fbpx
£

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

Master of Malt Blog

Tag: The Nightcap

The Nightcap: 24 September

Lots of big whisky news this week with rare releases from Bowmore, Macallan and Bushmills. Plus a beer so strong that it’s actually illegal (in some states in America.) They’re…

Lots of big whisky news this week with rare releases from Bowmore, Macallan and Bushmills. Plus a beer so strong that it’s actually illegal (in some states in America.) They’re all in the Nightcap: 24 September edition! Oh, and Pernod Ricard has just bought the Whisky Exchange. We told you there was big whisky news this week. 

This week at Master of Malt it was all about whisky icons. No, not elaborate devotional paintings of Bill Lumsden or Rachel Barrie – though they sound amazing – but distilleries and brands that are iconic. So we’ve been asking customers on social media which whiskies are worthy of veneration and, at the time of writing, it’s come down to a four-way all-Scottish dust-up between Ardbeg, Bunnahabhain, Lagavulin and Talisker. All distinctive island whiskies with a particularly strong showing from Islay. MoM customers clearly love a bit of Islay. It’s all taking place on Twitter so get voting. We’ll announce the winner on Monday. There can only be one!

The week got off to an expensive start as we talked to Richard Paterson about the super-fancy Dalmore Decades collection which has just landed at MoM. It was delivered in a special Whyte & Mackay armoured car which the company uses only for it’s most elite whiskies. Good whisky doesn’t have to be expensive though, as Aber Falls has proved with the second release of its Welsh single malt. Then Adam got taste of the first release from Midleton’s micro distillery, the Method & Madness Rye and Malt Irish Whiskey, and we launched our Whisky Icons competition. Lauren Eads returned to show us how to make a Singapore Sling, and Henry tried Waterford Cuvee and pondered the future of whisky *strokes chin*. Right, that’s enough chin stroking, it’s on with the Nightcap: 24 September edition!

Sukhinder Singh

Sukhinder Singh, now very rich indeed

Pernod Ricard buys The Whisky Exchange 

There was no doubt what was the biggest story of the week. On Monday we learned that Pernod Ricard had acquired The Whisky Exchange from its owners Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh. The brothers said in a statement: “The Whisky Exchange and our customers have always felt like a family, and we are looking forward to maintaining this ethos with a partner that shares our values. Our mission remains the same: to offer the finest range of whiskies and spirits from the best producers around the world, educate and engage with consumers, and support the top on-trade establishments around the UK”. Alexandre Ricard, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard, added: “We are thrilled to work with industry pioneers such as Sukhinder, Rajbir and the whole team to bring The Whisky Exchange to a new step of its development.” There was no mention of how much Pernod Ricard paid but industry analyst Jefferies on the Business Wire estimated it to be between: £360m and £420m. That’s a lot of Pernod. The deal includes the Whisky Exchange website, shops, Whisky.Auction and trade arm Speciality Drinks. However, it does not include agency Speciality Brands or Elixir distillers. So the brothers are holding onto their Islay distillery. Very canny. 

Colum Egan

Colum Egan from Bushmills stroking a cask

Bushmills releases its second rare ‘Causeway Collection’

It’s been a big week on the blog for Irish whiskey with Method and Madness Malt and Rye, and Waterford Cuvee. Now it’s Bushmills turn with three rare releases called ‘the Causeway Collection.’ It’s the second such offering from Northern Ireland’s most famous distiller. The 2021 release consists of three bottlings: a 2011 finished in Banyuls casks (a Port-style wine from the South of France); a 1995 finished in Marsala casks; and a 32 year old matured in a Port cask. The latter is one of the oldest ever whiskeys from Bushmills. Master distiller Colum Egan commented: “All the whiskeys used in The Causeway Collection have been expertly created and cared for by craftsmen steeped in a unique whiskey-making tradition passed from generation to generation for more than 400 years here at The Old Bushmills Distillery. The Causeway Collection celebrates our extremely rare and unique cask finishes, our passion for single malts and honours our rich heritage. It’s a privilege to work with such rare liquid, these special cask-finished whiskeys really are our greatest treasures. We were delighted with how the Bushmills Causeway Collection was received globally in 2020, with some even selling out in minutes – and we can’t wait to share this year’s collection with the world.” Prices start at 55 for the 2011, great value for such a distinctive whiskey, up to a punchy 950 for the 32 year old. We’ll have some in soon, but as Egan warns, they’re unlikely to hang about. 

Glenmorangie 18 YO x Azuma Makoto 1.jpg

It’s flower power time over at Glenmorangie

Glenmorangie goes floral with limited edition 18 year old

Glenmorangie has partnered with Japanese flower sculptor Azuma Makoto to create a fabulously floral limited edition design for its 18 Year Old. We skipped up to the Saatchi gallery this week to check it out and were treated to a private view of the RHS Botanical Art and Photography Show. The Glenmorangie team served up some fabulous cocktails, cleverly named using anagrams of Glenmorangie. First up we had A Ginger Lemon – a Glenmorangie Original highball with lemon bitters and a splash of ginger ale, most refreshing whilst we wandered the botanical illustration rooms. Secondly we were treated to a Gleaming Reno, shaking up passion fruit and pineapple – a tremendously tropical treat whilst we took in the photography finalists and winners. Special mention from us goes to Faye Bridgwater, with some super colourful artwork in the show, and some serious alliteration skills. We loved the name of this painting: A Bloody Great Big, Ballsy and Bountiful Buncha Bodacious, Buoyant and Bewitching Blooms. Well said Faye! 

Bowmore 30 YO Vaults

Super fancy Bowmore incoming!

Bowmore goes big with ultimate rare collection for 2022

Over on Islay, the Bowmore Distillery has got something big planned for 2022. Earlier this week it announced that it’ll be launching a collection of extraordinarily rare expressions at the start of next year, with a 50-year-old 1969 vintage single malt in the spotlight. The final release in Bowmore’s 50-year-old vaults series, following on from a brace of other vintages from the ’60s, it was matured in a combination of American oak ex-bourbon barrels and hogsheads for half a century before being bottled up. It’s set to retail at £35,000, so start digging through your sofa cushions now. Clearly not content with one with just the one well-aged whisky, the collection will also feature the 2021 releases of Bowmore 30 Year Old and Bowmore 40 Year Old, priced respectively at £2,000 and £6,750. Again, prepare to ransack those sofa cushions.

Macallan 30

Macallan Double cask 30, great with honey and radishes

The Macallan unveils Double Cask 30 Year Old 

The Macallan’s Double Cask range grows once more, this time with the addition of a particularly impressive 30 year old. Its three decades have been spent in sherry-seasoned new American and European oak casks, the former sourced from Ohio, Missouri, and Kentucky, and the latter sourced from northern Spain and southern France. Both wood types are toasted in Jerez, filled with sherry and seasoned for up to 18 months before finally holding the whisky. “The Macallan Double Cask 30 Years Old is a modern take on our classic 30-year-old and is an exceptional aged single malt,” says Kirsteen Campbell, master whisky maker. “With a rich combination and depth of flavour and a complex character, it is a whisky to be savoured, exhibiting notes of cinder toffee, fresh honeycomb, rich vanilla and red apples.” As you’d probably expect, the RRP is by no means small, clocking in at $4,000 – though it does come presented in a solid oak presentation box for that price tag. Who doesn’t love a solid oak presentation box?

Craft Distilling Expo

Craft Distilling Expo – pink hair and flat caps encouraged

Craft Distilling Expo is back, Back, BACK!

Are you a craft distiller or are you craft distilling curious? Then you need to get a ticket to the Craft Distilling Expo which runs from 30 September to 1 October at the Old Truman Brewery in East London. Yes, in real life. None of this Zoom nonsense. Co-founder David T Smith commented: “As with the whole industry the last 18 months have been a challenge, despite the success of our online offerings. We are really looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues, both old and new in-person this year; we’ve put on an exciting range of talk with an increasing focus on sustainability.” Highlights include Ian Wisniewski on tasting, Peter Holland with a guide to botanical and spiced rum and Julia Nourney looking at barrel finishes. We’re also intrigued by ‘ultrasonic spirits’ with Ben Marston of Puddingstone Distillery – does that mean they move really fast? Well, there’s only one way to find out. Go to the website for more information.

Sam Adams Utopias

Sam Adams Utopias, it’s beer but not as we know it

And finally… a beer so strong it’s illegal

What do you think is strong for a beer? 6% ABV? 8% ABV? Well, how about 28% ABV? No, that’s not a typo. The latest release of Sam Adams Utopias from the Boston Beer Co. is stronger than Port and getting on for whisky territory. It’s so strong that it’s illegal in 15 states in America. Apparently, it’s made with special ‘Ninja yeasts’ which can work at very high alcohol levels. The release is made up of aged beers dating back decades and aged like whisky in old bourbon, Port, Madeira and sherry barrels. It’s released every two years and for the first time this latest batch contains beer from Sauternes casks. All this magnificence doesn’t come cheap, around $240 retail, but if you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, or West Virginia, you’re out of luck.

1 Comment on The Nightcap: 24 September

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

The Nightcap: 3 September

It’s Friday, The Nightcap is back and the Tequila is on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and his doppelgänger, unless us Brits spill it all coming back from the bar of…

It’s Friday, The Nightcap is back and the Tequila is on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and his doppelgänger, unless us Brits spill it all coming back from the bar of course… What are we talking about? Read on to find out…

How hard is it to get a saying going, do you think? For example, if we wanted to replace ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ (or TGI Friday if you’re rad/a restaurant chain) with ‘Thank God it’s The Nightcap’, how long would it take to popularise the new and improved version? We know we can count on everyone who reads this to get on board, and that must be at least six people. We just need a weekly round-up of boozy news to become so synonymous with the beginning of the weekend and Friday itself that it’s a natural move for people. It can’t be that hard. Hoover is synonymous with the vacuum cleaner and I don’t know anyone who owns a Hoover. Let’s aim for Christmas.

Anyway, those of you who take a gander at our lovely little blog every now and then will have noticed there were some very exciting things happening this week. Like us celebrating Boutique-y Whisky’s birthday by shouting all about the Home Nations Series, or reviewing the very first Benriach Malting Season release. Elsewhere, Adam had a taste of some intriguing Irish whiskey, Lauren spoke to the remarkable woman behind Montanya Rum, and Millie uncovered the world of whisky auctions. Oh, and if you’re in the mood to whip something up tonight, then perhaps try our Cocktail of the Week: The Dominican Double!

And yet there’s still even more drinks stories to tell this week. So let’s get on with it. Here’s The Nightcap: 3 September edition!

The Nightcap: 3 September

Jameson is the toast of 2021 for Pernod Ricard

Pernod Ricard “rebounding very strongly” from Covid

Pernod Ricard announced some very promising results this week with organic sales up 9.7% on pre-Covid levels and profits up by 18.3%. “The business rebounded very strongly during FY21 to exceed FY19 levels,” said CEO Alexandre Ricard. Much of this success was driven by the irresistible rise of Jameson, seeing a 15% growth globally. The Irish whiskey brand is now bigger than Absolut in the US. Looking at other brands in the portfolio there was a strong performance from the Chivas Brothers side of the business with Glenlivet, Chivas, and Ballantine’s all enjoying growth, as well as Martell and Malibu. On the other hand Royal Salute, Beefeater, and Havana Club all lost ground. Looking at markets individually: Europe was up 4%, with the UK, Germany, and Eastern Europe all performing strongly, in contrast to Spain and Ireland. Globally, China (up a massive 34%), Russia, India, and the US (up 6%) all performed well. As expected, travel retail was a disaster, down 50%. Ricard continued: “I would like to take this opportunity to praise the exceptional commitment of our teams during this difficult time and express my support to those who have been or continue to be impacted by this pandemic. We will stay the strategic course, accelerating our digital transformation and our ambitious sustainability & responsibility roadmap. Thanks to our solid fundamentals, our teams, and our brand portfolio, we are emerging from this crisis stronger.” Trebles all around!

The Nightcap: 3 September

Congratulations, Kirsten!

Brown-Forman Scotland welcomes new assistant blender, Kirsten Ainslie

Congratulations to Kirsten Ainslie who has just landed the job of assistant blender for Brown-Forman’s Scotch distilleries, working with the master herself, Dr. Rachel Barrie. Ainslie, who spent three years as distiller at Edinburgh’s John Crabbie & Co, will join Barrie looking after Benriach, The GlenDronach, and Glenglassaugh. The job will involve new product development, cask management, and assessing spirit quality. As you can imagine she’s quite pleased: “I feel very privileged to be taking on the role of assistant blender and working alongside Rachel Barrie who is renowned in the whisky industry. Working closely with Rachel, I hope to build on the legacy of maturing and marrying different casks, and crafting whiskies to be enjoyed by newcomers and connoisseurs alike,” she commented. Barrie added. “Kirsten will be a great addition to the team. Nurturing young talent is an important part of what we do at Brown-Forman and Kirsten has certainly proven she has the best nose for the job.” Sounds like she’s going to be a Scotch whisky star of the future. 

