Newsletter – Wednesday 1st July
Happy Wednesday Team!
How are we all doing this week? What a week for weather, last week! Absolutely glorious, then crashing down with that drop in temperature and big winds on Saturday. I hope that you all managed to keep cool and then get warm when it was needed!
So, what’s on this week? Well, today is Ginger Snap Day! So, let’s start off with talking about gin and ginger. Naturally it’s good to share some recipes, so I’d like to share a recipe for ginger snap biscuits, as well as the ginger snap cocktail.
Gin and ginger have a long history together. In fact, research suggests that gin and gingerbread was one of the very first food pairings, served at the Frost Fairs held on the frozen River Thames. Frost Fairs have been held since as far back as the 7th Century, the earliest one being recorded in 695, although under a different name. Vendors would set up they’re stalls on the frozen river to sell goods, alcohol and various activities would be held. In 1608 these events became known as Frost Fairs. These events continued whenever the winter frost permitted it and in the 1800s it was common for stalls to sell gingerbread and hot gin, a staple indulgence for visitors. Hot alcohol was commonplace and an important necessity. In this time, Britain was experiencing what is known as the Little Ice Age and temperatures were low, with inadequate heating in most places. The link between gin and ginger was forged. Some of the earliest cocktails were a mixture of gin and ginger syrup and in the navy, gin was sometimes drunk with ginger beer, known as a Hatfield.
So, before we look at cocktails. How abouts we bake some of those delicious little things? I’ve found a great little recipe, care of All Recipes, Grandma’s Gingersnap Cookies
And now we’ve made some of those, let’s look at the cocktail! The Ginger Snap. Here’s a great recipe of a Ginger Snap made with gin, care of Difford’s Guide. There are variations with vodka and with rum. Considering how wonderful rum works with ginger it would be well worth trying a rum variation.
And what gins would we recommend to go with the ginger snap? Well, as history states, Old Tom is a firm favourite. Old Toms are a style that is slightly sweeter than London Drys. Back in the day, these gins were known as sweeter as there was oftens something added to cover the lack of quality in homemade gin. Sugar was sometimes added, Liquorice more so as it was cheaper. It wasn’t always sweetened, in some instances gins were cask aged, giving the gin a slight colouration and flavours obtained from the wood. There is this historial link, but I would also add that the sweetness of Old Tom gins work very well with the spice of ginger.
At the Gin and Rum Festival shop, we would suggest the following gin:
Sacred Old Tom: This high-strength interpretation of the 18th-century staple. With bold notes of Juniper and Liquorice Root, alongside a modern flourish of vacuum-distilled Spanish Sweet Orange Peels.
Bruni Collins: A Premium London Dry Gin from Granada (South of Spain), distilled three times for an amazing purity. Using 8 different botanicals; juniper berries, cardamom, coriander, angelica, lime, ginger, mandarin as well as one secret ingredient. Buy it here
And, as mentioned, you can easily ‘rum up’ your Ginger Snap cocktail. Rum goes beautifully with ginger. A Dark and Stormy is a favourite cocktail of mine, comprising lime, brown sugar, ginger beer and rum. So, if you’re more a rum person than a gin person, I‘d suggest the following, again, available from our shop.
Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof British Navy Rum: Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof is a classic British style rum, inspired by the recipe used to produce the tot given to sailors as their daily ration until Black Tot Day, 31July 1970. Buy it here
So, once again, here we are. I hope you’ve found this interesting and have some great fun with the recipes. Take care of yourselves and have a great week!
Newsletter – Wednesday 24th June
Happy Wednesday Team
How are we doing this week? Hope you’re all keeping well out there! This week we’re doing something slightly different. We will still have some drinks for you to try, but today it is Upcycle Day, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to share some brilliant ideas of what to do with those used bottles of yours. And, this is also a great opportunity to talk about sustainability in the distilling industry.
Sustainability is a buzz word in the distilling industry right now. As we become more environmentally conscious, being sustainable has not only become something desirable to a distillery for its efficiency, it’s also become a great selling point as more and more customers become more aware and look for sustainable processes in their products.
