Category Archives: Alcohol Specials

Rum Diarys: Best rums for tiki cocktails Part V

And here, finally, we have our 4th section of rum: Spiced. This is arguably the most important section of this list as the ‘spice’ in these rums can be what gives a tiki cocktail its kick!


There are a couple of rums on here you might need to scour online shops for, but for the most part the rums in this list are readily available in your local supermarket/off licence!

Kraken Spiced Dark Rum (USA) £21.95 – The Whisky Exchange

Kraken Rum combines two greats: Dark Rum & Spiced rum. And it hits it out of the park!
Kraken Rum combines two greats: Dark Rum & Spiced rum. And it hits it out of the park!

This 40% black spiced rum is somewhat of a genius. Its quality is unmistakable, earmarking it for greatness in the eyes of rum-tasters. But what really sets it apart from every other bottle of rum on the supermarket shelf is its old-style bottle shape. The traditional handle-necked bottle invokes visions of pirates and the romance often associated with the idea of a free life at sea.

Whilst the bottle makes it stand out, it does so knowing full well that the gloriously thick, molasses based alcohol contained within can more than hold its own; one of the only spiced black rums at home being sipped neat as it is swirling around a glass full of lime and cola. This is a perfect topper in a tiki cocktail too! Especially when you do not want to set the house on fire, but still want some theatre to your drink!

Fervent Shaker insider tip: Made in the USA from Caribbean rum and named after the mythical giant squid-like beast, Kraken rum is fantastic; a black spiced rum that is extremely reasonably priced! What’s more, for a limited time only, the whisky exchange is selling a special pack that includes an awesome looking mason-style glass! Perfect for Kraken’ your bottle open when you get in! Excuse the pun – Sorry, not sorry.

Captain Morgans Original Spiced Rum (Jamaica) £17-20 Sainsbury’s

Considered a student drink, this versatile spiced rum will give you tiki cocktails a kick, whilst leaving your wallet a little fuller...
Considered a student drink, this versatile spiced rum will give you tiki cocktails a kick and leave your wallet feeling a little fuller…

One of the favourites of my best mate at university, this rum truly has stood the test of time. In the past 10 years I’ve seen it go from strength to strength and literally fly of the shelves!

Perfect for combining with a mixer for a quick drink, this rum is often overlooked in its ability to fill out a cocktail or two. Regardless of your feelings towards it, Captain Morgans Original Spiced Rum is a fantastic addition to any ones tiki-cabinet. Try substituting it into your next Mai Tai, it won’t taste like a classic mai tai, but it will be something a little special I’ll tell you that for nothing!

Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum (Guyana) £20 – Tesco

Sailor Jerry Spiced rum is one of the all-time spiced rum greats and is certain to spice up any tiki cocktail...
Sailor Jerry Spiced rum is one of the all-time spiced rum greats and is certain to spice up any tiki cocktail…

Another original spiced rum, Sailor Jerry’s fits into the ‘classic’ tiki choice section as it comes under one of the mandates set out in my first tiki cocktail post: It’s from Guyana!

Although Sailor Jerry’s has changed its recipe several times, and some consider Kraken to be more akin to the recipe everyone loved, this rum is still something very, very special. If you’re not a fan of Captain Morgans, for whatever reason – I’m not one to judge – then you should definitely be setting your sights on this classic tiki-suited spiced rum…

Fervent Shaker insider tip: Ever tried a spiced mojito? Well you’re missing out! Try this recipe out the next time you have a bottle of Sailor Jerry’s knocking about…

Bacardi Oakheart (Puerto Rico/Cuba) £14-22 Sainsbury’s / Tesco

Extremely versatile, Bacardi Oackheart is a spiced rum perfect for tiki cocktails (or any cocktail for that matter)...
Extremely versatile, Bacardi Oackheart is a spiced rum perfect for tiki cocktails (or any cocktail for that matter)…

This is the second Bacardi rum to make it into one of my top 5 lists, and it is by far the best of the bunch! I tried this a year or two back and it certainly did not disappoint! Combining a rich hearty gold rum with the heart of charred oak barrels this rum is smooth, spiced and even has a tang of smokiness about it! Wonderful in a Cuba Libre or ‘your own tweak’ on a dark n stormy ‘like’ cocktail this rum is best  mixed with other ingredients for sure, but make use of it when creating your tiki masterpieces and you shall never be disappointed!

Fervent Shaker insider tip: If I’m honest, of the two Bacardi rums on my lists this should be the one you buy (if you have to choose)… Sweet, Smooth, Spicy, Smokey and damn good; this rum is perfect in a spiced Pina colada and even better in a rum-toddy…

Admiral Vernons Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum (England) £30-36 The Drink Shop / The Whisky Exchange

Old Vernon is steeped in history, and worth every penny for that added 'something-special' in your tiki cocktail...
Old Vernon is steeped in history, and worth every penny for that added ‘something-special’ in your tiki cocktail…

Ok, so here’s another ‘danger’ warning. This rum, at 75.5%, is by far the strongest of all the rums included in any of the previous lists! Thus it should be treated with the upmost respect.

So with the warning let me share some info about this fine, high-proof, rum:

This rum was the brain child of Admiral Edward Vernon. He enforced a strength reduction on the rum the British Navy gave to its sailors (back in 1740). After hearing the complaints of his men however, ‘Old Grog Vernon’ suggested the addition of lime & sugar to help the flavour and make the drink more enjoyable.

This Old J rum was created in honour of ‘Old Grog’ himself and whilst the strength of the rum has been readdressed, it was increased back to 151-proof [75.5%], it has kept the same balance of spices, lime and sugar that made the original rum a great hit.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: Although this rum is perfect for tiki cocktails (it has tiki in its name after all) it is a 151-proof rum and therefore highly flammable! Whilst it gets a little old for me to keep warning you, you seriously need to be careful when handling such high-strength rum. It may taste great, used properly, but when you mess around; things can and will go wrong!

Links:

Sainsbury’s

Tesco

The Drink Shop

The Whisky Exchange

Bacardi Oakheart

Old Vernon

Kraken

Captain Morgan

Sailor Jerry

Rum Diarys: Best rums for tiki cocktails Part IV

So here we are, the second to last post, and it’s all about the rich and powerful: Dark Rum…

Dark rum, the rich and powerful, best kind, of rum!
Dark rum, the rich and powerful, best kind, of rum!

