Tequila comes in two main types: Mixto (blended) and 100% agave. The former is the type you’re likely to find at a college party. It’s cheaper than 100% agave and can leave you with a nasty pile of regret in the morning. The latter, on the other hand, is as pure as tequila gets…
That said, here are three reasons you should always reach for 100% agave tequila…
#1: No hidden surprises:
100% agave tequila is pure agave and nothing else. Mixto, on the other hand, contains up to 49% non-agave ingredients. These usually consist of sugar cane, or other distillable products, but can include additives such as flavourings and colourings.
What makes things worse is that producers are not required to tell you what they use! So you’re never going to know, completely, what is in your bottle. If you’re the sort of person who likes to know what they’re drinking, always choose 100% agave!
#2: No hangovers:
When you drink a mixto tequila you’re literally mixing your drinks from the very first sip. With only 51% agave, mixto tequilas have a range of other ingredients, including various distillates. That means you’re consuming more than one type of alcohol at the same time, which is why mixto tequila has earned such a bad reputation.
However, if you choose 100% agave tequila, your hangovers will be a thing of the past. This is because they are made using only the Blue Weber Agave and nothing else!
Responsible drinking clearly speaks for itself; but if you were to swap your mixto tequila for 100% agave tequila, you’d notice the different immediately – especially when you have work in the morning!
#3: Better taste:
There are more premium tequilas than ever before and for good reason: It simply tastes better than its mixto counterpart.
Each brand has their unique flavour profile, which creates a vast array of great tasting tequila. Whilst the species of agave used in tequila has to be the Blue Weber by law; the location of the distillery in which it is made will drastically affect its flavour.
Whether you prefer yours fruity, spicy, or earthy, there’s a 100% agave tequila out there for everyone!
As outlined here, premium tequilas are superior in taste and quality, but that doesn’t mean mixto brands haven’t played an important part in the 100% agave boom coming out of Mexico. This boom has been made possible, in large part, thanks to the path laid down by mixto brands, with the industry rethinking its method and creating some truly stunning premium products.
There are strict regulations in relation to both Mixto and 100% agave tequilas. If you’d like to know more about these, information can be found here.
Monin, the coffee/cocktail syrup experts, sent me some samples way back when and using those samples I got to try some of the cocktails I’ve always wanted to try but never had the chance.
The last post based around a Monin syrup was my 6 ways to use Monin’s Falernum. It is made up with predominantly tiki style cocktails and features some of my new tiki mugs (hurrah).
This post has a slightly different feel because unlike the falernum syrup used in my last one, Monin’s Spicy Syrup is less floral and has an earthier feel to the spice. With cinnamon flavours prominent, I tried to blend this syrup into a variety of already established cocktails, simply to see if the syrup was as versatile as I hoped. Whilst some experiments inevitably fail, below you will find 5 cocktail recipes that I believe make use of this Spicy syrup in a very versatile, yet remarkably subtle way.
Although this syrup is not spicy in the traditional [hot] sense, it does have a subtle aromatic spice to it. It comes across more as an autumn/winter seasonal spicy flavour. This works perfectly for me because this syrup’s subtle flavour is easier to blend seamlessly into a flavourful cocktail recipe. I also have a low tolerance for hot spice so I’m happy I can try all these recipes personally.
Life On The Beach
2 measures Vodka
1 measure pineapple juice
½ measure spicy syrup
½ measure lime juice
2 pineapple chunks
Garnish: pineapple chunk and lime wedge
Muddle pineapple chunks with lime juice and syrup.
Add crushed ice, then vodka.
Add pineapple juice and top with ice.
Stir once more and garnish before serving.
2 measures rum
¾ measure lime juice
1 measure spicy syrup
Top up ginger ale
Garnish: mint and lime wedge.
Build the first 3 ingredients over ice.
Stir and top up with ginger ale.
Garnish and serve with a straw.