I recently investigated sustainability for an article in Gin Magazine and it was quite amazing to see the creative solutions that were being implemented into distilling processes. Once improvements are recognised and made to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible, the remaining can be offset by contributions to factories that remove carbon dioxide from the air by a process called direct air capture, making certain distilleries carbon neutral and even carbon negative, meaning that with their continuing production, their impact on the environment is that carbon is removed from the air. Not everyone can afford to do this and for those smaller craft distilleries getting onto their feet, there are lots of little things that can be done, from eco friendly packaging, to sending gin in recyclable pouches as opposed to bottles.
But we do like a bottle. It’s the collectors trophy, something to keep once the spirit has gone. There are some wonderful ‘shelfies’ about, showcasing a collector’s pride and joy. There are some enormous collections out there. Not all of us want a collection of empty bottles, and there are some that are just too beautiful for a bottle bank. I find they work well as bookends to fill gaps in bookcases and I don’t even need to do anything crafty for that. However, people go mad for a bit of upcycling. So, if you’ve got a creative streak, or know someone who has, here are some great little ideas for upcycling your bottles into something fantastic.
Let’s start with the simple, keep it easy. Here are 10 great ideas for upcycling gin bottles.
And for something a little more involved. Here’s an article that doesn’t just include gin, but wine and beer bottles as well.
Cor, that all looks like thirsty work. And I’ve not even shared a cocktail yet, how rude of me! Well, rest easy, I don’t like to let people dry out. And, it’s also Praline Day today, so let’s get fixed up with a few delicious praline based cocktail, centred around the delicious confectionery. Yes, praline is a confectionary. Confession, I didn’t know this until I did some research. So, thought perhaps we could start with a recipe for making praline. It could be an excellent side to your cocktail.
Delicious! And now we’ve got a good handle on what praline is, how about we get onto some praline cocktails. Now, I’m normally very careful to share gin and rum cocktails as that’s what we like, right? However, gin and rum seem to sit back and let other liqueurs do the work with praline. I’ve shared some recipes I find interesting, I would also be really curious as to what would happen if we replaced some of these spirits with rum.
Tequila and praline? Are you mad? Absolutely not, this drink is a real game changer.
What an extraordinary cocktail. And I’m sure it will taste incredible.
And what rum would you try with these? There’s one in particular that really stands out to me.
Queen Cleo Spiced Rum: Queen Cleo Spiced Rum begins it’s journey as a smooth dark rum, run in from the Caribbean. It is then fearlessly spiced in the UK using a bold mix of botanicals; a luscious blend of caramel, pecan, vanilla, hidden spices and refreshing lime. Buy it here
And there we have it! Lots for you to do this week. Hope you enjoy it and see you next Wednesday!
Newsletter – 17th June 2020
Happy Wednesday Team!
Four days on, the dust is beginning to settle on World Gin Day. What a wonderful event! The spirits industry is such a fantastic community of vibrant and interesting people sharing a real passion for their product. It’s a very special thing. Emma, or Gin Monkey, the event organiser, really pulled it out of the bag with a whole host of events, covered all around the globe. And whilst the world may feel more segregated by Covid-19, Saturday’s effort reminded me just how connected we all still are.
If you missed out on the day, please don’t worry! There is still so much you can find online. There has been a whole host of distillery tours, pane discussions, tastings. So head onto social media (Twitter is a good option) and sech #WorldGinDay.
“So what are we celebrating this week?” I hear you cry! Well team, it’s only National Apple Strudel Day in the US, and that got me thinking about the humble apple. There is so much you can do with those tasty little morsels. So I’ve not only got some cocktail recipes for you, I’ve also got a recipe for a rummy Apple Strudel too.
Care of ChefSteps, we have a gimlet with a difference! This recipe could be as simple as they come, but there is the clever twist of lemon foam. It’s a genius twist on a classic. Not only that but this page also includes a lovely bit of history on the gimlet, one of gin’s great historic cocktails.
And what gin would you use for this? The recipe suggests an Old Tom, a gin with a sweeter style than London Drys. Sacred Old Tom: This high-strength interpretation of the 18th-century staple, with bold notes of Juniper and naturally sweet Liquorice Root, alongside a modern flourish of vacuum-distilled Spanish Sweet Orange Peels, which accentuate this classic sweeter gin.
Next up, not quite an apple strudel cocktail, this apple crumble cocktail was too good not to share. Sugar and Soul have created something really wonderful with this little drink and it is a glorious example of the beautiful combination of apple and rum.
