Posted on 19/11/2012 by Mistercocktail

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Chase Distillery in Herefordshire. I was given an extensive tour around the farm with great weather accompanying me. Master Distiller and also my guide for today Jamie Baggott took a good few hours to show me around, taking me through all the processes they work with to create their 70+ variations. Mainly the production of their alcohol was explained to me: Potato for their Vodka and Williams Gin and Apple for thier Williams  Gin. The two main agricultural products of Herefordshire are indeed Apples (Producing cider is the big thing in this area) and potatoes, for which the red clay soil is perfect.

Chase Distillery was established by Will Chase in 2008, when he sold his previous company: Tyrrell’s Potato Chips. Having learnt a great deal about potatoes, he recognized the potential of launching a spirit-brand and after a testing period of 4 years he launched Chase Vodka. In 2010 it got awarded  Double Gold and best in class at the IWSC in San Fransisco over  249 other brands and it could name itself World’s Best Vodka. I found a great interview with Will Chase here, no need for me to rewrite all that.

Williams Gin is distilled at the farm, where both the apples (gin) and potatoes (vodka) needed for the base-spirit are grown. First, a base spirit made of apples is distilled for the gin. This is then re-distilled with the botanicals, being Juniper, Coriander, Orris, Liquorice, Angelica, Hops, Orange, Lemon, Elderflower and Brambley Apple. They use a small carterhead still for this, making sure the small batch distilling gives it the elegance it needs. To read about their full process of making their products, check here.

The bottle: The shoulder and foot of the bottle are about 2 mm wider than the middle at both sides, creating the optical illusion of a very slender bottle. It is fully transparent, except for the lowest 5 cms, with the absolute minumum of information displayed on the bottle: only the name, origin and some practical information is printed on it. It is decorated with an old apple tree in wintertime and because of the dark bottom, the Union Jack is a nice eyecatcher.
92/100

The nose: Creamy and slightly sweet on the nose, with juniper and coriander coming through right after. It has a somewhat damp yet fresh flavour that I recognise from ciders. This  is logically caused by the base-alcohol being created from  apples. 97/100

The contents:  The first taste I get is juniper and coriander. Due to the high level of alcohol (48 % abv/96 proof), the gin releases some of it’s flavours only later. I kept the fluid in my mouth for 10 seconds and I noticed it started releasing more floral and fruity notes. It also reminded me of a fine Jasmin tea. The orange and lemon zest are part of the very long aftertaste, together with apple and elderflower. The mouth feel is silky-like and doesn’t get tart at any point.
98/100

The Mixability:
You might get the idea that I’m writing a raving review on this product because I had visited the distillery, but I can assure you that this is not the case. I have visited a lot of distilleries (some of them more visitors centres actually) over the past few years and although visiting a location definitely contributes to appreciate a brand more, I’m focussing on the product, which basically is what it is. And on how it combines with Tonic Water. Chase produces both the “Elegant Crisp Gin” and the “Extra Dry Gin”, the latter at 40 % ABV. However, I carried a bottle of the “Elegant Crisp Gin” home with me, so here we go, in the mix!

Fever Tree: I must admit that I expected this to be the perfect match, but it wasn’t. A very dominant bitter taste is produced in this mix. A little strange, since neither the gin nor the tonic are very bitter. Especially in the aftertaste, the bitterness suppresses the palate too much. In the middle there are some sweeter (orange, liquorice, elderflower) and citrus notes. It is not a bad combination, don’t get me wrong, and you can still enjoy this mix for both are great products.
8.0/10

Fentiman’s: This mix goes in a completely different direction, but also not he one I was hoping for. A little too perfumed for my taste, very high on the citrus notes and with a floury (not floral) mouth feel.
7.5/10

Thomas Henry: The first sip indicates that this could be a very good combination. The characteristics of the gin are clearly present, with a nice juniper and citrus note at the beginning. The tastes evolves to more floral and fruity, slight bitterness in still present (quinine of course) but never predominant. The citrus in the gin and tonic work together great an to me this is a great example of how a tonic should serve the gin.
9.5/10 

1724: A nice combination with Chase Gin, as it is a very soft tonic water. Especially the aftertaste is long and nice with citrus (both lemon and orange) and elderflower.

