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The Monkey Comp Winners Have Popped-Up In London!

by Jake Mountain     8. October 2014 14:21

The Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Challenge

The Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Challenge has been quite a journey - over 50 teams signed up back in March and April, but as Connor MacLeod has taught us (with alarming regularity on this here blog):
"There can be only one."

Having followed the competition on twitter and attended the grand bar-off last month, I can thoroughly recommend hunting down the competition's worthy winners at their London Cocktail Week pop-up in 7 Dials this week (as I did yesterday). To explain a little more about this cocktail competition that was totally unlike anything we've ever reported on before though, let me hand you over to Monkey Shoulder's new brand ambassador...

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Tasmanian Whisky - Everything You Need to Know! (Part 3: Lark)

by Michael Orson     7. October 2014 12:23

Lark distillery

In many ways, Lark was the flagship behind the burgeoning whisky scene in Tasmania. Established in 1992, it was the first fully licensed commercial distillery on the island since the ban of 1839, and it all began when distillery founder, Bill Lark, started speaking to a political friend of his, asking why small-scale distillation was still illegal. This set in motion a series of calls, letters and discussions, and the end result was legal distillation on Tasmania. For technical accuracy, it’s worth mentioning that Tasmanian Prohibition was partially lifted in 1901, but only for stills of 40,000 litres and over, making any kind of startup nigh on impossible.

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Master of Cocktails - Hot Buttered Rum

by Ben Ellefsen     6. October 2014 10:05

Master of Cocktails Hot Buttered Rum

This week's #MasterofCocktails marks the turn of the seasons. It's clearly autumn now, and with fireworks displays, Halloween etc. coming, clearly we need a hot buttered rum recipe.

Like many 'oft-neglected' classics, this drink has a simple problem, with a simple solution. The problem is immiscibility, by which I mean that butter and rum simply don't like each other and don't want to play together. One's Lipophlic, or Hydrophobic, or some other shit that I can never remember. Basically we need an emulsifier. That's where the lecithin comes in...

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2014 Advent Calendars and our Pre-Order Promotion!

by Jake Mountain     3. October 2014 10:48

Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendars 2014

You may have seen, but the fantastic Drinks by the Dram advent calendars for 2014 are now available for pre-order! (Estimated despatch date 5th November.*) Full of your favourite spirits rather than the usual naff chocolate fare, each one contains 24 different 3cl sample ‘drams’, one behind each window for your Christmas countdown! (Full contents can be found on the product pages for those who don’t want it to be a total surprise.)

So, what’s new for 2014? As well as exciting new lineups of specially selected contents, we’re also rather chuffed with the new boxes, illustrated by the brilliant Duncan Beedie. Let’s take a look at the 2014 Whisky Advent Calendar first (the one with the pre-order promotion attached to it…).

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Master of Cocktails - The Champagne Cocktail

by Ben Ellefsen     29. September 2014 10:45

Master of Cocktails Champagne Cocktail

An incredibly simple drink this week, which is so often fucked right up by one stupid 'ritual'. Sugar Cubes. I saw a cocktail this week from some place in London which they're claiming is the world's most expensive (at £8888) and from the looks of it, even at nearly £10k, you get a load of idiotic sugar-sludge in the bottom of your glass.

Using a sugar cube instead of sugar syrup not only makes a nonsense of the 'as served' concentration of sugar as more and more will dissolve as the drink is consumed, but even worse, it provides hundreds upon hundreds of nucleation points (the sugar granules), which are pretty much guaranteed to knock all the fizz out of champagne. Not exactly ideal for a Champagne Cocktail recipe, eh? So, for that reason we're going to be using sugar syrup like a non-mental person.

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The Glenlivet - The Winchester Collection, Vintage 1964

by Jake Mountain     24. September 2014 14:43

The Glenlivet The Winchester Collection Vintage 1964

Last week I was fortunate enough to taste an upcoming release from The Glenlivet, the second best selling single malt Scotch whisky in the world. It's a limited edition 50 year old vintage release - the first in a series of 50 year olds (!) that are to be called The Winchester Collection.

Matured in a single American oak hogshead (as far as I understand from my chat with Brand Ambassador Phil Huckle) this whisky was laid down back in 1964 by none other than Captain Bill Smith-Grant, the final distilling descendant of the distillery's founder, George Smith. The Winchester Collection therefore represents a special piece of history for The Glenlivet, a final liquid link with the family that started it all back in 1824.

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A new batch of Boutique-y Whiskies for a Tuesday Morning

by Ben Ellefsen     23. September 2014 10:00

Fettercairn, Blended Malt #2 and Blair Athol That Boutique-y Whisky Company

So – it’s about that time again – new batches, and replenished batches of some absolute crackers from That Boutique-y Whisky Company.

First up – spoiler alert – we do have a new batch of both the Port Ellen, and Brora. I’ll understand if you want to stop reading for a bit and take care of a small (okay – large) transaction.

We’ve also got some brand spanking new lines though – 2 single malts and a blended malt (which after the editor’s choice award in the most recent edition of Whisky Magazine), should see some interest piqued...

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Master of Cocktails - Campari and Soda

by Ben Ellefsen     22. September 2014 09:41

Master of Cocktails Campari Soda

Right then cocktail fans, we're doing a Campari and Soda recipe for this week's #MasterofCocktails. I say 'cocktails'... A bit of a confession, this week's drink isn't *really* a cocktail. It's more of a 'mixed drink'. So this week is less 'cocktail', and more 50:50 confession/love-letter.

I'll start with the confession bit. I properly fucking LOVE Campari. In fact, I think I'd probably go as far as to say that if I had to pick only one product (not 'range' or 'category') for a desert island, it'd be Campari. It’s not better than ‘whisky’ as a category, not by a long chalk, but if I had to pick one single SKU/line for the rest of time (at a sensible price), I think it’d probably be Campari. Same goes for wine, beer, gin, everything in fact. It's a *superb*, superb drink. And the purest means of its enjoyment? Campari and Soda.

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WINNER of the Exclusive Overeem Bourbon Cask Release Competition

by Master of Malt     19. September 2014 17:00

Old Hobart Overeem casks

For the last month we've been running a cracking little competition offering the chance for one lucky winner to join a select panel of whisky experts later this month that will decide which bourbon cask will be bottled as the first ever bourbon matured Overeem Tasmanian whisky! The selected whisky will be a UK exclusive, a release of just 50 bottles at 60% abv, with the winner also bagging themselves a bottle - a personalised one at that!

How would this lucky winner be chosen? Well, not by luck at all actually, but by writing the best tasting note for Overeem Sherry Cask 43% (with two runners up winning bottles of this popular expression).

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The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Malt... Sometimes Go Pretty Well!

by Sam Smith     18. September 2014 11:50

Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie

An autumnal morn I come to find,
Some lovely folk have been very kind.
A box on my desk! Who left this behind?
A curious thing.
I suppose to me this box was assigned,
But what was within?

With a pen I opened it, like a vault,
And claimed the contents within by default.
Sweeties and whisky, could not find a fault,
My, what a feastie.
Here sat Douglas Laing's newest blended malt,
Timorous Beastie!

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