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Master of Malt Blog

We put your Ardnahoe questions to Andrew Laing!

Join us as we put your questions about Ardnahoe to distillery owner Hunter Laing’s export director, Andrew Laing, during Fèis Ìle 2019! We stopped in at Islay’s newest distillery, Ardnahoe,…

Join us as we put your questions about Ardnahoe to distillery owner Hunter Laing’s export director, Andrew Laing, during Fèis Ìle 2019!

We stopped in at Islay’s newest distillery, Ardnahoe, as part of Fèis Ìle 2019. It’s all shiny and new with the most glorious views – but what does Andrew Laing make of it all, and of your questions? Don’t forget to follow the Fèis Ìle tag on the blog, and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for even more from Islay!

Ardnahoe Andrew Laing

Ardnahoe in all its glory

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We put your Bowmore questions to David Turner!

Join us as we put your questions about Bowmore to distillery manager David Turner during Fèis Ìle 2019! You sent us your questions ahead of Fèis Ìle – and we put them…

Join us as we put your questions about Bowmore to distillery manager David Turner during Fèis Ìle 2019!

You sent us your questions ahead of Fèis Ìle – and we put them to the great and the good at every distillery. Did we ask your question? Check out the videos, published here on the blog (follow the Fèis Ìle tag), Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, every day until 28 June! Up today: Bowmore’s David Turner.

The Nightcap

Hello, Bowmore!

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The Nightcap: 21 June

Record-breaking distillery visits, 100 years of the Negroni, and Sex on the Beach – it’s all here in the latest edition of The Nightcap! It’s sunny outside. Not that fake…

Record-breaking distillery visits, 100 years of the Negroni, and Sex on the Beach – it’s all here in the latest edition of The Nightcap!

It’s sunny outside. Not that fake ‘sunny but when to step outside you’ll curse the sky for tricking you into leaving a jacket indoors’ kind of sunny. It’s actually warm. Frankly, it’s taking all the power in our hearts to not distractedly write “MILPOOL” on the blog and scamper off into the sun, ice-cream in hand. Do you know why we’re so determined? Because it’s Nightcap day, and you people deserve to know all the stories that happened this week in the booze world. But just know that some of us may have been wearing big, floppy sun hats while putting this blog post together.

On the blog this week our Fèis Ìle 2019 coverage continued as we put your questions to Port Ellen, Lagavulin, Bruichladdich, Caol Ila and Laphroaig. Elsewhere, we announced the winner to our Teeling #BagThisBottle competition, while Nate Brown used his guest column to champion the art of slow drinking. Annie had a busy week, discovering the joys of urban foraging with Bushmills, kegged cocktails and Tequila and tonic. Adam then made J.J. Corry The Battalion, an Irish whiskey with mezcal and Tequila cask influence, the New Arrival of the Week, before Henry chose The Bronx to be our Cocktail of the Week.

Now, let’s take a look at the news!

The Nightcap

There are now 68 Scotch whisky visitor centres open to the public and you had plenty of fun checking them out!

Scotch whisky distillery visits top record 2 million

Did you visit a Scotch whisky distillery last year? If so, you’ve officially helped to set a new record! The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has just released its annual report which shows distillery visitor numbers soared by 6.1% year on year, pushing the total count to more than two million for the first time. That’s a lot of us seeking out Scotch! It’s good news for distilleries, too: the average spend at each one climbed by 12.2% to a combined total of £68.3 million – that’s a lot of whisky, branded Glencairns, hats, cheeses and the like. More than 20 different nationalities were Scotchland-bound last year, with the most whisky tourists coming from Germany and the US. Numbers were up from France, Spain, the Netherlands, India and China, too. As a whole, Scotch distilleries are the third most-visited attraction in all Scotland. “We’re delighted that Scotch whisky distilleries have become such popular places to visit,” said Karen Betts, the SWA’s chief exec. “The growing number of visitors to distilleries reflects in part the growth in tourism in Scotland in general, and people coming to Scotland want to see our local crafts and sample our local food and drink.” She continued: “Distilleries offer something of an antidote to today’s fast-paced world, where visitors can see the slow, careful craft, rooted in a distinct sense of place, that creates Scotch whisky. The growth in whisky tourism is also playing a crucial role in Scotland’s rural economy, with more stays at hotels, more bookings at restaurants, and more customers for local businesses, helping communities to grow and prosper.” Which is your favourite distillery to visit? Where’s top of your dream travel itinerary? Let us know in social or in the comments below!

