Rebel Yell’s Band of Rebels – Monday 17 July

Monday 17 July had Rebel Yell bourbon Band of Rebels launch serving Summer cocktails and sizzling sounds until late at Lockside Tavern and its outdoor terrace, Camden NW1.

The venue is now the home of Rebel Yell bourbon all Summer long. Just don’t expect a quiet one.

Following the packed out first night of the series in May, Rebel Yell will stage this second event at Lockside Tavern, hosting cocktails and a line-up of entertainments curated with GRM Daily. The Band of Rebels series explores music scenes and its sub-cultures across the UK that are pushing boundaries and challenging the norm. It features a mix of artists that are pioneering sounds from across the globe and fusing them into modern electronic music to create heady, innovative sounds for dancing and drinking.

Rebel Yell was one of the first wheated bourbon recipes created in 1849 (one of the few in the market). It was produced by the W.L. Weller family, the first distillers to produce Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey using wheat instead of rye in the mash. When Stitzel Weller created the Rebel Yell recipe, he broke the standard rules of making bourbon at that time.

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Rebel Yell Bourbon, I was pleasantly surprised! A smooth, rounded whiskey, the nose is honeyed and woody. On the sip, the vanilla really pulls through, with hints of citrus, sultanas, and winter fruits. A long apple finish tops off the spirit that would inspire the song.

As cocktails, a fab bargain at 6 quid:

A Boulevardier of RY Bourbon, Campari and Punt e Mes Vermouth produces a quickly made, but well-balanced dry cocktail. The sweetness of the bourbon alongside the bitters complement each other beautifully.

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The Smoking Gun was meant to mix RY Rye, Manzanilla Sherry, Grand Marnier, Angostura Bitters and orange oils. However, the Rye, sadly, does not work so well in this cocktail. Switching it out for a bourbon though, gives the drinker of drier tastes a version of a Sidecar they always wanted. Orange citrus, with the nectarine of the RY Bourbon, and the dry sherry work wonders – strong and potent wonders though they are.

The Peach and Thyme Smash, however, feels off-kilter. RY Bourbon, thyme syrup, lemon juice, muddled peach form something extraordinarily sour and all over the shop. Although with the prior two wonderful cocktails, this is easily ignored.

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Topped off with a post-burger Pickleback of RY Bourbon and pickle brine, a fab night with great cocktails.

The Band of Rebels night will return to Lockside Camden soon, and a 6 pound cocktail of that quality is worth gunning for. Good job on Rebel Yell for producing a beautiful bourbon and ace cocktails!

75-89 Upper Walkway, Camden Lock Place, London · NW1 8AF

 

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.

 

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!

The Spirit of Sharing Tasting, @ The Embassy of Ireland

Some of you might still be reeling from the craziness of this year’s St. Paddy’s Day (ouch Sun Tavern, ouch Whisky Live), 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 award winning drinks writer Dominic Roskrow, and Charlie McCarthy of Tullamore Dew and All About the Cocktail fame!

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

Bán Poitín!

Introduced in 2013, Bán Poitín by Dave Mulligan and Cara Humphreys has dominated the UK Poitin market, and are staples at The Sun Tavern, and Discount Suit Co. An industry darling, and rightfully so: the sugarbeet and barley spirit is strongly malty, slightly sweet, and goes down wonderfully with a stout.

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

Bertha’s Revenge! Picture courtesy of: http://ballyvolanespirits.ie/

How about something a little different? We’re seeing a lot of gin from Ireland, and one of the more intriguing ones is Bertha’s Revenge, a milk gin by Ballyvolane House. A beautifully creamy mouthfeel on sweet almond and spicy cardamom and cloves, followed by a lip-smackingly dry citrus finish. It’s been a while since gin got the Hoodooist’s attention – and Bertha certainly did.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Kerrygold Irish Cream! Picture courtesy of: http://kerrygoldirishcream.com/

Let’s look at the lighter stuff: We can’t do Ireland without Irish Cream, and classic Kerrygold doesn’t overwhelm you with sweetness compared to many.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

The fun Flaming Pig!

