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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Negroni

The Nightcap: 8 February

Bee-saving beer, new Bladnoch, Brexit gubbins and more stories about things that don’t start with B. The Nightcap is here! Hmm… Something seems different around here… Why does everything feel…

Bee-saving beer, new Bladnoch, Brexit gubbins and more stories about things that don’t start with B. The Nightcap is here!

Hmm… Something seems different around here… Why does everything feel much sleeker and generally cooler? Has the MoM blog had a haircut? Maybe it’s wearing a new pair of shoes that really complements its digital eyes? Anyway, I’m sure someone will say something about that in due course – right this moment, The Nightcap is at the forefront of our minds!

Here’s a recap of what’s happened on the MoM blog this week. Annie investigated how Aussie distillers are using the work of Mother Nature to make whisky, then had a look at the buzz surround CBD cocktails. Henry’s Cocktail of the Week was the Brandy Sour – and when he wasn’t busy mixing up tasty drinks, he was talking to Rod Eslamieh about how to run a bar and recapping the night of Master of Malt winning Online Retailer of the Year at the Drinks Retailing Awards 2019. Adam added some brilliant beers to our “Must Try” list (which is already pretty long – thanks Adam), and Kristy explored the Craigellachie distillery in all its worm-tub awesomeness.

What an interesting week, and how attractively presented, don’t you think? Enough hints, if you haven’t noticed by now, you’ll never notice. It’s time for the Nightcap!

Finally, some good Brexit news

Good Brexit news! The US and UK agree divorce-proof booze terms

Forget the stalemate, ignore the sagas. We have good Brexit news! Some of our most beloved boozes were safeguarded last week after the US and UK agreed they would protect names and the definitions attached to them. The mutual agreement means that post-Brexit, Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey (which is made in both Northern Ireland and the Republic), Tennessee whiskey, and bourbon will all be recognised in bilateral trade. This might not sound like a big deal, but it can take years to secure protection for spirits, and the protections that do exist are largely arranged with the EU, rather than the UK. The Continuity Agreement, as it is known, has been welcomed across the industry and beyond. “Ensuring that our flagship spirits exports – bourbon and Tennessee whiskey – will continue to be protected provides our companies much-needed assurances as the UK negotiates its departure from the EU,” said Distilled Spirits Council president and CEO, Chris Swonger. Meanwhile, Scotch Whisky Association international director, Sarah Dickson, commented: “Scotch Whisky already enjoys legal protection in the US Federal Code, but this agreement mirrors the protection currently offered under the US-EU agreement and secures the continued recognition of all UK and US whiskies. This will give US consumers the confidence that after Brexit the Scotch whisky they enjoy is distilled and matured in Scotland in accordance with UK law.” Hurrah all round!

Andy Simpson and David Robertson from Rare Whisky 101

Whiskey auction market up by over 60% according to Rare Whisky 101

A report just published by Rare Whisky 101 shows that the value of Single Malt whisky sold at auction rose by a staggering 62.7% from 2017. The report is packed with fascinating stats (for whisky nerds anyway). Over 100,000 bottles of rare whisky were sold at UK auctions last year. The top end of the market looks particularly strong with the number of bottles going for £10,000 or more increasing from 91 in 2017 to 265 last year. Who can forget the record-breaking Macallan 1926 which sold for £1 million? Investing in whisky still looks like a good bet for the time being. The Apex 1000 Index (which tracks the values of rare whiskies) was up 30% this year, out-performing the FTSE, fine wine, crude oil and gold. Andy Simpson, director and co-founder of Rare Whisky 101, said: “The secondary market for rare whisky continues to outperform our expectations. With the average bottle price increasing by around 15% from the half-year stage to year-end…. Across the board, we’re seeing an increased number of valuable bottles selling for greater value than ever before resulting in phenomenal growth within the market for over £1,000 bottles.” Gazing into his whisky crystal ball, co-founder David Robertson said: “The UK auction market remains the biggest and most active market worldwide, and there’s nothing to suggest that will change. However, with the uncertainty of Brexit hanging over us, it is extremely difficult to second guess what will happen with cross border trade and access to bottles. From both a volume and value perspective, 2019 is very difficult to predict!”