The Nightcap

Scott McCroskie, Edrington chief executive

Highland Park-owner Edrington celebrates “strong” year

Edrington, which produces and sells the likes of The Macallan, Highland Park, The Glenrothes and The Famous Grouse whiskies, as well as Brugal rum, has released its financial results for the year. And the bean counters are happy! Core revenues from its products climbed by 9% to £679.8 million, while it spent an extra 7% on brand investments (to the tune of £137.3m). The all-important profits were up 4% on 2018 (quite a big deal really when you consider the £140 million cost of that distillery build). Most brands are doing well, with Highland Park and The Glenrothes recognised for their “strong” growth. While The Famous Grouse posted some declines, Edrington said in a statement it increased its market share in a number of places, including the UK. But Brugal was really the star performer, posting “double-digit” growth, mostly through successes in its native Dominican Republic. “The business has delivered strong international growth that reflects continuing consumer demand for our products, particularly in China, South East Asia and the USA, which is the world’s largest market for premium spirits,” noted Scott McCroskie, Edrington chief executive. All systems go at Edrington!

The Nightcap

Congratulations, Cameron!

Cameron Attfield named Diageo Reserve World Class GB

This week, Diageo bestowed the title of Diageo Reserve’s World Class Bartender of the Year 2019 upon Cameron Attfield of Disrepute, London. The competition spanned two days, and the first challenge saw competitors showcase a British ingredient through techniques of flavour extraction or manipulation, creating a serve with Ketel One Vodka as the base spirit. The second challenge required a Singleton whisky serve taking inspiration from a chosen country, using ideas of travel and adventure for the drink. Moving onto the second day, competitors had the chance to take over the World Class bar at Taste of London for the final challenge, the speed round. Let us tell you, it is speedy indeed, with the task of making a round of five cocktails for the judges in just four short minutes. Just imagine if it was always that quick to secure a cocktail! Each serve was drawn from fifteen bespoke World Class classics, ranging from a Don Julio Blanco Paloma to a Bulleit Bourbon Boulevardier. Just to mix things up, one of the five drinks was also selected by an audience member, while the bartenders were asked to tailor the drink to them. Now that’s a true test of audience engagement and hospitality. “We’re absolutely delighted to crown Cameron World Class GB Bartender of the Year 2019 and have every faith in a fantastic performance at this year’s Global Final in Glasgow,” said Jack Sotti, World Class GB Brand Ambassador at Diageo Reserve. Attfield himself added: “I’m over the moon to be crowned this year’s 2019 World Class GB winner. But, it’s not over yet and now my focus will turn to preparing to represent Great Britain in the global final in Glasgow – game on!” Huge congrats, Cameron!

The Nightcap

Swift Bar’s Bobby Hiddleston creating a wood smoke cocktail

Ardbeg launches Masters of Smoke programme

Islay distillery Ardbeg has kicked off a new global campaign to spread the good word about the “delicious possibilities” of smoke. Named Masters of Smoke, the bartender education initiative will deliver training designed to break down the science of smoke with help from a whole range of experts, from barley maltsters to barbecue chefs. We were lucky enough to attend the launch event, which was really something (and, obviously, held in a room filled with smoke). Each component part of the smoke was broken down into a category, including medicinal, coal, herbal, savoury and wood, with each getting their own stand to show off a prepared cocktail and food pairing. It was delightful stuff; you might even go as far to say it was ‘smokin’’ The Mask style (we stand by this joke). “Whisky lovers have long appreciated the peaty power of Ardbeg, but we think there’s an opportunity to further explore the intricacies of smoke as a flavour,” said Ludo Ducrocq, Ardbeg education and advocacy director. “Through Masters of Smoke, we hope to spread the word about the delicious possibilities of smoke through rich, in-depth training which is really rooted in science. From Port Ellen, to Portland, we want to unleash the power and potential of smoke in the on-trade, working with bartenders worldwide to lead a glorious smoky revolution.” Masters of Smoke training sessions will begin from September 2019 and bartenders can register their interest at ardbeg.com/en-gb/mos.