And a great cocktail like this deserves a great rum. Luckily we’ve got a spiced rum that fits the bill and it’s on special offer in our shop too! Rebellion Spiced Rum. The spicy figurehead of the Rebellion rum range – packed full of spice and great as the foundation of a tasty Cuban. Interestingly, this rum comes from a distillery founded in 1824.
And lastly on the cocktail front, this snazzy little number. Bon Appetit have really knocked it out the park with this, their Holiday Rum Sparkler. It sounds like pure heaven in a glass, deep, sweet, yet fresh and fizzy. Pick me a winner!
One rum from our collection stood out for this cocktail, Cana Y Colema Honey Rum. It’s made from a blend of quality aged rums and the finest honey, which are combined to make a drink with a fine body and an exquisite flavour. If you are going to use this I’d maybe lessen how much honey you put in to the cocktail. Let the spirit do the work wherever you can.
How do you get rum into an apple strudel? You soak the raisins, of course! No problems if you’re not too hot on the original recipe, here’s a recipe that tells you how to do the whole thing.
I am almighty hungry for apple strudel now. I might have to scratch that itch and make one over the weekend. If you have a go do let me know, and if there’s anything you wanted to share you can always find me at email@example.com
Newsletter – Wednesday 6th June 2020
Happy Wednesday Team!
Strap yourselves in. This week is something special. Because on Saturday, we all get to celebrate WORLD GIN DAY! Woooooo!!!
World Gin Day was set up some 6 years ago by a top notch lady called Emma, otherwise known as the Gin Monkey. You can find her on this handle on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as her blog at http://www.ginmonkey.co.uk/. She is one of the leading gin bloggers and she knows her juniper! Do give her a follow, a tweet, a like, and strap yourselves in for a fantastic celebration of everything that is gin.
As with everything right now, World Gin Day is going virtual with it’s celebrations. But fear not! There is a wealth of stuff to do, from distillery tours to tastings to gin runs. There are some great distilleries involved. It’s all about getting together and enjoying the lovely stuff. My advice? Check out https://worldginday.com/whats-on/ for a full list of what’s on through the day and what great things you can get involved in. An extra bit of advice, check it soon and get in any supplies you might need for a marvellous day of gin and gin-based cocktails. All I ask is if you’re making gin-based cocktails, or you’re celebrating gins then you share those pictures with the hashtag #WorldGinDay. Likewise you can search that hashtag to see what everyone else has been doing to celebrate.
Are you thinking of making a few cocktails for the weekend? My cocktail shaker is a damn good friend of mine and we’ve had many a good night together. A cocktail shaker is very important. Though, if you don’t have one, you can make do with stirring. Martinis can be stirred, not shaken, you know? There are differences in preference, but at the end of the day, it’s your drink, you make it how you like it.
So with that, I wanted to give you some recipes from the two king of gin cocktails to try and as always, some gin recommendations from our shop to get your drinks a’clinklin..
The Martini. So, I share a lot of martini recipes and the thing is, it’s such a versatile drink. Gin and vermouth right? But gosh, it is not that simple. You can shake it or stir it. Some people will stir/shake the vermouth with ice then drain it and shake the gin with the ice. Some people will use a small amount of vermouth and mix it in. And then we have the astounding variety of gins and vermouths to use so your palette so to speak is just massive. Try and match flavours. Think about what works and what doesn’t and the fun part, try it out! Here’s something to get you started:
The Negroni. Gollygosh a Negroni is a special piece of work. The villain to Bonds Martini, a Negroni is fierce, intense and bitter. There are bouts around the world as to whether the Martini or Negroni is King of the cocktail. Maybe you could try your hand at both and have your own tournament. Here’s a great selection of recipes just for you:
So as we always do, here are some recommendations for some great gins that are going to make some really good gin cocktails with a little bit of edge. Also, this week they are taken from our World Gin category, to celebrate World Gin Day.
