Tag Archives: Chambord

London Cocktail Club – The Best Basement Bar around…

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’.

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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 Venue…

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.

The cocktails…

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…

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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 20160330_201440

 

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.

Cocktail #3: In-House Bramble

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Their take on the classic Bramble cocktail.

Bombay Sapphire Gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, Chambord black raspberry liqueur.

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?

Overall:

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.

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My Sweet Valentine: 5 Cocktails you should be drinking this Valentine’s Day

Cocktails: Made, literally, with love…

Cocktails: Making Love a little smoother since, well, forever.

Here below are 5 of the best cocktails you’ll be drinking this Valentine’s Day. Some will open the door for you, others might just slam it in your face; pick wisely and, as always, enjoy in moderation…

Please note: These cocktails are so good you’ll be wanting more and more, so they are best used for the love of your life, and if you’re single why not invite a few friends over and celebrate an argument free life – after all you shouldn’t miss out. Right?!

1) Agave Kiss

Recipe:

2 measures Very Smooth Silver Tequila

1 measure Crème De Cacao

1 measure Double Cream

½ measure Chambord

Garnish: White Chocolate flakes & Fresh Raspberries.

Cream and Tequila: Pefection. The Raspberries add a little love.
Cream and Tequila: Pefection. The Raspberries add a little love.

Method:

– Rim a cocktail glass with the flakes of white chocolate (use some lime juice/water as adhesive)

– Combine the ingredients over ice and shake until

This drink is a mixture of pure bliss with a splash of Tequila.  Blending chocolate, raspberry and tequila with the cream in this cocktail brings out the best of all the different flavours and then finishes it off with a smooth creamy texture that only double cream can supply. Hint: The smoother the tequila the better the overall taste of this drink.

2) Love Potion

Recipe:

30ml Sipsmith Vodka

20ml Sipsmith Damson Vodka

2 fresh strawberries

½ a lime

10ml sugar syrup

35ml Pineapple Juice

20ml Mango Juice

1 shot of strawberry Champagne

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Elegant and Sophisticated… Just like the person you’re sharing one with… It’s OK, we don’t judge here!

Method:

– Muddle the strawberries and sugar syrup in a shaker and then add the rest of the ingredients.

– Shake well, over ice, until the shaker ices over and strain into a martini glass.

– Serve next to a shot of strawberry champagne.

This cocktail is a perfect fit for this year’s Valentine’s day; utilising one of the best gins in the world (and the only one distilled in London) as well as some fabulous creativity with the addition of a strawberry champagne shot.

If you can’t be bothered to stay in and make your own then make your way to the ‘Kensington Palace Restaurant & Fish Shop’ this February 14th as this is their valentine cocktail this year.

3) Frosted Rose

Recipe:

25ml Vodka

25ml Orange Juice

25ml Pineapple Juice

50ml Cranberry Juice

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Cute & Petite, Just my type!

Method:

– Combine the ingredients over ice and shake well until the shaker ices over.

– Strain into a martini glass and serve well.

This cocktail is one of the lighter options on this list, using only the one measure of spirit – but that’s not to say it’s any less tasty. It’s similar to a sea breeze but with the added exotic flavour pineapple juice brings with it. If you want to tweak the flavours slightly then Peach Schnapps is a good addition (yes so it becomes more like a Sex on the Beach).

4) Cherubs Cup

Recipe:

1 measure St. Germain Liqueur

2 measure Vodka

¾ measure Lemon Juice

¼ measure sugar syrup

3 muddled strawberries

Top Up Rose Champagne

Garnish: halved strawberries

cherubs cup
A sweet little cocktail with a name to suit this special day…

Method:

– Shake over ice and strain into an ice filled glass. Add in some strawberry halves here.

– Top with the rose champagne and garnish with a left over strawberry half.

The cherub’s cup is a cocktail perfect for those summer nights on the veranda, but seeing as the summers in the UK are nothing but a damp squib (no they really are rather damp) this cocktail becomes perfect for those romantic evenings with loved ones, so it kind of makes sense to include it on this list. Using the best the French have to offer (St. Germain Liqueur & Champagne) this cocktail really does spark things up when it comes to a romance. Looking the part and tasting delicious; if you hand your date one of these they will be readily impressed – just make sure they aren’t allergic to strawberries first…

5) Besame (Kiss Me)

Recipe:

50ml El Jimador Blanco (Silver) Tequila

2 lime wedges

5/6 raspberries

Top up Passion Fruit Juice

1 teaspoon Chambord

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Besame, quick whilst no-one is looking!

