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Master of Malt Blog

Top 5 drinks TV shows

We like drinks, and we also like TV. So, here are our top five TV shows with some rather significant tipples in them. A drink can tell you a lot…

We like drinks, and we also like TV. So, here are our top five TV shows with some rather significant tipples in them.

A drink can tell you a lot about a character, if you know where to look. Plus, TV shows are like a snapshot in time, so it’s rather fun to go through the different ages and see how cocktail culture reflected in our TV shows has changed!

Full disclosure, the characters in these series are not necessarily always drinking responsibly or doing responsible things having had a drink. Remember, sip, don’t gulp. Let’s keep it fictional, people!

Christmas drinks trends

Sex and the City 

Nothing has done as much for the Cosmopolitan as Sex and the City. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is up to you! A true representation of the rise in colourful cocktail culture, the pink drink is a mixture of vodka (often citrus-flavoured, as was the rage in the 90s), cranberry juice, triple sec or Cointreau, and lime juice, all served up in a Martini glass. Just don’t try ordering one at a McDonald’s like our girl Carrie.

You can find Sex and the City on Amazon Prime.

Better Call Saul

Ring, ring, Better Call Saul is on our list! Seeing as the Breaking Bad prequel is also set in New Mexico, you can imagine where we’re going with this. Oh yes, Tequila. The eagle-eyed of you may have spotted a rather fancy bottle appear throughout the show called Zafiro Añejo, complete with an agave-shaped stopper. While Jimmy McGill / Saul Goodman starts his journey drinking Rusty Nails alone, soon he’s conning people into buying him fancy Añejo Tequila… Let’s just ignore the fact that it’s clear. Maybe it was filtered? Oh, and its fifth season came out this year, so what better way to celebrate than with a sip of some non-fictional Tequila?

You can find Better Call Saul on Netflix.

Frasier

‘Sherry’ was probably the most-said word in Frasier. The sitcom, originally a spin-off from Cheers, revolved around Seattle psychiatrists Frasier Crane and his brother Niles, and their sherry decanter. Romantic misadventures, professional disappointments and family feuds, were all ameliorated with a couple of glasses of the very finest sherry (though in some episodes it does look like they are drinking Harvey’s Bristol Cream.) The tension in the show came from the relationship between the snobbish Crane brothers and their beer-drinking ex-cop father Marty, and his equally no-nonsense English carer Daphne (complete with dodgy Manchester accent.) Things got really confusing when Marty starts seeing a woman called Sherry.

You can find Frasier on Amazon Prime.

Mad Men

How could we not include Mad Men on this list? While Don Draper’s whisky consumption may be slightly on the enthusiastic side, we can’t fault his choice of Canadian Club, which he’s regularly seen sipping throughout the seven seasons (though funnily enough, Jack Daniel’s actually sponsored the first season). Like Sex and the City, Mad Men also sparked a cocktail resurgence, though Don Draper has a penchant for classic cocktails like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned, so you know exactly what you should settle in with when you decide to crack this classic show out.

You can find Mad Men on Netflix.

Peaky Blinders

Irish whiskey, represent! The series not only inspired a whole generation to shave of the bottom half of their hair, but also gave wonderful Irish whiskey some proper screentime. Though it’s set in 1920s Birmingham, the Peaky Blinders seem to be rather partial to a dram of Irish whiskey. Plus, there’s even an actual Peaky Blinders whiskey, the ultimate companion to your binge-watching! Even Tommy Shelby’s arch nemesis (played by Tom Hardy, another bonus) is a fan of the stuff, with the (not so) wise words: “Whiskey, now that… that is for business.” 

You can find Peaky Blinders on Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

Whisky is for business | Series 2 Episode 2

We couldn't celebrate #WorldWhiskyDay without this quote from Alfie Solomons could we?

Posted by Peaky Blinders on Saturday, 18 May 2019

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A closer look at Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto

When Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto launched four years ago, it brought centuries of Italian drinks history to the back bar. Here, we talk contemporary rosolio with brand ambassador Luca Missaglia,…

When Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto launched four years ago, it brought centuries of Italian drinks history to the back bar. Here, we talk contemporary rosolio with brand ambassador Luca Missaglia, and share five super simple cocktail recipes to try at home…

First, a little background. Italicus is the brainchild of Giuseppe Gallo, former global brand ambassador for vermouth behemoth Martini, no less. A few years back, he spotted a rosolio-sized gap in the aperitivo renaissance and set out to reinstate the historic liqueur, which dates back to the 17th century. 

Indeed, before vermouth, bitters and amaro, rosolio was the Italian aperitivo. It became so popular that each of the country’s 20 regions had its own distinctive take on the liqueur based on the botanicals grown there. Rosolio was regarded as the ‘aperitivo of the people’ until Vittorio Amedeo III, King of Sardinia and Duke of Savoy from 1773 to 1796, incentivised the farmers to switch to vermouth production.

