Irish Gin & Tonic Fest 2017


The best of Irish Gin and Tonic comes to London!

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On 1st July Great Irish Beverages and A Drop Of Irish are hosting the closing party for this year’s Irish Gin & Tonic Fest 2017 in London.

The Irish Gin & Tonic Fest is an all Irish summertime celebration of the best gins produced in Ireland. Hundreds of bars and restaurants from across the Republic and Northern Ireland celebrate the best that Ireland has to offer the G&T between 25th June and 1st July. The organisers, Great Irish Beverages, decided that this year they’d bring some of their good cheer and lovely spirits over to London and close the festival in style!

The party will be hosted at Bootyard, home to 40FT Brewery and Cold & Blac coffee liqueur, the guys that brought you the best Paddys Day party in town earlier this year! Doors to the party open on July 1st from midday to 10pm.

Wristbands are available to buy online through DesignMyNight for £10, or on the door for £15. This will give guests access to samples of all of the gins being showcased, along with one complimentary All Irish G&T, served with Poacher’s tonic water. Delicious 40FT beer will also be available from the Tap Room.

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Gins representing every province in Ireland will be in attendance, along with a chance to meet the people behind the brands to find more about their story and how they’re made:

  • From Ulster, the lovely Boatyard Gin. Wild bog myrtle from the family farm in Fermanagh helps to characterise Boatyard Distillery’s gorgeous organic grain gin. It has been nicknamed a “double gin” for the two distillations they implement for each bottling.
  • From Leinster, the delectable Bonac 24. The initial inspiration for this Wicklow gin actually came from time spent working in the Hamptons in NY, also known to the locals there as Bonac. Apparently, it took the Clifford family 24 times to get their gin formula right, hence the name Bonac 24.
  • From Munster, the delicious Dingle Gin. Straight outta county Kerry, with a rich spirit that is beautifully infused with eastern European spices and local flowers. Brought to you by the same folk as The Porterhouse Brewery.
  • From Connaught, the outstanding Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin. Made in the only distillery in Leitrim, it is named after the famous Chinese green tea, it also features Irish ingredients such as dried meadowsweet which makes it a rather global spirit.

A dedicated G&T bar will be serving up Gin and Tonics throughout the day, pairing the Irish gins on show with Poacher’s Tonic, a craft Irish brand currently making waves in the tonic market. Ireland’s only producer of premium, low sugar, natural mixers, Poacher’s citrus tonic water features Florida orange and Irish rosemary, while their classic tonic water is more quinine forward with just a tiny sprinkling of Irish thyme.

Renowned Irish Chef Simon Lamont, will be cooking up some of the finest BBQ to line attendees stomachs too. Host of TV show The Lazy Chef, which saw him take to the road to highlight some of Ireland’s best kept culinary secrets, Simon now splits his time between Ireland and London, cheffing and running creative pop-ups.

So come along to the 40FT Brewery in Dalston and join us for a one night only extravaganza of Irish gins and Irish tonics! Or as we like to call it #LondonIrishGnT.

 

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

The Spirit of Sharing 2017, @ The Embassy of Ireland

Some of you might be gearing up for the craziness of this year’s St. Paddy’s Day (cough Sun Tavern), but whether or not you’re still wearing (feeling) green (or still pretending to be Irish), this year’s explosion of Irish whiskeys and poitins onto the London cocktail scene is making some of the Scots lowkey panic.

As for the English whisky distilleries..Well. Um.

Anyway.

We now enter the ballroom of the Irish Embassy, South Ken, where the Bord Bia Irish food board and brought in some of the biggest, and growing, names in Irish spirits to taste, in the company of fab bartenders from Loves Company and LCC!

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Let’s have a stroll and look at some of the outstanding spirits we have on show today!

Before the whiskey classics, let’s get on to whiskey’s ancient ancestor and fairly recent and exciting on the London scene – the potent Poitin has been released after its four century long ban from 1997.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

The Glendalough Sherry Cask Poitin – Picture courtesy of: http://www.glendaloughdistillery.com

Stored in virgin Irish Oak, the Glendalough Poitin range provides variety.

