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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Fernet Branca

The Nightcap: 22 May

We’ve got another smashing edition of The Nightcap to take you into the long weekend. All the week’s top booze stories in one handy chunk.  It’s always pretty hard to…

We’ve got another smashing edition of The Nightcap to take you into the long weekend. All the week’s top booze stories in one handy chunk. 

It’s always pretty hard to predict things. Even just coin flips are tough to get right every time, and there’s only maybe about two outcomes. I’m not sure many people could have predicted how this year was going to go. It’s a bit like taking a sock full of coins, throwing them in the air and trying to predict which one a magpie will swoop in from the window and steal to buy itself a bag of Jelly Babies. However, you could easily have predicted that we would have another edition of The Nightcap, packed with bite-sized bits of booze news, for you to peruse this Friday! Enjoy!

On the MoM blog this week, we invited you to join our celebrations of all things Islay, in light of the absence of a certain huge whisky festival, on Instagram Live! As today is World Paloma Day (have a great one, guys!), we made Mexico’s favourite cocktail the slightly fancy way, while our New Arrival of the Week was a delightful limited edition fino. Elsewhere, Ian Buxton returned to present a story of great wealth and the Scotch whisky industry, while Henry was given a lesson in the complexities of sherry cask-ageing by the fab folk at Tamdhu. Annie then shared some industry top tips for drinking mindfully during lockdown before enjoying four simple and delicious Scotch whisky, Cognac and vodka-based cocktails courtesy of Moët Hennessy.

Congratulations are in order for Alex Priest, who was the victor of last week’s virtual pub quiz! A huge thanks as well to all those who entered and if you’re curious to see all the answers to last Friday’s quiz, they’re listed below. For those who want some more boozy brain teasers or some sweet, sweet discounts, this week’s edition of the MoM pub quiz will be on our blog from 5pm as always.

The Nightcap

We’re big fans of the 2020 edition of the Redbreast Dream Cask

Redbreast’s new Dream Cask is here!

Regular readers will know we’re pretty keen here at Master of Malt on Redbreast Irish whiskey, in all its many forms. That’s why we’re so excited about the launch of the third limited-edition Dream Cask earlier this week. It’s made up of liquids no younger than 28 years from ex-bourbon casks, an oloroso sherry butt and a Port cask, all brought together and finished in a ruby Port cask. The whiskey was bottled at 51.5% ABV. Master blender Billy Leighton commented: “It’s more than three decades since my predecessors went to the Douro Valley and hand-selected the cask which would become Redbreast Dream Cask 2020. I’m delighted to be able to share its creation with whiskey lovers around the world. Blender Dave McCabe added: “Because a Dream Cask is not constrained by volume, we have great licence to select a unique expression with a bold flavour which couldn’t be replicated in a permanent offering. Thankfully, Billy and I were in absolute agreement that this was the right time to release this year’s Dream Cask.” We were given a little taste and we have to say that we were absolutely knocked out: it’s beautifully creamy and spicy with notes of butterscotch, cooked apple, ginger and walnuts, but what really comes through is cherry: fresh cherry, cooked cherry and then on the finish, the lingering taste of cherryade. Top stuff Midleton! So how do you get your hands on this dreamy release? Well, first you’ll need €490, and then you need to go to Redbreast’s private members’ club, The Birdhouse, where you can take part in a ballot that runs from Monday 25 May until 14:59 (GMT +1) on 2 June for a chance to buy a 500ml bottle. There are 921 available. Good luck!

The Nightcap

The new initiative from California’s Wine Institute should brighten up your Zoom meetings

California wine country comes to Zoom

The team here at MoM has just discovered the joy of changing your background on zoom. It’s brilliant, your friends will think you’re in a tropical paradise or floating in space, and there’s no need to rearrange your bookshelves to remove all those old Jeffrey Archer novels. Now wine lovers can look as if they’re exploring the vineyards of Napa rather than in a semi in Surbiton thanks to a new initiative from California’s Wine Institute. Simply download a jpeg from the link here , go to the menu on the bottom left and click virtual background, and then upload your very own wine wonderland. There are loads to choose from and more available from Visit Napa Valley, the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau, Visit Temecula Valley, Visit California, and Discover Buellton. Amaze your friends! Brighten up dreary marketing meetings!

The Nightcap

Happy 20th anniversary!