The Nightcap

An artist’s impression of the revamped Clynelish Distillery

Planning permission granted for Clynelish visitor centre

Exciting times at Clynelish as planning permission has been granted for the expansion of visitor facilities at the distillery. This is part of Diageo’s £150m investment in Scottish whisky tourism and as a key part in the Johnnie Walker blend, Clynelish is a natural choice to grow visitor numbers. It sits next to the legendary Brora distillery that Diageo is bringing back into production, so a visit to this part of Scotland will soon be a must for whisky lovers. Jacqueline James-Bow from the distillery said: “This announcement is very exciting and we wish to thank the Highland Council and all our neighbours for their continued support.” Other parts of Diageo’s master plan for whisky tourism include a flagship Johnnie Walker experience in Edinburgh and upgraded facilities at 12 distilleries in total. Clynelish, along with Cardhu, Caol Ila, and Glenkinchie, has been chosen to represent “the four corners of Scotland”, Highland, Speyside, Islay and Lowland. That’s some responsibility.

The Nightcap

London’s Coral Room created an exclusive Negroni menu

The on-trade marks 100 years of the Negroni

In case you haven’t heard, Monday 24 June begins the most exciting week of the year: it’s Negroni Week, of course! What were you thinking? Celebrations are taking place all over the world – unfortunately, we can’t cover them all, so we’ve picked three of our favourites. Firstly, London’s Coral Room has teamed up with Italian dry gin VII Hills to create an exclusive Negroni menu, complete with seven serves. Of course, you can grab a Negroni Classico, or if you’re fancying a twist then perhaps the Negroni Tropicale is for you (it combines coconut and dried pineapple-infused VII Hills Gin with Italicus Rosolio di Bergamatto and Chazalettes Extra Dry). Meanwhile, L’oscar’s The Baptist Bar is launching the Homage to Negroni cocktail menu based around L’oscar’s attributes: Passionate, Theatrical, Bohemian, Seductive and Lavish. The five serves include the Bohemian Americano, made with yoghurt-washed Classic Bitter, Seedlip Spice, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, soda and bay leaves; as well as the Lavish Cardinale, with VII Hills gin, Campari, Procrastination (you can bottle that stuff?), and Cardinale wine finished off with a beet rim. They are the creation of head bartender Luca Rapetti, and the even better news is that these cocktails aren’t just available for Negroni Week but until the end of 2019! Finally, Giuseppe Gallo’s Italspirits has created the Negroni Experience, a four day pop up at Six Storeys in Soho, London, from 23-26 June. Names such as Martini Riserva Speciale, Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, Amaro Montenegro, VII Hills Gin (again!) and Peroni have come together for the event, complete with cocktails masterclasses. There’s also a tasting flight inspired by the Italian flag, sporting a classic, a white and a green version of the cocktail. An entire seven days dedicated to the iconic Negroni, aren’t we lucky?

The Nightcap

There’s plenty to see, including the new Bulleit Visitor Experience Cocktail Bar

Bulleit opens newest visitor experience on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Next week will see the opening of a brand spanking new visitor centre for Kentucky’s Bulleit Distilling Co.. From 25 June, it will be the 17th stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and the 11,570-square-foot site will boast an immersive and intense multi-sensory tasting experience, complete with olfactory balls and a timed light-and-soundscape to enhance the whiskey flavours. Reassuringly, the new centre is also heavily focused on sustainability, having partnered with Oceanic Global to ensure the tasting experience and cocktail bar aligns with The Oceanic Standard (TOS), committed to eliminating single-use plastics. There’s also an organic cocktail garden developed in partnership with The University of Kentucky, to integrate local and sustainable ingredients and garnishes for the in-house cocktail bar. What’s more, the distillery has committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and is home to the first industrial solar array in Shelby County, which runs most on-site exterior lighting. It even boasts an eco-friendly, green fuel-powered graffiti bus for the Visitor Experience Tour. “We wanted the Bulleit Distilling Co. Visitor Experience to be reflective of our approach to flipping the script on the whiskey category by curating an immersive, personalised consumer journey steeped in design, technology and of course, our delicious family of high rye whiskeys,” said Sophie Kelly, Sr. Vice President of Whisk(e)y at Diageo North America. What exciting news, an interactive visitor centre which is kind to the environment!