Now we move onto the Dark rum and here is where it gets a little special, some of these rums are aged for nearly a decade and most come with a pretty special little story or two… From the Highly prized Goslings Black seal to the highly flammable overproof Plantation Rum here is my top 5 Tiki Dark Rums:

Goslings Black Seal (Bermuda) £21.15 – The Whisky Exchange

goslings
Goslings Dark rum (left bottle) is a delicious and rich Bermudan rum, so good in fact, they even have their very own cocktail trademarked!

This brand of rum is one of the best dark rums on the market; its rich, well-balanced flavours make it an ideal choice for tiki cocktails and enjoying with your favourite mixer.

Interestingly the Dark N Stormy cocktail (at least in the USA, Caribbean, UK & most of Western Europe) can only be made with Goslings Black Seal Rum! This is the result of a trademark Goslings started filing back in the 1970’s.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: Goslings were the first alcohol company to put in for, and get, a trademark for a cocktail. The trademark covers the use of the name ‘Dark N Stormy’ and regardless of the amount of lime or ginger beer used; the rum has to be Goslings Black Seal!

Bacardi Black (Cuba/Puerto Rico) £18-£20 – Sainsbury’s

Dark and powerful, like a dark rum should be, Bacardi Negra is a classic dark rum, readily available in your local supermarket...
Dark and powerful, like a dark rum should be, Bacardi Negra is a classic dark rum, readily available in your local supermarket…

Made in the Cuban style, but exiled to Puerto Rico; Bacardi Carta Negra (Black Rum) is a rich full-bodied dark rum that can hold its own against some of the best. Whilst the price would indicate its relative ‘cheapness’ when compared to some other brands, this rum is intended for the general use of mixing. Whilst it can be sipped, it’s best served in long drinks with cola or juice.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: I don’t like this rum neat. But I do love it in a Cuba Libre. Its dark-nature shines through in the rich taste and you don’t lose it when it’s mixed with Cola. Definitely worth the punt if you can’t afford the top end dark rums…

Plantation Overproof Dark Rum (73%) (Barbados) £35.65 – The Whisky Exchange

Overproof Dark Rum... Dangerous but theatrical in an epic way!
Overproof Dark Rum… Dangerous but theatrical in an epic way!

Like the honourable mention of Wray & Nephews white overproof rum in my first post, this dark rum is also overproof. If you’ve ever made, or had made for you, a cocktail called a ‘Zombie’ (made famous by the Don himself) then you’ll know that there is a requirement for overproof rum and for it to sit on the top of this drink. Its primary function is to burn and add a deep charred, burnt alcohol flavour to the drink. A worthwhile addition to any bar, home or public house; this rum is an excellent rum and perfect for advanced mixologists/bartenders…

Fervent Shaker insider tip: As with all alcohol one should be always be careful. However seeing as this alcohol is overproof (it’s 73% abv) it’s extremely flammable and should not, in any way, be underestimated or used lightly!

Ron Abuelo 12YO (Panama) £31.80 – The Drink Shop

Abuelo Rum, 12 year old. A rich taste and perfect to give your cocktails that added lift!
Abuelo Rum, 12 year old. A rich taste and perfect to give your cocktails that added lift!

Made from their home-grown sugar cane plantation, Abuelo 12 year old Anejo rum is soft, complex and character-full and can challenge even the most sophisticated of palates. Now some aficionados might argue that to mix rum of this quality would be heresy, I for one like my cocktails full of class. And this rum provides some serious weight in that category…

Clarkes Court – Special Dark Rum (Grenada) £27-30 The Drink Shop / The Whisky Exchange

Special Dark Rum. It's in the name really...
Special Dark Rum. It’s in the name really…

Winner of 9 bronze/silver awards from 2002-2009 (as well as various gold medals) Clarkes Court Special Dark Rum is a 40% abv rum from the shores of Grenada. This dark rum is aged in ex-bourbon casks and is perfect for cocktails as it is considered to be a gentler style of rum; those preferring softer rum have a love for this particular bottle.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: This particular rum is perfect for adding a little tweak to your tiki cocktails. Being of the softer variety of rums, this bottle will supply you with an easy to mix rum and help you develop your prowess, in regards to tiki cocktails at least…

So there you have it, my 5 top dark rums to use for you tiki cocktails. If you ever get a chance to nab a bottle or two off that list then I suggest you go ahead and give them a go! Just be extremely wary of the Plantation overproof 73%!!!

Is there a Dark rum you prefer that didn’t make my list? Why not leave a comment below with your choice? Although please understand that tomorrow I’ll be looking at spiced rums as the 4 section and therefore any ‘spiced’ dark rums will possibly be on that list!

Links:

The Drink Shop

The Whisky Exchange

Sainsbury’s

Ron Abuelo

Goslings

Plantation

Clarkes Court

Bacardi

Rum Diarys: Best rums for tiki cocktails Part III

The colour is the first thing you’ll notice – it’s not called gold for the fun of it after all!


Ok so I covered the basic white rums. There were a few brands (and countries) covered but now we move onto my favourite type of rum: Gold Rum.

This section should allow you to expand your rum styles, and your geography knowledge, a little further. With Gold rums from Venezuela to Cuba and across the entire Caribbean; there is sure to be a choice for everyone…


Diplomatico Anejo (Venezuela) £22.84 – The Drink Shop

Classic Venezuelan Rum at its best...
Classic Venezuelan Rum at its best…

This smooth-sipping golden rum is blended from a combination of continuous still rums and potstill rums. Although blended, the average age of the finished product is 4 years old. Diplomatico is a very strong brand from Venezuela and can hold its own in almost any rum-sipping competition (its various products have won various awards over the years) and yet it blends into tiki cocktails remarkably well.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: If you’re looking for a well-balanced, blended gold rum and want to try something other than Caribbean rum then I strongly suggest giving this brand, including this particular rum, a go!

Ron de Jeremy – Reserve Adult Rum! (Panama) £33.32 The Drink Shop

Distilled by a Legend, tastes like it was too...
Distilled by a Legend, tastes like it was too…

Ron de Jeremy is an extremely well-balanced 7 year old rum and is quite literally distilled by a living legend: Cuban Master Distiller Francisco ‘Don Pancho’ Fernandez. Don Pancho is 72 years old and is considered one of the most experienced and renowned master distillers in the rum industry.

Fervent Shaker insider tip: This rum is fantastic to sip, and will reward those with a well-developed palate. However it has been created in such a way that it will also mix well with other ingredients, especially when mixing cocktails. 

Mount Gay – Eclipse (Barbados) £19.70 The Drink Shop

A great rum at a reasonably low price... Perfect for mixing and a shoe in for this list...
A great rum at a reasonably low price… Perfect for mixing and a shoe in for this list…

Another long standing favourite of mine, this reasonably price rum is one of the sleeper hits of the last few decades. Whilst all of the top-end rums clean up at awards ceremonies, this rather unassuming bottle sits itself on the supermarket shelf and literally sells by the bucket.

