Angostura Rum Tasting @ Heddon St. Kitchen, Piccadilly

Gordon Ramsey’s Heddon Street Kitchen lounges over two floors of dark wood and low lighting – and the upper floor hosts a small choice of bar seats where a range of Angostura Rums were presented for tasting in the company of UK Angostura Ambassador, Sean Duprey.

Heddon Street Angostura Rum Tasting
Easily the most popular of the exports from the Trinidadian House of Angostura is their range of rum-based bitters – the classic Angostura Bitters are easily the most recognisable aromatic bitters across the globe, and one can’t imagine even the the smallest or youngest of cocktail bars functioning without a good stock of the spicy secret concoction. More surprising are the other uses of the classic bitters: from helping with hangovers when dashed on lime the morning after, to glazes and cooking – something that hadn’t even crossed my mind. Living in it’s brother’s shadow, the zesty Orange Bitters are always handy in a pinch for an Old Fashioned when out of Angostura Bitters.

Heddon Street Angostura Rum Tasting

Onto the rums!

Vanilla and banana wafts in with the youngest of the HoA range: The Angostura Reserva spends three years in white oak barrels, the rum is charcoal filtered to remove any traces of colour to produce a creamy, clear rum that is best used in cocktails with it’s unobtrusive light flavours, and that neat it has a rather sharp bite.

Classic for a Daiquiri with a dash or two of Angostura Bitters to take the edge of the citrus.

Heddon Street Angostura Rum Tasting

 

 

The Angostura 5 year brings in a bit of colour – a more demanding rum, the vanilla bursts into spices and oak, with cocoa hints in the warm finish.

You could certainly turn to sipping this rum, but personally, this is more fun for slightly more indulgent variations of the cocktails one would make for the previous Angostura Reserva.

 

 

 

Heddon Street Angostura Rum Tasting
The black treacle nose really stands out in the Angostura 7 year rum! Sweeter that the last, dark chocolate bursts in with a bang, along with coffee and dark sugar flavours. Creamy and easy to sip, a long finish of toffee and custard lingers behind.

Richer and darker makes this a fitting after dinner rum.

 

 

 

 

Heddon Street Angostura Rum Tasting

 

 

The Angostura 1919 gets its name from the burning down of the Govt Rum Bond in 1932, only to find rum from 1919 filled in its remaining charred casks.

Ages in bourbon barrels, we find spicier and more tropical flavours, including something quite cola-like, along with the vanilla and powerful ginger. Allspice and vanilla/molasses finish is long on this one!

 

 

Heddon Street Angostura Rum Tasting
The Angostura 1824 moves around a lot – spending 12 years in charred oak casks, then blended and recasked for a much smoother, richer rum than the 1919.

Lending some tobacco to the vanilla and custard flavours makes this a fantastic rum to sip with a cigar on a cold day. Coats smoothly with a little bite and some good kick, this is one enjoyable rum!

 

 

Heddon Street Angostura Rum Tasting

 

Finally, the Angostura No.1, Second Edition. The name might be a mouthful, but it’s worth it.

Each release of the Angostura No.1 spends some time in traditional American oak casks (the first 10, here) before being recasked into another cask that previously held another spirit – the second release of the No.1 is then filled into a once-used French oak Cognac cask for its final 6 years of aging – lending to it many nutty and dried fruit flavours associated with cognac. Each release will find the rum stored in a different spirits’ casks.

This is one hell of a beautiful rum. The nose is exuberant and floral, with hints of macadamia and vanilla. At first sip, the incredible smoothness of the rum coats the palate delicately, with bursts of fig and long finishes of dried fruit and vanilla.

An absolutely gorgeous limited edition drop.

Heddon cocktails

Here at Heddon Street Kitchen, Angostura displayed their incredible variety and versatility when it comes to producing this popular molasses spirit. With a pour for every occasion from light daytime sips to late night indulgent pours, serves can also come straight from a balloon glass with a cigar in the winter.

An excellent range of rums from the House of Angostura.

 

Thanks to,

Angostura Rum

http://www.angostura.com/

and,

Heddon St. Kitchen

3–9 Heddon St, Piccadilly
London W1B 4BE

https://www.gordonramsayrestaurants.com/heddon-street-kitchen/

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Yelp and Covent Garden’s First London Mulled Wine Festival!

