fbpx
£

We're just loading our login box for you, hang on!

Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Gin

Cocktail of the Week: The Elderflower and Raspberry 

This week’s cocktail, the Elderflower and Raspberry, is perfect for the busy host. All you need is some gin, Chambord, and Fever-Tree tonic water, and you can’t go wrong.  At…

This week’s cocktail, the Elderflower and Raspberry, is perfect for the busy host. All you need is some gin, Chambord, and Fever-Tree tonic water, and you can’t go wrong. 

At this time of the year, you don’t want to be messing around measuring, shaking things, making tinctures, and squeezing fruit. This is why we were very pleased to receive a new recipe book from Fever-Tree full of very simple drinks you can make with just two or three ingredients – one of them naturally being something from the Fever-Tree range.

Fever-Tree: Easy Mixing

Easy mixing

Fever Tree: Easy Mixing contains over 150 recipes and it’s perfect for the host who wants to chat rather than shake. As the introduction states: “Wonderful-tasting drinks don’t have to be time consuming or complicated. And you certainly don’t need arcane instruments or obscure ingredients to make them.” We picked the Elderflower and Raspberry this week because it sounded particularly delicious and it can be updated to whatever you’ve got in the house. There’s a full recipe below. 

This isn’t the tonic water company’s first foray into the book market. In 2017, it released Fever Tree – The Art of Mixing subtitled ‘simple long drinks & cocktails from the world’s leading bars’. This was a massive bestseller, sitting on top of Amazon’s drink book charts for months. Quite galling for everyone else who had a drink book out at the time. 

Before the gin boom

But then again, Fever-Tree is something of an institution. Its launch in 2005 actually preceded the gin boom by a good few years. Sipsmith didn’t appear until 2008. Indeed, so important was this date that bar magazine CLASS picked the arrival of Fever-Tree as one of its  ‘20 defining moments of the London cocktail scene’. 

Before Fever-Tree, if you wanted a G&T, that meant Schweppes, supermarket own-label, or on-trade brands like Britvic. Schweppes was tonic in the way that Hoover is synonymous with vacuum cleaners. It wasn’t universally popular though: some thought it was too sweet and masked the taste of gin.

The brand traded on its natural ingredients making much about obtaining quinine from the Rwandan/ Congolese border. This is commonplace now, even mass-market lagers like Carling trade on using British barley, but it was heady stuff way back in 2005. 

Its success inspired dozens of imitators, both big and small. In 2016, the giants finally awoke to the potential of premium mixers: Britvic launched the London Essence Company range, and the following year Schweppes launched the 1738 range named after the brand’s founding year. 

Fever-Tree is now the establishment with a large share of the market and particularly strong in the off-trade, with 39% of the market according to Harper’s Magazine

From the original, there are now myriad types of fizzy bottles including a particularly deliciously spicy ginger beer

Elderflower and Raspberry cocktail Fever Tree

How to make an Elderflower & Raspberry

For this week’s cocktail, we’re using the elderflower variant. For the gin, we’re using our house gin Bathtub. The recipe also calls for Chambord raspberry liqueur but you could use crème de mure, sloe gin or even Ribena.

You could fancy it up a bit and shake the gin and Chambord with ice, strain into a glass and top up with tonic, but perhaps not when you have guests over this Christmas. You don’t want to be mixing when you could be mixing. If you know what I mean.

Right, let’s cocktail!

35ml Bathtub Gin
3 teaspoon Chambord Liqueur
Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic Water

Pour the gin and Chambord into an ice-filled Highball glass. Squeeze and drop in a lemon wedge. Top up with tonic, stir gently and garnish with a fresh raspberry.

 

No Comments on Cocktail of the Week: The Elderflower and Raspberry 

Top ten Christmas drinks

In need of the perfect festive tipples? We thought you might be so from mulled wine to advocaat, we’ve rounded up our top ten Christmas drinks. Christmas is arguably the best time…

In need of the perfect festive tipples? We thought you might be so from mulled wine to advocaat, we’ve rounded up our top ten Christmas drinks.

Christmas is arguably the best time of year to have a drink. From office parties, festive fizz opportunities, or a dram of whisky to keep out the cold, there’s no end to the excuses to have a cheeky tipple. Then there are certain drinks like sloe gin or mulled wine that just scream Christmas.  

From Gingerbread Rum to gin made with festive botanicals and even Brussel Sprout Vodka we’ve got the best selection right here, for your convenience. Perfect if you need to do a little present shopping too…

Top ten Christmas drinks

Christmas drinks

Christmas Mulled Cup

Christmas is a cup is what is promised in this delightful creation. Created as the perfect base for simple, delicious mulled wine, Winter Mulled Cup is produced with a mix of VSOP Cognac, fine Port and festive spices. Then, this is combined with cold-distilled orange and lemon peels and cold-distilled fresh root ginger. It’s not just great for mulled wine, you can make all kinds of wonderful things with this beauty and even sip it neat.

Christmas drinks

Christmas Cake & Dark Chocolate & Medjool Dates & Cinnamon 8 Year Old

Whisky that tastes like Christmas is something none of us should pass up and this bottling hits the nail on the head. Featuring festive flavours like Christmas cake, dark chocolate, medjool dates, and cinnamon, the aptly named Christmas Cake & Dark Chocolate & Medjool Dates & Cinnamon is a superb Speyside single malt Scotch whisky, aged for eight years and boasting a sleighful of Yuletide elements. Any whisky fan will be thrilled to find a bottle under the tree with their name on it.

Christmas drinks

GINgle All The Way (That Boutique-y Gin Company)

You might not be a big fan of puns, but seasonal gin is something we can all agree on as being a wonderful thing. That Boutique-y Gin Company’s GINgle All The Way come complete with a festive snow globe on the label that is filled with the gin’s botanicals, and you can see the likes of spot cocoa, bitter orange, ginger and cardamom. Note, the baubles aren’t botanicals. The recommended festive serve is to add a splash of grapefruit tonic, which sounds absolutely amazing, doesn’t it?

Christmas drinks

Project #173 Gingerbread Rum

Let’s face it, we all love a good drink that’s based on a classic flavour. Jaffa Cakes. Chocolate. Even gingerbread. It’s a bedfellow of rum anyway, as both are spicy and sweet, but the folks behind Project #173 have ramped things up a notch by taking a good quality rum as a base and bringing in all those yummy aforementioned flavours you’ll find in gingerbread to pair with it. The bottle even features a flake of 23 karat gold leaf, making this one extra-giftable. 

 

 

Christmas drinks

Shanky’s Whip 

If you are looking for an alternative to your favourite cream liqueur this Christmas, then why not try Shanky’s Whip? This affordable and versatile Irish whiskey-based liqueur is based on a combination of Irish spirits, and aged pot still whiskey, blended in with the natural flavour of vanilla-infused with caramel. Smooth, rich and creamy, it’s the perfect drink to serve to guests this festive season as an after-dinner digestif, well chilled over ice or even as an indulgent liquid dessert! 

Christmas drinks

Tiptree Christmas Pudding Rum Liqueur

Did you know you can distil Christmas puddings? Well, you can. And Wilkin & Sons did for the wonderful boozy arm of its Tiptree range. This small-batch English rum was distilled alongside hand-made Tiptree Christmas puddings to create the ultimate festive liqueur. Play around and make all kinds of wonderful seasonal cocktails, or enjoy as an after-dinner sipper.

Christmas drinks

Big Peat at Christmas 2021

We love a bit of Big Peat and don’t need an excuse to enjoy it at Christmas, but creator Douglas Laing has given us one anyway. This limited edition bottling of Big Peat follows something of an annual tradition for the fab independent bottler, who make the blended malt with malt whiskies from a medley of marvellous Islay distillery, and boasts a full-bodied peaty profile. Titular character Big Peat is naturally the star of the label, enjoying a spot of sledding. 

Hayman's Sloe Gin

Hayman’s Sloe Gin

Were you out in November collecting sloe berries to make your own gin liqueur? No, we weren’t either. Instead we rely on Hayman’s to do it for us, blending their classic gin with sloes and sugar to make a classic winter drink. You can sip it neat, rather as you would Port, but it also makes a great addition to various cocktails like the Negroni (or Sloegroni), Bramble, or combine it with English sparkling wine for a British take on a Kir Royale.

Advocaat

Advocaat Warninks

Advocaat is a traditional Dutch liqueur made from a mixture of egg yolks, vanilla, sugar and alcohol. It’s essentially boozy custard and who doesn’t like boozy custard? Warninks, the leading brand is part of the De Kuyper group. This can be used to make such classic cocktails as a Green Monster, a Fluffy Duck, a Broken Nose, and, of course, a Squashed Frog. Oh and don’t forget the mighty Snowball.

Christmas drinks

Nelson’s Brussel Sprout Vodka

What a way to round things off, right? And don’t think we’re trying to fool you, this is real. Nelson’s used a whole load of Brussels sprouts to create the most festive and ludicrous of vodkas. Oh, and if it wasn’t Christmassy enough, if you shake it, it also sparkles. Perfect as something of a joke for the office Christmas party or as an after-dinner surprise.

No Comments on Top ten Christmas drinks

The Nightcap: 29 October

The Budget promises big changes for the drinks industry, the world’s first ‘sonic seasoning’ playlist is made and a cask of whisky sells for over £1.6million. It’s all in this…

The Budget promises big changes for the drinks industry, the world’s first ‘sonic seasoning’ playlist is made and a cask of whisky sells for over £1.6million. It’s all in this week’s Nightcap!