The Nightcap

Ruth Spivey, the founder of Wine Car Boot

Take your dog wine tasting as Wine Car Boot returns to London

Think wine tastings are all about spittoons, white tablecloths and red trousers? Well, think again because Wine Car Boot is back this summer. Now in its seventh year, Wine Car Boot was invented by wine impresario Ruth Spivey in 2013 as a way of introducing interesting wines and merchants to the general public in an informal manner. This summer there are three events, Saturday 29 June, Saturday 17 August (both at Coal Drops Yard near King’s Cross Station) and Saturday 14 September (at the Bloomberg Arcade in the City of London). There’s not just wine from quality merchants such as Berry Bros. & Rudd and the Sampler, but also beers from London breweries like Redchurch and exciting liqueurs from south London’s finest, Asterley Bros. Entry is free, though you do have to pay for tasters. Children and especially dogs are welcome.

The Nightcap

The swanky new Macallan Boutique at Dubai International Airport

The Macallan launches distillery-inspired Boutique series in Dubai

Fancy heading to The Macallan distillery but not up in Scotland? Well, something similar could be coming to an airport near you (or your holiday destination). The single malt Scotch brand has kicked off a programme of fancy new Boutiques with a shiny store at Dubai International Airport, in partnership with Le Clos. It’s the first in a “multi-million-pound investment” that will see the brand open a number of stand-alone stores and experiences around the globe. Everything from the architecture to the materials used in the construction and even in-store features are inspired by the mega £140 million new distillery that opened in Speyside last year. But back to Dubai. There’s an oak lattice centrepiece which echoes the distillery roof, display cases that give a museumy vibe, and it’s all super-sleekly done. And, as well as all the posh bottlings you might expect, there are Boutique-exclusive expressions, too. “It has been a year since we opened the doors of our new distillery and visitor experience, which was one of the most exciting moments in our history as a brand,” said Suzy Smith, Edrington Global Travel Retail managing director. “The next chapter in our story is the launch of our Boutique programme, which will bring whisky-lovers across the world even closer to our home on Speyside. Each store will be a gateway to the world of The Macallan, from the stunning cinematography of the Easter Elchies estate to the exceptional whisky available to taste.” Dubai not on your itinerary? We’ve got a whole bunch of Macallans right here!

The Nightcap

SEMrush provided the world with this vital data. Sex on the Beach? C’mon people!

And finally. . . the British are searching for Sex on the Beach, the cocktail that is

Data analytics company SEMrush has released figures for the most searched for cocktails last month and they make interesting reading. Tied in first place are the Manhattan and the Cosmopolitan with 135,000 searches each. Sounds like the ‘Sex and the City’ favourite is back (or maybe it never went away; it’s been joint number one all year). Looking at those yearly figures, the Old Fashioned spikes in December and January but then drops out of the top five in May, suggesting that it’s a winter cocktail. Whereas more summery serves, like the Americano and the Sex on the Beach, have moved up the league table in May. In fact, when you look at the stats for the UK on its own, Sex on the Beach moves up to the number one slot in May. We are so classy!

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The winner of our Teeling #BagThisBottle competition is…

A winner for our #BagThisBottle competition has been crowned! Someone will be getting their hands on a bottle of Teeling 24 Year Old Vintage Reserve Collection for free… We considered…

A winner for our #BagThisBottle competition has been crowned! Someone will be getting their hands on a bottle of Teeling 24 Year Old Vintage Reserve Collection for free…

We considered starting this blog like most guest speakers at university graduations start speeches – by reading out the definition of a word from the dictionary. The word we would have chosen was “winner”. We eventually decided against that because it’s such an overused trope, y’know. Also the definition in the dictionary we’ve got was really long and wasn’t very exciting. Mainly the first one reason though. Anyway, we’ve got our #BagThisBottle winner randomly selected – one lucky person is going to have a bottle of Teeling 24 Year Old Vintage Reserve Collection trebuchet’d to their door very carefully!

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We put your Laphroaig questions to John Campbell!

Join us as we put your questions about Laphroaig to distillery manager John Campbell during Fèis Ìle 2019! Love Islay whisky? So do we! We took your questions with us…

Join us as we put your questions about Laphroaig to distillery manager John Campbell during Fèis Ìle 2019!

Love Islay whisky? So do we! We took your questions with us to Fèis Ìle and put them to the great and the good on the island. We’re sharing the resulting videos every day up until Friday 28 June. So follow the Fèis Ìle tag on the blog, Twitter, Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, and see if we asked your question!