Martell was a star performer for Pernod Ricard

Martell bolsters Pernod Ricard’s H1 sales

This week it was French drinks group Pernod Ricard’s chance to crunch the numbers. The company, which owns the likes of Jameson, Chivas Brothers (think: Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet, Ballantine’s), Martell, Beefeater and more, saw its sales climb 7.8% to €5.18 billion (about £4.53bn) for the six months to 31 December 2018. Its ‘Strategic International Brands’ (featuring Martell, Jameson, Scotch, gin and the Champers brands) contributed 10% gains, while Lillet, Monkey 47 and Altos were specifically named as giving the ‘Speciality Brands’ division an 11% boost. While the Americas region showed ‘robust’ growth, Asia-Rest of World soared by 16%. Pernod didn’t have it all its own way, with Europe ‘stable’ as Western Europe failed to shine. Looking ahead, chairman and CEO Alexandre Ricard said, “For full year FY19, in an environment that remains uncertain, we aim to continue dynamic and diversified growth across our regions and brands.”

Oz Clarke didn’t win, despite our prediction. Here he is with judge, Victoria Moore.

André Simon drink book winner announced

The great and good of the food and drink world (and your features editor Henry) turned out at the Goring Hotel in London for the annual André Simon food and drink writing awards. You may remember last year we tipped Oz Clarke to win in the drink category with Alex Maltman’s book on vineyard soils as dark horse. We got it hopelessly wrong. Drink Book of the Year went to The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste by Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay. Oh well, we can’t always be right. The most emotional moment of the evening was when Together: A Community Cookbook won the Special Commendation. This book was created by a group of London women affected by the Grenfell Tower fire and they turned out in force to collect it. Food Book of the Year went to Diana Henry’s How to Eat a Peach which was described tantalisingly by judge Meera Sodha as, “as good in bedroom as in the kitchen”. Blimey!

Fiery stuff from Douglas Laing

Douglas Laing releases collection inspired by fire, air, earth and water

Leading Scotch whisky specialist Douglas Laing & Co has announced a series of Old Particular single cask limited edition bottlings for 2019, inspired by the four elements of fire, air, earth and water. Each expression will be bottled at natural cask strength without colouring or chill-filtration. The series launches with the “fire” bottling which, very aptly, is a mocha-spiced Craigellachie 12 Years Old from a well-fired and characterful sherry butt. The specialist bottlings will each be packaged with designs that depict an intricate illustration of each of the four elements. Cara Laing, Douglas Laing’s director of whisky, who selected the whiskies, commented on the new collection: “Our cask selection and packaging design pays tribute to the natural elements that contribute so significantly to the production of Scotch whisky. From oak trees to charred casks, peat and of course water, this specialist single cask collection celebrates the role of the elements in the whisky-making cycle.” What an exciting release! So exciting, in fact, it sold out in a day. It probably deserves a few flame emojis, but we can’t do those so you’ll just have to imagine them yourselves.

Congratulations to Martin Siska

Martin Siska from Rosewood London

Martin Siska appointed as director of bars at Rosewood London

Rosewood London announced this week that Martin Siska has taken on the role as director of bars, effective 5 February! Originally from Slovakia, Siska first moved to London twelve years ago and ever since has worked across the luxury bar scene, including stints at Le Pont De La Tour, HUSH, and The Donovan Bar at Brown’s Hotel. He spent four months working with the legendary Javier de las Muelas of Dry Martini in Barcelona in 2015, which led to him launching its first UK outpost, Dry Martini London. Siska, who we spoke to back in May 2018, was appointed bar manager at Scarfes Bar in September 2016. This has led to nominations for industry awards, including Tales of Cocktail’s Best 10 Hotel Bars in the World; Imbibe’s Drinks List of the Year; and Class Awards’s Best Cocktail Menu. Scarfes Bar is inspired by the atmosphere of a drawing room and features canvases by renowned artist and caricaturist Gerald Scarfe, most famous for his political cartoons that have been featured in newspapers from The Sunday Times through to The New Yorker.

Say hello to Bladnoch 17 Year Old!

New year, new Bladnoch Single Malt!

Lowland distillery Bladnoch has kicked off 2019 in style with a new single malt Scotch. Bladnoch 17 Year Old, which was bottled to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the distillery, was crafted using locally-sourced barley and pristine water from the River Bladnoch, the inspiration for the distillery’s name. The most recent release from the southernmost distillery in Scotland was originally filled into ex-bourbon barrels in 2001. It was then disgorged and re-filled into Californian ex-red wine casks over two operations in March 2016 and January 2017. A blend of two vattings, the expression was bottled at 46.7% ABV without chill-filtration. Bladnoch Distillery describes the new release as being “rich and composed on the nose, with dried fruit, coffee, cherries, toffee, vanilla and sweet oak; lively but smooth on the palate, with spicy oak, prunes, orange marmalade, cherries, with hints of liquorice and cinnamon and quite complex on the finish, with malty, dried fruits, shortbread and spicy lightly peppery oak”. Sounds delicious!