The Nightcap: 3 September

Real talk. The new-look Chivas is no cap. Yas queen. That’s how young people talk, right?

Chivas Bros gets down with the kids

My 10-year-old daughter has come up with a portmanteau word, ‘dadbarrassing.’ It’s for those moments when fathers try to get down with the kids. This new word sprang to mind when we received a press release announcing a redesign for Chivas 12 Year Old. Apparently the biggest in the brand’s 112-year history. Global marketing director of Chivas, Nick Blacknell explained (if that’s the right word) the thinking behind the change: “Social media has introduced a new, broader audience to the wonder of whisky – ‘flex’ consumers with a hustle-first ethos that seek out upmarket brands to align themselves with.” We’re not quite sure what this means but the colour scheme has changed to “vibrant burgundy” and the packaging has changed to be more environmentally friendly with a new lighter bottle that will apparently save 1,000 tonnes of glass annually. Meanwhile, the liquid will remain the same. Blacknell continued: “I’m particularly proud of the central role sustainability has played in reconceptualising Chivas 12 for a new generation. With this redesign, we have once again reinforced our belief that sustainable luxury is not an oxymoron.” Expect to see the hip cats drinking Chivas 12 in fashionable discotheques this autumn.

The Nightcap: 3 September

Free whisky cocktails is a deal we’ll never turn down

Whisky pop-up giving out free drinks

London pubs The Culpeper and The Duke of Cambridge are doing the Lord’s work, it has been revealed this week, by launching ‘Whisky Six Wednesday’. This means that to celebrate the teaming up of Nc’nean and the sustainable pubs, a pop-up is being made that will give out free whisky, soda, and mint cocktails every Wednesday throughout September from 6-7pm at the two locations. The Scotch whisky distillery and eco-conscious London establishments will offer the former’s signature Whisky Six serve free of charge for anyone who can make a pledge for what they’re going to do differently in life, via Nc’nean’s website here. Whether it’s going zero waste for a month, cycling to work, or simply not checking emails outside work hours – this partnership wants to encourage positive change. The Whisky Six is intended to be a fresh take on a G&T (as in, it’s a Highball) and mirrors the approach the partnership encourages, which celebrates the ‘golden hour’, an early evening moment to reflect and encourage new experiences and fresh takes on old ones. If you want to make the serve yourself, just combine 50ml of Nc’nean Organic Single Malt Whisky and 100ml of soda water in a glass filled with ice. Gently stir then garnish with a fresh sprig of mint. Otherwise, you can get it at all four Culpeper venues across London outside of the promotion. But you’ll have to pay. Our advice would be to get the free ones if you can.

The Nightcap: 3 September

The distillery is looking to harness its environment to become more sustainable

Bruichladdich Distillery aims for net-zero whisky

Great whisky doesn’t come without cost. It’s estimated that Islay’s nine distilleries burn 15 million litres of oil each year, which means a lot of CO2 emissions. Good thing a lot of effort has been made by various distilleries and companies to recognise the importance of sustainability, with Bruichladdich Distillery becoming the latest to make a commitment. The Islay maker says that, by 2025, its distillation process will be net-zero. The production of malted barley and the hot mash to create the wort, whisky’s source fluid, will follow. Innovative types of green hydrogen production using green electricity and water electrolysis are planned, but for now, Bruichladdich is depending on a green tariff. Renewables will hopefully be installed over the next few years with Douglas Taylor, Bruichladdich’s chief executive, hoping that the technique could then be applied to Islay’s other distilleries, businesses, and homes, transforming the island, which is also the site of experimental tidal energy pilot projects, from fossil fuel dependency into renewables self-sufficiency. “We have this view of ‘think big, start small, but start today’,” Taylor says. “And that’s one of the things you need in the industry: to take a brave and courageous step to represent what change could look like,” he said. “What you have to do is start with what you can control.” For more info on Scotch whisky’s quest for sustainability, this Guardian article goes into some great detail.

The Nightcap: 3 September

This is a distillery we’re very excited by

Aber Falls releases its latest whisky

Aber Falls continues to show off its whisky prowess following the launch of its Single Malt Inaugural Release in May, with a new 2021 bottling. The three-year-old expression was made using 100% Welsh malted barley and rock-filtered water taken from the Aber Falls Waterfall, so it’s delightfully local for those who love a bit of provenance. Whisky fans who like intriguing processes will also appreciate that the bottling was distilled in an intriguing mix of copper pot and stainless-steel stills before being matured in a mix of ex-Oloroso and PX sherry casks, ex-bourbon casks, and virgin oak casks, before being bottled at 40% ABV. The Welsh distillery says to expect an aroma of sweet fruits with a hint of clove and delivers a rich and full-bodied palate, with sweet sherry notes, dark chocolate and espresso. It stimulates a long and lingering finish of dried fruit and subtle spice. Welsh bartender Alex Mills has also made a signature serve, an Old Fashioned with a Welsh twist that’s loosely based on the flavours of a Bara Brith, a spiced tea cake common in North Wales. The signature serve consists of ingredients from the four corners of Wales, including 15ml of honey from Nature’s Little Helpers in Cardiff, a pinch of black Welsh tea from Tea Traders in Carmarthen, five drops of coffee bitters from Dyfi Coffee in Machynlleth and, of course, 50ml of Welsh whisky. The 2021 bottling is on its way to MoM Towers and you’ll be delighted to know the price point is insanely reasonable (the RRP is £26). Lots to like about this distillery, folks.

The Nightcap: 3 September

Apparently, one of these isn’t Dwayne Johnson.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson wants to drink Tequila with his doppelgänger

The man who is definitely, totally and unequivocally most famous for owning Teremana Tequila, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, wants to share some of his greatest work with police officer Eric Fields, who happens to be the most remarkable doppelgänger. A picture of patrol lieutenant Fields’ was posted by the sheriff’s office on Facebook with the caption: “This gentlemen recently ran into Sgt. Mason and informed him he wanted to meet our Deputy that people say looks like “The Rock”. Sgt. Mason passed that along and Lieutenant Fields was happy to swing by the Hartselle Wal-mart to see him. Tyler is one of their many hard workers and it was great to meet him and some of his coworkers!” On Monday, the movie star responded by reposting a tweet comparing the two men side-by-side along with the caption: “Oh s**t! Wow. Guy on the left is way cooler. Stay safe brother and thank you for your service. One day we’ll drink @Teremana and I need to hear all your ‘Rock stories’ because I KNOW you got ’em #ericfields.” As for Fields himself, he’s surprisingly taken the news he looks like an international star and sex symbol in good spirits, telling AL.com “I’ve been called The Rock and Vin Diesel’s love child. I go along with it. It’s humorous. It’s flattering. It could be worse people, I guess.” 

The Nightcap: 3 September

RIP to all the lost pints.

And finally… data reveals Brits spill 11m pints per round

The return to busy bars and pubs means the old challenges are back. Getting the attention of bar staff. Nabbing a table that isn’t by the kitchen door. And trying to not spill everything you’ve just bought to huge ironic cheers from the other punters (this is actually a strangely loving response if you’re not from the UK and Ireland). According to hospitality app, OrderPay, Britons collectively spill an average of 11 million pints per round, and with the average pint in the UK costing £3.94 that’s the equivalent of over £43,340,000 each time! A whopping 40% of Brits confess to regularly dropping their drinks, with the average amount spilled per round just under a quarter of a pint. Disparities inevitably exist across the regions and the different age groups. The obviously lying over 55’s painted a cautious picture, with only 30% saying they lost beer to the floor, compared to 55% of honest 25 to 34-year-olds. Londoners typically seem to be in a rush the whole time as spillages were most prevalent in the capital, with almost half of people (49%) saying they regularly lost beer en-route. This perhaps is a good time to take stock and rethink. It’s an awful lot of drink wasted, folks. Our beloved booze deserves better. 

No Comments on The Nightcap: 3 September

The Nightcap: 27 August

What do a Scotch miniature that’s apparently worth the price of a small family car, the ‘world’s first’ Tequila taproom, and the first age statement bottle of Jack in a…

What do a Scotch miniature that’s apparently worth the price of a small family car, the ‘world’s first’ Tequila taproom, and the first age statement bottle of Jack in a century all have in common? Well, they’re all in this week’s Nightcap: 27 August edition, of course.

I like to think at this point we’ve got a nice little Nightcap following with people who regularly read along every Friday, perhaps even with their own rituals. Maybe you have a certain chair you like to sit in, or you try a new dram every time you read. For those of us who write the Nightcap, we have our own routines we do every week, which typically entails dressing up in commemorative robes and chanting ‘NIGHTCAP’ at our screens while drinking White Russians. It’s the little things, you know?

Anyway, even though we know you all love the MoM blog and devour every word we’re going to recap as usual because it’s fun to remember all the good times we’ve had in the past week. Like Henry enjoying a new aperitif made to match with Indian food or making a cocktail inspired by a PM and his trusty axe. Or Millie exploring the world of experimental wine cask whisky and Ian asking the big questions, like what happens when all the delicious old whisky dries up? Adam, meanwhile, spent his week wishing our subscription service Pour & Sip a very happy first birthday (make sure you check out the birthday subscription box), tasting new Glenmorangie whisky (there’s literally only one left at the time of writing), and marvelling at Fettercairn’s resplendent resurgence.

But there’s more boozy brilliance to come. Here’s the Nightcap: 27 August edition!

The Nightcap: 27 August

Let’s hope it’s worth the wait!

Jack Daniel’s reveals first age-statement whiskey in a century

Good things come to those who wait. For the first time in over 100 years, Jack Daniel’s will release a whiskey with an age statement: Jack Daniels 10-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey, to be exact. While the brand has launched plenty of innovations and premium products alongside its classic No. 7 whiskey, the 10-year-old release will excite the whiskey nerds who love an age statement. The design elements are influenced by the brand’s considerable history, with the original cartouche (the design around that age statement) making an appearance on the bottle, slightly updated by a present-day artist. Master distiller Chris Fletcher told Forbes that the addition of two new stills and 14 fermenters has given the brand more flexibility, so while that new equipment is too new to have made the 10-year-old, it gave the distillery breathing space to experiment, rather than bottle immediately for sale. Although, you would think being bigger than Elvis would have helped that too. Jack Daniels 10-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey will be bottled at 97 proof (which is 48.5% ABV) and is described by the brand as featuring notes of “dry fig and raisin laced with oak on the nose, warm butterscotch alongside soft fruit and smoke on the pallet, and an incredibly long finish with sweet tobacco and spice.” The 750ml bottles are being sold for $70 in annual batches with limited quantities, so best of luck getting your hands on this one.

The Nightcap: 27 August

Every bit as swanky as you’d imagine

Rare and swanky Karuizawa 1981 single cask whisky unveiled

Some extremely swanky whiskies just released from Karuizawa Distillery are about to go on sale. Called ‘The Legend of Asama’, just 30 sets of two bottles of 1981 vintage single cask malt whiskies are being released over a three-year period.  It comes from casks aged for 20 years at Karuizawa, before being transferred to Chichibu Distillery, Saitama Prefecture, where Ichibori-san, the legendary former distiller at Karuizawa, watched over them. And somehow resisted drinking it all. Whisky collector and connoisseur Mahesh Patel, founder of Universal Whisky Experience, chose casks 4059 and 6183 in 2011 and he also managed to not drink all the contents himself (what’s wrong with these people?) keeping them at Chichibu until 2017 before he started selling stock in tiny batches. The last remaining bottles were held back until now. The bottles are decorated with ‘Noh masks’, which is Sino Japanese for skill, craft or talent and each set comprises five tubes. Two contain the Noh bottles, two hold empty handmade Glencairn crystal decanters with gold caps and decorated with detailed engravings of the original labels, and the last holding two specially created Glencairn cut crystal glasses and a Glencairn water-jug. Each set is also accompanied by a signed and numbered hardback book written by whisky writer Charles MacLean MBE featuring the story behind The Legend of Asama collection and some tasting notes. And the price for all this swank and rarity? Well, we’ve been told it’s ‘price on application’ ie. if you have to ask, you can’t afford. To register your interest and to find more details, head here

The Nightcap: 27 August

We’re seriously impressed with this distillery and highly recommend you get your hands on its whisky

Oxford Artisan Distillery releases “Britain’s first corn whisky”

We love the rye whiskies coming out of the Oxford Artisan Distillery. Now there’s a new series called Grain Stories. The inaugural release, Heritage Corn, is billed as “Britain’s first corn whisky.” And it truly is a British corn whisky using pre-industrial strains of maize from North America, but planted by John Letts, the distillery’s grain guru, in England. After harvesting the first crop by hand, he thought his labours were in vain because half of the yield was damp and began to germinate as it was being cleaned. But Letts snatched triumph from the jaws of defeat by immediately processing it. He explained: “I flaked and crushed all of this maize and sent it to the distillery in a panic… and the team immediately put it in the distilling vat.” The result uses a classic bourbon-style mash bill of 51% corn, 34% rye, 10% wheat and 5% malted barley, and aged for 3.5 years in new American oak. Master distillery Chico Rosa commented on the flavour: “The second most abundant grain used is rye which is quite noticeable through its spicy character, but the corn is oily and its charm comes through with butter and biscuity notes that elevate the spirit. The whisky is full of the distillery’s characteristic floral and herbal tones coupled with shortbread and unroasted nuts, while banana and ginger cake flavours interplay with the whisky’s smooth velvety mouthfeel, finishing with spicy and green grass vibes.” We have to agree. It’s another cracking whisky from the Oxford crew with banana bread on the nose, menthol herbal notes, and then spicy as hell on the palate with sweet toffee and vanilla notes. Truly a corn whisky with character and bottled at a nice punchy 50.4% ABV. All this deliciousness doesn’t come cheap at £95 for 50cl, but with only 830 bottles available exclusively from the distillery, it’s sure to sell out fast.

