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Dia De Los Muertos – A Mexican Celebration

Tequila is, undoubtedly, the spirit of Mexico. Tequila’s sophisticated and continuously increasing quality is the result of blending native agricultural techniques and modern technology, all held together with tradition.

Being Mexican, this traditional backbone inevitably includes one of the most spiritual celebrations in the human world: Dia De Los Muertos.

Dia De Los Muertos, or the day of the dead (DOTD), is a celebration that grips the entirety of Mexico on the 1st & 2nd of November. To pay homage to this spiritual celebration I’ve gathered three of the best 100% agave tequilas available to me here in the UK.

 

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Dia De Los Muertos is tradition across Mexico!

 

Taking one cocktail from each brands’ website, I will recreate them, aiming to not only showcase brand used but to really help you get a traditional Mexican celebration going this Dia De Los Muertos.

But, before we delve into the recipes, let’s take a little look a what Dia De Los Muertos is, and why it is so widely celebrated across the country Tequila calls home…

Whilst predominantly celebrated in the central and southern regions of Mexico, DOTD has spread to most of the northern regions as well, no small part due to the Mexican Government declaring it a national holiday.

DOTD takes place on the 1st & 2nd November every year and even though this coincides with the catholic holidays of All Souls and All Saints day, the Mexican population has managed to blend both religion and tradition together, culminating in this very spiritual event.

DOTD rests on the belief that, for the 1st of November, the spirits of deceased children will be allowed passage to Earth, from heaven. During this 24hr period, the children return to their loved ones and enjoy the festivities laid out for them by their friends and families.

On the 2nd of November, adult spirits also return down to their loved ones, enjoying the singing, dancing, and other festivities laid out especially for them.

Almost all houses will contain a homemade altar decorated with marigold flowers, candles, sugar skulls, and pictures of the deceased loved one(s) along with their favourite food and drink. This is all done by the deceased’s families and friends and can come at a great personal expense. But, as this holiday is all about celebrating the lives of their loved ones, the economic cost is not a driving factor – it just serves as an example of how important to the Mexican people this tradition is.

On the 2nd, festivities are taken to the cemeteries and there the individuals will sing, dance, and care for their loved ones’ gravestones. Stories are told of their loved ones and families, friends, and others, all gather to celebrate the lives of their deceased.

Dia De Los Muertos is an upbeat celebration that captures the spirit of joy and ultimately shows a true acceptance of death in everyday life. This tradition celebrates the life of the deceased rather than simply mourning the dead.

Dia De Los Muertos is such a celebration that tequila brands jump at the chance to share it with the world. Of course, it acts as a great selling point for their brands but, ultimately, they also share this celebration with the world.

Simply put, Tequila brands make Mexico’s most famous alcoholic beverage and they make it in the traditional way. Part of this tradition is celebrating Dia De Los Muertos. That is why most tequila brands (especially the 100% agave ones) will really kick things up a notch around the end of October…

Now for what you’ve all been waiting for, the 3 gloriously delicious Dia De Los Muertos cocktails…

Patron – Fresas En Fuego

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Recipe:

(45ml) 3 measures Patron Silver

(15ml) 1 measure Ginger Liqueur

(15ml) 1 measure Fresh Lime Juice

(15ml) 1 measure Sugar Syrup

4 x Hulled Strawberries

2 x Jalapeno coins (slices)

Garnish: Strawberry & Jalapeno Skewer.

Method:

  • In a shaker, muddle the strawberries, jalapeno coins, and sugar syrup.
  • Add the tequila, ginger liqueur, and lime juice.
  • Shake well over ice.
  • Double strain into a chilled coupe cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with the strawberry & jalapeno skewer.

Patron Tequila is as beautifully crafted as they come. It is a premium brand in that it does cost a small fortune to sample some of their high-end products but, as with all alcohol brands, you pay for what you get. All their products are handmade, from Pina to Cork, and this is evident in the high quality taste their products are renown for.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you love spice in your cocktail, try infusing your Patron Silver tequila with some sliced Jalapenos.

Herradura – Agave Seco

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Recipe:

1 measure Herradura Silver Tequila

1 ¼ measure Cointreau

½ measure Campari

1 measure Fresh Orange Juice

1 measure Fresh Grapefruit Juice

Garnish: 1-2 slices Kiwi, 1-2 slices strawberries, and 1 sprig Mint.

Method:

  • Add the tequila, Cointreau, Campari, and juices to an ice-filled shaker.
  • Shake well (10-15 seconds should do it)
  • Strain into a chilled rocks glass.
  • Garnish with the kiwi, strawberries, and mint sprig.

Herradura produce 100% agave tequila and they pride themselves on slowly aged uncompromising tequila. They barrel age their Tequila longer than the standard required and the quality of their products show through. I had the pleasure of sampling their range at Imbibe Live 2016 and believe me, they are sublime in their quality.