The Cosmopolitan marks the Chinese New Year in style!

The Cosmopolitan in Vegas unveils Year of the Pig cocktail (it’s suitable for vegetarians)

The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas is celebrating Chinese New Year the only way it knows how: decadent cocktails, delicious food and a lion dance! Celebrations to commemorate The Year of the Pig kick off on 7 February. Guests can indulge themselves with a 10 course (that’s right, 10!) ‘Emperor’s Feast’ for dinner. Of course, we’re more interested in the Year of the Pig Cocktail, created by chef mixologist Mariena Mercer. Capturing the traditional tastes of Chinese culture, the signature drink mixes a plethora of ingredients: Whistlepig rye, Umeshu plum sake, ceremonial-grade matcha tea, maraschino liqueur, lemongrass ginger syrup, lemon juice and egg white, all topped off with an edible pig garnish (which consists of paper made from potato and tapioca starches rather than a piece of pork). Alternatively, guests can celebrate with the Grass is Always Green cocktail, a concoction of Hong Kong Baijiu, Bombay Sapphire East, yuzu, orgeat, shishito and Szechuan pepper. Happy Year of the Pig to all those in Sin City!

Bee saving beer is a cause we can get behind.

Bumble Beer looks to crowdfund £50k to launch its bee saving bee-r!

Bumble Beer has created quite a buzz with the announcement of its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise £50,000 to kickstart its eco-beer. The aim is nothing less than to help save the bees! Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that our pollinating friends are very much in trouble, though the facts are still shocking: 97% of Britain’s wildflower habitats have been destroyed since the 1940s, and nearly 10% of Europe’s wild bee species are facing extinction. Bumble Beer to the rescue! The inaugural product is a vegan 5% premium Pilsner, brewed with organic ingredients grown completely without any harmful pesticides, the most direct risk to bees. You can register pre-launch interest here, with the campaign going fully live on 1st March. Sustainability is at the forefront of every production stage; even its beer crates contain around 30 wildflower seeds, while the brewery has also developed wildflower-seed-infused recycled paper coasters. We love to see packaging that does more good than harm, for a change! Hopefully these ingenious brewers will inspire more to follow in their footsteps. So, join founder Jason Winter on his “beer loving, bee-friendly revolution” – well, it would be rude not to! Who knew ethics would taste so good?

Behold, the Negroni Segreto!

Free Negronis!

Well, that certainly got your attention. To celebrate the launch of ‘Entering Red’, a new short in Campari’s Red Diaries film series, the company is giving away 1,000 Negronis. But these aren’t just any Negronis, oh no. They have been created by award-winning bartender Joe Schofield to celebrate the 100th birthday of this legendary cocktail. The special version is called a Negroni Segreto and it contains Campari (naturalmente), Bulldog Gin, Cinzano Rosso 1757 vermouth, rosewater and fresh raspberries. Sounds splendid! There are ten bars participating in London and Manchester. Each bar has 100 Negronis to give away. In order to claim your free drink, just watch the film and then say the phrase that the Ana de Armas character says when she enters the bar for the second time. The offer is open from Friday 8 February (that’s tonight!) until Sunday 10 February from 6pm (see here for full details.) Time to watch that film.

Raasay distillery Head distiller Iain Robertson

Head distiller Iain Robertson with a wee cask

And finally… Raasay Distillery launches baby whisky casks. Awwwwwww, cute.

Many distilleries, especially the newer ones trying to raise funds, allow customers to buy casks but they tend to be quite expensive. So, for the (comparatively) budget-conscious Scotch lover, the Raasay Distillery is something a little smaller. Distillery co-founder Alasdair Day said: “We wanted to make our first single malt more accessible in these new smaller casks. Depending on the angels’ share, after three years we expect to get around 40 bottles from the 30 litre casks, each offering a distinctly different character of Raasay whisky to our other bottlings.” A little cask costs £999, compared with £5000 for a 150 litre one (though you will have to pay VAT and duty on delivery). We were rather hoping that you’d be able to take your cask home after filling. Sadly, SWA rules don’t allow this, so it has to remain on Raasay while it matures. But you can visit it at the distillery, and maybe sing to it or just tell it your problems. Whisky casks are good listeners. Then, after bottling, you get to take your empty cask home with your bottles so you could then decant the whisky back into the cask and then you’d have your very own little cask to mature in your cellar, shed, or by your bed so you can say good night to it.

