SCOTCH Pop up 2016 @ Brown’s Hotel, Mayfair

Burns Night is almost here! To celebrate, we thought of the perfect place to celebrate this Monday, and hey, if you’d rather have a cosy night in, we’ve thrown in a couple of whisky cocktails to make at home at the end of the article!

Type of Bar: Whisky, Hotel, Pop up
Damage: ££££
Ideal for: Scotch, Date, Small Groups, Education

London Pop Up Scotch whisky Glenmorangie Milsean Browns Hotel Burns Night

Running till the 29th of January 2016, the Brown’s Hotel is hosting the SCOTCH pop up in their Library room, exhibiting 40 different Scottish whiskies and couple of scotch cocktails – A tribute to their sister hotel, the Balmoral’s, SCOTCH Bar.

Whisky Ambassador, Fraser Robson, has whiskies from all over the traditional regions at his disposal: Speyside, Islay, Campbeltown, the Islands, the Highlands and Lowlands in a variety of blends, malts and vintages dating back to 1940, and what a brilliant collection it is. Running from 15 pounds a dram, up to 400 (the Glenmorangie Pride 1978), the choice of whiskies is intimidating at first, but easier to traverse through with the brilliant Mr. Robson guiding you.

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Sponsored by Glenmorangie, best to start their event with the Glenmorangie Original: a demanding golden yellow, a classic whisky. Intensely citrus on the nose, the initial flavours are more flowery, with a dark citrus length.

However, more discussion revolved around the launch of this year’s Glenmorangie Private Edition: the Milsean.

Glenmorangie Director of Distilling & Whisky Creation, Dr. Bill Lumsden, gushed over the whisky, and upon tasting it, we got an idea why. The Milsean is painfully nostalgic – inspired by Dolly’s Mixtures, the whisky is even named ‘sweet things‘ in Gaelic. It’s matured in ex-bourbon casks and then extra-matured in former wine casks that once housed red wines for Portugal’s Doura Valley, re-toasted for the purpose.

What we get is a sweet whisky, rich with moreish candied fruits, with a bright nose of fruit, sugary – like sherbet, and sugar cane. The palate begins with a blast of candy, then the tartness of candied orange peel, cherries and plum – followed by a long spicy finish of borwn sugar, winter spice, and maybe a bit of fudge?

The Milsean, for the Hoodooist, is definitely a unique whisky, with a very specific purpose. Much like it’s packaging of cherry and white vertical stripes – it’s a dessert whisky – a dram or two after dinner is all you need if you aren’t sweet of tooth and don’t mind bit of a burn.
London Pop Up Scotch whisky Glenmorangie Milsean Browns Hotel Burns Night

For cocktails, the first simple Orange Zest brought out the complexity of the citrus of the Glenmorangie Original with ginger ale and Angostura bitters, a simple enough drink, but a refreshing and effective one.

The second, the Spey Trip, is a fascinating drink, inherited by the SCOTCH pop up from the hotel’s resident Donovan Bar. Inspired by the Balvenie scotch it uses, and the Speyside region it hails from, the Spey Trip is constructed entirely from the scotch and its containers. The tumbler is the laser-cut bottom half of the Balvenie bottle, the platform it is served on also made from the Balvenie casks. An Old Fashioned using figs instead of sugar syrup, a spectacular drink that brings out the spicy sweetness of the Balvenie with the fig, which also appear as dried garnish (which dipped in the Old Fashioned taste incredible).

I was left torn about this drink by the end of it, since the first half was wonderfully layered and complex, but the last half became overwhelmingly sweet with the figs. And a whisky like Balvenie is a shame to lose.

The Spey Trip

The SCOTCH bar’s atmosphere is perfect for the venue, relaxed, subdued, with the occasional tartan – the Brown’s Hotel itself is a stunning building (from 1837), the interior sprawling, and couches numerous. And service is impeccable. A fantastic addition to the London whisky scene, and one I wish was permanent.

Slainte!

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

Brown’s Hotel

33 Albemarle Street, Mayfair
London, W1S 4BP

https://twitter.com/browns_hotel

HEY. YES. THERE IS MORE.

I mean, it *is* Burns Night tonight, and if you’re gonna stay in, might as well do it with a couple of easy to concoct cocktail at home, devised by Alexander & James.

The Haig Clubman

Haig Clubman
A refreshing tasting whisky cocktail which combines gentle spice and fruitiness perfectly.

Ingredients:
50ml Haig Club
35ml Sparkling apple soda
6 dashes ginger bitters

Method:
Built over hand-cracked ice in either a highball or tumbler, garnished with a long slice of root ginger (ideally cut with a mandolin).

