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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: vodka

Five expert rules for BBQ drinking

The mercury is rising across the northern hemisphere, which means one thing: donning a novelty apron and firing up the barbie. While beer is a valid and worthy barbecue hero,…

The mercury is rising across the northern hemisphere, which means one thing: donning a novelty apron and firing up the barbie. While beer is a valid and worthy barbecue hero, we reckon you can go one better this year – just follow our drinks pairing rules, as told by the experts…

Whether it’s the Australia ‘barbie’, or the South Africa ‘braai’, barbecue cooking is ubiquitous. However, the ways in which different cultures approach the grill – in terms of meat types, sauces, marinades, rubs, and other flavourings – varies wildly from one country to another. Variables like smoke, equipment, fuel, cooking temperature and cooking time (as anyone who has eaten an over-charred, bitter burger patty will know all too well) also have a massive influence on the final flavour of the food. 

“Humans have been cooking over live fire all around the world for hundreds of years, so you can imagine there are thousands of techniques alone, without even getting into sauces, marinades and so on,” explains Helen Graves, editor of Pit Magazine. “In recent years, we have become more aware of the ‘low and slow’ style of cooking associated with American barbecue, but barbecue cooking is so much more than that. It may take the form of skewers such as kushiyaki in Japan, it may be buried in a pit in the ground as with Mexican barbacoa or it might be cooked in a tandoor in India.”

Pit magazine, well worth a read

With so much flavour potential, deviating from the classic ‘beer and a burger’ combination might seem daunting. Fret not. Whether you’re an amateur ‘cue-er or a barbecue legend, we’ve cobbled together five drinks-pairing rules, as recommended by those in the know… 

  1. Choose light – but not delicate – cocktails

“Typically speaking, you want flavours that have a like-for-like quality with the barbeque food,” says Joe McCanta, global head of education & mixology at Bacardi. “I try to avoid anything too acidic and look to pair barbeque food with cocktails such as the Grey Goose Le Grand Fizz,” he says – 35ml Grey Goose vodka, 15ml fresh lime juice, 25ml St Germain, 60ml cold soda water built over ice in a wine glass and garnished with two lime wedges. 

Drinks with bitter, herbaceous notes also work well, says Graves. “This isn’t the time to bring out a drink on the more delicate end of the spectrum,” she explains. “You want something big, gutsy and honestly, quite alcoholic. The spirit needs to come forward to stand up to the ‘cue.” 

Try a  vermouth-spiked take on the G&T – the Rose Spritz combines 50ml Bombay Sapphire, 100ml elderflower tonic, 25ml Martini Rosato vermouth and two orange wedges in a balloon glass over ice. “If you can’t find elderflower tonic, you can opt for a regular tonic with a splash of honey,” says McCanta. “For a less zesty, sweeter serve, try raspberries in place of the orange wedges to garnish.”

It goes without saying that long, refreshing whisky-based serves are a barbecue dream. “Elderflower cordial is such as a simple ingredient that works well with whisky cocktails, such as a whisky highball with soda – so refreshing for summer,” says Stewart Buchanan, global brand ambassador for Glenglassaugh, BenRiach and The GlenDronach distilleries. 

Drop your preconceptions about what you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing with a spirit. “We always encourage people to step outside of ‘the classics’” says Quinzil de Plessis, master of wood and liquid innovation at Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey. “BBQ should be an experience, not just a process, so look for a mix of versatile, new and different flavours to add to your experience.”

Le Grand Fizz from Grey Goose

  1. Alternatively, opt for bold – or spiced – serves

Bright and bold flavours stand up and complement the smoky char of a BBQ, says James Chase, director at Chase Distillery. This could be a flavoured gin, for example – Chase recommends his Pink Grapefruit and Pomelo Gin “mixed with Mediterranean tonic and a fleshy slice of grapefruit to garnish”.

Alternatively, you could try a spiced rum. As part of a partnership with London restaurant Berber and Q, Bacardi has explored different ways of using Bacardi Spiced as a key ingredient for cocktails and meat marinades. Something like a Bacardi Spiced & Ginger Ale – using a ratio of 50ml rum with 100ml ginger ale – is a match made in heaven.

Mezcal, too, shines in a barbecue setting. “We have a preference for long, refreshing drinks with a bit of a punch,” says David Shepherd, founder of Corte Vetusto, “so we’d be sipping on a great Mezcal Margarita, a Mezcal Paloma or a Mezcal Collins, using citrus and bubbly effervescence to complement the smoky agave notes of mezcal.”

Whatever you do, just don’t confuse ‘bold’ with ‘rich’ when it comes to drink pairings.Something like a Bloody Mary may be a little too heavy,” says Chase. “A BBQ is all about the food, and the drink needs to complement and not be another meal in itself.” 

  1. Stock up on ice

Temperature is everything in the grill – and the same goes for your glass. “Avoiding anything that is served straight up, as it will become warm in the hot sun,” says Metinee Kongsrivilai, brand ambassador for Bacardi UK. You can never have enough ice, so make sure you’ve got plenty in the freezer. Which leads me nicely to our next tip…

Try making your Margaritas in advance so you can concentrate on the grill

  1. Get your prep work in

A little bit of preparation can go a long way, says Shepherd. “Pre-batching your mezcal Margarita and keeping it chilled in the fridge means you can effortlessly get your guests into the vibe on arrival,” he says. “Marinade your meat overnight to let all of those flavours really sink in.”

Always use the best quality ingredients available to you, suggests Liz Baker, marketing manager at Wilkin & Sons Ltd (creator of the Tiptree spirits range) – and don’t forget the smaller details. “Why not invest in some lovely glasses and take time to think about garnishes,” she says, “this could be a slice of lemon or lime, a sprig of mint or a fresh strawberry or plump raspberry.”

Make sure your guests have a drink in hand on arrival because you might be busy on the grill, and have no time for small talk, adds Chase. “Prop up a table and lay a selection of spirits out, with some random bottles that have been in your drinks cupboard for too long, with pre-cut garnished and cups – preferably red cups!”

Helen Graves’s awe-inspiring goat shawarma

  1. Keep the ‘cue simple

This is meant to be fun. You’re not going to enjoy yourself if you’re trying to cook eight different things at once to perfection, says Paul Human, founder and head chef at We Serve Humans and The Collab in Walthamstow. “You’ll also fail, especially once you’ve had a few beers in the sun,” he says. “Do one thing and do it really well. Try and keep to a theme – do a shoulder of lamb and some flatbreads, tzatziki, a little Greek salad. Summery, simple, all stuff you can prep a day ahead. Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds on it, pass around a glass of retsina or iced rosé and bathe in the glory.” 