Method:

– Muddle the lime wedges and raspberries in a highball glass.

– Add the tequila, stir and fill with crushed ice.

– Top up with the passion fruit juice and stir well.

– Top up with the crushed ice and float a teaspoon of Chambord on top of the drink.

For an added twist mix, shake the ingredients before added to an ice filled glass.

Aptly named, this drink is a colourful mixture again using tequila. Whilst not known for the abundance of female drinkers, Tequila can be a beautifully balanced spirit (if chosen correctly). Like other spirits the smoother the tequila the better and this drink utilises that fact. Smooth Silver tequila blended with some tropical flavours result in not only a stunning red hue, but also one of the better tasting cocktail on this list.

Cocktails O’ Clock: Whisky Wednesdays…

Eclipse

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times; I do not like whisky. But recently I’ve been finding some that are quite bearable, including the one that happens to be the focal point of this post…

The book in which I found this recipe: “Pink Drinks” (published by Hamlyn) was a present from my sister, who thinks she is funny with Christmas presents like this, and is annoyingly full of some rather good cocktail recipes (hence this post).

Recipe:

2 measures Jack Daniels

½ measure Chambord Liqueur

½ measure fresh Lime Juice

Dash Agave Nectar

1 measure cranberry juice

1 measure raspberry puree

Garnish:2 Raspberries and a Lime wedge.

Pink over ice. Perfect for those nights in with friends…

Method:

  1. Combine the whisky and other ingredients over ice and shake until ice forms on the outside of the shaker.
  2. Fill a highball glass with crushed ice and strain in the mixture.
  3. Garnish with the raspberries and lime wedge (use a skewer for the berries – it helps) and stick in two straws.

Combining a relatively sweet whisky with some lime juice and berries this drink creates a sweet-sour combination that really tingles on your tongue. The crushed ice both lengthens the drink and cools down the whisky.

“if you’re dreaming of that sparkly something that could take a long time in coming, then this is the drink for you. A divine mixture of raspberry puree, Jack Daniels and lime juice – it could be a long night” – Pink Drinks; Hamlyn books.

The best thing about this drink is that by tweaking two of the ingredients you can change the ‘girly’ pink hue of the drink whilst keeping the basic idea of the drink whole. Instead of using the raspberry ingredients try using a collection of darker berries:

–          Replace the Chambord with Crème de Mure (Blackberry Liqueur)

–          Replace the Raspberry Puree with a Blackberry & Blueberry puree.

–          Replace the Cranberry Juice with Pomegranate & Blueberry Juice.

This will result in both a darker shade of red, a deeper flavour thanks to the summer berries and a drink the men in your group will not mind (as much) being seen holding. Failing that just make them some whisky sours with the left over Jack Daniels…

Using Blackberries will darken the drink making it less girly; for all you blokes out there…

So there you have it, no excuses male or female, shake a few of these up for you and your friends and chill out with a good film or even a pizza.

A Pitcher Says A Thousand Words…

5 scalable sparkling drinks, perfect for your end of Summer BBQ…

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Everyone loves a BBQ, whether you’re British or American, it’s a universal food language! Picture courtesy of http://www.affordablecateringdenver.com

This post is a bit pre-emptive. It’s not the end of summer just yet, but with the slightly cooler weather we are getting, it’s only ever around the corner.  With these concoctions you can hang on to what remains of this weather for as long as you feasibly can. There is even a non-alcoholic one at the bottom…

Without further ado I present to you the 5 pitcher drinks you simply cannot be doing without this autumn!

1)      Vodka Knockout

1L Vodka

175ml Lime Juice

500ml Triple Sec

1L Cranberry Juice

1L Bitter Lemon(ade)

1L Classic Lemonade

Method:

Mix all of the still ingredients into a bowl/jug and stir well. Add your choice of slice/chopped fruit then cover and place in the fridge for 2-12 hours. Then top up with the carbonated ingredients and serve. If preparing without the 2-12 hours’ notice use large blocks of ice to keep the drink chilled.

