So another week on, and another offer from the drink shop.
They currently have offers on all of their rums! Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good rum. Seriously, I love rum; So this offer is like catnip to me.
Whether you love a ‘Blanco’ white rum in your Mojito, or an Anejo dark rum in your Cuban – there’s bound to be a rum you love on this list. Not to mention you might find a rum you’ve never tried before!!!
So why not check out the offers, grab a bargain or two and chill this Easter! I know I will be!
I know that it may have been noted that in the recent few months I’ve not really posted much content.
That’s due to some personal circumstances that do not belong on this website. Bar any awful reoccurrence that is now behind me, which thankfully means I can get back to writing for this blog!
My return to this blog after a momentary lapse has come at the perfect time seeing as I’ll be visiting London at the end of the month. During my time I’ll be visiting a shortlist of cocktail bars I’ve always wanted to visit. I’ll also be popping into a few others within a reasonable distance of my hotel.
I’ll obviously be making an event of this and will be sharing pictures via Instagram and twitter. So if you’re looking to follow me please do! There are links in the drop down menu located on the homepage.
For now, at least, let me share with you the latest offer over at The Drink Shop: GIN!
Gin is awesome and is one of the big spirits (alongside Rum, Vodka etc.) and, whilst not #1 on my spirit list, it is an irreplaceable ingredient in several classic cocktails including the Gimlet.
The gimlet is a fantastically simple blend of Gin, Lime Juice and Sugar Syrup.
Using the Gimlet recipe below, and the link supplied here, why not try out that gin you’ve always wanted to try or were intrigued by?
I personally prefer a fragrant gin like Hendricks or Sipsmith – both of which can be found on the offers page!
Cocktails O’clock: The Gimlet
2.5 measures Gin
0.5 measures Lime Juice
0.5 measures Sugar Syrup (2:1 ratio)
Combine ingredient in a cocktail shaker and shake well.
Strain into an old fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.
Garnish with a lime wheel and serve immediately.
Enjoy this cocktail and enjoy the gin! Within the next two months I’ll hopefully be starting back up with Shaken Cocktails so expect a flourishing selection of posts to come. Until then? Remember to always drink responsibly!
It’s been a while now since i shared one of these offer alerts. Truth be told it’s the first time in months i’ve read the email with enough time left for it to be worth sharing!
As you know i’m an avid fan of The Drink Shop, and they have always been good to me when i’ve ordered from them.
Whilst my stores are full to the brim of Gin, thanks to Shaken Cocktails, and my penchant for cool trinkets (here’s looking at you Hendricks with your little atomiser) there is no reason that any one reading this post in time cannot go forth and save bundles of cash when purchasing your next Gin shipment…
Below is a link, and from that link will sprout a heavens wealth of Gin on offer (at least until the end of the offer period – where i imagine the prices will be back to normal, but no less Ginny!- is that even a word? -I don’t even care).
According to the email i received today (18/9/2015) you could save up to 20% on your favourite Gins and Genever!
Sipsmith Sloe Gin 2013 (50cl) was £23.09 Now only £20.13!
Gabriel Boudier – Saffron (70cl) was £29.98 Now only £26.85!
Martin Millers Gin (70cl) was £23.56 Now only £21.19!
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
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
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
– 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
2 teaspoons crème de cassis
Top up Lanson Black Label Champagne Brut
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
1 ½ measures sloe gin
½ measure fresh lemon juice
½ measure sugar syrup
Top up Etienne Dumont Brut (Non-Vintage) Champagne
– 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.
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)
Recipe (serves 6): (build and serve)
150ml Grand Marnier
330ml Orange Juice (smooth)
600ml Cranberry Juice
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)
Recipe (Serves 12):
360ml Apple & Raspberry Juice
Sainsbury’s TTD Vintage Cava
Fresh Mint Sprigs
– 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).
– 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)
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
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.
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.
A few days ago I posted about Absinthe and how it is rather misunderstood in the world today. Well if you read that post, and were not sure where to buy Absinthe (especially here in the UK) outside of the supermarkets (let’s face it they don’t really stock the good stuff) then today is your lucky day…
As you all most likely know, www.thedrinkshop.com is one of my favourite go-to websites for cocktail related products (be it alcohol or mixers or garnishes or glassware) and right now they are offering up to 25% off their entire range of Absinthes… there are some wonderful brands on the offer too including:
Not to mention the many other bottles they offer (including miniatures for those of you looking to test out the spirit or look for nice little treats for your friends)…
Pop over to their Absinthe Offer Section and peruse their stocks, then stop back here and let me know what you think. Is your favourite on offer? Do you have a favourite not on the list? How do you drink yours? All these things are interesting for both me and my readers…
Also why not take a moment to check over my little post on absinthe if you haven’t already, your thoughts and views are greatly appreciated!