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Five minutes with. . .  Mark Harvey from Chapel Down 

English wine is on a bit of a roll at the moment and the country’s largest producer, Chapel Down, is based right here in Kent. But that’s not all, it…

English wine is on a bit of a roll at the moment and the country’s largest producer, Chapel Down, is based right here in Kent. But that’s not all, it also makes gin, vodka, beer and cider alongside it’s award-winning wines. We thought it was time to learn a bit more. . . 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, those lines seem particularly apt for English wine. On one hand there’s been booming sales, a run of great harvests and increasing brand recognition by consumers; on the other there’s the uncertainties caused by Brexit and Covid plus a lack of profitability among some producers. One company, however, that looks set to thrive even in today’s uncertain times is Chapel Down. It produces everything from popular still wines to the superb single vineyard Kit’s Coty range which tops out at around £100 a bottle for the prestige Couer de Cuvee. In addition, there is beer, gin, vodka and cider. It’s a one stop shop for all your English drinks needs. Recently we ran a sale on the site of Chapel Down products and were stunned by the response so we thought we’d find out a bit more from the company from managing director Mark Harvey who joined the firm in 2015. 

MoM: How are you finding lockdown at Chapel Down?

MH: It’s a really mixed bag. Our restaurants, shops and tours are all shut. The minute we got the advice, we acted pretty swiftly on that, which felt like the right thing to do. All of the on-trade which is heavy on the beer but lighter on the wine is switched off. Then the retail side, we’re in Majestic, Waitrose, Sainsburys, all that lot, they seem to be doing really well. I mean all the signs are pretty positive. And then online it’s just gone bonkers. I mean, literally, 10-15 times up what it would normally be! 

Mark Harvey, MD of Chapel Down

MoM: How are things in the vineyards?

MH: The vineyards just don’t stop obviously and we’re kind of going through frost season [we spoke to Harvey at the end of April] at the moment, so kind of nervously looking at the ground each morning but so far, we got a little bit of frost last week on one parcel of land, one block of land, but nothing major. But we’re not out of the woods yet so we’ve probably got another two weeks of just looking and checking. But the forecast is good, so that should be all right. Last year’s harvest was so big, we are still processing 2019 wines. This week we are doing all of the Bacchus and then we need to get onto blending the sparkling wines because we will start bottling in, hopefully June if the French guys can come over and do it, or if not it might be a little bit later. But yeah, the vineyards and the winery are dead busy. 

MoM: Are you worried about potential shortage of pickers because of Covid 19 and Brexit? 

MH: That’s an ongoing thing. Lots of this stuff is just really unknown. I saw that there was a plane-load of Romanians coming in a couple of weeks back for the fruit that needs picking now, so whether that will happen with us, I don’t know. We obviously work with external companies, who bring these guys and girls in, so they obviously paint a pretty positive picture, because, why wouldn’t they? If we’re in a bit of a corner come August time, it will be around that time, we will probably look to see if we can get local pickers. 

A team of pickers in the vineyard

MoM: And what’s your background before you joined Chapel Down?

MH: I used to work at LVMH so I sold champagne and spirits. I was in the UK for probably half of that and then I was general manager in Ireland. My last job was business director for the whiskies in the US. 

MoM: You joined Chapel Down in 2015, is that right?

MH: It will be five years in September that I’ve been here. It’s gone really quick actually! I’m kind of the glory boy, it [English wine] was already good when I started but it’s going really well now. This next period will be interesting with corona and on-trade shutting down and all of that, as it will for lots of businesses. But long term you step back from it and the future is pretty rosy.

MoM: Do you think at some point there’s going to be a bit of consolidation in the British wine industry? 

MH: Without doubt, yeah. I think this current crisis might possibly accelerate that. And I think the large harvests of 2018 and ‘19 might make things difficult for some as well. Because up until now, the dynamic has been massive demand and not sufficient supply so lots of people have been planting like crazy and then suddenly we’ve had two whopping harvest in ‘18 and ‘19 and I think it’s going to get tougher. And then it’s brands ultimately that win out. There’s lots of lovely boutique wineries but in terms of brands, with a guy wandering down the Waitrose aisle, how many English wine brands does he know? Not many. And even the top ones, like Chapel Down and Nyetimber, the awareness isn’t that high. I think it’s going to be really interesting and yeah, I think a consolidation in the next few years is inevitable. 

MoM: And in the time that you’ve been in the wine business, English wine has changed massively. What are the factors that have seen it become the industry that it is today?

MH: Oh man, it’s changed out of all recognition. I mean, fundamentally, the wines are really good now. I think site selection at the starting point is really important and that’s got better. The knowledge and the expertise of the guys in the vineyards planting the vines and cultivating and all of that, the establishment of the vineyards has got much better. The guys in the winery have got much better. And it’s a combination of talent coming in so there’s some New World and Champagne guys have come over. And then, in our example, it’s two home-grown talents in Richard Lewis and Josh Donaghay-Spire, our winemaker. They’re graduates of Plumpton, the wine school in Sussex. So the expertise has got a lot better and the resulting wines are better. 

Beyond the production-side, you’ve got more professionalism coming in. So, dare I say it, someone like me coming in from LVMH. You’ve got people from big wine organisations coming in, we recruited a guy from Treasury Wine Estates. I’m a massive believer in brands and I think the fact that the leading players are doing the right thing by the brands. The pricing is right, the bottle looks decent on-shelf, it’s sold in the right channel. English wine as a brand is really well-established. The only fear now is that as more wine comes on-stream, that people do the wrong thing with price and… we’ll just have to see how it goes. 

Head winemaker and Plumpton graduate Josh Donaghay-Spire

MoM: What do you think is going to be the next thing that takes off in English wine?

MH: From a varietal point of view, there will be bits and pieces and innovation round the side and we have had a grower that’s planted some Albariño, that was a bit of fun. Ben Wallgate at Tillingham does some interesting stuff and so there will always be bits and pieces around the outside. I think it’s great that you get that diversity. But actually the two main messages whenever I talk about English wine are ‘the traditional method’ and the link back into Champagne. And then Bacchus on the still side. And those, I think, are the two flags that will keep going for a long time. 

MoM: Do you think still Chardonnay will go mainstream or is it always going to be a premium product?

MH: That’s a good question. I think for us it will always be a premium product actually. Just given the scale of it, the quality of it and we shift it, we’re always after more! So unless somebody comes in and plants a lot more… I mean you never know what’s going to happen but I think Bacchus will continue to be at the entry-point still wine scale and then Chardonnay will tend to be at that more premium price point. Our single vineyard chardonnay is 30 quid, which is obviously premium and we just can’t make enough of it. 