2)      Rum Juggler

700ml Rum

500ml Southern Comfort

50ml Sugar Syrup

150ml Lime Juice

1L Apple Juice

1L Ginger Ale

Method:

Mix together the alcohol, lime juice and syrup. Then add your selection of prepared fruit. Cover and leave to chill for around 4-5 hours, then add the apple juice, cover and chill for up to a further 8hrs.

Serve straight from the fridge, and top up with the ginger ale. If prepared at short notice, again use large lumps of ice to chill the mixture, stirring in the ice to begin with.

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Cocktail are refreshing, and they are perfect for BBQ’s too… Picture courtesy of http://www.vegasnews.com

3)      Gin Garden

700ml Gin

350ml Passoa

250ml Cointreau

150ml Lemon Juice

1L Tropical/Passionfruit Juice

1L Soda Water

Method:

Mix together the alcoholic ingredients and lemon juice in your serving bowl/jug.  Cover and chill for up to 5 hours. Then mix in the chosen fruit juice. Cover and chill for up to a further 7 hours. Serve straight from the fridge, topping up the drink with soda water, but only when it’s in their glass. DO NOT put the soda in the bow as, it will go flat extremely quickly.

4)      Orchard Liqueur Especial

250ml Licor 43

250ml St. Germain Liqueur

350ml Plum Liqueur

100ml Chambord

500ml Apple Schnapps

350ml Cranberry Juice

1L Apple & Pear Juice

1L Ginger Ale

Method:

Pour all of the ingredients into a large serving bowl. Then stir in your selection of chopped/slice fruits and stir well. Cover and leave in the fridge to cool for 2+hrs. Then remove and add the fruit juice and stir again. Leave for another 2hrs and then serve, topping up with Ginger ale at the last moment.

If you have less time on your hands, put all the ingredients (except the ginger ale) in the bowl with large ice cubes. Then stir in the fruit, and add the fruit juice and stir again. Top up with the Ginger ale just before serving.

This mixture is perfect as it is, but should you like to tweak it try and stick to Orchard/Forest fruits. A selection of apples, pears, plums, peaches and various soft berries work wonders chopped up and served in the mixture.

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Not all cocktails have to be alcoholic, some of the best cocktails i’ve tried have been non-alcoholic… Picture courtesy of http://www.rachaelraymag.com

5)      Mocktail Monster

100ml grenadine

700ml POM pomegranate juice

350ml cranberry juice

350ml Apple Juice

150ml Lime Juice

1L Bitter Lemon

1L Lemonade

Method:

Mix all the ingredients up and serve with ice. The bigger the ice cubes the better, as they will melt slower. Serve with various sliced/chopped fruit and plenty of lemonade to top.

This recipe works well as a non-alcoholic alternative but can easily be made alcoholic if you wish; Vodka or rum make good bases, with liqueurs like SoCo and Cointreau working equally well. For a special little kick why not try adding 500-700ml of Tequila?

Or you can go for a more elegant touch and swap the lemonade out for Sparkling Wine/Champagne. It’s all up to you!

I’ve tried to make these recipes as crowd friendly as possible, you’ll notive that I’ve refrained from the use of Orange and Pineapple Juices, this is because I’ve found more people than you may think are allergic to them. That’s not to say you cannot add them in at all, just find out who’s allergic beforehand! – we want everyone to get the most enjoyment out of your drinks after alll!

These recipes are easy to prepare in bulk, and show clear volumes of each ingredient so you can scale them up (or down) to order.