“The word rosolio is from the Latin ‘ros solis’, which means ‘morning dew’,” explains Missaglia. “When farmers get up early in the morning and go down to the field, they find morning dew on top of their botanicals. That’s where the name comes from – they harvest those botanicals to infuse into alcohol with sugarcane and a bit of water to make rosolio.”

Great with snacks

Using the blueprint of a rosolio recipe that dates back to the 19th century, Gallo scoured Italy from north to south and set about painting a flavour map of the country with his botanical selection. There’s lavender, gentian, yellow roses and melissa balm from northern Italy; Roman chamomile from Lazio; bergamot from the Calabrian region; and cedro from Sicily. 

Italicus’ botanical recipe centres on a traditional technique known as sfumatura, which sees essential oils extracted from the peel of the bergamot and cedro using little more than sponges and water. Meanwhile, lavender, gentian, yellow roses, melissa balm and Roman chamomile are infused together in a thermodynamic maceration over the course of around two weeks. 

The botanical liquid, which is produced at a family-owned distillery in the town of Moncalieri in Turin, is blended with neutral grain spirit, sugarcane and water before bottling. And what a bottle. The stopper features a renaissance-style Bacchus – the Roman god of agriculture, wine and fertility – harvesting bergamot; the colour of the glass represents the Grotta Azzura in Capri and the Amalfi Coast shoreline.

Flavour-wise, Italicus has ‘fresh tones of ripe citrus fruits’ balanced with ‘light, bitter, floral spice’. Perfect for pre-dinner tipples, such as the Italicus Spritz, which sees the liqueur combined with bubbles – ideally Prosecco, but any bubbles will do – in a 50:50 ratio.

“For us, the Spritz gives a real feeling of what Italicus is,” says Missaglia. “All of us have a bottle of sparkling wine in the fridge; if we don’t, we probably have tonic water. And if you still don’t, you have some soda.” 

Being an Italian brand, the serves that follow champion simple ingredients and fresh flavours. You’ll need plenty of olives for the garnish – it’s aperitivo hour after all – but if you can’t find any, a pinch of salt will suffice.

Italicus Spritz

This is Italicus’ signature serve, and it’s summer in a glass. Floral? Check. Tart bubbles? Check. A hint of saltiness to round the whole thing out? Ooh, check. 

2 parts Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto
2 parts Prosecco (or Champagne)

Build over ice cubes in a large wine glass. Garnish with three green olives.

Gin & Italicus

A Martini, except it’s holding a rose between its teeth and there’s a mysterious glint in its eye. We dig it wholeheartedly. 

1 part Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto
1 part London dry gin

Stir over ice cubes and serve straight up in a coupette glass. Garnish with three green olives.

Negroni Bianco

The Negroni twist you’ve been waiting for: fresh, slightly dry, and (almost) crystal clear. Use chunky, clear ice and Instagram the hell out of it.

1 part Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto
1 part dry vermouth
1 part London dry gin

Build over ice in a rocks glass, garnish with three green olives.

Italicus Sgroppino

Looks fancy, tastes fancy, and yet… so simple to make. This would make a winning dessert on Come Dine With Me, no doubt about it. Just don’t ask us how to pronounce sgroppino.

2 parts Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto
1 scoop citrus sorbet
Sparkling wine to top. 

Build in a coupette, garnish with grated bergamot or lemon peel.

Ipalicus

There aren’t many liqueurs that pair well with beer, but the floral, citrus-y elements found in both Italicus and your typical IPA pair beautifully together. And may we say – cracking name, too.

1 part Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto
4 parts I.P.A. Beer

Build over ice cubes in a highball. Garnish with one green olive.

 

 

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Five minutes with. . . Thea Cumming from Dangerous Don mezcal

Soft, floral and perilously quaffable? It could only be Dangerous Don’s new Joven expression, a dazzling 100% Espadin mezcal lovingly crafted in the depths of the Oaxacan countryside. We caught…

Soft, floral and perilously quaffable? It could only be Dangerous Don’s new Joven expression, a dazzling 100% Espadin mezcal lovingly crafted in the depths of the Oaxacan countryside. We caught up with the brains behind the brand, Thea Cumming, to chat about experimental destilados, the original ‘Don’, and a cowboy called Frank…

You might recognise Cumming’s name. As the co-founder of dedicated agave celebration London Mezcal Week – now in its fourth year – and co-owner of Stoke Newington music and mezcal bar Doña, she’s carved a reputation as a figurehead in the city’s mezcal scene. 

While today Cumming may have her fingers in many enchiladas (figuratively speaking), her spirited journey began on the final leg of an epic US road trip, in the port town of Puerto Escondido, situated on Mexico’s Oaxacan coast. 

“That’s where I drank mezcal for the first time,” says Cumming. “We were staying in a place called Sunset Point and met this cowboy from Colorado called Frank. He was going up into the mountains, buying mezcal and mixing it with coffee, vanilla, sugar and some other things in his kitchen, then bottling it and selling it. And he had some amazing mezcals.” 