The Nightcap: 27 August

We’re not there yet, but Scotch whisky sales are recovering

Scotch whisky exports “very promising” says SWA 

It’s been a tough couple of years for the Scotch whisky industry. First, there were the tariffs from its biggest market, the US, something we’ve detailed ad nauseum on this blog. And then there was the small matter of a global pandemic leading to most countries closing down their watering holes. Master of Malt customers did their best to make-up the shortfall but still, sales were dramatically down. According to Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the double whammy “brought Scotch whisky exports to their lowest level in a decade”. Now there are signs of recovery, according to the SWA. Sales are still 10% down on 2019 but exports by value were 31% higher than in the annus horribilis [that’s enough Latin, Ed.] of 2020. Things look less rosy looking at sales by region. Exports are down to the EU, a combination of continued lockdowns and changes in trading arrangements caused by Brexit. The US market is still down by 34% compared with 2019. But there’s brighter news from Asia as the Chinese market is booming. Scotch sales at £91m have already overtaken the total for 2019, £89m. Betts described the figures as “very promising.” But, she added that there are still problems with “trade disruption on our supply chain and global distribution,” plus “the cost of goods and services has risen significantly.” And don’t even mention tourism, something that smaller distilleries especially rely upon. It looks like Scotch whisky isn’t out of the woods yet.

The Nightcap: 27 August

If Tequila cocktails are your thing, make sure to head down!

Jose Cuervo launches ‘world’s first’ Tequila taproom

You know how there’s all kinds of craft ale taprooms? Well, imagine going to one of those but instead of beer, you get served Tequila and delicious cocktails. That’s exactly what Jose Cuervo is doing, tapping into the trend (no apologies for the pun), giving the nation’s favourite Tequila cocktails the full taproom treatment, served from kegs, all mixed and ready to go. Expect delights like the Marg My Words (Margarita) and Mexican Dynamite (Tequila & Tonic), as well as an opportunity to book a Tequila masterclass with Tequila educator Oliver Pergl. The world’s oldest Tequila beand, Jose Cuervo, will host the free-to-enter pop-up in Shoreditch, East London from Friday 10 September to Sunday 12 September and in Bristol from Friday 17 September until Sunday 19 September. There’s no need to book, simply walk in, choose your cocktail and enjoy some tasty Tequila! To find out more info head to Jose Cuervo’s Instagram page @JoseCuervoUK.

Springbank

Time to root through the old cupboards and find a potentially priceless miniature

Springbank miniature goes for a record £6,440 at auction

News from Whisky.Auction will have whisky lovers rifling through their cupboard looking for rare miniatures. A 5cl bottle of Springbank distilled in 1919 has just fetched £6,440 – a record for a miniature. We plugged that number through the Master of Malt Amstrad and it computed that this is equivalent to over £90k for a full bottle. Or more as from the photos the bottle seems to contain substantially less than 5cl of whisky. It’s part of a collection belonging to Sukhinder Singh from The Whisky Exchange. Other jewels included a 1940s Glenfiddich Special mini which fetched £2,530, a Macallan Spiral Label from the ‘70s, £2,185 and a 1967 Glenlivet 50 Year Old (bottled in 2018) which someone paid  £1,552.50. Singh commented: “I am thrilled to see that interest in miniature collecting is at an all-time high as it’s something I fell in love with four decades ago.” Isabel Graham-Yooll from Whisky.Auction added: “Bidders are willing to pay what seems like a lot of money for tiny bottles of whisky but it is the opportunity to taste a piece of history – particularly when standard 70cl or 75cl formats have become inaccessible for many enthusiasts to buy.” We wonder what treasures lie in Master of Malt customers’ whisky collections.

The Nightcap

Play your cards right and you could be working with brands like Fernet Branca at Domino PR

Paid for internship up for grabs with London PR agency

Here’s a brilliant opportunity for someone who wants to get on in the drinks world: a three-month internship at one of the country’s top PR agencies, Domino Communications. And it’s paid, unlike many of these things, £50 per day and the use of a laptop. It’s being run in conjunction with the Drinks Trust. Candidates must have two years experience in the hospitality industry and a passion for all things drink-related. One lucky person will get to work with Lucy Francis and her team on a mouth-watering list of clients including Regal Rogue vermouthCrystal Head vodka and Fernet Branca. You’ll be working three days a week from London W2, and the rest of the time at home, the Drinks Trust may be able to help with transport costs. Francis explained the initiative: “This opportunity is geared towards someone working in the drinks industry who absolutely loves what they do, passion is paramount. We will introduce them to the world of drinks PR and give them unique kick-starter skills to potentially move over to the communications world of premium beverages. If you love a challenge, want to learn how to launch amazing drinks brands, then we want to hear from you!” If you think you have what it takes, email [email protected] with a CV and covering letter.

The Nightcap: 27 August

There’s a joke about a message in a bottle here…

And finally… Sting gets stung as Italian vineyard story hots up 

Have you been following the Sting being duped into buying a Tuscan wine estate story? For those who haven’t, here’s a recap: the Geordie pop star recently told Sette, an Italian magazine, of how he visited Il Palagio and the owner gave him a glass of wine that so impressed him that he bought the estate. Later Sting, whose real name is Gordon Sumner, claimed that he had been given a glass of Barolo rather than the estate’s Chianti. Well, the plot thickens as the Drinks Business, who broke this story way back in 2017, has reported that the late owner’s son, Simone San Clemente Jr, has written to Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano describing Sting’s claim as “poisonous slander.” The letter continued: “Apart from the fact that an internationally experienced gentleman like Sting should not confuse Barolo with Chianti, nothing could be more alien to my father’s character, habits, behavior, in one word, to his spirit, than to behave like a swindling innkeeper.” He ended by demanding an apology from the former Police frontman. The ball is in your court Mr Sumner.

No Comments on The Nightcap: 27 August

The Nightcap: 20 August

In the news this week, Mariah Carey has entered the Irish cream liqueur market. And we’ve forgotten everything else that’s happened because we’re so delighted and astounded. You’ll have to…

In the news this week, Mariah Carey has entered the Irish cream liqueur market. And we’ve forgotten everything else that’s happened because we’re so delighted and astounded. You’ll have to read all of The Nightcap: 20 August edition to find out what else is going on.

Before we do our usual round-up, we’d like to pay our respects to the legendary Douglas Ankrah, inventor of the Pornstar Martini. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family. We’ll be raising a glass to him tonight.

The MoM blog welcomed Lauren Eads for the first time this week as she explored the delights of the Pisco Sour, while Jess took us around Glenlivet’s new visitor centre, and Millie championed Gordon’s Wine Bar – there’s nowhere else quite like it. Henry then celebrated Cocktails in the City turning 10, before Adam introduced Dingle’s first core whiskey, found out how Reyka Vodka made its mark, and reported back from the impressive Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery. We ended the week with some seriously swanky whiskies from Diageo. They’re pretty tasty but are they worth £23,500 for the set?

Now on with the Nightcap: 20 August edition!

The Nightcap: 20 August

The winner better get used to seeing this sight

Apply to become ‘world’s first Prosecco taster’

The job of a lifetime is on the cards for one lucky Prosecco lover thanks to the House of Townsend. The family wine merchant is offering folks the chance to work ‘nine ‘till wine’ by becoming the ‘world’s first’ professional Prosecco taster.  The role is sadly a fixed-term contract for one month, but the successful candidate will get the chance to give feedback on six different bottles within two weeks. The opportunity is open to those who can taste wine and provide constructive feedback, although the lucky winner will be chosen at random and announced on Wednesday 8 September. So the door really is open here. It should be noted that the successful candidate will be paid in Prosecco, but if you’re applying for this we’re pretty sure that’s all you’re in it for anyway. If you’d like to apply or want more info, simply head here. though apparently “those who experience wine headaches need not apply.”

The Nightcap: 20 August

Jon O’Connell, whose chance encounter on a Highland fishing trip has paid off

Fisherman’s whisky collection valued at £15,000

About 10 years ago Jon O’Connell (no relation to our Adam) was fishing at Rothiemurchus when he began chatting to another fisherman over a dram or two of Aberlour A’bunadh. He enjoyed it so much that he started collecting a bottle from every batch ever made. This chance encounter has led to him amassing a selection of 66 bottles Aberlour A’bunadh, which has been valued at £15,884. Looks like that dram fishing has paid off, as has all those years O’Connell spent being outbid in auctions and scouring obscure whisky shops across Europe to track down more elusive releases. Now he’s going to seel his unique connection. Mark Littler will broker the deal, after helping Matthew Robson, 28, from Taunton, to sell his 28-bottle collection of Macallan single malt for more than £40,000 last year. O’Connell says he’s decided to sell as he thinks his whiskies would make for “a wonderful present for someone – certainly for that fisherman that inspired me all those years ago”. Mr Littler says that the A’bunadh whisky series is the largest collection he’s ever sold and that what makes it so unique is that O’Connell has a bottle from every batch. It will be someone very lucky that gets their hands on it.

Cara Gilbert Tobermory Distillery

No wonder she’s smiling. 27 year old Cara Gilbert has just landed one of the best jobs in Scotch whisky

27 year old Cara Gilbert takes over at Tobermory

Tobermory has just appointed one of the youngest ever distillery managers. Cara Gilbert from Clackmannanshire is only 27 year old and she’s now in charge of the 223 year old distillery on the Isle of Mull. What an incredible responsibility in one so young. She clearly knows her onions though with a degree in biological science and a master in brewing and distilling from Heriot Watt. She had a stint working at Tullamore D.E.W. in Ireland before joining the Distell group first at Bunnahabhain and then Tobermory. Gilbert commented: “It’s an honour to be given the opportunity to take on this role, helping to etch the next chapter for such a historic distillery. In my head, I always knew I wanted to be in a managerial position before I was 30 and a combination of hard work, seizing every opportunity thrown my way and learning from the best has made this vision a reality.” She will be working with master distiller Brendan McCarron who added: “Cara’s absolutely bursting with talent, passion and knowledge about distilling so it’s incredible to watch her tick off another career milestone. Whether it’s peated or unpeated malts, limited editions or an enticing range of gin, it’s the dream job for anyone and she’s going to do amazing things.” And talking of limited editions, we have some very special whiskis from the Distell stable landing at MoM next week. Watch this space.

The Nightcap: 20 August

The brilliantly named Monkey Bars offers a fantastic opportunity

Monkey Shoulder reveals new bartender competition

Monkey Shoulder whisky has a new bartender competition up its sleeves. The contest, excellently named Monkey Bars, will give teams of two or three contestants the chance to build their own brand from concept to reality. Entries must include a brand name, an idea of brand identity, three drinks (at least two made with Monkey Shoulder) and, most importantly, packaging that stands out and communicates something beyond drinks. The brand suggests a QR code for a playlist as an example, but the possibilities are endless. Go here to submit your ideas. A panel of industry experts will decide on the winning concept, which will be created and distributed nationwide through Lean Kitchen Network (LKN) and land on doorsteps across the country this autumn. The competition is open for applications between 5 until 26 August, with the three finalists announced on 6 September. The finalists will then see their ideas mocked up before pitching them live to the judges on 20 September. Imagine Dragons’ Den but less finance talk and more cocktail chat. “We hope that this is a chance to change someone’s life, with the concept being progressed and continued following the three months of funding and support from Monkey Shoulder,” says Joe Petch, Monkey Shoulder’s global ambassador. “After a hard time for bartenders, we’re hoping that this opportunity will invigorate their creativity and love for cocktails.” 