The standard Glendalough Poitin comes with a similar bread palate, with pepper and oak, with a subtle creaminess. The (wonderful!) Sherry Cask Finished Poitin has a beautiful nose of orange and spicy sweetness, a toasty palate of fruit and spice, and long sherry finish. Finally, the Mountain Strength is bold with barley, fruit and oak. Spectacular stuff.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

On the note of strong drops, St. Patrick’s Distillery Moonshine will put a bit of pep in your step.
How about something a little different? We’re seeing a lot of gin from Ireland, and one of the more intriguing ones is Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin: A bright citrus of lime and lemon before giving way to deeper spices and the characteristic gunpowder tea. Great if you like your gins spicy without getting too Opihr-esque.

 

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

The blurry Teeling Trio

Of course Teeling is here!

We know the Single Malt: Light, peppery, cinnamon – peppered with floral notes. The Single Grain is more adventurous: Be ready for cereal flavours with spice and treacle, custard plays around here too. A spry spirit, that. Finally, the gorgeous Small Batch: rich with floral notes, spiced with cinnamon and other herbs, a creamy creme brulee at the end. Wonderful and flamboyant.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

On whiskeys, got to give a second to Hyde’s 1922 Rum Finish Single Malt – the rum cask gives this whiskey a twist with tropical fruit, and stronger vanilla notes.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

The Dublin Liberties Oak Devil – Picture courtesy of: http://www.marblehead.uk.com/

They say an oak-carved devil stood over the gates of a place nicknamed Hell in the Liberties of Dublin. They also say that oak was soon used for whiskey barrels – explaining the name of The Dublin Liberties‘s whiskey: Oak Devil. Expect a lot of caramel, spice and pepper, followed by warm winter notes of Christmas. Love this little tipple.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Let’s end the night with Harry Gerakis’ gorgeous customised cocktail! A mix of Dubliner whiskey, Angostura Orange bitters, ginger syrup and chilli tincture: a sweet, deep, spicy and rich concoction made the perfect nightcap.

Get yourselves ready for St. Patrick’s day!

Pitch Black

“The 90-minute blind tasting will see guests sip on a pre-set selection of 5 libations.  Consisting of bubbles on arrival, 2 mouth-watering cocktails, an amuse bouche to cleanse the palate, followed by 2 aromatic wines, to be imbibed in absolute darkness.”

‘Blind tasting’ taken to its literal and logical conclusion means drinking in a subterranean room on City Road in complete darkness – have to admit, I was curious, and found myself learning a lot in the process!

Pitch Black cocktails blind tasting

The cocktails and wines will change week to week throughout its run November and December 2016, and is an excellent learning experience for drinks novices and experts alike.

Led down a stairway into a cosy room, we rest on the banquettes as the 8 of us get to know each other – but as the lights dim and eventually go dark, we find inhibitions dissolving and conversations with the others in the room enlivening.

To be fair, the drinks probably helped too.

Novices will get a chance to pay closer attention to finer details like nose, flavour, and mouthfeel, whereas experts will find themselves approaching some well known classics with a renewed appreciation for the drink.

Cocktails and wines will be served, with no hint as to what they are, as participants explore the drinks and discuss flavour and ideas. At the end of each session the drinks are revealed and explained in further detail to surprise.

A Breakfast Martini can have some surprisingly herbal flavours in the dark, and a Pisco Sour a spicier nose than one first thought. An amuse bouche to be enjoyed before moving onto the wines: a naturally sweet Riesling and a devious blend of reds, before a final glass of bubbly to enjoy.

Pitch Black does exactly what it says on the tin, and is well worth the experience. Darkness heightens not only the senses, but the social aspect of the evening, and will be educational to all participants of any level of expertise. I highly suggest you sign up for a fun evening with friends, entertaining parents, or a date, for something just a little bit different.

Tickets cost £48 per head and can be purchased at: http://pitchblackbar.com/

Tequila Fest 2o16 Preview!