Conclusion: This is an amazing gin to taste neat and surprisingly more difficult to match with a the right Tonic Water. Thomas Henry was by far the best combination for me, but as tastes vary, another tonic water may be better for your taste. I also stirred a Dry Martini and this serves the gin much better. It is an amazing product, with a great story behind it that is honest and true (as I have seen with my own eyes), just like the people behind it.
96/100 

Posted on 07/11/2012 by Mistercocktail

About 90 years ago, in 1927, Grand Marnier did a collaboration with several French artists to celebrate their 100th anniversary. A number of bottles were individually painted and some are now treasured by the family LaPostolle, owners of Grand Marnier. These handpainted bottles inspired the family to design a new bottle for their 150th anniversary in 1977. The result was a beautiful, and also hand-painted bottle containing a unique blend of cognacs from the Grande and Petite Champagne aged between 35 and 50 years, together with their trademarked orange distillate. In 2003, Grand Marnier decided to honour this tradition, by launching a new Limited Edition. And they continue to do so  today.

A stunning location was found to celebrate the launch of the 2012 bottle. A workplace for renovating 19th and 20th century mirrors proved to be the perfect decor for this French brand and the theme of this years’ edition is Paris by Midnight. The city of light, the city of love, all captured in the design of the bottle which is blue-grey lacquered on the outside and that displays the starry skyline of Paris. Indeed, by Midnight. Candles were placed all around the venue and the abundance of mirrors made it look like a sea of lights.

Everyone who has ever taken a stroll along the river Seine has seen these: the Caricaturist. Ridiculously expensive when they’re very good and when you think you’ve made a great deal you find out that the drawings on display were probably made by his talented brother. Fortunately, I found myself in the capable hands of Jeroen Busschers, specialized in both good and fast caricatures. See the result on my Facebook page.

And what is the launch of a spirit without a good bar? Indeed, boring as hell and a waste of good money. The 2 focus drinks were the Grand Ginger and the Grand’O, the latter being a mixture with fresh Orangejuice and sodawater. In this intimate setting it was easy to forget the time and I enjoyed the evening, met some old friend and we shared some drinks and exchanged business cards. Thanks to daylight saving I could head back home under a starry sky and to me Amsterdam was perfect as well!

Recipes, all longdrinks. You can build them in the glass with loads of ice!

Grand Ginger: 45 ml Grand Marnier Rouge, 120 ml Ginger Ale, 1 squeeze of lime

Grand’O: 45 ml Grand Marnier Rouge, 60 ml fresh Orange Juice, 60 ml Sparkling water, lemon squeeze optional

Posted on 06/11/2012 by Mistercocktail

Cognac and Hiphop…horse and carriage. You know what I mean, they get along just fine. In the mid ’90s, rappers like Tupac and Digital Underground started expressing their spirit of choice was Cognac, and more specifically the brand Hennessy. Despite several other brands having been named and ‘promoted’  in songs and videoclips, Hennessy was and still is the most loved brand of Cognac in this scene. Besides that, it also the world’s number 1 luxury spirit-brand (41.1 % marketshare and worth $ 4.6 billion).

It makes a lot of sense for Hennessy to use this to their full advantage in local markets where a thriving hiphop-scene is present as is the case in The Netherlands. One of the leading record-labels is Top-Notch, representing rappers like Sjaak, Sef, Dio, Faberyayo and Sticks, but also artists from different kinds of music: The Flexican, Drs P. and James Worthy.
These two brands have collaborated last year for the first time and they decided it was a good idea to continue this in 2012, under the name Hennessy Artistry. A great line-up, showcasing the versatility of this label, was mailed to me as an invitation and combined with a very promising  location I was expecting quite a party. Besides this, the dresscode was black tie with a twist so I expected quite a stylish party.

I arrived 1 hour after the party had kicked off and when I hung my coat I noticed I was rather late than early and the artists that were working on a huge painting were obviously even earlier present. A great crew of roaring 20′s styled hostesses made sure that the reception was very hospitable and that all guests were escorted to the 11th floor. The nightly view over Amsterdam was stunning of course and together with the necessary (but not excessive) branding of Hennessy, it was the perfect decor for an intimate night, filled with Cognac drinks and live music.

The crowd really excelled themselves in dressing up: the ladies in cocktaildresses, the gents in tuxedo and sneakers. The bar was a bit crowded as the thirsty crowd was looking for some nice cocktails made by one of the three cocktailshakers. I decided to stick with a Fine de Cognac on the rocks until the lines were a bit shorter. And then someone pointed out to me that there were bottles of X.O. in the cigar lounge. Joy oh joy! This night was for the incrowd: people affiliated with the Top Notch-label mainly for this event had some fierce competition: the première of Skyfall, drawing away some guests for sure, but the vibe was great and music even better.

