The General Store @ The Garage, Islington

Type of Bar: Cafe
Damage£ – ££
Ideal for: Date, Small Groups

Returning to the revamped spot next to the Garage made me a bit nervous at first – countless rock gigs later it would be strange to see it redone. But frankly, it works.

The General Store is now a chilled out, brightly coloured daytime hangout spot that would be my local cafe if I lived in the area.

The decor is incredibly welcoming, the mint green by the brown and gold makes the place incredibly lively and inviting – kind of like a set from Pushing Daisies. There’s something cosy and nostalgic about it. I personally love the new look (if you couldn’t already tell).

What. I can look dark and gloomy and still like bright cosy cafes shut up.

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Coffees and cafe treats dominate the menu, and in my opinion, should. As much as I love the fabulous staff and service, and can lounge in that decor all day, coffee and treats fare better than the cocktail menu.

We order an Electric Lemonade to start – a gin and sherbet tang cocktail with citrus. Love the look, an electric blue in a lightbulb! It is more of a hard lemonade though, which makes one ask what warrants the price tag.

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Geddit. Bauhaus. At the Garage. *fingerguns*

The General Store Patent Tonic comes pretty in pink – Bloom Gin, grapefruit, pomegranate, and mint. Once again, the spirit barely comes through, and the mint is overpowering, resulting in what is essentially a pink mojito.

The G, T & T seems a bit more promising: gin, green tea syrup and tonic. The green tea syrup is not particularly perceptible, so order a G&T instead.

The General Store Sour brings us bourbon, lemon juice and maple syrup. Finally, a drink that tastes like a cocktail! A traditional whiskey sour with a slightly sweeter bite.

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The cocktails down at The General Store are all undoubtedly pretty, but don’t particularly stand out. What does stand out is the beautiful design, chill atmosphere, and wonderful staff. There are great reasons to come here, but spend the money on cake instead.

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

The General Store @ The Garage, Islington

20-22 Highbury Crescent, Highbury East,
London N5 1RD

https://www.facebook.com/genstorelondon/

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Ardbeg Day 2017 – Under the Sea

It’s that time of year again!

3rd June rolls around marking Ardbeg Day! Last year we got our hands on the Ardbeg Dark Cove, and this year we get a look at the new Ardbeg Kelpie!

Perched on the southern coast of Islay, the Ardbeg Distillery has forever held a deep connection to the sea. The depths around Ardbeg are full of legends of mysterious creatures that inhabit the skerries (small rocky islands) and kelp seaweed forests off our shore.

Ardbeg Kelpie is named for the legends of the sea around Ardbeg. The whisky’s powerful aromas of oily peat, salty seaweed and tarry rope have been produced by virgin oak casks from the Black Sea, intermingled with the hallmark Ardbeg flavour profile. Waves of spicy black pepper give way to a delectable tide of bacon and dark chocolate for a deep, enticing dram.

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On Saturday 3rd June 2017, celebrate Ardbeg Day 2017 and the mysterious creature that will be joining us this year – Ardbeg Kelpie!

Come and experience the spirit of Islay as you have never experienced it before, and go deep under the sea to bring those legends to life.

This year, you will be able to get on the water in a chance to catch your own Kelpie. Join our Ardbegian Boat Regatta on the River Thames and have the experience of decorating your own ship and race against other Kelpie hunters. An adventure open to all … will you dare and try to catch your own Kelpie at sea?

For those not wanting to test their sea legs, Ardbeg games will be open to all and great prizes will be up for grabs (but who will manage to catch them with their lobster claws?!); a pub quiz will test who is the biggest Ardbeg fan, food, and cocktails from all smoky natures and of course, you will have the chance to taste the celebrated Kelpie for the very first time. You will not be disappointed!

Boat Activity Guests: Time: 14:00
Land based Kelpie Catchers: Time: 14:30
Date: Saturday 3rd June
Location: Greenwich Yacht Club, 1 Peartree Way, Greenwich, London SE10 0BW, UK

Tickets are 40 GBP and can be purchased at:
http://www.moethennessy-selection.co.uk/en-GB/ardbegday2017-tickets/

World Whisk(e)y Day 2017

Is there much else better than whisk(e)y?
Probably not.