Happy Halloween(ish), everyone! It’s the first one we’ve been able to celebrate properly in what feels like forever, so we hope you’ve got something fun planned, whether it’s a costume-filled party or a night in with some sweet treats. Nothing too scary. Good thing the only spirits you’ll find here are delicious and boozy. It’s The Nightcap: 29 October edition!

Those of you who are getting your Christmas lists in order will be delighted to know we launched our Christmas Gift Finder. We also let you know how to win big with Jack Daniel’s, how to enjoy Bonfire Night with some great company and fireside drams, and how to get your hands on our latest MoM exclusive: a Teaninich 11 Year Old 2010 finished in a sherry cask and bottled by James Eadie. Elsewhere on the blog, we made a kümmelised gin sour, gave you a mezcal 101, and made a case for fun drinks, while Adam looked into the story of one of the great bourbon brands and demonstrated why you absolutely can mix Islay whisky.  

The Nightcap: 29 October

The Budget will have a big effect on booze

Rishi Sunak outlines radical overhaul of alcohol duty

In his autumn Budget announcement this week chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed a major transformation of the current “outdated” alcohol duty system, in which drinks with stronger ABVs will be taxed at higher rates. “It will help end the era of cheap, high-strength drinks which can harm public health and enable problem drinking,” Sunak said. The price of a pint in the pub was slashed by 3p, and a planned increase in duty on spirits such as Scotch whisky, wine, cider and beer was cancelled. Consumers can also expect to pay less for rosé, fruit ciders, liqueurs, lower strength beers, and wines under the new tax system. The hospitality sector even received relief in the form of a 50% business rates discount worth almost £1.7bn Scrapping the planned tax hike on spirits was a move welcomed by distillers, while The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) characterised the wine and spirits duty freeze as a “much-needed break” for British businesses. Port and Madeira, however, will be particularly hard hit, with typical bottles of 20% strength port likely to see increases of over £1 in their tax, while Nightcap legend and WSTA chief executive Miles Beale was one of many sceptical voices on the revamped alcohol duty scheme, which he said “does not make the regime fairer” – particularly for spirits. “We are mystified by a proposal that embeds unfairness between products meaning that beer will be taxed between 8p-19p per unit, wine increases to 26p per unit and spirits remains at 29p per unit,” he concluded. The new measure will not come into effect until February 2023, and with staff and energy costs rising, we can’t imagine drinkers should expect to be paying less for a pint anytime soon.

The Nightcap: 29 October

The Angels Share by Trevor Jones, which serves as proof of authenticity

Macallan whisky cask sells for over £1.6million

If you’ve had any concerns that the whisky cask investment market has been going a bit bananas of late, then you might just wince at the results of a recent digital auction.  London based brokerage firm VCL Vintners sold a Macallan ’91 whisky cask for a record-breaking £1.69million this week. The last re-gauge of the cask put the ABV at 51.1%, with 600 bottles expected to be remaining, and has been housed at the distillery since it was filled on June 3, 1991. The previous world record for a whisky cask sold at auction was another Macallan cask, which went for £416,208 in August 2021 at Bonhams Hong Kong. The cask was represented in NFT (non-fungible tokens, representations of ownership digital or physical that cannot be copied) art by Trevor Jones as proof of authenticity for the overseas buyer. The piece, titled The Angel’s Share, references the natural evaporation of the whisky. Commenting on why VCL Vintners opted for an NFT artwork to sell the cask, director Stuart Thom said it gave the new owner “a 21st century way to connect with their whisky”. He explains that, instead of a photo which is for verification purposes more than anything, “the way Trevor is using new technologies to engage fresh audiences with traditional artforms fits exactly what VCL Vintners and Metacask are wanting to achieve for the whisky investment industry”. It’s all a bit concerning, to be honest, given whisky’s history of busting pretty drastically after a big boom. Still, why learn from the past when you can make £1.6m?

The Nightcap: 29 October

Glengoyne Distillery commissioned the troubling study

Climate change report on Scotch whisky makes for grim reading

Ahead of COP 26 in Scotland, a study commissioned by Glengoyne has revealed we shouldn’t take a good dram for granted. The report from climate researchers from University College London says that projected temperature increases and changes in rainfall patterns threaten distillery production over the next fifty years, with the volume and quality of spring barley in Scotland being drastically affected. It takes 800,000 tonnes annually to support Scotch production and a reduction in yield, as seen in 2018, could cost the industry up to £27million a year. Flavour and consistency could also be affected as production methods like fermentation are developed to suit the temperate climate of the area, while warmer air and water temperatures could also lead to inefficient cooling in traditional distilleries. With projection for a decline in summer rainfall of up to 18% and a 2.0 ̊C annual rise in temperature by 2080, it’s not a pretty picture. The report is clear: planning is essential to protect our whisky. Climate change professor at UCL Mark Maslin says this needs to come from government support, investment, and infrastructure and that being in “net-zero emissions as soon as possible” is essential. Glengoyne for its part was the first Scottish distillery to adopt a wetlands facility for liquid waste in 2011, and is releasing The Wetlands Single Cask Release, as part of its collaboration with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), which also began that year. A portion of proceeds from the sale of the whisky will be given to the WWT to back its climate emergency work.

The Nightcap: 29 October

Oxford University experimental psychologist Charles Spence

Black Bottle creates world’s first ‘sonic seasoning’ playlist

Black Bottle Whisky has teamed up with Oxford University experimental psychologist, Charles Spence to create an interesting new way to taste whisky. It’s the ‘world’s first’ collection of audio tracks that alter and heighten sensory perceptions when drinking whisky, available on AlchemySeries.co.uk to mark the launch of Black Bottle’s Limited Edition Alchemy Series. Made up of Island Smoke and Double Cask, both are non-chill filtered and bottled at 46.3% ABV, and have already scooped a ‘Master’ award at this year’s Scotch Whisky Masters. An experiment to combine ‘sonic seasoning and real-world sounds’ to change the way we taste, the collab tasked Spence to work alongside master distiller Brendan McCarron to create a collection of audio tracks specifically to alter and heighten sensory perceptions when drinking whisky. McCarron says the experience gives whisky drinkers a truly personal experience and having attended a tasting ourselves, we agree. We also learned a few things: a) The new Black Bottle Double Cask and Black Bottle Island Smoke are both outrageously good value and are very tasty; b) We know absolutely nothing about whisky; c) sonic seasoning really does work. We highly recommend you give it a try. Pour some whisky, pop the playlist on and prepare to be amazed.

The Nightcap: 29 October

The brand’s inaugural cookbook has Christmas present written all over it

Guinness is releasing its first official cookbook

Guinness has always had a long association with food, whether it’s been as a drink pairing or as an ingredient to add depth and richness. But the Irish beer brand has never launched its own official cookbook – until now. The Official Guinness Cookbook, written by Irish food and drink journalist Caroline Hennessey, is an attempt by the brand to bring the ingredient out “from under the radar” and into more of our kitchens. Hennessy, a graduate of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, has put together a host of dishes including braised short ribs, traditional Guinness soda bread, and indulgent chocolate potato cake. Along with recipes containing the beers themselves and those designed specifically to pair with the brewer’s stouts, ales, and lagers, there are also dishes lifted directly from the food menu served at Dublin Guinness Storehouse, which has been feeding visitors its famous Guinness Burger, and Guinness chocolate mousse for years. A handful of cocktail recipes incorporating Guinness are also included in a collection said to be perfect for ‘anyone who wants to bring the taste and comfort of an Irish pub home.” Containing more than 70 recipes, the Irish brand’s fully-sanctioned book has launched in the US this week, but there will be pre-orders available for a December UK release. Sounds like Guinness fans will all be getting the same Christmas present!

The Nightcap: 29 October

The London Gin Club is back!

MoM visits the revived London Gin Club

Fans of all things juniper will be delighted to know that The London Gin Club has been brought back to life. After a two year closure, the Soho institution has returned to the historic Great Chapel Street, which housed bars as far back as 1785, so it was a no-brainer of a location for the club’s resurrectors, the London’s Inception Group. We got to visit this week and we’re quite charmed by the venue. It’s an intimate space littered with references to gin and Soho’s history and boasts an impressive back bar of over 100 gins. If you want something flavoured, something classic, or even something you won’t find anywhere else, like the missed Tanqueray Old Tom, then this is the place to be. G&Ts are an obvious staple of the menu but there’s also a 10 strong gin-based cocktail menu featuring new creations as well as long-standing classics. We tried two, a beautifully composed White House Negroni made with Bombay Sapphire gin, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, verjus and Franklin & Sons elderflower tonic water with cucumber, as well as a delightful drink called Garden Square, which paired makrut lime-infused Bombay Sapphire gin with Muyu Jasmine Verte liqueur, cloudy apple juice, lavender syrup and fresh lime juice. The drinks were delicious and it’s great to see a celebration of the spirit the capital is so associated with back in the groove. Cheers!