The Glencairn Glass celebrates 20th anniversary

While 2020 may resemble what the Mayans predicted 2012 would be for most of us, for the family-owned and award-winning Scottish crystal company Glencairn Crystal Studio it’s a special anniversary. That’s right, it’s been 20 years since it created its iconic Glencairn Glass. The glass, which was designed by the brand’s founder Raymond Davidson, has become the definitive whisky glass around the world today over the last two decades, with over 3 million being sold each year, across 140 different countries in every corner of the globe. The brand boasts clients such as Liverpool FC, BP, Brown-Forman, Cunard, Diageo, Houses of Parliament and Scottish Parliament, Muller, Google and the majority of the Scottish whisky manufacturers. The Glencairn team have marked this momentous anniversary by launching the Glencairn PodGlass series: a series of podcasts with Davidson and guest appearances by some renowned and respected names like Richard ‘the nose’ Paterson. The brand will also release new versions of the Glencairn glass, launch a fundraising initiative with the proceeds going to the company’s chosen charity partners and open the new expanded Glencairn Crystal Studio site in East Kilbride, which incorporates a refurbishment and a substantial new build on the original Glencairn site to cater for expanding demand – all built by local businesses. Glencairn is also encouraging whisky lovers to follow @TheGlencairnGlass and share their favourite stay at home Glencairn moments with the tag: #beathomewithGlencairn. For more info, go to: http://www.glencairncrystal.co.uk/ or https://whiskyglass.com/.

The Nightcap

Noble sentiments from winner Bréagha Wolfgang, though the skeletal hand is a bit ominous, don’t you think?

Fernet Branca coin winner announced

The winner has been announced in the Fernet Branca coin competition and it’s Bréagha Wolfgang of Draffens cocktail bar in Dundee! As we’ve mentioned on the Nightcap before, the competition has been going since 2010, and every year Fernet Branca picks a design to be made into a coin to be distributed among bartenders. There’s even a game that they can play with the coins. In these incredibly difficult times for the hospitality industry, it’s not surprising that a design has been chosen with a positive message (see above). Wolfgang commented on her winning entry: “My coin design was inspired by reflecting on the tough times and stress we all go through in this industry and how incredible it is that our communities support and lift each other during those times. The ‘cheers’ around the edge of the coin is about seeing each other as an equal part in life, drinking to new friends and to those we’ve lost along the way which I think defines our industry well. Winning this means a whole lot to me, getting given a Fernet coin was such an incredible relief after working so hard for so long and now having my very own coin design! That’s something I will never forget the feeling of.” Poppy Croft, Fratelli Branca brand manager, added: ‘Launching the Fernet Branca Coin Design Challenge just after lock-down was something I felt needed to happen, then more than ever, to show solidarity and support to the incredible bartenders in the UK who, at that point, had literally no idea of what was ahead. Bréagha’s design really stood out, reflecting the camaraderie of the industry in the face of stark adversity, a truly well-deserved win and I’d also like to congratulate all the runners up for their incredible designs,we hope to raise a Fernet with them all soon!” Here’s hoping.

The Nightcap

The Cold Brew Espresso Martini

And finally… Cocktail Porter delivers cocktail kit to your door

The lockdown is an ideal time to work on your cocktail-making skills, but ideally, you wouldn’t have to leave the house to get your hands on the perfect ingredients. Cocktail Porter may well have a solution for the budding bartender trying to stir and shake in the comfort of their home. Since 2018, it has delivered over 500 cocktail boxes a month to the Australian market and it’s now arrived in the UK. From the 18 May 2020, it has been delivering craft cocktail boxes from Global Drinks Agency Sweet&Chilli (you may know them as the guys that brought us the fab Nine Lives cocktail bar in London Bridge) containing individual recipes, bottles of spirits, infusions, cordials, home-grown garnishes, infused tonics and bespoke barware to fill out our drink trolleys. Each cocktail in the collection is designed by professional bartenders and the first collection features the ingredients to create a Passionfruit Margarita (Don Julio Blanco Tequila, fresh passion fruit, fresh limes, passion fruit-infused syrup and dehydrated limes to garnish), an Elderflower ‘Le Fizz’ Spritz (Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Double Dutch Soda Water, fresh lemon and with organic Persian rosebuds to garnish), the Whisky Highball Collection (Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky, Belvoir Farms ginger/lemon & mint/elderflower cordials, Double Dutch soda water and dehydrated lemons & candied ginger to garnish), Cold Brew Espresso Martini (Ketel One Vodka, Kuka’s Cold Brew Espresso, Conker Coffee Liqueur, simple syrup and Halo Raw organic dark chocolate to garnish) and a Seville Orange Negroni (Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla, Campari, sweet vermouth with orange to garnish). It should be stressed, these are not pre-batched cocktails, you do have to do some work yourself. Each cocktail is available in The Petite Kit (£45, 6 serves) and The Porter (Full Size) Kit (£85, 17-20 serves) and if ordered by 3pm will be delivered the next day, while live hosted masterclasses on YouTube will show you how to stir things up whilst staying safe at home. Order from the website: cocktailporter.co.uk

The Nightcap

Pub quiz answers

1) What Champagne brand is Beyonce drinking in 2013 banger Drunk in Love?