Those who have been to Barbados and visited the distillery will know its history well and even those not interested in rum will have heard of it whilst on the island.

Hand-crafted since 1703, Mount Gay Rum is made using the finest Barbados sugar cane and pure spring water. This leaves you with a rum that can be sipped neat and yet is equally, if not more so, at home combined with your favourite mixer…

Fervent Shaker insider tip: this rum is reasonably priced and found in most of the bigger supermarkets in the UK. Failing that you can find it easily in online alcohol shops.

Flor De Cana – 4YO Gold (Nicaragua) £22.68 The Drink Shop

A Nicaraguan Rum perfect for light cocktails. Try it in your next tiki attempt...
A Nicaraguan Rum perfect for light cocktails. Try it in your next tiki attempt…

Flor de Cana 4YO Golden Rum is a little something different. From central/south America this rum is well-balanced and perfect for combining with mixers and works brilliantly in light cocktails.

Palate notes: “A soft entry leads to a round, dry medium-bodiea palate with caramel, sugar cane and peppery spice flavours. Finishes with a dash of toasted coconut shavings and pepper. Very clean and pure.” – Flor De Cana.com

Appleton Estate Special (Jamaica) £14.00 – Sainsbury’s

A supermarket staple, this gold rum is perfect for adding to your collection...
A supermarket staple, this gold rum is perfect for adding to your collection…

The price tag on this rum may make you cringe and think ‘bargain basement’ but the idea here is to give you a cheaper option whilst making sure you get your money’s worth. Appleton Estate special Jamaica Rum is only £14 yes, but it’s an absolute bargain in regards to its taste and overall finish. It’s not as sophisticated as some of the other rums on this list, but its sheer versatility means it can be used in a range of tiki (and non-tiki) cocktails. And for that reason alone it makes the list…

Honourable Mention: Angostura 1919 (Trinidad & Tobago) £26.00 – Sainsbury’s

Links for further reading:

Flor De Cana

Appleton estate

Mount Gay

Diplomatico

Ron de Jeremy

Angostura

Sainsbury’s

Tesco

Valentines cocktails: An Bitter Aftermath

So Valentines has been and gone, couples have loved and lost and there’s even been a rather infamous movie release (a favourite with the female audience more than the male I imagine) but sometimes valentines does not always work out for everyone so below is a cocktail specifically created for the aftermath of a bad valentines day. Whether it was the breakups to end all break ups or just simply a poor first date this cocktail will help you suck it up and move on. Or realise what went wrong and correct it… Either way enjoy the cocktail and and chin up!

A Shot to the Heart

Recipe:

1-3 slices Jalapeno

1.5 measures Campari

1.5 measures Cold Coffee

Bitter and refreshing, this cocktail is sure to perk you up...
Bitter and refreshing, this cocktail is sure to perk you up…

Method:

  • Shake all of the ingredients well, over ice (shake for around 5-10 seconds, or until the tin ices over).
  • Double strain into a small rocks glass with fresh ice.
  • Garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel and another slice of Jalapeno pepper.

This cocktail was originally created and shared for a twist on the same old valentines cocktails. It was meant as a take on how sometimes this time of year can be a bitter pill to swallow for obvious reasons.

However I feel the cocktail itself is pretty darn good in its own right. It blends bitter Campari with refreshingly cold coffee and, in a move that shouldn’t work but does; it also has a subtle hint of spice, from the Jalapeno, running through it! This might sound like a match made in hell but assuming you like all three ingredients this drink really is something you can sink your teeth into, it’s a little different which will look good when preparing it for your friends.

One final thing to mention is that the spice scale can be tweaked for those who, like me, have an adversity to too much spice. Simply use 1 slice per spice level (1 for a slight tingle, 2 for a slight tingle followed by a small burst of intense heat and, finally, use 3 slices for an intense heat wave that will build up as you sip (especially with the garnish floating about).

Bitter-Sweet Valentines day? Then knock this cocktail back and forget all about it...
Bitter-Sweet Valentines day? Then knock this cocktail back and forget all about it…

So for those of you with a passion for spice and coffee then this cocktail could be your new sipper and even if you’re not a fan it could still be a hit for one of our spice loving friends…

Valentines Day Cocktails – A gift from the Fervent Shaker

Valentine Day

Spirits, as any good bartender knows, are the door to many a persons’ heart (buy me a bottle of rum and you’ll have a friend for life), come in many shapes and sizes and nowadays flavours. There is a lot of choice out there and even more so these days, the choice can be very difficult for those not up to date with the ‘in’ product. For instance do you know the best types of Dark rum to buy for your dark ‘n’ stormy? Or whether Smirnoff is the best UK vodka? (Hint: it’s not even from the UK).

Well the idea behind these valentines inspired cocktails is that they use spirits (as well as other ingredients) that can all be easily found in your local supermarkets (UK readers) or liquor stores (USA & other worldly destinations)…

So here we have 6 cocktails: 1 for each of the big 6 spirits: Whisky, Rum, Vodka, Tequila, Cognac & Gin. As I stated above; all the ingredients used can be easily sourced and in short notice too. So without delay let’s get started, with this wonderful Vodka cocktail:

Vodka Valentine: The Pomegranate Martini

Lustful and Red, this 'Martini' might not be classic, but it sure is classy...
Lustful and Red, this ‘Martini’ might not be classic, but it sure is classy…

Recipe:

1 measure Vodka

½ measure Cointreau*

3 measures POM Pomegranate Juice

Method:

  • Combine all the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake well (around 5-10 seconds – just enough time for the shaker to ice over).
  • Strain mixture into a well-chilled martini cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with an orange/lime peel.

This cocktail is a lovely little drink similar in hue (and length) as a cosmopolitan. It’s a girly favourite and that should make it a shoe in for any of you guys trying to impress a lady on a night in (or order them on a night out – always a winner).

*if you’re not a fan of the wonderfully sweet Cointreau Liqueur then you can always replace it with the same measurement of orange or lime juice. Equally if you want alcohol but want a less-sweet liqueur then try replacing it with Orange Curacao.

Rum Valentine: Cranberry Kiss

Simple and extremely effective; This rum cocktail is perfect for stargazers and long movies...
Simple and extremely effective; This rum cocktail is perfect for stargazers and long movies…

Recipe:

1 measure Captain Morgan’s Original Spiced Rum

2 measures Sour Mix*

2 measures Cranberry Juice

1 wedge of lemon

Method:

  • Build the ingredients over ice in a Collins glass and stir well as you do so (you can mix this drink but it’s best built).
  • Drop in a lemon wedge and stir gently. Serve with a straw.

This is a lovely long-ish cocktail with a slightly sweeter-than-normal taste. Great for chilling out on a long night out (or in) especially if you need a slight pick-me-up, this cocktail is definitely perfect for intimate evenings with loved ones and will go down a treat.

*Sour mix is a fancy term for lemon & lime flavoured sugar syrup. It can be made by following the usual sugar syrup method and adding lemon & lime juice to the mix. Click on the Sour Mix in the recipe for the sour mix recipe itself. Again – all the ingredients can be found in your local shop(s).

Tequila Valentine: Phoenix Rising

Not for the faint of heart, this cocktail packs a hell of a kick, but a flavour profile to match: Perfect for Tequila lovers and for something a bit different...
Not for the faint of heart, this cocktail packs a hell of a kick, but a flavour profile to match: Perfect for Tequila lovers and for something a bit different…

Recipe:

2 measures Blanco Tequila (100% Agave)

4 measures Fresh Orange Juice*

1 measure Agave Nectar

1 splash (5ml) Lime Juice

5-6 fresh pitted cherries**

Method:

  • Muddle the cherries with a splash of lime juice and leave to one side.
  • Combine the remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Shake well (for around 5-10 seconds – or until the shaker ices-over).
  • Strain into an ice filled rocks glass and drop in the cherries for a garnish.
  • Serve with a straw, or straight if preferred.

This cocktail is what Valentines is all about: Sharing something special with someone special. Sure it’s only for tequila lovers as the tequila really shines through, but this cocktail, prepared correctly is a fantastic combination of flavour and kick.

*You can use juice from a carton but the fresher the better: Long Life Carton < Chilled Carton < Fresh Squeezed. Hint: The middle option, whilst not the freshest is the best value without losing too much quality. Especially if you choose a nice brand or supermarket top brand e.g. Sainsbury’s TTD or Tesco’s Finest.

**The cherries, if muddled just right, will release their burgundy coloured juice and tint the cocktail a nice reddish hue that dances about your glass with every sip. It also adds a slight fragrance to the drink enticing you in…

Gin Valentine:  Lady Killer

This elegant cocktail oozes class and will help you charm her back for a second date.
This elegant cocktail oozes class and will help you charm her back for a second date.

Recipe:

1 measure Hendricks Dry Gin

½ measure Cointreau/Triple Sec

½ measure Apricot Brandy*

2 measures Passion fruit Juice**

2 measures Pineapple Juice***

Method:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker.
  • Shake well (5-10 seconds or until the shaker ices over).
  • Strain into a champagne flute half filled with crushed ice.
  • Garnish with a cherry on a long skewer & serve with a straw.

*Apricot Brandy is an apricot flavoured liqueur and the most common brands (at least here in the UK) are: De Kuyper & Bols (surprise, surprise they’re both Dutch!).

** This can be found in long life cartons in the UK, as for the USA: you should be able to find it in a grocery store (failing that a large supermarket should sell what you need).

*** Whilst fresh pineapple juice is always better than pre-juiced products it is also extremely expensive. So go for the ‘not from concentrate’ pineapple juice available in almost all supermarkets (UK readers hint: use the supermarket own brand).

Cognac Valentine: Angel’s Shoulder

Class redefined... This unique little cocktail is perfect for showing off your flair and a risky move - but done right it's a sublime master-stroke.
Class redefined… This unique little cocktail is perfect for showing off your flair and a risky move – but done right it’s a sublime master-stroke.

Recipe:

1 ½ measures Cognac (V.S.O.P.)

¾ measure fresh lemon juice

½ measure rosemary simple syrup*

¼ measure Amaretto

¼ measure Crème de Peche (Peach Liqueur)**

¼ measure Benedictine

Red wine (Cotes Du Rhone)

Method:

  • Combine all the ingredients (except the red wine) in an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake well (around 5-10 seconds – or until the shaker ices over).
  • Strain into a rocks glass containing 1 large ice cube.
  • Then float the red wine on top of the drink (best done using the back of a bar spoon).

This cocktail has a bit too it, but if you practice it before hand; surprising your date with this rather classy drink is certain to get you some plus points. Use a bar-spoon (a teaspoon will suffice) to layer the red wine and look like a real pro! – Don’t know how to do this little trick? Worry not; click here and you’ll master the technique in no time at all!

Click here for a rosemary simple syrup recipe, and liven up your cocktails today!

** This is a peach liqueur and the most common brands are again the 2 big Dutch brands of Bols & De Kuyper. But failing that Archers peach liqueur is a very handy substitute.

Whisky Valentine: The Rob Roy

A Scottish classic if there ever was one; this cocktail is for the Scots out there. Have a Scottish date that loves whisky? Then order them one of these...
A Scottish classic if there ever was one; this cocktail is for the Scots out there. Have a Scottish date that loves whisky? Then order them one of these…

Recipe:

2 measures Blended Scotch

1 measure Vermouth

1 Dash of angostura bitters

Garnish: Lemon Peel Twist

Method:

  • Pour ingredients into a mixing glass full of cracked ice.
  • Stir well for around 30-60 seconds (stirring for longer helps chill the drink right down).
  • Strain into a well-chilled small rocks glass.
  • Garnish with the lemon peel twist and a cocktail cherry (optional).

This cocktail will be the focus of a whisky special coming soon, but for now it’s perfect for wooing those you truly care about. You may have to ask the drinker if they like whisky, but if they answer yes the chances are they’ll love this classic Scottish cocktail.

Top Tip: For the sharp eyed this cocktail will resemble a classic Manhattan cocktail almost exactly. Except the Rob Roy uses Scotch Whisky instead of American Rye whisky…

Cocktails at the BAFTAS

Herein are cocktails to inspire the mind, as well as the mouth…

So further to my previous post (yesterday) this post combines the five cocktails served by Grey Goose at the BAFTA’s after party at the Rosewood Luxury Hotel in London, England.

Created by Master Mixologist and Grey Goose global ambassador Joe McCanta these 4 cocktails (as well as Grey Goose’s Signature cocktail – The Grey Goose Le Fizz) have been inspired by some principals that have been a theme this past year, here are what Grey Goose have to say about them:

“The four GREY GOOSE Awards Season Cocktails have been inspired by the themes of ‘Pioneering Spirit’, ‘Unconditional Love’, ‘Futurism’ and ‘Return to Retro’ which are represented by some of this year’s most acclaimed movies, in addition to Grey Goose’s ultimate celebratory cocktail, the Grey Goose Le Fizz.”

