Must Try Spirits of Summer 2017

Summer’s here and it is time to go over some notable releases for that cabinet!

Great to show off, some of these drops can be used wonderfully in simple cocktails, or best enjoyed neat after food. Let’s have a quick look:

Gins

What beats a G and T in the summer sun?

Two recent gins to be tried are certainly unique: the Scottish Isle of Harris, and the Japanese Ki No Bi!

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The Isle of Harris gin from Scotland is infused with sugar kelp, giving the gin a sweet but slightly briny finish. The nose is dry, juniper and florals are surrounded by citrus and pine. The palate has more of the pine and juniper, with sweet citrus and coriander. A light minerality is refreshing. The finish brings out the brine of the kelp after the vanilla and black pepper.

Great in a Martini, and only needs a small splash of tonic for a G and T.

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The Ki No Bi is smooth and well balanced. This Japanese gin has a nose of aromatic sansho and a powerful note of yuzu. The palate is silky, with the notable yuzu, sansho, bamboo and tea, the earthy notes followed by a hit of ginger root for a refreshing, fast finish.

Love this in a dry Martini for something subtle and balanced.

Whisky

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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.

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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.

This is notably far less smoky and peaty than the other Ardbegs, and instead revels in its chocolate sweetness, silky texture, and late afternoon soul.

Rum

Highball Hoodoo Appleton Estate Rum Joy Launch Review
Appleton Estate, the world’s leading Jamaican premium aged rum, releases Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend, a limited edition rum celebrating Joy Spence’s 20thanniversary 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.

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.

Appleton Estate Master Blender Joy Spence

Appleton Estate Master Blender Joy Spence

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.

A perfect late night digestif.

Mezcal

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Del Maguey Papalote de Puebla is a recent release from the Puebla valley.

The agave spirit is wonderfully delicate – creamy, smooth. Beginning with traditonal agave, powerful florals like lilac mask a bedrock of tropical fruit, a finish that is delightfully mineral with light hints of vanilla.

This a mezcal you want to enjoy neat in the sunshine.

 

That’s all for today, hope you enjoy these spirits as much as I have!

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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

Burlock, Marylebone

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

Yeah, I’m late to the Burlock party, sue me.

Until I got there and regretted not going earlier.

Burlock is London’s latest rum bar on Duke St Mayfair, and how gorgeous it is. In a basement, the ingenious lighting and décor evokes a secluded rum den in sunset Havana, up to a rather random hair station in one corner – with the occasional hairdresser for the customers!

Bizarre, yes, but we ain’t here for the hair, let’s get down to business.

London Cocktails Burlock

The Rum-ember the Maine

A quick look at the crowd, and this is definitely Marylebone. The space is dark and romantic, definitely a good option for choice friends for a night cap.

Cosying up on an armchair underneath the lit blinds, we peruse the menu, and the Rum-ember the Maine catches my eye. Mezan XO rum, cherry brandy, Martini Rosso, IPA, Cornish Pastis (yes), and Embers. I asked the server to turn down the cherry brandy because I was expecting this to be a tad too sweet for me, but I wish I also asked for more pastis. A bit too much taking place here, and the much of the flavour gets drowned out. A hint of the pastis comes through in the liquorice linger after, but mangled sweetness dominate the heft of the palate.

The Canchanchara suffers similarly. White rum, lime and honey, but entirely too much honey. The result is sugar sweet.

London Cocktails Burlock

Good old Rum Old Fashioned

The short and exceedingly sweet leaning menu meant we went off-menu and so glad we did!

A regular Daiquiri came off much better balanced and wonderfully tart, frosty and uplifting, exactly what the Hoodooist needed! Sometimes simpler is better.

Similarly, I wanted to relax after that effervescent cocktail, and wanted to see how Burlock handles a reliable classic.

A Rum Old Fashioned it is, asking for the rum menu it turns out the bar does not have one, which is one thing I wish was done – but wandering off to the bar, asked for Plantation XO Barbados 20th Anniversary.

Love, love, love this cocktail.

The spicy tropical fruit and banana wafts on the nose, hints of oak. Spice and coconut on the palate, velvety and luxurious. Caramel lingers after. Gorgeous.

London Cocktails Burlock

We end a wonderful evening with doubles of Plantation Pineapple (easily the toast of 2016), with it’s ripe banana and pineapple flavours with a light spice. Relaxing into the folds of the couch, this was an evening well spent.

If I *had* to be more critical, really, all I’d say is the menu could use a bit more flavour variety, unique though it may be.

Service is spot on, booking is necessary. Burlock is a welcome addition to a bar scene in a year where London has lost many giants. The Hoodooist is optimistic once again.

