Old or New Old Fashioned

Ok, I’m a fan of the classics. From Fall of Rome to Poseidon – as a sailor, his ability to create storms was a note to tread softly. Don’t forget the queen of the sea Amphitrite, or Escoffier the king of chefs and chef of kings…finisher of French mother sauces that are the basis for France’s stunning classical cuisine.

That also applies to Cocktails! Yep, classic cocktails. None more so than the Old Fashioned, named around 1880. Now there were claims from Kentucky to New York as to the original creator. No matter who it was, we are all grateful, as it’s one of the top most popular cocktails in the world!

Ok, so my point is there are many new variations, some ok, some good, and some brilliant ones. I am currently enjoying exploring it with Stalla Dhu Glenrothes Late hour port cask. That really hits the spot! More about new styles later, this is about my venture into classics.

So I’m in Edinburgh doing a little research *wink wink*, I decided to go for an old-fashioned solo walking tour, why not, this is the best city in the World to walk around. Where to start though!? Since the high-end Hotels are proclaiming to be top of the game for cocktails, that’s where I’ll start.

The first stop was the Caley, or Waldorf Caledonian as it is properly known, the place of my first job as a trainee manager back in the ice age! Anyway, it is also a Waldorf (claimed as the first to serve the famous cocktail at its namesake in NY). I sat in lovely Peacock Alley and waited for my first of the day after a prolonged wait (apparently needed to find someone skilled), it arrived with a wee bit of orange rind floating over the correct block of ice. I asked which bourbon was used and the charming young lady left, and returned a few minutes later with the answer; Woodford reserve! Well done, pleasant, light on bitters, no orange oil detected but all in all, pretty good.

Next, off to what used to be her sister hotel at the other end of Princes Street, The Balmoral. Formerly the Victorian North British. In the now deco-influenced bar, I grab a stool, one of the few available. I was pleasantly attended to by the suited-up deputy manager. I ordered and watch the preparation. Let’s just say, the service is the best of the day…although I could have done without the cherries! Correctly proportioned, correctly stirred, correct block ice, and orange rind rub made with the very acceptable Angels Envy. The result was very good. Hope filled with enthused anticipation, I follow off to the next venue. 

It’s an uphill hike to Hotel du Vin. It plays double duty as I can have a cigar in their little Bothy, so that’s a bonus. I Settled down with my Placencia Orchant Seleccion as I awaited my third of the day. In the shelter of the windy weathered hut, I did sit next to the timer on the fireplace to assure continuity of comfort.

Now, this is one of my go-to spots in Edinburgh, so expected a good result. Unfortunately what arrived was rather void of flavor and my rather preoccupied waitress was unable to advise what the bourbon was. No matter, the small ice cubes were rapidly diluting what flavor may have been there. 

Anyway, disappointed, I enjoyed the rest of my smoke and headed to Apex back at the east end of Edinburgh where I had a room. It’s a newish, rather slick minimalist hotel, but very trendy. So I thought maybe a trendy old fashioned? Oh boy, I should end it here because nothing to say but wow. Dreadful, watery demise of one of the greatest of cocktails. Poor Makers Mark couldn’t save this from the soulless presenter of libations…agh!

Ok, we shouldn’t go out on this note, so let me tell you of two brilliant Variations!

The Puffin Rooms; Old Tabashioned Late Hour with Stalla Dhu Islay and Perique Tabac Liqueur and smoked Bad Bitch Old Fashioned with rum of same name aged in the Gulf of Mexico soaked wine barrels made in Key West. Just wow.

Available at Cgars St James see Sam or fabulous Puffin Room in Liverpool where Lucy or Mark offer up superior-cocktail making skills

New or old, Sláinte to a cocktail for the generations.

 

RM

Skipper

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!

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.