Winter is coming!

We all know what that means – mulled wine! And mulled cider. And mulled mead. Anything you can mull, really – all at London’s first Mulled Wine Festival!

Yelp Covent Garden Mulled Wine Festival

The celebrated Christmas staple will have a whole festival devoted to it at Covent Garden’s East Piazza from the 12th-14th of November – and the best part? Entry is free! If you check in with your Yelp! app, which you can download here:

Apple: app.adjust.com/ry1gff

Android: app.adjust.com/d3r3q7

So for three days, from noon to 9PM, “there will be three days of mulled wine from some of the best spots for mulled wine in the city. Plus mulled cider! And mulled mead! And mulled ice cream, mulled pops, mulled candy, mulled jelly shots and, of course, Christmas pies! (And also, some seriously amazing other eats).

It starts on November 12, the same night as Covent Garden switches on its new Christmas lights.  Designed by celebrated fashion and film production designer, Michael Howells, the new scheme takes inspiration from the mythology of mistletoe and Covent Garden’s world-renowned reputation as a special place to meet friends, family and loved ones. The iconic, 22 feet tall silver reindeer will also be returning to the East Piazza, ensuring this year’s switch on moment will once again have a stunning backdrop.

Contemporary acapella group After Party will be entertaining the crowds with an exclusive set from 6pm, which features everything from Taylor Swift to Christmas classics. And, whatever the weather, you’re guaranteed a white Christmas in Covent Garden as it will snow on switch on night to add that extra touch of magic.”

Yelp Covent Garden Mulled Wine Festival

Besides all the excellent entertainment, prepare for a massive foodie feast by:

* Battersea Pie (yelp.co.uk/biz/battersea…)

* Chez Antoinette (yelp.co.uk/biz/chez-anto…)

* Gordon Ramsay’s Heddon Street Kitchen (yelp.co.uk/biz/heddon-st…)

* Gosnell’s Mead (gosnells.co.uk)

* L’atypique Organic Wines (latypiquewines.com)

* LIC Pops (havealic.com)

* MEATMarket (yelp.co.uk/biz/meatmarke…)

* Morelli’s Gelato (yelp.co.uk/biz/morellis-…)

* Phizz (phizz.co)

* Smith and Sinclair (smithandsinclair.co.uk)

* Thistly Cross Cider (thistlycrosscider.co.uk)

* popchips (popchips.co.uk)

and more!

Plus, the whole event supports Connection at St-Martin-in-the-Field (connection-at-stmartins.…), a charity that helps support homeless people in multiple ways. So you’ll be drinking for a good cause!

 

Entrance is free if you RSVP at the link below and check in on your Yelp App!
http://www.yelp.co.uk/events/london-yelp-and-covent-gardens-first-london-mulled-wine-festival

See you guys there!

Yelp Covent Garden Mulled Wine Festival

 

Machine No.3, Homerton

Type of Bar: Local
Damage: £
Ideal For: Date, Small Groups

 

The Hoodooist wishes he lived closer to Hackney.

Launching *this Friday*, Machine No.3 refurbishes an ex-laundrette to set up a quality new bar up in Homerton. The brains behind The Three Compasses – siblings Lauren and Antony Johns, with partner Brian Le Camus took the disused space and are now knocking out expertly crafted cocktails, organic wines, and craft beer all 50% off only on 6th November 2015!

You got that right, 50% off drinks after 6PM at the bar’s launch on 6th November! More info below the review!

Machine No.3 Cocktail Bar Hackney Homerton London

The minimalist space exposes brick wall and a small bar to make the most of what essentially a smaller venue – but makes up for the space with character and liveliness as the DJ spins live. Design is still inspired by the laundrette it once was, evident at the booths and the back space. The cocktail list is decently long, and an imaginative mix of classics and original set to satisfy every palate – and the Hoodooist is excited to take it on.

Machine No.3 Cocktail Bar Hackney Homerton London

The Right Hand

Let’s start with a winner, eh? The Right Hand (awesome name) brings us Havana Anejo Especial rum, Campari, vermouth, Xocolatl Mole bitters. Very well balanced on the Campari, smooth and dry, but rounded off well with the creaminess of the Havana and sweetness of the vermouth. The Hoodooist adores this cocktail. Beginning with the light spice and vanilla of the rum, there is an immediate flow into the Campari’s bitter flavours of gentian and the orange zest of the vermouth. Finally, the cacao and cinnamon from the Xocolatl Mole wash over the palate in an almost milk chocolate smoothness to finish.