The third Saturday of May marks World Whisk(e)y Day! Whether you like yours neat, on the rocks, or muddled into a julep; on an armchair or at a bar – WWD is a day to make the best of a beautiful spirit.

So here is a run down of what to do WWD 2017!

The Sun Tavern, Bethnal Green

The Sun Tavern are more than partial to a drop themselves, they thought they’d do something a bit special this Saturday 20th.

Throughout the day they’re hosting three free Poitín masterclasses, normally priced at £25 per person. Guests will try four different Poitíns and a Poitín cocktail while learning the history of the homemade whiskey-turned legal spirit.

These classes are to run on a first come first serve basis on the day, however bookings will be taken to reserve a spot in advance. Classes will take place at 1pm, 3pm & 5pm.

They’re also launching their new Whiskey Menu on the day. Having won Imbibe’s Whiskey List Of The Year for 2016/17, they’ve certainly got something to live up to.

They’ll be introducing three whiskies from their private collection too. These are whiskies that are extremely rare and not normally available to customers. They will be offered on their menu at a cost price in order to give everyone a chance to enjoy something extremely special.

  • ‘Dungourney 1964 Pure Pot Still Special Reserve’ – in auction originally at over £800 and available to customers at only £30 per measure. Only 1200 of these bottles were released and are seldom seen any more.
  • ‘Knappogue Castle 1951’ – in auction originally at £550 for the bottle and available to customers at £20 per measure, 36 years old when bottled. Was some of the last stock from the old Tullamore Dew Distillery. A true taste of history.
  • ‘Bushmills 1975 Millenium’ – in auction originally at £200 for the bottle and available to customers at only £10 per measure. 24 years old when bottled for the millennium. These were sold privately to investors, so it’s really rare to see a bottle on the market.

Other interesting new additions are The Boutique-y Whisky Company Single Malt, Connemara Single Malt, and the pretty exclusive Cill Áirne PX.

Merchant’s House, City

This Friday the 19th, the whisk(e)y celebrators at Merchant House of Fleet Street are going all out with 50% off all whisk(e)y drinks and cocktails!

Take a seat and enjoy the fabulous whisk(e)y cocktails the MH is renowned for and soak in the comfy atmosphere of the venue – hidden away from the rush and bustle of the busy City.

 

MASH Soho London Cocktail Bar

The Binchotan at MASH Steak

MASH Steak, Soho

Bourbon lovers rejoice, everyone knows the Hoodooist enjoys popping by MASH Steak for a drink.

To celebrate World Whiskey Day, MASH have partnered with Buffalo Trace to launch a special menu showcasing some of their favourite whiskeys. From 20th – 31st May, join MASH for a classic Mint Julep, a New York Sour, or a flight of the Bartenders’ Favourites: 1792 Ridgemont, Eagle Rare 10 (YES), and Buffalo Trace.

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Brick and Liquor, Tooting

Down in Tooting, cute & cosy cocktail establishment Brick & Liquor are celebrating World Whiskey Day by launching the second edition of their much lauded cocktail menu, starring the Southside Flip, a revived Jerry Thomas classic from 1862, featuring Chivas Regal 12 year old whiskey, apricot brandy and lemon juice; served smooth with a whole shaken egg; and the Amaro No.2, the perfect gentleman’s tipple, featuring Buffalo Trace bourbon, Disaronno & a delicious Italian Amaro liqueur.

Amaro is an often unloved and often neglected Italian gem; with a taste that is both graceful and robust making it the perfect companion for the whiskey and amaretto. Served gently stirred.

Yelp London Treat Yoself Free Giveaway

Maybe you’d rather spend the evening relaxing at home?