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Always aim to try new things, this wonderful device is a brilliant day out. check out http://www.firebox.com for more information…

All recipes are my own creation, so please ask me if you would like to use them on your own websites/blogs. Otherwise feel free to use them at your events , and even play with the ingredients to suit your tastes. The ingredients used are such that there is a certain amount of tweaking allowed before they taste unbalanced. Hopefully you enjoy them as much as we do here at the Fervent Shaker Co. Your BBQ’s will never be the same…

The Fervent Shaker Top 10 Liqueurs

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My top 10 liqueurs… Which one makes no.1? Is it this Beauty? Or another great liqueur…

For commercial purposes (i.e. what you’re able to go out and buy yourselves) I’ll only be including liqueurs you can purchase on the UK market. Although this does not really reflect the list, as I do come from the UK and therefore am limited to these myself…

10) Chambord

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A great berry liqueur…

Possibly the sweetest liqueur on this list, Chambord Liqueur has one of the most ‘Royal’ beginnings too. It is said that King Louis XIV (that’s 15th for anyone who doesn’t know) visited Chateau Chambord and was presented with a Raspberry Liqueur that he loved. Well it is this liqueur that has inspired the spirit we all know and love: Chambord Liqueur. This world renowned black raspberry liqueur is a favourite of many of the modern mixologists ingredients.

This raspberry liqueur screams quality, and even the process shows it:

Using only the best raspberries (among other raspberry like berries) the fruit is then double infused and married with the other ingredients (and cognac wouldn’t you believe).

If this doesn’t scream enough quality the shape and design of the glass it comes in certainly covers any excess. Let’s face it, the French do romance and beauty better than any other country in the world and this liqueur is no different. From the minute you open a bottle you’re hit with the strong ‘raspberry jam donut’ fragrance supplied by the black raspberries. This to me makes it one of the best liqueurs, not just in Europe, but in the world.  

Cocktail O’Clock: The Chambord French Martini

50ml Raspberry Vodka

15ml Chambord Liqueur

100ml Pineapple Juice

Method:

1)      Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a large martini cocktail glass.

2)      Garnish with some fresh raspberries.

9) Agwa Bolivia (coca)

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A great Coca Leaf based liqueur, it even gives you a little buzz when you drink it… What’s not to like?!

I make no secret about my love affair with liqueurs/spirits with great stories. And why should this one be any different? Hint – it’s not.

Agwa De Bolivia is a dangerous and controversial liqueur. Dangerous in that What makes it so controversial is what it is made from: The Coca Leaf (that’s right, Coca as in Cocaine). There is nothing illegal about the use of the leaf, nor the consumption of this liqueur, however when it first came to be, it’s safe to say there were some shamefully shaking heads. But ignore them, because this liqueur is something special indeed.

Hand-picked to extremely high standards, the coca leaves are then transported (by armed guard) to Amsterdam where they are processed and infused until we get this almost florescent bottle of magic.

This liqueur is just a little different, a little crazy and a little controversial enough to not only be an instant hit across the globe, but to also interest people into making cocktails with it.

And that’s why it makes it onto this list.

Cocktail O’Clock: Agwa Berry Kiss

45ml Agwa de Bolivia coca leaf liqueur

150ml Italian Prosecco

Fresh Lime Juice (1/2 lime or round-abouts)

Fresh black berries and raspberries

Method:

1)      Fill a fancy champagne flute with the chilled Prosecco.

2)      Shake the lime juice and Agwa in a shaker, over ice.

3)      Strain into the glass, over the Prosecco, watching it ripple through the sparkling wine.

4)      Garnish with some fresh berries however you prefer (we like to skewer them, slicing them and putting them on the glass’ rim works too!)

That cocktail was courtesy of someone who’s had the pleasure of sampling and reviewing the liqueur first hand… Liquor Chick.

8) Disaronno

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A great Italian liqueur, one of our faves here in the UK…

As the story goes Leonardo Da Vinci’s apprentice ‘Bernardino Luini’ was commissioned to paint a picture of ‘Madonna of the miracles in Saronno’ and in return for choosing an innkeeper to model as Madonna the young maiden innkeeper gave him a bottle of ‘golden liqueur’. Then later on this recipe was rediscovered and eventually sold as Disaronno.

Today Disaronno is among the most recognized of liqueurs across the planet. With a sweet Almond taste (imagine concentrated liquid marzipan being loosed upon your tastebuds) Disaronno is both perfect for drinking as is, or in well balanced cocktail.

Due to its carefully smooth texture and taste it can blend well with both the Neutral vodkas and white rums, but also well with the more flavourful tasting spirits like aged rum, Tequila and Gin.

Now this is something you do not often find in liqueurs, at least not an amaretto. Usually they are just good for aperitifs or as the base of a cocktail (where the other ingredients work around them). This however is different, and it’s for this reason it is my 3rd favourite liqueur.