Thea Cumming with friend in Oaxaca

A few sundowners later, Cumming was sold. “I remember being sat by the pool and deciding, ‘I’m going to start selling mezcal,” says Cumming. “And I’m going to call it Dangerous Don’. That’s my dad’s nickname – his mates from university called him dangerous Don because he had this elaborate plan to go and smuggle cigars with his best mate, big Andy.”

One large bank loan, a tour of Oaxaca and 12 palenques later, Cumming met the Martinez family in Santiago Matatlan, headed by fourth generation master mezcalero Celso. Taking inspiration from Frank’s DIY kitchen blending, she and Martinez would go on to develop the very first Dangerous Don variant, a ‘mezcal destilado con café’.

It isn’t a liqueur – rather, the coffee is treated as a botanical. Martinez twice-distills his 100% Espadin agave in a copper pot still before adding medium-roasted, coarsely-ground Naom Quie coffee beans to the distillate. He allows the mix to steep for 24 hours before distilling again, resulting in a smooth sweet mezcal. 

“The production process of mezcal is unbelievable, it’s such a labour of love,” says Cumming. “Each producer has such different techniques, from roasting the agave to the fermentation process. It’s the same as being a chef – each chef will produce a different dish when they’re asked to cook the same thing.”

Coffee being prepared for distillation

Terroir is also a massive influence in mezcal, as follow-up bottling Dangerous Don Joven demonstrates beautifully. It’s made by master mezcalero Juan Nacho Diaz Cruz in picturesque Santa María Quiegolani – around seven hours’ drive from Oaxaca – where he roasts, ferments and then twice-distils his 100% Espadin agave. 

“It’s very secluded, there’s nothing around for miles and miles,” says Cumming. “I drove out to meet him and his family last April, they’re growing loads of agave and making these incredible mezcals, all super soft and floral and really approachable.”

While the Joven is just hitting shelves, there’s no slowing down for Cumming, whose next destilado is already in the works. There’s plenty of experimentation within mezcal – master mezcaleros love a botanical or two – and Dangerous Don’s master mezcaleros are no exception.

“We’ve just made a ‘destilado con mandarina’ – mandarin – which is really delicious,” says Cumming. “We distil the mezcal twice, peel [the fruit] and leave them to steep for a day, then distil again. The plan this year is to roll out a few more destilados. It’s a really great way to get people to start exploring [the category].”

While it’s beloved by bartenders and drinks aficionados, mezcal is yet to make waves in the mainstream. This presents a unique opportunity for the tight-knit mezcal community to present their liquid as the artisanal product it genuinely is, free from the ‘slammer’ and ‘shot’ connotations associated with its agave cousin, Tequila. 

El joven esta acqui

So long as the category can retain its ‘craft’ credentials, anyway. Which might prove tricky as multinational spirits companies carve their own slice of the agave action. The problem with bigger players coming in, Cumming warns, is that they’ll drive the price point down. And if this sounds like a good thing, trust us – it isn’t.

“Mezcal is an expensive product because of the process,” she explains. “We’re not talking about a grain or sugarcane – we’re talking about something that takes eight years to grow, and that comes with a price point. Many smaller brands can’t necessarily get their price down, and I don’t know that you would want them to.”

On the bright side? As drinkers, we’re more open and invested in the industry than ever before. “The way we consume has changed a lot,” Cumming says. “We care about the origin of the products we buy now, more so than ever, and with mezcal, that’s really important. If that conscious consuming mentality is applied to the mezcal category, then that’s just the dream.”

While we’d always recommend appreciating any artisan spirit neat – at least to begin with – Dangerous Don is also made for mixing. The range is exquisite with tonic (garnish with an orange or grapefruit wedge). If you’re keen to experiment, the original con café variant makes a cracking Negroni when subbed in for the gin. 

“My favourite drink is a Mezcal Tommy’s Margarita,” says Cumming. “Lime and a bit of agave with Dangerous Don Joven, it works really well. If you want to be slightly more creative, you could do a take on an Espresso Martini with Dangerous Don, cold brew, crème de cacao and a tiny dash of agave syrup and that’s delicious too.”

There’s currently £5 off bottles of Dangerous Don original and Joven at Master of Malt.

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Delicious drinks for the Easter weekend!

With Easter weekend just days away you’re probably on the lookout for a sweet treat. Good thing we haven’t let lockdown life stop us from rounding-up some our tastiest tipples…

With Easter weekend just days away you’re probably on the lookout for a sweet treat. Good thing we haven’t let lockdown life stop us from rounding-up some our tastiest tipples for the occasion. Happy Easter, everyone!

With everything going on at the moment you can be forgiven for forgetting that Easter is on the horizon. Usually, this weekend would be filled with plans and celebrations, making the most of the days off work and the time spent together at home. But not everything has to change. You can still indulge yourself this weekend, whether that’s with a frankly unacceptable amount of chocolate or a delicious drop of booze. 