Fetch yourself your nearest Glencairn whisk(e)y glass and pour yourself a dram. These gorgeous glasses provide a wide crystal bowl to appreciate your drop’s colour, a shape to inspect the body of your whisk(e)y, and a tapered mouth to focus the aroma to the nose.

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Some iconic whisk(e)ys to try this season would be a classic smoky Ardbeg for this late Spring rain.

The Uigeadail capture’s Ardbeg’s traditional silkiness, its deep, smoky notes with luscious, raisin tones of old ex-Sherry casks

The recently released limited edition Kelpie brings powerful aromas of oily peat, salty seaweed and tarry rope have been produced by virgin oak casks from the Black Sea, intermingled with the hallmark Ardbeg flavour profile. Waves of spicy black pepper give way to a delectable tide of bacon and dark chocolate. Incredibly deep.

Ardbeg Kelpie Box and Bottle

Another good option would be Glenmorangie’s Private Edition Bacalta 2017: the sweet and honeyed nose opens to a palate ripe with mint toffee, caramelised oranges and dates, ending with a mentholic length of creamy fudge and sweet citrus.

Glenmorangie Bacalta Full Beauty Shot High Res

And if you want something from across the Atlantic, why not try Texas’ first whiskey! Made from blue corn, the Balcones Baby Blue is rich and thick with baked apple and caramel, buttery with baked spices.

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Other whiskey choices from the emerald isle can be found at our trip to the Irish Embassy with a wealth of Irish whiskeys to taste!

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Or, maybe, you want something less intense for the weekend, maybe a drink for when the sun is out?

Whisk(e)y and ginger ale/beer is certainly experiencing a bit of a renaissance, and people are out to capitalise.

Merchant’s Heart introduces its ‘Spirit Enhancers’, well made and beautifully bottled mixers for a simpler retreat. The MHSE Ginger Ale provides a fresh ginger note is found throughout with a lingering heat on the finish. Excellent with aged spirits, particularly bourbon and whisky.

Light and airy, a bit of the ginger ale with Woodford Reserve and a drop of bitters is enough to pep you up on a hot day. These go down easy on the patio as you watch the world go by.

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The Ginger Beer by Umbrella Brewing is, for lack of a better word, gorgeous. At a surprising 5%, UBGB takes no prisoners.

The team behind it explain, “We wanted to create a drink that was very natural, so our Ginger Beer contains only a few ingredients: fresh pressed ginger; hand squeezed lemon, cane sugar, malted barley, yeast and water.  Natural ingredients create natural sediment in every bottle. We remove all the yeast using an incredibly fine filter, so the sediment in our bottle is entirely made up of pressed ginger root.  That’s why we ask you to turn the bottle over before serving – to “wake up the ginger”.

What you get is the powerful flavour of raw ginger and candied lemons, thick with molasses and hint of malt. A length of fiery and spicy ginger follows.

A bit of Suntory classic with UBGB, a slice of citrus and honey and you’re sorted.

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While you sip on your drinks, make sure to grab something to read!

Iconic Whisky by Cyrille Mald and Alexandre Vingtier brings together 1000 whiskies into one impressive text. Each whisk(e)y is accompanied by flavour notes and an aroma wheel, followed by a map marking the origins and terroir, not to mention a 3D illustration of whisk(e)y production!

Spirit of Place by Charles MacLean takes us on a visual tour of 50 distilleries in Scotland, with photographs by Lara Platman and Alan MacDonald, documenting the ‘cultural terroir’ of the distilleries these historic and classic whiskies originate from.

 

Sadly, World Whisk(e)y Day lasts only a day – but who follows thew rules anyway. June is London Food Month, and there is a *lot* of whisk(e)y nights to enjoy!