Sloanes Dry Gin: Named after the 18th century botanist Sir Hans Sloane, who is said to have discovered many of the plants used to flavour gins today. Botanicals include iris root, coriander, angelica root, cardamom pods, liquorice root and whole vanilla beans. Buy it here
Scapegrace Gin: Now, this is a particular favourite of mine in the gin world. Scapegrace Gin comes to us all the way from New Zealand, featuring a selection of 12 botanicals, jjuniper, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, lemon peel, orange peel, orris, cinnamon, cassia, angelila and liquorice. Lovely stuff. Buy it here
Glendalough Rose Gin: Wild Rose from the Wicklow mountains. Large, fragrant Heritage Roses and the ancient prized Damask Rose make up the rose gin. All of which come together to make this a naturally pink and very floral gin. Why did I go for this? It’s niche, it’s particular, there are a lot of cocktails it won’t work in. But if you have a love for floral flavours and fancy making some floral cocktails then this could be the one for you. It’s always worth thinking about how those spirits are going to work with everything else in there. Buy it here
So, once again, there we are! I am so super excited for World Gin Day. I can’t hype it enough! It’s a great event and Emma has gone to great lengths to ensure that despite the lockdown we can all celebrate in style so get yourselves involved and have a fabulous time!
Newsletter – Wednesday 3rd June 2020
Happy Wednesday Team!
And how are we doing this week? Still looking out for each other and hasn’t the weather been so beautiful?
What with all this sun, I wanted to continue on from last week with the idea of sunshine drinks. Now, I don’t know about you, but one of the ultimate sunshine drinks for me is a Tiki Cocktail. Tiki Cocktails are amazing! I’ve been lucky enough to visit a specialist Tiki Bar in San Francisco called Voodoo Village and their cocktails are next level. So, without further delay, pour yourself a drink and get yourselves comfortable for a little bit of Tiki history, followed by recipes for some of the stars of the show and some suitable rums for the job.
The History dates back to Polynesia, in the South Pacific. The word Tiki, is the name of the first man created in Maori mythology. Carved wooden statues representing Gods inspire the ‘typical serve’ ceramic cups found in Tiki Bars, apparently stemming from one of the first, a bar called Donn the Beachcomber, in Hollywood, California, opened by a chap called Donn Beach in the 1930s. Inspired by his travels, he began recreating the flavours he experienced with rum and fruit like pineapple and guava.
The next important development is the invention of the Mai Tai, renowned king of the Tiki cocktails. There is more than one story as to its invention (often the way with drinks), but a common story is that the Maitai was invented in the 1940 by a man called Victor Jules Bergeron, or ‘Trader Vic’ as he’s now known, and rival of Don Beach. Vic tested his recipe (pineapple juice, orange curacao liqueur, light rum and dark rum) on a couple of friends from Tahiti, to which one exclaimed “Mai tai-roa ae” or “Out of this world – The best”. This is supposedly where the drink gets its name.
Tiki Bars found another surge in popularity during the 1950’s when air travel from the US to Hawaii became more common. Tiki Bars are still popular on the West Coast of the US, although I’d say we do need a few more of them here in the UK, although the Mai Tai has found its way onto the menu of many bars.
I’m thirsty now. Let’s whip up some cocktails, starting with the Mai Tai. For this I refer you to Difford’s Guide which has the original Trader Vic recipe, along with the story.
Next up, one of my favourites, the Zombie. The Zombie actually a creation of Donn Beaches. The Zombie is pretty simple in concept. All the rums and all the fruits! Most people make them in different ways, but often you’ll see light, anejo and dark rums in the mix. They pack a powerful punch and are definitely a drink to drink responsibly. Here you have a handy link that gives you three different recipes of this cocktail.
Final, another classic, the Hurricane. The Hurricane is top draw delicious and often served in a rather generous glass based on the design of the hurricane lamp. Created in New Orleans at Pat O’Briens Bar during WW2, when there was a lack of whisk. The drink is super fruit with orange, passionfruit and lime. Here is a great little recipe from Liqour.com
And as always, some recommendations of suitable rums from our shop to help you create some real Tiki masterpieces. Considering the recipes, I thought it best to suggest a light, a dark and something inbetween.
El Dorado 12-Year-Old: Awards the gold medal at the Caribbean Rum Taste Test (hld annually in London) no fewer than seven times in the first ten years that the competition was held. A good base for any cocktail. Buy it here
Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum: The clue is in the name, right? A blast of vanilla and lime. Perfect served on it’s own over ice with a couple of fresh lime wedges or served with your favourite mixer, this will knock your socks up. Exactly what you need to give you cocktail some extra oomph. Buy it here
Unconventional Distillery Original White: They use a 12 plate reflux still rather than a traditional pot to create a smooth, clean and flavourful spirit. Using white oak barrels, they get flavours of caramel vanilla, cream and almond. Just what you need for smoothing that cocktail into something delicious. Buy it here
Ta-da! I’m super excited for you guys! The world of Tiki cocktails is a bright and beautiful place. Enjoy!