Gin and Bear it…
2 measures Gin
½ measure blackcurrant liqueur
1 measure Lemon juice
¾ measure spicy syrup
Combine the gin, lemon juice, and spicy syrup in a shaker with ice and shake well (for around 10 seconds).
Strain into a well-chilled, crushed ice-filled, rocks glass.
Layer the blackcurrant liqueur on top and garnish with a lemon wedge.
Serve with a straw.
1 ½ measures rye whisky
¾ measure vermouth
¾ measure pineapple (or orange juice)
½ measure spicy syrup
Combine over ice in a shaker and shake well for about 10 seconds (until the tin ices over).
Strain into a martini style glass.
Garnish with a pineapple wedge or orange slice (match the juice used).
Fervent Shaker Top Tip:
This cocktail works well regardless of the juice used. The only difference in flavour comes through the tropical vibe of the pineapple. Using pineapple will refresh those hot, bothersome days; whereas orange juice is perfect for those cold evenings when you need a warming elixir.
Spicy Melon Balls (serves 2)
1 measure spicy syrup
4 measure Midori
2 measure vodka
Top up fresh pineapple juice
Garnish: Skewered melon balls
Combine the Midori, vodka in a cocktail glass, over ice.
Top up with the pineapple juice and garnish with the skewered melon balls.
So there you have 5 cocktail recipes that, I think, make good use of Monin’s Spicy Syrup. They are not original recipes; they are tweaks of cocktails that already exist. This was done to try and showcase the versatility of such a product, especially with the unconvincing stance held by many in response to the rise in popularity of spicy cocktails.
Monin has a vast array of flavoured syrups at their disposal and as a cocktail imbiber, I am always interested in trying out new and novel syrups! My favourite simply has to be this Falernum, although their Hibiscus syrup is a truly inspirational. You can purchase Monin syrups from a wide variety of outlets but click here for more information!
As always this post has been a culmination of cocktail recipes and my own opinions. Whilst the syrups were supplied by Monin themselves [as free samples], they hold no sway over my opinions.
If you’ve tried Monin’s Spicy syrup in a cocktail you liked (or disliked), why not share it in the comments below? Or let me know what your favourite flavour syrup is!
Recently, Monin (the syrup company) were kind enough to send me some of their products. I received a few flavours and this post will showcase one of their latest products: Falernum syrup. Now Falernum is not a new product, it’s a Caribbean spiced syrup that is often alcoholic and almost exclusively used in Tiki Style cocktails.
I’ve been trying to lay my hands on Falernum, in one form or another, for years and always failed at the last hurdle. However, thanks to the lovely PR team over at Monin (specifically Emma White – Thank you) I’ve finally got some. And boy oh boy it was worth the wait!
Monin’s falernum Syrup is everything I thought it would be. It’s sweet, fragrant, and yet it contains a gentle heat that completes the flavour profile you’d expect from a Caribbean spiced syrup. I can safely say, that I now know why it’s used so copiously across the wide variety of Tiki cocktails.
Below I try to take 6 tiki style cocktails and, with very little tweaking, create them in such a way that you’ll be making them for yourself by the end of the post…
2m Plantation 3-star platinum [white] Rum
1m Fresh Lemon Juice
Splash of Monin Falernum syrup
Garnish: 1 orange Peel
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake well with ice (around 10 seconds should be enough).
Strain into a chilled Coupe glass and garnish with an orange peel.
Top Tip: Although this drink is made short, you can use a rocks glass and crushed ice to make it a longer, more palatable drink – especially if you’re not one for shorter, stronger drinks.
Corn & Oil
2 measure El Ron Prohibido Solera Rum
1 measure Monin Falernum Syrup
¾ measure Fresh Lime Juice
Dash Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters
Garnish: Lime Wedge, Edible Flower
Shake the ingredients hard, over ice.
Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
Garnish and serve with a straw, or two.