And the gloves were off with the liqueurs. The Flaming Pig spiced whiskey liqueur is melded with cinnamon, black pepper and cloves, ready for a ludicrously silly drinking game. Initial sweet whiskey flavours are immediately followed by powerful spice to set you off.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Highbank Irish Orchard Liqueur Brandey – Picture Courtesy of: https://highbankorchards.com/

Made from organic apples, the Highbank Orchard Liqueur Brandey is fantastic after lunch on the riverside, filled with bright apple, ginger and cinnamon flavours.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

Clever Man’s Ejector Seat Turf Smoked Stout

The stouts came out to play: Clever Man’s Ejector Seat Turf Smoked Stout certainly changed the Hoodooist’s mind about the drink, jet black, with peaty nose. A powerfully smoked palate, coffee, and light notes of TCP, with a dry bittersweet finish – this is an Islay Whisky as a stout. Love.

And there is the White Hag’s Black Boar Stout, rich, bitter – the nose is peaty. The palate is malty and smoky, with vanilla, chocolate, treacle and oak thrown in, with a bit of bite. Nom.

 

I guess we’re on to what everyone’s waiting for! The Whiskeys are classics, good old Jameson, Teeling, and the Liberties.

Ireland Irish London Spirit of Sharing Stout Cocktails Whiskey Poitin

The Jameson Range!

The Jameson family is all out tonight!

We all know the sweet, Madeira and marmalade flavours of the Jameson Irish Whiskey classic. The Crested 10 is a potent mix of grain, pot still, and sherry casks: full and rich, smooth and light before swelling into spice, red fruit and chocolate, over a toasted sherry notes. The Select Reserve Black Barrel aka Small Batch, focuses more on grain and pot still, with double charred barrels. Creamy, and thick. Warm winter flavours of dates, overripe fruit, cinnamon and orange zest are followed by a lengthy finish of nutmeg and cinnamon. The most recent addition, the Caskmates, is given a stout finish – the fruits and chocolate of Jameson is now coupled with hoppy maltiness for a fabulous modern whiskey.

Probably the star of the family, the award-winning Redbreast 12 is rich and nutty, with marzipan and almond – a long sherried finish is spicy and sweet. A gorgeous whiskey worth shelling out on.

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

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

Charlie McCarthy’s customised cocktail

Let’s end the night with Charlie McCarthy’s gorgeous customised cocktail! A mix of Tullamore Dew whiskey, PX sherry, chilli tincture and whiskey barrel aged bitters: a sweet, deep, spicy and rich concoction made the perfect nightcap.

Night, all – and dream of what Ireland has to offer us in the coming year!

London Cocktail Week Preview: Buffalo Bourbon Empire!

LCW15 is here! A week of discount cocktails, the hottest bars, the coolest pop-ups, the biggest parties – and several one-time events for your liver to look forward to (think of it as a work out).

On Friday, Highball Hoodoo released London Cocktail Week 2015 Guide for must-do events in the city, and one of them, the Buffalo Bourbon Empire, gave the Hoodooist a sneak peak to what they are offering this week at their 1 Kingsland Road pop-up in Shoreditch!

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BUFFALO BOURBON EMPIRE, SHOREDITCH – 5th-11th October

Buffalo Bourbon Empire, 1 Kingsland Road , London, E2 8AA

LCW regulars Buffalo Trace Bourbon are back with their Empire pop-up!

Whether you’re learning how to make your favourite cocktails, watching the hilarious comedy duo ‘The Thinking Drinkers’ or just sitting back and relaxing with some sublime drinks, there is a little bit of something for everyone. And as if that’s not enough, you could be among the first to sample this year’s highly anticipated Antique Collection – a Collection that has been bestowed with some of the highest accolades the spirits world has to offer.