A drink worth trying disaronno out with would be:

Cocktail O’Clock: Disaronno Jazzy Hour

½ measure Disaronno

1 measure Vodka

½ measure Tangerine Liqueur

1 measure Pineapple Juice

¼ measure Lemon Juice (about 5ml)

Method:

Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail (martini) glass.

 

7) Pisa Liqueur

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A fantastic Amaretto-like liqueur from Pisa, Italy. One I hope to see in my cupboard again very soon…

Pisa Liqueur is one of my all time favourite drinks, and was discovered purely by accident. I remember it well, I was looking for a new amaretto I saw in a shop window (a luxardo one, but I couldn’t remember the name) and stumbled across this on the drinkshop. I fell in love with the bottle design and it sounded good, so I bought a bottle for around £13-£14. Since then it’s become no longer available on the drinkshop, but I’m sure that within the next year or so they will break back onto the international market.

How do I know this? Well as recently as January this year (2013) this liqueur was show during an American tv’s superbowl cocktail segment. This alone makes me think they are branching out and it shouldn’t be too long for them to hit the UK commercially again (if they haven’t already)… For all you American reading this: You lucky buggars you, I’m extremely jealous. And would appreciate a few bottles sent my way!!

Here’s what the Pisa Liqueur official website has to say about their history:

“Liquore Pisa was born long ago from a domain steeped in history, rich in flavour and character. Its flavours come from a distant past, a history of intrigues of the renaissance. Therefore Liquore Pisa is aged and wise and imparts the feel of another world. Pisa has been bottled since the beginning in Italy at two Italian owned companies; Franciacorta which exists since 1901, and Torino Distillati.”

Cocktail O’Clock: The Pisa Sour

1 ¼ oz measure Pisa Liqueur

1 ¼ oz measure Stetson Bourbon

¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice

1 egg white (optional)

Fresh grated nutmeg for garnish.

Method:

1)      Shake ingredients over ice and double strain into a coupe cocktail glass.

2)      Garnish with a grating of nutmeg.

6) Prucia Plum liqueur

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One of the classiest liqueurs I’ve ever had the pleasure in owning. It will not be long before I own another bottle, trust me!

Prucia is a bit of an enigma when it comes to liqueurs. However whilst it may be half Japanese and half French it is, after all, 100% Plum. This wonderful liqueur is something I discovered after originally falling in love with Brentzen Plum Liqueur. After trying the Brentzen liqueur, I found Prucia and thought I’d spend out the extra £££ for a little extra quality (or so I thought at the time). What I received for my £26 was a liqueur that, quite literally, blew my mind. I cannot shout enough good things about this Liqueur. My only problem is it’s slightly higher price tag – then again you are quite literally paying for the quality of the product, after all the Japanese part of this liqueur cannot come cheap.

“When bored by a splurge of poncey spirit brands, it’s a relief to taste something different…” – The London Paper.

This Liqueur is something a little special, and I wish I could have placed it higher, this with a splash of pepsi cola is just sublime, it’s simple yes, but so good.

Cocktail O’Clock: Prucia Formula

25ml Prucia Plum Liqueur

20ml Antica Formula Vermouth

Top up Champagne

Cherry & orange twist to garnish

Method:

1)      Shake the Prucia & Vermouth together over ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute.

2)      Top up with the Champagne.

3)      Garnish by dropping the cherry in the glass and squeezing the twist over the glass and dropping that in too.

5) Agave Sec

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Another of the great quality Triple Sec’s, this one is blended with Agave Syrup for that sweet hit…

Created jointly by Giffard, the mighty Liqueur Giants, and Simon Difford (author of Difford’s guide to cocktails), this curious but elegant blend of agave nectar and Curacao Triple Sec elbows its way onto the world market. It gives Cointreau a run for its money when it comes to a unique and rather floral triple sec brand. Clocking in at 40%, the same as Cointreau, this triple sec fills a niche some bartenders were craving: A triple sec that go toe to toe with Tequila.

The obvious thing that sets this triple sec apart is in the name: Agave Nectar. Using 100% Mexican agave nectar; this triple sec blends the Curacao orange peels, that triple sec are renown for, but without losing the quality in the process.