The Nightcap: 20 August

You’ll be able to pick up the new Highland Park Cask Strength Release here soon

Highland Park launches Cask Strength Release No.2

We’ve got some cracking news for fans of Highland Park this week as the Orkney based distillery revealed it is launching the second in the series to its award-winning cask strength range. The whisky is a great opportunity to taste some full-blooded Highland Park goodness without any dilution and at 63.9% ABV. Release No. 2 promises more robust and intense flavours.  While each whisky will share the same underlying character, every batch will showcase different characteristics based on the cask make-up. In this case, Highland Park Cask Strength Release No.2 has been matured predominantly in sherry-seasoned European and American oak casks, and a small quantity of ex-bourbon casks. The resulting aromas and flavours are said to be of pear and almond cake, toasted oak, liquorice, cracked black pepper and aromatic peat. “Cask Strength Release No.2 celebrates the harmonious balance of tastes in the classic Highland Park style,” says masker whisky maker Gordon Motion. “I want to give everyone who loves Highland Park the chance to experience our single malt whisky in its purest form, its full flavour allows you to discover the taste and strength that appeals to your palate by adding ice or water according to your preference.” Highland Park Cask Strength Release No.2 is on its way to MoM Towers now.

Breaking Bad Bar

Remember kids, drugs aren’t cool

Breaking Bad-inspired bar opening in Newcastle

You’d probably think there’s one thing you wouldn’t want your bar associated with, and that’s the mayhem and misery caused by trafficking in a dangerously-addictive drug, but the team behind a new venue clearly thinks differently. Newcastle is the latest city to get an ABQ, also known as the ‘Breaking Bad-inspired bar.’ The experience is based on the hit TV series. Visitors have to dress up in hazmat suits before entering an RV (motorhome) where they then ‘cook-up’ drinks – just as if they were making methamphetamine, but with cocktails. What larks! There is already a permanent ABQ in London, and pop-ups in Paris, Manchester and New York. The new addition opens mid September at Lane 7, a retro bowling alley. Seb Lyall, founder of Lollipop, the bar group behind it, explained: “We have always wanted to open our concepts in other great cities in the UK. We are proud to be partnering up with Lane 7 in Newcastle to bring this experience up north.” ABQ isn’t the only novelty venue in the Lollipop stable, there’s also London’s only naked restaurant, Bunyadi in Borough. On second thoughts, hazmat suits sound quite appealing.

Tamdhu_Batch_6_UK_Detail_LAND_150dpi

Sherried goodness guaranteed

Tamdhu’s sixth mighty Batch Strength is on its way

If there’s one thing we love here at Master of Malt, it’s Tamdhu. This is one of the very few distilleries in Scotland to use only Oloroso-seasoned casks to mature its whisky. So, if you’re into sherry bombs, then you need some Tamdhu. The core range is pretty tasty, but what gets whisky nuts really hot and bothered is the distillery’s Batch Strength releases. You can read more about this magnificent series here. And now a new one is on its way! Sandy McIntyre, Tamdhu Distillery Manager, explained: “The Batch Strength series is one of our most popular releases – and Batch Strength No.006 is sure to appeal to our fans old and new. The high proportion of first-fill Oloroso sherry casks give this whisky a rich, complex taste and long, rewarding finish.” It’s a NAS whisky bottled at a mighty 58.6% ABV with no chill filtering. Expect massive quantities of dried fruit, spice and all kinds of sherried richness. Previous releases have been exceptional, winning gold medals at San Francisco World Spirits Competition and many others. All this for a very reasonable RRP of £79.99. Keep watching the new products page, it’ll be with us soon.

Zero waste cocktail

Environmentally-friendly cocktail served with ethically-farmed sturgeon. This is so 2021

Try a ‘zero waste’ cocktail during Zero Waste Week

So, what’s everyone doing for Zero Waste Week, 6-10 September? Us, we’re terrified of doing anything in case we generate any waste. Happily, we can go out and have a drink while producing very little waste thanks to a new cocktail that’s been created by Discarded, hard seltzer brand Served, and top chef Adam Handling. Called the Full Circle, it’s available from Handling’s Eve bar in Covent Garden, London from 6-30 September. It combines Discarded Grape Skin Vodka, Muyu Vetiver Gris, Italicus, mind and thyme syrup, lime juice, and it’s topped with Served Lime hard seltzer. Both Served and Discarded are made with unwanted or leftover ingredients. According to the press release, in Europe we throw away 50 million tonnes of fruit and veg because “it does not meet aesthetic standards of retailers.” Ellie Goulding, founder of Served and UN Environment Programme ambassador, explained: “Zero Waste Week is an increasingly important UK initiative at this crucial point, and it has been great to partner with the talented bar managers at Adam Handling’s Eve Bar to create a cocktail using Served and upcycling ingredients from the kitchen that would have otherwise been thrown away. Being able to partner with like minded spirits such as Discarded Grape Skin Vodka has shown us all that we can all make a difference to the  environment by what we eat and drink”. Handling recommends drinking this special cocktail with a dish of  thinly-sliced ‘ethically-farmed’ sturgeon, smoked mousse, and caviar. It’s gourmet environmentalism, darling. 

The Nightcap: 20 August

We have no words

And finally…  Mariah Carey launches Irish cream liqueur

Sometimes you write something so bizarre it’s tempting to think that everyone in the world is playing some kind of prank on you. But this news appears to be very real. In truly baffling, but admittedly also quite brilliant scenes, an Irish cream liqueur has entered the celebrity drinks market and Mariah Carey, of all people, is behind it. Seriously. That picture above isn’t photoshopped. While you, and every Irish person, may be wondering what the hell is going on, the truth is we don’t even really know. The little info the brand has revealed confirms the award-winning artist owns the brand and that she was inspired by her Irish grandparents. The drink is said to be a blend of “decadent Irish cream with aged Irish whiskey” with aromas and flavours of “freshly roasted coffee, milk chocolate and warm spices”. On Monday the singer tweeted: “Introducing Black Irish. Two years in the making. Truly a cause for celebration!!! @goblackirish”. To add even more confusion into the mix, there’s already a booze called Black Irish. So a trademark dispute is probably en route too. One thing’s for sure, Mariah Carey will not stop until every inch of Christmas is hers. She has the traditional glass of  Baileys in her sight. Lord knows what she’ll try and conquer next. 

No Comments on The Nightcap: 20 August

The Nightcap: 13 August

Jameson adds some more flavour to its range, Código 1530 releases one of the most expensive Tequilas in the world, and there’s bubbly panic among the NYC elite. The Nightcap…

Jameson adds some more flavour to its range, Código 1530 releases one of the most expensive Tequilas in the world, and there’s bubbly panic among the NYC elite. The Nightcap returns!

It’s Friday! This is very good news. But it’s also Friday the 13th, which is less so. Bad luck, you see. If you’re not familiar with this, according to Western superstition every Friday that falls on the 13th of a month is considered a cursed day. Why? All kinds of nonsense reasons. It’s a superstition. Black cats are considered evil too. And that can’t be right. Because cats are excellent. We all know this. Still, if you are wary of the dreaded day, then perhaps you’ll enjoy the safe and familiar ramblings of The Nightcap. No harm can come to you just reading a boozy blog… right? 

The MoM blog was home to all kinds of wonderful content once again, like Ian Buxton’s review of the intriguing new book Drunk by Edward Slingerland, or the journey through shochu our in-house educator Richard Legg’s took us on, or Millie’s look at the seven new international bars that are giving us the travel bug. Elsewhere, Henry enjoyed a rare Balvenie, the simple pleasures of the Highball and an outrageously old Port, while Adam recommended some interesting cask-finished whiskies and celebrated a drinks brand making a difference on World Elephant Day. Oh, and we’re hiring if anyone fancies working for the greatest company in the world. We have t-shirts (sometimes). 

Now on with the Nightcap: 13 August edition!

The Nightcap: 13 August

Look! It’s Jameson Orange. Just like actual Jameson. But with orange.

Jameson introduces orange whiskey

The world’s biggest Irish whiskey is introducing a new flavoured bottling Jameson Orange (at 30%), which combines Irish Distillers’ classic expression with natural orange flavouring. The intention was to make a modern, low sugar and still whiskey-focused twist that exploits the popularity of flavoured whiskeys and spirits as well as building on the success of Jameson Cold Brew. “The concept behind Jameson Orange was to create a product which would appeal to a growing audience of flavoured spirits fans, that draws on the quality and integrity of our award-winning triple distilled Irish whiskey,” says Brendan Buckley, international marketing director at Irish Distillers. “Jameson Orange’s flavours are inspired by a classic whiskey cocktail, and we’re confident that this focus on taste and quality will appeal to a broad audience of whiskey fans, bartenders, and curious spirit drinkers.” Jameson Orange will be on its way to MoM Towers soon, while a second flavour variant, Jameson Lime & Ginger, inspired by the signature Jameson serve, will follow soon after. 

The Nightcap: 13 August

At $3,300 a bottle, this is one of the most pricey Tequilas we’ve ever seen

Código 1530 releases one of the most expensive Tequilas in the world

Código 1530 is no stranger to extravagant Tequilas (check out this Extra Añejo!), but the brand has really outdone itself with its latest expression. The new release has a price tag of $3,300 a bottle, making it one of the most expensive Tequilas on the market. And with only 350 bottles of the spirit available, it’s also one of the rarest. Why is it so special? Well for a start it’s a 13-year-old extra añejo Tequila, which is remarkably old. Most añejos on the market are matured for one-to-three years and the aforementioned Extra Añejo spent six years in cask, which would typically be seen as a huge amount of time. This bottling, however, blows it out of the water. Plus, it was finished for six months in a Cognac cask, which again is not common and certainly not the cheapest way to mature your Tequila. Federico Vaughan summarised the bottling by saying “our 13-year Añejo is in its own category”. It was bottled with no other sugars, colours or flavourings, and the tasting notes tell us to expect sweet vanilla with cocoa powder and cinnamon, followed by earthy peat and exotic spices. Bottles will be available through Código 1530’s website but it’s a shame so few will get to taste it. That’s the world of rare and pricey booze for you. You can at least head to the distillery page and pick up another Añejo to get an idea of what you’re missing.

The Nightcap: 13 August

Max Macfarlane’s expertise will be put to good use in the new venture

Distil invests £5m into new Ardgowan Distillery 

Distil UK (not to be confused with Distell) has announced that it will be investing up to £5m into the new eco-friendly Ardgowan Distillery in Inverkip, Scotland, which hopes to be producing spirit in 2023, as well as welcoming tourists. The owner of premium drinks brands including RedLeg Spiced Rum, Blackwoods Gin, and newly launched TRØVE Botanical Spirit, will provide an initial tranche of £3m, with the potential of an additional loan of up to £2m to follow. The investment will see Distil build a permanent home for Blackwoods Scottish Gin on the site, including stills, a gin school, and visitor centre, while the company will also gain access to Ardgowan’s master whisky maker, Max Macfarlane (formerly of Highland Park, Glengoyne, Bunnahabhain, and Tamdhu fame), to develop a separate Distil blended malt whisky brand yet to be revealed. Martin McAdam, CEO Ardgowan Distillery, says “We welcome this investment and are excited that Distil has chosen Ardgowan as the home for Blackwoods Gin. The Distil team is knowledgeable, passionate and very much aligned with our vision for the project. We welcome their investment and look forward to working together in an ongoing partnership to help both sides achieve ambitious goals.”

The Nightcap: 13 August

We’re impressed by what we’ve seen from Torabhaig so far

Torabhaig Distillery releases second single malt

Torabhaig Distillery is all set to release the second expression from its Legacy Series of single malt Scotch whiskies. Following the sold-out success of the first ever expression from Torabhaig Distillery in February this year, Legacy Series 2017, the second expression of Torabhaig single malt will be Allt Gleann – The Legacy Series. Named after the burn (stream) that flows down the side of the distillery in Teangue on the Isle of Skye, this eagerly-awaited release will be bottled in small batches at 46%, and drawn from no more than 30 casks. Allt Gleann is the second of four expressions to be released under the Torabhaig Legacy Series, which will chart the process of developing the style and character of the eventual core bottling, Torabhaig Single Malt Whisky 10 Year Old, due to be released in 2028. For those who missed out on the first expression, Allt Gleann will be released in larger quantities, in four separate batches throughout 2021 and 2022. Neil Mathieson, chief executive at Mossburn Distillers, told us after the first launch that the “next two releases are looking like they will be heavier in peat” and that’s certainly the case with this one, which is more robust and full-bodied than the first expression. The fruity new make character is still present too, and it’s another promising dram that suggests this is a distillery worth keeping an eye on.