Laphroaig John Campbell

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Move over gin, our new favourite highball is the Tequila and Tonic

Tequila may have the terroir of a fine wine but the category lacks a serve that illustrates its sense of place. Until now. Here, we chat with Tom Bishop and…

Tequila may have the terroir of a fine wine but the category lacks a serve that illustrates its sense of place. Until now. Here, we chat with Tom Bishop and Jack Vereker, co-founders of contemporary Tequila brand El Rayo Spanish for ‘the lightning’ who have made it their mission to refresh the category, one Tequila and Tonic at a time…

Peanut butter and jam. Macaroni and cheese. Tequila and Tonic. It seems so simple, but all this time we’ve been putting two and two together and making five. The category needs a hero serve, and it’s been right under our noses the entire time.

“When we first started drinking Tequila, we realised there was no simple way of drinking it,” says Vereker. “Do you get the pub to make you a Margarita? It’s a simple cocktail, but no one knows what the ingredients are. Tequila and Tonic highlights the flavours of the agave – those delicious vegetal notes pair really well with the tonic – but it’s also a long refreshing drink. It has all the same elements of a Gin and Tonic but it’s a different experience.”

Tom Bishop and Jack Vereker

Tom Bishop and Jack Vereker bearing piñas

El Rayo’s strategy couldn’t be any further from the lime and salt ritual Tequila has become synonymous with. But then, its founders aren’t Diageo or Pernod Ricard alumni, nor are they bartenders-turned-brand ambassadors. Bishop, an ex-insurance broker, and Vereker, formerly the strategic consultant for a tech firm, are just two childhood friends with a penchant for Tequila.

It started with a bottle of Siete Leguas Añejo, a gift from Bishop’s brother, which had been aged in whiskey barrels for two years. The bottle sat gathering dust on a shelf until the future co-founders returned home from a night out in Peckham to find they’d run out of beer. “The first sip completely smacked us around the face,” Bishop continues. “At that stage we’d had similar experiences with Tequila to a lot of people, we’d had a lot of fun with it – probably too much fun in some instances – but this was like nothing we’d ever tasted before. And it lit a spark in us.”

They began roaming around London trying different brands and chatting to bartenders, and were surprised to find a category that was “over-reliant on a lot of dated stereotypes about Mexico”, Bishop says, “it didn’t add up with contemporary Mexican culture, which is so much more than just sombreros and cactuses.” It was a lightbulb moment. “We wanted to create a complex and delicate Tequila that really excites people, but at the same time is also really approachable, smooth and easy to drink,” says Vereker.

Tequila and tonic

Tequila and Tonic, why did no one think of this before?

After a year of research – and more than a dozen distillery visits in Jalisco, from very traditional, old school production lines “all the way up to what was essentially a science lab”, Bishop says – they teamed up with Maestro Tequilero Oscar Garcia at Hacienda La Capilla to develop El Rayo; the first brand to use a blend of highland and lowland agave.

“It takes eight years for blue agave to grow before it’s harvested for Tequila production,” Bishop explains, “so, much like wine, where it grows is important to the overall flavour and taste of the end product. In the highlands you’ll find really fruity, sweet notes; in the lowlands there are more vegetal, spicy, peppery notes – it’s all to do with the amount of sugar and water the plant retains.”

El Rayo is made up of 70% highland-grown agave and 30% lowland-cultivated agave, resulting in a Tequila that’s soft and approachable with subtle pepper and spice and a really clean citric, grassy flavour. The piñas are roasted for 12 hours, crushed, and the juices twice distilled in 105-year-old copper stills.

There currently are two varieties of El Rayo: the buttery, herbaceous, floral Plata, with its notes of pepper and pineapple, and a vegetal, slightly smoky Reposado, rested in American white oak whiskey barrels from Jack Daniel’s, with notes of salted caramel, almond and orange zest.  A third, Añejo, is still ageing in barrels and will be sampled once more before summer is out.

Blur agave

Safety always comes first when out in the agave

The beautiful bottles, designed and created in Guadalajara by local design agency Toro Pinto, give a nod to Mexican folklore that credits a rogue lightning bolt and curious campesino with the invention of Tequila. While both styles are delightful served straight up – we can attest to that – El Rayo’s signature serve, the Tequila the Tonic, is the highball drink we didn’t know we needed.