The Zombie (Classic Recipe)
1 ½ measures Jamaican Rum
1 ½ measures Puerto Rican Rum
1 measure 151-proof rum
½ measure Dons Mix*
½ measure Monin Falernum syrup
¾ measure Fresh Lime Juice
¼ measure Monin Grenadine syrup
2 dashes Absinthe
1 dash angostura bitters
Garnish: 2 mint sprigs
Dons Mix: combine 2 measures Grapefruit Juice with 1 measure of cinnamon simple syrup.
Shake all of the ingredients over ice for around 10-15 seconds.
Strain ingredients into a Tiki Mug filled with crushed ice.
Top up with crushed ice and garnish with a couple of mint sprigs and serve with 2 straws.
Whilst Jamaican Rum is quite easy to come by (Appleton Estate Special is available in most supermarkets) the Puerto Rican Rum might be a little harder to come by. Sainsbury’s currently stock Flor De Cana, a rum from Nicaragua, which is a decent replacement. Equally, you can experiment like I did and go for something completely different.
I used Plantation Platinum 3 stars, and a Mexican Solera Rum I picked up a little while ago and fell in love with (El Ron Prohibido).
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (Tall)
1 ½ measures El Ron Prohibido Solera Rum
½ measure Monin Falernum Syrup
¼ measure Merlet Trois Citrus (Triple Sec)
¾ measure Fresh Lime Juice
Top up Ginger ale
Garnish: Lime Wheel & Mint Sprig(s)
Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake over ice for around 10 seconds.
Strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice.
Top with more crushed ice, and then the Ginger ale.
Garnish and serve with 2 straws.
This cocktail, originally comprised of just the first 4 ingredients. However, it came up a bit short in my mug (even when doubled). So I simply topped with the ginger ale at hand (Canada Dry) and it seemed to work brilliantly. So I hope you enjoy this lengthened version of the Yacht Club – if not, try it without the ale, serving it short in a coupe/martini glass.
2 measures Makers Mark Kentucky Bourbon
1 measure Fresh Lime Juice
¾ measure Monin Falernum Syrup
¾ measure Raspberry Simple Syrup
Garnish: Lime Wheel & Raspberry skewer.
Shake all the ingredients, over ice, for around 10-15 seconds.
Strain into a ceramic Tiki Mug filled with crushed ice.
Top up with more crushed ice and garnish, before serving with two straws.
This cocktail is the only one I do not have a picture for. My raspberries went mouldy before their BBE and no shops were open on a Sunday night – murphy’s law, right? However, I have had this cocktail recently and can attest to its rather palatable taste (and considering I’m not a fan of whisky – that’s quite the compliment).
1 ¼ measures Monin Falernum Syrup
¾ measure Rhum Agricole (high proof)
¾ measure fresh lime juice
¼ measure Honey Simple Syrup
1 Cucumber slice
Top up – Ginger ale
Garnish: Cucumber slice & Pineapple Chunk
Adding the cucumber slice, lime juice and honey syrup to your glass, muddle well.
Then add the Falernum and Rhum Agricole and stir well.
Top up with ice and mix in some Ginger Ale.
Garnish with a cucumber slice and pineapple chunk.
Combining at a 1:1 ratio, add honey to water and simmer, mixing until the honey dissolves.
Top Tip: the original recipe called for Ginger beer, but I find it to be a tad too spicy so I stick to the gentler ginger ale. If you like your ginger soda with a kick, try using ginger beer with this cocktail!
So there you have 6 cocktails that make great use of Monin’s Falernum syrup! Monin did a fantastic job supplying me with the Falernum used in this post (you can see it in a couple of the images) and I’d like to thank them for sending me a product I’ve been desperately after for years!
Monin has a vast array of flavoured syrups at their disposal and as a cocktail imbiber, I am always interested in trying out new and novel syrups! My favourite simply has to be this Falernum, although their Hibiscus syrup is a truly inspirational. You can purchase Monin syrups from a wide variety of outlets but click here for more information!
What about you? What’s your favourite flavour Monin syrup? Do you like the cool, crisp taste of their Cucumber syrup or are you a fan of their refreshing Melon syrup? Why don’t you drop a comment below and let me know! You never know they might send me a bottle to use in future posts!