MoM: You’re part of the Wine Garden of England group with other Kent winemakers. Do you think Kentish wine has its own identity? 

MH: Yeah, it’s a really interesting one. I like the Wine Garden of England because I think at core there’s a sort of truth to it which is ‘we all believe that Kent is the best place for growing grapes for traditional method wine – lots of clay, lots of chalk and the right climate. So there’s something to it, we’ve all planted in Kent for a reason, so it’s not made up. It makes sense to hold hands on tourism and attracting people to Kent but personally, I don’t think there’s much merit in complicating it beyond that. I think the smart thing to do is just forge ahead as brands. Kent is part of the makeup of what we do, it’s a bit complicated because we also source grapes from Essex and Sussex. I just think that all of us should just go hell-for-leather on our own brands and then the details of ‘Kent’ and ‘England’ and ‘Britain’, it’s just secondary messaging. I think the most interesting things for consumers are individual brands and stories and provenance and that’s what’s of interest. Whether the fact you have an overriding Kent logo or England logo on the bottle, I just don’t think they care. 

Kit’s Coty, Chapel Down’s most prestigious vineyard

MoM: The other thing I wanted to ask you about was the sparkling Bacchus because that’s quite innovative isn’t it?

MH: It is and controversial in a way as well as it’s carbonated. Bacchus, because it’s fresh and it’s meant to be drunk young, you don’t want the brioche-y notes you get from secondary fermentation, so it just works. And it’s cheaper to make. And the price point is lower. And it’s a bit of fun. And we’ve been really happy with it and we partnered with Waitrose from the start, who have gone gangbusters with it, it’s now in Majestic [it’s done very well through Master of Malt too]. It was flying in the on-trade and it’s irked a bit because it was about to skyrocket in a few national chains, but such is life. But yeah, it’s a cracking product. 

MoM: How did making gin come about?

We started making spirits a couple of years back. We make a grappa from the Chardonnay grape skins that are left at the end of harvest and that’s the base of the vodka. And that’s then blended with English wheat spirit and it’s as simple as that. We’ve got two gins. One is a Bacchus base and the other one is a Pinot Noir base. And then the botanicals mirror the flavour profile of that particular grape varietal. 

MoM: How is the beer side of the business developing?

MH: We opened up a brewery in Ashford last May and that’s going well. The difference between wine and beer is that wine is really heavily weighted on off-trade while beer is weighted on-trade, so beer is tough right now. But then the online sales of everything has gone bananas and we have got some retail. 

MoM: And finally, you do a cider as well don’t you?

MH: Yeah, I’ve just been drinking it actually! Every week, it’s a bit cringey, but I do this cocktail online for Instagram and I’ve just made a ‘Taste of Kent’ which is the Chardonnay vodka blended with the Curious Apple. It’s pretty punchy: 60ml of vodka, 40ml of the cider, poured over ice, two cracks, two twists of black pepper, stir it round and that’s it. But it’s very punchy.

The Chapel Down range is available from Master of Malt.

 

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Cocktail masterclass with Moët Hennessy

With the promise of warmer weekends ahead, now’s the time to pin down a selection of light, refreshing and unfussy al-fresco drinks. Here, American Bar at The Savoy’s bartender Jake…

With the promise of warmer weekends ahead, now’s the time to pin down a selection of light, refreshing and unfussy al-fresco drinks. Here, American Bar at The Savoy’s bartender Jake O’Brien Murphy and Belvedere vodka brand ambassador Mark Tracey share four simple and delicious Scotch whisky, Cognac and vodka-based cocktails…

Stock up on choc ices and fire up the BBQ – summer might look a little different this year, but it’s so close, we can almost taste it. Technically, we’ve already tasted it, having attended a virtual cocktail masterclass hosted by Moët Hennessy (the French company behind Ardbeg, Glenmorangie, Hennessy and Belvedere). 

Guided by Jake O’Brien Murphy, bartender at American Bar at The Savoy, and Mark Tracey, Belvedere brand ambassador, we re-created four quintessential summer serves designed to make the most out of everyday ingredients you might find in your kitchen. And now we’re sharing the recipes with you, because we’re nice like that. Before you slap that sunscreen on, though, a few words of advice. 

The American Bar at the Savoy

First of all, ready your workspace. Or to paraphrase nineties rapper Ice Cube, prep yourself before your wreck yourself. It only takes a few minutes to make syrups, lay out garnishes and squeeze lemons and limes, and it’ll make assembling your cocktail far easier. “I would always encourage using fresh produce, squeezed as close to making the drink as you can,” says Tracey.

Should your chosen cocktail require shaking – as several below do – don’t skimp on the ice. Fill the shaker as full as you possibly can. Aim to shake for between eight and 10 seconds, or until condensation forms on the outside of the shaker. “You just want to tie everything together and add a load of tiny little micro-bubbles into [the drink],” says O’Brien Murphy. “That’s the idea of shaking: We’re trying to get it cold, dilute it, and alter the texture.”

The same goes for your glassware, too. “If you pour the drink over one cube of ice, that cube of ice will lose its thermal integrity quicker than a big glass full of ice,” O’Brien Murphy continues. It might help to think of ice as an ingredient that makes your drink more consistent from start to finish. “The less ice, the more dilution,” says Tracey, “which means the drink is going to change, it’ll heat up and it’s not going to be as palatable.” 

Finally, use a fine strainer if you have one. Not only will it catch citrus remnants and pulp from other fruits (if you’re shaking with berries, for example) but it’ll also capture smaller shards of ice, potentially affecting the dilution, and nobody wants that. 

Well, we’ve done our bit. You’re free to get cracking on the cocktails below – but if you fancy watching the professionals do it first, Tracey and O’Brien Murphy are hosting this very masterclass live on Moët Hennessy’s Clos19 Instagram account this Wednesday, 20 May at 5pm.

Belvedere Almond Milk Punch

Tell me more… A light and silky take on the traditional milk punch.

Ingredients: 40ml Belvedere, 25ml fresh lemon juice, 15ml honey water*, 60ml almond milk, mint to garnish

Method: Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into ice filled highball glass. Garnish with sprigs of mint.

*Honey water: combine 3 parts honey and 1 part boiling water (3:1)

Ardbeg Shortie’s Dirty Daiquiri

Tell me more… A smoky twist on popular summertime classic, the Daiquiri.

Ingredients: 50ml Ardbeg Ten Year Old, 20ml apple juice, 20ml fresh lime juice, 10ml vanilla syrup*

Method: Shake all ingredients over ice before straining into a chilled coupe.