Newsletter – 27th May 2020
Happy Wednesday Team!
How are we all doing? Did we have a good bank holiday Monday? I hope you managed to get a little bit of sunshine wherever you are, even if through an open window. Sitting in a chair in a sunny nook is a lovely thing. Now, today it’s sunscreen day today, so we’re celebrating everything sunshine. Plus, last week I took a ‘faux holiday’ at home (should have been Lisbon but hey, we’re all in the same boat there, huh?) And, on that first day away, I forgot my sun cream and burnt like a piece of bacon which definitely made the rest of the holiday a little trickier. So, with this in mind, I thought not only could I use this as a great opportunity to remind you all to cream up if you’re going outside. I could give you some hints on ‘faux holidaying’ at home, and deliver some bright flavoured gins and a suitable sunshine cocktail or two.
So, let’s start with the important thing. As you cool kids (the class of 95) will know, Baz Luhrmann once said “If I could offer you one piece of advice for the future, sunscreen would be it.” It’s important stuff and can save your life down the line so if you’re getting out in the sun give yourselves a good slathering of the white stuff first. I’ve taken to using factor 50 as once it’s on I know I’m alright for a bit.
Now we’ve got that important public announcement out of the way, let’s move onto the fun part huh? Firstly, if you have been affected by a holiday cancellation but are still taking that holiday, here are some top tips for recreating that holiday vibe at home. Yes, this is what we did last week, and I loved every second of it.
I know some of those sound silly. But I found a bit of imagination really did help. No, we weren’t actually there, but all these little things helped create an experience that we really enjoyed and we definitely spent more time having fun than wishing we were there.
Well hey, so far in and still no spirits This needs rectifying immediately! With a rather special little cocktail recently that I discovered via Cookin Canuk. I was draw to this receipt immediately by its use of one of one of my favourite citrus fruits, clementine along with the use of tarragon. An unusual but fabulous herb.
Then, we have this rather gorgeous little thing, care of the Spruce Eats. The colour of this drink, the straight up martini serve and the mingling flavours of gin and apricot brandy are something a little special. No wonder it’s call a Paradise Cocktail.
And lastly. A simple twist on a stone cold classic. The Tequila Sunrise must be one of the most classic sunshine cocktails there is. And surprise, it’s super easy to make a gin version. Check out this recipe from Nutmeg Nanny and get cracking.
And as always, here’s my recommendations of bright gins from our range. To be honest, with this sort of cocktail you could use a dry as you get so much lush sweetness from the clementine. But hey, if you like those bright notes then these will be for you!
Rascal: Although not citrus, I think Rascal makes the cut when it comes to what I’d call a sunshine gin. Light bright flavours reminiscent of a summer’s day. Passion fruit and raspberry take classic citrus to another level. Premium strength, no added sugar and a must try for pornstar martini fans. Buy it here
Fines Master London Dry: A gin created by professional rugby players Pat Cillers and Mike Rhodes. A classic gin with a hearty helping of citrus deliciousness namely orange, lime and grapefruit. The bottle even comes in a wrap reminiscent of a rugby jersey. It’s the big blast of citrus here that gives that lovely bright idea of sunshine. Love it. Buy it here
Mumbai: It doesn’t get much sunnier than the lush sweet flavours of mango. India’s greatest gift to the world is its native mango. Also known as the king of fruits, Mumbai gin is brimming with this tropical flavour and a burst of pomegranate. Buy it here
And there we go! A little bit of sunshine for you all. I hope you enjoy having a go at the drinks and do check out our shop for some of the recommendations. Hope you have an amazing few days in the sun. Have fun and get that sun cream on!
Newsletter – 20th May 2020
Well hey there team!
It’s Wednesday! And it’s not just Wednesday, it’s Pick Strawberries Day! What a perfect encapsulation of childhood. Strawberry picking is a past time that seems to be on hold at the moment. Fingers crossed we get that back soon.
So, in the interim, I’ve got a selection of strawberry based spirits to offer you. And, it’s only right that I offer you some strawberry based cocktails, as well as some great strawberry based gins and rums.