There are only two things that keep this ‘triple sec’ from bettering Cointreau:

1)      Exposure: basically Cointreau has this triple sec beat on popularity. Cointreau has been around for hundreds of years and it has a brutal stranglehold on all things triple sec. I mean face it, would you swap out that Christmas favourite for something you’re not sure about? No me either (I would for this but hey that’s me).

2)      Cointreau’s combination of bitter & sweet orange peels is still that missing ingredient from every other triple sec out there. Sure this one has Agave Nectar for sweetness, but Cointreau is still on another level. And rightly so, as said above, it’s been around for several hundreds of years, you’d have thought they’d done well in that time right?!

Cocktail O’Clock: The Agave Sec Margarita

40ml Tequila Blanco (choose your favourite brand)

20ml Giffard Agave Sec

20ml Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Method:

1)      Combine ingredients in an ice filled shaker.

2)      Shake well and strain into a margarita cocktail glass.

3)      Garnish with a lime wheel.

Check out Giffards Agave Sec product page for a little bit more about its history and for some more cocktails, including:

The Nutcracker

The Caribbean Sunset

The Beautiful Apple

Fun fact: “Agave Syrup is 90% fructose, which has a very low glycemic index – this means that it’s a much healthier alternative to cane sugar and you need far less to achieve the same level of sweetness.” – Mangrove UK

4) Cointreau

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Cointreau have recently started up a Fizz summer cocktail awareness campaign… It went rather well…

And here we are: Remy Cointreau’s crown jewel of liqueurs: Cointreau.

A list of my favourite liqueurs would not be complete without this beauty. It misses out on the top 3 by literally the smallest of margins. I couldn’t decide between this and the next and I had to flip a coin for it. Not very scientific but let’s face it: drinking rarely is.

As you know from the whole host of Cointreau blogs I’ve written before Cointreau is a premium grade Triple Sec made using both bitter & sweet orange peels (most other triple sec brands use just the bitter peels).  I won’t go into too much detail as that will negate the point of all the other Cointreau post’s I’ve written. However below I shall leave link’s to all my other Cointreau posts.

Cointreau Fizz Garden

Cointreau Fizz Cocktails

Cointreau Summer Cocktails

The history of Cointreau Part 1

The history of Cointreau Part 2

The history of Cointreau Part 3

Fun fact: Cointreau turns opalescent when added to water, it shows the liqueur is pure and of good quality.

Cocktail O’Clock: The Cointreau Fizz, Original

50ml Cointreau

½ lime (cut into wedges)

100ml Club Soda

Method:

1)      Fill your glass with ice.

2)      Add in the Cointreau.

3)      Squeeze the lime wedges into the glass and drop in when done.

4)      Top up with Club Soda

3) Domain De Canton Ginger liqueur

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A great liqueur with the best of everything… You’re sure to love it!

Domain de Canton Ginger Liqueur is another one of those French enigmas (like Prucia), in that it uses an interesting process and flavour to create something that truly is unique.

I tried this liqueur at university, having more money than I knew what to do with, when I bought and tried several expensive liqueurs. At around £30, it’s quite expensive all though these days that’s not far off some of the more established liqueurs.

Using the best Vietnamese baby ginger macerated with a blend of herbs and spices, unlocking it’s fresh essence.

“Domaine de Canton made in small batches and by hand, therefore mass quantities are not possible.” – partial descritption from the Domaine de Canton website.

This liqueur blends a whole collection of ingredients, including:

–          Fine Eau de Vie,

–          VSOP cognac

–          XO Grande Champagne Cognac

–          Tahitian Vanilla Beans

–          Provencal Honey

–          Tunisian Ginseng

If these ingredients are not enough for you, this liqueur is made naturally without preservatives, or colourings.

It’s worth a try if you have the monies knocking about, or even if you find a bar selling it. It’s perfect for cocktails, but even better with champagne, not to mention its use in food recipes.

Cocktail O’Clock: The Canton Cocktail

2 ½ mesures Domaine de Canton

½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

8 mint sprigs

Top up Club Soda (optional)

Method:

1)      Shake all the ingredients over ice.

2)      Strain into a rocks glass.

3)      To make this drink slightly longer, top up with club Soda.

