It's that time of year once again (already?!) when the Master of Malt team are getting ready for yet another action-packed adventure at Fèis Ìle, the epic Islay whisky festival.
As ever, this is good news for you. If you're travelling to the festival yourself then not only will you be able to enjoy the wonderful company of Ben, myself and Alexandra at all of the distillery days, but there's also a chance to get your hands on some FREE 'stuff'!
Well hello there you. Time for another #MasterofCocktails me thinks. This week we made a twist on a classic, which is genuinely better than the real thing. We're making an 'Americano Bolognese'.
I have a real problem with 'regular' Americanos. They take one of the best drinks in the world (Camparisoda) and ruin it. This concoction, however, stands entirely on its own two feet, borrowing only the booze-ingredients from the original.
So – a quick thank you to @nuloungebar, and @MaverickDrinks for the recipe, and then straight into it.
So – cocktail bitters then. The salt, pepper, Worcestershire Sauce and Encona of the Cocktail world. Cocktail seasoning if you will.
This new, and tremendously exciting launch sees the phasing-out of the Master of Malt bitters range in favour of this new, improved and super-exciting range of cocktail ingredients. Why the change though?
Sit down children, and I shall tell you a story all about standardisation, Rapid-Maceration, the effects of Gravity on particle-suspension, oil-solubility and swearing:
Right then chaps – it's #MasterofCocktails time once again. This week we made another real classic – The Corpse Reviver No. 2.
It's yet another excellent recipe taken from The Savoy Cocktail Book – a superb compendium you all should own.
The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is also one of those drinks that manages to lives up to the awesome name it's been given. Unsurprisingly, it was originally a hair of the dog drink, with Craddock warning readers that "four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again"! It can certainly be enjoyed at any time though. We've made a few substitutions here – most notably Pierre Ferrand Curaçao has been brought in on account of its yumminess.
Doesn’t really take a huge deal of explanation, this one, does it?
What we’ve gone and done is take a range of delicious single malts, and finished them for a touch over 3 months in specially commissioned, 50 litre, First-Fill Sherry casks.
Traditionally known as ‘Octave Casks’, these smaller-than-average maturation vessels give a significantly greater surface area to volume ratio, meaning more cask-influence, and more of that superb rich, Christmas-cakey deliciousness that we all know and love from heavily-sherried whiskies.
It’s all go over here at the moment and having recently launched the Reference Series, there is another exciting project or two just on the horizon, not to mention some much-anticipated new releases from That Boutique-y Whisky Company*. With all this going on it’s fallen to me to tell you a little about yet another exciting release – our shiny, new 10 year old blend!
Some people still get their knickers in a bit of a twist about blended whisky, persisting with some kind of Orwellian mantra of “single malt good, blended whisky bad”, but blends can be absolutely marvellous, and many are. Indeed, we’ve been encouraging you all to try your hand at creating your own with our Home Blending Kits and Blend Your Own Whisky service for a long time now, and I covered the subject on the blog last year when I had a go myself. (Don't worry, I had nothing to do with this new blend!)
This week's #MasterofCocktails is a bank holiday treat – Piña Coladas! Now, there are two reasonably important 'tricks' to this drink, well, one really...
The first trick is NO ICE. We're not using any in the preparation of this drink – instead we're using frozen pineapple. The second trick is to use an uber-ripe pineapple. All of the sweetness from this drink comes from the fruit. So, like I said – sort of one trick, but nevertheless.
We're also going to be weighing all the ingredients this time around, just for ease of reference.
What are you doing on May 16th to May 18th? If you’ve got plans, cancel them. If you don’t have plans, make some and then cancel them, because the wonderful folks from The Whisky Lounge are putting on The London Whisky Weekender, a weekend-long celebration of whisky from around the world, and you definitely don’t want to miss it.
The Whisky Lounge are good peoples. They’re devoted to educating, entertaining and generally making the world of whisky not feel like an impenetrable wall of arduous lexicon that you need to attack with a shining silver sword to get any joy from. With a mission statement of “Turn Everyone on to Whisky”, we couldn’t think of a better bunch to put together a whisky festival in the country’s capital.
Ah, David Beckham. What a fine figure of a man. And now one who’s set to join the whisky industry as the face of Haig Club single grain whisky (from Cameronbridge distillery) as well as becoming actively involved in the marketing of the brand along with his manager Simon ‘Spice Girls’ Fuller. A couple of stories here then – massive celebrity endorsement of a Scotch whisky, and the planned launch of another single grain following William Grant & Sons’ Girvan Patent Still.
You may have seen the Girvan range launch at the end of last year – it’s the first single grain from William Grant, or the first official bottling from Girvan, or the first bottling “under the emblem” of the Girvan still... or something.
This week on #MasterofCocktails we're making a lesser known cocktail – the 'Modern Cocktail No. 2', taken from the superb reference tome that is The Savoy Cocktail Book.
Now – it's worth remembering that Mr Harry Craddock, the author of this book, would have had access to very different ingredients to the ones we have today. For that reason, I've (hopefully lovingly) changed a few of the quantities and in one case omitted an ingredient. I'll explain as we go.