The Nightcap: 29 October

The limited-edition bottle sports a number of Money Heist references

Johnnie Walker teams up with Netflix for new bottle

People love a good crossover these days so there will be plenty of people trying to get their hands on a new limited edition bottle design for Johnnie Walker Red Label, made in collaboration with Netflix. Inspired by the streaming service’s series Money Heist, or La Casa de Papel, which tells the story of two large-scale bank robberies, the label will mark the finale, which will premiere on Netflix on 3 December 2021. Johnnie Walker’s special bottle design will appeal to fans of the series, with a label depicting several of the show’s characters and props alongside Johnnie Walker’s signature Striding Man branding. Eagle-eyed whisky lovers will also notice a few ‘hidden messages’, including the last words of one of the show’s main characters, that are revealed by placing the bottle under a UV light. “Like many fans around the globe, we’ve been gripped by the action unfolding from the fictional underworld of La Casa de Papel,” commented Julie Branham, Johnnie Walker’s global marketing director. “We’re delighted to be marking the climax of this series through this limited edition design. I’ll be watching the story unfold with a glass of Johnnie Walker in hand and a keepsake bottle to have forever.” It won’t be easy getting your hands on this one, however. For a start, just 150,000 bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label La Casa De Papel Limited Edition Design will be released on 1 November, plus it’s only in select markets in Southern Europe and Latin America. Despite the fact the whisky sits at 40% ABV and retails for €13.49, you’ll probably see this one doing the rounds on auction markets in no time.

The Nightcap: 29 October

Miss your favourite Tequila coffee liqueur? It’s VIVIR to the rescue

VIVIR Tequila to the rescue with Café VS launch

Remember but two short weeks ago when it was revealed that the beloved Patron XO Cafe was being axed? All of us here in the UK (and at Master of Malt) were up in arms about it. But all hope is not lost – VIVIR to the rescue! Founded in 2019 (find out all about its inception in our blog post here), alongside its three core Tequilas, the brand has now announced that it’s plugging the coffee liqueur-shaped gap in the market with its own VIVIR Café VS. They swear it’s complete luck, as this toasty bottling has been in the pipeline for over two years. It’s made using VIVIR Blanco, and is naturally flavoured with locally-sourced Mexican coffee beans, as well as being sweetened with Piloncillo sugar, a raw form of pure cane sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cooking. We took it upon ourselves to taste it on behalf of the nation this week, and truly, it’s delicious. All that roasty, toasty, coffee bitterness is bolstered by red fruit, fresh agave, and very subtle woody sweetness, and we even detected an intriguing hint of Frazzles somewhere underneath. Needless to say, it’s quite spectacular in an Espresso Martini, but we also tried it in a coffee- and Tequila-based twist on a Negroni. It’s selling for £27, and will be arriving at MoM Towers very soon… 

The Nightcap: 29 October

“Here comes the bride… wait, where is she?”

And finally… Want to get hitched in a Busch Light-themed wedding dress?

It’s every little girl’s dream to wear a Busch Light-themed wedding dress down the aisle on their big day, right? Well, it must be somebody’s, because the beer brand has teamed up with Dave’s Bridal to launch its own wedding formal wear, including a Busch Light-themed wedding dress. It costs US$789, which is about £575 and so cheaper than the average wedding gown, and comes in a tasteful (ahem) camouflaged design. Naturally, it was inspired by Busch Light’s Camo cans, available now as a limited edition. It sounds like the kind of advertisement you’d see on The Simpsons, but this is all very real, we’re afraid. Let’s just say a little prayer right now for the groom who buys their bride one of these thinking it will go down well. 

No Comments on The Nightcap: 29 October

The Nightcap: 15 October

Delicious new whiskies from The Macallan, Glenmorangie and the Clydeside Distillery, grape leftovers that are good for your skin and Hendrick’s wins the ginternet. These are just some of the…

Delicious new whiskies from The Macallan, Glenmorangie and the Clydeside Distillery, grape leftovers that are good for your skin and Hendrick’s wins the ginternet. These are just some of the delightful things that have grabbed our attention in the Nightcap: 15 October.

It seems half the news these days is all about people running out of stuff. Short supply is an issue across a lot of industries. But one thing that you can guarantee will be here every seven days is a nice healthy dollop of The Nightcap, as boozy and brilliant this week as it was last.

Speaking of which, let’s take a look at the week that was on the MoM blog. Adam put on his thinking beret and asked, ‘what is peat?’, Henry was in a bubbly mood and Lauren took a trip to Venice with the delicious combination of vodka, sorbet and Prosecco that is the Sgroppino. Meanwhile, our favourite grizzled industry veteran Ian Buxton reflected on how the world whisky category has come on in less than decade while elegantly plugging his new book 101 Craft and World Whiskies which is well worth a read. But that’s not all! Our ex-editor returned with a trip to Westward Whiskey in Portland, Oregon, we sampled the sheer magnificence of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and danced around like giddy schoolchildren at the arrival of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2020. What a week! 

Now, let’s crack on. It’s the Nightcap: 15 October edition!

Patron XO Cafe

Farewell old friend

Patrón XO Café will soon be no more

Bacardi has announced that it is ceasing the production of one of its most popular drinks: Patron XO Cafe, a 35% ABV liqueur infused with a kick of coffee, Patrón Tequila president Mauricio Vergara said that the business wanted to focus on growing and protecting the supply of their “super and ultra-premium Tequilas”. Priority is going to Patrón Silver, Reposado, and Añejo drinks instead, with Vergara describing now as an “incredibly exciting time” to be in the Tequila business. He continued: “We are thrilled to see consumer demand for Tequila continuing to explode around the world. Tequila is seeing rapid growth and incredible momentum – not just in the United States, but it is the second fastest-growing category in value across the globe.” Bacardi had acquired Patron back in January 2018 in a £3.66bn deal and, while Patron XO Café seemed a popular addition to its roster, a drinks industry source told The Grocer that the drink was discontinued most likely due to a lack of profit. Despite the fact that retail sales grew over the course of the pandemic, rising £550k to £1.9m over the year to 15 May 2021, the source was quoted as saying: “Because it’s not obvious to the consumer what [the drink] is, it will take a lot to investment to scale,” the source said. “Without scale it’ll be a very small profit contributor and not worth the effort.” A shame to see it go though we have heard rumours that Vivir Tequila has stepped in the breach with its own coffee liqueur. Isn’t capitalism great?

Congratulations to Dr Erna Blancquaert (left) and Angela Elizabeth Scott

Golden Vines wine diversity scholarships announced worth £55,000

The great and good of the wine world, and Kylie Minogue, descended on top London nightspot Annabel’s for the inaugural Golden Vines awards. Yes really! Apparently the pint-sized pop princess was there though we were too engrossed in the ridiculous quality of the wines served which included Dom Perignon, Château d’Yquem and Domaine de la Romanée Contée, and missed her. But we weren’t just there to swill fine wine. The evening saw the announcement of two Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships, worth £55,000 each. The winners were Angela Elizabeth Scott from Pennysvlvania who is training to be the first black Master of Wine, and Dr Erna Blancquaert, a lecturer at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Scott commented: “Receiving The Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship, Internship and Mentorship programme means that I will be able to connect with key figures and gain experience to which I would otherwise lack access. I hope to help others do the same,” and Dr Blancquaert said: “This Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship will enable me to expand my knowledge on the entire wine value chain, implement it in my teaching, and address global vitiviniculture problems through my research.” Adrian Bridge from the award’s sponsor Taylor’s Port added: “Taylor’s Port is delighted to be involved with this initiative to foster diversity in the wine industry. We are excited to see two very worthy winners have been chosen by the judges.” Congratulations to both winners and to Taylor’s Port for getting behind such a worthy cause. 

Stobcross

It’s Stobcross – which sounds like an anagram of something rude

Clydeside Distillery releases first-ever single malt whisky

Introducing Stobcross, the first-ever single malt whisky from one of Scotland’s newest and most exciting whisky distilleries, Clydeside in Glasgow. Bottled (and what a striking bottle it is) at 46% ABV and made from 100% Scottish barley and water from Loch Katrine, the inaugural Stobcross was named after the street on which it was made. Whisky production returned to the banks of the River Clyde for the first time in a century when the innovative new distillery opened in 2017. Andrew Morrison, commercial director at Morrison Glasgow Distillers, said: “Today marks a culmination of many years of hard work. Stobcross pays tribute to Glasgow’s industrial heritage and the spirit of innovation which forged its position on the global stage”. Clydeside is Located in the former Queen’s Dock, the transformed Pump House includes an impressive visitor centre, interactive tourism experience, shop, and cafe.  Fittingly, the distillery’s chairman Tim Morrison is the great-grandson of John Morrison, who originally built The Queen’s Dock in 1877. The distillery is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, and we’ve been waiting on this release for a while, so we’re very excited to see how it will do. Let us know your thoughts if you manage to get a taste.

Glasses of light and dark beer on a pub background.

Support your local, or it might not be there tomorrow

Almost 1,000 hospitality venues shut in two months this year

Britain’s hospitality sector lost 980 sites between July and September 2021, according to new data. The latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and Alix Partners showed the closure of an average of 16 sites per day. We, of course, have the effects of and responses to the Covid-19 pandemic to blame, leading to problems like supply issues, rising costs and, most keenly felt, labour shortages. There will also be a fair amount of debate regarding Brexit’s impact here too, but one thing that’s for certain is the sad inevitably that independently-run pubs, bars, restaurants and other licensed venues were always going to be hit hardest. According to the report, they account for nearly three quarters of all closures during the period, while a report from the Night Time Industries Association revealed around 86,000 people working in the night-time industry have lost their jobs because of the pandemic earlier in the week. Compounding the issue further is new research from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) which shows sales of gin in the UK on-trade plunged by nearly 50% in the 12 months to July 2021, while a YouGov poll has revealed 66% of adults believe pandemic-led closures led to a decline in their mental health. Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, says the numbers are a “reminder – if it were needed – that the crisis in hospitality is far from over”, adding that targeted government support on these major challenges like the crisis in recruitment, as well as VAT relief, is needed to help prevent “hospitality’s recovery from stalling”. It might all sound bleak, but not all insights are negative. Lumina Intelligence, for example, expects an industry return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024, according to its UK Pub & Bar Market Report 2021.