I’m now a published writer! Congratulations to me!
This month marks a very important moment for myself and this blog. As of June 1st, 2016 I am officially a published cocktail writer. Thanks to Sainsbury’s Magazine.
In this month’s issue, I have a two-page feature on summer drinks. These include 6 drinks, 3 alcoholic & 3 non-alcoholic – all of which are my own recipes!
The recipes include a non-alcoholic Ice tea, a beachside-themed rum cocktail, and several others.
The picture below show all the colourful cocktails and their recipes. But if you want to really enjoy these drinks, you should head on down to your local Sainsbury’s and get your very own copy. The Magazine is only £2 and inside you’ll find an abundance of food and drink recipes.
Most importantly, though, you’ll find my recipes on pages 82-83!
I’m extremely proud of this as it shows that you can make it if you keep trying. Never give up and you’ll eventually reap the rewards of doing something you’re so very proud of!
In other news, I’m working on some spicy cocktail posts just in time for BBQ season and also working with a PR rep over at Monin to bring you all some posts that include some of their new products, as well as some of their lesser-known products… Keep your eyes peeled!
Located in the heart of Mayfair, a short walk from Green Park underground station, there is a place of wonder and intrigue; a portal to a world long forgotten: Mr Fogg’s residence.
I’ve always wanted to visit Mr Foggs’ Residence. For years, I’ve dreamed about seeing the inner sanctum of that famous drawing room. I also don’t get to visit London very often. As I finally get to spend some decent time in the English capital, it would be rude not to make my way through the glitz and glamour of Mayfair to this mysterious and intriguing bar…
Mr Fogg, the fictional adventurer of Jules Verne’s 1873 novel ‘Around the World in 80 days’, is an eccentric adventurer and the theme behind Mr Fogg’s Residence – a bar located in Mayfair, London.
Having looked forward to this London city break for the best part of 3 months, I have no qualms in telling you, unequivocally, that it was by far the highlight of my week!
Having used this outing to meet with an old university friend and his girlfriend, this night was made even great via the nostalgic catch up. Great bar, great company, fantastic cocktails. There was even a little bit of magic thrown in for good measure!
To reach the establishment I had to pass through the Ritz’s walkway, past several other high-end hotels and restaurants before finally turning down a rather ominous looking alleyway; only then was I within sight of the large, towering, one-way door.
As you pass the fresh hold, the door shutting behind you makes you turn back, but like some 1930’s film you spin on your heel and are met with the glorious, time-defying drawing room pulled straight from the novel itself. With leather-clad, lavish wood seating, fanciful stools, and tables, scattered about the place, you feel utterly cut off from the outside world – in the best possible way.
The bar itself is a tall solid beast, behind which stands one of the tallest collection of spirits I’ve ever seen. The seating me and my friends were taken too was amongst the plethora of stools and tables in an area directly in front of the bar. All of this in the midst of the Victorian led décor.
From stuffed reptiles and tiger skins to mounted guns and ancient leather-backed books, the décor is brilliant and that brilliance is, remarkably, not halted when you finally decide on a cocktail to order…
The cocktail list is inspired by the novel ‘Around the world in 80 days’ and is called ‘Around the world in 80 cocktails’. There are 80 cocktails on the list and they’re split into their base alcohol (all the whisky based cocktails are together, and then the Gin, vodka, rum etc.) and whilst this makes it easier to single out those that contain ingredients you may not favour (for example I kept away from any whisky cocktails) the waitress that served our table brought us a rather cute foldout map that had overlaid the different cocktails to where they’re supposed to be inspired by. Different areas of the map reflected certain aspects of the cocktails they inspired.
But what about the cocktails themselves I hear you say! Well, look below at 3 of the cocktails we had that night… There will be no measurements as they were not included on the menu, neither would I want to supply them as these cocktails are all unique to Mr Fogg’s residence and, to truly appreciate them, you’d have to go there yourself…
Cocktail #1: No.8 Maidens Blush
Ingredients: Tanqueray number 10 gin, raspberry jam, fresh lemon juice, sugar, drop of absinthe.