*Vanilla Syrup: combine 1 part caster sugar and 1 part boiling water (1:1). Stir until clear and then simply add a dash of vanilla essence or vanilla paste.  

Glenmorangie Ginger & Honey Highball

Tell me more… Fresh and light, combining the fruity notes of Glenmorangie with sweet citrus.

Ingredients: 50ml Glenmorangie Original, 15ml fresh lemon juice, 15ml honey water*, sparkling water to top, lemon wedge, slices of raw ginger

Method: Mix all ingredients together (excluding the sparkling water) and strain into an ice-filled Highball glass. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon wedge and thin ginger slices.

*Honey water: combine 3 parts honey and 1 part water (3:1)

Hennessy & Ginger

Tell me more… A perfectly-balanced sweet and spicy highball.

Ingredients: 50ml Hennessy VS, ginger ale, fresh lime to garnish

Method: Pour Hennessy VS into a tall glass. Add ice cubes, top with ginger ale and stir with a bar spoon. Garnish with fresh lime.

 

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Chapel Down flash sale!

Just landed at Master of Malt, a shedload (this is an actual recognised measurement) of wine from England’s largest producer, Chapel Down. But that’s not all, we’ve got some of…

Just landed at Master of Malt, a shedload (this is an actual recognised measurement) of wine from England’s largest producer, Chapel Down. But that’s not all, we’ve got some of its gin and vodka in too, and we’re selling it all at dramatically low prices until this Friday.

English wine is on a roll at the moment. In the last 20 years, it has gone from something of a joke made by retired colonels to a multi-million pound industry stocked in retailers, pubs and restaurants across the country. Nobody will bat an eyelid if you order English wine now. English wines, especially the sparkling ones, are now exported all over the world. Even Champagne houses are getting in on the act; Taittinger planted a vineyard in Kent in 2017. At the forefront of this revolution is Chapel Down, the country’s biggest and best-known producer, with strong branding, wide distribution and most of all consistently excellent wines from everyday sippers to sparkling wines to rival the best of Champagne. But it doesn’t stop there: the company also produces some great spirits. And we’ve just landed a whole load and we’re offering them to you at ridiculous prices. But be quick – these deals end at 11am this Friday!

Bacchus 2018

Bacchus, a German cross, has become England’s signature grape thriving in this marginal climate and producing crisp wines laden with the scene of cut grass, gooseberries and elderflowers. Tastes like a summer’s day in Kent. 

Flint Dry 2018

Another Bacchus, this is made in a leaner, drier style, it’s all flint (hence the name) and citrus fruit with plenty of herbal Bacchus character. This will appeal to lovers of Sauvignon Blanc.

Sparkling Bacchus 2019

This is a really clever wine. The fizz comes not from bottle fermentation but, to preserve all those vibrant Bacchus flavours, it’s simply carbonated. The result is zingy, refreshing and enormous fun. Excellent chilled on its own or in cocktails like a French (or should that be English) 75

Brut NV

A stone cold classic and one of England’s best selling sparkling wines, a blend of Champagne varieties and bottled-fermented, it majors on green apple and fresh lemon with subtle bready yeasty notes. Sheer class in a glass. 

Brut Rose NV

This gets its pretty colour from a little skin contact with red grapes which also impart a subtle cherry and strawberry flavour. Like the Brut it’s bottle-fermented so expect delicate bubbles with some toasted brioche notes on the finish. 

Chapel Down Chardonnay Vodka

English winery Chapel Down doesn’t simply make wine and then call it done. The team uses the leftovers from vinification to make spirits. Ths vodka is made using the skins of leftover Chardonnay grapes so it’s not only delicious but also ecological.

Bacchus Gin

A gin made with a wheat spirit based combined with a grappa-esque concoction made from leftover Bacchus skins (made by the English Whisky Company) before going to Thames Distillers to be combined with juniper, orange peel, lemon, lavender, elderflower, orris, angelica and coriander.

Pinot Noir Gin

Made in a similar way to the above but with leftovers from Pinot Noir. To accentuate the red fruits, the botanical mix is different including dried red berries, rose buds, coriander, angelica, grains of paradise, citrus, rosehip and, of course, plenty of juniper. It is a gin, after all. 

 

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What does ‘single estate’ actually mean?

What defines a spirit as ‘single estate’? Since there’s no single, unifying designation, we asked folks from six brands to share what the term means to them. Here, they touch…

What defines a spirit as ‘single estate’? Since there’s no single, unifying designation, we asked folks from six brands to share what the term means to them. Here, they touch on the challenges of this process and reveal why they feel it’s worth the toil…

Field-to-bottle. Single estate. Terroir. We hear these words plenty in the world of drinks. However you choose to phrase it, the desire to grow, harvest, mash, ferment, distil, dilute and even bottle a spirit in your own distillery using only the fruits of your own labour has never been greater, and as drinkers who value high-quality ingredients and authentic production methods, we are lapping it up.

As yet, there’s no official definition for what ‘single estate’ actually means. Does the term merely refer to the raw base ingredient, or does it encompass the entire production process? Does it only count if the distiller owns the estate? And what about botanicals? Clearly, there’s much to discuss about the intricacies of the term, so we asked single estate spirits producers to shed some light on the topic. Here’s what they said…

Transporting freshly-cut sugarcane in Haiti

Clairin Rum, Haiti

There are more than 530 distillers in the Carribean country of Haiti, and they pride themselves on using un-hybridised sugar cane, man-made chemical-free farming, spontaneous fermentation and unfiltered distillation to create what has been hailed as ‘the mezcal of the rum world’. Clairin Rum bottles these unique liquids. We spoke to Daniele Bondi, export manager at La Maison & Velier:

Master of Malt: How would you define a ‘single estate’ rum?

Bondi: In recent years, a few rum distilleries have started to use the term ‘single estate’. There aren’t any official definitions but it refers to raw material grown by one estate. Molasses rums can be single estate if the producers own sugar factories and therefore use their own molasses in their production process. Agricole rhums can also use the term – the juice has to be fresh and come from nearby plantations. If the distillery doesn’t own the plantation, they shouldn’t really be labelled ‘single estate’. The term ‘field to bottle’ applies to rums that use ancestral methods of production. Our Haitian rum, Clairin, falls into this category as each producer is using local ingredients and traditional methods of production – no additives at all – before bottling. The rums really capture the spirit of Haiti.

MoM: Could you talk about the variables within fermenting and distilling that can be used to highlight terroir?