Glenmorangie Winter

Another delicious-looking Glenmorangie is on its way

Glenmorangie unveils new winter warmer whisky

Glenmorangie is seemingly on a mission to ensure it has a dram for all occasions after it unveiled a 13-year-old single malt created specifically for the winter season. A Tale of Winter, produced by head of whisky creation, Dr Bill Lumsden and his team, was inspired by ‘the joy of cosy moments indoors’ during Scotland’s snowy months. The innovation- hungry whisky makers took a batch matured in ex-bourbon barrels and finished it in ex-Marsala casks, giving the 46% ABV whisky aromas of orange toffee, lavender honey and sweet rose, and flavours of red pepper flakes, cocoa powder, Brazil nut toffee and sweet barley malt, apparently. You might remember it was around this time last year that Glenmorangie launched A Tale of Cake, and like that edition this bottling will be available from Master of Malt soon. To celebrate the launch, the distillery has made a selection of seasonal cocktails, including a Winter Old Fashioned and a Quinta Ruban Hot Chocolate. There’s even a Pumpkin Scotch Latte perfect for the forthcoming festival of spookiness.

Macallan Harmony

Do they ever stop at Macallan? No, no they don’t

Macallan makes chocolate-inspired whisky

The Macallan’s relentless pursuit to be in the news every week continues, mostly thanks to the distillery’s insane ability to conjure up new single malt ranges. This time it’s the Harmony Collection, which kicks off with a whisky that combines the worlds of whisky and chocolate. To create the new bottling, The Macallan whisky maker Polly Logan visited Girona, Spain, to learn about the flavours behind the chocolate-making process. She teamed up with pastry chef Jordi Roca from three Michelin-starred restaurant El Celler de Can Roca and chocolatier Damian Allsop to learn the art of chocolate, then searched sherry-seasoned oak casks maturing at The Macallan Estate to identify “rare, indulgent chocolate notes”. The whisky is made from a combination of European and American oak casks, and is said to pair perfectly with rich chocolate, you might expect. The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao comes in a fully recyclable and biodegradable presentation box, made using natural by-products in the chocolate-making process. A limited 200 pairing tasting sets, including a bottle of The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao, a 10-piece box of custom-made chocolate, a pairing guide and two Macallan Glencairn glasses, are being made available to pre-order the Reserve Bar on 8 November 2021. We’ll have plenty of the whisky here too soon, if you’re worried about not getting your hands on that.

The Lucky Drinker

Ciprian Zsrag is the Lucky Drinker

St James Bar bartender launches cocktail book, The Lucky Drinker

We last visited St James Bar to sample the delights of the drinks from the talented team, but last night we popped over once again for a very different kind of event – a book launch! There were drinks to be had (of course), but all were simple classic cocktails made from The Lucky Drinker, the new book from Ciprian Zsrag, former head bartender of St James Bar (with experience at Artesian and The Savoy’s American Bar under his belt, too). The Lucky Drinker started as a blog in 2017, though it’s the culmination of many years of experience before. The book covers recipes, yes, but also barware, food pairings, and a history of industry personalities – it even takes into account the cost of a cocktail. During the evening Zsrag’s excitement is palpable, as he recounts over a decade of planning, and how, in contrast to the usual offerings from the St James Bar menu, the serves in the book are based on minimalism – though each recipe comes with a way to ‘twist’ your drink, should you be feeling on the flamboyant side. A beautiful book for anyone wanting to nail the classics, without splurging on crazy ingredients and contraptions. Congratulations Ciprian!

pelegrims.ProductSet.WEB

Pelegrims, good for your skin and good for the environment

Pelegrims skin care is grape for your complexion 

You may be wondering why the Master of Malt content team’s skin is looking so youthful and glowing despite the demanding circuit of tastings, parties and late nights we have to endure to bring you all the news from the world of booze. Well, it’s because of a new skincare range called Pelegrims, an old English name inspired by Pilgrims Way to Canterbury. The secret of the Pelegrim magic is grape extract. These are leftovers from the wine making process and come from Ortega and Pinot Noir grapes grown not far from MoM towers at Westwell in Kent. The polyphenols in the seeds, skins and stems have antioxidant properties. The range consists of a facial oil, facial balm, a hand cleanser and hand pomade. And not only are they made from a waste product but the packaging is recyclable. The range is a collaboration between skincare expert Alex Verier, wine lover and tech type, and Jerome Moisan. Remarkably Moisan isn’t even the most entrepreneurial one in his family. His son put together a charity cookery book earlier this year called In Conversation With which outsold Mary Berry, Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver in its first week on sale. And he was only 12 at the time! Watch out Dad.

GIN-fographic_IWOOT_GIN BRANDS

Gin is a wonderful thing but it isn’t good for your liver

Hendrick’s is the most searched for gin on social media

You’ve probably been wondering what the most searched for gin on the internet is. No? Just us? Well, Homeware retailer IWOOT (stands for I Want One Of Those) has crunched the numbers and the results are in, perfect timing what with Gin & Tonic day coming up on 19 October. Based on hashtags on Instagram and monthly search volumes the winner is…. Hendrick’s, followed by Tanqueray, Gordon’s, Beefeater and Bombay Sapphire, which isn’t surprising. The most searched for type of gin was apparently pink gin followed by sloe and rhubarb. Though we imagine that just plain old gin was quite popular too. The infographic produced by the firm shows that searches for gin were up 80% year on year probably because of all those lockdowns (go here to see a full breakdown of the date). The press release we received then took a wild turn by claiming: “There are many reasons why drinking gin may have increased in popularity during this time; it’s a natural remedy for your joint woes, helps fight kidney and liver disease.” Sounds like someone’s had one too many G&Ts.

And finally… Remember kids, motorbikes and booze don’t mix

We’re a bit sceptical here of motoring/booze collaborations here on the Nightcap. Are whisky and fast cars really such a great combination? But two Italian icons have cleverly squared the circle by emphasizing that they don’t go together. The old switcheroo! A new campaign launched by legendary motorbike manufacturer Ducati and its sponsor Amaro Montenegro features a rugged Italian biker deciding not to take his beloved bike out, and instead spend the evening with his friends drinking, yes you guessed it, Amaro Montenegro. Almost as much fun as riding your Ducati and a lot more sociable. It’s called ‘Don’t Drink and Ride’ and naturally comes with its own hashtag #DONTDRINKANDRIDE. The aptly-named Marco Ferrari, CEO of Gruppo Montenegro, explained: “As a spirit brand, it was imperative to be vocal about responsible drinking and we wanted to send a clear message in a compelling and engaging way. We feel our ‘Don’t Drink and Ride’ campaign is the perfect response to it.”  Just in case you needed to be reminded that high performance motorbikes and cocktails are not a good combination. 

No Comments on The Nightcap: 15 October

The Nightcap: 17 September

The biggest whisky bottle ever filled, Luther launches a bar and TWO ‘and finally’ stories… It’s all in the Nightcap: 17 September edition.  It might not have registered with you…

The biggest whisky bottle ever filled, Luther launches a bar and TWO ‘and finally’ stories… It’s all in the Nightcap: 17 September edition. 

It might not have registered with you but this Wednesday saw the first ever National Hospitality Day. Now, we realise that there are a lot of these things to keep up with: British Pie Week, World Whisky Day, and Talk Like a Pirate Day, if it’s still going. But National Hospitality Day is one that’s particularly close to our hearts. During all the lockdowns, almost as much as we missed our parents and grandparents, we missed the convivial fug of our favourite bars and pubs. Though it’s good to be back, many venues didn’t make it through Covid, and with talk of possible restrictions on the way (noooooooooooo!), we’re urging readers to make full use of their local. So grab your phone, tablet, or portable electronic device, head out, order your usual and settle back with the Nightcap: 17 September edition. Cheers!

As well as being National Hospitality Day, it’s also Negroni Week (13-19 September) so Millie Milliken brought us seven twists on the classic including the intriguing-sounding ‘wanky Negroni.’ Then we shined our New Arrival spotlight on an underrated Scotch whisky style, single grain, with a special bottling from McMurray David. Things took a turn for the unusual as we invited customers all aboard the Hendrick’s airship. On Wednesday, did we mention it was National Hospitality Day? To celebrate, MoM staff got all misty-eyed about their locals and we finished the day by making a Vesper Martini because there’s a new Bond film out this month. An eclectic week finished off with a trip to Normandy to sample some Sassy cidre

Now it’s on with the Nightcap: 17 September edition!

The Nightcap: 17 September

We’ve seen a lot of whisky in our time and, in our expert opinion, that is a big bottle

World record smashed for the biggest whisky bottle ever filled

Gather round, gather round and gaze upon its magnificence: the biggest whisky bottle ever filled! Yes, in the Scottish town of Huntly a world record breaking-sized bottle of Scotch, was unveiled this week containing a staggering 311 litres of Macallan single malt. Household names Fah Mai Holdings Group Inc (FMH) and Rosewin Holdings PLC (RH) joined forces to fill the beast on 9 September, which beat the previously-held record, established by The Famous Grouse Experience in 2012, by a landslide 83 litres. There’s two sister casks of 32-year-old Macallan single malt whisky, married together by Duncan Taylor, in the 1.8m (five ft. nine inches) tall bottle, which took an hour to fill. The leftover whisky has been used to produce a limited-edition bottling run called ‘The Intrepid’. Each set consisting of a replica of the record-winning bottle featuring the faces of different famous explorers, athletes and adventurers. The feat was done to raise money for a number of charities so the whisky will now travel to a London auction house, where the hope is that the bottle will end up breaking a second world record for the highest price for a bottle of whisky ever purchased. “To put it into perspective, a single 70cl bottle of original 30-year-old Macallan Oak sells for £4-5k and a similar independent bottling fetches £3k plus,” says Fah Mai Holdings Group and Rosewin Holdings owners Louis Haseman and Daniel Monk. “What we have here in our mega bottle alone is around 444 of those. We’ll leave you to do the maths…”

Big spirits regulate influencers

How do you influence the influencers?