 

Ocho – El Diablo

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Recipe:

50ml  Ocho Blanco

25ml Fresh Lime Juice

10ml Fresh Ginger Syrup

10ml Creme De Cassis

Top Up Ginger Ale

Garnish: 2 x Lime wedges

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients over ice and shake well (again, 10-15 seconds should suffice).
  • Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge. Or two.

The El Diablo Is a cocktail I’ve been excited about for a long time. It’s simple, yet tremendously satisfying to drink. Its balance of heat and sweet is sublime and it brings out the playfulness of the tequila!

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you want a higher hit of heat to this drink, muddle some fresh root ginger in the bottom of the glass with the lime juice. It will add a little raw heat to the overall taste!

So there you have 3 stunning cocktails, using 3 rather eloquent 100% agave tequilas, and what’s more, they’ll all help you kick off your Dia De Los Muertos celebrations with a bang!

Do you have any parties planned for this spooky weekend? Try turning them into a celebration and revel in the spiritual togetherness Dia De Los Muertos stands for!

Disclaimer: the Herradura Tequila was provided as a sample by the grace of Mangrove, a drinks distributor here in the UK. The sample was free, but that in no way biases y statements. Any comments made in this post (or any other) is strictly of my own opinion and will always be so.

Are you a celebrator of the spiritual Dia De Los Muertos? If so, what is your cocktail of choice, if you choose to drink one?

If you enjoy your tequila in other ways this time of year, why not share them in the comments?

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Halloween Special: The best of the rest…

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Huge Pumpkins, now the cocktails to match…

I planned on bringing you 5+ of my very own creations this Halloween week, but due to work commitments (my day job) I haven’t had as much time as I thought when I planned that.

So rather than let you down by not bringing you those cocktails, I’ve decided to make up for it by supplying literally 100’s of Halloween themed cocktails…

But not through direct recipes, part of this of this blog is to help up the popularity of cocktails and the best way to do this is by sharing the best sites…

And are the best Halloween Cocktails, courtesy of the best sites I’ve found:

Brit & Co.

Cocktails About.Com

13 to die for halloween cocktails

27 Halloween Cocktails

7 more Halloween Cocktails

Halloween Cocktails by food & wine

Creepy Halloween Cocktails by the Food Network

The BBC’s Halloween Cocktails

It’s London Cocktail Week!!!

October 7th – 13th is London Cocktail Week.

Huzzah and glory to everything cocktail!

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Come one, Come all!

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!

Until next time readers! Adieu

Cocktails O’ Clock: Navy Grog

It never rains, but it pours… Great words for a rum drinker! Here’s one reason why…

This is my kind of cocktail, full of rum and pulling no punches, it brings together 2 great flavoured rums, honey and my citrus fruit of choice: Grapefruit…

Recipe:

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

20ml Fresh Lime Juice

20ml Runny Honey

25ml Golden Grapefruit Juice

25ml Light Rum

25ml Dark Rum

1 Mint Sprig

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Navy Grog: a 1930’s take on a classic Rum Punch…

Method:

1)      Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain into an ice filled glass.

2)      Garnish with the mint sprig.

A refreshingly sweet drink, this 1930’s take on a classic rum punch works wonders on those rainy days you want to just wish away. Sit on your porch and sip a few of these whilst listening to the rain and thunder. There’s really nothing quite like it if I’m honest. Cocktails don’t just have to be for the beach and bar, they can be for any occasion and situation.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: Golden grapefruit juice is used here to keep the colour a little more, well, golden (in keeping with the rum’s natural colours). Pink grapefruit juice is slightly healthier but changes the colour of the drink quite dramatically. Feel free to use the one you prefer but keep this effect in mind when preparing the drink.

When creating drinks like this remember to keep them cool, but should you want to lengthen a little, ad a splash of Ginger Ale (it works well with the grapefruit) or Grapefruit Soda – yeah the type of soda used in a Paloma cocktail

Give it a go, sit on your porch and watch the rain fall around you and contemplate life. Or just have a few with friends and watch the TV either way, enjoy this cocktail!

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Cocktails can be as elegant in the rain as they are in the sun, just stick it out and enjoy nature…

Cocktails O’clock: Aranciata Cocktail

More than just a Rum & Orange, It’s a slice of heaven…

This cocktail is a rather new mixture, one using a great san pelligrino soda: Aranciata (or Orangeade).

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A can of Aranciata, Courtesy of http://www.tumblr.com

This cocktail celebrates a great mixer with the classic addition of Rum & Lime.

A refreshing drink on a summers evening, rain or shine, this cocktail really will help you chill out…

Recipe:

60ml Anejo Rum

3 dashes Angostura Bitters

2 Lime wedges (1/4 of a lime)

Top up San Pellegrino Aranciata (Orange Soda)

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Delicious and addictive this cocktail boasts a healthy dose of rum… Picture courtesy of http://www.marthastewart.com

Method:

1)      Fill a highball glass with ice and squeeze in a lime wedge (be sure to drop it in after, you’ll want the flavour the oils in the skin provide).

2)      Add in the Angostura and Rum.