The Nightcap: 13 August

The first round is on the good folk of Inverness it seems!

How cheap is your city’s pint? Study reveals all

Holidu.co.uk has released a study about the price of beer in a number of UK cities and popular holiday destinations for Brits. Inspired by the desire to give travellers as much information as possible, the search engine for holiday rentals set out to establish how much a pint of beer costs at home and abroad. It compared beer prices in top rated UK pubs, capturing both ends of the UK market by studying the price of beer in top-rated pubs and Wetherspoons pubs to give insight into how much a tourist is likely to pay compared to a local. To view the results and full methodology of the study just here, but these are the headlines: London is really expensive. Shocking. In fact, the top three most expensive are London (£4.50), Edinburgh (£4.40) and Birmingham (£4.40), which is pretty much what you’d expect. On average, the cheapest place to buy a pint of beer in the UK is Inverness (£3.10), followed by Swansea (£3.60) and Glasgow (£3.70). Book your staycations accordingly. Of course, if you did want to venture abroad, avoid Dubai (£10.00) or Sydney (£6.50) and instead head to Krakow (£1.30) or Bali (£1.60), as the study worked out the cost in the top 50 tourist destinations for Brits as well. So, assuming you’re basing holiday destinations on beer prices, you’re now good to go. Which is what we all do. Right? 

The Nightcap: 13 August

Can this combo fail? No. No it cannot.

Dewar’s Highballs and Truffle burgers? Yes, please!

If there’s two things we love at Master of Malt, they are Highballs and burgers. So as you can imagine we were pretty excited to hear about a partnership between Dewar’s and fancy London burger joint Truffle. The special Dewar’s X Truffle London menu runs from 19-21 August at Truffle London Soho (go here to book). It features delicious Highballs created by Mark Low from Mr Lyan Studio using Dewar’s new Caribbean Smooth and Ilegal Smooth whiskies, alongside delicious meaty hamburgers. For example, a Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth Highball, made with Ilegal mezcal cask whisky, St-Germain Elderflower liqueur and soda, goes with Truffle London classic burger, “a classic beef & smoked bacon patty in a brioche bun, topped with sweet fig jam, crispy onions, gooey raclette cheese and smothered in their favourite truffle mayonnaise”, according to the press release. Isn’t your mouth watering just thinking about this? But what’s even better is prices start from £10 for a burger and a Highball. We are so there. 

The Nightcap: 13 August

Get your tickets now!

Pergola Paddington to host Oktoberfest celebration: Wunderbar!

Who’s in need of a good horn-blaring, stein-sloshing Bavarian knees up? Everyone? Great, because West London’s largest alfresco drinking and dining destination will be transformed into a beer hall reminiscent of those on the Theresienwiese in Munich, serving up real German beers, delicious Bavarian food, and a hearty helping of ‘Gemütlichkeit’ in celebration of Oktoberfest. Tonight (well, for six weeks), Matthew, Pergola Paddington will be Wunderbar, a spin on the traditional festival. Expect live DJ sets, a Bavarian Oom-pah band, ‘Wunderbrunch’ bottomless brunches, gingerbread house building, a ‘Pink’ LGBT+ Oktoberfest party, as well as the chance to be crowned Beer King & Queen of Wunderbar, with a prize of free beer for a year. Pergola Paddington has even teamed up with Camden Town Brewery to create an exclusive Oktoberfest Lager which will only be available at Wunderbar for a limited time only. Wunderbar will run from 18 September – 31 October. Tickets, which start from £10 and include a stein of beer or a beer cocktail, are now available here. It’s recommended you book in advance, particularly as we might do a big MoM office outing…  Now, where are my lederhosen?

The Nightcap: 13 August

Congratulations to you, Lorenza!

Lorenza Pezzetta takes over at the Artesian 

It’s all go in London’s most prestigious hotel bars. Last week the American Bar at The Savoy announced a new head bartender, an actual American, Shannon Tebay. Now the much-garlanded Artesian Bar at the Langham has a new lady in charge, Lorenza Pezzetta. She joins the Artesian, consistently in World’s 50 Best, from a spell working in private members clubs including the legendary Annabel’s. Originally from Italy, she has worked at Cipriani Downtown Ibiza, The Berkeley, and The Connaught Bar before taking the role of bar manager at Artesian. “It is such an honour to be joining the team at Artesian, not only an iconic bar but part of Langham Hotels & Resorts, a hospitality brand I have always admired. Artesian is the perfect place for me to home in on my experience and bring the knowledge I have acquired whilst working at London’s most prestigious private members clubs and five-star establishments. It’s quite easy to see why the bar is beloved by all, it’s a privilege to be a part of such an incredible team, to be part of Artesian’s next chapter and most importantly to welcome guests back in!”, she commented.

The Nightcap: 13 August

The sun sets on a troubled Hampton Beach. You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

And finally… Panic among NYC elite as Hamptons runs out of Champagne 

The Hamptons are the playground for New York’s elite. Think Saint Tropez, Ibiza and Southwold all rolled into one. But there’s panic on the immaculate beaches because there’s a shortage of Champagne. Yes, according to The New York Post, desperate millionaires and billionaires are having to make do with Prosecco or even cava! Ian Duke from Southampton Social Club said: “The most popular nightclub items —  the high-end champagnes from Moet Chandon or Dom Perignon —  can’t be found.” How are people meant to live without such staples? Another club owner Zach Erdem is using his private plane to fly in Champagne for his wife’s birthday party. Inevitably, some are blaming Covid but this isn’t the first wine shortage to hit the Hamptons, those with long memories will remember the two Great Rosé Crises of 2012 and 2014. America’s elite is nothing if not resilient, however. They pulled through then, and they’ll pull through again. 

No Comments on The Nightcap: 13 August

The Nightcap: 6 August

Settle in for the latest edition of our weekly news round-up featuring Tanqueray’s Summer Garden, regrettably drier Antarctic research stations, and a crafty, vodka-loving festival-goer plus some big news from…

Settle in for the latest edition of our weekly news round-up featuring Tanqueray’s Summer Garden, regrettably drier Antarctic research stations, and a crafty, vodka-loving festival-goer plus some big news from Johnnie Walker. It’s all in the Nightcap: 6 August edition. 

Since we last went Nightcapping seven days have passed and that means a whole fresh batch is required. Luckily we’ve just upgraded our boozy news oven so we’ve got a particularly tasty set of stories for you to get your teeth stuck into this week. We find that a dram of something delicious makes for the perfect pairing too, so why not pour yourself something tasty and enjoy. 

This week the MoM blog became home to TWO new competitions giving you the chance to bag some Japanese or American whiskey goodies courtesy of Suntory and Jack Daniel’s. Meanwhile, our guest contributors had a busy week as Lucy looked into the history of Campari, Millie caught up with some of the drinks industry’s most avid glassware collectors and Dr. Nick Morgan joined us for the first time to pen an explosive article on the murky relationship between the Scotch and Japanese whisky industries. Elsewhere, there was still time for Adam to enjoy some rule-breaking Cognac and for Henry to sample an intriguing gin flavoured with Tokaji grapes as well as the delightful Rebujito cocktail.

Now on with the Nightcap: 6 August edition!

The Nightcap: 6 August

We’ll be heading to the opening event and will report back soon!

Tickets on sale for Johnnie Walker Princes Street

It’s been a long time coming but finally, Johnnie Walker’s swanky new brand home on Edinburgh’s Princes Street is open. Well, nearly, the building will open to the public on 6 September, but tickets are already on sale now (go here for more information.) The building was meant to open last year in time for Johnnie Walker’s 200th anniversary. Barbara Smith, managing director of Diageo’s Scotland brand homes, explained the reason for the delayed opening: “Over the past year we have faced unprecedented challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic but now we can finally start the countdown to the opening of Johnnie Walker Princes Street”. Spread over 71,500 sq feet of prime New Town real estate, the building features the 1820 bar with views across the city and the Label Studio which will offer live events. Meanwhile, you can learn the 200-year-old story of Johnnie Walker, from its beginnings in a grocer’s shop in Kilmarnock, to being the biggest whisky brand in the world! Smith elaborated: “Johnnie Walker Princes Street will offer something unlike any other visitor experience in Scotland. It will be a venue for everyone, whether that’s visitors to Scotland or local people in Edinburgh, Scotch whisky lovers, or those savouring Scotch whisky for the first time. We can’t wait for you to join us.” We’ll be reporting from the opening on 6 September, so watch this space for more Johnnie Walker news. 

The Nightcap: 6 August

It’s another incredibly impressive range

Diageo announces new Prima & Ultima whiskies

More news from Diageo as the whisky giant announces the arrival of a new batch of Prima & Ultima releases. This exclusive set of eight whiskies from various distilleries are sure to get enthusiasts excited. How exclusive? Well, there are two bottles from ‘ghost’ distilleries: a 1984 Convalmore, and 1980 peated Brora. Then there’s a Linkwood 1981 aged in a mixture of PX, Oloroso and new American Oak, an unusual experimental Singleton of Glendullan 1992 aged first in refill casks before maturation in two small ex-Madeira barriques for further fourteen years, plus a 1979 Talisker, 1992 Lagavulin, 1974 Auchroisk and 1995 Mortlach. If you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford a set, RRP is £23,500 for the collection. It was put together by master blender Maureen Robinson who commented: “This is a selection of very special single malts – some that have never before seen the light of day and others that are the fleeting and final examples of their kind. Each bottling shares a glimpse into the history of Scotch and one that I am honoured to have witnessed in person. I remember choosing to hold back the cask filled at Auchroisk knowing it would be special for the future and the anticipation and excitement of the maturation trials we undertook with Linkwood and The Singleton, now realised in these releases. Some of these casks I helped to lay down, and have taken great pleasure in tending to them since, so I chose them with rich memories in mind. Each has its own unique style, which you can now explore for yourself.” We’ll be tasting some of these whiskies shortly and will report back. Yeah, it’s a tough life. 

The Nightcap: 6 August

The house whisky can be bought online

Fife Arms launches whisky with Dave Broom & Adelphi

This May, The Fife Arms hotel in the Highland village of Braemar opened a new whisky bar called Bertie’s, inspired by the famous Royal bon viveur, King Edward VII, also known as ‘Bertie’. This is very exciting because Dave Broom helped curate the 365-strong-selection (one for each day of the year!) which will be arranged by flavour profiles such as Fragrant, Fruity, Rich & Smoky. But what’s even more exciting is that The Fife Arms has marked the opening by commissioning its own whisky! The Fife Arms Braemar Whisky was made in collaboration with Broom and Alex Bruce, managing director of independent bottler and distiller Adelphi. The Fife Arms celebrates Scottish history and culture, so the team set out to create a whisky reminiscent of the signature styles enjoyed in the era when the hotel first opened in 1856. That’s why they used sherry butts, the cask type most widely used during this time, and smoky whisky from Ardnamurchan Distillery to create a classic 19th century-style blend. The hotel’s house whisky will launch on 13th September and will be available to purchase from the hotel’s shop and its online shop, retailing at £95 a bottle. Plus, there’s more to come as later this year, as the hotel will launch a collection of single cask whiskies in partnership with Broom and Bruce.

The Nightcap: 6 August

It’s all international summer vibes courtesy of Tanqueray

Tanqueray Gin’s Summer Garden lands in London 

Tanqueray Gin’s Summer Garden has just opened in Flat Iron Square, London, giving us a chance to visit Seville, France and India through the different Tanqueray gins and botanicals. In classic British style, it was  wet and rainy when we attended, but we just renamed it the English Summer Garden and drank our cocktails under a bit of shelter – we’re all used to the weather by now. Thankfully the rain did clear up and we were able to sit on a fetching swing bench covered in orange flowers and orange trees, wander around the fountain flowing with actual Negroni, and try some delicious food.  These included a chicken bao bun, pumpkin boa buns, and pink(!) pasta. But we were really there for the gin. You can treat yourself to a gin masterclass where you taste the Tanqueray range, including five cocktails and snack pairing. You can also get stuck into a magnificent gin tree, taking you all around the world through different Tanqueray & Tonics: Tanqueray Rangpur, Blackcurrant Royale, and Flor de Sevilla all feature, or you can build your own. There is even the chance to win weekly prizes if you can find the hidden QR codes dotted around the garden. We particularly enjoyed playing a spot of boules, which is the perfect way to spend your day while sipping on a cocktail. You can book a visit here – it’s running until 30 August.