Big spirits sets influencer standards

A group of the largest spirits companies including Diageo, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Bacardi and Pernod Ricard has launched an initiative to set standards for influencers. The giants are part of 12 booze companies in the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), and they’ve teamed up with 13 marketing firms. The idea is to prevent minors from being influenced by the influencers. Henry Ashworth, IARD president and CEO, explained: “This is a world-first initiative in raising collective standards of responsibility across multiple digital channels, and we call on our partners in the alcohol, advertising and influencer industries to join us in our ongoing work to ensure that alcohol marketing across all forms of media is responsible.” He added: “This is a major step in preventing minors from seeing any alcohol marketing and IARD is proud to have united the world’s leading agencies to help raise global standards.” All very laudable but it seems to us that the main problem with influencers is not that minors might see them, after all alcoholic imagery is everywhere on billboards, films and in shops. Far more worrying is that it’s often not clear that when a top influencer is by the pool in Dubai enjoying a bottle of big brand booze, they are being paid to do so. We look forward to hearing about the new transparency regulations soon.

The Nightcap: 17 September

This beauty will reduce energy-related CO2 emissions by 95% by next year

Belvedere completes its biomass capture facility 

Belvedere has opened an ambitious on-site biomass capture facility that’s been three years in the making. In 2018, the Polish vodka maker became the first spirits distillery to receive a grant from the European Commission to pilot such a facility, and it will now be able to accelerate its Made With Nature commitments set forth in 2020. The facility will start producing 100% renewable energy, and subsequently reduce energy related CO2 emissions by 95% by 2022. President & CEO of Belvedere Vodka, Rodney Williams, commented that the build marks a “major step forward towards Belvedere making good on our belief that better business practices create a better world,” adding that the brand is “building on these achievements by setting the bar even higher for ourselves with eight sustainability commitments achievable by 2025.” The eight commitments include initiatives such as converting to fully organic farming from 2023, restoring landscapes through a regenerative soil program, reducing water waste, pursuing renewable energy solutions, reducing use of plastic by 50% and recovering heat waste by converting the distillation by-product into fuel. We always welcome progress in the name of sustainability, so nice work Belvedere. We think you’ve earned a Martini. Or a Vesper, perhaps…

The Nightcap: 17 Septembervvvv

Transparency has been a problem within Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey legislation is tightened

The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has helped further the cause of transparency in Irish whiskey by introducing new legislation regarding how brands label and market their products. The new terms state that if your liquid was not produced at a distillery your brand owns, then the label must say ‘Produced for’. The Irish whiskey industry has been undermined by a number of brands which have been less than forthcoming about the whiskey it markets, often misleading consumers with labels that suggest it produces its own spirit. You might have thought this move would come from one of four distinct entities which claim to represent Irish whiskey producers – the Irish Whiskey Association, the Irish Distillers Association, the Irish Whiskey Guild, and the Irish Craft and Artisan Distilleries Association – but no it’s come from a government department. Many producers have publicly stated their dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency in Irish whiskey, such as the outspoken Blackwater Distillery founder Peter Mulryan. A tweet by the distillery reacted to the news positively, stating, “It’s great to see DAFM insisting that Irish whiskey labels now say ‘Produced for’ when liquid is not produced in-house by brand. Expect gnashing of teeth from shite brands and faux-distilleries. #irishwhiskey”. One suspects we haven’t heard the last about this, but for those who are passionate about protecting the good name of Irish whiskey should have something to raise a glass to this week. 

The Nightcap: 17 September

Congratulations, Jen and Seb!

Spirit of Manchester plans second site

It’s been a hard year-and-a-half for the spirits industry but that hasn’t stopped the impressive growth of The Spirit of Manchester Distillery. The maker of gin, rum and more is having to open a second facility outside Manchester city centre just to meet increased demand. A 5,000-square-foot facility called The Vault, will provide additional space for bottling, labelling and shipping, the chance to hire two new workers for its production and warehouse team, and the opportunity to produce more than one million bottles annually. The Spirit of Manchester currently operates its flagship distillery in the city centre in a grade two-listed building on Watson Street, which is also home to a cocktail bar and gin school (all of which are excellent, as an upcoming blog will reveal…). The company says it expects to grow sales by more than 30% on pre-pandemic levels in 2022 as a result of ‘booming’ consumer demand and increased production capability. “Having come through a tough period for the industry, we’re delighted to be looking to the future and investing in our growth,” says master distiller Seb Heeley. “By expanding our production facilities, we’re also able to plan exciting enhancements to our distillery tour and gin tasting offering and look forward to sharing the magic that is The Spirit of Manchester.” We can honestly say this couldn’t happen to nicer people. Congrats, guys.

The Nightcap: 17 September

Porte Noire opens on the 18 October

Idris Elba and David Farber to launch Porte Noire bar 

From Luther to luxury fizz, Idris Elba is launching a wine bar! He’s teaming up with David Farber from Connaught Wine Cellars and wine and Champagne brand Porte Noire. The bar will be located at the foot of Gasholders (yes, an old gasholder), by the Regent’s canal towpath London. Expect an extensive selection of wines from around the world, cocktails and a selection of classic French brasserie-style dishes split into tasters, bar snacks, starters, mains and desserts. Designed by leading design agency Kanvass, Porte Noire will feature an outdoor space, a dining room and a bar which can seat up to 70 guests. The new bar and shop will also be home to around 800 wine bins as well as one of the largest fine wine tasting rooms in London. Chosen by Farber, the wine selection will include  some of the best and rarest bottles to a more accessible selection of wines on tap to suit all tastes. Most bottles will be available to purchase in the shop that sits by the entrance of the bar. “David has been working in the wine space for a long time, I know he is going to take the Porte Noire name and create something special,” says Elba. The Porte Noire Bar and Shop is set to open on Monday 18 October.

The Nightcap: 17 September

The Gibson will play host to some Laphroaig larks with David Miles and Marian Beke

Edrington UK to host a month of events for London Cocktail Week

Need some ideas of how to spend London Cocktail Week? Well, Edrington UK, the company behind Macallan, Highland Park and Laphroaig, has announced an interesting sounding series of workshops and events dedicated to the trade across the capital. Designed for those working in the bar and hospitality industry, the brand has put together three different sessions taking place throughout London Cocktail Week, which is taking place across the entire month of October. The first is Tending to the Tenders at Lyaness, a partnership with the bar to create a community space that’s focused on great food, delicious cocktails, wellness, and mental health. From cocktails to food, massages to interactive sessions, yoga to cinema nights, trade can attend all of these events for FREE. Lovely stuff. Then there’s Laphroaig at The Gibson, which sees whisky specialist David Miles talking all things “Peat, Heat, Sour and Sweet” alongside Marian Beke. Finally, everything from bar economics to fixing glassware will be tackled in one-off trade workshops at Maker’s Mark x Tayēr + Elementary Workshops. Just follow the links if you want to book your tickets, hopefully, we’ll see you there!

The Nightcap: 17 September

Arbroath Smokies benefit from the traditional process. But will gin?

And finally… anyone for gin made in a fish smokehouse?

Forfar distillery Gin Bothy has partnered with smokehouse Alex Spink and Sons to enter a new addition into our classic Nightcap category: weird and wonderful gins. The local fish smokehouse, has been specialising in the art of making ‘Arbroath Smokies’, which are a traditional type of smoked haddock cured in salt before being slow-cooked in a fire-filled barrel, since the 1970s. It’s actually a geographically protected method, like Champagne. Now Alex Spink and Sons has applied the same traditional technique to botanicals including juniper, orange peel, coriander, and lemon, which were then used to make the smoked gin. You’ll be pleased to know that the distillation itself took place at the Gin Bothy distillery, half an hour’s drive away from the smokehouse, preventing the aroma of fish from penetrating the spirit. The Gin Bothy Smoked Gin is said to have notes of burned orange, deep citrus flavour with a smoky finish and its makers recommend sipping it neat, or pairing it with chips. Just kidding, a light tonic and a slice of orange should do the trick. Some smoked salmon on the side wouldn’t go amiss, all jokes aside. Gin Bothy founder Kim Cameron says the inspiration behind the gin was to bring together two of Scotland’s oldest traditions in one unusual product. “The smoking of ingredients and products has long been part of Scottish culture,” she said. “The bothy smokehouses dotted along the north-east coasts offer culinary secrets from recipes of old and it is here that we created our smoked gin.” The gin is priced at £35 per bottle and is available from Gin Bothy’s website.

The Nightcap: 17 September

Well, it’s hard to confuse that for anything else. Wait, not hard. Difficult. It’s difficult.

… or penis-shaped wine?

