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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: wine

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

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The Nightcap: 10 September

What to expect from this week’s round-up of boozy news: Midleton’s new rye whiskey, CAMRA’s plea to us to drink better cider, and the promise you can drink more if…

What to expect from this week’s round-up of boozy news: Midleton’s new rye whiskey, CAMRA’s plea to us to drink better cider, and the promise you can drink more if you exercise. It’s all in the Nightcap: 10 September edition!

What we love about the British summer is just when you think it’s over and autumn has definitely arrived, it’ll return for an encore. We’re making the most of the sunshine because before you know it, the darkness and gloom of winter will be here. But we need not be too sad because there’s a drink or drinks for every season. We’re looking forward to putting away the cold lagers, Margaritas, and Gin and Tonics, and moving on to the hot toddies, sherried single malts, and, best of all, lashing and lashing of Port. And to read with your seasonal beverages? Why, there’s always the Nightcap. Those winter months are just going to fly by.

Before we get stuck into the news from the world of booze, we have to tell you about all the excitement on the blog this week. And we mean excitement. The week began with a look at the long-awaited Johnnie Walker brand home on Princes Street in Edinburgh. Then Henry toasted the start of a new week with four limited-edition whiskies from Bunnahabhain, Deanston, Tobermory, and Ledaig. New columnist Lauren Eads spoke to Shannon Tebay, the first American to run the American Bar at the Savoy, while Adam knocked up Snoop Dogg’s favourite cocktail, the Gin and Juice. Ian Buxton returned with a look at the lost world of Australian and New Zealand whisky. Then we wrote about the oldest Japanese whisky ever released, a Yamazaki 55 Year Old! But that’s not all because Adam has just come back from Glenmorangie’s experimental new distillery. All in one week!

Now it’s on with the Nightcap: 10 September edition!

Dennis Malcolm at Glen Grant

Dennis Malcolm celebrates 60 years in whisky

Glen Grant launches 60-year-old whisky to honour Dennis Malcolm

Glen Grant sure knows how to mark an anniversary. The Speyside distillery is celebrating master distiller Dennis Malcolm’s six decades in the business with a 60-year-old single malt Scotch. The aptly-named Dennis Malcolm 60th Anniversary Edition comes from a single ex-oloroso Sherry cask, #5040, which was filled on 24 October 1960, making it the distillery’s oldest bottling in its 181-year history. It will launch globally in October this year and is made up of just 360 decanters designed by Glencairn Studio housed in a presentation box made from sustainable walnut. Each case is engraved with Malcolm’s signature and comes with a certificate of authenticity, signed by the master distiller himself. All this for €25,000. Malcolm was actually born at Glen Grant in 1946 and followed in his father and grandfather into the industry as an apprentice cooper when he was 15 years old. His work in whisky earned him recognition from Queen Elizabeth II in 2016, when he was named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Campari Group, which owns Glen Grant, paid tribute to “the career of a true Scottish gentleman and globally recognised Scotch whisky craftsman,” adding that “Dennis has not only created some of the most-awarded single malts in the world, but also serves as an unwavering champion for the industry”. Hear, hear. Cheers to you Dennis!

Distillers Katherine Condon and Eva O'Doherty (2)

Katherine Condon and Eva O’Doherty look like they’re about to drop the folk electronica album of the year

Midleton Method and Madness Rye and Malt is here!

When we visited Midleton near Cork a couple of years ago, the highlight of the tour was the on-site experimental Micro Distillery. Now the first release from this hotbed of innovation is here and it sounds like a cracker. Called Midleton Method and Madness Rye and Malt, it was created by Katherine Condon who joined Irish Distillers as a graduate trainee back in 2014. It’s apparently inspired by 1857 notebooks from John Jameson III who was using rye at the time. Condon explained: “We have been inspired by the innovators in Irish whiskey who came before us. In turn, we have questioned tradition and challenged convention to follow their inspiration and drive the Irish whiskey category forward for a new generation of creators, consumers, and indeed, suppliers.” The mashbill is 60% rye and 40% malted barley. After fermentation, the grains were double-distilled, before going into ex-bourbon casks. It’s bottled at 46% ABV  with an RRP of €95. As massive fans of a) rye whiskey b) the Midleton distillery, to say we are excited would be an understatement. We’ll report back when we’ve had a little taste.

 

Fitness and alcohol

More of this and you can drink more of the good stuff, claim scientists

Fitter people can drink more and handle their booze better

Higher fitness levels are significantly related to greater alcohol consumption, according to a new study looking into people’s exercise and drinking habits. Regular exercisers drink more alcohol, but are less likely to be problem drinkers as stated in new research that appeared in Medicine & Science in Sports Exercise from a study at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. According to the research, which looked at data from 38,000 healthy patients ranging in age from 20 to 86, there is a strong link between exercise and alcohol habits. The findings showed that “women within the moderate and high fitness categories had greater odds of moderate/heavy alcohol consumption in comparison to their low fitness counterparts. Similarly, moderate and high fit men had greater odds of moderate-to-heavy alcohol consumption in comparison to the low fitness group”. In addition, men who were heavy drinkers all displayed “higher fitness levels were related to lower rates of suggested alcohol dependence,” stated the findings. The subjects’ fitness was estimated with a treadmill test to exhaustion and transparency about their drinking habits, ultimately revealing how higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness are related to increased alcohol consumption management among adults. In a similar study conducted by the University of Notre Dame, recent research found that people with a lower percentage of body fat will have lower ‘Blood Alcohol Concentration’ (BACs) than those with a higher percentage of body fat, debunking myths suggesting that if you are overweight you can handle your drink better.

Gabe Cook CAMRA and Cider

Gabe Cook says: drink better cider!

CAMRA calls on government to support UK cider makers

CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) has teamed up with Gabe Cook, aka the Ciderologist, to try to get legislation changed to protect Britain’s independent cider makers. They are going to send a copy of Cook’s latest book Modern British Cider to all 70 MPs who sit for cider-making constituencies. The aim is to get them to change some of the laws governing cider and taxation in the UK. One is to introduce a progressive cider duty so that smaller cider makers looking to expand above the current 70hl duty exemption size won’t get clobbered. Next, they want to make ingredient labelling compulsory so that customers will know exactly what goes into their cider. Hint, it’s often not apples. At the moment ciders only need to be made from 35% apples, the rest of the alcohol can come from sugar. Many ciders are little more than apple-flavoured alcopops. So finally CAMRA and Cook are calling for a minimum 50% apple content in cider. In France, it’s 80%. Cook said: “I hope this book lends a voice to these causes and readers will join my calls to support the industry. Britain is blessed with so much cider heritage, which we desperately need to conserve, but also wonderful innovation, fun, and boundary-pushing boldness which we need to nurture. There truly is a cider for everyone.” It sounds like a worthwhile campaign. It should be more of a scandal how little apple content there is in most British ciders. 

Will Hawkes Fortnum & Mason drinks writer of the year

Congratulations to Will Hawkes (he’s the one in the middle)

The best drinks writers celebrated at Fortnum’s awards

To the glittering Royal Exchange outpost of Fortnum & Mason for the annual celebration of great food and drink writing. All the stars were there: Grace Dent, Claudia Winkleman, Stanley Tucci (!), and somehow Master of Malt managed to bag an invite. We were delighted that Will Hawkes won drinks writer of the year for his work in Pellicle and new drinks magazine Tonic. We were especially pleased to see Hawkes staying on brand by celebrating with a glass of beer rather than the Champagne that everyone else was knocking back. Man of the people. Another popular winner was Cas Oh for his snazzy cocktail book Co Specs which we covered on the blog earlier this year. It was great to catch up with him and discover that he’s as charming and stylish as his book. He snapped up the debut drinks book award while the main drinks book award went to Wine Girl by Victoria James. There were also some food awards with Fay Maschler, Jimi Famurewa and James Martin among the winners. Go here to see the full results. A great time was had by all and somehow we managed not to corner Stanley Tucci and bore him about how to make the perfect Negroni, though we did go a bit starstruck over Grace Dent. 

Joel McHale & Monkey Shoulder distill dry first dates

A new campaign for Monkey Shoulder has a revolutionary idea: whisky might help first dates be a bit less stuffy. In a bold move, William Grant & Sons’ mixable malt brand has enlisted Community actor and The Soup host Joel McHale to hit the streets of New York City to help daters drop the pretension and relax – preferably with a glass of Monkey Shoulder. The ‘Stick it to Stuck Up’ campaign attempts to remove the snobbery surrounding whisky as well as dating. It features McHale wearing a plaid suit with crystal lowball glass in hand playing “a person who’s trying way too hard to impress you,” before chucking the glass offstage and stripping down to a casual sweater. “To enjoy your whisky, you don’t need some guy with a handlebar mustache spewing a bunch of pompous tasting notes,” he quips. Anyone taking notes? As a part of the initiative, daters have the chance to have McHale crash their first dates by sharing stories of their most stuffy and stuck-up dating experiences. Go here to enter the contest. Not that anyone here at Master of Malt needs any assistance in the dating world. Now where’s my cravat, I’ve got a hot date tonight. 