I saw a video online the other day that I just have to share with you. Paul Hollyfield purchasing a £350 strawberry. Nonsense! I first thought, but then I watched it and golly, if I had a spare £350, which I don’t (who does nowadays), I’d have totally taken up that guy on his world leading strawberries. He’s spent a long time perfecting that breeding to create something truly marvellous and with the ideas playing in there. You can check out the video below.
Watching that made me super fancy some of the juicy little red devils. So, let’s get started on some strawberry based classic cocktails.
Head honcho of the strawberry cocktail is arguably the strawberry daiquiri. This white rum based delight is a cream in girly social circles and it’s a bit more than that as far as I’m concerned. Sweet fruit with white rum is an absolute winner on a hot day. So have a crack at this easy version from Miss in the Kitchen:
So, tha gives us a little bit of rum, but let’s make something that involves gin, as it’s a diva really and doesn’t liem being left out. It was tricky to find a quintessential strawberry based gin cocktail but I went with this one purely because it acknowledges the beautiful relationship between strawberry and basil. Not only that but I love the fact that this isn’t a particular cocktail. It’s just a mush up of different things and therefore has no particular identity other than a strawberry and basil cocktail:
So now we’ve given you some ideas of what you can do with strawberries, let’s showcase you some things that distillers have, and that you can have, by heading over to our shop.
Gin Ting Berries, Berries, Berries. Who has tried Gin Ting? Represent! Now, if you haven’t’, don’t worry, it’ll come in time and taste all the nicer for the wait. However, for those that have this is a really interesting one because the original Gin Ting was all passion fruit and tropical flavours this, their second release banks solely on the berries. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, alongside more classic gin botanicals. Enjoyable tangy, the juniper and coriander spice are juxtaposed by the bright berry sweetness. Buy it here
Two Birds Strawberry and Vanilla Gin: With this gin, the nose has sweet strawberry fruit wrapped in a vanilla blanket with juniper shimmering on the side. The palate reflects the strawberry and cream initially but the other botanicals come to the party with the smooth and silky finish. Buy it here
Casiano Rum: Natural Strawberry extracts are added to a base of high quality white rum. This mixture is left to macerate and stabilize in a stainless steel tank until it reaches the optimum condition. Buy it here
So there we are! Strawberries for everyone! Hope you have a wonderful week. Stay safe and see you next Wednesday!
Newsletter – 13th May 2020
Happy Wednesday Team!
And hey, it’s not just Wednesday! Today is a very special day indeed. Today is WORLD COCKTAIL DAY!
So today, as you can imagine, it is all about the cocktail! I’m going to give you a little bit of cocktail history with the disclaimer that cocktail history is a little ambiguous. There are lots of different stories emerging from lots of different parts of the world and it is a little tricky to pin down at times. It’s a fascinating subject to learn about, like one big jigsaw puzzle. So, let’s see if I can ignite a little thirst for knowledge in you guys.
On Wikipedia alone there are several stories suggesting the origin of the word cocktail. The Oxford Dictionaries define cocktail as “An alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or spirits mixed with other ingredients, such as fruit juice or cream”. However, even the development is a little hazy, with sources suggesting that traditionally cocktails were a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. By the 1860s, however, a cocktail frequently included a liqueur. Another complication in terminology is differing language, particularly when comparing US and UK terminology, which is similar but not always the same. For example, a drink that is simply a spirit and mixer is sometimes termed as such in the UK, sometimes referred to as a Long Drink (think the Finnish Long Drink for those of you who read that newsletter), and is the US, and sometimes the UK, it can be referred to as a Highball. It’s all a little confusing, right? There is a wealth of knowledge out there though, and to make it easier for you guys to access, I’m currently working on a list of links to some of the best blogs out there for gins, rums and cocktails, so you set about learning more on your favourite drinks. It’s the stories behind cocktails that make them what they are. They are something special and watching a bartender making a cocktail is as much of a visual performance as the finished drink itself.