These cocktails are a combination of easy to mix and difficult to master drinks that will make you question your own tastes and also why you never thought about trying them before.

Yeah I know you probably didn’t know about them until now, but that’s not the point…

So without further ado, the cocktails of the2014 BAFTAS are:

1)  The Grey Goose Le Fizz

Recipe:

35ml Grey Goose Original Vodka

25ml St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

20ml Fresh Lime Juice

70ml (top up) Soda Water/Champagne

What better place to start than the cocktail perfect for any celebratory occasion…

Method:

–          Hand-squeeze the lime juice into a tall champagne flute or large wine glass.

–          Add the remaining ingredients and top up with cubed ice.

–          Stir well and serve with a cocktail stirrer.

This cocktail is one of Grey Goose’s favourites, billed as the ‘signature celebratory cocktail’ it comprises of high grade vodka, fresh lime, a French elderflower liqueur and soda water to create something just a little bit special.

This cocktail is Grey Goose’s replacement for a champagne cocktail, and to be honest it works really well. I’m not one for too much champagne so a tasty alternative is always welcome. Should the Soda water be a little too ‘dry’ for your palate then try a splash of lemonade instead – it’ will taste a lot sweeter but it might be more to your tastes…

Grey Goose say:This uniquely balanced cocktail uses soft, floral elderflower and refreshing lime to highlight the smooth, rounded taste of Grey Goose Vodka.”

2) The Martini De La Mer

Recipe:

2 parts Grey Goose Original Vodka

2 sprays Sea Spray Essence

Meaning ‘Sea Martini’ this cocktail is something a little special…

Method:

–          Add the ingredients to a mixing glass and stir gently over ice to chill.

–          Strain into a very well chilled coupe glass.

–          Garnish with micro-shiso, red amaranth and a large caper.

Whilst extremely difficult to replicate, this cocktail is a very swanky deal. Using just two main ingredients this cocktail really does show off both the quality of the vodka and the smoothness of its creation. The garnishes add both to the aroma of the drink as well as the overall pleasure. The trick with this cocktail is to chill the mixture right down. This creates the body and complexity you need to really enjoy it.

Grey Goose say:Inspired by ‘Pioneering Spirit.’ Celebrating a pioneering spirit that overcomes adversity, our signature cocktail receives a maritime makeover. Lightly spritzed with an oyster shell infused ‘sea spray’ essence, the GREY GOOSE Martini De La Mer invokes aromas of the open sea and is beautifully garnished with micro-shiso, amaranth and capers.”

3) The Lower East Side

Recipe:

1 part Grey Goose L’Orange Vodka

2 parts Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange Juice

1 bar spoon Grand Marnier*

A Drizzle of Aged Balsamic (Vinegar)*

Based on the classic Wallbanger cocktail, only brought up to date for the 21st Century…

Method:

–          In a glass filled with cubed ice, build the grey goose & orange juice.

–          Float the Grand Marnier on top and garnish with a slice of Blood Orange

–          Drizzle on the Balsamic for the finished touch and serve with a stirrer.

A great penultimate drink, this cocktail is based on the Harvey Wallbanger and brings it into the new century with its taste- bud-tantalising combination of fresh blood orange, classic French spirits and a splash of the finest Balsamic. Not one for the feint of hearts and certainly not for those with an aversion of the use of Balsamic. This drink is best used to impress at after dinner events and guaranteed to blow the roof of your friends mouths (one way or another).

*the balsamic should be of a high quality to suit the drink, but as long as it is not cheap and nasty it should work. Also the Grand Marnier is one of many orange-brandy liqueurs; feel free to use your favourites.

Grey Goose say:Inspired by ‘Return to Retro.’ A sophisticated twist on the most popular drink of the 60s, the Harvey Wallbanger, this downtown classic is a unique blend of Grey Goose L’Orange, seasonal blood orange juice and liqueur, with a slight drizzle of aged balsamic to give an intriguing gritty bite.”

4) L’Amour Moderne

Recipe:

2 ½ parts Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka

2 parts Fresh Pomegranate Juice

1 part Fresh Pink Grapefruit Juice

1 part Campari (Bitter Italian Aperitif)

1 part Passion Fruit Syrup

¼ part Fresh Lime Juice

Originally a Valentines cocktail, it was so good they kept it on for the after party…

Method:

–          Combine all the ingredients over ice, in a cocktail shaker and shake until well iced.

–          Double strain into a martini glass and garnish with an orange zest.

This cocktail looks the most complicated, but as you can tell from the method it’s a classic mix’n’shake cocktail. But don’t let that take away from its class. This drink was created especially for Valentines and was such a hit they used it again for their awards season selection. Nothing shouts quality cocktail than that résumé.

Grey Goose say:Inspired by ‘Unconditional Love.’ A taste of love in a modern age, passionate but bittersweet, with fresh, fruity notes. This romantic reddish-pink martini perfectly balances rich pomegranate and passion fruit flavours with sharp pink grapefruit and a bitter aperitif, strikingly garnished with orange zest.”

5) The Cosmonaut

Recipe:

45ml Grey Goose Le Poire (Pear)

25ml fresh lime juice

17.5ml domaine de canton ginger liqueur

1 dash cardamom bitters

Space aged and classy; this cocktail has it all!

Method:

–          Build over a single large spherical ice cube in a spherical rocks glass.

–          Garnish by skewering a space-candy-covered grape with a cocktail stirrer and serve.

This cocktail is based on futurism and boasts an all-around Sci-Fi feel. The drink is literally from the future of the cocktail scene. Flavoured vodkas have been around for a little while now, with citrus flavours being favoured over others, but more and more we are seeing different fruity flavours. The Grey Goose vodka used in this cocktail is flavoured with pear and is surprisingly refreshing; making it the perfect addition to this futuristic cocktail.

Try it with a splash of lemonade or if you’re feeling really fancy try using French champagne to really bring it all together. Only a little mind, you don’t want to go to over the top!

Grey Goose say: “A futuristic cocktail, the Cosmonaut is a refined and elegant blend of Grey Goose La Poire, ginger liqueur, fresh lime and cardamom bitters built over ‘planetary’ ice-spheres. Inspired by futurism, the space-candy rolled grape adds some playful glamour.”

stephen-fry-bafta

Finding Comfort with a Southern Elixir…

SoCo 1

Southern Comfort is one of those liqueurs people either like or dislike – I am of the former affinity.