If you’re in the mood for something festive or need some help picking out the right bottle then you’re in the right place. We’ve picked out a selection of sweet treats from the shelves of MoM Towers that are perfect for Easter. Enjoy!

Delicious drinks for the Easter weekend!

Ableforth’s Dark Chocolate VSOP 

Ableforth’s makes all kinds of delicious booze but this indulgent offering is the most suitable for your Easter celebration. The Dark Chocolate VSOP was made by infusing VSOP Cognac with Criollo cocoa nibs, which is then blended with more VSOP and XO Cognac. A touch of sweetness is then added to the final blend to create a rich and complex profile.

What does it taste like?:

Slightly bitter dark chocolate, a touch of maple syrup, a hint of sour cherry, lots of juicy dried fruit, red grape, prunes, a drizzle of honey and a prickle of spice.

Delicious drinks for the Easter weekend!

Flavoursmiths Cucumber Gin

When you think of perfect flavours to add to gin, you probably imagine sweet fruits, tart citrus or warming spice take centre stage. Like Lemon Peel or Parma Violet. For this expression, however, Flavoursmiths combined refreshing and aromatic cucumber with the crispness of juniper and traditional gin botanicals. It’s a delightful creation, which should make an incredible G&T garnished with a thick slice of cucumber (of course).

What does it taste like?:

Refreshing cucumber, aromatic citrus, gentle sweetness and peppery juniper.

Delicious drinks for the Easter weekend!

Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye 

Rock & Rye is a sweet and intriguing drink that was very popular pre-Prohibition. The New York Distilling Company has brought back the style with Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye, a combination of their youthful rye whiskey, rock candy sugar, sour cherries, cinnamon and a touch of citrus. It’s a superb sipper over ice but can also be used in a number of cocktails too. We recommend it as an alternative for the rye in a Manhattan!

What does it taste like?:

Brandied cherries, buttered malt loaf, aniseed balls, candied orange peels, boiled sweets, cinnamon and rye.

Delicious drinks for the Easter weekend!

Jaffa Cake Gin 

Every now and again you see something that truly restores your faith in humanity. A gin distilled with oranges, fresh orange peel, cocoa powder and actual jaffa cakes is one of those things. How do you make your Gin and Tonic better? Jaffa Cake Gin. How do you improve your Negroni? Jaffa Cake Gin.

What does it taste like?:

Zingy orange (marmalade-esque), rich and earthy chocolate, vanilla-rich cake, a touch of almondy-goodness and a solid backbone of juniper. Also, Jaffa Cakes! 

Delicious drinks for the Easter weekend!

Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur 

“Hi there, kind people of Master of Malt. I’d like to add a dose of delicious chocolate to my Easter drinks, how would you recommend I do that?” This. This drink is exactly how you add the kind of chocolatey goodness you desire. From Austrian masters of the craft, Mozart, this decidedly decadent and rich liqueur is also delicious on its own over ice.

What does it taste like?:

Lots of pleasantly bitter and subtly sweet dark chocolate with touches of vanilla, toffee and just a hint of salty butter.

Delicious drinks for the Easter weekend!

Bloom Strawberry Cup 

For those who would like to add a touch of summer bliss to their Easter weekend, this gin liqueur is perfect. Bloom Strawberry Cup combines the fantastically floral Bloom Gin with fresh strawberries in a very delicious way. That’s probably why it was awarded a master medal in the Liqueur category at The Travel Retail Masters (The Spirits Business) 2019. It’s superb with tonic water, lemonade, Prosecco or ginger ale and enjoy!

What does it taste like?:

Violet, light juniper, angelica, honeysuckle and huge strawberry influence.

Delicious drinks for the Easter weekend!

Aberfeldy 12 Year Old 

For so long a fundamental cog in the Dewar’s blended Scotch recipe, it’s brilliant to see Aberfeldy get its time in the spotlight as a single malt to show off the delicious whisky it creates. This smooth and sweet dram is an excellent introduction to this wonderful Highland distillery and works both neat and in cocktails. Combine 50ml of Aberfeldy 12 Year Old, a teaspoon of honey and a couple of dashes of Angostura Bitters and Orange Bitters and you’ve yourself the expressions’ signature serve: The Golden Dram.

What does it taste like?:

Sherried fruit, a hint of smoke, prune, custard, espresso bean, malt, vanilla, peaches in cream, subtle oak, ginger, nutty nougat and a little grapefruit zest.

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Take a VR tour of Aber Falls Distillery with MoM!

Take a look inside North Wales’ first whisky distillery in a century thanks to our swanky VR tour of Aber Falls Distillery. Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, it…

Take a look inside North Wales’ first whisky distillery in a century thanks to our swanky VR tour of Aber Falls Distillery.

Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good distillery tour. How is this possible? Thanks to the power of VR, of course. In this series we’re going to take you around some of the finest distilleries across England, Wales and Scotland from the comfort of your own home. We head to Wales this week to check out a distillery that makes plenty of delicious white spirits and is in the process of creating its first Welsh whiskies. Enjoy!

One of only four distilleries in Wales, and the first in North Wales since the early 1900s, Aber Falls takes its name from the nearby famous Aber Falls waterfall, at the gateway of the Snowdonia National Park. Distillation, ageing and bottling of spirits all occur on-site, in a 6,000-square-meter building that dates back to the 19th century. Aber Falls prioritises the importance of local identity and traditional craft, working with local farmers to source Welsh malted barley and exclusively using fresh Welsh water. Distillation occurs in large copper stills, a 5,000-litre wash still and a 3,600-litre spirit still. Aber Falls whisky is expected to arrive in 2020, so keep an eye out!

VR tour of Aber Falls Distillery

If you’re intrigued about all things Aber Falls, you’ll be pleased to know we can deliver a bottle(s) or a dram(s) to your very doorstep. We recommend Aber Falls Orange Marmalade Gin, which is so good you’ll have to resist dipping your toast in it. I failed this particular temptation. And have no regrets #toastyourtoast. 

Aber Falls Orange Marmalade Gin Tasting Note: 

Fresh orange juice, with a punchy kick of dried juniper. A bit pithy at points.

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New Arrival of the Week: Barbaresco Asili Riserva 2015 Produttori del Barbaresco

This week we’re shining a spotlight on a delicious single vineyard Barbaresco from the excellent 2015 vintage. It would be perfect for Easter lunch, if you’re feeling fancy. It’s not…

This week we’re shining a spotlight on a delicious single vineyard Barbaresco from the excellent 2015 vintage. It would be perfect for Easter lunch, if you’re feeling fancy.

It’s not all Margaritas and Macallan here at Master of Malt HQ, we have some very enthusiastic wine lovers on the team. None more so than our head buyer Guy Hodcroft which means that though we don’t stock a huge selection of wine, what we do have is always interesting. This week buyer Hodcroft (that’s what we call him) is particularly excited about a parcel of single vineyard Barbarescos that have just landed at MoM HQ. 

Barbaresco is one of the three ‘B’s of Italian wine along with Barolo and Brunello. Like Barolo, Barbaresco is  produced in Piedmont from the Nebbiolo grape (the name comes from the fog that often blankets the hills, nebbia) but whereas Barolo is famous throughout the world as the ‘king of wines’, it’s very close relative is not so well known. So much so that in olden days a lot of grapes from Barbaresco went into generic Barolo. Poor overlooked Barbaresco! This is now beginning to change as wine drinkers around the world wake up to the quality lurking in its vineyards, usually at a better price than Barolo. This new awareness is being driven by single vineyard bottlings, so rather than all the grapes going into one wine labelled simply Barbaresco, you can taste the different patches of land. They’re been doing this in Burgundy, of course, for hundreds of years but it’s relatively new in Piedmont. 

We have five bottlings altogether, Asili, Montefico, Montestefano, Ovello and Rabajà, all from Produttori del Barbaresco. This firm which was founded in 1958 has been producing single vineyard wines, only in the best vintages, since 1967. It is a co-operative, owned and run by a group of farmers who pool their grapes and resources. Usually such enterprises make cheaper wines, but not the PdB which has been described as the ‘The Wine World’s Most Amazing Cooperative’. It’s probably not the easiest job marshalling 54 Italian farmers with over 105 hectares of vines between them but MD Aldo Vacca whose family were founder members is clearly a master of organisation and diplomacy. Stephen Brook writing in Decanter said: “Aldo Vacca probably knows more about the region than anyone else alive”. All the growers must contribute 100% of their Nebbiolo to the co-op avoiding the common problem where growers keep their best grapes to bottle under their own labels. 

The wine making is in the hands of Gianni Testa, who has been with the firm since he graduated from college in the 1980s. He uses traditional processes, long fermentation times and three years ageing in large oak botti which soften the wines without contributing woody flavours. Nevertheless, these wines are accessible sooner than in the past. Though Barbaresco tends to be lighter than Barolo, traditionally you wanted to wait at least ten years before broaching them; Nebbiolo can be fiercely tannic but more gentle handling allows the fruit to shine from a younger age especially in a warm vintage like 2015. 

Nice botti

You can really taste the difference of the vineyards from the fleshy and powerful Rabajà to this week’s New Arrival, the elegant Asili which is already showing classic flavours of red cherry, Turkish delight and earthy mushroom notes. Despite the more accessible style, it’s definitely not an aperitif sort of wine, but sipped slowly with the right food, roast lamb or wild mushroom risotto, you will see why Barbaresco is one of Italy’s greatest wines.

Barbaresco Asili 2015 Produttori del Barbaresco is available now from Master of Malt.

 

 

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Virtual pub quiz: 3 April

Think you know your booze? Then you should enter our increasingly popular virtual pub quiz. All entries will get a discount code and one winner a £25 off voucher. All…

Think you know your booze? Then you should enter our increasingly popular virtual pub quiz. All entries will get a discount code and one winner a £25 off voucher. All must have prizes!

It’s the return of the Master of Malt pub quiz. Last week was enormously popular: here is a link to the answers. Remember, strict pub quiz rules, no looking at Google.

Fancy your chances?! Go to the quiz by hitting ‘click here’!

CLICK HERE

The Nightcap

 

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The Nightcap: 3 April

This week on The Nightcap you can look forward to stories about Easter eggs, Hollywood stars and… reaction to the lockdown. Obviously. Lockdown has not stopped the booze news from…

This week on The Nightcap you can look forward to stories about Easter eggs, Hollywood stars and… reaction to the lockdown. Obviously.

Lockdown has not stopped the booze news from making its way to… Well, I was going to say MoM Towers, but we’re currently writing this from our homes. Metaphorical MoM Towers? The MoM Towers of the Cloud? Electronic MoM Towers? Whatever. Booze news ain’t stopped, and neither has The Nightcap. Go on, get stuck in.

On the MoM blog this week, Annie returned to provide some pro tips to make bar-quality cocktails at home, and then demonstrated the kind of deliciousness you can make with minimal fuss with our Cocktail of the Week. Henry, meanwhile, was on-hand to recommend some terrifically tasty drinks, including a new pink gin with a difference, and a delicious Colombian rum, before Adam got in on the act by shining a spotlight on some of the finest new and trending tipples (Jaffa Cake Gin, anyone?). Elsewhere, our virtual reality tour series took us to Craigellachie Distillery and Chase Distillery, we suggested some quality podcasts to keep you amused when you’re self-isolating, and Ian Buxton paid tribute to Scotch whisky industry expert Alan Gray.

Also, a big thank you to all who entered our virtual pub quiz last Friday. This week’s edition is en route, so pour yourself a drink and remind yourself there’s no glory in Google. Good luck!

With no further ado, here’s The Nightcap for this week!

The Nightcap

Join us for some terrific tastings over on Instagram!

Join us for live tastings!

First up this week is a little plug for how you can join us for some tastings over on Instagram! Yes, the vast majority of Team MoM is too in isolation, and we miss tasting with our pals. We also love sharing some of our classic favourites (now known as isolation sippers) and shiny new things, so we figured the best course of action was to take to the socials! Fancy joining us? Here’s the line-up for the next few weeks. We’ll go live on Mondays at Wednesdays at 7:30pm over on our Instagram  – and here are the drinks to get your mitts on if you fancy joining!

Monday 6 April: How delicious gins are made

We explore how production techniques influence flavour. On the line-up we’ve got Sipsmith London Dry Gin, Hernö Old Tom, and Bathtub Gin!

Wednesday 8 April: Essential isolation whisky sippers

The best accompaniment to an evening book, film, or Netflix documentary (Tiger King, obvs) during this time? A dram, of course! We’ve picked our isolation essentials for this tasting: Lagavulin 16 Year Old, Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask, Auchentoshan The Bartender’s Edition, Auchentoshan American Oak, and Glen Scotia Victoriana!

Wednesday 15 April: Sherry Monsters Tasting Set

We’re joined by Sam Simmons (aka Dr. Whisky) to explore some of the most mouth-watering sherry bombs from the world of whisky! Tasting sets available now. We’re excited!

Monday 20 April: World Gin Award Winners 2020

Come and discover the best gins in the world! Grab your tasting set in advance, and join us to taste through these delectable award winners!

Wednesday 22 April: That Boutique-y Whisky Company does Scotch!

Brand ambassador Dave Worthington will take us through That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s Scotch Whisky Collection Gift Set – a delish treat to mark mid-week!

And there’s more to follow… check back each week for further details!

 

Actor Mark Strong narrates Kraken audiobook

As the UK enters its second week of lockdown, Kraken rum continues to do its bit to relieve cabin fever with the second instalment of Krakenory. Inspired by CBBC’s Jackanory, the weekly series features famous faces retelling some of literature’s greatest nautical tales. The first episode featured The Libertines’ front man Carl Barat, who donned a smoking jacket to read from the Jules Verne classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. This week features three readings from Mark Strong, who you probably recognise from his work in 1917, The Imitation Game, and an episode of EastEnders from 1989 where he played a telephone engineer. He’ll lend his voice to The Kraken by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold and Part II of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge.  “I’ve played some villains in my time, but when it comes to bad guys, nothing compares to the mighty Kraken, as viewers of Krakenory will soon find out,” Strong said. “So come join us on a voyage to the unknown. Once you’re lost in the pages, you never know where you’ll end up.” The Kraken is also commissioning a team of UK bartenders to create bespoke rum-based cocktail each week, releasing ingredients for each cocktail ahead of each episode to give followers enough time to stock up on supplies ahead of each reading. Episodes of Krakenory are released every Friday at 12pm, with viewers able to watch on the brand’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

The Nightcap

The egg is filled with bespoke Talisker whisky sea salted caramels

Talisker Whisky launches first-ever Easter Egg 

It’s the little things that get us through tough times, and at MoM Towers, those little things are generally whisky and chocolate. For the festive season (also known as Easter), Talisker has gone and teamed up with Edinburgh based chocolatier COCO to create its first-ever Easter egg! Let us be clear, the whisky isn’t in an egg (although we’d certainly be behind that idea), rather you’ll be treated to an egg of sea-salted dark chocolate, filled with bespoke Talisker whisky sea salted caramels. You’ll never guess where the sea salt comes from… the Isle of Skye! “As a whisky fan first and foremost, and a chocolate fan a very close second, this has been a great collaboration to work on,” says Jason Clark, British Talisker brand ambassador. “The use of the sea salt from the Isle of Skye in both the egg itself and the sea salted caramels connects them with Talisker’s homeland, and its deliciously distinct made by the sea character.” If like us, you’re uncontrollably salivating at the thought of smoky whisky and decadent dark chocolate combined, you can grab yourself an egg right here! Should make for a… cracking pressie. (Sorry.)

The Nightcap

Wine merchants such as Yapp Brothers have never been busier

Online booze sales surge during lockdown

The 20 March was a black day in history as the Prime Minister announced the closure of all pubs and bars. The great British public has responded in the only way they know how, by ordering loads of booze online. Across the land, people are reporting soaring sales for at-home consumption. Wine merchants such as Yapp Brothers have never been busier. Jason Yapp commented: “Our online business is certainly booming. There has been a huge spike in sales since the lockdown was announced on 23rd March. We have subsequently experienced our largest ever volume of wines dispatched by carrier in a single day and our busiest month in our 50-year trading history.” Charles Lea from Lea & Sandeman agreed: “Web and shop sales are significantly up, despite operating curtailed hours and non-contact delivery and collection.” Rebellious Goods, an online beer and wine merchant, has reported 11 times the number of orders in March compared with February, according to City AM. Supermarkets are also selling more booze than normal, up 22% according to figures released by Kantar. Things are certainly extremely busy here at Master of Malt with volumes up almost 200%! According to our numbers boffins, it seems that Britons aren’t necessarily drinking more to deal with isolation, it’s just sales that would have gone to the hospitality trade and supermarkets (which, in some cases, are limiting how much people can buy). So it seems that the country isn’t actually going on an isolation-induced bender. If you need [sensible volumes of] supplies, folks, we’re here for you!

The Nightcap

Look, it’s sparkling red wine!

Lockdown fun: DIY sparkling wine

Drinking (responsibly, naturally) isn’t the only fun wine-based activity you can do while self-isolating. You can try making it, too! Well, maybe not making wine from start to finish, but definitely helping. London-based urban winery Renegade is offering you the chance to riddle and disgorge your very own sparkling wine. ‘Rhythm and what?’, we hear some readers say. This is the process where dead yeast cells are removed from a sparkling wine to create a clear, bright finished product. It was invented in Champagne by Veuve Clicquot herself. Now you can do it at home. Renegade will send you a bottle of its sparkling grenache made in London from Spanish-grown grapes. Yes, it’s a sparkling red wine. Groovy! In order to finish it off, turn the bottle upside down and wait for all the sediment to collect by the cap (that’s your riddling) and then quickly remove the cap and a small amount of wine will be ejected along with the sediment (disgorgement). At least that’s the theory (see video here). It’s probably best done in the garden as it can be a messy process. Don’t forget to post your attempt not matter how pitiful on Instagram tagging @renegadeurbanwinery . Finally, drink the wine with an enormous sense of achievement. 

The Nightcap

And that’s a wrap on The Nightcap this week. Now, it’s time to reveal the answers to last week’s pub quiz. Thanks again to all who entered and congratulations to Mark OPray, the winner of the grand prize last week!

1) What cocktail would F. D. Roosevelt offer to every head of state who visited him?

Answer: Martini

2) On The Simpsons, what is the biggest beer brand in Shelbyville?

Answer: Fudd Beer

3) Which country has a grape variety known as ‘dog strangler’?

Answer: Portugal

4) What is The Dude’s go-to drink in The Big Lebowski? 

Answer: White Russian

5) Which whisky personality is famous for insuring his nose for £2 million? 

Answer: Richard Paterson

6) What is the Lincoln County Process? 

Answer: Filtering whiskey through sugar maple charcoal prior to ageing

7) Which Scottish region was once known as the Whisky Metropolis? 

Answer: Campbeltown

8) The Black Velvet cocktail was created in 1861 to mourn the death of which English royal? 

Answer: Prince Albert

9) What is Ron Swanson’s favourite drink on Parks and Recreation? 

Answer: Lagavulin 16

10) What is the most popular spirit in China?

Answer: Baijiu

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Take a VR tour of Craigellachie Distillery with MoM!

Go behind the scenes at one of Speyside’s most intriguing distilleries thanks to VR technology. Welcome to Craigellachie Distillery! Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, it doesn’t mean you…

Go behind the scenes at one of Speyside’s most intriguing distilleries thanks to VR technology. Welcome to Craigellachie Distillery!

Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good distillery tour. How is this possible? Thanks to the power of VR, of course. In this series we’re going to take you around some of the finest distilleries across England, Wales and Scotland from the comfort of your own home. This week we visit one of Scotch whisky’s most intriguing distilleries. Enjoy!

It used to be a rather rare sight to see an official bottling of Craigellachie single malt. Since it was built in 1891, Craigellachie has primarily been used for Dewar’s blended whisky. The distillery, which was designed by the legendary Charles Doig, has two wash and spirit stills and still utilises worm tubs, which are increasingly rare in Scotch whisky. They contain a smaller amount of copper than more modern condensers which helps promote the distinctive Craigellachie character, as does its preference for long fermentation. Bacardi now operates the distillery, along with Royal Brackla, Aberfeldy, Aultmore, and Macduff, and has released a core range of expressions, which means there’s now plenty of sulphurous, muscular and fruity whiskies to enjoy.

VR tour of Craigellachie Distillery

Craigellachie 13 Year Old is the perfect introduction to the delights of the distillery. One of the three official Craigellachie bottlings released in 2014, this 13-year-old single malt Scotch whisky handsomely shows off the bold, robust character of the distillery’s output.

Craigellachie 13 Year Old Tasting Note:

Nose: Apple orchards in bloom, slightly meaty, burnt popcorn, treacle tart.

Palate: Oily malt arrives first, followed by BBQ pineapple and summer berries. Pine nuts and almonds.

Finish: A very soft hint of sulphur hides behind biscuit and apple notes.

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Top 5 drinks podcasts 

From whisky to wine, and all things boozy, here are our favourite podcasts to keep you amused when you’re self-isolating. All are best enjoyed with a dram in your hand….

From whisky to wine, and all things boozy, here are our favourite podcasts to keep you amused when you’re self-isolating. All are best enjoyed with a dram in your hand.

With so much time on our hands, there’s never been a better time to become engrossed in a podcast. As great as the radio is, we find that it isn’t, well, boozy enough for us. Now it can be a daunting prospect finding the right podcast for you and there’s a lot of them floating around.  That’s where we come in. We have picked our top five drinks podcasts you can stream right now. So whether you’re a podcast newbie or fully fledged podcast addict, exchange the doom and gloom for some chatter about booze! 

Uncorked, beards not compulsory

Uncorked Whisky Sessions

If you’re after whisky conversation garnished with the odd laugh out loud, then look no further than Uncorked Whisky Sessions – a podcast show all about the wondrous world of whisky from our friends at That Boutique-y Whisky Company. Boutique-y Dave and Dr Whisky take the reins to contribute to the biggest whisky conversations of the past, present and future alongside icons and industry experts. Every episode is jam-packed with quirky games for the listener to play along with, outrageous rants, and whisky laughs galore! 

James Atkinson, about to embark on another drink adventure

Drinks Adventures 

From the land Down Under comes a journey through the world of fine drinks with the Drinks Adventures podcast. As people drink less but spend more on that special tipple, host and drinks writer James Atkinson interviews production experts from around the world. From Champagne and craft beer, to whisky and beyond, what sets fine drinks apart from the rest? Let the Drinks Adventure begin!

Olly Smith getting the party started with Pink

A Glass With…

Wine expert and columnist Olly Smith invites you to drink a glass with celebrities in the A Glass With… podcast. A glass of what, we hear you ask? Mainly wine, but hey, if the celeb fancies something else, you can be sure they’ll drink it! With an incredible array of famous faces (or voices…) including Michael Parkinson, Pink and Mick Hucknall, from industries ranging from food to film, there’s plenty of A-list chatter to sink your ears into! 

You could drink this while listening to Whiskycast

WhiskyCast 

No boozy podcast list would be complete without Mark Gillespie’s WhiskyCast, the godfather of all podcasts that have anything to do with whisky. In fact, host Gillespie started WhiskyCast in 2005, before anyone really knew what a podcast was… 15 years later, WhiskyCast continues to deliver timely whisky news, interviews with whisky experts, and the upcoming whisky calendar. With two episodes released each week, best pour a double measure!

Or one of these while listening to Craft Beer Radio

Craft Beer Radio 

For those of you who think that the universe of craft beer is somewhat of a young phenomenon, it might surprise you that it has been the focus of Craft Beer Radio for 15 years, making it the longest running beer podcast on the internet. That means over 500 episodes of tasting the best, weirdest and most wonderful beers the world has to offer. So sit back, relax and let hosts Jeff Bearer and Greg Weiss take you through the incredibly diverse world of craft beer. 

And there you have it, five of the best boozy, time busting podcasts for you to enjoy. Happy streaming! 

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