Lockdown fine wine

Did you spend lockdown doing this? You’re not alone

And finally… Brits spent lockdown sipping fine wine

Did you learn another language during the many lockdowns? Or maybe get round to clearing the garage or grouting the bathroom? We didn’t do anything quite this dramatic but we did learn to make a killer chip shop curry sauce (the secret is to add apple, oddly). The other thing we did was drink better wine more often and it seems we weren’t alone. Bordeaux Index has just released figures showing that 75% of British wine drinkers saw their consumption of fine wine rise. Not only that but apparently 29% think of themselves as connoisseurs – presumably,  to paraphrase Basil Fawlty, they know a claret from a Bordeaux. It’s all great news for Bordeaux Index which has seen its wine and spirit sales increase by 44%, year on year. Director Matthew O’Connell explained: “Today’s findings show that the pandemic has significantly changed our approach to the way we consume fine wine, and the increasing desire to aspire to drink better at home. We have seen this in our own UK business, and interestingly have observed broadly similar patterns across our Asian and US offices.” He added that, if you can resist drinking the stuff, wine can be “a great investment option and we are seeing more and more investors enter the space.” As rumours fly of a fourth lockdown in the pipeline, or perhaps fifth, fine wine merchants across the country will be bracing themselves for deluge of orders. 

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New Arrival of the Week: La Dama del Abrigo Rojo 2018

This week we’re cracking open a delicious bottle of Argentine red made with a grape variety from Piedmont in Northern Italy and named after a mysterious woman in red, La…

This week we’re cracking open a delicious bottle of Argentine red made with a grape variety from Piedmont in Northern Italy and named after a mysterious woman in red, La Dama del Abrigo Rojo.

If you’re playing wine word association, a game we often play at Master of Malt, honestly the days just fly by, say the word ‘Argentina’ and there’s a very good chance that the reply will be ‘Malbec.’ It’s a grape that’s actually from south west France, it used to be a major component in Bordeaux, but it is so at home in Argentina that you would think that it was from there. After Malbec, in a game of word association, you’ll probably get Cabernet and then Merlot. You’ll have to play for a long time before you get to Nebbiolo, the Italian grape behind our New Arrival, La Dama Del Abrigo Rojo.

La Dama del Abrigo Rojo Nebbiolo 2018

Argentina’s Italian heritage 

Which is strange because Argentina is a very Italian country. There is a saying: “Argentines are Italians who speak Spanish who think they are British.” Argentina’s traditional Anglophilia may have been dented in recent years but it’s still there in the country’s love of sports like rugby and polo. You can’t, however, help noticing the country’s Italian influence. The way people speak Spanish sounds like Italian. There’s an area in Buenos Aires called Palermo. Along with New York, Argentina was one of the top destinations for Italian immigrants in the 19th century. It’s estimated that 60% of the country’s population has some form of Italian heritage.

Despite this, the grapes that came to dominate were those brought by immigrants from south west France. But there’s much more to this huge country than Malbec et al. 

Eduardo Soler La Dama del Abrigo Rojo Nebbiolo 2018

Wine maker Eduardo Soler

Sacred spring

Ver Sacrum, meaning sacred spring, is a group of maverick winemakers who grow grapes in three regions of Mendoza: Los Chacayes (Uco Valley), Barrancas (Maipú), and Cruz de Piedra (Maipú). They describe themselves as “team Grenachista“. Their aim is to resurrect the Mediterranean varieties such as Grenache, which used to be common but were pushed aside in favour of Bordeaux varieties. In addition to Grenache, they also grow Mourvèdre, Roussanne, Marsanne, Syrah, Mencía, and Carignan, plus two northern Italian varieties, Teroldego and Nebbiolo.

This last grape is a real rarity. There’s only 49 hectares of it in the country. But then again there’s not much Nebbiolo outside its home in Piedmont where it makes famous wines such as Barbaresco and Barolo. Though there are some increasingly successful versions in Australia, it’s not a grape, unlike Cabernet, that travels well.

With its pale colour and sometimes fierce tannins, Nebbiolo is a world away from the sort of plush dark wines that Argentina is famous for. But then again Ver Sacrum does things a little differently. They use only natural yeasts, they also do very light extractions meaning the skins are in contact with the fermenting wine for much less time than is normal in Argentina. So the tannins in La Dama Del Abrigo Rojo are gentler than you might expect with Nebbiolo. Oh and the name means ’The Lady in the Red Cape’, and there she is on the label above looking all stylish and Argentine.

It’s likely to be nothing like any other Argentine red you’ve ever had. The importer described it like this: “The nose is a beguiling swirl of rose petals, meat and red fruits. The palate has a purity and directness of flavour that confounds as much as it delights. There is a distinct touch of genius / madness at play here.” And the label is gorgeous too. What more could you want?

La Dama del Abrigo Rojo Nebbiolo 2018 is available from Master of Malt.

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The Nightcap: 7 May

It’s been a shorter week thanks to the Bank Holiday weekend but there still was plenty going in the world of drinks. It’s The Nightcap: 7 May edition! We hope…

It’s been a shorter week thanks to the Bank Holiday weekend but there still was plenty going in the world of drinks. It’s The Nightcap: 7 May edition!

We hope you all spent the long weekend as far away from office desks (or wherever you work) as possible, and are nice and refreshed. It went quickly though, didn’t it? We can’t believe it’s already Friday and time for a new Nightcap. It dawned on us while enjoying our time off that if the powers-that-be made every working week just four days, then there’d be numerous benefits. Chief of which would be that it would feel like The Nightcap had arrived surprisingly early every week. And what a treat that would be. Right? Anyway, let’s get on with it. 

On the MoM blog this week, we launched a new competition perfect for those who want to whip up some delicious Irish whiskey cocktails. We also had the pleasure of celebrating Dennis Malcolm’s incredible 60 years in the whisky business, enjoying an authentic English rum, some of the finest Mexican spirits for Cinco de Mayo, and a Tequila cocktail that celebrates the life of the late, great Tomas Estes. Elsewhere, Ian Buxton found out why you’re nowhere in the celeb world unless you’ve got your very own booze brand, Millie uncovered the divine truth behind the angel’s share and Lucy showed why English wineries should be high on your list of staycations options this year. 

The Nightcap: 7 May edition

This bottle honours the man who arguably did the most to put single malts on the map

Gordon & MacPhail launches 67-year-old whisky

If you love a bit of ultra-rare single malt coverage then you’ll be pleased to know Gordon & MacPhail has something very impressive for you to enjoy this week. It’s a 67-year-old Scotch whisky distilled on Christmas Eve 1953 that was matured in a single, first-fill sherry butt and bottled at a cask strength of 59.4% ABV, which is incredible given the age of the whisky. You might be wondering why Gordon and & MacPhail have bottled it now given this fact, but it’s because the company is currently enjoying its 125th anniversary and saw fit to honour the man who contributed arguably the most to the brand: George Urquhart. Known by whisky legend Charlie MacLean as the “father of single malt” or as ‘Mr. George’ to his friends, he oversaw the filling of this very special cask during a period in which he was busy championing Scotland’s single malts while most were concerned with supplying spirit for blends. Just 355 bottles are available of the Gordon & MacPhail Mr. George Legacy 1953, which was distilled at Glen Grant. Stephen Rankin, the grandson of ‘Mr. George’ and Gordon & MacPhail’s director of prestige, says Mr. George held a particular fondness for the Speyside distillery, adding that the new “Legacy series allows us to explore some of these stories, providing some exceptional whiskies in fitting tribute to ‘Mr. George’s’ life’s work.” So, expect more rare, single cask drams in the future. They’ll set you back a pretty penny (the RRP for this one is £5,000), but if Maclean seems to think it’s worth it, noting: “This is a remarkable whisky. It is full of the complexity that long maturation can bring, yet it remains astonishingly vivacious. Frankly, as good as it gets!”

The Nightcap: 7 May edition

The high life awaits…

Want to get paid $20k to drink Miller High Life beer?

If you’re a beer lover who would love to visit Milwaukee and pocket $20,000, then today is your lucky day. Because this week Miller High Life beer has announced that it is hiring for the role of ‘Champagne of Beers Region’ ambassador. You see, the beer brand is currently petitioning the Milwaukee Common Council to create an official Champagne of Beers region in Wisconsin. And Miller High Life believes that it will need an official ambassador to help champion this noble cause. The scarcely believable role comes with a year’s supply of free beer, some High Life swag, and an all-expenses-paid trip to explore The Champagne of Beers region in addition to the compensation package. The brand’s petition asks, “If Champagne can only come from Champagne, France, why is The Champagne of Beers any different? [erm, we can think of a couple of reasons] We’re petitioning the Milwaukee Common Council to establish an official Champagne of Beers region, and declare that only beers invented within its strict borders – around the Miller Brewery – will be considered The Champagne of Beers.”  Applications opened yesterday and to apply just head over to the website and explain in 50 words or less why you’d be the perfect ambassador.