Beautifully well balanced aperitif. Gorgeous.

Machine No.3 Cocktail Bar Hackney Homerton London

The Ford

On the theme of aperitifs, the Ford makes an appearance: Jenson’s Old Tom gin, Noilly Prat, Benedictine. From it’s home in Bermondsey, Jensen’s Old Tom is a traditional 19th C. style sweet gin, so goes unsugared but preserves the sweetness of the classic Old Tom gins. The nose is light with pine notes, and the floral Noilly Prat. The drink is as smooth and light as the nose – a fantastic classic twist on the Martini, the Hoodooist is impressed with the deft hand that stirred this cocktail. After the initial pine bark bite, the Ford opens up to the Benedictine herbal flavours, which immediately proceed to the Noilly Prat finish of orange and spices, a light but floral and aromatic sweetness.

A classic that is often difficult to get just right, here done well.

Machine No.3 Cocktail Bar Hackney Homerton London

The Vieille Carre

The Vieille Carré is not to be trifled with. Vieille Prune brandy, Rittenhouse Rye, Vermouth blend, Benedictine brings up one hell of a bitter cocktail. Heavy and full of depth, this cocktail is one to have earlier on in the night, since later it can be a lot of take in – it’s certainly an acquired taste, and for those who know it’s what they like.

The Rittenhouse Rye plays a smaller part in this event, hanging out with it’s sweet corn and pepper in the background while the brandy, heavy with plum, oaky as all hell, muscles in and takes centre stage. The vermouths hang around the sides, rounding off the edges with spice and orange citrus, ending with Benedictine herbalness. Take your time with this velvety, bitter cocktail so full of rich forest flavour.

Machine No.3 Cocktail Bar Hackney Homerton London

The Tommy’s Margarita

On our final round, we ended on a comfortable class Tommy’s Margarita, Olmeca Blanco tequila, lime, agave, salt. Normally the Hoodooist avoids salt on his Margaritas, but it really complements the sweeter, honeyed flavours of Olmeca Blanco – and it’s smokiness gives it dimension. A reliable classic. We end the night with a shot of the good old QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan mezcal. Because that’s how a good night either begins or ends.

Machine No.3 Cocktail Bar Hackney Homerton London

This little bar hidden away in Hackney knows what its doing, and after a few flashy openings this month, the Hoodooist is glad to find a spot that cares more for quality and service than making a noise. Minimalist it might be, but service is spot on with Emmanuel serving up those Right Hands and shots of mezcal. Machine No.3 knows what a good cocktail is, and with a long, well-balanced and varied menu, there’s always someone to satisfy.

It also knows that if you want to create a fanbase, don’t charge 12 quid for a good drink. Affordable and fun, with a homey vibe, it follows a similar winning formula as Casita Bar – setting itself on a track for a cult following. Fun + Quality + Not murder on the wallet = a place you want to spend all night.

DO NOT MISS THE HALF PRICE COCKTAILS AT THE LAUNCH 6TH NOVEMBER 2015!

Machine No. 3 will be officially opening its doors from 6pm on Friday 6th November with 50% off drinks all night long as well as delicious pints of pale ale served up by brand new Dalston brewery ’40FT’ as we well as local London distiller Alex Kammering supplying some of the much-lauded Kamm & Sons to feature in a cocktail specially created for the launch.

You do not want to miss this night out! (3.50 for a cocktail? I mean, you must be crazy to miss out.)


Drinks
: ****

Atmosphere: ***
Service: ****


Machine No.3

271 Well Street, Homerton,
London, E9 6RG.

https://www.facebook.com/MachineNo3

68 and Boston, Soho

Type of Bar: Wine
Damage££ – ££££
Ideal For: Date, Small Groups, Wine

 

You’ve probably seen it, you can’t miss it – Soho has welcomed in the new 68 and Boston!

Right beside Bo Drake on Greek Street, 68 and Boston boasts two floors with two completely different personalities. Downstairs at 68, the slick red bar is devoted to affordable wines coming in at £20 a bottle – pretty reasonable in this part of town.