Whisky based liqueurs, in my opinion, do not get better than this New Orleans superstar; with its’ dominant orange flavours and light-whisky aftertaste it’s perfect for cocktails or sipping neat.

Unfortunately it didn’t make my top 10 liqueurs list last year, but that was only because it was far more renown than at least 9 of the liqueurs featured in that list… Whilst it is rather renown in these parts of the world (Europe) and holds ‘superstar’ status in the USA (New Orleans – durh)…

So here’s the point of this post:

I work in a local supermarket and as you would expect from a typical Christmas time shopper they have questions all about alcohol (that’s where I step in). My colleagues always come and ask me questions about spirits as they know it’s what I’m interested in. This means I get all of the ‘I want something as a present, what do I buy?’ questions. For some reason everyone was after Southern Comfort (the significant reduction due to the special offer (£6 off) may have had a small part to play) but no one knew what to do with it, nor whether they should use the standard 35%vol  SoCo or the Bold Black cherry, which stands at a slightly higher (and surprisingly poignant) 40%.

My advice: Always start with the basics. Yes that means the standard, that’s not to degrade the black cherry as it is rather nice, but I find that sometimes the original works wonders; not to mention introducing you into the flavour Southern Comfort is globally renown for.

So what cocktails can you make with Southern Comfort?

Well it can be simply drank as a sour, with lemon and sugar or as part of an elaborate concoction like the Cherry Manhattan. Whether you prefer SoCo Original or SoCo Bold Black Cherry there’s sure to be a cocktail for you:

1. Slow Comfortable Screw against the Wall

Recipe:

1 measure SoCo Original

1 measure Vodka

1 measure Sloe Gin

3 measures Orange Juice

½ measure Galliano Liqueur

slow comfortable screw against the wall

Method:

–          Combine the first 4 ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well (until the tin ices over).

–          Strain into an ice filled Collins glass and then float the Galliano on top.

We start here with a bit of a concoction and one a few of you may have heard of, but never actually had. This cocktail takes its name from all of the ingredients and a couple of cocktails:

Slow & Comfortable are references to the Gin and SoCo whilst the Screw is in reference to the Screwdriver cocktail (vodka & orange juice) and finally the ‘Wall’ refers to the Galliano and is in reference to the Harvey Wallbanger cocktail.

Whilst this cocktail can be time consuming with all the individual ingredients but the payoff is something sublime. Whether you’re impressing friends at cocktail parties, or even if you have a BBQ or small chilled out gathering, it’s literally perfect for all of the above.

2. SoCo Hot Apple Pie

Recipe:

1 ½ measures SoCo Original

5 measures Warm Apple Cider

SoCo hot apple pie

Method:

–          Stir the SoCo into the warm cider and garnish with an apple slice.

–          Sip with or without straws, but take care as the cider should be rather hot.

This is a simple recipe, and one for the budding home brewers out there. I’ve seen some recipes out there for mulled ciders but a good quality cider would work just as well. You’ll have to find your own mulled recipes, but here’s one to start you off…

3. SoCo Traditional Cherry Cola

Recipe:

1 measure SoCo Bold Black Cherry

¾ measure Pom, Pomegranate Juice

Top Up Cola

SoCo Cherry Cola

Method:

–          Simple pour technique: SoCo, then the Pomegranate juice and final top up with the Cola.

–          Use ice if you prefer your ‘Cuban’ style drinks chilled.

–          Garnish with a lemon wedge.

This is another simple recipe, and a rather fruity one at that. Great for the ladies as the Pom really adds a touch of fruity-flavour to the cola. This one works best with classic cola, but if you must use diet be prepared for some damage to the overall flavour!

4. SoCo Chocolate Covered Cherry

Recipe:

1 ¼ measures SoCo Bold Black Cherry

¼ measure Dark Crème de Cacao

Method:

–          Combine over ice and stir well.

–          Strain into a well-iced shot glass.

This drink is a great shot to have at parties no matter the weather. It’s warming and sweet but the alcohol really lends itself to the back of your throat. I particularly like its application to the various ‘shot-boxing’ style drinking game, either that or as a small tipple after a Sunday roast.

5. Black Cherry Manhattan

Recipe:

2 ¼ measures SoCo Bold Black Cherry

¾ measures Sweet Vermouth

Dash of Angostura Bitters

SoCo manhattan

Method:

–          Stir together all the ingredients and then strain them into a cocktail (martini) glass.

–          Garnish with a Cocktail cherry and a twist of lemon peel.

So now for a twist on a classic whisky cocktail; SoCo being a whisky liqueur means this can still technically be considered a Manhattan (although many bartenders would argue that). This is simply a cherry flavoured short, but sweet, cocktail. I also have no qualms in stating that without the cherry this drink just doesn’t work for me. The cherry adds a subtle twist onto an otherwise tweaked cocktail and really carries it to another level. Give it a go and if the cherry flavour is too subtle for you; add a splash or two of cherry brandy.

6. Southern Hurricane

Recipe:

1 ½ measures SoCo original

1 ½ measures Sweet & Sour mix

1 ½ measures Orange Juice

1 ½ measures Pineapple Juice

Splash of grenadine

soco hurricane

Method:

–          Shake together these ingredients and strain the mixture into a hurricane glass

Not exactly the most sensitive of drink, considering recent events, but it’s a cocktail under ‘New Orleans favourites’ on the SoCo website – so all is ok, right?! Anyway it’s a very refreshing, tropical tasting drink that really does make it perfect for summer evenings down south. Try blending all of the ingredients together with ice to make a frozen version of this cocktail. Just add a splash more of grenadine to add some colour.

7. Cajun Thunder

Recipe:

1 ½ measures SoCo original

½ measure bourbon

Dash of Tobasco Sauce

soco spicy shot

Method:

–          Shake and strain.

Need a little fire in your life? Does someone in your little band of warriors need their feet grounding? – Well in that case this is the drink for you! The SoCo is sweet, but the Smokey bourbon should quell that, and the Tobasco sauce will be the silent poison (they won’t notice it until it’s too late). Now I do NOT applaud alcohol abuse, but I know all the students out there will appreciate this shooter cocktail (just treat it with a bit of respect, I like to think about how I’d feel if I were tricked into it myself).

8. SoCo Cherry Squeeze

Recipe:

1 ½ measures SoCo Bold Black Cherry

½ measure Orange Juice

3 measures Lemon-Lime soda (7Up/Sprite)

soco cherry squeeze

Method:

–          Build the ingredients in the order they are written.

–          Straw and enjoy.

A great twist on what I’m drinking right now; see no.10, this cocktail mixes together the legendary citrus of Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice with an orange-whisky liqueur – genius. The Lemon-Lime Soda is perfect as the final compliment to an extremely simple to make, refreshing cocktail. Serve over ice, sip and enjoy!

9. Alabama Slammer

Recipe:

1 measure SoCo Original

1 measure Sloe Gin

1 measure Amaretto

2 measures Fresh Orange Juice

soco alabama slammer

Method:

–          Shake all the ingredients over ice until the shaker ices over.

–          Strain into an ice filled Collins glass and garnish with an orange slice and cocktail cherry.

This cocktail is what many consider to be the actual Alabama Slammer, and I’ve seen many a recipe (al different) also claim that title; but for this post the name does its bit. This cocktail combines Sloe Gin, Amaretto and SoCo for a tad strong but very sweet cocktail. The fresh orange juice helps balance it out a little but I find for that something extra try a dash of lemonade or ginger beer, if you’re brave enough.

10. What I’m Drinking Right now: Deep South Steamboat

Recipe:

2 measures SoCo Original

¼ Lemon, freshly squeezed

Top Up Lemonade

soco lemonade

Method:

–          Build drink in order of ingredients, over ice and in a tall glass.

–          Serve with a straw and drink to be refreshed.

This last cocktail on the list is what I’m drinking right now, as I write this post. It’s kind of a twist on bitter lemonade, with the Fresh Lemon juice adding a little zing to the glass. The cocktail itself, although containing 2 measures of a 35% liqueur, is rather light and refreshing. Many call this the Steamboat cocktail (SoCo & Lemonade) so I shall dub this one the ‘Deep South Steamboat’… You can thank me later.

So there you go folks, a long thought out list of 10 Southern Comfort based cocktails… Whether you want a refreshing light spritzer cocktail or a strong shooter this list has something for you all. Hopefully you enjoyed having a look through! Until next time drinkers!

SoCo 2

Please remember to drink responsibly, a few of these drinks are created so you don’t notice the strength of the alcohol – but don’t let this fool you SoCo is a strong liqueur and should be treated with respect. 

Happy New Year!

Celebrate in style…

So where do I start? This is my last post of the year of 2013. And I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped me over the past 24 months. This blog was set up through my love of cocktails and a need to write about them.

I love cocktails and I need you all to know it!

So whether it’s a mild mannered rooftop Soiree…

So from the 57 Bloggers , 190 Tweeters & 133 Facebookers out there down to each and every individual person who has ever read/commented on one of my posts: A very humble thank you.

When I first started this blog I never imagined to have got as far with it as I am. 13 months after I started I’m sitting here having reached over 3000 views in one month (December 2013 – 3110+) and am sitting on just under 18,000 total views. Just WOW!

Or whether it’s a rather messy Student mash up…

My spare time is dwindling as i work on my 2 cocktails books and also a side project (Sci-Fi – novel) but i will still aim to hit you with about 4-6 posts per month (more so when I have more time!).

I’ll be hoping to take this blog into new areas of alcoholism and of course cocktails will feature as heavily as they have done. Hopefully I’ll even have a prize draw for all you UK readers at some point (as well as looking at going “.com” at some point).

Thank you again and may you all enjoy a fantastic 2014!

Remember to always have fun, even it that means playing ‘go fish’ with the family…

Stairs to the cocktail heaven:

It might rain, so say the weather people; Rainy Day Cocktails is my response…

Even Sharks love cocktails…

If you don’t like sharks, how about a Mule?

Fizz things up a bit with a Fizz cocktail or 10.

Here’s Cointreau with their Fizz Cocktails too…

And even some 3 course cocktails

Penultimately here are my two Champagne Collections:

Christmas 2013

Not just Bellini’s and Mimosa’s

And finally, my collection of several Summer Cocktail lists:

Whisky Exchange, Tequila, Gin, Vodka, Rum, Liqueur 43 & Cointreau. Not to mention my entire collection of Cocktails O’ Clock Posts.

 

Enjoy and again a very happy New Year to you all!

Cocktails O’ Clock: Christmas with Champagne… Part 2

The alcohol fuelled cocktails…


Here, listed below, are some of the best cocktails you should be trying out this Christmas and New Year… Using French Champagne, Italian Prosecco and of course good old English Sparkling Wine these cocktails aim to add a bit of colour (and class) to your drinking experiences this festive period.

1.       Kitsch Revolt

Recipe:
1 measure absolut vodka
½ measure strawberry puree
Top up Laurent Perrier Champagne Brut
 
Method:
Combine the strawberry puree and vodka in a chilled champagne glass and then top up with well chilled champagne.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: this recipe is unusually suited for mass mixing. Combining the vodka and strawberry puree together and pouring and sharing between the required glasses really speeds things up.

Champagne: The best price you’ll find at the moment is at sainbury’s where you can save a whole £10 and nab a 75cl for only £26.99.

2.       La Siene Fizz

Food & Wine

Recipe:
1 measure Brandy
½ measure fraises de bois
½ measure fresh lemon juice
Dash of orange bitters
2 strawberries (hulled)
Sugar syrup (to taste)
Top up Marca Oro Prosecco
½ measure Grand Marnier

Method:
–          Muddle the strawberries and sugar syrup together in a cocktail shaker and then add all the other ingredients (except the champagne and Grand Marnier) and shake well.
–          Strain into a tall, ice filled Collins glass. Top up with champagne, float in the Grand Marnier and garnish with a strawberry on the glass’ rim.

Champagne: Available at Sainsbury’s for a very tempting £8.49 (75cl). A good choice for a budget sparkling wine and perfect with the fruit flavours in this cocktail.

3.       Kir Royale

kir royale

Recipe:
2 teaspoons crème de cassis
Top up Lanson Black Label Champagne Brut

Method:
Drop in the cassis and then top up with chilled champagne.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: for added sweetness, especially if you’re using a dry sparkling wine, try using a sugar cube to soak up the cassis and place that in the glass. The drink will become sweeter the more you drink. Top up as desired

Champagne:  On offer at Sainsbury’s, this champagne is £10 cheaper than normally, and for a limited time (no really, after Christmas I have a feeling they’ll be removing the offer rather quickly) it is only £23.99.

4.       Riviera Fizz

riviera fizz

Recipe:
1 ½ measures sloe gin
½ measure fresh lemon juice
½ measure sugar syrup
Top up Etienne Dumont Brut (Non-Vintage) Champagne

Method:
–          In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup and shake well.
–          Strain into a champagne flute and top up with the chilled champagne.

Champagne: This champagne, one of the bigger brands, is on offer at Sainsburys (check online to see if it’s available near you) at a very reasonable £13.49.