Well, we were bound to get there eventually. One Napa-based company has made penis-shaped bottles to house its wine. It’s called Just the Tipsy, obviously, and is hilariously described as “fairly anatomically correct”. Launched in June, the $37 genitalia bottle houses sparkling rose Seurat (not Penis Noir, before you ask) that’s described as being dry and crisp with a long, ahem, finish. Pairs excellently with coq au vin. Ha, ha, ha. Anyway, as you might expect, the initial idea was to market the wine for hen parties and “girls’ wine nights”. The project has been in the works for nearly two years, and CEO Matthew Shore says he was surprised by how many winemakers in Napa were open to participating. He also said that he can “neither confirm nor deny who the model(s) may have been, but we made sure to go through many rounds of design to make sure it came out perfect”. Isn’t that comforting? The penis-shaped bottle is available for purchase on the company’s website

No Comments on The Nightcap: 17 September

Cocktail of the Week: the Gin and Juice

The sun’s out and that means we need a refreshing cocktail made with minimum fuss. Something laid back. A Gin and Juice, perhaps… We like to think our Cocktail of…

The sun’s out and that means we need a refreshing cocktail made with minimum fuss. Something laid back. A Gin and Juice, perhaps…

We like to think our Cocktail of the Week series has a nice wide range of serves that aren’t too tricky to make. But some might involve bitters or liqueurs you’re not familiar with or require some intermediate-level prep you just don’t have the time or inclination for. This is why we also love to feature some of the drinks world’s most simple serves. 

It doesn’t come much easier than a two-part drink. And of all the many variations possible, there is perhaps none as easy or immediately appetizing as the Gin and Juice. It’s so basic, it’s hardly a cocktail. It doesn’t even have a dedicated name like a Screwdriver. Just a description of what’s in the drink. And the exact recipe is up to you.

No fancy equipment. No strange ingredients. It’s cheap, cheerful, and a crowd-pleaser. Who the hell won’t actually enjoy a Gin and Juice? Fruity and refreshing is always a winning combo. Try and mess it up, I dare you.

A classic in two worlds

Best of all, the Gin and Juice will always remind you of the song of the same name by Snoop Dogg. In fact, on the excellent Difford’s Guide, the ‘History’ section of this serve hilariously says the Gin and Juice is “possibly the inspiration behind the Top 10 single ‘Gin and Juice’ by rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg”. I think you might be onto something there, guys.

The second single from his debut album, Doggystyle, Gin and Juice was released in 1994 and is still Snoop’s most-streamed song on Spotify. It also features arguably the greatest line in a music video of all time: “Snoop doggy dog, you need to get a jobby job”. Still amazing after all these years. The song has also helped propel the drink’s fame and no doubt helped make it the name of choice for countless bars and clubs. 

On 27 May 2018, the legend himself even set the world record for the largest ‘Gin and Juice’, a 500-litre paradise cocktail, containing 180 bottles of gin, 154 bottles of apricot brandy, and 38 3.78-litre jugs of orange juice. Good thing he didn’t call the song White Russian. There’s no way that much milk wouldn’t curdle in the California sun.

Gin and Juice

The record-breaking Gin and Juice (Image credit: Guinness World Records)

A gang of Tanqueray

The most important ingredient is obviously the gin, because while your options seem pretty limitless, you will need to consider which style and profile will pair with your choice of juice. A classic London dry gin is the obvious way to go as it’s the easiest to balance. Snoop himself references Seagram’s gin in the Gin and Juice lyrics, but also says the line “Later on that day, my homie Dr. Dre came through with a gang of Tanqueray”. This gives us the perfect excuse to use an excellent brand of gin and also reveals a very generous side to the good doctor.

As for your juice, have fun with it. We’ve gone for a classic blend of orange and pineapple here, but you can go in whatever direction you like: grapefruit, lime, clam. It will all be tasty if you balance it right. Ok, I was joking with the last one (although someone unbearably trendy hipster bartender will probably make that work), but do experiment to find which flavours you like best. You can even theme your Gin and Juice, make it tropical with mango and pineapple, or festive with cranberry etc. 

Once again, as we say often in Cocktail of the Week, the MOST IMPORTANT THING is that the juice is fresh. Otherwise, it just won’t taste as good. Yes, it’s a pain to freshly squeeze your own juice. Yes, it’s easy and cheap to buy pre-made juice. It’s no problem if you want to do that, just understand that it won’t be as good as the fresh stuff. If you’re buying juice, get the stuff from the chiller cabinet, not the shelf. The latter is made from concentrate and heat-treated for long life. Not delicious. Oh, and some Gin and Juice recipes call for simple syrup, for those who like drinks on the sweeter side. That seems mad to me in a drink that is mostly fruit sugars anyway, but if you do need a little extra kick then I would add small amounts (5ml ish) at a time so you don’t mess up what should be the world’s easiest cocktail.

 Gin and Juice

The Tanqueray and Juice

How to make a Gin and Juice

And that’s it, basically. This recipe was provided by the folks at Tanqueray, but really do feel free to play around with this one.

35ml Tanqueray No. 10
60ml fresh orange juice
60ml fresh pineapple juice

Splash your Tanqueray London Dry Gin in a shaker then add the fresh juices. Fill with ice, shake and strain, then squeeze some lime and dunk it in.

No Comments on Cocktail of the Week: the Gin and Juice

MoM Loves: Elephant Gin

Every time you buy a bottle of Elephant Gin, 15% of the profits go to foundations that support the conservation of African elephants. Today we uncover the story behind the…

Every time you buy a bottle of Elephant Gin, 15% of the profits go to foundations that support the conservation of African elephants. Today we uncover the story behind the brand whose activism is based in booze.

Paid partnership

Today is World Elephant Day and, while we’d love to simply just share pics and trade stories of the glorious animals, sadly all is not well for elephants. There used to be millions of elephants roaming Africa’s huge open spaces. Today, after two drastic surges in poaching, only 415,000 remain. Criminals kill endangered animals for tusks, horns, scales, and skins. Ivory demand, human-wildlife conflict, and a simple battle for space have greatly affected the plight of the African elephant.

Since 2013, a gin brand has been doing its bit fighting the good fight on behalf of elephants (who, despite being awesome don’t actually possess the ability of distillation). Elephant Gin was founded with the belief that the first step to changing the world is having the right spirit. 

The team has been boosting conservation efforts for Africa’s favourite gentle giants, contributing 15% of all of its gins’ profits to elephant conservation. Up to date, Elephant Gin has donated over €500,000 to its partner foundations.

Elephant Gin

Elephant Gin does what it can to support these beautiful creatures

The cause

These include the Big Life Foundation, in which Elephant Gin supports the work of the 45 rangers who protect two million acres of wilderness in Kenya, paying for training, salary, and equipment such as rucksacks, tents, and mosquito nets. There’s also The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which rescues and rehabilitates baby elephants that are left behind when their mother dies due to poaching, with Elephant Gin becoming a foster parent of 22 orphaned elephants.

The gin brand has also partnered with Space for Giants Foundation to fund an education centre called The Wildlife Spirit, the purpose of which is to educate local youth and adults in the area on their country’s wildlife and environment, as well as give local and international visitors an opportunity to learn about elephants.

Donations are one method, but Elephant Gin also gets directly involved too, offering jobs that provide income for people that might have looked for illegal activities and are keen to work with the communities. For its Sloe Gin, for example, the beautiful craftsmanship of the Kenyan Maasai tribe is celebrated by paying them to create beads for the bottle.

One example of how Elephant Gin is committed to the cause was in 2016 when the brand helped save 69 elephants by negotiating the removal of a fence between Pongola Game Reserve and Swaziland Reserve (two big reserves of 15,000-25,000 hectares of wildlife each). Dropping the fence resulted in reconnecting the two reserves and letting all wild animals roam freely between borders. Several elephants that were on the brink of being shot (as a result of the current drought) were able to survive under the new circumstances.

Elephant Gin

The Elephant Gin range

The gin

Elephant Gin was founded by Robin Gerlach and Tessa Wienker. They were inspired after spending time in Africa, where they witnessed first-hand the reduction of elephant’s natural habitat for farming and the horror of ivory poaching. The duo decided that they would prefer to create a physical product that people could enjoy and relate to rather than simply establishing a charity, utilizing the power of a forward-thinking, socially-minded business.

A keen gin enthusiast, Gerlach began researching African botanicals to combine his desire to see more radical ingredients in gin and maintaining a narrative that suited the project’s inspiration. Botanicals like buchu, devil’s claw, and lion’s tail (plants and herbs native to South Africa), as well as Baobab (the fruit of the baobab tree) and African wormwood, are distilled at a German schnapps distillery. Elephant Dry Gin also features more classic botanicals such as juniper, ginger, elderflower, lavender, cassia bark, sweet orange peel, and more.

The same recipe is used for a navy strength edition, fittingly called Elephant Strength, and there’s also a Sloe Gin. And don’t forget, 15% of the profits of each goes to helping African elephants.

Elephant Gin

Happy World Elephant Day, folks!

Making a difference with drinks

Social responsibility is reflected in all facets of the company, which includes sustainability too. Elephant Gin is committed to a plastic policy that actively avoids single-use plastic, favouring shredded 100% recyclable boxes and paper straws (sugar cane alternatives are in the works), and omitting the likes of bubble wrap and styrofoam.

Recyclable and sustainable materials like glass bottles, natural corks, and hemp string decoration are also used, as is a 100% biodegradable shrink sleeve made from a compostable material called polylactic acid. When Elephant Gin hands out brochures and flyers, the paper is made out of elephant dung, which is neat.