Answer: Armand de Brignac

2) Which sweet wine is known as ‘the king of wines, the wine of kings’?

Answer: Tokay

3) Which lager refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach (according to the ad campaign)?

Answer: Heineken

4) Which brewery serves a beer known colloquially as ‘man in the box’ in its tied pubs?

Answer: Sam Smith’s

5) In Breaking Bad, which spirit does Gus Fring lace with poison and gift to the Cartel?

Answer: Tequila

6) What is the pub called in Shaun of the Dead?

Answer: The Winchester

7) What counts as a ‘hole in one’ in pub golf?

Answer: Downing a drink

8) Rapper and singer Post Malone launched a wine brand this week. But what style is the wine?

Answer: Provence rosé

9) Single Pot Still whiskey can only come from which country?

Answer: Ireland

10)   In the book ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ what wine does Hannibal Lector eat with fava beans and someone’s liver?

Answer: Amarone


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The Nightcap: 9 April

With the strangest Easter weekend in living memory on the horizon, The Nightcap has arrived a little earlier than usual, but there’s still plenty of boozy brilliance to enjoy! The…

With the strangest Easter weekend in living memory on the horizon, The Nightcap has arrived a little earlier than usual, but there’s still plenty of boozy brilliance to enjoy!

The Easter weekend is almost here. If you’re looking for something to do which doesn’t involve giant hollow chocolate ovoids wrapped in tin foil that will inevitably be rolled up into a ball and whipped at someone’s head, the MoM blog has continued to be populated with stories from the world of drinks for your perusal. Of course, this includes another edition of The Nightcap, packed full of bite-sized chunks of booze news – and not a shred of tin foil in sight.

On the MoM blog this week we launched a sparkling new competition with The GlenDronach distillery because having things to look forward to right now is essential. We then listed some terrific TV shows that feature booze to make staying safe indoors a little easier. Adam did the same by taking us on a virtual tour of Aber Falls and Glenrothes Distillery before suggesting some delicious drinks for the Easter weekend, while Henry recommended a delightful single-vineyard Barbaresco and a refreshing apple-based serve. Annie, meanwhile, took a closer look at Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto and Dangerous Don mezcal, the latter with the help of the wonderful Thea Cumming.

Also, a big thank you to all who entered our pub quiz last Friday. You will find the answers if you scroll down to the bottom. This week’s edition (link here) will go live at 5pm tonight, so pour yourself a drink and get that old memory working.

Right, here’s the week’s booze news!

The Nightcap

Broom was shortlisted for his excellent film, The Amber Light

Dave Broom shortlisted twice at Fortnum & Mason awards

Books and writers are a lifeline when you’re stuck at home, so we were very excited to receive the shortlist for the Fortnum and Mason awards today. Master of Malt readers will surely be delighted to see Dave Broom shortlisted in the drink writer category alongside Fiona Beckett (National Geographic and the Guardian) and Zeren Wilson (always good value in Noble Rot magazine). Broom was also shortlisted in the programme category for The Amber Light. Meanwhile, there’s some great inspiration in the books department including Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson for their majestic World Atlas of Wine, Eddie Ludlow’s Whisky Tasting Course, Just the Tonic, the Schofield Brothers book which we covered last year and a new one for us Becky Sue Epstein’s Strong, Sweet and Dry: A Guide to Vermouth, Port, Sherry, Madeira and Marsala which sounds right up our street. There’s also some food stuff. Full details here. The awards were scheduled for 14 May but due to events, they have been postponed so we’ll have to wait to see who wins, which gives us extra time to read the shortlisted writers. Every cloud. . . .

The Nightcap

The winner gets £250, five coins and a bottle of Fernet Branca, along with a trip to The Back Bar Games with two colleagues!