DB: In my opinion, the only way to highlight terroir is to have the most natural production process possible. You should only talk about terroir if the agriculture is clean or organic, the fermentation is wild or spontaneous with wild yeasts, and the final product doesn’t use any industrial processes – a spirit that uses chemicals in its agriculture or industrial yeasts for fermentation should not use the term. Clairin rums are a true representation of their terroir. The rums are made using local, organic sugar cane which is harvested by hand and transported from the fields to the distillery by animals. The rums are created in small shacks using a natural fermentation process and bottled in Haiti. They are a real expression of each distillery and you can taste the terroir of each village and the character of the producer in the glass.

The vodka still at Arbikie

Arbikie Highland Estate, Scotland

Arbikie’s distillery is the epitome of a single-site, field-to-bottle operation. The ingredients for their gins, whiskies, vodkas and more are planted, sown, grown and harvested locally, and mountain-filtered water drawn directly from their underground lagoon. We spoke with master distiller Kirsty Black and distillery director and co-founder John Stirling:

MoM: How would you define a ‘single estate’ spirit? And how significant is the influence of the raw ingredient on the final liquid?

John Stirling: ‘Single estate’ should, as far as possible, mean that the main ingredients for the spirit are grown on-site. There may be minor botanical ingredients that cannot be grown due to climate, but all major ones should be grown on the estate. It’s really all down to the raw ingredient – even large scale neutral spirit producers offer spirit produced from a range of raw materials as they each add their own character and nuances.

MoM: Could you talk us through any unique challenges associated with the distillation process?

Kirsty Black: We practice regenerative farming and look upon ourselves as guardians of the soil. Working with nature and the soil, our challenge is to grow crops that produce our base spirits in the most sustainable way. Replanting juniper that has been virtually wiped off the Scottish landscape, introducing bees and wild bird seeded areas, as well as older heritage barley varieties, are all unique challenges.

Some of Hine’s vineyards in Grande Champagne

Thomas Hine & Co, France

The house of Hine owns an 115-hectare estate in the village of Bonneuil, located in the heart of the Grande Champagne – the most prestigious of Cognac’s six crus – from which they produce a single estate and single harvest cuvée: Domaines Hine Bonneuil. We spoke to Hine’s marketing director, Marie-Emmanuelle Febvret:

MoM: What do you think is fuelling interest in single estate spirits?

Marie-Emmanuelle Febvret: In our global world, going local and purchasing products that have a strong sense of place feels reassuring – more and more consumers want to know what’s in their drink and where it’s come from. When you enjoy a glass of Hine Bonneuil 2008, for example, you know that you can pinpoint the exact village (and even plot!) where the Cognac comes from. So far we’ve released 2005, 2006, 2008 with a new vintage due to be released soon – all aged for nine years in French oak. This Bonneuil cuvée is, in our opinion, the quintessence of what a single estate spirit should be: one harvest, one plot, your own vineyard. A genuine farm to glass approach, unblended and untouched.

MoM: To retain the nuances of the raw ingredient, are there any special techniques or extra steps you have to use?

MEF: At Hine, our philosophy is to preserve the aromas of the grape. We constantly say that a great Cognac is above all a great white wine, from a great terroir. In order to keep the flavours through oak ageing – sometimes more than 60 years! – we choose to limit the influence of wood on the liquid by carefully selecting our oak using strict criteria: fine-grained, low to medium toast. It enables us to amplify the initial aromas coming from our terroir and distillation. This truly defines the Hine house style: fruit-driven and delicate.

Juniper berries at Ramsbury

Juniper berries at Ramsbury in Wiltshire

Ramsbury Brewing and Distilling Company, England

Set within 19,000 acres of North East Wiltshire, West Berkshire and North Hampshire, Ramsbury Estate distillery creates field-to-bottle vodka and gin using its very own home-grown Horatio wheat and local chalk-filtered water. We spoke to Ramsbury’s head of global sales, Mats Olsson: 

MoM: How far does your ‘field to bottle’ ethos extend?

Mats Olsson: We sow, grow and distil the primary ingredients ourselves, monitoring each step from planting and growing, to harvesting and distilling. In doing this, we ensure that these practices are as environmentally friendly as possible. We select only the finest Horatio wheat from our fields. We know exactly in which field the wheat has grown, when it was sown and precisely when it was harvested. Our copper stills use the steam generated by a biomass boiler fed by our own sustainable woodland, and once the distilling is complete, the spent grains are fed to the animals on the farms. We also believe that to be truly single estate we have a responsibility to take care of what we leave behind. The wastewater is cleaned by a wildlife-friendly reed bed system, which then feeds into our lake. Our defining botanical, quince, grows in the orchard next to this lake. By keeping every part of the process within the estate, we not only reduce our environmental footprint, but by nurturing the land that we use around us we can continue to distil the finest gin and vodka for years to come.

MoM: Transparency is crucial, but there are no legal rules or regulations. Are you concerned about producers exploiting this grey area for marketing purposes?

MO: We would very much welcome a more regulatory framework to ensure that consumers have the correct information. We pride ourselves in being as transparent and honest as possible in all our communication. 

Potato fields belonging to Ogilvy

Ogilvy Spirits, Scotland

Nestled in the heart of Angus, Hatton of Ogilvy Farm has been tended by the Jarron family across four generations, since 1910. There, Maris Piper potatoes grow just a short tractor ride from the 32 plate Carter-Head still that turns them into delicious vodka. We spoke to Caroline Bruce-Jarron, co-founder of Ogilvy Spirits:

MoM: What’s driving demand for single estate spirits?

Caroline Bruce-Jarron: There has been a huge drive over the last few years for consumers to know where their food comes from, and this has extended to the drinks that they consume too. Traceability is such an easy thing for producers like ourselves to do, and customers are always really interested and intrigued that we do everything on the farm ourselves. We have always grown potatoes on the family farm, and prior to launching Ogilvy, we supplied them solely to the supermarkets. We have very high standards in the production of our potatoes and can trace exactly what field the potatoes come from – even to the extent of the date and time they were harvested. This was an aspect that we were really keen to demonstrate in our spirit. It sets us apart from many other spirits on the market which don’t have this level of provenance.

MoM: Could you talk about the flavour nuances associated with the raw ingredient?

CBJ: The variety of potato that you use to produce spirit has a huge bearing on the final flavour. We are not only a single estate product, but we are also a single varietal spirit. We trialled various varieties in our early stages of developing the product, but for us, Maris Piper potatoes had the best flavour. We don’t blend with other varieties to ensure we get consistency to the flavour of our vodka. The other factor is our fields, we are based in Angus which is an area renowned for growing potatoes. Potatoes need just the right amount of sunshine and rain at the right times to ensure a good crop, and we generally have a good mix of both here. We also have exceptionally soft water, and the mineral content of the water has a part to play in the final texture of the vodka. 