3)      Stir well and top up with the Aranciata.

4)      Garnish with the other Lime wedge (wipe the glass’ rim and sit either just inside the glass or on the rim itself).

This cocktail is a great summer spritzer, and is part of the ‘family’ of Cuban style drinks. That is the pool of rum, lime and soda family of drinks. Refreshing and rather crisp (lime will do that for you) this cocktail is perfect for the family members wanting to try something a little new, but it isn’t too strong as to ruin the experience for them.

Should you like Blood Orange, try San Pellegrino’s Aranciata Rossa (Red Orangeade), it’s slightly bolder in flavour but combine with a really flavourful rum like Kraken or Lambs Navy, it’s pretty special…

For the original recipe please see Martha Stewarts Site

Cocktails O’Clock: Campari Flamingo

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Ok, so one of my rather sad pastimes is perusing the internet for new and innovative cocktails, new bars in my local area and literally anything to do with cocktails in the UK (and to be honest I don’t usually stop at the UK, but it’s a good start). Now recently this pastime has led me to uncover what I feel are great summer cocktails, and they are cocktails either not being served locally or just unheard of by people I speak to.

Whether you want a long refreshing fizzy aide to your evening or a shorter more refined flavour experiment, there’s a summer cocktail for you. Like Rum, Vodka, Tequila or Gin? Well you’re in luck, just follow the links for 10 of the best summer cocktails, using those spirits, you’ll ever try.

For the here and now, this great pink cocktail is rather refreshing and a perfect strong arm for all you ladies out there…

The Campari Flamingo

¾ measures Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

1 ½ measures aged rum*

½ measure Campari

3 measures Grapefruit SodaT

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Pretty in Pink: The Campari Flamingo – Picture & Recipe from http://www.seriouseats.com/

Method:

1)      Fill a shaker with ice, and pour in the Rum, Campari and Lime juice.

2)      Shake well & strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

3)      Top up with the grapefruit soda and garnish with a lime wedge and grapefruit twist.

Top Tip: The best rum for this sort of cocktail is one full of flavour, try Appleton Estate, or Chairman’s Reserve for the best results. But ultimately, like any cocktail, just use your favourite rum, and you’ll get a great drink.

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A great example of a great aged rum…

*The term ‘Anejo’ is Spanish for aged (and Reposado the Spanish for rested). Anejo Rum is rum that is aged by (generally) leaving it in sealed barrels over a period of time. 5 year old rums have been aged for 5 years and 7yo for 7 (it really is that simple). For best results and ease of purchase, look for the golden/dark rums as aging of spirits like this commonly results in the golden/black hues of the spirit.

T Grapefruit Soda is a great flavoured fizzy drink, but if you like your soda a little more natural why not take a leaf out of Phillip Ward’s book and check out this great alternative using soda water, fresh grapefruit juice and sugar syrup: Phillip Ward’s Paloma Recipe…

So as you can see this cocktail is a great summery drink, with the crisp refreshing tastes of citrus and the bitter taste of Campari. The soda just lightens the drink up a bit to make it a truly refreshing summer spritzer.

Great for BBQ’s, summer garden parties, and; due to the ease of which it can be scaled up to a punch sized volume, it even suits house parties (should the mood take you).

This drink should be on your ‘to try’ list if only as you finally have a drink other than the 3 basic (and rather classic) Campari cocktails everyone knows about… Hopefully this leads you to try this wonderful spirit and how it can blend well with other spirits, but also other flavours allowing you to experiment and come up with new and wonderful drinks yourselves.

Enjoy it and, as always, drink responsibly folks! 70cl of Campari can go a long way if you treat it right. Worth the £15 odd you will shell out for it.

Best chance for purchasing a bottle near you is:

Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison’s, Aldi, Lidl, and if all else fails try online at: the great WhiskyExchange OR the ever reliable TheDrinkShop.

Drink up me’ hearties yo-ho!

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Licor 43 International Cocktail of the Month: August

Spain: Latino 43

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Imagine being here with one of these in your hand… I do, everyday!

This cocktail continues the Licor 43 International Cocktail tradition of choosing truly delicious cocktails. 

That’s the whole point of the award you may say – well yes you’re right, but its more about them choosing a drink to promote, it just so happens that this one truly is a great choice…

Recipe:

40ml Licor 43

20ml Lemon Juice

4 pieces of lime (1/2 Lime quartered will do)

half a bar spoon of sugar

dash of lime juice

Top up Ginger Ale

Method: 

1) Muddle the lime and sugar together in the glass.

2) Add the lemon juice, lime juice and Licor 43.

3) Top up with crushed ice and stir.

4) Top up with Ginger Ale and garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This cocktail is a sweet and sour concoction, with a gently spiced twist. The vanilla and citrus is brought out of the Licor 43 brilliantly by the lemon & lime juice and the sugar.

Enjoy this cocktail whilst chilling out in the evening, or at a BBQ with friends. It’s a crisp refreshing drink that truly celebrates everything the summer gives us…