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.

 

Game of Thrones Menu at @Bird Of Smithfield, Clerkenwell

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Also optional Basement, Rooftop
The Iron Price: Three courses £30
Ideal for: FoodDate, Small Groups, Large GroupsAfter Work

 

Game of Thrones Menu available 15th – 26th August 2016

Okay, you know we love Bird of Smithfield – we’ve covered their drinks and a solid 4/5 was in order. Simple, elegant, get the job done.

And for this week only, the restaurant unveils a dedicated set menu (horse hearts and incest not included) celebrating the Game of Thrones fandom – or at least staving off GoT deprivation during the hiatus!

The menu appeals to the theme of the series while maintaining the approachable simplicity of British fare – and in BoS tradition, managing to amp up the everyday to a meal worth travelling for.

Bird of Smithfield Game of Thrones

Okay. This is gorgeous.

The Dracarys Salad felt like bit of a crime to eat, really.

Marbled quail eggs nested on salad with bacon lardons presented beautifully on a noodle nest. The eggs just perfectly runny and shimmering in the streaming light, and crisp of bacon for that little Dothraki touch.

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Then, what is a party in Westeros without a pie (and several casualties)?

Joffrey’s Wedding Pie is suitably hearty and incredibly filling: Chicken , quail and leeks spill from the pie, sizzling. Once the quail stabbing through the pie is dealt with, the perfectly crisp and flaky pastry is broken through to the chicken underneath.

Bird of Smithfield Game of Thrones

Finally, the meal ends with the Ice and Fire, a vanilla Baked Alaska comes with Wildfire!

Green Chartreuse is spilled around the dessert to be set alight – keep your vial of Wildfire to drink as a digestif after.

The vanilla gelato encased the the cake might be slightly firmer than we’d like, but the browned meringue is just right, and spiced up with the Chartreuse for just a little bit of kick for a twist.

Bird of Smithfield Game of Thrones

 

Bird of Smithfield manages to chic up most Game of Thrones/ASoIaF themed meals and keeping the simplicity of British fare – and all for a modest price. Highly recommended for the GoT fan – and certainly on Friday night to welcome the Night Tube as you saunter away from your Westerosi dining at midnight.

(Look out for our Night Tube launch party recommendations tomorrow!)

Game of Thrones menu only till Friday 26th August 2016! To book, call 0207 559 5100

 

Bird of Smithfield

26 Smithfield St, Clerkenwell
London EC1A 9LB

http://birdofsmithfield.com/

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.