So, let’s take a look at some of THE classic recipes. Now, as you can imagine, if you google classic recipes, you’re going to get a whole lot of different answers. These lists are likely to cater for what’s in fashion at the time, so I’m compiling a little list of my own:
Vodka Martini or Gin Martini? Espresso Martini or Passionfruit Martini? So many options. Let’s get started with something simple:
A whisky based classic that can be made with whiskies or bourbons:
Considered a little girly, this drink is just simply delicious. So, don’t put off by stereotypes:
A cocktail that lives up to its namesake as one of the cocktail forefathers:
A cocktail for serious cocktail drinkers, the only non alcoholic element is the ice and the use of Campati, or equivalent is a big factor in it’s seriously bitter, in your face attitude:
I’ve got a soft spot for a Bloody Mary (or Red Snapper if it’s made with gin rather than vodka). It’s an excellent breakfast cocktail and hangover cure. This one, care of Diffords has a nice little sherry twist to it:
A Tequila classic, this drink can also be made with Mezcal. And it’s super simple. Tequila, lime, sugar and you’re away:
Most barmen dread Mojito orders. People go nuts for them in the summer, and why not? With white rum, mint, lime and soda, it’s one of summer’s go to cocktails. So, why not give those barmen a break and learn how to make them at home?
A holiday classic, there are a silly amount of twists to this juicy little thing. So, let’s start at the beginning with this recipe for a ‘classic daiquiri. What you add to it then is up to you:
A gin staple, this is as simple as it gets:
Now now, settle down, ten might be a big number, but there are so many more cocktails out there. Where’s the White Russians? The Long Island Iced Teas? The Caipirinha? My advice? There are a wealth of recipes out there so pick yourself up a start kit and get mixing!
And, where do you get started with knowing what spirit to use? I would start a collection with sturdy, base flavours. For example, if you’re making a gin based cocktail, you want a strong punchy classic flavour. This is going to shine through whatever elements you add and still prop up the drink. Get yourself down with your base spirits. From this point, you can be inventive, but it’s a case of what flavours work with what cocktail. For example, a gin with an olive twist on the flavour can prove delicious in a Negroni. It’s all about being creative, but before you get ahead of yourself, nail these ten classics and you are on your way.
Being World Cocktail Day, I wanted to give you an overview of classic cocktails, now for those gin and rum based ones, a few suggestions of good spirits for the job:
Gin: Highfield Original. A family run business, based just outside the historic town of Melbourne in South Derbyshire. Highfield gin combines the distinctive taste of juniper berries alongside the finest botanicals. They add a twist of citrus to transform it into a truly outstanding gin. Buy it here
Rum: Appleton Estate 12-Year-Old Rare Blend Rum. Rare blend if the new name for Appleton 12-Year-Old-Extra. Distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Rare Blend is superb blend of rums many of which have been aged for at least 12 years. Buy it here
White Rum: Damoiseau Pure Cane Rhum. From the Damoiseau Distillery coms a Guadeloupean rhum agricole, made exclusvely from pressed cane sugar juice, silky smooth, with fresh grassy notes, subtle spice and a distinct tast of olives. Buy it here
Hope you have a great week! See you next Wednesday!
Newsletter – Wednesday 6th May
Happy Wednesday Team!
You may have noted our little change from Fridays to Wednesdays. I hope that works well with everyone. Whilst it’s nice to get a mail on the Friday with some excitement to set up the weekend, I can’t help but think it’s nice to get a bit of a weekend heads up, especially if there’s recipes you want to try and ingredients you need to get. This week, we’ll be looking at beverage day and of course, offering you an associated cocktail recipe and spirits that would work well for them. Plus, we held our first ever virtual event over the weekend, so let’s catch up on that quickly. Who was there? I stuck my head in on the Saturday to watch one half of Northern Epidemic doing their thing and there was a lovely sense of familiarity to the DJ set after, paying some classics from the festival. It definitely got me in the mood for a Saturday, and those of us who were present for Dan Walsh’s talk on Mumbai gin and Rascal gin were subjected to his regular high standard of masterclass, comprising his infamous dulcet tones giving some great explanations of the gins, general gin knowledge and outrageous humor. I am hoping to catch up with Dan in the coming days to write something in a little more detail so keep your eyes on our site. And heads up! We’ve got another talk this Saturday with Kuro Gin, so head over to our Facebook page for a live video at 3pm Sunday 10th May.