The Nightcap: 7 May edition

Space wine will surely appeal to the kind of people who’ve got $1m spare

Christie’s selling first-ever space-aged Pétrus 2000

It seems there’s an awful lot of sending wine into space going on, but if you’ve ever wondered what the result of wine gracing the final frontier is then you’ve got a chance to find out now thanks to Christie’s. The auction house is selling a bottle of space-aged Pétrus 2000, which spent 14 months aboard the International Space Station (ISS). This is the first time wine has travelled to the ISS and returned to Earth and the aging took place in a carefully monitored and controlled environment. The wine will be presented in a trunk made by the Parisian Maison d’Arts Les Ateliers Victor, alongside a decanter, glasses, and a corkscrew made from a meteorite. Tim Triptree, a master of wine who works at Christie’s, says a regular bottle of Pétrus 2000 will also be included alongside the space-aged bottle, “so the lucky buyer will be able to compare the two”. This is the only bottle from the case that was sent to space, as three were opened for the tasting and the remaining eight will be kept back for future research. We wouldn’t get your hopes up about winning this particular lot, however, as Christie’s estimates a sale price of $1m (£720,000). The good news is that the proceeds of the sale will go towards funding future space missions. So, if you do have that kind of cash sitting around and would like to acquire a piece of vinous and space history while also contributing to ongoing research then head to Christie’s now.

The Nightcap: 7 May edition

You can wish McEwan a fond farewell over some quality drams

Enjoy a ‘last chat’ with Jim McEwan 

Jim McEwan is retiring… again. You may remember back in 2015, Jim McEwan retired from Bruichladdich only two years later to be lured back with a production director job at new Islay distillery Ardnahoe. Since then he’s appeared in two films: The Water of Life and The Golden Dram, done a book: A Journeyman’s Journey, and launched his own range of whiskies with Dramfool, Jim McEwan Signature Collection. Oh, and helped out at Cape Byron distillery in Australia. Makes a change from playing lots of golf. But now he really is retiring and he’s doing what’s billed rather ominously as a “last chat”. It’ll cost you £185 to take part with £25 going to Scottish charity Air Ambulance. For this you’ll receive access to The Water of Life, a copy of The Journeyman’s Journey with a signed letter from McEwan, plus a Gold Collection tasting kit with rare drams from notable McEwan distilleries including Bowmore, Bruichladdich, and his last gig, Cape Byron. Most importantly, you’ll also get access to a Zoom link to join a chat with McEwan on Sunday 23 May. If that’s a bit steep for you, there’s a £50 ‘Silver Collection’ option (£10 going to charity) with no book and less fancy whiskies but you still get to chat with the man himself and bid him a fond farewell. Or is it au revoir?

The Nightcap: 7 May edition

Vic Galloway invites you to enjoy his picks. And we invite you to make your own…

SMWS and BBC radio DJ pick music and whisky pairings

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) is getting its groove on with long-standing BBC Radio Scotland presenter, Vic Galloway, by pairing music with whisky flavour profiles. The DJ has been broadcasting weekly on BBC Radio 1, BBC Scotland and BBC 6 Music for over 22 years and also happens to be an avid whisky fan and a member of the SMWS. Examples from the full SMWS pairing list, which can be found here, include Society’s ‘Young & Spritely’ flavour profile being likened to the genre ‘Dream Pop’ (whatever that is), with its “effervescent and sweet, joyous and uplifting exuberance that seems utterly timeless and forever young”. The Scottish broadcaster said: “Music and whisky go together like, well, music and whisky! There’s nothing better than sitting back with like-minded friends and sharing experiences. And that is what The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is all about.” He added that there are some surprises in his selection and recommends folks become members of the SMWS, which he describes as the “world’s most entertaining whisky club”. Galloway will also chat all things music and whisky on the SMWS ‘Virtual Pub’ being streamed tonight, one of the many events in the calendar to look forward to for members. We’d love to hear your suggestions on genre and whisky pairings you’d like to see. Liquid funk and Lagavulin? Garage rock and Glenlivet? Let us know in the comments below.

The Nightcap: 7 May edition

It turns out there’s an ever big rip-off than space wine. Who knew?

“Counterfeit” $1,000  bourbon discovered

One of the dangers of buying very old spirits is the rise of counterfeiting. It appears that one such bottle was discovered recently in New York. Reporters from US publication Inside Edition bought a bottle of Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain Bourbon from Acker Wines, America’s oldest wine merchants, for $1,000. This whiskey was released at around $100 a bottle but such is the demand that bottles have been going for up $3,000. They sent it to where it was made, Buffalo Trace in Kentucky, for authentication where it was pronounced a fake, and not a very convincing one, with the proof on the bottle not matching the contents, a backwards strip stamp, and it was missing the correct lot code. This isn’t the first time that Acker Wines, previously known as Acker, Merrall and Condit, has run into problems with counterfeit goods. The firm was at the centre of the Rudy Kurniawan wine counterfeiting scandal outlined in the 2016 film Sour Grapes. It sold millions of dollars of rare wines that turned out to be fakes. The moral of the story is always do your homework before buying rare boozes.

The Nightcap: 7 May edition

The only real question is, how did this move not happen sooner?

And finally… UB40 releases an actual red, red wine

We’ve just put a story up on the blog about celebrity boozes, and it’s already out of date because we have just learned that the lads from top light reggae outfit UB40 will soon be releasing their very own wine. It’s called… yes you guessed it… Red, Red Wine after their biggest hit (though the song was actually written by Neil Diamond who had a hit with it in 1968). It’s a Merlot-heavy Bordeaux Supérieur priced at an extremely punchy £28.50 – you can get some seriously tasty claret for that money. Nevertheless, it’s been described as “a good blend: a rich wine with fine tannins and attractive fruits.“ Not our words, but the words of Wine Enthusiast magazine. For those who don’t want to pony up nearly £30, you can save a massive four quid with the £24.50 version which is an organic vegan Merlot/ Petit Verdot blend though we’re not told where it’s from. Both wines are made in conjunction with a company called Eminent Life. Astro (above right) from UB40 commented: “Red, Red Wine has great balance and is really satisfying to drink. Like our music, we are always looking for balance and harmony. The Red Red Wine has both.” So there you go.

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The Nightcap: 9 April

The “most sustainable glass Scotch whisky bottle ever”, a taboo advert and Madison Beer all feature in the Nightcap: 9 April. Why? Well, you have to read on to find…

The “most sustainable glass Scotch whisky bottle ever”, a taboo advert and Madison Beer all feature in the Nightcap: 9 April. Why? Well, you have to read on to find out…

Well, this is it. The last weekend before folks in (some of) the UK can go back to pubs, bars and restaurants. It’s a momentous occasion. But does anyone remember how any of this actually works, exactly? We’re worried both bartender and consumer will just stare at each other blankly across the bar like malfunctioning androids. It’s going to be a nation of accidental Mark Zuckerberg impressions. Still, it’s exciting all the same. Like reading about all the most interesting things that happened in the world of booze in the last few days. It’s the Nightcap: 9 April edition!

Which you’ll already have a taste of if you’ve read our blog this week. Just because it was a shorter week, that didn’t mean we skimped on the content. There were all kinds of stories to enjoy, like the launch of our exclusive Glenfiddich Tasting Collection or a new expression that combines whiskey with tea. Elsewhere, Millie returned to reexamine the role of the often-derided Mixto Tequila, Ian had his eye on the most valuable drinks companies in the world while Lucy asked if the living room was the new tasting room. Brora Distillery was then in headline-stealing mood by announcing its opening in May and launching super fancy celebratory booze. Oh, and if you need any inspiration for a weekend tipple and love flavoured gin, then you’ll enjoy this week’s cocktail.

Now, let’s get Nightcapping, shall we?

Welcome to The Nightcap: 9 April edition!

We love some fancy Bowmore

One-of-a-kind Black Bowmore Archive Cabinet heads to auction

In top fancy whisky news of the week, a complete set of five rare, iconic Black Bowmore bottlings is about to go under the hammer at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. But not just that: the 29, 30, 31, 42 and 50 year old expressions, first distilled in 1964, are housed in something very special indeed. A gorgeous cabinet crafted by John Galvin, an expert in his field, who took two years designing and building the thing. It all started with a trip to Islay, where he took in the scenery from Machir Bay to Bowmore itself. And the cabinet even features parts of the distillery itself, including handles made from the decommissioned spirit safe, and details from the washbacks. “The spirit in those bottles went through the spirit safe,” said Bowmore master blender Ron Welsh via video call to talk about the really rather magnificent construction. The cabinet, plus all five bottles, is expected to fetch at least £400,000 when it goes up as the first lot in the Wine & Spirit Spring Sale Series, which runs from 16-18 April. Funds raised will go to the Bowmore Legacy Project, which supports young people on Islay with housing and training. “The best thing is that the money goes back into the island,” Welsh added. We can’t wait to see what it goes for!

Welcome to The Nightcap: 9 April edition!