Please note: I am in no way affiliated with www.thedrinkshop.com I just like the site and like the offers. Sharing them might help someone out and that’s the best thing about the internet no?!
Offers on Alcohol everywhere: You just need to know where to look…
Alcohol is getting more and more expensive, no better example than sharp increases that are showcased by Angostura Bitters & Cointreau, especially over the last 3 or so years. It’s averaged that the price of alcohol per unit has risen by 6.5% in comparison to last years’ prices (3.5% more than the 3% inflation rate). This information is taken from the WSTA an organisation for the wine and spirits industry here in the UK.
Roll back a few years and you could buy a 70cl (700ml) bottle of Cointreau for around £14.99. That might sound like a bargain in today’s money (and it is) but you would expect a small increase. However what you really get is the fact that any bottle of Cointreau in a supermarket you try and buy will now be around £17-£20 at full price, and what’s worse is that the bottle will only be a 50cl (500ml) one! Not to mention Angostura Bitters have double in price over the last 12 months (although that’s a HMRC issue, not the company Angostura itself).
But where can you get good products at a cheaper price?
Basically anywhere that sells the things you want… I work at a supermarket and can tell you that offers are periodical, usually on 2-4 week rotations (depending on the products). Alcohol in particular is a range highly discounted on a regular basis. Whether you prefer the cocktail spirits, beer or wine there will always be a way of saving, as long as you don’t mind changing your choice every month…
Let’s use my shopping habits for example: I love rum, it’s as simple as that. I am willing to purchase and try any rum, as that’s the only real way to find the ideal style/product that suits me (or you).
The best way for me to do this, and spend as little as possible, was to only buy the rum on offer (there’s always rum on offer). This could be any rum, and is also part of the allure, but mainly the bigger brands (such as Havana Club, Mount Gay & Bacardi). So as you can see you can, sometimes, get a proper bargain.
The savings can be anything from £1-£10 depending on the product and time of year. So again I reiterate the importance to looking for a good deal where you can.
Anyway moving on to the main point of this post; saving money on Alcohol.
The Drink Shop is a favourite online source of mine and along with the Whisky Exchange they offer several products at a discount price (like you’d expect a supermarket would). So here below are some links, allowing you to take full advantage of these offers, after all why pay full price when you don’t have to?
This weeks special offer on the Drink Shop is Calvados, which coinsides with National Calvados Week. Calvados, in simple terms, is an Apple Brandy made in the French region of Lower Normandy. Dating back to 1554, apple based distillation is an ancient tradition and can result in a wonderful spirit perfect for drinking straight, cooking with, or – you guessed it – cocktails!
The one thing key to saving money is not to be set in your ways. If you go looking for a particular brand of spiced rum but find it’s out of your price range, then look at other brands of spiced rum and find one that is. This method is compounded by you shopping around; if you’re lucky you’ll find the product you want cheaper somewhere else…
This week, in the seven dials area of London (basically down the road from Covent Garden), spirit companies from around the world will gather and celebrate in all things cocktail…
Whether it’s a Fever Tree inspired Dark N’ Stormy, or one of the heavily advertised Disaronno sour there is something for everyone… I for one intend to have my fill.
Below is my itinerary, from picking up the wristband (that allows entry to some events, but more importantly allows you to partake in £4 cocktails at certain establishments across London throughout the week.
The idea to begin with is to grab my wristband, and have a look around, then attend the first of my pre-paid events: Gaz’s Historical Tour. Then I’ll have 2 hours to have another look around and explore some of the goings on in the streets before making my way over the Nasmyth st for the discover Sipsmith seminar. Then I’ll make my way home. It’s a simple, but hopefully fruitful day out. Learning about Sipsmith gin, experiencing some great street vendors and of course Gaz’s historical tour…
Thursday 10th October: Itinerary
12:00 – 14:00 Wristband Collection
14:00 – 15:30 Gaz’s Historical Tour
15:30 – 17:30 Jerry’s Backyard Bar
15:30 – 17:30 Botanical Bicycle (FeverTree)
16:00 – 17:30 Disaronno Sour Station
15:30 – 17:30 Whisky Exchange (Offie)
15:30 – 17:30 Averna Pop Up Van
15:30 – 17:30 Funkin Street Bar
17:00 – 17:30 The Caorunn Sensorium
18:30 – 20:30 Discover Sipsmith
As you can see this should be a fun day and I cannot wait to go up and have a look, not to mention photograph and write down everything I experience. You can all look forward to reading about this day in blog posts to come, but if you’re about at all and want to come and join in the fun you can!