5.       Champino

Champino

Recipe:
1 measure Campari
1 ¼ measures Sweet Vermouth
Chilled Antoine De Clevecy Champagne
 
Method:
Combine the ingredients in a champagne glass and top up with chilled champagne.
 
Champagne: Sainsbury’s currently have this champagne on a good offer. Saving £9.99; you can grab a bottle at a fantastic £12.

6.       Cranberry Cooler (by sainsburys)

cranberry cooler

Recipe (serves 6): (build and serve)
150ml Gin
150ml Grand Marnier
330ml Orange Juice (smooth)
600ml Cranberry Juice

Method:
Combine in a large jug and mix well with a selection of fresh (appropriate) fruit. Spread among 6 ice-filled highball glasses and serve straight away.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: This drink’s recipe reads very much like a summer punch, except the flavours your end up with are very much winter-orientated.

7.       Apple & Berry Bucks Fizz (by sainsburys)

apple and berry bucks fizz

Recipe (Serves 12):
360ml Apple & Raspberry Juice
6 oranges
Sainsbury’s TTD Vintage Cava
Fresh Mint Sprigs

Method:
–          Add 30ml of the Apple & Raspberry Juice into a champagne glass and then squeeze half an orange worth of juice in as well.
–          Top up with the Vintage Cava and then garnish with the mint sprigs.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: When preparing fresh mint the best way to release the oils without damaging the leaf is to follow this simple to remember routine:
Place the mint leaves in the palm of your left hand.
Then with one swift and forceful motion clap your hands together.
This releases the oils and allows for applying the oils to the rim of the glass and also creates a fantastic fresh mint smell when you put your nose to the glass.

Champagne: This sparkling wine is a real bargain this time of year, especially seeing as, at full price, it is already a discount product. You can expect to spend around £7.49 right now (£9.99 usually).

8.       Christmas Cheer (by sainsburys)

christmas cheer

Recipe:
6 glace cherries
90ml Kirsch
Sainsbury’s TTD Prosecco Conegliano

Method:
–          Drop a cherry into a champagne flute and then add 15ml of the Kirsch.
–          Top up with the Prosecco.

Champagne: I’ve made no secret about this product being one of my favourite sparkling wines. Having used it several times for events and cocktails at home, it is perfect for both fruit flavours (such as a classic bellini) or straighter drinks such as this one. Prices can range depending on the time of year, but generally it costs around £9.99. It is available at this moment 25% off£7.49.

9.       Black Velvet (Tesco)

black velvet

Recipe:
880ml (1 ½ pints) Guinness
Top up Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Grande Reserve Champagne
 
Method:
Half fill the champagne glass with the Guinness and then top up with chilled champagne.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: This cocktail is specifically built for particular taste, especially seeing as it uses Guinness. It’s a very eclectic tasting cocktail but the aesthetics of the drink is something a little different (and different is good).

Champagne: Now this champagne is one I’ve yet to try (I have a bottle unopened in my cabinet) but I’ve heard nothing but good things. Better still it is on offer at Sainsbury’s and if you’re quick enough you’ll be able to nab a free specifically designed Ice bucket. Price (if you’re quick):  £14.99!!!

10.   Raspberry Champagne

raspberry champagne

Recipe:
25ml Chambord
25ml Raspberry Puree
Top up Champagne
 
Method:
Layer the liqueur then the puree and finally top up with the chilled champagne.

Champagne: Sainsbury’s TTD Champagne is a bit of a jewel when it comes to cheaper champagnes. Supermarket wine/champagne buyers are extremely clued up when it comes to what’s good and what’s not. So you should definitely try this whilst it’s still on offer: £20.99.

Look out for Part 2 coming your way very soon… Oh and a very Merry Christmas to you all! CHEERS!

Now for the disclaimer: Let me apologise for one thing: Sainsbury’s. They seem to be the easiest supermarket whose online grocery website allows you to look at individual products in detail (as you’ll notice from the links in this post) as well as stocking the best sparkling wines (champagne or no) available. And so they are mentioned exclusively when it comes to pricing of the champagne/sparkling wine. I would like to point out that this post has not been sponsored, nor influenced by Sainsbury’s in any official capacity whatsoever.

Enjoy your Christmas and remember to drink responsibly. After all no one likes a let down…

Cocktails O’ Clock: Christmas with Champagne… Part 1

A brief introduction to Champagne and where to buy it…

It’s not all about Champagne…

The first thing you need to know about champagne is that the word ‘Champagne’ is geographically patented and can only be used for a sparkling wine if it is made within the Champagne region of France. However the process used to make champagne is not exclusively used by the French (a common misconception).

This process itself is not an uncommon practice with products that sell well, think about Cognac and Cornish Pasties, and protects the so called quality of the product. Now that’s not to say that all champagnes are great because, trust me, there are not! But what it does mean is that a premium can be charged by companies for calling a product champagne. And without going into the economics of champagne making; they probably need it a lot more than the domestic companies…

What Champagne should you use in a cocktail anyway?

There are hundreds of different sparkling wines out there, as many as there are grape varieties in fact, but there is more to the world of cocktails than just champagne.

There was once a time when only the best champagne was used for cocktails, that was until other countries tried their hand at this so called ‘secret’ method of making sparkling wine. Sure they could never recreate the same processes the French used (for obvious legal reasons) but therein lied the secret to success: Their products were different, but in a good way. they do say after all that variety is the spice of life.

So then different countries had different products: Italy had Prosecco ( a slightly sweeter but essentially the same as the French) and as of the last couple of decades us English folk also started producing our Sparkling Wine. Prosecco is becoming more acclaimed and in some cases as highly regarded as the best champagnes.

Whilst English Sparkling Wine is in its infancy, it is pretty darn good, and winning awards all over the shop. Sure i’m English, and biased, but English Sparkling Wine is genuinely good (for the most part).

Of course you shouldn’t take my word for it, why not try it out for yourself? Or even get out there and try a tasting course or two?

Check out the links at the bottom for more information…

So where can you buy Champagne/Prosecco/Sparkling Wine?

As already stated they are all pretty much made the same way, meaning that if you can source one, chances are you can find all different kinds. The best/easiest places to start, here in the UK at least, are the supermarkets; places like Sainsbury’s, Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons, M&S & Majestic wines.

Then when you know what you’re looking for you can head online to speciality companies and even try out websites like TheWhiskyExchange and TheDrinkShop.

Sparkling English Wine

English Sparkling Wine

5 Best English Sparkling Wines

Is English Sparkling Wine better than the French?

Ridgeview Wines – English Sparkling Wine Producers