A computer-generated image of what the new brewery and distillery will look like when finished

New €24m Killarney brewery and distillery to open this summer

If you thought the last year would dent the demand for new producers of Irish whiskey, you’d be wrong. It seems like every week there’s a new announcement that somebody is going to do the lord’s work and make the water of life on the Emerald Isle. Killarney Brewing & Distilling, however, has to be one of the most notable and exciting. At 62,000 sq ft, it’s set to become Ireland’s largest independent brewery, distillery and visitor centre when it opens this summer. The site, which cost more than €24m (just over £20m), will house a rooftop garden, a 250-seat gala event space, a chocolate shop and other facilities. It will employ over 85 people, while the brand aims to attract in excess of 100,000 annual visitors. Paul Sheahan, Tim O’Donoghue and Liam Healy founded Killarney Brewing & Distilling in 2013 and opened a town centre location in 2015, restoring the old Killarney Mineral Water drinks facility into a taproom and pizzeria. This is one serious project. While we wait for the brand’s spirit to mature, Killarney Brewing & Distilling announced on St Patrick’s Day that it was launching two flagship products, an eight-year-old blended Irish whiskey and an imperial stout matured in the same Killarney whiskey casks designed to complement the flavours of the whiskey blend. 

Welcome to The Nightcap: 9 April edition!

These are some of the most sustainable bottles ever produced.

Diageo makes “most sustainable glass Scotch whisky bottles ever”

You might recall us previously writing about Diageo’s Society 2030: Spirit of Progress sustainability plan. Well, the series of ambitious environmental goals produced a real result this week as the drinks giant was able to pioneer the lowest carbon footprint glass bottles ever produced for a Scotch whisky brand. In collaboration with glass manufacturer Encirc and industry research and technology body Glass Futures, Diageo has used waste-based biofuel-powered furnaces and 100% recycled glass to the most environmentally-friendly receptacles, which reduce the carbon footprint of the bottle-making process by up to 90%. For the purposes of the trial Diageo used its Black & White Scotch whisky brand, producing 173,000 of the impressive bottles. Further work now needs to be done to develop and scale the trial for future production, but it represents a significant step forward. John Aird, senior packaging technologist at Diageo, who led the project for the company, said the trial was just a first step in the journey to decarbonise this aspect of the supply chain and that the brand still has a long way to go, but that it was “delighted with the results of the collaboration” and the “platform it creates for future innovation”.

Welcome to The Nightcap: 9 April edition!

If you guys need any volunteer tasters you know where we are. Also, rad dog.

White Peak Distillery to launch first whisky after crowd-funding success

If you thought the Peak District had everything before 2016, you were wrong. Very close, but wrong. Because it didn’t have a full-scale distillery capable of making delicious English whisky. But five years ago that changed when White Peak was founded by local husband-and-wife team Max & Claire Vaughan. Since then, it’s won plenty of awards for its distillery visitor experiences and tasty gin and rum, while generating lots of excitement with its impressive new make. Now White Peak is gearing up to launch its first single malt whisky in October 2021. To make the most of this pivotal year, the distillery is currently offering the opportunity to become a shareholder in White Peak. Interested parties can contribute to the crowd funding campaign, which already raised nearly £1 million, almost doubling its target of £500,000. The crowdfunding page, which is due to close on 23 April, reveals that White Peak has more than 950 casks of maturing whisky and is operating at 50% of its capacity, allowing further room to grow. The distillery’s prologue release, a two-year-old spirit, sold out in two days. Co-founder Max says the team is excited for the next chapter of the distillery’s story to unfold with the release of the single malt whisky and that the brand’s “journey over the past five years has been incredibly rewarding”. We’re certainly looking forward to tasting the new dram. 

Welcome to The Nightcap: 9 April edition!

Don’t drink and hike. Obviously.

River Rock Scotch whisky ads banned 

One Scotch whisky brand found itself on rocky ground this week after the UK’s advertising watchdog upheld a complaint against it. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has deemed two of River Rock’s ads as being “irresponsible” on the grounds they linked alcohol with an activity or location where drinking would be unsafe. The ads, both seen on 7 January 2021, included a post on the brand’s Facebook page, which read: “What better way to celebrate the launch of batch #2 than with a whisky tasting at 3,500ft?” It was accompanied with images of people mountaineering, with a bottle of whisky shown with the hikers. A second ad, posted on the journal section of the brand’s website, included a similar message. The ASA said that, while neither ad showed someone drinking alcohol, consumers would likely assume whisky had been consumed at 3,500ft due to the question posed. River Rock contested that the images did not show or imply whisky consumption and says the brand takes its position within the outdoor community and alcohol industry seriously. The Scotch whisky makers also revealed it liaised with the ASA and updated the content to ensure it met approved standards. River Rock’s Kirsten Geary says mountaineering images are still allowed to be used to promote River Rock and that its commitment to the great outdoors is “fundamental to the brand”, and “as a proud member of 1% for the Planet which sees the brand contribute one tree for every bottle sold, we will also continue to feature and celebrate Scotland’s wild spaces in our communications.”

Rare Brora whiskies go under the hammer

Brora! Brora! Brora!

Super rare Brora collection goes under the hammer

Did our post this week whet your appetite for all things Brora? Yes? Well read on. Whisky Auctioneer is hosting an auction entirely dedicated to this legendary ghost (though not for much longer) distillery from 15-19 April. Especial rarities include: Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s 61.1, the first-ever bottling of Brora single malt; bottle number one of 60 of a 41 year old 1978 Brora bottled for Diageo’s Casks of Distinction programme; a 1972 Cask Strength 40-Year-Old decanter; and even some bottlings from when the distillery was known as Clynelish. That’s before the new Clynelish was built in 1969 and the old one labelled Brora. Yes, it’s a bit complicated. The head of auction content, Joe Wilson, commented: “The Brora auction encapsulates the distillery’s past as it prepares to turn on the stills to its future with the chance to bid on complete collections and rare single malts created prior to the distillery’s halt in production in 1983 – a timely reminder to revisit these legendary malts and that ‘lost distilleries” are not always lost forever.” He added: Whether you are a whisky collector or lost distillery enthusiast, this is a one of a kind opportunity to get your hands on these special Brora bottles, many of which are rarely seen on the secondary market.” So sell your house, pawn the family silver and get bidding.

Welcome to The Nightcap: 9 April edition!

This is actually how Guinness comes over from Dublin, in two enormous cans

Fresh Guinness is on its way as England’s pubs reopen

Here at MoM, we have the date 12 April ringed in our diaries as that’s the day that the pubs in England reopen. Sort of. You still have to drink outside but still, beer! In preparation, Guinness is sending 49 tankers of the black stuff across the Irish sea for the country’s thirsty drinkers. And to make sure that everything is in tip-top condition for the big pour, the company is sending a crack squad of stout technicians to 50,000 venues around the country. Head of Guinness GB, Neil Shah, commented: “Our teams have been working round the clock, undertaking a series of rigorous checks with the utmost care and attention so that when people all over GB have their first sip of a fresh pint, it’s the best it can be.” He went on to say: “The past year has been tough for the hospitality industry, so we want to do all that we can to make sure that their opening week is as successful as it can be.” Seeing as this was only announced yesterday, the pubs reopen on Monday and there are only 50 of these experts, they better get moving if they’re to get around all those venues. Especially as the photos supplied show a Guinness tanker still in Dublin! Come on chaps! We’re dying of thirst here.

Welcome to The Nightcap: 9 April edition!

The dream. This is the dream.

Black Chalk’s vineyard tree houses open this summer

We don’t know about you, but we’ve always wanted a proper treehouse. Just the word ‘treehouse’ conjures up magical images of Swiss Family Robinson (Google the 1960 film version) or the Ewok village in Return of the Jedi. But we’ve just heard about one that’s even better cos it’s right by a vineyard! From 12 April, top Hampshire sparkling wine producer Black Chalk will open its four new treehouses to the general public. The treehouses sit six metres off the ground on the Fullerton Estate. They are built in a Scandinavian style using local materials and designed to blend in with the landscape. Oh, and include outdoor hot tubs. Sexy! Black Chalk’s Andrew Seden comments: “The treehouses are a great addition to the estate and bring another dimension to the Black Chalk experience, shining a light on our Test Valley home and putting our wines in front of new consumers.  Whilst the majority of guests are expected to be from London, and the wider U.K. – especially with international travel restricted – The Test Valley draws in tourists from all over the world, including Japan which is our primary international market.” And if you don’t fancy the full treehouse experience (what is wrong with you?), tours of the winery resume on 12 May. We hear Hampshire is lovely at that time of year. 

Welcome to The Nightcap: 9 April edition!

Don’t try this at home. Obviously. Credit: TikTok/@doctortristanpeh

And finally… don’t open beer bottles with your teeth

Madison Beer was in the news recently. No, not a Czech-style lager from Wisconsin, but top American singer Madison Beer. Do try to keep up, dad. But beer is involved. The two beers collided when a video went viral of Beer, the singer, opening a bottle of beer, the delicious hoppy beverage, with her teeth. Then this week, a publicity-seeking Singapore dentist, Doctor Tristan Peh, waded in with a video of his own out that this is not good for your teeth. Duh, thanks doc!

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The Nightcap: 12 March

For all the latest on Conor McGregor’s big whiskey sale, a Prosecco-infused Easter egg and the world’s smallest(ish) Irish pub, you’re in the right place. It’s the Nightcap! The Nightcap…

For all the latest on Conor McGregor’s big whiskey sale, a Prosecco-infused Easter egg and the world’s smallest(ish) Irish pub, you’re in the right place. It’s the Nightcap!