Whisky Ambassador Colin Dunn guides a tour of taste and flavour, pairing whiskies with amazing delicacies from Borough Market. The Whisky Exchange has selected six treaty whiskies and matched them with great artisanal produce. The evening will begin with a cocktail featuring the brand new Ro and Co Irish Whiskey, before sampling the six pairings. Patrons will be served Oysters, artisan cheese, and cured meat with a selection of fantastic whiskeys, including Talisker, Lagavulin, 25-year-old Mannochmore, and much more.
When: Monday, June 12
Cost: £40
For one night only guests will be able to experience an exclusive Talisker whisky masterclass hosted by World Class Brand Ambassador. Guests will be guided through a flight of five Talisker whiskies paired alongside delicious delicacies from Black Rock.
When: Thursday, June 15
Cost: N/A
A luxury tasting featuring six different Johnnie Walker whiskies including the luxurious Blue Label. Hosted by the legendary Diageo brand ambassador Colin Dunn.
When: Thursday, June 15
Cost: £40
Tonkotsu Mare Street hosts a tasting of a selection of rare Japanes whiskies, including Hakushu Bourbon Barrel, Yamazaki Puncheon and 15 year old Miyagiko. Whisky expert David Wrigley will guide the event, pairing his favourite whiskies with delicious delicious from Tonkotsu’s kitchen.
When: Tuesday, June 20
Cost: £40
Manicomio Chelsea serves a Talisker Whisky-based cocktail throughout June as part of London Food Month, made with fresh sage, apple, and a touch of coconut rum. This delicious cocktail can be enjoyed in the bar on on the terrace.
When: Throughout June

And if you are up in Edinburgh, on 20th May from 1:00am – 2:00am whisky lovers are encouraged to stay out late (or get up early!) and join esteemed whisky writer and founder of World Whisky Day, Blair Bowman; Alex Bruce, whisky maker and Managing Director of Ardnamurchan Distillery and Chris Hoban, whisky blogger and brand ambassador for R&B Distillers as they extol the virtues of Scotland’s National drink. 

Savour a dram of Harry’s, a dram of Raasay While You Wait and a taste of the much sought after Glover 4th alongside a delicious cheese and meat board, while basking in the knowledge of our 3 whisky experts – what better way to kick off World Whisky Day!
And that’s all for this World Whisk(e)y Day 2017, folks! There is no right way to drink it except the way you love it.

 

Appleton Estate Joy Tasting @ Joyeux Bordel

Appleton Estate, the world’s leading Jamaican premium aged rum, releases Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend, a limited edition rum celebrating Joy Spence’s 20th anniversary as Master Blender. In fact, Joy Spence was the world’s first female Master Blender, paving the way for more women Master Blenders across the globe.

 

Appleton Estate Master Blender Joy Spence

Appleton Estate Master Blender Joy Spence

Wielding a Masters in Analytical Chemistry, Spence creates the Appleton Joy to appeal to rum, whiskey and cognac drinkers alike.

To quote Joy, the Italian glass is shaped to evoke “the hips of a Jamaican woman”, the purple box to note regality and heritage, the logo on the bottle to celebrate its Jamaican origin.

Highball Hoodoo Appleton Estate Rum Joy Launch Review

“For my anniversary blend, I simply set out to create the rum that I’d like to sip while watching the colours of my garden change in the warm glow of the Jamaican sunset,” said Joy Spence. “It includes two rum marques which are of particular sentimental significance to me: The first of these marques was laid down to age in 1981, which is the year I joined the Appleton Estate team, and the second is my favourite marque of pot still rum. The final blend is a wonderful rum that I hope will be become a cornerstone of my legacy.”

The Joy is a blend of rums whose ages range from a 25 year old pot still and other pot and column stills, up to a spectacular 35 year – creating a beautiful copper spirit.

Highball Hoodoo Appleton Estate Rum Joy Launch Review

The rum opens with Appleton’s characteristic orange, and a powerful hit of ginger. The ginger then dances and effervesces on the sides of the tongue to slowly open up to coffee and cocoa, almond and oak, and lingering vanilla. The finale is a long length of deep, lightly burnt brown sugar.

Highball Hoodoo Appleton Estate Joy Rum Launch Review

The limited edition Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend is available online – order now before the prices shoot up!

Highball Hoodoo Appleton Estate Rum Joy Launch Review