With a selection of events through the week, check out their to-do list!

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You’ll notice that the tasting of the much-anticipated Antique Collection (released every year by Buffalo Trace) is nearly every day of the week, but remember that you have to book a spot for the tasting! If you can, make sure you can get a tasting led by Buffalo Trace Master Blender himself, the fantastic Drew Mayville! Who else to help you understand the complexities of their finest whiskies than the man responsible?


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A wonderful host, Drew runs participants through some of the most awarded whiskies in the world:

Beginning with the classic Buffalo Trace – we all know the Hoodooist loves this one – that classic spicy-sweet caramel nose, the palate richly oaky with brown sugar, toffee and tiny hints of espresso followed by a cinnamon finish.

Moving on to the Eagle Rare 17yr, the Hoodooist’s favourite of the night – the nose initially has a wine-barrel hit, but is immediately followed by a wave of almond (like a sweet almond cream). The palate is a gorgeous combo of tobacco and leather, with the oak’s vanilla. A long finish of leather and toffee follows.

The Sazerac 18 straight rye is much smoother and lighter, the palate feels a lot like a julep has been reduced into whiskey form. An allspice nose is followed by a palate of cinnamon, mint, eucalyptus, and a very long, warm finish of white pepper.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Empire London Cocktail Week

The William Larue Weller won Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible Best Bourbon in the World 2015! Very understandably – the nose is full on tobacco, leather, and a fruit sweetness. The palate brings in the marshmallows and figs and dates. A wonderfully smooth, sweet finish.

The Thomas H. Handy won World’s Best American Whiskey at the World Whiskies Awards 2015! This is lush. A bold nose ushers in a palate of winter sweetness with the fig cakes and toffee, cinnamon and clove, ending on slightly more Caribbean flavours of allspice, nutmeg and coconut.

The tasting ends with the George T. Stagg‘s unrelenting cavalcade of sweetness, from the dark chocolate, molasses and fudge, to berries, dates, a hints of tobacco and coffee. A beautiful dram.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Empire London Cocktail Week

Cocktails at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire include the Don’t Mug Yourself: Buffalo with Caffe Borghetti Coffee Liqueur, fresh espresso, topped with a bourbon biscuit puree for a fantastic Espresso Martini twist. Sweet, but not overbearingly so, not thick or viscous, but not exceedingly watery (all worrying threats of Espresso Martini), the Don’t Mug Yourself could easily be one of the best offerings of the night.

The No More Mist-of Spiced Rye (mouthful, that) brings Buffalo with Carpano Classico vermouth, Fernet Branca and a mist of spiced Sazerac Rye. Now, when sipped, I really enjoy the introduction of the drink, however the Fernet could be taken down a bit, the herbal notes can overpower the Buffalo Trace.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Empire London Cocktail Week

Whiskey classics are also served up – you can’t go wrong with an Eagle Old Fashioned, and – as is ritual at every year’s London Cocktail Week Buffalo Trace pop up – find yourself some of those beautiful Picklebacks to help you through the night!

Service is impeccable, the Buffalo Trace team are wonderful, the live music gives great vibes. The Buffalo does it again!

Remember to make your bookings for the tastings! It’s a crime to miss.

 

LCW is here! Remember to check out Highball Hoodoo every morning of London Cocktail Week for more reviews of the LCW cocktail offerings, parties and events!

Get #YourDailyDoseOfHoodoo each morning from 5th to 11th October!
*Tune in tomorrow for our coverage of The Whisky Show, The Cocktail Village and the City!*

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Empire London Cocktail Week

 

The Sun Tavern, Bethnal Green

Type of Bar: Pub (?), Whisky, Poitin
Damage: £
Ideal for: Sundays, Lounge, Small Groups, Date

 

Reopening last year, regulars were glad to see that the Sun Tavern retained its pub atmosphere, blurring the line between pub and cocktail bar. The biggest perk of the venue is its morning opening, serving pastries and coffee, and pub grub throughout the day (alongside its Neal’s Yard sourced charcuterie).