The Nightcap is full of Easter and St. Patrick’s Day cheer this week. Which reminds us how much there is to look forward to. Sitting in a beer garden and just whiling the hours away. Making friends for life in the smoking area. Finally giving Future Nostalgia the respect it deserves by dancing to every minute of it with other people. But we can’t get too ahead of ourselves. There’s still plenty to enjoy at the moment. Like all those new pets. And, of course, some light reading regarding the drinks industry’s latest shenanigans. Let’s get on with it. It’s The Nightcap: 12 March edition!

This week you might have noticed that things were a little different in the blog as we marked International Women’s Day by celebrating the women behind the drinks you love. We were delighted to be joined by brewer and broadcaster Jaega Wise, Widow Jane head distiller Lisa Roper Wicker, Maker’s Mark diplomat Nicole Sykes, Diageo coppersmith Kirstin Neil and The Story associate director Tarita Mullings. Elsewhere, Adam recommended some sensationally smoky spirits, while Henry explained how the Negroni became a classic and then enjoyed a sherry-soaked treat from the Cotswolds distillery, and our occasional MoM Loves partnership series was back with a lesson in foraged cocktails from The Botanist Gin. Oh, and if you’ve left it to the last minute to sort out Mother’s Day don’t worry, we’ve got you covered

On The Nightcap this week we remember Steven Spurrier

The wine world mourns one of its most lively, popular and influential figures, Steven Spurrier

Wine world pays tribute to Steven Spurrier

The wine world lost one of its most important and colourful figures in Steven Spurrier this week. There aren’t many wine writers who have been played by Alan Rickman in a film but then few, if any, have proved as influential as Spurrier. He was best known for organising the 1976 Judgement of Paris wherein a blind tasting by French judges, the best wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux lost out to some upstart producers from California. It’s a story that has resonated down the years but there’s so much more to Spurrier than that. He was born in 1941, and had a varied career as a wine merchant, publisher, writer and entrepreneur. In his later years, when most people would think about retiring he was involved in founding a publisher, Acadamie de Vin, and planted a vineyard at his home in Dorset to produce a highly-regarded sparkling wine, Bride Valley. Jancis Robinson wrote about him yesterday on her site, JancisRobinson.com: “For someone who achieved so much, he acted with such extreme modesty and politeness that there was always a danger of his not being accorded his due”. Adam Lechmere in his touching obituary for Club Oenologique added: “Generations of wine lovers would claim him as their own.” He is survived by his wife Bella and children Kate and Christian. Thank you Steven, we’re raising a glass or two to you this week.

On The Nightcap this week we hear about Redbreast's new whiskey

The belting new dram marks 30 years of the revival of the brand

Redbreast delves into the past for its newest expression

There’s a new Redbreast out there. But before you deluge the MoM switchboard, of whatever the internet equivalent is, we have to say that this limited edition cask strength 10-year-old version is only available from the Birdhouse, the Redbreast members club. Right, got that out of the way. Is it any good, you’ll want to know? Yes, it’s fabulous. If you like traditional Irish pot still whiskey then you are going to love this because it’s perhaps the pot stilliest whiskey out there. What do we mean by that? Midleton Distillery makes three types of pot still new make, light, medium and heavy. The light and medium go into younger expressions, whereas the heavy is saved for heavily-aged versions where it’s blended with some light. This is the only Midleton that contains all three levels, and the only young expression to contain heavy. It was inspired by the original Redbreast which came from Jameson’s Dublin distillery but was aged and bottled by Gilbey’s wine merchants. To celebrate 30 years of the rebirth of the brand, archivist Carol Quinn collaborated with blenders Billy Leighton and Dave McCabe to produce this tribute to the original. It was aged in a mixture of ex-bourbon barrels and Oloroso sherry-seasoned butts, and bottled at 59.1% ABV. It’s a gorgeous drop with big sweet-spicy flavours, a drop of water reveals a fruitier side with fresh peaches and dried apricots as well as wood tannins. It’s available from today and costs €100 but you’ll have to register at the Birdhouse for a chance to buy a bottle. 7,000 have been filled. It was such a hit on the online tasting that there was a clamour to make it part of the core range. Sadly Leighton confirmed that it was a one-off. Boo! 

On The Nightcap this week we hear about Conor McGregor's big windfall

Conor McGregor is in the money (again)

Conor McGregor bought out of Proper 12 Irish whiskey

Big news in Irish whiskey this week came from Becle, which bought Conor McGregor’s shares in Proper 12 Irish whiskey. The Mexican beverage company, which owns Jose Cuervo Tequila, Kraken Spiced Rum and Bushmills Distillery, revealed it had exercised an option to acquire 51 per cent of the equity interests of Eire Born Spirits, a company founded by McGregor and his manager Audie Attar. Becle initially had a 20% share of Proper 12, having helped EBS get the brand off the ground, and it had already increased its stake to 49% last year. Now it retains full ownership of the brand that McGregor launched in 2018. We’re sure he’s netted a very handsome fee for the sale (reports suggest he Attar will split £112 million), but it does raise the questions over how the Becle will now market Proper 12 without McGregor as the face of the brand. His regular championing of Proper 12 on his social media profiles and at press conferences certainly helped sales. But Becle may be happy to wash its hands of the controversial former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion, who will have put some people off the brand. Certainly, our customer reviews paint an interesting picture of Proper 12 as a divisive product. This month alone there’s a range of comments, with one person describing it as a “great tasting whisky that is only hated on by people who don’t like McGregor”, while another calls it “the worst Irish whiskey at the price point”. Of course, you won’t know on what side of the fence you sit until you find out for yourself…

On The Nightcap this week we hear about good tariff news

Get your Cognac orders in because the tariffs have been suspended!

Tariffs on rum and Cognac suspended

Remember last week when the US and the UK decided to shake hands and let sense prevail by suspending those silly tariffs on goods like Scotch whisky? Well, a similar deal has now been struck between the US and the EU. A four-month suspension of tariffs on products from both nations is now in effect, which is very good news for us booze fans. Gone are the 25% EU tariffs on US rum, brandy and vodka. As are the 25% US tariffs on liqueurs and cordials from Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain, and certain Cognac and other grape brandies from France and Germany. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen spoke to US president Joe Biden to agree to a temporary removal of the tariffs in relation to the Airbus-Boeing dispute and says the news was excellent for businesses and industries “on both sides of the Atlantic”, adding that it sends a “very positive signal for our economic cooperation in the years to come”. Trade group the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) were similarly pleased with the breakthrough in the long-running spat, saying it “left much destruction to the spirits sector in its wake” and that it comes at a key time for the US hospitality sector. However, Discus also said there was plenty left to discuss (sorry), as the EU and UK continue to impose a 25% tariff on American whiskey, which is due to double on 1 June this year. Discus called the tariff ‘unfair and not sustainable’ and has urged the Biden administration to find a speedy resolution that eliminates these “debilitating tariffs on spirits for good.” We can but hope. At least, for now, things are finally moving in the right direction.

On The Nightcap this week we learn about whisky's representation problem

Right now whisky marketing is failing to adequately represent women and people of colour

New report highlights gender disparity in whisky

An alarming, but sadly not that surprising report was published by Our Whisky this week which found that leading whisky brands’ Instagram accounts posts are sorely lacking when it comes to representing women and people of colour. The Women and Whisky: Female Representation in Social Media Marketing, which analysed the Instagram accounts of the world’s 150 largest and most influential whisky brands, reveals that men outnumber women by 228%, with women accounting for just 36% of people represented in 2020. Meanwhile, non-white ethnicities were represented in just 17.9% of posts that featured people. Becky Paskin, the co-founder of OurWhisky, says the study demonstrates we’re still far away from achieving gender equality. “Whisky brands have the power to normalise the fact women make and drink whisky by what they choose to show in their advertising and marketing,” Paskin explains. “They don’t need to feminise their brands, but by simply being more inclusive they can change the narrative and appeal to a wider demographic of potential customers, which has obvious business benefits as well.” With International Women’s Day this week, we’ve seen brands highlight some of the incredible women in our industry. But, while Paskin appreciates acknowledging female achievements, she adds that to really honour these women and make whisky truly inclusive, brands should consider how their year-round marketing is representative of today’s drinkers. 

On The Nightcap this week we learn about Pernod's new investment

La Hechicera Rum has joined Pernod Ricard’s considerable portfolio

Pernod Ricard acquires majority stake in La Hechicera Rum

Pernod Ricard’s considerable portfolio continues to swell as after it bought a big chunk of La Hechicera Rum. The purchase, for an undisclosed size and sum, is expected to be completed in the coming weeks and will give Pernod Ricard a majority stake in the Colombian rum brand which was launched in 2012 by Miguel and Laura Riascos along with their friend Martamaria Carrillo. La Hechicera’s flagship rum, as well as the Experimental expressions, will join Havana Club in Pernod’s rum ranks. It’s a move that’s pretty familiar to anyone who knows the drinks industry, as the French drinks giant made similar purchases  of Monkey 47, Smooth Ambler and Ojo de Tigre. This obviously appeals to La Hechicera Rum co-founder and marketing director Miguel Riascos, who says that thanks to these previous successful collaborations, “Pernod Ricard has shown itself to be the partner of choice for La Hechicera”. He adds that the company’s “passion for terroir and its extensive distribution network will ensure that our brand remains true to its Colombian roots and the vision of its creators, while reaching new consumers.” If it means more people get to discover this delightful rum, then we’re behind the move. Of course, you could always just check the MoM blog instead

On The Nightcap this week we learn about world's smallest(ish) Irish pub

Pint of Guinness, please. No logo in the foam.