 

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


Burlock

31 Duke St, Marylebone,
London W1U 1LG

https://burlocklondon.co.uk/

 

Think Ink Pines by Kraken Rum, Hoxton

Type of Bar: Christmas, Winter, Pop Up
Damage: £
Ideal for: Rum, Party, Live Music, Small Groups

 

The Holiday Season getting a bit colourful for you?

Because, let’s face it, #BlackIsTheNewBlack – you might wanna check out the new pop up Think Ink Pines by Kraken Rum at 186 Hackney Road.

Make the Yuletide Brvtal with *real* all black pine trees, mistletoe and holly, wreaths, and poinsettias will also be available along with a range of dangerously dark Kraken Christmas Cards and Kraken Rum Cocktails.

Yes, from 9th to 13th December, get ready for Krampus with dark Christmas foliage and cocktails courtesy of Kraken Rum!
Visitors will walk into a world of black firs, nestled amongst which will be the festive Kraken Black Spiced Rum Bar serving five specially created Christmas Rum cocktails including the Squid Bite, Black Espresso, The Old Kraken, Perfect Storm and Kraken ‘S’pore’.

Think Ink Pines Black Kraken Rum Hackney Christmas Cocktails

Keep in mind that all cocktails are at £5. All come with the simplicity of £5 cocktails as well:

The Black Espresso – Kraken Rum with sugar and espresso, garnished with white chocolate shavings is a simple rum twist on your run of the mill Espresso Martini that does the job as one – smoothly sweet espresso with the spice is topped with a bar of white chocolate to nibble throughout the drink.

The Kraken ‘S’pore’ – a shooter of rum and sugar syrup with a crushed cracker rim and fire-roasted marshmallow. It’s exactly what it sounds like – it doesn’t make the rum any less harsh on the throat, but marshmallows are always fun.

Think Ink Pines Black Kraken Rum Hackney Christmas Cocktails

However, even at 5 pounds, some cocktails don’t work out well enough: The Old Kraken I was initially excited for with it’s drier twist – Kraken, white sugar syrup, Yellow Chartreus and aromatic bitters make a drink that’s rather imbalanced and bitter beyond comfort. As for the Perfect Storm, Kraken and Ginger Beer make a university house party favourite, but it’s just that – a house party favourite.

Finally, something to fit the season: the Squid Bite gives us Kraken Rum in hot mulled cider. Spicy, warm – the drink is rather sweet, with powerful apple and cinnamon and clove. It does demand a long time to drink though, so if you manage to grab a table, I’d relax with this one.

Think Ink Pines Black Kraken Rum Hackney Christmas Cocktails

So hang up those black stockings with Kraken Black Pines at:
Small (£15), Medium (£20), Large (£35) and Kraken X-large (£50) sizes. Pick up from the shop or reserve via Twitter #thinkinkpines.

Think Ink Pines is open from:

Wednesday 9th December: 12:30pm – 10pm
Thursday 10th December: 12:30pm – 11pm
Friday 11th December: 12:30pm – midnight
Saturday 12th December: 10am – midnight
Sunday 13th December: 9am – 4pm

 

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

 

Think Ink Pines

186 Hackney Road,
E2 7QL, London.

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/

Street Feast’s #ModelMarket, Lewisham

So, Street Feast has extended its roots into the South East! The immense success, as reviewed, of the Winter 2013-4 Hackney Feast; and the currently running Dalston Yard Feast meant that it was only a matter of time before another one cropped up.

This smaller market houses more of London’s incredible street food talent, but has certain drawbacks as a venue.

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Onto the food!

Killer Tomato’s Esquites: charred corn, chipotle mayo, feta, chilli flakes and lime, were a great snack to have when waiting in line – Killer Tomato is probably the only exclusively-veg place in the venue so far, which is also a relief – generally the market is not veg-an/etarian friendly. The Esquites are also pre-prepared, so are absolute recommendations to snatch a couple up when running to the next stall where you will inevitable wait.

Sambal Shiok is still one of my favourite stalls, kicking it with their usual chicken satay and beef rendang hits (previous review of the beef rending from the Greenwich Food Festival: Sambal Shiok’s spectacular Beef Rendang : marinated in 10 spices and dripping with further chilli sauce, the melt-in-your-mouth meat was coupled spectacularly with the cool Kerabu pickled cucumber and red onions.)

Their Taster Plate is now a mix of the beef, chicken and a lentil option they have introduced – the chicken and beef still beat the lentil, which came off slightly dry – but forgivable considering how crowded they were! Comes with kerabu pickled cucumber, red onion and that wonderful sambal chilli sauce. Get in early for these guys, they sell out!