Miranda Dickson with a musician

Absolut Elyx, Sweden

While Absolut’s famously makes all its vodka using winter wheat grown in Skane (Southern Sweden) the wheat that goes into Elyx is sourced exclusively from one estate. A giant underground aquifer beneath the Åhus-based distillery provides limestone-filtered water on tap We spoke to Miranda Dickson global brand director for Absolut Elyx: 

MoM: How far does your ‘field to bottle’ ethos extend?

Miranda Dickson: Unlike many other vodka brands, Absolut Elyx is produced by us from seed to bottle using ingredients and facilities within a 15-mile radius. It’s made from winter wheat grown on one estate; the Råbelöf estate in Southern Sweden. Our production allows us to have complete quality control and traceability of our product throughout the entire process. Most vodka producers – around 99% – buy neutral grain spirit which they then rectify to their own recipe. 

MoM: To keep the nuances of the raw ingredient in high-alcohol spirit, are there any special techniques or extra steps you have to use?

MD: We’re very lucky that the master distiller and creator of Absolut Elyx, Krister Asplund, is an extremely talented distiller with over 35 years of making Absolut Vodka. The nuances and characteristics in Elyx are really controlled by the hand of the maker and the quality of the ingredients. We don’t filter Elyx – other than a barrier filter to remove any hard particles from the production process – so it requires real skill to ensure the consistent taste and flavour profile of the distillate. Since Elyx is made using a fully hand-operated still from the 1920s, a thorough organoleptic tasting is conducted by our  team of seven at every stage of the process.

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Tune in to our live tastings on Instagram!

Mark the diaries, folks! Team Master of Malt is taking to Instagram for a series of live tastings. And we want you to join us! Here at MoM Towers, there’s…

Mark the diaries, folks! Team Master of Malt is taking to Instagram for a series of live tastings. And we want you to join us!

Here at MoM Towers, there’s little we love more than exploring a flight of delicious spirits. But in the current challenging times, it’s not like we can saunter off to a good bar with some good friends and treat ourselves to a dram or three of something new. But! We can harness the power of Instagram Live and share some of our favourite tipples – whiskies, gins, rums, and more. So that’s what we’re doing on Monday and Wednesday evenings!

Here’s the crucial info. It is all going down over on our Instagram page, so make sure you’re following @masterofmalt. Unless otherwise specified, we’ll hit that Live button at 7:30pm. We’ll also pop a handy countdown timer up in our Story in the run-up, and you can tap that to set a reminder too. Watch out for the notification, or just head over to our Story at the specified hour where you’ll find us ready with the drinks (sometimes with a guest..!).

Here’s what we’ve got coming up. We’ll update this page as soon as we’ve got news of more tastings, so do keep checking back. Grab yourself a tasting set, drams or bottles, and play along!

Important: We absolutely encourage viewers to join in, ask questions, share tasting notes and generally get involved. But we will not hesitate to report accounts making inappropriate or abusive comments to Instagram.

June Live Tastings

Monday 15 June: Glenmorangie

Join us as we chat through all things Glenmorangie with head of maturing whisky stocks, Brendan McCarron. The line-up features Glenmorangie Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, and Nectar D’or!

Wednesday 17 June: The Dalmore

We taste through expressions from the iconic distillery with none other than The Nose, Richard Paterson!

Friday 19 June: The Glenrothes

Join us for whiskies and chit chat as we explore the Speyside distillery.

Monday 22 June: FEW Spirits and Widow Jane

We’re joined by Mary Kelly, portfolio ambassador and whisky expert at Samson & Surrey to explore FEW Bourbon, FEW Rye, and Widow Jane 10 Year Old!

Friday 26 June: Bluecoat Gin

We explore Bluecoat Gin with a Bluecoat American Dry Gin and Bluecoat Barrel Finished Gin tasting with Canyon Shayer, Bluecoat’s distillery bar manager and brand ambassador.

Monday 29 June: Glenfiddich

Tasting glasses at the ready – we’re exploring the classic single malt Scotch!

July Live Tastings

Wednesday 1 July: The Lakes Distillery

We’re set to geek out about all things English whisky with The Lakes Distillery’s master distiller, Dhavall Gandhi. The line-up features Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.3, The One Port Cask , The One Signature, and two yet-to-be-released expressions!

Wednesday 8 July: Salcombe 

We get a taste of all things Devon with Salcombe Gin!

Monday 13 July: La Hechicera

We celebrate rum month with all things La Hechicera!

Wednesday 15 July: Teeling

Get stuck into Irish whiskey with Teeling’s master distiller, Alex Chasko.

Wednesday 20 July: Kyrö Distillery

We delve into the world of rye spirits – and Finnish distilling! – with Kyrö.

Wednesday 22 July: Aber Falls

Grab a glass of Aber Falls’s Welsh gin for a tasting – and we’ll get a whisky update, too!

Monday 27 July: Sacred Spirits

It’s Aperitivo Hour as we get stuck into all things vermouth!

Monday 29 July: Mount Gay

We wrap up Rum Month with a virtual trip to Barbados with Mouth Gay!

We’ve got loads more tastings coming up in August, too. Check back for more details!

 

The Nightcap

Join us for some terrific tastings over on Instagram!

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Cocktail of the Week: The Foraged Martini

One drink, three ingredients, and absolutely no prep required: This week we’re championing stripped-back simplicity with the delightful Foraged Martini, a cocktail menu mainstay at intimate east London bar Three…

One drink, three ingredients, and absolutely no prep required: This week we’re championing stripped-back simplicity with the delightful Foraged Martini, a cocktail menu mainstay at intimate east London bar Three Sheets. Here, co-owner Noel Venning walks you through the drink…

Much like the wider cocktail menu at Three Sheets, the light, fresh Foraged Martini is proof that when it comes to ingredients, less really is more. Ever since Venning brothers Noel and Max first flung open the doors on Kingsland Road back in 2016, the bar has been known for its minimalist ethos – from the contents of the back bar to its marble-topped counters – and this is reflected not only in the way they developed each drink, but also in the design of their menu.

There are nine cocktails in total, split across three key sections. Three Sheets, if you will. While each sheet is characterised by strength and flavour, all of the drinks on the menu are designed to be approachable in nature. Over on the left, you’ll find the lightest cocktails – such as the Almond Flower Sour, which combines Bombay English Estate, almond flower, egg white and lemon. Heavier-going drinks – like Café Français, which combines Seven Tails XO Brandy, salted coffee butter and madeleine cream – tend towards the right of the menu. 