4)      Garnish with a mint sprig and a slice of caramelised Ginger.

2) St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

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A beautifully sweet and luxurious liqueur from France, where else?

What makes St-Germain my 2nd faviourite liqueur? Well apart from the heavenly taste, which by St-Germains own words “is a curious mixture that rivals Paris’ culture”, it’s all about the process St-Germain go through to create their signature liqueur…

Picking only the best fresh elderflower blossoms over the course of a few spring time weeks,  the men that gather these blossoms then transport (by bicycle) the blossoms to the collection depot.

It is here that the fresh blossoms are then macerated using St-Germain’s secret method. Further to this the process they employ created the exceedingly fresh and complex elderflower liqueur we all know. With hints of pear, peach and even grapefruit zest, St Germain truly is a unique and superbly special liqueur. And it is for this reason it beats the other liqueurs in this list to 2nd place. The only liqueur to beat it, is one that holds a special place in my heart…

“Neither passionfruit nor pear, grapefruit nor lemon, the sublime taste of St-Germain hints at each of these and yet none of them exactly. It is a flavour as subtle and delicate as it is captivating. A little like asking a hummingbird to describe the flavour of its favourite nectar. Tres curieux indeed, n’est-ce pas?” – Exerpt from the St-Germain website.

Cocktail O’Clock: The St-Germain Cocktail

2 measures Brut Champagne (or dry sparkling wine)

1.5 measures St-Germain

2 measures Club Soda

Method:

1)      Stir together the ingredients in an ice filled Collins glass.

2)      Garnish with a lemon twist.

1) Licor 43 (aka Cuarenta Y Tres)

My all time favourite liqueur, this has a special place in my heart, and will never be beaten to that no.1 spot!

Repeat readers of this blog may or may not be surprised by this choice. Either way to me it was the easiest place to decide. I don’t think I could ever willingly go back to not knowing what this liqueur tastes like. Also I will not be going too much into its history or the cocktails, seeing as I have several posts dedicated to this…

A little re-cap of my introduction and history of this liqueur starts with my university life (once again, surprise, surprise). In my first year I was staying in halls which were situated 10 minutes walk away from the local Asda supermarket (a UK company owned by WallMart – a reference all you Americans will get). One time I went out with the intention to purchase a vanilla liqueur and was going to buy Galliano, until I saw this little Gem on the bottom shelf. It looked stunning in its unique little bottle, its black label and that golden liqueur.

So I gave in and spent the £16 (then, it’s around £18-£25 nowadays) and it was probably the best £16 I ever spent. I tried to find what it went best with, and strangely found that Pepsi (rather than coca cola) made the best mixer. Although it works well in plenty of cocktails, just look here for the best ones.

Another nail in the coffin of love I have for this liqueur was when I was on a Geography (University) Field trip to Southern Spain. At the hotel we stayed in, Licor 43 was one of most consumed liqueurs, and I got a lot of approving looks from the people at the bar for asking for it. Even the lady behind the bar seemed rather happy I’d asked for it (it probably helped me asking it using its Spanish name).

A little fact I want to end on it something not a lot of people know: Licor 43, also known as Cuarenta Y Tres, is a descendent of the Mirabilis liqueur made in the Cartangena region of the Mediterranean. And was originally founded by four Spaniards, and that company, Diego Zamora, is still completely family owned.

Cocktail O’Clock: The Power of Cuarenta Y Tres

7 measures Licor 43

1 measure Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

8 measures Cranberry Juice

4 measure Passion Fruit Nectar

1 measure Caramel Syrup

Fervent twist: Top up Ginger Beer

Method:

1)      Shake all the ingredients into a shaker and strain over ice in a hurricane glass.

2)      For a slightly longer drink, use our Fervent Twist and top up with Ginger beer.

3)      Garnish with the in-season fresh fruit, and a lime wheel.

This cocktail is the one that, for me, really brings out what Cuarenta Y Tres stands for, both in name and taste.

Keep a look out for an on-going set of posts sharing (and celebrating) Licor 43’s current cocktail of the month initiative.

Previous Licor 43 posts:

Licor 43 Jewel of Southern Spain

Licor 43 Summer Cocktails

International COTM: July

Until next time readers, fare thee well!