Though the wide-spread drinking of tequila and the recent emergence of Mezcalerias like Agaveria El Nivel, one of the Hoodooist’s favourite openings 0f 2014, are known well enough, a connoisseurial culture of the spirit never completely blossomed in the Isles. “This is a no salt or lime zone”, stresses Festival organiser Eduardo Gomez, as we grab our tasting cups.

After last year’s major success, TequilaFest 2016 is not an event to be missed – on September 17th and 18th at the Boiler House Brick Lane!

Tequila TequilaFest Mezcal London Mexico

Hosted at Lupita, Shoreditch, the press preview brought forward a spectacular crowd to taste a large variety of tequilas & mezcals. A few fantastic discoveries in the world of agave for the Hoodooist, such as Meteoro‘s pure Espadin mezcal – it even comes with a backstory – a crater from a crashed meteor in Oaxaca became the cooking spot for this mezcal’s agave. Delightfully smooth, the Meteoro Joven is a fantastic sipping tequila. Bold, muscling in with powerful smokiness and a bright trail left behind, it lives up to it’s media campaign, #ItFellFromTheSky.

Tequila TequilaFest Mezcal London Mexico

Another of the TequilaFest newcomers to expect will be agave giant Patron with theirSilver, Reposado, Anejo and XO Cafe range – and in a few days will be unleashing their Incendio chilli-chocolate tequila onto #Drinkstagram tags everywhere.

Herencia de Plata has entered the ring as well, with their bright, peppery range, and can carry it’s weight in combat with the other stars of the show.

Tequila TequilaFest Mezcal London Mexico

Expect to see old reliables like Ocho, who have unveiled their Curado – a Blanco tequila that has been infused with agave – carrying their Blanco’s feel and kick, with a fruity wave of agave, addictive this one.

Stars of last year are back, from the smoky caramel Espadin San Cosme mezcal, to classic Altos and Siete Misterios Espadin, with that spicy, earthy smokiness and sugary dried fruit (so, so beautiful). And you certainly can’t go wrong with a Del Maguey Tommy’s Margarita.

Tequila TequilaFest Mezcal London Mexico

After the food provided by Lupita was demolished by the now slightly staggering clientele of the room, the Hoodooist realises that this year’s TequilaFest at the Boiler House Brick Lane is going to enormous in comparison to the previous year – this is an event he – and you – should certainly not miss.

Tequila TequilaFest Mezcal London Mexico

“The Tequila Fest will educate you in the customs of production and consumption and engulf you in the taste, smells, sounds and sights of true Mexico. There are few spirits with a more rich and fascinating lineage. Get to grips with the technical jargon, the process of distillation and the bounty of care that goes into every single bottle.” Also featuring blind tastings, cocktail tutorials and masterclasses, “Real tequila.”

http://www.tequilafest.co.uk/

Citadelle Gin’s 20th Anniversary

The popularity of the London Dry has led to bit of a misconception that gin lacks a popularity on the continent, where its predecessor – jenever – originated.

The popular French Citadelle Gin reminds us of that continental history with a wonderful smooth and spicy tipple perfect for a Martini. And to celebrate its French history, the 20th Anniversary of Citadelle places the escargot front and centre as its posterchild.

Citadelle Gin London Bar cocktails

Held at the LASSCO Ropewalk, with food by the Disappearing Dining Club, the anniversary served up three classic cocktails with little twists, hosted by the wonderful Citadelle Gin and Maison Ferrand Brand Ambassador, Paul McFadyen.

Neat, Citadelle is smooth, beginning crisp with brine and juniper, before giving way to warm spices like nutmeg and cardamom. A unique gin, definitely.

First, a bright Gin and Tonic, using Fevertree Mediterranean Tonic (quite floral), garnished with singed orange peel, served with a Snail, garlic and lemon Arancini with herb aioli. The snail does more for texture than flavour, but still enjoyable.

Citadelle Gin London Bar cocktails

Photo Credit to the wonderful @janan_jay

Next the star of the cocktails: an Escargot Martini. Light, crisp, glassy. With ice shaken in the vermouth before the gin, the Martini is garnished with a floating snail shell, filled with lemon and olive brine, for the drinker to control how dirty they like their Martini.

The crisp airiness of the cocktail is combatted by the heavy, sensuous Foie Gras Sliders with sour apple chutney in brioche – a wonderfully moreish and decadent accompaniment to the Martini.

Citadelle Gin London Bar cocktails

Finally, a smooth and fluffy silver Gin Fizz: the rosemary heightening the spices in the gin. A great way to end the evening on a sweeter note, without being sickly. And served with a Brie, leek and truffle Croquette with caramelised red onions.

All three cocktails served are simple enough to recreate at home, and displaying the versatility of the Citadelle Gin and it’s expressions in each drink.

Once again, The Disappearing Dining Club has served up wonderful food paired well with superb cocktails from their barge bar.

Citadelle Gin is an unappreciated star of the gin scene, and certainly one that deserves a place in your cabinet. Spectacular stuff.

Citadelle Gin London Bar cocktails

Sauvelle Vodka ‘La Nuit’ Launch

After its launch last year, we are beginning to recognise the Sauvelle brand in bars across London – in a city dominated by gin, vodka is determined to make a comeback.

And in an typically vodka fashion, the French brand launches of recent arrivals like Sauvelle are surrounded by glitz and glam – Sauvelle has gone for a luxurious look, edgy ambigram logo, and the hashtag #WildBeauty, inspired by it’s name – ‘wild and beautiful’.

Sauvelle Vodka La Nuit Launch

But is there any substance behind the glam?

This week Sauvelle launched their limited edition La Nuit electro-luminescent Magnum (1.5l) and Jeroboam (3l) bottles at the Unit Gallery Soho, available online at 31 Dover – a sleek black bottle with gold lettering that certainly trumps many other vodka bottles in design.

Distiller Miko uses French Winter Wheat and Gensac spring water, triple filtered using chene du Limousin, charred oak, and cherry wood – giving Sauvelle it’s characteristic flavours.

Sauvelle Vodka La Nuit Launch

On it’s own, the aroma and flavour notes are incredibly similar.

Neat: A lot of black pepper here, that powers over some sweeter notes of vanilla, oak, and almond. Creamy, the vodka is fun to enjoy alone, and goes well with tonic.

The Sauvelle & 17 cocktail served on the evening is essentially a Vodka Tonic with a vanilla pod garnish, which, though is meant to complement the subtle vanilla of the vodka, creates an overpowering nose.

However, the result is a wonderfully smooth vodka tonic for a sunny brunch Sunday.

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Though there were a few cocktails up at the bar, the Hoodooist skipped those and the firey burlesque show to instead tinker around the Martini Bar hosted by Sauvelle and Belsazar vermouth, with the help of the wonderful flavoured DROPLETS by Javier de las Muelas.

Three very different Martinis were knocked out, amongst them was a Smoked Martini: A Martini using Sauvelle, White Belsazar vermouth, 5 drops of Oak Smoke Droplets and 2 of Orange Blossom Honey for a smokey number with a hint of sweetness to go with the light herby and orange of the Belsazar White.

Another fab spontaneous recipe went for a similarly dry Red Hot Martini, but bit of Dry Belsazar with three drops of Red Hot Chilli Droplets for the Sauvelle. A beautifully light, complex and aromatic cocktail with some serious bite.

Sauvelle Vodka La Nuit Launch

All in all, though the official menu tended toward light cocktails, I found that Sauvelle works well in stronger drinks like Martinis. It’s black pepper flavour provides a little bit of spice, and the brand should not be afraid of exploiting that and not pay so much attention to the much subtler vanilla.

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Find the smooth, spicy French Sauvelle Vodka at 31 Dover and remember that Martinis are always better stirred.
Unless you know, you’re one of those people.

#WildBeauty

http://sauvellevodka.com/

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