While El Rayo is certainly good enough to be sipped, the duo are realists: people don’t generally sip premium Tequila on a night out – certainly not in the UK, anyway. “It’s about creating something approachable,” says Bishop, “the way I see it being adopted is mainly at home first, and I think that’s a big challenge for Tequila as a product. You might be brave and make some Margaritas if friends are coming round, but there’s no simple way to serve it.”

The most important thing, he says, is that the Tequila and Tonic really champions the agave, as opposed to those traditional serves (hello, Paloma) which almost exist to mask the flavour. Could the serve spell the end of salt and lime-tinged regret and reframe Tequila as a spirit to savour? We certainly hope so.

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We put your Caol Ila questions to Pierrick Guillaume!

Join us as we put your questions about Caol Ila to distillery manager Pierrick Guillaume during Fèis Ìle 2019! We headed to Fèis Ìle armed with your questions, and tracked down…

Join us as we put your questions about Caol Ila to distillery manager Pierrick Guillaume during Fèis Ìle 2019!

We headed to Fèis Ìle armed with your questions, and tracked down a distillery manager or blender at every distillery to quiz them! The results will be posted on the blog and social every day up until 28 June. Did we ask your question? Follow the action via the Fèis Ìle tag on the blog, or keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Caol Ila Pierrick Guillaume

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Cocktail of the Week: The Bronx

It’s National Martini Day, hurrah! But we’re doing something a little different: a popular Prohibition take on the King of Cocktails, it’s the Bronx! You really wouldn’t want to drink…

It’s National Martini Day, hurrah! But we’re doing something a little different: a popular Prohibition take on the King of Cocktails, it’s the Bronx!

You really wouldn’t want to drink a Martini during Prohibition unless you could get hold of some authentic imported gin which would have been very expensive. So instead you’d have to use a rough bathtub gin, which might be flavoured with turpentine or sulphuric acid (mmmm, tangy), with nothing to temper it except something labelled vermouth (very likely a mixture of grape must, sugar and more rough alcohol). No wonder cocktails with high sugar and fruit content became popular during those sad years. They would hide the taste of the alcohol.

Take the Bronx, for example. It was invented in 1906 at the Old Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York by a barman called Johnny Solon, but it came into its own when good liquor became scarce. Get hold of some orange juice, some “vermouth” and some alcohol that vaguely smelt of juniper, and you could make yourself a palatable cocktail. Especially if you served it really cold. The Bronx is basically a sweet Martini made with orange juice. No wonder the Bronx was the cocktail of the 1920s. It’s the sort of thing that could be made by the bucketful for your Gatsby-esque parties.

The Bronx

The Bronx, next to its better-known cousin, the Martini (photo credit: The Home Bar)

It’s rather gone out of fashion now. There’s a National Martini Day and a Negroni Week, but nobody designates time to enjoy the Bronx. Poor Bronx. Perhaps it’s because we now have good gin coming out of our ears. There’s no need to disguise the flavour. Then there’s the borough itself, which doesn’t have the glamour of Manhattan or the hip of Brooklyn. Plus it’s an easy cocktail to make badly with concentrated orange juice and cheap cooking vermouth. But if you use freshly squeezed orange juice, or my own favourite, blood orange juice, then it’s marvellous concoction. Then when choosing your booze, think orange. I’m using Brighton Gin which has orange peel as one of its botanicals, and two citrus-heavy vermouths, Martini Riserva Speciale Ambrato and Noilly Prat Extra Dry.

To turn a Bronx into a Queens, you swap the orange juice for pineapple juice, or in some recipes combine the two, or in others add a bit of lemon to the pineapple. Or you can add a few drops of Angostura bitters in which case it is called an Income Tax (who comes up with these names?). Anyway, enough variations, let’s make a Bronx:

50ml Brighton Gin
25ml Martini Riserva Speciale Ambrato
15ml Noilly Prat Orginal Dry
30ml freshly-squeezed orange juice
Dash of Fee Brothers orange bitters

Shake all the ingredients hard with lots of ice and strain into a cold Martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist and shake a wicked calf

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5 reasons why you should try a kegged cocktail

Kegged cocktails, draught cocktails, taptails or simply ‘cocktails on tap’; whatever you want to call them, pre-batched carbonated serves are slowly commandeering bar space where beer taps once dominated. If…

Kegged cocktails, draught cocktails, taptails or simply ‘cocktails on tap’; whatever you want to call them, pre-batched carbonated serves are slowly commandeering bar space where beer taps once dominated. If regular old cocktails really aren’t your bag, here are five very good reasons to consider ordering your next tipple on tap…

“We sat down with Jack Daniel’s about four years ago and said, ‘we’ve got this crazy idea, we want to take a Jack Daniel’s and Coke and put it into a keg and serve it like an Espresso Martini through nitro’,” explains Robin Honhold, head of operations at Mr Lyan and author of the Nitro Legacy Handbook. “They said, ‘that sounds like fun, let’s do it’.”