I’ll be about as part of the crowd, but should you notice me at all (I’ll let you figure out who I am on the day) then please feel free to introduce yourself and we’ll share a drink and some words!
If you find London Bridge on any mapping application, and then search ‘cocktail bars’ you’ll have a bit of a job on your hands to separate the tags from one another. However one bar stands out a little: the Vinopolis’ Bar Blue. Whether it’s the unusual reverse of the name giving it a little originality (it’s called ‘Bar Blue’ instead of ‘The Blue Bar’) or the décor easily visible through the floor-ceiling glass walls, it has something that draws you to it.
Its close proximity to ‘Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’ and the ‘Tate Modern’ art galleries not to mention London Bridge (as well as the Blackfriars & millennium bridges) itself obviously help it out, and whilst there are plenty of pubs in the area, it’s the only cocktail bar in the immediate area.
Some bars that similarly draw you in, usually fail to deliver when it comes to a varied cocktail selection, and originality in the cocktails, especially those in my local area in Kent. However Bar Blue does deliver, and it delivers well above the standard I am used to.
Looking at the cocktail menu, especially the ‘favourites’ section, there is an abundance of originality showing that the owners have looked at the cocktails and thought seriously about offering a high quality, varied selection of ‘fruity’ & ‘exotic’ cocktails.
Whilst the time constraints of other visits only allowed for us to enjoy the one drink, let nothing be taken away from the overall experience, not only was the cocktail consumed one of the best I’ve ever had, I would more than happily visit this bar every time I went out in London. I’ll definitely be heading there when I go back to London Bridge in a few months.
Now, onwards to the cocktail(s) themselves…
The menu itself is well presented, protected with the hard cover and the font is very easy to read. Not only that, but they stock a lot of different spirits, liqueurs & cordials, which they like to show off. This can be seen by looking at the favourites section again; for the 13 different cocktails they have, they use 30+ liqueurs, spirits or cordials/purees. The use of so many ingredients results in a wider selection of cocktails and flavours (using all of the ‘main’ spirits: Tequila, Whisky/Bourbon, vodka, Rum & Gin). The cocktails that stick out (for me) are the Saigon Sling, Almond Breeze and the Warsaw Cooler, all three are slightly longer drinks and contain a healthy mix of sweet and sour and all taste a little exotic; Perfect for those summer evenings chilling out by the Thames (it’s a 30 second walk from the bar’s front door).
Now the only cocktail tried on this trip was the Saigon Sling. The menu has this to say about it:
It was simple, yet full of flavour, and although the top up of ginger ale was not excessive, it balanced with the rest of the drink extremely well. As you can see from the picture below they went down rather well. It is this sort of drink I believe will take London (and hopefully other cities/towns) by storm this summer, refreshing drinks bursting with flavour.
Now I don’t often rate a venue like this but, in all honesty, I don’t get to go to bars like this often. With its contemporary and spacious design, this bar is perfect for an afternoon/early evening drink with your friends. Whether you prefer Beer, Wine or their extensive collection of cocktails/champagne then this is the place for you and your friends. If you’re ever in the area of London Bridge then I highly recommend checking it out.
Minimalist interior is perfect for lunchtime business meetings and early evening drinks with a few friends, but it might struggle upon an evening to fit a large number of people in. Overall a great looking bar with a great terraced area showcasing their large range of Spirits & Liqueurs.
Fantastic service from a friendly and helpful member of staff, and knew how to make the cocktail off the top of his head…
Drinks Selection: 10/10
As if their menu wasn’t extensive enough, they even offer to make cocktails not on their menu, not a lot of places offer that these days…
Drinks Ordered: 9/10
The drink we ordered, it was agreed, was amazing. It was perfect for the stuffy London weather, refreshing enough to help chill us out, but packing enough kick to let you savour the alcohol used. The only thing holding the score back is that Beefeater Gin was used instead of Bombay sapphire and this probably changed the drinks overall flavour a little. Otherwise it was perfect.
Overall Score: 9/10 – Amazing! You should go, and take your friends too!!
This is by far one of the best bars I’ve ever been to, not to mention its part of a famous visitor’s attraction: Vinopolis. The drinks were perfect and the place was fantastic to just sit and chill and it’s now the first ‘Best of London Bars’ on this blog. Again I strongly recommend checking them out!
For more information about this venue, including offers and other news please check out their Facebook page, website and twitter feed via the links below: