Alligators, Hurricanes, and Mojitos

What’s not to love about Florida!? Sub-tropical weather, sailing blue ocean, white beaches, and rum! My favourite Florida variety is Bad Bitch from Key West, which is well worth a trip! 

When I arrived for a wee break on the beach it was apparent that there were storms brewing in the Atlantic! Could there be a Hurricane heading my way? By Hurricane, I don’t mean the sugary New Orleans favourite that has contributed to so many “where am I” moments. 😉

Side note: I must say if they don’t use the obligatory mixes and do it classily with restrained use of Passion Fruit syrup you can get a rather splendid drink.

Anyway, real hurricanes are more scary than refreshing. When I realised one may be heading to the West Coast of FL, where our sailboat was resting comfortably under the care of Seaking, my son’s yacht management company. I thought ok, I’ll head out east to west.

Since I had time, I jogged north a little to visit our friends Rocky and Nish at Rocky’s rather splendid cigar bar ‘Burn’ located in the very entertaining Mercato Naples. I enjoyed a perfectly appropriate lancero by our proprietor and a rather pleasant Bacardi-based Mojito with just the right blend of sugar and mint. All cool here, let’s head South to check on that Beneteau ”Puffnaway “.

Arriving at the  Marina it was a beautiful sunny day, but there was a hustle about the place as it seemed more likely that the storm was heading this way.

So some hours after helping clean and prep the boat, for what we still hoped would pass us by…I hopped into the Marina pool for a cooling swim and a ‘boat‘ made Mojito.

Every sailor has a stash of rum and mine includes some that I have to carry with me from the other side of the Atlantic due to not being able to buy Cuban rum in FL. El Rumbo is to me the ideal base for a Mojito, 100-proof Cuban rum shipped to Wales that spent time resting in Snowdonia Distillery in freshly emptied Cognac casks, it punches through the sugar and mint with just the right balance of flavour and strength. Now storm concerns are drifting away…at least for me after the 2nd one…though the chatter and nervous energy around the Marina sense more.

That evening we enjoyed a family dinner with an array of nicely prepared fresh seafood at Fin Bistro and Antinori Pepoli Chianti, one of my favourites. After a peaceful sleep on the boat, we battened down hatches and left the rest to the professionals to get her ready to brace for whatever may come.

We are heading back east, away from the inevitable visit of Hurricane Ian. The best part of my exodus from stormy weather is one of my favourite Florida spots, which is on the way, Everglades City! This Stone Crab capitol of the World has so much to offer Alligators, Airboats, and Awesome fishing in 10,000 Islands. This little historic town, once Calusa Indian territory, houses the rather splendid, although admittedly a touch tired Rod and Gun Club.

 

As you step through the doors you step back in time. A dark embrace of nostalgia floats the hallways with stunning taxidermy and relics of its illustrious past as a premier fishing hunting lodge. We sat down and shared the best of the season (stone crab season hasn’t started), so fresh out of the Everglades sautéed alligator, fresh local frog legs, and blackened Hogfish will do just fine thank you!

Before we embark on our journey back East, I spend an hour or two in my favourite of swimming pools, now don’t ask me why. Sitting to the side of the R&G Club it’s a relic that I treasure, a stone waterfall and rough stone coping. It’s certainly not everybody’s favourite but then again it’s one of the reasons I love it.  Mostly it’s mine alone or shared with a couple local kids, but perfectly cooling from this hot balmy air.

Now there are no cocktails available at R & G club, however resourceful I am and thanks to my wife picking up mint at Seed to Table. With a little rum and soda from the bar, I have my primitive but tasty Mojito in the pool while enjoying an Oliva Orchant seleccion cigar. Tell me that’s not living!

So now back across alligator alley to our wee spot on the beach, where I’m sure I have some rum! Oh, maybe not, might have to fly back to Blighty to stock up!

I did find some El Rumbo Coconut rum made with fresh sugar cane and fresh coconuts…makes a lighter more tropical variation Mojito. That saved the day.

-Ron

 

 

*Update: Hurricane Ian devastated part of Florida’s west coast. While we escaped with only minor damage, our prayers are with those who lost families, homes, and boats.

Chocolate Bitters From Snowdonia Distillery

Snowdonia Distillery has released new chocolate bitters under their Marsette Liqueurs label. This label has the Monsoon Coffee Liqueur and the Peruvian Chocolate Essence, both incredibly moreish with a rich experience. These new bitters were released to complement their liqueurs and help elevate your cocktail experience. As with their Chocolate liqueur, the bitters use the same Single Estate cacao from Peru. The chocolate from Tesoro Amázonica is of incredible quality and produced by fantastic folks who believe in creating a delicious product, as well as taking care of the community involved.

The quality of the chocolate really does come through in these products. If you’re in the market for some quality bitters for your home bar or at work, I’d suggest giving these Marsette bitters a go! We have been having a blast with a bit of trial and error in creating different cocktails with these. Snowdonia Distillery is a great craft distillery that puts out an array of award-winning products.

Available in a pipette or a spray option. Bottled at 7.1% abv. Shop Now.

2 New Releases from Snowdonia Distillery

New incredibly delicious releases from the folks behind the award winning Forager’s Gin! 2 unique spirits created to excite our taste buds.

1 gin and 1 liqueur!

These two are staying on the same path as all the other releases from the Welsh distillery. Quality craft spirits from a small team, using the best ingredients, to deliver their customers something special. From start to finish, the team there puts their heart and passion into every step of the process. I love when you find small distilleries like that!

The new additions are:

Forager’s Winberry Gin

“Foragers Winberry Gin encompasses the flavours foraged along our Welsh coast and throughout its cascading hills.

A complex blend which presents a profile of fresh citrus, robust berries and warming floral notes.

The Winberry is the most unique of berries, only being ready for one very short harvest a year. This then results in a very rare botanical to find.

It is stunningly sweet, small in size but generous in flavour with a long tart finish. A vibrant colour, candied like sweetness to an award winning spirit.

Celebrate this marriage of flavours with muddled blackberries, fresh mint leaves and tonic water.”

Marsette Monsoon Coffee Liqueur

“Marsette presents an artesian liqueur from the heart of the Indian Monsoon Rains – Handcrafted, copper distilled, small batch production.

We take the Monsoon Malabar bean to produce a coffee liqueur like no other. The bean swells in the humidity of the Monsoon Rains, allowing us to play with robust aromatic flavours, perfect for the mixologist.

The cold brew rests with a blend of Welsh Spirit and Madagascan Vanilla essence, creating a subtle hint of Tiramisu and a long, mouth coating finish of whipped cream and blue agave. “

Forager’s Newest Release!

Snowdonia Distillery has crafted another fantastic spirit! This time it is a new take on their already tasty Y Bēt vodka. Chocolate Vodka!

This is not your standard chocolate flavoured vodka, Forager’s set out to make this special. They went in search for the perfect chocolate to use in the creation of this vodka. That search led them to a single origin chocolate producer in Peru! This is high quality chocolate from the Amazon that was made from a producer that care about the product and the create it.

All that to say, that like all the other ingredients that go into their spirits, they choose the best quality. Add that to the double maceration and triple distillation of the sugar beet spirit, then you have something decadent. You can smell the cacao on the initial nose, after that it’s just an elegantly smooth and more-ish journey.

This release is limited to only 200 bottles, so grab one while you can!

World Gin Award Winners

It’s that time of year again! Gin awards time!

I really enjoy going through the winners, seeing what ones I have tried and making notes of winners I have yet to try. There are so many categories that my list at the end is always big enough to keep me busy for a while! So many good looking gins this year. Sweden sweeping the London Dry category was very cool to see.

I thought I’d make a list of 2021 winners we currently have in stock. Maybe you can grab one that you have not had!

Edinburgh Gin coming in hot and taking multiple awards!

Edinburgh Gin – Rhubarb & Ginger

SILVER – Flavoured Gin

Bottled at 40%, this perfectly balanced juniper-forward gin is full of natural flavour. Aromas of rhubarb are complemented by a lift of spice, leading to a smooth, full finish.

Edinburgh Gin – Gooseberry & Elderflower

SILVER – Flavoured Gin

A deliciously refreshing and aromatic gin that harmonises tangy Gooseberry with sweet Elderflower creating a refreshing and balanced gin.

Edinburgh Gin – Raspberry

BRONZE – Flavoured Gin

It is distilled with five traditional gin botanicals and a combination of fresh Scottish raspberries and raspberry leaves to a create a perfectly balanced gin with an incredible depth of flavour.

Rock Rose Gin – Navy Strength

BEST IN SCOTLAND – Navy Strength

The higher ABV version of Rock Rose gives a strong warm pine release at the front of the drink with notes of lemon sherbet. The heart of the drink is very bold berries from the blaeberries, rowan and hawthorn. These give way to the deeper earthier notes that are hidden in the original Rock Rose, such as angelica and orris.

Hernö Gin – London Dry

GOLD – London Dry

Crafted from natural and carefully selected organic botanicals, Hernö Dry Gin is a round and smooth London dry gin diluted to 40,5% ABV. Hernö Dry Gin is awarded with IWSC World’s best London Dry Gin and World’s best Gin & Tonic but is also very enjoyable on its own.

Edinburgh Gin – Classic

SILVER – London Dry

Our classic London Dry style gin. A clean, zesty, juniper-forward gin which balances softness with bright citrus. Launched in 2010, this is our modern London Dry gin, with a nod to Scotland in its recipe including native plants and botanicals.

Nikka – Coffey Gin

SILVER – Contemporary Style Gin

Coffey Gin’s complexity is achieved through the perfect balance between 11 selected botanicals and the silky texture of Coffey distillates. The bright and zesty aroma originating from four kinds of Japanese citruses, Yuzu, Kabosu, Amanatsu and Shequasar, compliments the traditional gin botanicals of juniper berries, angelica, coriander seeds, lemon and orange peels.

Foragers – Yellow Label

BRONZE – Contemporary Style Gin

Starting with soft juniper tones, Foragers gently takes you to fresh, semi-sweetness of apple and elderberry, before giving way to incredible, subtle, unmistakable floral notes from gorse and heather flowers. This truly is an authentic expression of Britain and the terrior of North Wales.

Grab one of these or any other one of our many gins! Find your new G&T gin!

Til next time.

Andrew

Random Spirits To Enjoy On That Random Holiday

We’re nearing that 14th of February Hallmark holiday again where it’s like Cupid threw up red and pink things everywhere! We are always up for making a list of spirits we are currently enjoying, so that’s what we did. Whether you enjoy celebrating this holiday or not, that doesn’t matter here. These fabulous drinks are sure to tickle your tastebuds and bring upon that warming feeling deep inside. So hopefully this completely random list can inspire you to try something new!

Weller Antique 107 Bourbon – 53.5% 75cl

I swear, it’s not because it is red! This is an absolutely incredible wheated bourbon that has been accompanying my evenings by the fire more often these days. A wonderfully crafted bourbon that is bold and complex, but offers delicious fruity and floral notes. This higher proof offering works well sipped or in cocktails.

Foragers Black Label Gin – 46% 70cl

This gin has been my go to for G&Ts and martinis since we got Foragers in stock. I don’t know how I’ve without this gin for so long! Praised by chef James Martin on his Great British Adventure. Intense and smooth juniper notes, with richness from the sea buckthorn. Wonderfully crisp and elegant.

Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva Doblemente Anejado Rum – 70cl 40%

The rum for whisky lovers! This bottling from Brugal range is a beautifully distinct rum that crisp and dry, but not overly sweet. Double-wood aged for 6-8 years in White American Oak Casks, followed by 2-4 years in first-filled Spanish Sherry Oak Casks. The cask aging is where it makes it more reminiscent of a single malt.

Suntory Chita Japanese Single Grain Whisky – 70cl 43%

This is the first single grain whisky from the house of Suntory. Originally Chita grain whiskies have been used to enhance the flavours and harmony of Suntory blends. Now, it has gained a level of complexity and sophistication that allows it to walk on it’s own! Clean and mild, with wonderful rich honey & spiced oak flavours.

Stalla Dhu Single Cask Glen Elgin Port Wood – 48% 70cl

Can’t finish this list without our newest release from the Stalla Dhu range of independent bottlings. This Glen Elgin port wood finish is perfectly aged and bottled at the best ABV, hitting the sweet spot. Aged in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in first fill Port cask. Flavours of toasted almonds, fresh plums, and nougat. Intensely creamy!

Happy Sipping,

Andrew

Forager’s Gin

We are always receiving fantastic spirits in all the time, but it’s always exciting to get truly delicious liquid. That is true for our shipment of Forager’s Gin that came through our doors! There are a lot of really tasty gins out there, but these have shot to the my list currently! The passion and effort that the folks at Snowdonia Distillery out into this gin really comes through in the taste!

Snowdonia Distillery was founded by the Marshall family in 2015, which was North Wales’ first micro distillery after nearly 100 years! Founder Chris Marshall, who was a investment manager and former professional skier, has lead a small dedicated team who are passionate about making the best spirits possible! After realising that the Snowdonia region didn’t have a distillery, he made moves to change that. He brought in the best botanists, sensory analysts, master distillers, and master coppersmiths. Chris said, “Our aim was to find experts in their field and use their skills to achieve what we had in mind.” They take their inspiration from the Welsh Landscape around them, incorporating the local water and nature to craft something special!

They only have a 5,000 bottle production run per expression. Many months of the year are spent foraging for the freshest botanicals that are grown around them. They also have an ultra-long maceration period, resting the botanicals to create amazing flavours. The botanicals being; juniper, sea buckthorne, apple, elderberry, gorse flowers, and bell heather.

Snowdonia Distillery has 2 brands at the moment, Forager’s Gin and Marsette Liqueurs both of which have have gained widespread acclaim and coverage. Picking up a World Gin award and had been voted one of the top 10 craft spirits brands in the UK. Vogue magazine also added Forager’s to last years Christmas Wish List.

The two bottlings we have in at the moment are the Yellow Label and Black Label Gin. The Yellow being super inviting and the Black being the ultimate gin for a martini!

FORAGER’S YELLOW LABEL GIN – 46% – 70CL

Starting with soft juniper tones, Foragers gently takes you to fresh, semi-sweetness of apple and elderberry, before giving way to incredible, subtle, unmistakable floral notes from gorse and heather flowers. This truly is an authentic expression of Britain and the terrior of North Wales.

Perfect served in a variety of drinks including a dry martini or in the simple, but classic Gin & Tonic using either BTW Tonic water or Fever Tree Tonic, with a slice of British red apple.

FORAGER’S BLACK LABEL GIN – 46% – 70CL

Forager’s Black Label delivers intense, smooth juniper notes followed by beautifully mellow warmth and richness stemming from Sea Buckthorn. Use to create a crisp, elegant G&T, beautifully smooth cocktail, or epic gin martini.