But hey, say you’re more of a bourbon person (what the hell are you doing here?) but say you are, we haven’t forgotten you!

The Apple Mint Julep

Apple Mint Julep
A light cocktail with a fruitful flavour and a hint of mint is perfect for a refreshing serve this
Burns Night.

Ingredients:
60ml Bulleit Bourbon
90ml apple juice
A dash or two of bitters
3-4 mint sprigs

Method:
Muddle the mint and apple juice together in a cocktail shaker. Add the Bulleit bourbon, a couple dashes of bitters and ice to the shaker. Shake well for 20 seconds and then strain into a tumbler glass filled with cubes of ice. Garnish with a mint leaf if desired

That’s all, folks! Make sure to enjoy your Burns Night with your favourite scotch – we know we will!

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Good Things to Drink with Mr. Lyan & Friends, Ryan Chetiyawardana

Welcome back in 2016, everyone!

Here at HH HQ, we thought of trying something new this year. With the popularisation of cocktails at the bar, and the introduction of home bar-kit companies like the Taste cocktail kits, this festive season meant cocktails were all the rage at home.

There is a cocktail for every moment, every possible scenario, for every possible palate and texture – learning how to make cocktails at home is the next step in not just hosting dinners and parties – but simply finding a way to add a pep in your step during the day. This customisability and versatility is what Ryan C., aka., Mr. Lyan, is going for in his latest release: Good Things To Drink.

Good things to drink lyan cocktail book review

Straddling that most desirable of places between cookbook and coffee-table book, GTtD has cocktails for every occasion: the Morning Buzz, to summer pitchers, fireside sips to autumnal walks in the countryside. And for you gin fans – a whole section on G&T twists!

 

The award winning bartender sets off first with a 30 page intro to your cocktail making journey: a quick run down of staples, ingredients, equipment, techniques – even down to ice, garnishes, and how to prepare syrups. It’s an excellent intro, but is certainly one for those who already know their way around a cocktail swizzler. Not saying that practice and devotion from a novice won’t do the job either – but my first instinct is that someone handling a shaker and homemade syrups for the first time might needs a more in depth education on the matter.

Good things to drink lyan cocktail book review

Photography by Kim Lightbody

From there on we find a spectacular array of photoshoots by Kim Lightbody, each paired with a recipe (less classics, more developments on them), with flavour profile, recommended glassware, method, and possible flair for just little something to top it all of.

I enjoy that more obscure ingredients often have recommended swaps and optional ingredients highlighted, making the cocktails more accessible. Not to mention listing ingredients in both metric and imperial because god help those of us to Google a recipe and get fluid ounces.

Good things to drink lyan cocktail book review

The Diamond Rickey. Photography by Kim Lightbody

In other words – wonderfully comprehensive! Yes, some cocktails take more time, prep and effort than others – but sometimes you really do want to go all out (like his cooking, the Hoodooist cares more if the recipe is a challenge rather than a spaghetti dinner). Not to mention, if they’re interesting.

One of these that the Hoodooist is most looking forward to trying is the now-famous Deadly Nightshade.

Good things to drink lyan cocktail book review

The Deadly Nightshade. Photography by Kim Lightbody

Besides being one of the Hoodooist’s favourite vegetables ever, the Deadly Nightshade is a gorgeous amber rum sour using, yes, aubergines (/eggplants. Yes, the book even specifies that for the trans-Atlantic divide!).

Gather:

2 aubergines/eggplants
240g/9.60z demerara sugar
200ml/80z water
Pinch sea salt
40ml/1.5oz golden rum
20ml/0.8oz Lillet Blanc vermouth
25ml/1oz lemon juice
1 tablespoon demerara sugar syrup or honeywater (instructions to make present in book!)
25ml/10z egg white.

With a wonderfully detailed description on preparing the aubergine puree to shake with the spirits, garnished with roasted aubergine chips – preparing a seemingly advanced cocktail is deceptively easy!

Good things to drink lyan cocktail book review

Chocolate Wine. Photography by Kim Lightbody

All in all?

Good Things to Drink with Mr. Lyan & Friends is certainly a wonderful book to have, it’s difficult to find fault with it (especially for the Hoodooist, who fusses when recipes lack detail). But everything you need is *actually* here!

This is an excellent book for anyone venturing into more adventurous home-made cocktails. I would however, say that if you are completely new to making cocktails, and need instructions on what goes in a Manhattan, you might want to start with some books addressing basics and classics in more detail than the intro of GTtD, detailed though it is.

Best of luck, home bartenders! This solid text will walk you through expertly.

 

Good Things to Drink with Mr. Lyan & Friends, by Ryan Chetiyawardana is selling at £16.59 on Amazon.co.uk.