This cocktail was fragrant, as well as being exactly as advertised: sweet, fruity & Sharp. You lose the sting of the alcohol (the thing I hate the most about some stronger spirits) and yet you get the full aroma of the base spirit as well as all the flavours introduced by the other ingredients.
The vivid deep red of the drink, combined with the low-lit ambience of this Victorian speak-easy, really suited its title and made for a well-balanced cocktail.
Sarah, my friends’ girlfriend, liked this one – it was ordered more than once, and she seemed to really enjoy it.
Cocktail #2: No.34 Dewdrops of the Samurai
Ingredients: Ketel One Vodka, Isake classic Sake, shiso & mint Leaves, pomegranate seeds, pomegranate juice, fresh lime juice, and house made sugar syrup.
This was my first choice, having spent a long time looking at the menu, and, after not being able to decide, I went with the one drink that really stood out. Shamefully I have to admit it jumped out at me for two main reasons: its name, and the fact that it used Sake.
I’ve never had sake in a cocktail before, nor have I tried it on its own. So to me, this drink, seemed like the perfect starting point for a place as wonderful as Mr Fogg’s Residence.
As the drink was placed before me I was not disappointed, it sat in a small bowl like glass that looked as though it would suit a bramble perfectly. Upon it’s crushed ice sat a dried piece of peel (I assume pomegranate peel, although it could have been grapefruit) and, like a boat used to cross the Nishiki River, the pomegranate seeds used the peel to protect them from a sea of exotic flavours.
It was an extremely well-balanced drink, a fact making itself known among all our drink choices, and really allowed the flavours and fragrances of the ingredients used to fill your nostrils as well as your taste buds.
Cocktail #3: No.31 Boo Boo on Bromo
Ingredients: Kaffir lime infused Grey Goose vodka, Domaine De Canton ginger liqueur, pear puree, House ginger syrup, apple juice, and lime juice.
This cocktail took even longer to choose because I was only having one more. I searched the map they gave us and perused the cocktail list several times before settling on this spicy yet fragrant looking concoction. I’ve used Ginger Liqueur before and Domaine De Canton is sublime. So I knew kind of what to expect from that ingredient. I also liked the idea of the orchard theme coming from the use of pear and apple. So I happily exclaimed, “the no.31 please!”
The cocktail, I received was a longer one than the previous Japanese themed drink, and yet still looked just as exotic. With leaves and dried fruit sprouting from the crushed ice filled glass, it really helped project a sense of the exotic towards me. The fragrance you’re hit with straight away is this lime filled apple orchard. Something that is not unpleasant to me at all. I certainly chose well that night.
Whilst a balanced fragrane doesn’t always lead to a balanced taste, one thing Mr Fogg’s residence does is balance all of their cocktails, no matter how exotic or weird they sound, and that, I believe, a sign of true class in the cocktail world.
To have 80 different cocktails, and all of the ingredients that then infers, and still have 80 well-balanced, fragrant and truly unique cocktails, is truly a feat well achieved by those in charge.
This establishment is a truly fascinating place. A bar that allows you to, once that door shuts, fully lose yourselves within its confines. Mesmerising you with the authenticity of a Victorian (via Jules Verne) themed drawing room, Mr Fogg’s residence goes above and beyond that of any normal bar I’ve ever been too. From the beautiful waitresses, and highly skilled bartenders to the wandering magician who wows with his splendid talent, Mr Fogg’s residence is not only my new favourite bar, it’s my new favourite destination. Every time I go to London in the future, I will set aside time to visit this glorious palace of delight and every one of you reading this, who has the opportunity to travel to the English capital, should do the same. I cannot implore to you how much you should visit the residence of the fantastic Mr Fogg.