Three Sheets Dalston

Three Sheets, so minimalist

“At Three Sheets, we aim to put drinks on the menu that we think our guests will enjoy,” Noel Venning explains. “Moving away from using popular bartender products that might not be enjoyable for guests. This has led to a lighter style of drink and the Foraged Martini is a great example of that – taking a classic vodka Martini but making it more approachable for a wider audience.”

In the spirit of keeping things simple, the base structure is similar to that of a classic Martini, says Venning. Indeed, just three ingredients are required to make the Foraged Martini: Absolut Elyx, dry Italian vermouth, and Thorncroft’s Wild Nettle cordial. “The great thing about the Foraged Martini is that everything is available to buy in a shop,” he continues. “It is a wonderful example that making great drinks doesn’t necessarily have to come with fancy equipment or esoteric, obscure ingredients.”

It’s fair to say that one of the traditional Martini’s most defining features – its out-and-out ‘booziness’ in terms of flavour – is what tends to put most newcomers off. But you won’t find that brashness in the Venning brothers’ Foraged iteration. Thanks to the addition of the nettle cordial, this serve is made accessible for the non-Martini drinker, while packing enough of a punch to satisfy the drink’s usual devotees. 

“The idea behind this Martini was to have a lighter, more approachable version of a classic Martini that would appeal to a wider audience – while also being enjoyable for a guest who drinks Martinis all the time,” Venning adds. “The nettle cordial softens off the punchy nature of the Martini with some grassy, citrusy notes, and the vermouth ties it all together.”

That’s gypsophila (yes, we had to Google it)

Democratising the Martini is all in a day’s work for the Three Sheets duo. If you’re ready to take the Foraged Martini for a spin, you’ll find the recipe below. Now, aside from the liquid ingredients, you’ll also need ice, a twist of lemon (for the zest only), and a Nick and Nora, Coupette or Martini glass – the team usually opts for the latter, but at home you call the shots.

Oh, and if you really want to set the drink off in true Three Sheets style, source a small sprig of gypsophila for the garnish. Arty Instagram shots are not only welcomed but wholeheartedly encouraged.

Right, let’s forage up a Martini!

50ml Absolut Elyx
10ml Martini Extra Dry vermouth
5ml Thorncroft’s Wild Nettle Cordial

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and stir to dilute and chill. Double strain into a chilled Martini glass. Express a piece of lemon zest (discard the twist afterwards) and garnish with a sprig of gypsophila (if you have one).

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Top 5 drinks books (and a jigsaw)

Taking in cocktails, whisky, gin, Armagnac and every good spirit under the sun, here are our favourite drinks books by the best writers on earth. Plus bonus jigsaw. Fun for…

Taking in cocktails, whisky, gin, Armagnac and every good spirit under the sun, here are our favourite drinks books by the best writers on earth. Plus bonus jigsaw. Fun for all the family!

A good drink has transporting qualities. One sip of Lagavulin and your senses will tell you that you’re on the storm-battered coast of Islay, a chilled glass of Santorini wine is almost as good as a trip to the island itself, and shut your eyes while sipping a good strong Martini and you could be in New York City. The magic is even stronger if you add a good book into the mix which is why we’ve picked five of our favourite drink books in stock at Master of Malt. So, you can explore the world, drink in hand, while maintaining social distancing. If there are any that we have missed, do let us know in the comments or on social. Oh, and we’ve stuck a jigsaw in at the end because you can never have too many whisky-based games. 

 

The Home Bar Henry Jeffreys

If you can’t go out to the bar then why not bring the bar to you? That’s the premise of The Home Bar written by MoM’s very own features editor. It features tips on how to get the right look from an old fashioned pub bar to turning your room into a tiki wonderland, the basic kit you need, and cocktail recipes from the top bartenders. You might never need to leave the house again.

 

Whisky: The Manual Dave Broom

As experienced drinkers you probably think that you don’t need a whisky manual. It’s not a piece of flatpack furniture, just open the bottle and pour. Well, put your scepticism aside because this book from one of the country’s best loved and most majestically bearded whisky writers will take your appreciation of whisky to the next level. 

 

Distilled Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley

The dynamic duo of Harrison and Ridley have written quite a few books but we like this one because it distills (pun fully intended) what the duo do best: insatiable curiosity about drinks, and an amusing style that belies a deep knowledge and understanding of the wide world of booze. Taking in whisky, Calvados, baijiu, Armagnac, gin and more, it’s all here. There’s even a tasting set to go alongside it.

 

 

Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2020

Love him or loathe him, there’s no doubt that Murray has mastered the art of setting the whisky agenda. When Murray made a Japanese whisky, a Yamazaki sherry cask, his whisky of the year in 2014, it made the front page of the papers around the world. Most whisky writers would sell their grannies for that kind of clout. So find out who’s up and who’s down in Murray’s view in this year’s guide, just don’t take it all too seriously.

 

The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace Tristan Stephenson

If you’re serious about cocktails, then you need to read Tristan Stephenson aka the Curious Bartender. He’s been in the industry since his early twenties, won all kinds of awards and he’s a great writer. You almost want to dislike him. We stock a few of his books and they’re all brilliant but we’ve highlighted this one as we know how much our customers love gin.

 

And finally. . .  The Whiskies of Scotland Jigsaw Puzzle 

Here’s the perfect thing for when you can’t go outside, a whisky jigsaw! Produced by the cleverly-named Bamboozled, it’s a map of Scotland market with famous distilleries. It’s the brainchild of Rebecca Gibb, an actual Master of Wine (she knows a thing or two about whisky as well), so you should learn something while you puzzle. 

 

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We have two bundles of awesome spirits from The Lakes Distillery to be won!

It’s no secret that we love a bundle. What do we love more than a bundle? Two bundles! That’s right, we’ve got two bundles full of wonderful spirits from The…

It’s no secret that we love a bundle. What do we love more than a bundle? Two bundles! That’s right, we’ve got two bundles full of wonderful spirits from The Lakes Distillery to give away.

We’re big fans of The Lakes Distillery, what with all the awesome spirits the beautiful distillery over in Cumbria has graced our palates with since it opened. Now, you could be in with the chance to win five bottles of its delicious liquid in a lip-smacking bundle. Oh, and did we mention there’s two bundles to be won? We know, we are good to you.

So, what’s in this wonderful bundle?

Lakes Distillery Bundle

All this could be yours!

You’ll find a bottle of The Lakes Vodka, as well as a bottle of The Lakes Classic Gin, a super classic, juniper forward tipple. Then you’ll find a bottle each of The Lakes Salted Caramel Vodka Liqueur, The Lakes Elderflower Gin Liqueur and The Lakes Rhubarb and Rosehip Gin Liqueur, all three of which are brand new!