And this is all alongside its selection of craft beers and Irish Poitin (a pretty large collection considering it only being legalised about 3 years ago).
Small, with bare brick, a sizable bar, and a fantastic playlist from Zeppelin, to Ram Jam, to the Talking Heads – the Sun Tavern is your local boozer with quiet confidence in its skill and product. And confident they should be – the cocktails are incredible.

Sun Tavern Bar Bethnal Green London Cocktail

The One For The Road, sausage roll not included ;P

Beginning with a sausage and stilton roll, the Hoodooist orders a One For the Road: Irish Whiskey, Peated Irish Whiskey, English Spiced Vermouth, Amaro Montenegro. Such a beautiful cocktail – the initial hit is of the Amaro’s rosewater, quickly retreating into the whiskey, with a quick buildup of peat, smoking its way in. Once that smoky wave subsides, spices come forth from the Amaro and vermouth (which I’m going to guess is by Sacred Distilleries, with its hints of liquorice and cinnamon). The cocktail, though peaty, is very light, and works well in the daytime.

Sun Tavern Bar Bethnal Green London Cocktail

The Red Lombriz

The Red Lombriz wanders into sweeter territory: Mezcal, Raspberries, Agave Syrup, Lemon, Chocolate Bitters. Pink and dusted with chocolate shavings, it’s certainly a looker – citrus and sweet dominate the drink, with agave syrup’s unique flavour working surprisingly well with raspberries. The chocolate bitters do a great job at rounding out the drink.

Sun Tavern Bar Bethnal Green London Cocktail

The Fleur de Lis

Back to whiskey, the Fleur de Lis brings Irish Double Whiskey, Cognac, Cynar, Lime, and Pecan Syrup together to make a slightly thick, and laid back kicker of drink. I find this one difficult to describe. It somehow manages a distinct citrus to it even while bringing the whiskey’s butterscotch sweetness – suspect the whiskey might be a Glendalough? The cognac grants a depth and warmth to it, probably enhanced by the pecan. The Cynar being a Hoodooist favourite helps provide balance to the sweetness.

Sun Tavern Bar Bethnal Green London Cocktail

The Wake

Finally, The Wake: 3yr Guyanese rum, Suze, Overproof Poitin, Lemon – Of course, the overproof Poitin bit is fascinating, as it can run well into the 90% ABV. The nose is loud, sour, and almost like sand after rain – not soil, not earth, sand. The 3 yr rum, which I’m gonna hazard a guess at El Dorado 3yr, provides a coconut and hay flavour, and dry – harmonises well with the Suze’s bitter gentian. That drop of Poitin is what, I suspect, adds to the dry, grassy, white rum flavours. Long, dry, citrus, bitter – the cherry at the end is a major contrast, and seems to soak up the Poitin like a shot because wow it’s a kick in the teeth.

 

It was difficult to keep up with the One for the Road (or even the Fleur de Lis), but the short cocktail list manages to be incredibly original, hard-hitting, exquisitely prepared and a bargain. Service is exceptionally swift, whether at bar or table.

The Sun Tavern’s easily the Hoodooist’s favourite new spot in Bethnal Green.

 

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

 

The Sun Tavern

441 Bethnal Green Road
London E2 0AN

http://www.thesuntavern.co.uk/

Ice Dream Drams @ The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Clerkenwell

SUMMER.

If the heatwave on the Central Line hasn’t cost you your faith in intelligent design, a short walk from Chancery Lane brings you to the out-of-the-way doorstep of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

And what better way to deal with the summer but with ice cream?

Or better yet, whisky ice creams!

Paired with more whisky.

….

Whisky.

Can you tell I’m enjoying this

Whisky Ice Cream Summer SMWS

The usually Member’s Only venue will be open to the public to sample 4 of the Ice Dream Drams and pairings during 4 Scoop Sessions on the 1st, 8th, 16th and 22nd of July 2015 at 15 quid a person!