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Smokestak
has been on my list for a while now – run out of brisket, sadly – I settled for the pulled pork, honey mustard BBQ, green chilli slaw in brioche – absolutely worth the money. These guys know what they’re doing, and knocked it out of the park. Also one of the more popular in the market, Smokestak has the tenderest of meat, though the chilli slaw ain’t as chilli as you’d think (cue Sambal Shiok on how spicy spicy should be).

Deciding it was time for a drink, the Rum Shack offers a great selection of classics with a mean Anejo Highball – aged rum, orange curacao, ginger beer, lime juice and bitters – which goes better as a mid-meal drink than an ultra-dry El Presidente #2.

Finally, the local dessert stall, the SE Brownie Bar is an extension of the SE Cakery at Elephant and Castle’s Boxpark. Hallelujah, Model Market learnt its lesson and added a place that served tea and coffee! These brownies are also fantastic – 5 pounds for six: Salted Caramel, Oreo, Mojito, Peanut, Honeycomb, and Banoffee crumble. Ask to design your own batch if needed and they’ll be happy to! These brownies are fantastic, SE Brownies gives Bad Brownie a run for their money!

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Whereas the Dalston Yard Street Feast is absolutely massive, this one keeps a large queue where guards with clickers decide what size groups go in at a time – obviously this is necessary to not overwhelm the venue, but the place is far too tiny for such a successful market that would be bound to be crowded.

In other words, after standing in line for 15 minutes for places that would inevitably be open in other places in London rest of the week – the loudest voice in my head was “I can’t believe I’m waiting in line to enter a market.”

It is good to see this unused space being put to use, but the initial queuing just to enter the market reminds you of the reasons you don’t go clubbing. It definitely puts a dampener on the evening. I was excited that it’s only a short bus ride from my place, but I feel like I’d rather be travelling up to Dalston Yard instead.

Is Street Feast over? Doubt it; it is still a great venture with excellent food, just a terrible venue. The gentrification of Lewisham is kind of sad to watch. But with food this good, you kinda go with it.

 

Like the other Street Feast venues, the list of stalls change now and again, so make sure to check the website every week!

Street Feast,
http://www.streetfeastlondon.com/
Twitter: @StreetFeastLDN

PortSide Parlour, Shoreditch Press Launch

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant
Damage: ££
Ideal for: DateSmall GroupsRum, Food

 

See our previous review of PortSide Parlour at Broadway Market for more info on drinks! Though we will cover some new ones here.

PortSide Parlour has finally dropped anchor in Shoreditch! And with a vengeance – a style redo and jazzed up cocktail list has completed the Holy Rivington Trinity of PP, NOLA and Callooh Callay.

When I say style redo, we’re looking at a snazzy hardwood and copper bar, extensive display of rums, industrial lighting over green booths and further tables in the back. Rather cosy in comparison, reservations are *highly* recommended.

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I believe we also have some newcomers on the menu!

The Lost in the Woods is a spectacular opener of an Old Fashioned with maple syrup, Cedarwood bitters, and Applewood smoke. How wonderful is this drink? The first glass I got skimped on the smoke a bit, but the second was an incredible display of the smoke’s woody aroma with the sweetness of the maple toned down by the whisky, ending on the cedarwood right at the end. Seductive, spectacular.

Now, the Daiquiri Belotta is something of a marvel. Incredibly simple, and knows what it’s doing – Plantation 3 star white rum (Jamaican, Bajan and Trinidadian blend), Amontillado sherry, and Belotta liqueur. It’s far livelier than first expected, lightly citrus on the nose, yet still incredibly sweet – Belotta’s chestnut (almost chocolate) flavour goes well with the Amontillado’s nuttiness for wonderfully light sweet drink that doesn’t skimp on the liquor.

There was some sampling of the food that PP wants to make essential to the new PP experience, such as the light chicken liver parfait, as a taster to the tapas menu they will be offering.

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Daiquiri Belotta (L); and Lawnmower Sling (R)

The event itself was a major success, and bit of an industry celebrity collective – props to Charlie and team for keeping the Parlour afloat in its busiest hours in the cosiness of the venue; Shaun, our wonderful bartender; Connor, for the attentive service; and Cutlass Comms for having us! I see my nights at on Rivington Street getting a little bit more dizzy and confused attempting to Hailo.

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

 

PortSide Parlour

14 Rivington Street,
Shoreditch
London EC2A 3DU
 

http://portsideparlour.co.uk/