Irish whiskey brands mark St. Patrick’s Day

As well as a new Redbreast whiskey, we’ve also been inundated with Irish whiskey brands excitedly informing us about St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The Irish patron saint’s day, (next Wednesday 17 March), is usually a major celebration but Irish whiskey’s finest have had to be a bit more creative thanks to lockdown. The Sexton has created a nocturnal cocktail kit, made of ingredients that thrive in the night-time and designed to be enjoyed in the dark, while Slane will host an online gig this weekend starring Damien Dempsey and Irish rock band THUMPER on the Hot Press YouTube channel. Elsewhere, Tullamore D.E.W got around the fact that we can’t get into pubs in time to celebrate by opening The World’s Smallest(ish) Irish pub. It invites virtual visitors to curate their own experience, with choices including comedy musings from Irish comedian Alison Spittle, traditional Irish toasts, music singalongs, and various Tullamore D.E.W. cocktail making masterclasses. Jameson, meanwhile, decided that a month-long series of virtual events was the way to go. To find out more about the Irish whiskey giants other plans, which include a competition to win a “once-in-a-lifetime” St. Paddy’s experience for 2022, you should visit the Jameson Connects platform or its social media pages. As long as there’s not a Fabergé egg in sight, we’re happy to spend the day with a dram of something Irish and delicious, but it’s nice to know there’s options a-plenty if we fancy making a bit more of a fuss.

On The Nightcap this week we check out The Last Drop's new initiative

‘The Assembly’ will help the brand launch some intriguing new creations.

The Last Drop creates new booze with worldwide spirits experts

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to drink booze created by an Avengers-style worldwide coalition of some of the best and brightest the industry has to offer, then you’re in luck. The Last Drop has created pretty much that with ‘The Assembly’. Featuring an independent panel of experts, innovators, and leaders drawn from across the spirits industry, the plan is that they will create a series of new signature blends. This is exciting because it marks a big change for The Last Drop, who you’ll have known best as curators but not creators. It includes the legendary Colin Scott, current master blender for The Last Drop, we well as JJ Corry Irish Whiskey founder Louise McGuane, the cellar master for Domaine de Sazerac Cognac, Denis Lahouratate, as well as Richard Seale, Drew Mayville and Michael d’Souza of Foursquare Rum, Sazerac and Paul John Whisky fame. The first release will be a limited-edition aged blended Scotch whisky created by Scott, who previously worked at Chivas Brothers for 43 years before joining The Last Drop. The brand’s managing director, Rebecca Jago, says it’s a hugely exciting milestone for The Last Drop and that The Assembly will play an “instrumental role as we develop, given our common focus on extraordinary quality and our shared philosophy of celebrating the remarkable”. She added that Last Drop is “delighted and immensely proud that such respected figures from across the industry have agreed to join us.” The only issue we can see is that “The Assembly, assemble!” is a proper rubbish call-to-arms. That will need some work.

On The Nightcap this week we've got world class bartenders!

Best of luck to you all!

GB Diageo World Class competition finalists announced… virtually!

Despite locky d’s, the annual Diageo World Class bartending competition has been taking place this year. Back in September three bartenders Stevie Kane, Kuba Korzynski and James Rawcliffe were chosen during London Cocktail Week. Now five more have triumphed. Their brief was to make a cocktail with The Singleton of Dufftown 12 year old. The winners were Alexa Farrow and Mark McClintock both from London, Stefanie Anderson and Murray Drysdale from Edinburgh, and Matt Arnold from Birmingham. All the judging was done virtually by Jo Last, World Class and malt whisky ambassador, and Pippa Guy, World Class and Tanqueray ambassador. Last commented: “Taking World Class virtual this year has been a new experience, but we’re overjoyed with its success so far. It was important for us to stay connected with our community of bartenders and to innovate, by adding new challenges to match the increased standards of competitors.” Pippa Guy adds: “We have really enjoyed being able to spend time with each of our competitors albeit virtual, and pleased to have been able to continue showcasing the amazing talent that the GB hospitality and drinks sector have to offer.” These eight will now go into the final that takes place in April. Virtually, naturally. The prize is a 12-month contract with bartender talent agency, Global Bartending, and a place on a WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits course. Good luck to all the finalists.

On The Nightcap this week we learn this world's fanciest Easter egg

It seems wrong to make so many egg puns about something so classy. But then, they are eggscellent fun…

And finally…. Have an eggstravagant Easter with Prosecco-infused chocolate 

Last week it was beer made with Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. This week our chocolate/ booze mash-up is a little more up-market. It’s a chocolate Easter egg infused with real Prosecco. Hang on, that doesn’t sound that classy. What about Champagne? But this isn’t any Prosecco. It’s Asolo Superiore 2020 from The Emissary. According to top chocolatier William Curley, the wine is “low in sugar, fresher and more versatile than most other sparkling wines, it pairs effortlessly with Amedei’s dark, rich and smooth chocolate flavours, without being overpowering.” He should know as he used to work in Michelin-starred restaurants and was the youngest ever chef pâtissier at The Savoy. As well as Prosecco, the eggs is made with a mango and passionfruit dark chocolate ganache. So a Yorkie bar, this ain’t. The price is pretty fancy too, £59 for a 400g egg. You’d be pretty eggcited to find one of these in your Easter basket.

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Drinks to take on a picnic

On the 8 March, UK residents will finally be allowed to meet friends outdoors which means one thing… picnic time! So, for all your outdoor feasting needs, here are our…

On the 8 March, UK residents will finally be allowed to meet friends outdoors which means one thing… picnic time! So, for all your outdoor feasting needs, here are our favourite drinks to take on picnics. 

There’s not doubt that the British love a picnic. We even celebrate the less enjoyable aspects of eating out of doors; who can forget those lines from John Betjamin’s poem Trebetherick: “Sand in the sandwiches, wasps in the tea”? 

Wasps aren’t the only hazard you can face on the beach. Last time we went to Ramsgate, a little boy ordered some chips and then next thing you know there were seagulls as big as pterodactyls swooping down to steal their share. They were eventually beaten off by a gang of children armed with cricket bats. Anyway, I suppose my point is that there’s lots of uncontrollable elements in life, but there’s no excuse for not having top quality booze.

Happily these days, there’s a massive choice of drinks suitable for taking on a picnic, and they’re all at Master of Malt. From delicious bitters and lagers, to fine ciders from Kent, the West Country and France. Not to mention delicious RTD (ready to drink) cocktails in cans and fantastic choice of wine. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites so stock up in preparation for the official beginning of picnic season. Don’t forget the corkscrew, and a cricket bat to beat off marauding seagulls.

Beer

Adnams Lighthouse Beer

Adnams Lighthouse

Adnams in Suffolk brews some of the finest beer in the country as well as making some impressive spirits. This Lighthouse Beer named after the famous Southwold landmark, is a picnic beer par excellence. It’s a light refreshing pale ale, packed with gentle hop character, and weighing in at a very drinkable 3.4% ABV.

Small Beer Lager

Small Beer Co. Lager 

One of the best things to happen to brewing in the last five years is the development of genuinely delicious low ABV beers. There’s some cracking ones at 0.5% ABV but we’re particularly taken with the slightly stronger range from the Small Beer Company. Everything it does is excellent but this lager packs a lot of flavour into its 2.1% ABV.

Cider

Sassy Cider

Sassy La Sulfureuse

The name comes from the sassiest castle in France, the Château de Sassy. It’s in the heart of Normandy, the home of French cider. This is a classic Norman sparkling cider but made from apples with pink flesh which gives it its pretty colour. The flavour is just off dry and packed full of sweet apple fruit. 

Ready-to-drink

Goslings Dark and Stormy

Goslings Dark and Stormy

Fancy a proper Dark ‘n’ Stormy made with Gosling’s Black Seal rum and ginger beer without messing around with bottles and jiggers? Well, now you can because this is the canned version. Simply add ice and a slice of lime and it’s just like being in the Caribbean. Or just drink it straight from the can.

East London Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

East London Liquor Company Grapefruit Gin & Tonic

This beauty comes from one of our favourite distillers, the East London Liquor Company, or ELLC to its friends. This blend of the company’s excellent grapefruit gin with tonic water should be in everyone’s Esky when the sun comes out. 

Ginking

Ginking

This is a splendid concoction. It’s a mixture of gin, English sparkling wine and mineral water. It manages to be refreshing, utterly delicious and it comes in at a very drinkable 8.5% ABV, much lower in alcohol than a straight sparkling wine. There are also Mediterranean and Italia versions.

Croft Twist

Croft Twist Elderflower, Lemon & Mint

Here’s another marvelous mash-up. It’s a sherry cocktail in a can blending Croft Fino sherry, elderflower, lemon and mint cordials as well as sparkling water. And only 5.5% ABV. Perfect for hot summer’s days.