Upstairs at cocktail bar Boston, much like the gilded decor outside, glitters gold with an old fashioned style twisted into modern form, hardwood, sophisticated cerulean walls and gold spread across the slightly labyrinthine venue. The design will immediately strike a Londoner as odd – it’s like someone wedged a City bar into Soho, almost as peculiar and someone wedging Street Feast into Guildhall.

Not detracting from the venue itself being beautiful, no – it’s gorgeous. Of course, your mileage may vary on the matter, our table found it all rather odd and slightly forced. If you are looking for a City bar in Soho’s lively surrounds, though, this would be the spot!

68 and Boston Cocktail Bar London Soho

As for the bar, there are some big names involved – President of the UK Bartender’s Guild, Luca Cordiglieri designs along with head bartender, Josh Powell – and the menu reflects that.

2015-2016’s latest trends are immediately visible: more use of wines as vermouths and sherries, longer, lighter serves overall. Before the review, I must point out that this being being a launch, for the staff’s convenience for all the quick rounds of drinks being knocked out one after the other, a restricted menu of 5 cocktails were being served. These are the five reviewed.

68 and Boston Cocktail Bar London Soho

L-R: Loud Tempests, and the Squid Ink Martini

A firm favourite and easily the winning drink of the night really went in for the kill in it’s trendiness. The Loud Tempests mixes Lagavulin with samphire-infused White Port, Benedictine and Abbott’s Bitters. Well balanced, the loud peat of the Lagavulin is toned down, it’s sweetness coming in alongside the powerful samphire, which I’d argue dominates the cocktail. A finish of smoky vanilla, anise and herbs lingers. Relaxed, not attempting too much, the cocktail impresses.

The Dazed & Confused rides well with the smoothness of the Absolut Elyx vodka, and bright citrus bitters. This Martini is brought to life by the cardamom infused Cocchi Americano vermouth. Mind you, this is for those who truly not just tolerate, not just enjoy, but relish and delight in cardamom. It’s strong, and it’s not trying to hide it. Personally, it could do with relaxing on that front. A wash of cardamom is welcome, a kick in the teeth with it is another. As long as you enjoy cardamom, this is a novel twist on the vodka Martini.

68 and Boston Cocktail Bar London Soho

L-R: Dazed & Confused, and the Peace Offering.

The next two drinks are ambitious, and the Hoodooist loves their ideas. However, they cocktails have underestimate the strength dry sherries can exert over other flavours in the drink.

The Squid Ink Martini is better off of the two, with a short list: Tanqueray gin, En Rama Fino sherry, squid ink. The first sip is a briny bite of sea salt from the ink, followed by powerful Fino sherry. If you enjoy Fino, you will enjoy the Squid Ink Martini. Or you could drink Fino sherry. Maybe with salt. Enigmatic and enticing presentation, though.

The Trader faces a similar dilemma. Bacardi 8yr, Vanilla and Coffee infused Bacardi Carta Blanca, Amontillado sherry, Triple Sec, lime and pineapple juice, sugar syrup. For a drink with that many ingredients, it all gets lost in a mass of sugar and Amontillado with some pineapple juice.

68 and Boston Cocktail Bar London Soho

Finally, the Peace Offering was anything but. Olmeca Reposado, Cocchi Torino vermouth, Tempranillo, Agave, unfortunately did not work. The table of seven all rejected it. Like many City bars, Boston appeals in extremes of flavour.

We had an enjoyable Merlot and Pinot Grigio downstairs at the 68 wine bar, though. So there are ups to this venue, just downstairs.

68 and Boston Cocktail Bar London Soho
There are some wonderful ideas here that have a tendency to overkill – luckily, overkill is something easily dealt with with a tweak. Perhaps in our excitement for novelty, it is possible to rush headlong into trends, and overdo some of them, as seen with the powerful sherry flavours dominating entire drinks. At the price these drinks are coming at, though, one would rather wait to see the very possible and easily made changes before shelling out 10-16 pounds for one.

Some big talent here I’m wishing the best to!

Drinks: *
Atmosphere: ****
Service: ***

 

68 and Boston

4-5 Greek Street, Soho,
London, W1D 4DD. 

http://www.68andboston.com/