Bowmore and Aston Martin’s new collaboration

You might remember back in 2019 Bowmore and luxury British car maker Aston Martin teamed up to create Black Bowmore DB5 1964 whisky which was presented in a bottle incorporating a genuine Aston Martin DB5 piston. This was followed by the first automotive offering, the DBX Bowmore. Now the duo is launching a new range, the Designed by Aston Martin collection. It has given three classic Bowmore whiskies a new look, inspired by some of Aston Martin’s rarest and most influential cars. The new-look limited-edition collection features Bowmore 10, 15, and 18 Years Old single malts which will be released annually exclusively in global travel retail outlets. The Bowmore 10 Years Old is paired with the Aston Martin factory Team Car, the LM10, which first raced at Le Mans in 1932; the 15 Years Old takes inspiration from the Aston Martin Atom, and the 18 Years Old celebrates the Aston Martin DB Mk III. “These limited-edition releases not only celebrate our partnership but also give some of our wonderful whiskies a whole new look which I know will excite Bowmore fans and collectors around the world,” says David Turner, Bowmore distillery manager. “By bringing together our skills and passions, we are inviting drinkers to explore our stunning and exclusive GTR collection whilst also showcasing how our shared commitment to heritage and craftsmanship can truly come to life.” Travelers can find the collection in Duty-Free stores from this month. 

The Nightcap: 6 August

Glen Grant is one of the distilleries that benefit from Forsyth’s expertise

Forsyths opens Irish division 

Forsyths has big news this week as the Moray copper still maker and fabrication firm has opened a division in Ireland. Meeting increasing demand from the distilling industry, the Rothes-based group is involved in a number of projects in the country, including the construction of a new distillery in which U2 rock star Bono is a shareholder. Richard Forsyth, managing director of the family-run business, said it had launched a facility north of Dublin, where a coppersmith and pipefitters are based. “Business has been very buoyant for us in Ireland,” he added. “The famous Bushmills Distillery has just been doubled in production and we are also building a distillery called Monasterevin”. Forsyths’ international operations have been in full flight recently, having just shipped a distillery to China not long ago, with Mr. Forsyth confirming activities in the Far East market were “continuing to flourish.” It’s a demonstration of how much the Irish whiskey industry continues to thrive and grow and it’s fantastic to hear that the category will be welcoming the copper works experts, who have been supplying the whiskey world with copper stills and distillation equipment since the mid-1850s. 

Frazer-Thompson-and-Mark-Harvey

Frazer Thompson (left) and Mark Harvey from Chapel Down

Frazer Thompson leaves Chapel Down after 20 years

Big news in the world of wine as Frazer Thompson who has helmed England’s largest wine producer Chapel Down for two decades announced this week that he is retiring. He said: “Over the last twenty years we have started to change the way people think about English wines forever. There is still much to do, but there has never been a more exciting time for our young industry and our business in particular.” Thompson will be replaced by Andrew Carter who is currently MD of Chase Distillery in Herefordshire, which was acquired earlier this year by Diageo. Thompson was full of praise for Carter: “I know he will bring the energy, enthusiasm, experience and the skills to drive the business to even greater heights.” He has some big shoes to fill as it was under Thompson stewardship that Chapel Down became England’s largest wine producer and, according to chairman Martin Glenn: “helped put English wine on the map.” But it hasn’t all been glorious, the team never managed to make the Curious Beer and Cider work, and ended up selling off the brands and the Curious Brewery and Restaurant earlier this year. Meanwhile, the Kent-based company is currently conducting a crowdfunding campaign to raise £7 million. So far they have raised 90% of the total, £6.3m, from around 3,600 investors. So it’s an interesting time for Carter to take over. 

The Nightcap: 6 August

Cold, harsh, and unforgiving. The new policy will not be popular.

Antarctic research stations alcohol allowance halved

For those living and working in remote Antarctic research locations, making homemade beer has been something of a tradition. A new policy change, however, means that the alcohol allowance has been slashed at Australia’s four stations as the dangerous conditions have prompted representatives in the region to strike a cautious note. The controversial new ruling bans homebrewing outright and halves the amount of alcohol that people living and working in the research stations are allowed to drink, citing the division’s inability to “safely manage consumption, hygiene standards and alcohol content” as the reason behind it. This amounts to a pretty measly sum of seven cans of beer, one and a half bottles of wine, or half a bottle of distilled spirits per person per week. “Antarctica is a unique environment, and very small mistakes can lead to very big consequences,” AAD division director Kim Ellis told American television channel ABC. She pretty bluntly added that, while it is perfectly possible to sit out in the yard and stargaze after having a drink in Australia, “If you do that in Antarctica – you’re drunk and you go stare at the stars – we will find your body in the morning.” Regardless, it’s going to be an unpopular decision, particularly given Italy’s neighbouring station offers beer, wine, and spirits alongside food items.

And finally… Man digs up hidden bottle of vodka at festival

A Lollapalooza festival-goer is being hailed as the star act of the weekend. Why? Because he went through the effort of burying a bottle of vodka in the field weeks before the event and then digging it up once inside the festival. The video of him demonstrating his creative side went viral, understandably. There is something truly wonderful about somebody rallying so hard against paying marked-up prices that they went through the trouble of burying a bottle of Tito’s Vodka and digging it up a reported three weeks later. One tweet showing the man in action has currently racked up over 22k likes, commenting “Guy buried a bottle of vodka at Grant Park a week before Lollapalooza and dug it up when he got inside…..gotta give it up to the man it’s a straight up pro move”. It’s a straight-up pro move, indeed. Although, we do like to think we can put booze in your hands at least slightly more efficiently than this.

No Comments on The Nightcap: 6 August

The Nightcap: 30 July

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another round up of all the interesting, funny, and downright peculiar goings on in the drinks industry. This week we have a drunken echidna…

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another round up of all the interesting, funny, and downright peculiar goings on in the drinks industry. This week we have a drunken echidna on the rampage in Australia, Allsopp’s beer back from the dead, and an American takes over at the American Bar in the Savoy. Whatever next! They’re all in the Nightcap: 30 July edition.

Another week has come to an end and we don’t know about you but we’re really enjoying interacting with people in real life (or irl as the youngsters say, apparently). But blimey, it isn’t half tiring having to do previously simple things like wear trousers and make sure you are reasonably clean. Or perhaps that’s just us. Anyway, we’ve got a vintage Nightcap for you this week with drunken echidnas causing havoc in Australia, amusingly-named wine infusions, and an appearance from the one and only Miles Beale. But before we dive in, there’s a round-up from the blog plus a plug for this week’s edition of Clubhouse. 

On the blog this week

The blog this week was packed full of boozy goodness. The week began with an interview with posh booze guru Ken Grier followed by a limited edition heavily smoked whisky from The English Whisky Company, which promptly sold out, and then we looked at the revamped Royal Brackla range (Adam gave it a big thumbs up) and highlighted ten delicious spirits from independent distilleries. Last week brought the terrible news that one of our favourite bars Trailer Happiness in London had flooded so in conjunction with That Boutique-y Rum Company, we put on sale a special Foursquare rum with proceeds going to help the bar. At the time of writing there are still some bottles left. But not many. Our Cocktail of the Week was a mixture of soup and vodka, the Bullshot. Then we visited Ron Colon in El Salvador (virtually) before announcing the winner of our El Rayo Tequila competition

On Clubhouse this week, we’re talking about premiumisation – why are people drinking less but better? We’ll be joined by Kristiane Sherry, Carmen O’Neal, and Michael Ballantyne to discuss why consumers are increasingly opting to spend more instead of buying cheap bulk booze.

Right, on with the Nightcap: 30 July edition!

Revived Karuizawa distillery

Artist’s impression of the new Karuizawa distillery

Ground broken at revived Karuizawa distillery

We reported back in December about plans to revive Karuizawa. This week, the rebirth of this legendary Japanese distillery moved a step closer as ground was broken on site and Karuizawa Distillers (KDI) held a blessing ceremony on Tuesday 27 July. Founders Koji and Yoshie Shimaoka were present but sadly the company’s co-founder and master distiller Ian Change (formerly of Kavalan) was not able to attend in person because of travel restrictions. He did appear via video along with KDI’s Eddie Ludlow. Koji Shimaoka, commented: “It has been a challenging time in which to begin the process of creating a new legend in Japanese whisky-making. Our ground-breaking ceremony at Komoro Distillery is a very important and symbolic step in Karuizawa Distillers journey.” Ian Chang added: “I am very excited to be able to once again create a distillery from the ground up, as well as a global brand in Japanese single malt whisky-making. I am disappointed I cannot be there in person, but thrilled beyond belief that we have reached this crucial stage.” An important first step, indeed, but there’s still a long way to go. 

Joe Wilson examining a Harry E. Wilken Prohibition-era bottling(1)

Joe Wilson examining a Harry E. Wilken Prohibition-era bottling, note the medicine bottle

Rare American whiskeys go under the hammer

The shed load of rare American whiskeys going live at Whisky Auctioneer next month is sure to get fans all hot and bothered. According to the press release, the sale, which runs from 13-23 August features “some of the most sought after American and bourbon whiskeys ever produced.” How sought after? We’re talking about an Old Overholt rye whiskey from 1908 and bottles from the Prohibition era that were sold as medicine to get round the rules banning the sale of alcohol. There’s also some more modern stuff including a highly desirable 1975 Van Winkle Special Reserve bottled by Corti Brothers of Sacramento. Similar bottles have sold for $8,000 at auctions in the US. Last year’s ‘Heart and Soul’ of Pat’s Whisk(e)y Collection at Whisky Auctioneer raised £375,000. Joe Wilson, head of content at Whisky Auctioneer, commented: “We’ve seen interest in bourbon and American whiskey soar over recent years. Once confined to small, passionate communities of “dusty-hunters” and online forums, the world of collectible bourbon is now a mainstream fascination. This auction celebrates the names that proved so influential in the evolution of this, from A.H. Hirsch and Van Winkle to Buffalo Trace.” Peggy Noe Stevens, founder of the Bourbon Women Association, added: “In my 30 years as a spirits veteran and master taster, this one-of-a-kind collection is certainly one for the record books….” Time to start hunting down the back of the sofa for loose change.

Shannon Tebay

An American at the American Bar, whatever next?

The American Bar finally sees its first American head bartender

It may shock you to hear that the American Bar at The Savoy in London has never actually had an American bartender – until now! Shannon Tebay from New Mexico takes that title, starting the gig next month after making a name for herself as head bartender at New York’s Death & Company. Though Tebay may be the first American, she’s only the second woman, too, after Ada Coleman filled the role from 1903 until 1926. “There has never been an American running the American Bar. To have that authentic perspective on what we’re doing on this side of the pond was important to them,” Tebay told The New York Times. “I hope to honour the historical significance of the bar and modernise bartending culture, championing under-represented perspectives and re-evaluating best practices. I want to diversify the staff as much as possible. It is the responsibility of hospitality leaders to make positive changes in our industry.” Congratulations to Shannon – we can’t wait to see what delicious delights she whips up! 

Allsop's IPA

Snazzy label, eh?

Allsopp’s, the original Burton IPA, is back after 62 years

Big brewery news as one of the great names of British beer is back. Allsopp’s was founded in 1730, but it was in 1822 when Sam Allsopp pioneered India Pale Ale in Burton-on-Trent that the family business really took off. This was a massively-hopped high strength beer that became a cult in India for how it survived and thrived on the six month sea journey from Britain. It put Burton-on-Trent on the map and the town became a brewing powerhouse with other illustrious names such as Bass. Sadly, as the brewing industry consolidated, Allsopp’s fell out of family hands and the brand was neglected before finally disappearing in 1959. By which time, the beer had become a pale shadow of its former self. Jamie Allsopp, a descendant of the founder, had long dreamed of resurrecting the family beer. After years of research, he found some original family recipes and enlisted Burton expert Jim Applebee to help him adapt the formula to modern malts, hops and brewing techniques. The final piece in the puzzle was Mark Simmonite from Aardvark brewery in Sheffield, to put the revived Allsopp’s into production. There’s a deliciously crisp 4.4% ABV Pale Ale, and a punchy 5.6% IPA. We were given a couple of bottles (cask ales will be available for pubs) to try and while we couldn’t vouch that it was the same as in 1822, we loved the full hoppy flavour of the IPA. And it was great to see the original symbol of the brewery, a red hand, back on a beer label. Well done Jamie and team. 