Final word: A huge thank you to Mr Francesco Medici, the Bar Manager. Thanks to him and his staff for a wonderful evening. Thank you to Siegfried, the fantastic magician – who, to this day, still amazes me and my friends. And finally: A massive thank you to my friends Stuart and Sarah. You both made the night just that little bit more fun!
My first bar of the week was part of the London cocktail Club’s repertoire. This particular establishment was located on Goodge Street, not very far from the Goodge Street underground station.
After a short walk down the road, and a little double-back, I came across a secretive staircase leading down into the dark. Above the staircase was the sign ‘London Cocktail Club’.
As I walked down, the wall to my left turned to glass and I could see into a dimly-lit homely looking bar. As I opened the door I was cheerfully met by one of the staff and after explaining who I was they set me up with a table by the bar, where I was met by ‘Balash’. One of the friendliest and welcoming bartenders I’ve ever met!
Between him and the other 3 staff (including the extremely humble bar manager), I was hosted with the most personal service I’ve ever received.
Now I know what you’re thinking… I told them I was a cocktail blogger so they were probably being overly nice? Well I thought that too at first, but then other people started arriving and it swiftly became obvious that the service I received was not isolated, but typical of this bar.
The bar itself was not full of over gratuitous luxury, nor was it what you would call a dive bar. This particular bar was extremely welcoming, the playful nature and mannerisms of the staff were almost mirrored by the building itself. This was a remarkably fresh feeling and for my first bar experience in the English capital, I was pleasantly surprised at how welcomed I felt.
It’s a testament to both the bar, and the individual members of that bar when someone new to the city is made to feel as welcome as I was that night. If I had not been so welcomed, I fear my entire trip to London trip would have felt completely different.
The playful nature of the staff really made you feel at ease and their constant calling of ‘200’ and them playing with their swinging lights really lent to the experience of a unique and refreshing cocktail bar.
I had the chance to try three different cocktails, all of which prepared by the same bartender: ‘Balash’. He was an exceptionally knowledgeable bartender who not only knew what he was talking about, but understood my tastes and offered great advice on the cocktails to choose – a rare talent on its own, but an essential gift among bartenders indeed.
His friendly, professional, and attentive service was well received by me and everyone else he served that night. This service was not dropped when serving several cocktails at once, and whilst his workload was increased, his drink quality and mixing ability did not decrease (the opposite being a bad habit I’ve noticed before at other bars). So with his ability not questionable I was confident in his advice and suggestions and let him guide me through the menu. Below are the drinks I imbibed and their menu-recipes. For obvious reasons, the measurements are not included. If you wish to try any of these as I did, head on down to Goodge street and enjoy a great night…
Cocktail #1: Boogie Nights
Grey Goose Citron (Lemon), crème de Peche, Disaronno, and pineapple Juice.
Shaken and served long in an ice-filled sling glass.
This cocktail was chosen to help ease me into the night and was light, fruity, and easy going. Perfect for a beginning of the night cocktail. This cocktail was unique and I’ve never had it before (it was great) but it is a type of cocktail every bar should have on their menu, one or two in fact.
Cocktail #2: Bramley Apple Smash
Bombay Sapphire Gin, lemon juice, elderflower cordial, fresh mint, and Bramley apple sauce.
Built, shaken and served in the same mason glass. Served with a garnish of 1 custard crème biscuit. The latter a nice touch.
This cocktail was my favourite of the three and was fragrant, fruity, and tangy. The mint and apple paired up nicely and the, whilst the Gin’s burn was disguised well buy the sugary mixture, its dry fragrance and flavours really shone through – no mean feat with all of those flavours knocking about.
Built, muddled, and served in a nice bowl-like rocks glass.
This cocktail was unsurprisingly the strongest tasting, and their twist of shaking in the Chambord compared with the classic recipe’s float really worked. You got much more of a raspberry hit with this twisted classic and I, for one, prefer it that way! Die-hard cocktail fans might disagree, but then again this isn’t their blog is it?