Gin and elephants might not be the most obvious combination. But, by working closely with foundations to ensure that donations arrive on the ground and regularly visiting Africa in order to keep up to date on the progress and developments, the Elephant Gin team has managed to make a real difference with drinks.

Now that’s something worth raising a glass to.

No Comments on MoM Loves: Elephant Gin

New Arrival of the Week: Seven Hills Tokaj Gin

We’ve got something a little unusual this week: a gin from Hungary which is flavoured with grapes normally used to make one of the world’s great sweet wines. It’s Seven…

We’ve got something a little unusual this week: a gin from Hungary which is flavoured with grapes normally used to make one of the world’s great sweet wines. It’s Seven Hills Tokaj Gin!

Central Europe has a long and proud tradition of small-scale distillation. All over the old Austro-Hungarian empire, farmers turn the bounty of autumn into brandies and liqueurs, just as we do with jams and chutneys. 

The skills are there so it was only a matter of time before someone applied their distillation knowledge to a drink that’s still the spirit du jour: gin. Which is exactly what they have done at the Seven Hills distillery.

Istill at Seven Hills in Hungary

Istill at Seven Hills

Tradition and innovation

It was founded in 2020 by Dénes Mészáros-Komáromy and it’s fair to say that their inaugural release, Seven Hill Tokaj Gin, has been a triumph. This year it won best contemporary gin at the World Gin Awards, a gold medal at the London Spirit Competition and a master gong at the Spirits Business Gin Masters awards in 2020.

The distillery is located in Tokaj by the Bodrog river. This region might traditionally be a spirits heartland but the set up at Seven Hills (not to be confused with Italian distillery VII Hills) mixes the traditional with the ultra-modern.

At the centre of the distillery is an Istill, a fully-automated distillation robot designed by Dutchman Dr Edwin van Eijk aka Odin. Fittingly, the idea for it came to him following a visit to Hungary, his wife is Hungarian. He tried numerous domestic brandies, most were pretty rough but one was sublime. The problem was the distiller could not explain how he made his so well. It was all anecdotal, no science.

So, Odin set about creating a still from scratch where every aspect of the process would be controlled and measured by computer.The result was the Istill – you can read the full story about it here.

Tokaji, Hungary’s legendary wine

As well as fruit brandies, this part of Hungary is also famous for it’s sweet wine: Tokaji. This is made from grapes that have been affected with botrytis aka noble rot, a fungus that dries grapes out and concentrates the sugar. It’s used to make the famous sweet wines of Sauternes in Bordeaux but for centuries Hungary’s wines were considered as fine, if not finer.

Tokaji was one of many wines known as vinum regnum, rex Vinorum, the king of wines, the wine of kings. But in this case, it was true. The Czar of Russia kept detachments of soldiers in Hungary purely to bring the latest vintage safely back to St Petersburg. 

It’s made using a unique technique where the ultra-sweet grapes are made into a sugary paste known as aszu which is then added to a fully-fermented dry (ie. not sweet) wine which causes it to re-ferment. Wines are graded by puttonyos – buckets of aszu added. 

The reputation of Tokaji collapsed after the Second World War. A wine made using painstaking techniques and requiring only the finest grapes, didn’t take well to collectivisation. But since the end of communism, producers both domestic and with foreign investment have reinvigorated the region. Tokaji is once again one of the world’s finest wines. As with most sweet wines, it’s underpriced considering the quality and the amount of work that goes into making it. Try this example if you want to know what all the fuss is about. 

Seven Hills Tokaj Gin

All photos courtesy of Seven Hills

A gin with a sense of place

The two principal grape varieties used are Furmint and Harslevelu, which is translated as Linden Leaf. The latter is used by Seven Hills Distillery to flavour its gin. Other botanicals used include a mixture of the native and the more far-flung such as juniper, coriander seed, forest pine bud, cubeb, elderflower, orris root, pink grapefruit, blackcurrant, and local honey. 

Truly this is a gin with a strong sense of place. Mészáros-Komáromy said: “We put together modern technology, traditions and the special microclimate of the Tokaj wine region, resulting in spirits that are unique and unrepeatable anywhere in the world.”

There’s also a Tokaji barrel-aged gin in the pipeline. Exciting. But that’s not all. The team has been quietly laying down both malt and rye whiskies which should be coming on to the market in 2023. Very exciting! 

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Softly earthy with piney juniper and leafy herbs, before a bright flash of elderflower and lemon develop, shortly followed by a hint of blackcurrant leaf and peppercorn.

Seven Hills Tokaj Gin is available from Master of Malt. Click here to buy.

No Comments on New Arrival of the Week: Seven Hills Tokaj Gin

Top ten bottles from independent distilleries

This week we’re celebrating the small fish, the mavericks, the start-ups and the long-established family businesses of the drinks industry. From single malt whisky to craft gin, here are our…

This week we’re celebrating the small fish, the mavericks, the start-ups and the long-established family businesses of the drinks industry. From single malt whisky to craft gin, here are our top ten bottles from independent distilleries.

It’s not easy being an indie in a drinks industry dominated by giants like Diageo, Pernod Ricard or Beam Suntory. These behemoths have marketing budgets bigger than some countries. How do you compete with that? Then there’s always the possibility that one of the big boys will make you an offer you can’t refuse. Pernod Ricard, in particular, seems to be constantly snapping up craft gin distilleries.

Yet, we’re glad that so many independent distillers are not only surviving but thriving. They are able to react more quickly than the giants, be more individual, or just do things as they’ve always done without having to worry about shareholders.

An independent could be a hungry start-up bursting with innovation, or a family business that’s been honing its craft for generations. Either way, you’re getting something a bit different when you go independent. So, we’ve rounded up some of our favourites from the world of whisky, gin, rum, Cognac and Tequila. Let’s raise a glass to the small fish of the drinks industry!

Top ten bottles from independent distilleries

edradour-10-year-old-whisky

Edradour 10 Year Old 

Edradour is one of Scotland’s smallest distilleries and at the heart of the range, this 10 year old Eastern Highlander is a highly distinctive single malt, a decidedly rum-like dram with a thick mouthfeel. The distillery’s methods of production remain virtually unchanged in the last 150 years, and we can see why. If it ain’t broke and all that. This single malt’s decade of ageing was spent in a combination of Oloroso sherry and bourbon casks. This is one sherry monster and we love it.

drumshanbo-single-pot-still-inaugural-release-whiskey

Drumshanbo Single Pot Still

The single malt still is Ireland’s great gift to the whiskey world. Until recently, if you wanted some of that creamy magic, there was only one game in town, Irish Distillers. Now though, independent distillers are beginning to release spirits like this splendid one from Drumshanbo. The mash bill is a mixture of malted and unmalted barley with 5% Barra oats. It’s triple distilled before being matured in a combination of Kentucky bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks, making for a glorious balance of cream and spice.

Wilderness Trail Bourbon

Wilderness Trail Single Barrel Bourbon

Many small American whiskey brands buy in spirits from larger distillers. Wilderness Trail, however, did things the hard way when the founders Shane Baker and Pat Heist (great name) built their own distillery at Danville, Kentucky in 2013. This Single Barrel release is made from a mash bill of 64% corn, 24% wheat and 12% malted barley, aged in toasted and charred barrels. It’s also bottled in bond, meaning that, as laid out in the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, it must be aged between five and six years and bottled under the supervision of the U.S. Government at 100 proof, or 50% ABV in British English.

Hayman's London Dry Gin & Tonic

Hayman’s London Dry Gin

The Hayman family are descended from James Burrough, the founder of Beefeater Gin. They have been distilling for five generations but it’s only in recent years that the family name has appeared on bottles. These days, their gin is produced in Balham in South London (following the Hayman’s base of operations moving from Essex in 2018), only four miles from where the company was founded by Burroughs. This classic London Dry Gin is produced to a family recipe which is over 150 years old but the company also makes innovative products like the fiendishly clever Small Gin.

Masons-Gin

Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin

Mason’s is back from the brink. In April 2019, the distillery burnt to the ground in a freak fire. It was utterly destroyed. But founders Catherine and Carl Mason did not give up. They had their gin made at another distillery before rebuilding and reopening in 2020 (read more about the story here). Their distinctive London Dry Gin uses Harrogate spring water along with juniper, a proportion of which is from their own bushes, and a combination of secret botanicals including citrus, fennel and cardamom. Produced in small batches, each bottle has hand written batch and bottle numbers.

Botanivore Gin

St. George Botanivore Gin 

As you might be able to tell from our visit in 2019, we’re pretty keen on everything from California distilling pioneers St. George. The team makes whiskey, vodka, various types of gin, liqueurs, eaux-de-vie and more. But we can only pick one thing so we’ve gone for the Botanivore Gin. It’s made with 19 different botanicals, including angelica root, bay laurel, coriander, Seville orange peel, star anise and juniper berries, among others. It’s like a greenhouse in a bottle.  This would make a superb Martini with just a splash of vermouth and a green olive.

O Reizinho Rum

O Reizinho 3 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company) 

This has proved a hit with customers and staff alike. It’s a rum from the Portuguese island of Madeira, located off the coast of West Africa, made by O Reizinho and bottled by our very own That Boutique-y Rum Company. The distillery uses fresh sugar cane rather than molasses so expect lots of vegetal funkiness with green banana, olive and red chilli, tamed somewhat by three years in oak barrels bringing toffee, vanilla and peanuts to the party. And what a party it is! This is now the second batch; only 1936 50cl bottles were filled at 52.6% ABV. 

