofCocktails? Good then.

This week’s is a very, very straightforward drink, but one that seems to have fallen somewhat out of favour recently. We’re making a Pink Gin recipe. Probably one of the very first Gin cocktails?

The original recipe here calls for simply gin and bitters, served at room temperature, in a tumbler. Not that, obviously.

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Master of Cocktails – The Jinger Ninja

Well greetings one and all. Time for another round of #MasterofCocktails methinks. Oh yes. This week we’re making a super-delicious Japanese-y sort of tea-based gin sour sort of affair. Trust…

Master of Cocktails The Jinger Ninja

Well greetings one and all. Time for another round of #MasterofCocktails methinks. Oh yes.

This week we’re making a super-delicious Japanese-y sort of tea-based gin sour sort of affair. Trust me – it’s yummers. It’s called The Jinger Ninja, a name which should make sense as we go through the recipe.

We’re using a pretty decent grade of Matcha for this drink. That’s important, as although we do want *some* bitterness, we don’t want it overpowering. I prefer the sweet, grassy tones given by something like this…

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Master of Cocktails – Salted Caramel Old-Fashioned

Right then, cocktail fans. For this week’s #MasterofCocktails, we’re going to be making a Salted Caramel Old-Fashioned recipe. Yum yum. If you’re planning on making along with this week’s #MasterofCocktails,…

Master of Cocktails Salted Caramel Old Fashioned

Right then, cocktail fans. For this week’s #MasterofCocktails, we’re going to be making a Salted Caramel Old-Fashioned recipe. Yum yum.

If you’re planning on making along with this week’s #MasterofCocktails, you’re going to need to do a bit of prep a day or so in advance. This includes making the Salted Caramel, dissolving the sugar and salt (as well as fat-washing the whisky), filtering it and adding the bitters.

This will leave you with very little left to do when the time comes to actually serve your Salted Caramel Old-Fashioned, which is quite handy indeed.

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