Now that we’ve got your mouths watering, we’re sure you’ll want to know how to enter…

  1. Follow @masterofmalt Instagram account.
  2. Follow @lakesdistillery Instagram account.
  3. Like the competition post⁠.
  4. Tag a friend you’d share your bottles with.

And it’s that simple! Complete those four steps by 22 March and you’re in it to (possibly) win it. Plus, now your chances of winning have doubled! Best of luck to everyone.

MoM Competition 2020 open to entrants 18 years and over. Entries accepted from 16 March to 22 March 2020. Winners chosen at random after close of competition. Prizes not transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash equivalent. See full T&Cs for details.

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Five minutes with… Miranda Dickson from Absolut Elyx

As the global brand director of Absolut Elyx, Miranda Dickson is the creative brain behind the luxury vodka expression. You might not know it, but she’s the reason we’re all…

As the global brand director of Absolut Elyx, Miranda Dickson is the creative brain behind the luxury vodka expression. You might not know it, but she’s the reason we’re all obsessed with sipping drinks from its copper pineapples (or is that just us?) Ahead of International Women’s Day, Sunday 8 March, we talk about female empowerment in the drinks industry… 

Not many people could be regarded as a vodka expert on an international level, but Miranda Dickson is unquestionably one of them. Beginning her career with one of Europe’s leading vodka bar groups,she was enamoured with the category from day one. All those hours spent researching the spirit and running educational programmes for her staff at Revolution vodka bar in Manchester that Dickson earned a unique job title, ‘Vodka Princess’, which eventually led her to join the Pernod Ricard group in 2005 as Wyborowa’s global brand ambassador. Dickson was quickly promoted to head of global education and joined the Absolut family in 2010, where she went on to establish the Elyx Boutique, developing super-Instagrammable drinking vessels, barware and apparel made from the brand’s striking signature copper. We took five with the industry legend, below, to talk bartenders in gorilla suits, tiny Martinis, and female empowerment…

Miranda Dixon with Mark Ronson

Master of Malt: Great to speak with you, Miranda! First of all, when and where did your love of all things vodka begin?

Miranda Dickson: Vodka was always my spirit of choice, and in the mid-nineties, everything cool was Absolut. I was introduced to Paul Newman, the Absolut guy in the north west of England. He bought us the coolest Martini glasses to use in the bar I worked in, and we started serving lots of fruity, lurid-coloured Martinis, as was the craze. In 1997, I moved to manage the Revolution vodka bar in Manchester and from there my love grew. We had over 100 different vodkas behind the bar and I took it upon myself to find out the backstory of the brands – a journey that took me to Poland, Finland, Russia, Iceland, the US and, of course, Sweden. Before I knew it, I’d been crowned ‘vodka princess’ by my boss and my role expanded. I curated all the cocktail programming, menu designs, vodka purchasing and educated staff for 38 busy cocktail bars in the UK. I also wrote three books about vodka. 

MoM: What do you love the most about your role as global brand director?

MD: It’s such a privilege to work on Absolut Elyx. The vodka itself is just delicious, it speaks for itself and I’m not just saying that – it really is exquisite. To be part of the house of Absolut, which has such a rich heritage and history in popular culture, and so many really great stories and incredible creative collaborations, is such a pleasure. I have real creative empowerment and freedom with Elyx and have been allowed to explore and test new strategies and ideas with my team which is something I am very grateful for.

MoM: If there was such a thing as a ‘typical’ day at work, what might it look like?

MD: There is never a typical day! My life is sometimes super-glamorous and I travel a lot. Part of my role is to be present in the trade and sample delicious Elyx cocktails, so I spend lots of time on planes. But most of the time my mornings start at 5.30am on video calls with my team, who are based all over the world but mainly in Sweden. The afternoons are spent meeting people and catching up on projects. When I’m not travelling, I try to be in bed by 9pm with chamomile tea and Netflix! 

Absolut Elyx copper pineapple. Snazzy

MoM: When it comes to gender equality, where is the drinks industry excelling?

MD: We are starting to see a real emergence of female empowerment in our industry now. Gone are the days when girls were barmaids and waitresses. Today there are so many incredible female bartenders. Monica Berg – a dear friend, and really a superstar pioneer in our business – has pretty much cleaned up this year at drink industry awards all over the world. The industry is increasingly more observant and open-minded now too, and more supportive around female challenges in the workplace in general.  

MoM: On the flipside, where is there room for improvement?

MD: I think women in general should treat each other better. I don’t think it’s confined to any specific industry, but what I do see is a lot of women who like hanging with the ‘guys’ and aren’t supportive of each other, and that’s a shame. If we stuck together – and I mean really stuck together – we’d be unstoppable.

MoM: What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?

MD: The second year of the ‘Garden of Elyx’ at Tales of The Cocktail in 2015. We were previewing cocktails in copper pineapples, Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale took guests through a curated drinks experience dressed as gorillas… and the general mayhem of Tales. Three people – considered luminaries of the drinks business – said ‘Wow Miranda, what you guys are doing with Elyx is just amazing, I never thought anyone could make vodka relevant again and get people interested. Look what’s going on here – everyone just loves Elyx, you guys are really shifting things up a notch’. It was then I knew our approach to the trade was the right one, and that was a great feeling.

MoM: Tell us about any campaigns or projects you’re working on at the moment?

MD: I’m actually working on Tales of the Cocktail now – in my role I’m also responsible for all the trade and advocacy programming for Absolut Vodka, so [Tales planning] is across both brands. I’m also working on a global ‘On The Road’ education programme for the brands, as well as a new approach to how we host people in Sweden. Then, of course, curating new items for Elyx Boutique and also getting ready to launch the Elyx partnership with [summer lifestyle brand] Sunnylife.

Tiny, tiny Martinis!

MoM: What new cocktail trends have caught your eye right now?

MD: Tiny tini Martinis. The Martini is the undisputed king of cocktails, and we believe one of the most delicious cocktails to enjoy the true character, taste and sublime texture of Elyx. Enjoying them in smaller 85ml serves ensures they stay icy cold and truly delicious throughout.  

MoM: Do you have a favourite bar, and if so, what’s your order?

MD: My favorite place to sip Martinis, soak up the atmosphere and watch the crowd has to be the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. It’s the greatest place to start or end an evening – or spend a whole night! My order has to be an ice-cold Elyx Martini: 50/50 with Absolut Elyx and Lillet Blanc, and a generous lemon twist. 

MoM: What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into the industry?

MD: Keep the passion. It is tough, especially if you’re a woman in this industry, but isn’t it tough in many professions? For me, that passion gets me up in the morning and gives me energy. Stay true to what you think, rise above the noise, and most of all, have fun and enjoy it. 

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