SMWS buys casks of whisky that they place under a numbering system to keep the customers blind to distillery preferences, and for Ice Dream Drams, the whiskies are paired with ice creams by S. Luca, made with the same whiskies, as well as flavoured to either complement or contrast the dram.

Whisky Ice Cream Summer SMWS

The 64.61 ‘The Angel and the Devil’, alongside the Snowball Seduction icecream

At our Scoop Session, we began with the Cask No. 64.61, titled ‘The Angel and the Devil’. The nose is bold with coconut and vanilla, the first sip being powerfully oaky and intense on the vanilla. Hints of stewed fruits, autumnal with brown sugar and nutmeg, butterscotch – but contrasted by brighter flavours of citrus and light herbs.

A young ex-bourbon barrel, paired with a Snowball Seduction ice cream – vanilla and coconut, with 64.61 whisky. Complementing the flavours of the young whisky, it also happens to be the most subtle of the ice creams of the evening.

Whisky Ice Cream Summer SMWS
The second whisky, the 41.65 is called ‘Sweet Couscous and Argan Oil’ – a beautiful dry, spice whisky, 30 years old in an ex-bourbon hogshead cask – the Hoodooist fell in love with this one, and enjoyed it neat (and is very similar to a mezcal by Bruxo!). The nose is complex, on one hand, somewhat reminiscent of polish, on the other, the sweet fragrance surrounding beehives. The palate is powerfully spicy, and are much deeper than first expected: powerfully Moroccan with raisins, Argan oil, as well as roasted figs in honey, intense cloves, star anise. Beautiful. Paired with the Ginger Rasta ice cream with its ginger bite and chunks of ginger cake.

Whisky Ice Cream Summer SMWS

The third whisky, 117.5, is utterly beautiful, coming in from Ireland, it’s described as ‘Smouldering, Brooding and Alluring’. 22 years in an ex-sherry hogshead cask, the drier, deeper flavours of the sherry cask are notably passed into the whisky.

For the Hoodooist, the nose was powerfully warm, cocoa, cinnamon, manuka honey, sandalwood, like smouldering woods and incense, like settling into a four-poster bed. Can you tell I love this nose? Alongside sweeter flavours of toffee and vanilla, treacle and Kirsch, some lighter herbs flowered alongside the spices.

A beautiful, dry whisky. Served with the Cherry Popper, a rich fruit ice cream with cherry and dark chocolate. An absolutely wonderful pairing. Probably my favourite of the evening.

Whisky Ice Cream Summer SMWS

The heavily peated 53.223, ‘Angels & Demons’

Finally, ending with the 53.223, the ‘Angels & Demons’, 23 years, ex-bourbon barrel. You smell this one coming from a mile away. It screams Islay, a nose powerfully tarry, smoky, medicinal and iodine, with final traces of aniseed. The palate was a fascinating mix of honey and tropical fruit, as well as powerfully peated smoke and white pepper, with that similar medicinal flavour. If drunk through water, the whisky presents strong dried fruit notes, particularly apricot, and bit of honey.

Served alongside the Smoky Lavender Kiss ice cream, the lavender and Parma violets sheds the more medicinal flavours to contrast powerfully the peat, and present the fruits. An excellent combo.

Led through the course with the wonderful Sam MacDonald, exploring the whiskies and their ice cream pairings was easily accessible, and an informal, enjoyable experience – followed by relaxed conversation. Highly recommended – and 4 well aged whiskies and whisky ice creams at 15 quid seems like a pretty good deal to me!

Highly recommended to take advantage of this July! Grab a space while you can!

The Ice Dream Drams Scoop Sessions take place on 1st, 8th, 16th and 22nd of July.

Entry: £15.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

19 Greville Street,
London EC1N 8SQ

http://www.smws.co.uk/icedreamdramslondon