Tennessee Nitro Martini small

Simply everyone’s drinking the Tennessee Nitro Martini these days

Initially, Team Lyan “literally took a fridge, drilled a hole out the side of it and put some kegs inside”, he says, but the project soon transformed into a full beer system – with the help of “a few real science-y people” – and then eventually into a portable trolley that quite literally toured Europe. Now, the team is sharing the knowledge they picked up along the way with the launch of the Nitro Legacy Handbook; a guide to draught cocktails created by bartenders, for bartenders.

“All the learning we’ve done from, essentially, a standing start has been in conjunction with Jack Daniel’s,” Honhold continues, “they supported us in creating that knowledge in the first place, so we thought it was best to share it with the rest of the [bartending] community by putting it into a book. It should benefit all of us and benefit our customers as well.”

We’re all about bang for buck at MoM Towers, so we waded through the technicalities and fancy jargon in the Jack Daniel’s x Mr Lyan Nitro Legacy Handbook to ascertain whether kegged cocktails really are all they’re cracked up to be. Here’s what we learned…

Jack Daniels

Jack Daniel’s, that’s the stuff

  1. They’re served quickly

If you’re usually of the “I’ll just have a pint, cocktails take too long” school of thought, kegged cocktails might be the solution you’re looking for. When you consider the preparation time for your average cocktail – with all the measuring, pouring, shaking, straining and garnish-arranging – the draught variety is said to be twice as speedy, if not three or four times quicker than a super intricate and exacting drink. It’s literally as simple as pour, garnish and go.

  1. They’re sustainable

It might not seem like it at times, but your local bartender isn’t actually a wizard. They’re only human, and as such, make regular human mistakes, like grabbing the wrong glass or shaking a cocktail that’s meant to be stirred. Unfortunately, blunders like these result in waste, and lots of it. When it comes to kegged cocktails, the mix is pre-batched, so not a single drop will go to waste. Bonus points if the bar has already done away with straws, too.

  1. They’re consistent

There’s nothing worse than sinking a fantastic drink in a bar, only to be disappointed later down the line when a different member of staff makes it (and goes a little OTT with the simple syrup). Consistency really is king, and this is where the taptail shines. Since the ingredients were carefully measured out in the sanctity of a closed bar, there’s no room for error when the team are unexpectedly slammed on a Tuesday night.

  1. They’re interesting

Let’s be honest, designing a taptail recipe is a seriously advanced bar flex. As well as making a cocktail that, y’know, people actually want to drink, there are a bunch of really crucial scientific elements to consider, like how the alcohol and sugar within the drink will interact with the gas and evolve the flavour over time. You can’t just whack a classic cocktail in a keg, charge it with nitrogen and expect it to taste nice. Speaking of…

  1. They taste delicious

Whatever the serve – be it the Lyan Tennessee Nitro Martini or something even more madcap – you can order a kegged cocktail safe in the knowledge that the recipe has been tweaked and fine-tuned to within an inch of its life. If the bar you’re frequenting has gone to the expense and effort of installing cocktails on tap, rest assured they care enough to make that drink as perfect as possible by the time it reaches your lips. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy it.

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We put your Bruichladdich questions to Adam Hannett!

Join us as we put your questions about Bruichladdich to head distiller Adam Hannett during Fèis Ìle 2019! During Fèis Ìle, we quizzed someone from every single distillery with YOUR questions. We’ll…

Join us as we put your questions about Bruichladdich to head distiller Adam Hannett during Fèis Ìle 2019!

During Fèis Ìle, we quizzed someone from every single distillery with YOUR questions. We’ll be putting out the footage every day, up until Friday 28 June. So follow the Fèis Ìle tag on the blog, Twitter, Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, and see if we asked your question!

Bruichladdich Feis Ile Adam Hannett

Sunshine on Bruichladdich

 

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