And on that sweet thought, it’s time to say goodbye, and have a great weekend!

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Terrific New Year’s Tipples

A perfect New Year is all about family, friends, and the finest food and booze. This sublime selection of spirits, wines and beers will help you see in 2019 in…

A perfect New Year is all about family, friends, and the finest food and booze. This sublime selection of spirits, wines and beers will help you see in 2019 in style.

Let’s face, a lot of people have turned on New Year’s Eve. The over-priced, watered-down drinks. The insane queues and extortionate entry fees. The overwhelming pressure to have a good time. The dreaded annual Hootenanny …

Well, blow that for a game of soldiers! Put the enjoyment of New Year’s back on your own terms this year, starting with booze. Whether you’ve finally given up on the hype and are settling in for a night on the sofa, going to a house party to enjoy a drink among friends and family or preparing to brave the town, make sure you’ve got a terrific tipple in your hand.

From spectacular spirits, classic Champers and welcome post-Xmas bargains, we’ve got everything you need, right here. Happy New Year everyone!

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The great Negroni Bundle is here!

Need an excuse for festive Negronis? How about a whopping £20 off all three key ingredients and a fancy Riedel tumbler to sip from, with our super-duper Bathtub Gin, Martini…

Need an excuse for festive Negronis? How about a whopping £20 off all three key ingredients and a fancy Riedel tumbler to sip from, with our super-duper Bathtub Gin, Martini Rosso and Campari Negroni Bundle?!

This is the late great Anthony Bourdain on the pleasures of the Negroni: “I’m not a gin drinker. I don’t like sweet vermouth, I don’t like Campari, but together they form a sinister yet lovely and inspired hell broth. Like a marriage, it’s a true everlasting love. This is not a cheap date; this is not a one night stand.”

Bourdain is right, the Negroni is a drink that really shouldn’t work. Mixing three strongly-flavoured alcoholic drinks in equal proportions sounds like a recipe for disaster. But, somehow, something wonderful emerges from the wreckage. Or perhaps it’s not that strange after all. I’ve been reading Cocktail Codex, a new book by the team behind legendary New York bar, Death & Co. It shows how various drinks are related to each other. According to the Codex team, the Negroni fits into the Martini/ Manhattan family being spirit + vermouth + some sort of bittering agent (lemon peel, bitters, Campari.) The Negroni isn’t such a maverick after all.

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All hail the apéritif! Author Kate Hawkings on the art of pre-dinner cocktails

We have a very special guest on the blog today: it’s Kate Hawkings, drinks writer, restaurateur and now author of a book on apéritifs called, controversially, Aperitif. Aperitif contains recipes…

We have a very special guest on the blog today: it’s Kate Hawkings, drinks writer, restaurateur and now author of a book on apéritifs called, controversially, Aperitif.

Aperitif contains recipes and tips but also some interesting history behind brands like Campari as well as drink-based anecdotes from Kate, including one about turning down an Italian smoothie (a suave man, I mean, rather than a thick drink made from fruit) in a Jaguar E-type. What I gained most from the book is that a good apéritif is more than just a drink, it’s a way of life. A sip of vermouth with an olive can transport you to a backstreet bar in Barcelona when you’re actually on an industrial estate just outside Tunbridge Wells.

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Q&A: Kamm & Sons’ Alex Kammerling!

As Mr Kamm’s Gin hits the shelves at MoM Towers, we find out all we can about the latest creation from the mind of Alex Kammerling, founder of Kamm &…

As Mr Kamm’s Gin hits the shelves at MoM Towers, we find out all we can about the latest creation from the mind of Alex Kammerling, founder of Kamm & Sons. Up for discussion: why he swapped bitters for (juniper) berries, how bartending affected his process, and his thoughts on the ever-growing gin bubble…

Earlier this year a new gin hit the market. In this age of the modern gin-boom, it would have been understandable for this news not to have turned many heads. But Kamm & Sons is anything but ordinary and the recently released Mr Kamm’s Gin represents an intriguing new expression.

How does one go from bartending and brand ambassadorial roles to creating an aperitif and now a gin? Alex Kammerling knows. Over his 22 years in the industry he’s worked as a bartender at some of the finest establishments around, and has been involved in projects with likes of Bombay Sapphire, Campari and Grey Goose in various capacities. But now he is best known for the brand he created, Kamm & Sons. It’s only previous release was the well-received Kamm & Sons British Aperitif, so a gin marks a new direction for the company.