The London Cocktail Club at Goodge street was not one of their newer branches, and that’s exactly why I chose it. I chose a secluded little bar like this, one hidden away from the main street via a shady staircase, to see how their atmosphere measured up to that of the cocktail bars I’m used too.
Needless to say, this LCC venue blew my expectations apart. It made every bar I’ve been to before that night look like dive bars in every sense of the word. I absolutely loved the bars ambience, as well as the staff that were integral to that. As I stated above, my entire week in London would have felt substantially different had I not been to this bar and felt so welcomed. Something I will always owe to this outstanding bar.
With great cocktails, expertly made, and wonderful bartenders, who know exactly how to treat all their customers, the LCC @ Goodge street is a fantastic venue that anyone in London should give a go.
I’d like to end this post with a big thank you to the LCC and also to Balash who, unfortunately, was not available at the time I took the following picture. You were integral to my great week in London. So thank you.
It’s March… The month of my birth, the peak of spring, and the start of the summer solstice. I thought I’d start my return to this blog with some classic ‘me’ cocktail. So below you’ll find 3 long, fruity and rather gorgeous looking cocktails. All of which will naturally be sweet.
I have been looking for a cocktail that really matches how I’m feeling this march. I’ve been off alcohol for so long that I just want something to really hit home. I looked for cocktails with a well-balanced yet complicated cacophony of flavours and, where possible, cocktails that had a little something special.
I eventually settled for a Tropical Tequila Cocktail: The White Peach Tequila Cocktail, a Pisco sour flavoured with thyme: The Pisco Thyme, and finally a favourite I’ve yearned to make myself: The Canon Cocktail.
Cocktail #1: White Peach Tequila Cocktail
2 ripe white peaches
60ml silver tequila
60ml peach liqueur
60ml lime juice
2 tbsp. sugar syrup
Garnish: Sliced Peaches & mint sprigs.
Pit, peel, and chop the peaches before blending them and then sieving the puree into a bowl.
Combine the puree, and all other ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Serve over ice in a large rocks glass and garnish with the sliced peach and mint sprig.
Cocktail #2: Pisco Thyme
30ml Lime Juice
30ml Thyme Simple Syrup
Shake all ingredients over ice until well chilled. Around 20seconds.
Double strain cocktail into a coupe glass and garnish with a sprig of thyme.
Cocktail #3: The Canon Cocktail
1 measure Rye Whisky
½ measure sweet vermouth
½ measure Ramazzotti Amaro
Bitter Truth old time aromatic bitters
Stir first 3 ingredients over ice.
Strain into a chilled rock glass and top with a Cointreau Foam
Using a dropper, place a few drops of bitters on top of the foam.
This final cocktail is the signature cocktail of the Canon Bar, Seattle. Canon is a bar owned and run by a legend in the bartending world: Jamie Boudreau. It’s a great cocktail I’ve always wanted to try. Sure it’s a whisky cocktail, and whisky is not my favourite, but this Manhattan-old fashioned style hybrid cocktail really has an air of class about it.
To give some idea of how the legend himself makes this cocktail please refer to the attached video below:
So I recently subscribed to Shaken Cocktails, and covered that in my post last week. After reading my post; Mark Jennings, one of the founders of Shaken Cocktails, invited me up to Battersea Park, or the nearby area to be specific, for a gathering of members and founders at the base of operations for Dodd’s Gin (The London Gin Distillery). Now this is the sort of event I’ve been looking forward to and the type of event I simply don’t get to go to enough.
Shaken bill the event as ‘A Shaken Lock-In’ and event where you go to meet like-minded people and, using the ingredients supplied in that specific months box, create 2 gloriously alcoholic cocktails. This event, at the London Gin Distillery in Battersea, consisted of meeting Mark Jennings as well as Darren Rook of Dodd’s Gin as well as several other members of Shaken Cocktails. It was a well organised and extremely down to earth event that was opened by Mark himself. Mark spoke very humbly about the event, Shaken and of course all those who attended. He came across highly passionate and very emotional when speaking about their recent successes at crowd funding (they’ve surpassed their original total and have since raised over £97,000… Congratulations to them!