Wine:

Saint Amour Beaujolais Domaine Chardigny

Domaine Chardigny Saint Amour A la Folie 2018

Beaujolais, made from the Gamay grape, is the ultimate picnic wine. It goes with pretty much any food and tastes equally delicious chilled as at room temperature. This example is packed full of fruits of the forest and partly-aged in concrete for maximum freshness.

domaine sautereau sancerre rose

Domaine Sautereau Sancerre Rosé 2019

Here’s one you may not have had before, Rosé from Sancerre, a region best known for its whites made from Sauvignon Blanc. This is made entirely from Pinot Noir and exhibits fresh strawberries with a citrus tang. It’s class in a glass.

Txomin Etxaniz 2019

Txomin Etxaniz 2019

It’s not the easiest wine to pronounce, but it’s worth getting your tongue around all those ‘x’s because this white wine is delicious. The grapes are Basque natives, Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza, and the resulting wine is light, vibrant and lemony with delicate fizz to it.

Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus

Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus 2019

This wine was a massive hit in our family last summer. It’s made from the grape that England has made its own, Bacchus. Then to keep all those vibrant citrus and elderflower flavours, it is carbonated. Yes, just like with lager. Also makes a great base for a Kir Royale, just add creme de cassis

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What we’re treating our mums to this Mother’s Day

We know our mums are awesome all year round – but we still want to make them feel loved on Mother’s Day! This is what Team MoM is picking up…

We know our mums are awesome all year round – but we still want to make them feel loved on Mother’s Day! This is what Team MoM is picking up for their mas this 14 March.

Mum, mother, mom, mam, mama, amma, ma, The Mothership…  We all call our mums different things here at MoM Towers (heck, it’s even almost in our own name!). The mothers either in or represented across the building (ok, we’re largely working remotely right now) come in all forms, too: single mothers, adoptive mothers, working mothers, working-plus-homeschooling mothers, mothers raising children together, step mothers, cat mothers, dog mothers, even plant mothers. Maybe we’re desperately missing our mothers. Motherhood looks different for everyone, and we want to celebrate it all year round, not just on Mother’s Day (14 March, if you still need to mark the diary!).

This year we thought we’d widen the conversation around motherhood. We asked people from across Team MoM to pick out a pressie for their ma. But we also asked people for their favourite quotes about motherhood, from books and poetry to TV and film. Read on, enjoy, get some inspiration, but most of all, let’s celebrate mothers!

Mother’s Day gifts from Team MoM

Lauren Cremin, Fulfilment Assistant: Mór Irish Gin

Lauren and her Mother's Day recommendation, Mór Irish Gin

This Mother’s Day, I’ll be treating my mum to a bottle of Mór Irish Gin. My mum LOVES a good G&T, especially one that gives a nod to her Irish heritage and that she can sip whilst reminiscing about her own mum who was actually from Abbeydorney, also in County Kerry! 🥰 Luckily, we have been surviving lockdown together so I’m sure if I ask nicely she’ll let me have a glass or two!

“I’m not a regular mom, i’m a cool mom, right, Regina?” – June George, Mean Girls

Emma Symons, Customer Relations Advisor: Hermitage 2005 Chez Richon Grande Champagne Cognac

Emma and her Mother's Day recommendation, Hermitage Cognac

Mum’s not a big spirits drinker, but a few Christmases ago, I bought myself a bottle of Hermitage to open after dinner. Feeling festive, Mum had a taste and discovered out she absolutely loved it! She ended up buying a bottle herself to share with dinner guests, which I know went down very well and wrapped up many a successful gathering – so well that it ran out a long time ago. I think this will be a lovely reminder of happy get-togethers and something to look forward to sharing around a table again one day in the not too distant future!

Henry Jeffreys, Features Editor: Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus

Henry's mum (plus his daughter), who looks likely to get  Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus for Mother's Day!

My mother loves a glass of bubbly so I think she’s going to enjoy this Kentish sparkler. It’s made from Bacchus, a grape that when grown in England tastes distinctly of elderflowers, another one of my mother’s favourite things. Here’s to you mum, let’s hope you get to play with your grandchildren again soon.

“A good mother loves fiercely but ultimately brings up her children to thrive without her. They must be the most important thing in her life, but if she is the most important thing in theirs, she has failed.” – Erin Kelly, The Burning Air

Holly Perchard, Customer Relations Advisor: Gin Mare Gift Pack with Lantern

Holly, her mum, and her Mother's Day gift recommendation, Gin Mare Gift Pack with Lantern

This Mother’s Day I’m definitely going to be getting my mum the Gin Mare gift pack with the gorgeous white lantern. Not only will the gin go down a treat, but we also get a nice lantern to put around the house! Daughter of the Year?

Kristiane Sherry, Editor: J.J. Corry The Sonas

Kristiane, her mother and Grandma with JJ Corry The Sonas for Mother's Day

I’m going to treat my mum to a bottle of The Sonas. It’s really deliciously soft Irish whiskey and its name means ‘happiness’ – which seems fitting for Mother’s Day! She’s in a bubble with my grandma too, so hopefully they can share a dram of happiness together.

“Anyone who ever wondered how much they could love a child who did not spring from their own loins, know this: it is the same. The feeling of love is so profound, it’s incredible and surprising.” – Nia Vardalos, Instant Mom 

James Ashby, Stock Control and Replenishment Coordinator: Lind & Lime Gin

James, his mum, and a Lind & Lime Mother's Day treat

I’ll probably get my mother a bottle of gin, like Lind & Lime, Twisted Nose or Mermaid Gin. She’ll enjoy the gin and then add some bottle lights to them to use as a lamp.

Abbie Green, Customer Relations Advisor: Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label

Abbie and her mum will toast Mother's Day with Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label

For Mother’s Day this year, I am going to buy my mum her absolute favourite bottle of Champagne: Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label. I chose it because this Champagne brings joy to everyone, just like my mum! It’s the perfect gift for any occasion.

“Mothers are all slightly insane” – J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Jess Williamson, Content Assistant: Bathtub Gin

Jess, her mum and a Mother's Day treat in the form of Bathtub Gin!

My mum adores Bathtub Gin, even more so after we both became obsessed with Negronis together! It’s the gin she always ends up going back to no matter what, so it’s a failsafe pressie that she’ll definitely love. I won’t be able to share a G&T (or Negroni) with her this year, but at least I’ll know she’ll be enjoying whatever she makes!

Guy Hodcroft, Buyer: Foursquare Spiced Rum

Mother Hodcroft will get Foursquare Spiced Rum for Mother's Day

During a trip to Barbados in the late 1990s (a trip to which, I should add, my brother and I were NOT invited), my mother developed a taste for the excellent spiced rum produced by Foursquare. Used as a tot in coffee for a winter warmer or a base for tropical cocktails in summer, it has become a firm favourite.

Whether you’re a mum yourself or celebrating yours (or both!), Happy Mother’s Day!

 

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Top 10 delicious drinks for Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is fast approaching! Don’t forget to treat your mum with something tasty – luckily we’ve rounded up a whole range of gift-worthy tipples right here… This is your…

Mother’s Day is fast approaching! Don’t forget to treat your mum with something tasty – luckily we’ve rounded up a whole range of gift-worthy tipples right here…

This is your friendly reminder to get your hands on something delicious for Mother’s Day (it’s on 14 March, FYI). Nothing beats cracking open a bottle together, though this year it’s probably going to be a little different – let the Zoom drinks commence! Nonetheless, you can rest easy knowing that you picked out a top bottle for her to enjoy for the occasion. 

Brilliant bottles await! 

Lind & Lime Gin

Lind & Lime Gin

Your mum will love a gorgeous bottle of delicious gin, and that’s exactly what we have here – Lind & Lime Gin is the first release from Edinburgh’s Port of Leith Distillery! The zesty spirit was inspired by Dr. James Lind of Edinburgh, who first made the link between citrus fruits and scurvy. Alongside a good dose of lime citrus there’s pink peppercorn and juniper spice, too. Plus, after it’s been drunk, you could use the bottle for all sorts of other purposes. Candle holder. Vase. Lamp. The list goes on!

What does it taste like? Bright citrus, fresh and authentic. Juniper is oily and subtly spicy, bolstered by pink pepper and cardamom warmth.

Jaffa Cake Rum

Jaffa Cake Rum

Orange and chocolate. A dynamic duo, and flavours you’ll often find in aged rum. The folks behind Jaffa Cake Rum went one step further, a blended Caribbean rum with real life Jaffa cakes, alongside oranges, fresh orange peel and cocoa powder! Make sure to whip your mum up a Rum Old Fashioned, garnished with a Jaffa cake – failing that, a ribbon of orange peel will do. Mother’s Day drinks, done!

What does it taste like? Zesty orange, cake-y vanilla, and tropical fruit tang, with dark chocolate and bittersweet coffee bringing balance.

Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old

Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old

Whether your mum is a seasoned sipper or looking to explore the world of whisky, Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old is a superb choice. The delicate and flavoursome Highland single malt was aged in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry casks, with just a smidge of smoke running through it. Sublime stuff, and maybe she’ll even share a dram with you if you’re nice enough to give it to her!  

What does it taste like? Oily and nutty, with almond and butterscotch alongside heather honey, malt biscuits, and oaky vanilla. 

Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus 2019

Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus 2019

Our Kentish neighbours at Chapel Down know exactly how to make the most out of their Bacchus grapes, and this sparkling wine is one such example! This is a wonderfully refreshing English wine, brimming with vibrant fruit and gentle vanilla notes, all carried by fine bubbles. The perfect bottle to pop open on 14 March!

What does it taste like? Elderflower, pineapple, mango, citrus, cut grass, and nectarine.

Mermaid Pink Gin

Mermaid Pink Gin

Remember what we said literally just now about beautiful bottles and delicious gin? Well, not to hammer the point home, but we’ve got another brilliant example here from the Isle of Wight Distillery! It’s a blushing variant of its gorgeous Mermaid Gin, infused with strawberries from the aforementioned isle. Think bright berry fruitiness balanced by savoury rock samphire and herbaceous Boadicea hops, and you’re there. Pair with a splash of elderflower tonic and handful of fresh strawberries, and serve it straight to your mum. A sure way to become the favourite!

What does it taste like? A burst of bright berries initially, with citrus and piney notes, balanced by subtly coastal samphire.

Starward (New) Old Fashioned

Starward (New) Old Fashioned

Mother’s Day calls for cocktails! Though if you’re not familiar with the ol’ shaker or stirrer, a pre-bottled serve might be the best option. This is the (New) Old Fashioned from Starward in Australia, made with its very own whisky, house-made bitters, and, for an extra Australian touch, wattleseed demerara syrup. If you have ice and a glass, then you’re ready to serve this tasty tipple!

What does it taste like? Sharp orange, stewed berries and strawberry jam, oak, a hint of mint leaf.

Project #173 Pineapple Rum

Project #173 Pineapple Rum

A tropical treat for you from the Project #173 range, made with a delicious top-quality rum base which has been flavoured with the tangy delights of pineapple! It’s totally gift-worthy too, because it’s presented in a bottle adorned with actual 23 karat gold leaf. Go on and make Mother’s Day Daiquiri with this. It’s like a normal Daiquiri, except you’ve made it on Mother’s Day without being asked!

What does it taste like? Vibrant pineapple, and tangy tropical fruit, with fried banana, runny caramel, and a crackle of peppery spice.

Dr. Squid Gin

Dr. Squid Gin

Yes, this is unusual, but that’s what makes this Cornish tipple amazing! Dr. Squid Gin is from the Pocketful of Stones Distillery in Penzance, and it’s made with real squid ink – we know you saw that one coming, you read the name, right? As such, there’s a coastal touch to the spirit, balanced by those classic notes of juniper, citrus, and spice. As if it wasn’t cool enough, it even turns bright pink when mixed with tonic water! And it’s presented in a copper flask! See? Cool!

What does it taste like? Juniper and citrus kick it off, with a subtly savoury sea breeze running through, along with a helping of sweeter florals.

Caoruun Gin

Caorunn Small Batch Gin

First things first, if you’re going to give Caorunn Gin to your mum, you’re going to have to know how to pronounce it. It’s ‘ka-roon’. You’ll also probably want to know what’s in the Scottish spirit, and it’s local botanicals galore! Hand-picked rowan berry, heather, coul blush apple, and dandelion feature in here, and its signature serve is with a good quality tonic and slice of apple to garnish.

What does it taste like? Floral heather, woody juniper, and green, leafy notes, with a burst of citrus and spice.

Drinks by the Dram 12 Dram Premium Gin Collection

Drinks by the Dram 12 Dram Premium Gin Collection

Drinks by the Dram has taken all the hard work out of choosing by doing it for you, rounding up 12 of its favourite gins in this gorgeous collection. Within you’ll find 12 wax-sealed 30ml drams from all over the world – we’re talking England, Australia, Finland, and more! It’s the perfect shape for easy wrapping (should you be so inclined), though covered in florals it’s pretty just as it is.

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Top ten: White wines under £25

Whether you’re a lover of rich oak-aged Burgundies or partial to a refreshingly zesty Sauvignon Blanc, we’ve got white wines for every palate. Here are some of our favourites: Earlier…

Whether you’re a lover of rich oak-aged Burgundies or partial to a refreshingly zesty Sauvignon Blanc, we’ve got white wines for every palate. Here are some of our favourites:

Earlier this month we tapped in the formidable knowledge in our buying team to pick the best reds under £25 on the Master of Malt shelves. Now, it’s the turn of the white wines. 

We’ve travelled all over the world for this selection from countries that are likely to be familiar to wine lovers like France and South Africa, to more obscure places like Greece and AustriaThe grape varieties too run the gamut from the household names, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, to the barely pronounceable, Hondarrabi Zuri. All of them are delicious and really over-deliver for the money. 

Our pick of white wines under £25:

These white wines are delicious and available at bargain prices!

Céline et Vincent Dureuil Bourgogne Blanc 2016

One of the tricks with buying white Burgundy is to find a top producer, like this one, and then buy its everyday Bourgogne Blanc. It’s likely to punch well above its lowly appellation, just as this one does. 

How does it taste?

Honeydew melon with a refreshing citrus acidity and a long finish of hazelnuts and dark spicy notes. Try with fancy fish like turbot or Dover sole. 

These white wines are delicious and available at bargain prices!

Laurent Tribut Chablis 2017

Chardonnay is such a versatile grape variety making everything from lush oaked wines to lean refreshing numbers like this Chablis. It’s produced by the excellent Laurent Tribut, a family-run French winery. 

How does it taste?

Bone dry but packed with notes of pear and lemon peel with a flash of almonds on the finish. This would make a fine partner to some tasty shellfish. 

These white wines are delicious and available at bargain prices!

Cantina Terlan Winkl Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Here’s something you don’t see every day, a Sauvignon Blanc from Italy. This is made in the Sud Tyrol in the far north of the country. It spends 12 months in large oak barrels at the winery before bottling.  

How does it taste?

Zingy fresh with elderflower, peach, limes, peaches and aromatic fresh mint. This would be delicious with a rich goat’s cheese tart.

These white wines are delicious and available at bargain prices!

Schatzel Riesling 2016 

German Rieslings today tend to be much drier than in the past. There’s just a tiny bit of sugar here but it’s so fresh and invigorating that it tastes bone dry. It’s made by an old family estate in the Rhine region, Germany’s wine heartland. 

How does it taste?

Lots of white peach and citrus fruit character. Clean, with mouth-watering acidity, this would be great with fatty food like roast pork with apple. 

These white wines are delicious and available at bargain prices!

Centopassi Grillo Rocce di Pietra Longa 2018 

Grillo is a variety native to western Sicily and in the past was in fortified wine, Marsala, but it also makes superb dry whites like this one. The grapes in this are organic and were aged in steel to preserve those fruit flavours. 

How does it taste?

Zesty, with pink grapefruit, lemon and lime, and a hint of salinity on the finish. The perfect wine to go with spaghetti vongole. 

These white wines are delicious and available at bargain prices!

Lyrarakis Dafní Psarades 2019

If you can taste a herbal note in here, don’t be surprised, because the grape Dafní means bay leaf in Greece. It’s native to the island of Crete, home to some increasingly good wines like this delicious little number from the Lyrarakis winery.

How does it taste?

Green and herbaceous notes of rosemary, pine and indeed, bay, followed by a zing of lemon peel. Bring on the Greek salad!

These white wines are delicious and available at bargain prices!

Lockhart Chardonnay 2017 

California’s Lockhart has brought us this Chardonnay, made with grapes sourced from vineyards in Napa and Sonoma. The grapes were fermented in both stainless steel tanks and oak barrels for two weeks, so the oak influence here is very subtle.

What does it taste like?

Lemon curd, nuts and cantaloupe, with a hint of flinty minerality alongside nectarine and citrus blossom. We think it would be nice with a buttery roast chicken.

These white wines are delicious and available at bargain prices!

Eschenhof Holzer Wagram Grüner Veltliner 2018

This organic white wine is the work of Eschenhof Holzer, produced exclusively with Grüner Veltliner, Austria’s signature white grape, in the Wagram region. Sommeliers love GV, as it’s known, because it’s such a versatile food wine. 

What does it taste like?

Lime zest and green apple skin, nectarine sweetness and subtle spice. It’s a great partner to spicy Thai food. 

These white wines are delicious and available at bargain prices!

Bat Gara Txakoli Uno 2018

Txakoli or Chacoli as it’s sometimes spelt makes one of the world’s most refreshing wines in the Basque country. This example is made by Bat Gara predominantly from the Hondarrabi Zuri with a small amount of Riesling.

What does it taste like?

With its subtly flinty notes, with ripe green apples, and fresh hay, it’s a great seafood all-rounder with dishes like gambas a la plancha.

These white wines are delicious and available at bargain prices!

Eekhoring White Blend 2018

This is what’s known as a Cape blend, a uniquely South African mixture of grapes, usually with Chenin Blanc in the majority. Eekhoring White Blend is harvested from old vines and the grapes are fermented in a mixture of stainless steel and old oak barrels. 

What does it taste like?

Apple blossom, lime citrus and waxy hints, with under-ripe peach appearing on a dry finish. Good with rich vegetable dishes like ratatouille. 

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