The Nightcap

Miles Beale does it again

Government scraps red tape on imported wines

To say Brexit has been a headache for British wine merchants is something of an understatement. Leaving the EU meant a massive increase in paperwork for those importing wine from France, Italy etc. You’ve probably noticed the price of your favourite wine has increased. And it was set to get worse. But after years of dogged campaigning by the WSTA, the government has announced it will be scrapping the complex VI-1 forms on all imported wine, not just from the EU. WSTA chief executive Mile Beale, described it as “a truly historic moment.” He went on to say: “We have spent more than two years campaigning relentlessly to avoid the introduction of new import certificates for EU wine imports on the one hand and scrapping the unnecessary and costly VI-1 wine paperwork for non-EU wine imports on the other. The first would have cost the UK wine industry some £70m [annually], reduced consumer choice and bumped up prices. The second will increase those savings to over £100 million. It’s a truly fantastic outcome. It is heartening to know that the Government trust the WSTA’s advice and are listening to the concerns of business, particularly SMEs. This is a major win for wine lovers and the UK wine industry. I am sure corks will be popping across the globe in celebration of this most welcome news.” We’re certainly popping a few corks here at MoM.

Bolixir wine

Botanical-infused natural wine or load of old bolixir?

New infused wine is the bolixir

Sometimes it would be advisable for American companies to employ British English consultants. That way they could avoid naming products things like Jon Bon Jovi’s rosé wine brand Hampton Water or, even worse, recently-launched finance business Nonce. The latest to fall foul of the transatlantic language gap is a new ‘botanical-infused natural wine’ brand from Dry Farm Wines called bolixir (sic). The Wine Industry Advisor reported on the new product which blends Austrian wine with flavourings and comes in four varieties, Dandelion White, Lavender Red, Elderflowers Bubbles and Rose Blossom Bubbles. Founder (and ‘biohacker’, whatever that is) Todd White explained: “As someone who cares deeply about the health of my body & mind, and the health of the planet, I am so grateful to share bolixir with the world. There has never been a drink quite as revolutionary as this.” Just be careful where you share your bolixir, Todd, some people might get the wrong idea. 

Spritz Saturday at Hayman's Gin Distillery in London

Spritz Saturday at Hayman’s – the perfect way to kick off the weekend

Celebrate Spritz Saturday at Hayman’s

London friends, what’s the best way to kick off your weekend? With a spritz, of course! Specifically, a Hayman’s Gin Spritz sipped at the distillery in South West London. From midday until 6pm tomorrow (Saturday 31 July), the distillery will be showcasing its exclusive Summer Spritz menu in its courtyard, with cocktails for just £6 (a steal for London, even if you are in Zone 3), a live DJ, and cracking Neapolitan pizza from Crust Bros. You can even make the most of the mini tours they’ll be offering all day, with 15% off in the distillery shop for one day only! Exclusivity at its finest. The cocktails will feature the distillery’s London Dry Gin, Peach & Rose Cup, and brand new Exotic Citrus Gin, so make sure you get yourself over to Balham and start your Saturday right. Let’s just hope those rain showers hold off…

Echidna rampage!

Echidna rampage!

And finally… Drunken echidna in Baileys rampage 

You sometimes get some prickly customers in off licences but staff in Kyogle, New South Wales still got a surprise when an echidna rampaged through their shop. The spiny anteater was caught on camera (watch the clip here) running into the shop where it broke some bottles before passing out on the floor. We’ve all been there, mate. Employee Brian Watson-Bell spoke to ABC: “I thought there had to be a critter in here somewhere – there was just too much damage for a rat. But there he was, an echidna, and he wasn’t little. He had gone through a couple of bottles of vodka and a bottle of chocolate Baileys, he was sleeping it off for sure. I think if he had gone for a crawl he would have been stumbling a bit, I don’t think he was fit to drive.” Later the echidna was escorted off the premises by WIRES Wildlife Rescue charity and returned home where, apparently, it told its disbelieving family that it “only had a couple of tinnies” and “it must have been the sun.”

 

No Comments on The Nightcap: 30 July

The Nightcap: 23 July

Dwayne Johnson’s Tequila bus, 70,000 free Pistonhead Beers, and Kraken Rum’s protest ice cream all make an appearance in another cracker of a Nightcap.  Good afternoon folks. We hope you’ve…

Dwayne Johnson’s Tequila bus, 70,000 free Pistonhead Beers, and Kraken Rum’s protest ice cream all make an appearance in another cracker of a Nightcap. 

Good afternoon folks. We hope you’ve all survived the wacky weather and got to enjoy the full return of the hospitality industry. Tomorrow just so happens to be National Tequila Day, so you’ve got even more of an excuse to keep the good times going. You might have noticed that we spent a fair amount of time this week celebrating this event. This is because Tequila is tremendous and we’ll never pass up a chance to chat all about how much we love it. 

This is why we’ve been doing that on the blog the last few days. We put together a competition with El Rayo Tequila, enjoyed a Tommy’s Margarita, welcomed Volcan Tequila and recommended some cracking Tequila cocktails that you may not have tried. Our content wasn’t all agave-based, however. Henry revisited Copper Rivet’s distillery to observe its impressive operation, Ian Buxton was charmed, Millie demonstrated how to make the most of her favourite soft drink, iced tea, and Adam tasted a blend of whisky and rum, before looking at what to expect from the exciting O’Shaughnessy Distillery.  

On the Clubhouse App, meanwhile, we’ve got rum on our minds as we delve into some of the challenges the category faces with guests Peter Holland, Gayle Seale and Philip Everett-Lyons at 3pm. Do join us!

Now on with the Nightcap: 23 July edition!

The Nightcap: 23 July

Dwayne Johnson’s Tequila brand will tour the US in this beauty

National Tequila Day success for Clooney, The Rock, and Kylie Jenner

Ok, last thing on National Tequila Day. Promise. But we couldn’t help but notice there were a lot of stories this week about how the industry is thriving at the moment. Celebrity-backed brands, in particular, are enjoying the spoils of this success. First, Casamigos Tequila revealed it is now a million-case-a-year brand, hitting the sales milestone at the end of 2020. Founders George Clooney and Rande Gerber sold the brand to drinks giant Diageo in 2017 for US$1 billion, but are still involved in what appears to be an incredible investment all-around. The same is true of Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila, which has already exceeded the figures forecast for its first two years of business in the two months since its launch in May, according to the company’s president. Celebrity publication Page Six even claimed that stores had sold out of stock within four hours of its first release. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson meanwhile, is spreading the word about his brand Teremana Tequila with a road trip. The ‘Great American Mana Mobile Road Trip’ will tour across the United States, calling at military bases, firehouses, hospitals, and other locations to show gratitude to the nation’s first responders. The Tequila tour bus will also visit main streets across America to encourage the public to support local businesses while serving Teremana-based cocktails, where allowed, and dishes including brioche French toast with Teremana Tequila-infused maple syrup.

The Nightcap: 23 July

You can expect Ian Burrell to be in top form as usual

RumFest returns with new Spiced Rum Show

We got wonderful news from the folks at London-based RumFest this week: it’s back in non-virtual form! Yes, organisers expect to welcome more than 3,000 actual human people across 15-17 October at the ILEC Conference Centre in west London following 2020’s mostly virtual event. The festival, founded by rum expert Ian Burrell, will host a trade exclusive day on the 15th, providing an opportunity to sample new and rare rums, network and attend educational talks. On the 16th, consumers can then enjoy demonstrations, tastings and talks from distillers and blenders, as well as live music, dancing and food. A line-up of digital events will also be available for those who are not able to attend in person. Finally, on 17 October, the festival will hold its first dedicated Spiced Rum Show. RumFest will once again serve as the culmination of London Rum Week (11-17 October), in which partner bars and restaurants across the city will host consumer events, including special menus, cocktails, pop-ups and supper clubs. The full line-up of events can be found at londonrumweek.com. If you want to pick up tickets for RumFest Live, they are available from rumfest.co.uk for £30, with ‘Golden Tot’ tokens for samples of particularly high-end rums are available to purchase for £5 each. 

The Nightcap: 23 July

The new expression has just arrived here!

The Balvenie unveils new 25-year-old whisky

When The Balvenie releases new whisky, we stand up and take note. The brand and malt master David C. Stewart MBE rarely does things by half measures and the newest expression is no exception. The Balvenie Twenty-Five will form part of the Rare Marriages range, a tribute to Stewart’s dedication to designing and building exceptional flavour through the marriage of rare casks and will join the acclaimed The Balvenie Thirty and The Balvenie Forty within the collection. The Speyside distillery tells us to expect a dram packed with soft autumn fruits, runny honey, crystallised ginger, bold vanilla oak, layers of toasted marshmallow, fresh fruit terrine and cinnamon-infused apple tart, complete with an exceptionally long-lasting sweetness. Stewart says the expression is made from casks that have “stood the important test of time” and that this “special whisky has a distinct profile and experience which we have designed to reveal the wonderful depth of The Balvenie single malt.” You don’t have to take his word for it, however, as we have some. Look. Just click here. Wonderful, isn’t it?

The Nightcap: 23 July

Gregg Glass heads up the innovative initiative

Whyte & Mackay expands its Scottish Oak Programme 

Whyte & Mackay’s exciting Scottish Oak Programme is getting even more love, according to the brand, which will expand its efforts across all its distilleries. The aim is to establish the use of native oak as a quality raw material for the wider spirits industry, starting with Scotch. Spearheaded by master whisky maker Gregg Glass, the programme aims to address some of the historical challenges around working with Scottish oak, such as porosity, quality, consistency of the wood, and cost versus true value. Inspired by his time exploring local sawmills with his Grandfather on the Black Isle, Glass wanted to explore how to harness the local environment and the programme is part of Whyte & Mackay’s commitment to sustainability. The responsible sourcing of Scottish Oak allows full traceability and will create tree planting initiatives in rural and urban communities as well as helping support forest stewardship across Scotland. Glass has been leading this project since he joined Whyte and Mackay in 2016, developing partnerships with organisations like local landowning estates, sawmills and coopers. We’re really looking forward to seeing how it develops from there.

The Nightcap: 23 July

You can be in with a chance of winning a pair of these unique trainers

1800 Tequila launches pop-up with streetwear artist Daniel Cordas

Hand painting artist Daniel Cordas, who counts the likes of Billie Eilish, Travis Scott, and Stormzy as fans, is teaming up with 1800 Tequila for a cool little collaboration next month. A visitor experience will launch at 15 Bateman Street in Soho, London on 14 and 15 August, from 11am to 7pm that will offer those that attend the chance to customise their own trainers from a curated menu of designs while enjoying 1800 Tequila cocktails (that’s cocktails by the brand 1800, not literally 1,800 different serves). Visitors can also collar Tequila educator Oliver Pergl for a tequila masterclass, while limited-edition pieces from merging sustainable streetwear brands will be featured. The main event, however, is the three trainers Cordas will customise ahead of the event with colours inspired by Tequila cocktails. He’ll use bright blue for the Tequila and Tonic, pinky-orange for the Paloma and lemon-lime for the Margarita, each infused with real splashes of 1800 Tequila. These one-of-a-kind trainers will be on display at the event and be awarded to three lucky winners. To be in with the chance to win a hand-painted bottle of 1800 Tequila or Tequila-inspired trainers, keep an eye on 1800’s Instagram page and you’ll soon be able to enter an online ballot.

The Nightcap: 23 July

If you want to try Luxardo’s new expressions, there’s no better place

Luxardo marks 200th anniversary with booze and a bash

Did you know that Luxardo is turning 200 this year? Yes, the legendary Italian booze maker is celebrating a remarkable anniversary in 2021 and, while the brand won’t be able to do all the things it had planned thanks to the pandemic, that doesn’t mean it can’t throw a party or two. One such bash is taking place at Hush bar & restaurant in Mayfair from 5 July until 30 September 2021, offering the public a season of Italian alfresco drinks and food. In absence of a big party, Luxardo will host a sun-kissed Mediterranean experience with a small masterclass tasting of new products, the Luxardo Antico Aperitivo and the limited edition, prestige Luxardo Maraschino Perla Dry Riserva Bicentenario. We had a chance to attend this week and can say from experience that it’s well worth a visit. And don’t pass up a chance to try the Maraschino Perla Dry Riserva Bicentenario. It’s sublime.

The Nightcap: 23 July

It’s a fantastic gesture. Who doesn’t like free beer?

70,000 free Pistonhead Beers offered to grassroots music venues 

As we’re sure you’re all aware, the last 18 months have been devastating for the hospitality and music sectors, with hundreds of venues closing and thousands of live events and festivals being cancelled. It has been brutal but Pistonhead is doing its bit to offer a helping hand. The leading craft beer specialists is throwing its support behind grassroots venues and the reopening on July 19th by giving away 70,000 free cans of Pistonhead Kustom Lager via an online application. With a resale value in excess of £300k, the donation should help grassroots venues to help get cash in the tills, punters at the bar and musicians back performing. Venues can apply for an allocation of this stock through The Pistonhead Foundation right here. I think we can all agree that this is exactly the kind of initiative we need right now, so kudos to you Pistonhead.