Scratch Patience Rum

Scratch Patience Rum

British rum, distilled in Hertfordshire by one man spirits maverick Doug Miller. Read more about him here. A great deal of patience has gone into this one. The rum is double distilled, spending time in whisky casks between distillations, before further maturation in ex-bourbon and new oak casks. Finally, the matured rums are blended for perfect balance and bottled in small batches. Wonderful stuff, expect flavours of toffee and butter fudge, tropical hints of banana with rich, oaky vanilla, combined with dried fruits and soft wood spice prickle. It just goes to show that patience does pay off!

Frapin 1270

Frapin 1270 Cognac 

Whereas most Cognac is made from bought-in grapes, wine or eau-de-vie, Frapin only uses fruit from the family’s estates in the Grand Champagne region. They ferment and distill everything themselves too. After distillation, 1270 was matured for six months in new oak barrels and then moved to older casks for extended ageing. The name is something of a tribute to the long history of Frapin. A refined and fruity Cognac that was created by Frapin to work as an aperitif, served over ice, or as a base for cocktails. 

Tequila Fortaleza

Fortaleza Tequila Reposado 

The brand Fortaleza was launched comparatively recently, back in 2005, but Guillermo Sauza’s family have been making Tequila for five generations. Apparently his ancestor, Don Cenobio, was the first person to export “mezcal de tequila” to the United States, shorten the name to simply ‘Tequila’, use steam to cook the agave rather than an earthen pit, and specify blue agave as the best to use. Quite a legacy! This reposado bottling spends a short time in ex-bourbon barrels where it takes on popcorn, caramel and wood spice to go alongside those fruity, herbal agave flavours. 

No Comments on Top ten bottles from independent distilleries

Return to the Copper Rivet Distillery

There’s been so much going on at the Copper Rivet Distillery since we last visited in 2018: the release of a single malt, a column malt and the opening of…

There’s been so much going on at the Copper Rivet Distillery since we last visited in 2018: the release of a single malt, a column malt and the opening of a fancy new restaurant. But that’s not all! There’s a grain whisky coming soon too. We took a trip to Chatham to find out more.

Distilleries often come with spectacular views but on a sunny day, it’s hard to think of a better one than Chatham’s Copper Rivet Distillery and its surroundings. It’s housed in a beautifully restored Victorian Italianate pumping station on the River Medway with boats sailing by, and historic Rochester with its castle and cathedral across the way. 

If it was in Sydney or Porto, there would be hoards of Instagrammers trying to get the perfect shot but because it’s in a rundown bit of Kent, nobody bats an eyelid. 

We visited back in 2018 but since then the team has released two single malts whiskies, a column and a pot still, and opened a restaurant overlooking the river. Plus there were rumours of an exciting new whisky which might be released in time for Christmas. How could we resist another invitation?

Copper Rivet Distillery

They built some beautiful things did the Victorians

Steeped in alcohol 

As distiller Abhi Banik was on holiday we were shown around by his number two, Aaron Fayose, a former engineering student from the University of Greenwich, and Bob Russell from the family who founded the distillery.

The Russell family have been, as Bob put it, “steeped in alcohol since the 1980s.” The business began with a wine bar in Rainham progressed to a group of off-licenses, and then supplying boozy gift packs to supermarkets and department stores.

But they always wanted to create their very own drinks brand. Eventually, after much searching, they found the perfect site for a distillery, the old pumping station in Chatham Dockyard. They needed a building with a high roof as they had to have space for a column to make their own neutral alcohol – something very rare among gin distillers. 

They bought the derelict building in Chatham dockyards in 2015. It was first used to pump water in and out of dry docks, the giant cast iron pump is still in place, and then later as a training venue for the sailors. The town’s economy had for 400 years been built around the ships, and it suffered greatly when the Royal Navy pulled out in 1984.

Much of the dockyard’s infrastructure was left to decay. There was no gas, electricity or water when they were allowed in the pump house in November 2015, and according to Russell, what is now the car park was a quagmire. They managed to get it operational by October 2016, ready for the official opening by Princess Anne in December 2017. It is named the Copper Rivet Distillery as a tribute to the town’s rich shipbuilding heritage. 

The Banik still

Photo of a man taking a photo, with Banik still in the background

The Banik still

The Russell family, Bob and his sons Stephen and Matthew, put their dream in the hands of Abhishek Banik, a young Indian distiller who graduated from and was teaching at Heriot Watt in Edinburgh.

He designed the entire set-up from scratch and it was built using local engineering works. According to Russell, there’s still a lot of skills around from when Chatham was the dockyard to the Navy. 

At Copper Rivet, there’s a single pot still, a 40 plate column still and a very special gin still which recently received a patent. Called a Banik still after its inventor, it can macerate heavier botanicals and infuse lighter botanicals at the same time, while protecting the more delicate ones from the heat source.

Bananas all the way

One entering the still room, the first thing I could smell was a distinct banana note from the wort. It’s a flavour that carries through into Copper Rivet’s final products. 

The gin, vodka and grain whisky are all made from a mixture of 40% wheat, 25% malted barley, 25% barley 10% rye. All the grain comes from one farm on the nearby Isle of Sheppey.

On our last visit, Banik told us that at the mashing stage, the aim is to create a clear wort for a fruitier new make. This is then fermented slowly, over the course of about seven days, using two different yeast strains. In order to make sure it happens slowly, Banik uses about half the normal amount of yeast.

This multi-grain wash then goes through a pot still followed by the column where it comes off as neutral alcohol at 96% ABV. I say neutral but when you taste the spirit diluted in the form of Vela Vodka, there’s no shortage of flavour: that banana note, a creamy mouthfeel and a hit of rye on the finish. Bring on the Baltic snacks! No wonder it won double gold in the San Francisco Spirits Competition.

You can taste the sheer quality of the spirit in Dockyard Gin, a beautifully balanced citrus-led classic dry gin. We also tried a strawberry gin, made by macerating Kentish strawberries in Dockyard for around 10 days – and that’s it. No flavours or colouring. With its subtle yet pronounced taste of fresh strawberries, I can imagine it would work wonders bolstering a Pimm’s and lemonade.

Masthouse whiskies

The two Masthouse whiskies with Bob Russell in the background

Whisky business

Most excitingly, since our last visit, Copper Rivet has released two Masthouse single malt whiskies, a pot still and a column. Both are made from Isle of Sheppey barley, malted at Muntons in East Anglia. The Russell family has issued something called the Invicta charter, a set of rules for how whisky should be made and labelled. 

The main points are that grains have to come from within 50 miles of the distillery, all operations after malting but including fermentation must take place under one roof and it includes a system for labelling whisky that is clear to the consumer stating the grains and type of still used.

The same slow-fermented malted barley wash is the basis for both single malts. Following distillation in a column or pot, they are aged predominantly in ex-bourbon casks with some virgin American oak. The ageing is interesting, with all casks spending one year in the distillery where it gets very hot in the summer, up to 40 degrees Celsius, but goes down to 6 degrees in the winter. So not dissimilar to bourbon ageing. They then send the casks to a temperature-controlled bonded warehouse in Liverpool. So far they have filled around 600 barrels.

Bob Russell told me that an unnamed Scots distiller had said that the three-year-old Masthouse malts had the maturity and balance of eight-year-old Scotch whiskies. 

Tasting Masthouse whiskies

This focus on quality and precision every step of the way has really paid off. You can read what I thought of the pot still malt here in detail. To summarise, I’d say it was about the best young single malt I’ve ever tried: fruity, harmonious, packed with flavour but not overworked, the use of oak is just perfect. Banik has avoided the two pitfalls of young malts: trying to get too much flavour in from different cask types and making the resulting whisky rather hard work, or just creating something pleasant but a bit bland.

Both are bottled at 45% ABV (there is also a cask strength pot still which I didn’t try) but the column tastes noticeably different. There’s less oak on the nose with oaty cereal, spicy rye and lots of fruit such as peaches, and oranges. When you taste it, the body is lighter, you don’t get the rich mouthfeel and it is a little spirity. Perhaps not as harmonious as the pot still but then flavours of toffee and caramel come in at the end, with a long lingering sweet finish. It’ll make a great Highball. 

Coming soon…

Finally, Fayose had a treat for us, a cask sample of the forthcoming single grain whisky. This comes off the column at a lower ABV than the neutral grain, Russell said around 80%, before going into cask. There’s that banana note on the nose, custard, baking spices and tropical fruit with no raw spirit notes. Then in the mouth, it’s spice city with chilli, black pepper and a feel like popping candy on the finish. Masses of character –  this will be a killer mixing whisky. I think bartenders will love it.

Russell also mentioned, tantalisingly, Banik has been over to Jerez to source some sherry casks from a small producer. Nothing has been filled yet but the thought of a sherry cask Masthouse is extremely exciting. I’d love to see a blended whisky when they have enough casks filled. Wouldn’t that be great?

Skate wing at Copper Rivet Distillery

Skate wing at Copper Rivet Distillery, with THAT view behind

Appreciating that view

Following the tasting, Russell took us through to the terrace overlooking the river. During the lockdown, the team turned this part of the distillery into a restaurant and tapas bar called the Pumproom. The original cast iron pump is still there, in the wine store. They’ve hired chef Will Freeman who makes full use of Kent’s great produce. Bob Russell is a big seafood fan.

I had some beautifully-seared scallops served with cured trout, followed by a minute steak with chips. All around, people were enjoying the food, drinks and that incredible view. Chatham becoming a tourist destination? Why not?

The Copper Rivet is available from Master of Malt.

No Comments on Return to the Copper Rivet Distillery

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search