UK bartenders invited to Fernet Branca Coin Design Challenge 

Are you bored of seeing the same old coins every day? Fernet Branca is giving bartenders a chance to design the UK’s 2020 coin! Okay, so it’s the Fernet Branca coin, not real sterling, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. The first Fernet Branca coin was released into the wild in 2010, and the coins are only carried by a select few bartenders throughout the industry. The coins aren’t just pretty, there’s a game you can play with them (full details here.) Brand ambassador Poppy Croft explained: “The Fernet Branca coins are an institution, a fun, unifying initiative giving a ’sense of common belonging’ to the global bartending community. If you are out with a group of friends, knowing they all have coins – the last to produce theirs on the bar, once you’ve laid it – gets the drinks. The challenge is knowing who has their coin on their person, best to keep it to hand for all eventualities!” So, bartenders, your submissions must be in (link here) by 17 April. The good news is that this year, in the face of adversity, the prizes have been extended to increase your odds of winning. The top 100 designs will receive a £50 voucher, while the winner will receive £250, five coins and a bottle of Fernet Branca, along with a trip to The Back Bar Games with two colleagues! Time to get those creative juices flowing, we can’t wait to see what the industry comes up with!

The Nightcap

The Three Drinkers podcast features drinking secrets, career anecdotes and something called crumpet beer…

The Three Drinkers launch first podcast series Bring A Bottle

The Three Drinkers have launched their very first podcast series! Dubbed Bring A Bottle, listeners can follow Aidy, Helena and Colin over five 20 minute episodes, the first of which aired yesterday (Wednesday 8 April) on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. The series will be packed full of drinking secrets, career anecdotes and something called crumpet beer… You’ll have to listen to get all the answers! What’s more, The Three Drinkers have teamed up with McGuigan Wines for the series, which means that over the five episodes, McGuigan Wines will be giving one lucky winner a three month supply of Australian wines! Top-notch booze chat and the chance to win some equally top-notch wine? You’ll know where to find us in isolation…

The Nightcap

Be sure to get creative with your entries to get your hands on the prize!

Lindores Abbey launches #stayindoors #staylindores competition

With lockdown life set to continue for the foreseeable future those feelings of restlessness, déjà vu and boredom will understandably surface for some. That’s why Lindores Abbey has created a bit of boozy entertainment to help encourage people to stay safe at home. It’s an Aqua Vitae cocktail competition called #stayindoors #staylindores (clever) that challenges those who enter to create their own Aqua Vitae cocktail or make one using the brand’s online recipes. Then you simply take a picture of the drink with your bottle of Aqua Vitae and share the picture on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #stayindoors #staylindores and tag Lindores Abbey Distillery. The lucky winner will have the choice between a £500 membership or a private dinner for six and Aqua Vitae making session in the brand’s Apothecary. The competition was inspired by the fact that the original Aqua Vitae was made by the Lindores monks as a cure for all ills for its ability to ‘abandoneth melancholy, quickeneth the spirits, keepeth the head from whirling and stoppeth the stomach from wambling.’ Lindores Abbey stresses that its bottling doesn’t have any medical properties and only promises that it tastes delicious in a wide range of cocktails. You can pick up a bottle of its signature Aqua Vitae here.

The Nightcap

The big debate: are is it a clip-on or hand-tied?

And finally. . . is this the world’s snazziest bottle of whisky?

What could be smarter than a limited edition, only 280 bottles produced, 15-year-old Glenturret? The answer is a limited edition 15-year-old Glenturret in a bow tie! Because the Whisky Magazine awards ceremony didn’t take place as planned, the awards were run digitally instead (see here for the results), the team at the magazine had a load of bow ties going spare so they decided to attach them to whisky bottles. You can enter a ballot to buy one of these special bottles for £125 with £10 going to The Ben (the Scottish drinks industry charity) direct from Whisky Magazine. The whisky itself is aged in a mixture of bourbon and sherry casks and bottled at 40%ABV and we’ve been told that the bow ties are real silk. But what we want to know is, are they clip-ons or hand-tied?


Pub quiz answers 

1) Name the quarter in New Orleans where bars are open 24 hours a day. 

Answer: The French Quarter

2) Old Tom gin reportedly got its name from which animal? 

Answer: Cat

3) What is Brazil’s national cocktail? 

Answer: Caipirinha

4) What was created first, the Martinez or the Martini? 

Answer: Martinez

5) A Vodka Martini is also known as…

Answer: A kangaroo cocktail

6) Which whisky is Bob Harris (Bill Murray) advertising in the 2003 film ‘Lost in Translation?’

Answer: Hibiki 17

7) When did Johnnie Walker change the direction of their walking man? 

Answer: 2000

8) In SkyFall, what brand does Bond describe as a ‘waste of good Scotch’ when it is used for target practice?

Answer: Macallan

9) Which Scottish island is known as the ‘Jewel of the Hebrides’? 

Answer: Islay

10) Which country consumes the most whisky per capita?
Answer: France


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