It’s a tough act to follow, but early signs suggest Mr Kamm’s Gin is up to the task. Hard work and patience paid off for Kammerling, who took more than two years and 180 distillations to create a gin he was happy with. The final product is built around a barley base spirit and boasts a selection of 45 botanicals, including hibiscus, fresh grapefruit, orange and lemon peels, rosehip, apricot kernel, ginseng, blue butterfly pea and citra hops and it’s been described as ‘fruitier than your grandmother’s jam cupboard’.

As World Gin Day approaches (Saturday 9th June), we thought it worth seeing what the Mr Kamm’s Gin fuss is all about. Who better to ask the man himself…

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Toast the royal wedding! We reimagine the Royal Family as cocktails

Charge your glasses and ready your bunting, folks – the royal wedding is officially upon us! To mark the occasion in the only way we know how, we’ve reimagined 10…

Charge your glasses and ready your bunting, folks – the royal wedding is officially upon us! To mark the occasion in the only way we know how, we’ve reimagined 10 of the royal family as cocktail serves. Enjoy!

For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention (and apologies if you’ve been hiding from it all), tomorrow Prince Harry, sixth in line to the British throne, and Meghan Markle, actor and activist, will wed at Windsor Castle in what promises to be one of the most quintessentially British shindigs of the entire year.

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Celebrate Italian Cuisine Week with Campari cocktail pairings!

It’s officially Italian Cuisine Week – as if we’d even need a reason to indulge in the deliciousness that Italy has to offer. Armed with empty bellies and eager palates,…

It’s officially Italian Cuisine Week – as if we’d even need a reason to indulge in the deliciousness that Italy has to offer. Armed with empty bellies and eager palates, we headed to Campari UK’s office in The Shard, London, for a food and cocktail-pairing masterclass.

In Italy, a mealtime is not simply for filling your stomach. It’s a convivial event that brings family and friends together, and a wholesome culinary experience. It’s an occasion to be shared and savoured.

“Convivial comes from ‘convivere’: living together,” enthused Pasquale Terracciano, Italian ambassador to the UK, as he introduced the evening. “It’s the idea that you spend time together, you eat and drink together. You don’t just meet to feed yourself, but to have an experience in the company of friends.”

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New 50cl Cocktails from The Handmade Cocktail Company!

The Handmade Cocktail Company‘s range of Pre-Bottled Cocktails has had a bit of a shake-up! From today, the entire 2015 selection will be available in 50cl bottles alongside the award-winning…

50cl Handmade Cocktail Company 2015

The Handmade Cocktail Company‘s range of Pre-Bottled Cocktails has had a bit of a shake-up! From today, the entire 2015 selection will be available in 50cl bottles alongside the award-winning 70cl editions that were first launched over four years ago.

As well as updated recipes, there’s also a brand new addition for 2015 – another graduate from the Experimental Series: The Boulevardier! Do you enjoy a delicious Negroni? How about a classic Manhattan? Well if you answered yes to either or both of those questions then you’ll love The Boulevardier, made with top quality bourbon with a very high rye content, a blend of sweet vermouths and classic bitter apéritif. That said, if you like a Negroni or Manhattan, they’re available from The Handmade Cocktail Company too!

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Master of Cocktails – (1970s) Negroni

This week we have a very special #MasterofCocktails as we’re indulging in some cocktail porn – or, more accurately, some utter, unrepentant cocktail filth. We’re going to be making a…

Master of Cocktails 1970s Negroni

This week we have a very special #MasterofCocktails as we’re indulging in some cocktail porn – or, more accurately, some utter, unrepentant cocktail filth.

We’re going to be making a Negroni, but with ingredients that all come from the 1970s! Not a cheap serve this, admittedly, but it is completely, unequivocally epic so you do very much need to get involved still. Sorry.

Incognito window open? Let’s get to it then…

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Master of Cocktails – The Negroni

Welcome to our new feature: Master of Cocktails! Yep, we’re diving head first into the wonderful world of mixology with a new cocktail recipe for you each and every week….

Master of Cocktails - the Negroni

Welcome to our new feature: Master of Cocktails!

Yep, we’re diving head first into the wonderful world of mixology with a new cocktail recipe for you each and every week.

On Sunday evenings I’ll be walking you through each new recipe on twitter via #MasterofCocktails, prior to them appearing in full on the MoM Blog the very next day!

So, without further ado, we’re kicking off with an absolute classic, and one of my favourite cocktails: The Negroni.

Suitably excited? Excellent. Let’s get cracking!

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