So, how are we all keeping? Good I hope? Looking out for each other? Good stuff! Now this week is a bit of a strange one, moving to a Wednesday means different holiday days to take inspiration from. Now, as luck would have it, today happens to be ‘Beverage Day’, as precise and vague as it gets! So firstly, let’s find out a little about that. According to the ‘Days of the Year’ website:
“Beverages have existed, in one form or another, almost since the beginning of mankind. Of course, people had to drink something, so before there was Coca-Cola there was water, simple as that. However, as the millenia went by, people began to create new and interesting types of beverages. Today, beverages are divided into at least 19 categories including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, caffeine based beverages, barley based beverages, maize beverages, rice drinks and so on. The first recorded beers were made in ancient Egypt, where it was so weak that even children drank it. However, it is suspected that beer could date back to the Neolithic period. The world’s first coffee as we know it today is thought to have been made by a Yemeni named Omar in the 16th century. Coca-Cola, on the other hand, was created relatively recently. In the late 19th century, few among us can imagine our lives without at least one of these three beverages in it, which just goes to show how very important beverages are in our culture, and have been, for hundreds of thousands of years.”
A nice little sum up there. Looking at the etymology of the word (the history of its make up), it seems that the word beverage actually means a ‘drink of any kind’. The word dates from the mid 13th century, from Anglo-French beverage, Old French bevrage from Old French boivre which means ‘to drink’. In fact, the Modern French term boire, actually comes from the Latin term bibre ‘to imbibe’.
So, it seems appropriate to celebrate Beverage Day by looking at classic French cocktail, and one of my favourites. Simple, but totally luxurious, it’s the French 75.
The French 75 is THE cocktail I pull out for special occasions. Said to date back to WW1, and an early form from 1915, created at the New York Bar in Paris by barman Harry MacElhone, the combination of gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled by the French 75mm field gun. There is an earlier history to the drink before it became its namesake, in the 19th century the combination minus the gin was called a Champagne cup and was a popular drink.
And don’t worry guys, although the traditional recipe is champagne based, I say this works just fine with prosecco. So, how about we make some? Now, I normally share recipes for cocktails and twists that I find online. But hey, hows about this week I give you my own recipe?
The French 75
Now, I would use a cocktail shaker to make the ‘base’, but if you don’t have one you can stir it up. I use a good measure of gin, somewhere inbetween a single (25ml) and a double (50ml), say 40-45ml depending on how you like it, 15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice and a dash of sugar syrup, if you’ve got some. If not, 1 – 1.5 (depending on taste) teaspoons powdered (icing sugar) will do the trick. Shake (or stir) with ice, ensuring the sugar has dissolved, and you’ve got your base. Strain into a flute and top with champagne/prosecco as to your liking and en voila! One straight up, amazing fresh drink to make you feel like royalty. To make it even more special, you could always add a small twist of lemon to the top, garnish really does make the difference to the final effect so don’t be lazy now, you should have some lemon left so give it a go.
And the important question, what gins would you use with this? Well, this is a difficult one to answer, because you could go all sorts of ways with it. As a safe bet, any gin that is built around citrus is going to work with this, but you can experiment. Gins have an element of citrus to them, so it’s hard to go too wrong, perhaps remember that there is a sweet element to this cocktail so don’t go with anything too savoury or herbaceous or it could taste a little funky…although saying that grapefruit goes brilliantly with rosemary so some savoury gins would work. It’s really just a case of trying it out. To give you a starting point, I’ve pulled out three from our collection that should do a pretty good job:
Rascal Gin – Care of our own Daniel Walsh, Rascal Gin would give an excellent twist to this cocktail. Passionfruit and raspberry take classic citrus to another level. Premium strength no added sugar. A must try for any Pornstar fans. Plus, I believe there is a second Rascal out now with added notes of Blood Orange, which would give your French 75 some extra oomph. Buy it here
Malfy Con Limone Italian Gin – A staple lemon based offering, this gin would marry in super easily to your cocktail. Malfy Gin is an Italian gin made using a selection of six botanicals, as well as an infusion of lemons, including some from the Almalfi coast. Buy it here
Wenneker Elderflower Gin – Lemon and Elderflower, what a wonderful combination. And with the French 75s lush sweet citrus element, the addition of elderflower would lift that flavour and add an element of complexity with those floral notes. Wenneker is an elderflower based gin. To create the fragrant tipple, they combine distillates of six botanicals – juniper, lime-tree blossom, orange, lemon, coriander, and (obvious) elderflower. Buy it here
So there we are! Hope you enjoyed this Wednesday edition, a little bit of education in there, and a delightful cocktail too. Have a great weekend and hopefully see you at the Kuro gin talk, 3pm this Sunday (10th May) on our fb page.
Big love, stay safe!