The Nightcap: 23 July

Anyone for ice cream?

And finally… Kraken Rum launches protest ice cream

Kraken Rum has something to say. It’s screaming for clean seas and spreading its message with punk rock attitude and rum. And ice cream. No, really. Partnering with marine conservation charity PADI AWARE Foundation, the rum brand’s ‘Ice Clean’ campaign aims to remind millions of staycationing Brits of the impact of litter on the UK’s oceans and beaches. Each ice cream sold will see £1 contributed to the PADI AWARE Foundation, with Kraken promising to match each and every donation helping to support and build the success of the foundation’s Marine Debris Programme. Bursting with tropical flavours, the Kraken-infused ice cream is black, so you know it’s punk rock still. But you can also expect to bite into flavoured 3D-printed edible toppings representing the top polluters in the ocean, including plastic bags, single-use cutlery, milk cartons, plastic bottles, plastic ring-pulls and aluminium cans. It’s basically like consuming a polluted ocean. Only it tastes like rummy ice cream. Hopefully. If you want to get a taste, Kraken will tour the UK across locations including Manchester, Leeds, Brighton and Glasgow, before finishing at music festival All Points East in London. To find out more about The Kraken’s ‘Ice Clean’, visit the brand’s social media pages, while if you want to donate to the PADI AWARE Foundation, head here

No Comments on The Nightcap: 23 July

The Nightcap: 16 July

Friday means one thing around these parts: The Nightcap. Settle in for another jam-packed week of boozy news.  Good afternoon, folks. Or, we should say, good afternoon to anybody who…

Friday means one thing around these parts: The Nightcap. Settle in for another jam-packed week of boozy news. 

Good afternoon, folks. Or, we should say, good afternoon to anybody who has managed to avoid melting into a puddle on their desk chair/couch/novelty racing car bed. It’s a scorcher today, isn’t it? It’s probably about time we acknowledged that the UK is in dire need of a mass installation of air conditioning units in its residences. It can get legitimately warm here in the summer now and frankly, none of us are prepared for it. Although, you just know the moment those units were fitted the sun would run off down under again. So probably best to not tempt fate. Instead, let’s pour a cold drink, settle down and enjoy another edition of The Nightcap. 

The blog was lively as ever this week as we announced a new competition that offers you the chance to win a virtual cocktail party with a guest appearance from Phil Tufnell (hell yeah). Millie then explored the phenomenon of infinity bottles, Lucy explained what gin botanicals do, and Jess found out why ice is the vital element in your drink. Henry was then in a very helpful mood, sharing a recipe for our drink of the summer, running the rule on Glenmorangie’s new mixable malt, and letting you know where to holiday in boozy style without having to travel. 

Meanwhile, our Clubhouse room today will see us delve into the murky world of cask investment as we discuss the rapidly expanding market and its potential pitfalls with our guests Blair Bowman, Louise McGuane, and Kristiane Sherry. Do check it out at 3pm today.

Now, it’s on with the Nightcap: 16 July edition!

The Nightcap

London and Kent beer writer Johnny Homer, who sadly passed away at 56

London and Kent beer historian Johnny Homer dies

We received some really sad news this week as we learned that beer writer and radio personality Johnny Homer died suddenly at the age of 56. Homer will be familiar to Londoners as a regular guest on the Robert Elms show on BBC London talking about beer and history. He was born in Clerkenwell and worked as a music journalist contributing to publications including The Face, NME, Melody Maker, Sounds, and Vox, as well as writing seven books on beer and pubs. Later he moved to Whitstable in Kent with his wife and daughter, and became head of media at Shepherd Neame Brewery in Faversham. Chief executive Jonathan Neame commented: “Johnny was a most valued member of our team. He was a fantastic ambassador for the company, for our beers and pubs, and played a significant role in promoting Shepherd Neame. He will be greatly missed. His loss is a great shock to us all, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this time.” We were very fortunate enough to have been shown around the brewery by Johnny himself and marveled at his knowledge of beer and Shepherd Neame’s rich history. He also seemed like a thoroughly nice chap as the tributes on Twitter attest. 

The Nightcap

Nc’nean continues to impress with its approach to sustainability.

Nc’nean is first UK whisky distillery to reach net-zero Co2 emissions

Nc’nean has always placed environmental responsibility at the core of its business, but this week the business announced it ramped things up a notch by becoming the first UK whisky distillery to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in its production. Beating the official Scotch whisky industry target by a staggering 20 years, distillery founder Annabel Thomas says the move “feels like our greatest achievement so far”. The Highland distillery is 100% powered by renewable energy, and is one of the few Scotch whisky distilleries that uses only certified organic Scottish barley. A biomass boiler is powered by wood chips that heats the stills, and residual carbon emissions are offset through a sustainable tree-planting program. In an industry first, all of Nc’nean’s whisky bottles are made of recycled glass, which reduces the typical carbon footprint of a whisky bottle by 40%. The cooling water is continuously recycled via a natural pond, meaning Nc’nean uses 80% less water than a traditional distillery, and reduces energy use to cool it down. It’s an impressive operation and a great example to others on how to make meaningful change.

The Nightcap

The new look MacNair’s, including Exploration Rum

GlenAllachie Distillery unveils first rum

The GlenAllachie Distillers Company is no longer just home to whisky thanks to its latest innovation. For the first time, the brand has branched into rum with a range of small-batch expressions called Exploration Rum. The three bottlings will be released under The GlenAllachie’s MacNair’s brand, which has been repositioned as a Boutique House of Spirits, complete with a new-look design for its Lum Reek whisky brand. The first rums in the series are a 7 Year Old Peated, a 7 Year Old, and a 15 Year Old made with liquids sourced from Panama. Each expression was initially matured in American oak in Panama before being transported to the GlenAllachie Distillery in Speyside, and is presented at 46% ABV. The peated rum underwent secondary maturation in casks that previously held heavily peated whisky distilled at GlenAllachie, while the 7 Year Old and 15 Year Old were filled into ex-red wine, virgin oak, and ex-bourbon casks for more than two years. The process was overseen by GlenAllachie master blender Billy Walker, who says he is fulfilling a “long-held desire to explore and apply my expertise to a new spirit category”, having already made a sizeable impact in Scotch whisky. He explains that rum was a natural choice for him as, like whisky, “it allows for greater scope of innovation and experimentation, particularly in regard to maturation” and that this trio of rums will “explore the influence of wood, but also the impact of maturation in a cooler climate.” We look forward to seeing the results, which you’ll be able to taste for yourself very soon as Exploration Rum is on its way to MoM Towers as we speak…

The Nightcap

La Bandera, the new bar’s signature cocktail

Award-winning Hacha bar announces second site

Why have one excellent agave-focused bar when you can have two? This is the question industry veterans Deano Moncrieffe and Emma Murphy presumably asked themselves recently, as the duo have excitedly announced they are opening a second Hacha location in Brixton’s Market Row. The original location in Dalston opened in 2019 and now Moncrieffe and Murphy are bringing their unique brand of agave-based drinks and authentic Mexican food to South London. Hacha has garnered acclaim for its striking signature serve, the Mirror Margarita, and its comprehensive list of Tequilas, mezcals, and other distillates. Set to launch next month, the new venue sprawls over two floors, with a bottle shop on the ground floor, and a 50-cover bar and an open kitchen upstairs – the latter will be run by Maiz Azul, the residency behind the food at Hacha Dalston. Moncrieffe has also developed a new drink that will act as the bar’s signature: La Bandera, a twist on the classic Mexican three-shot drink. The serve features three mini cocktails, each with a different agave spirit base, in the colours of the Mexican flag. The duo also plan on contributing beyond spirits and cocktails, closing Hacha Brixton once a week to host a ‘community day’ in partnership with Equal Measures. “Community Day is all about providing opportunities for people who want to grow, learn, share and help others,” said Moncrieffe. “We will run seminars, educational courses, workshops, cooking lessons, spirits masterclasses, mentorship sessions, networking events as well as providing a venue for other Black businesses to showcase their businesses.”

The Nightcap

The distillery edges ever closer after the latest round of investment

Uist Distilling Co gains £2m for low-carbon distillery

It just wouldn’t be The Nightcap without news on an upcoming distillery project, and we’ve received good word this week from the Uist Distilling Co regarding its planned low-carbon distillery. The proposed £12.5 million site in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides has received a £1.99m funding boost from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the Scottish government’s economic and community development agency. The Uist Distilling Company also secured more than £80,000 (US$110,000) in funding from the UK government’s Green Distilleries scheme. The reason for all this support is that the distillery, which will be located on the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland, is that it promises to pioneer innovative low-carbon technology across its design, build, and distillation process. The company has invested £1.25m in building a green energy centre, including a high-temperature heat pump system, which will provide hot water to the distillation process. The distillery, which is the brainchild of South Uist businessman Angus A Macmillan and his son, Angus E Macmillan, plans to produce spirits with a ‘Hebridean flavour’ including single malt whisky, rum, and gin. Production is expected to start in early 2022. “The new distillery aims to be a champion of all things Hebridean and Scottish and will provide a huge boost to tourism in the area,” says Angus A Macmillan. “We want to produce whisky, rum, and gin that will put Benbecula and the Hebrides firmly on the whisky tourist trail while introducing the products we make to a national and international clientele.”

The Nightcap

Cocktails and theatre are coming together in London soon!

Coming soon: an immersive cocktail experience from Mr Tipsy

There’s an immersive cocktail experience coming to London in August. We have visions of being lowered into a giant Negroni or diving into an Olympic swimming pool-sized Martini, but the truth is slightly more prosaic. Instead, ‘Mr. Tipsy’s Down the Hatch!’ will be a combination of a bar and theatre taking place at One America Square in the City of London. So for example, you’ll sip Margaritas on a Mexican beach. It’s the creation of Nick A. Olivero, the man behind Roaring ‘20s experience ‘The Speakeasy”. He explains: “‘Mr. Tipsy’s sprung from my passion of fine spirits and meaningful social interactions. It blends theatre with multiple themed bars and is crafted specifically for post-lockdown groups looking to reconnect with friends in a fun, safe environment. I think it is going to put a lot of smiles on people’s faces and we can’t wait for the spectacle to begin!” The experience costs £39.50 including drinks and lasts approximately 70 minutes (tickets available here). There’s a soft launch on 19 August with the full opening on 9 September. So what are you waiting for? It’s theatre but with cocktails!

The Nightcap

Cheers to your success, Roger!

Dad sells casks of whisky for incredible £225,000

Retirement is coming early for one savvy/lucky 59-year-old bank manager, who has turned an astonishing profit on two casks of whisky. Roger Parfitt, who hails from Coventry, paid £4,700 for the casks 30 years ago and revealed this week that he’s sold them for a remarkable £225,000. In 1994, Parfitt, 59, spent £3,200 on a cask of single malt Macallan and £1,500 on a cask of Tobermory, essentially in the vague hope they might be worth a few quid someday. Parfitt does not consider himself an expert in whisky. However, his gamble worked and he plans to use the profit to pay off his mortgage and retire three years earlier than planned. According to the Daily Record, since whisky casks are categorised as a ‘wasting asset’ by HMRC, the money he has made is also tax-free. “I remember thinking, if it doesn’t appreciate in value, the worst that could happen is that you would have to get it out of the warehouse, bottle it and drink it,” Parfitt says. “It always had that fallback for me – you could drown your sorrows if it didn’t work out financially.” He now plans to buy a cask each for his children, hoping for a similar result. But the market is very different nowadays, as we’ll discuss on Clubhouse later…

The Nightcap

All this will soon be heading China’s way

And finally… Entire whisky distillery ships out to China

We’ve spoken plenty about China making moves in the whisky world. One thing we weren’t exactly expecting to write about, however, was an entire distillery being shipped out from Scotland. Today, more than 35 tonnes of equipment, including stills, flooring, control valves, and pipework, is leaving Buckie in Moray for the port of Tianjin. The shipment is part of a £3 million “design and build” deal signed between Forfar firm Valentine International and China’s Mengtai Group in 2019. The equipment will be assembled at a facility being built in Ordos in Inner Mongolia, becoming its first whisky distillery when it opens, which is expected to be at the end of this year. All of the distillery equipment was built by Forsyths in Rothes, and the firm will send a team of five engineers to supervise assembly, with a team in Hong Kong to provide after-sales back-up and services. Valentine International chairman and managing director David Valentine said the project was the brainchild of Mengtai chairman Ao Fengting, who planned to create a “globally award-winning whisky”. In a separate development, Valentine International also revealed that it has signed a “strategic agreement” with Mengtai to supply bulk whiskies for China. The whisky distiller has not been named, but Valentine did say that it is a “long-established” firm.

No Comments on The Nightcap: 16 July

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