It continued with a “15-minute” talk from the gin distillery’s main man: Darren Rook. Darren came across as extremely knowledgeable yet extremely down to earth and happy to talk about his work. Now you’d expect that from most people in his position but what’s refreshing is his openness and blatant passion for his craft. He’s humble yet highly knowledgeable.
Moving onto the cocktails and why everyone came: To experience Shaken and their cocktails…
So this month’s main cocktail was The Negroni, and was backed up with the Elderflower Collins.
Both cocktails used the Gin from the very establishment we met at: Dodd’s.
Check out the recipes below:
30ml Dodd’s Gin
30ml Cocci Torino Vermouth
Into a rocks glass add the Dodd’s Gin and Cocci Torino Vermouth.
Then add the Cynar bitter liqueur. Try 15ml at first and then if you’d like it a little drier try add the other 15ml.
Add ice to the top of the glass and then stir for around 10-20 seconds.
Take a slice of orange peel and using your thumbs and forefingers squeeze the oils over the top of the drink.
Wipe the peel around the glass and then place it into the drink and sip away.
45ml Dodd’s Gin
30ml Fresh Lemon Juice
15ml St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
15ml Sugar Syrup
Top up Soda Water
Fill the metal tin (from a Boston shaker) 2 thirds full with ice.
Using the glass part of the shaker add together the Gin, Lemon, Elderflower liqueur and sugar syrup.
Shake well, for around 10-15 seconds (until the tin ices over).
Strain into a tall, ice filled, and top up with Soda water.
Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve with 2 straws.
Now these cocktails are complete opposites and by Marks own admissions this was purposely done to cater for those who like their alcohol straight and for those who enjoy a longer crisper drink.
The Negroni, with its unusual mix of more exotic ingredients is both stronger and more abusive than the Elderflower Collins yet it also holds greater depth and its lighter dilution level means you get to experience all of the great flavours from each of the 3 spirits used in its creation.
However this doesn’t write off the elderflower as a lesser cocktail. Sure the Negroni is a classic, but let’s not forget that the Elderflower Collins, by name as well as nature, is a tweak on another classic cocktail: The Tom Collins.
This tweak lightens the drink up a little and also adds a floral note, one that reminds you of the summer days gone, and makes you look forward to those to come. It’s an easy drink to consume and whilst perfect for a summer’s eve, I would state that it’s a pretty good all-rounder and something I would happily make myself when at home.
This event was a joy to attend and cocktails with Shaken & Dodd’s aside, meeting the other people like minded and enjoying both Shaken and cocktails in general.
Shaken is doing wonderful things and they’re headed up by Mark Jennings who not only believes in Shaken but passionately believes in what they’re doing. His sincerity and humble manner will take the company a long way and I’m proud to be a paying subscriber. I simply cannot wait for the next box to arrive!!!
As a final note I’d like to add this:
I used to hate gin. A couple years ago I met the group over at Sipsmith and they turned me. And that’s all I’ve drunk Gin-wise since. Now, after meeting Darren Rook and experiencing the effort and quality that goes into Dodd’s gin (along with the actual gin itself – sublime) I can safely say that my self-labelled bottle will be treasured for a long time to come!
So from me here at The Fervent Shaker: Thank you Mark Jennings & Shaken Cocktails for the invite and event. And thank you to Darren Rook at Dodd’s Gin for hosting and sharing your knowledge with us all!
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
35ml Grey Goose Original Vodka
25ml St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
20ml Fresh Lime Juice
70ml (top up) Soda Water/Champagne
– 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
2 parts Grey Goose Original Vodka
2 sprays Sea Spray Essence
– 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
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)*
– 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
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
– 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
45ml Grey Goose Le Poire (Pear)
25ml fresh lime juice
17.5ml domaine de canton ginger liqueur
1 dash cardamom bitters
– 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.”
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.