I returned home buzzing from the great music and with a very nicely designed goodiebag. The art of blending was clear to me: mixing great live music and Hennessy cocktails, mixing high-street chique with street and creating fine blends of Cognac. If only they would organize this event more often!

Check here for more pictures!

 

Posted on 28/10/2012 by Mistercocktail


Geranium Gin
 is a Danish brand created by Henrik Hammer and his father, who worked around the concept of incorporating geranium in a gin. They found historical links between the use of Juniper and Geranium and investigated this combination on a scientific level. They concluded that these two are indeed a great marriage and they proceeded with the development of the gin. It is a London Dry Gin, which means that all 10 botanicals (Juniper, Geranium, Coriander seeds, Lemon, Orange, Liquorice, Cassia, Angelica, Orris root and 1 is a secret!) are distilled at once in a neutral grain spirit. The production of the gin takes place in the U.K. (Birmingham more precisely) and Geranium Gin is distilled in a copper pot-still that is over a century old.

When tasted neat, Geranium Gin is a very smooth and mild spirit. It combines the freshness of citrus (coriander, lemon) and juniper very stylishly with the floral taste of geranium. What a surprising ingredient! The taste is full-bodied, but never out of balance with a great sweetness from liquorice and orange.

Fever Tree Tonic: The combination is an extremely smooth G&T. The bitter notes from the quinine in Fever Tree are nicely balanced by the geranium, which still doesn’t overpower. The long lemony taste from Geranium Gin gives the drink a very long aftertaste, which made me decide not to use a juice-containing garnish in here. Instead of a lime or lemonwedge, I used an orangezest which made the drink just perfect for me.
9.5/10

1724: This is a very soft and gentle combination. A subtle bitterness really complements the taste of the geranium. The bubble in the 1724 tonic is small and slow and combines very well with this gin. In the aftertaste there’s a very pleasant hint of spicy orange. Great g&t for he or she who enjoyes a mild and gentle gin & tonic.
9.5/10

Fentiman’s: When I poured the tonic, a very pleasant small of rosewater arose from the mix. The tonic is the first you taste, the gin a bit later and it gives a very surprising effect. The lemontones are much stronger in this mix and this is the perfect tonic if you like a g&t with a bite.
9.5/10

Thomas Henry: This mix accentuates the more earthy notes like Orris and Angelica. In the middle more floral and fruity notes come through, the Orange and Geranium. A slight bitterness is present from beginning until long in the aftertaste.
9.5/10

Conclusion: This is actually the first gin I’ve tried for this blog that matches great with all the tonic waters that I tasted it with. But is is very important to note at the same time that all 4 mixes are for different g&t-drinkers. I tried to describe along each mix which match is good for which type of drinker. Just like the mix with Fever Tree (which I tested a few months ago), I used a fresh orange zest as a garnish additionally, but the rating is based on just the plain mix of Geranium Gin with each Tonic Water.

Posted on 26/10/2012 by Mistercocktail

The creativeness of the brand Absolut has nearly limitless since the early 1980s. Remember the famous painting by Andy Warhol or the one made by Keith Haring?  These were truly a landmark in the collaboration between artists and spirit brands and has helped Absolut grow even faster to become the 2nd largest vodka brand in the world it is today.

An important part of their strategy is the launch of their yearly limited edition bottle. They have a vast array of themes they can choose from: City- or country-themed, collaborations with artists, fashion, charity and even strong messages on sensitive subjects. So far we’ve seen Disco, Rock, Masquerade and Glimmer, but also Mexico, China, New Orleans, L.A. and on the other hand Jeff Koons, Jamie Hewlett and Swarovski. We all love Swarovski, don’t we?
Make sure to check this link, that has all collaborations and limited editions until 2004.

This year, Absolut has stretched the edges of the concept “Limited” by launching roughly 4 Million unique bottles worldwide. Integrating such an extensive way … was quite a challenge for the team. A very nice movie has been made of the whole process: interesting to watch!

The celebrate the launch in The Netherlands, Absolut organized a party in Amsterdam in the industrial area called NDSM-wharf. It was quite an exclusive get together of the creative scene and Absolut had made sure that creativity could roam free within these old brick and steel walls. Enormous visuals were projected on the walls, displaying the colours that were used in the process of creating the Unique Bottle. Models with wild make-up and crazy hair-do’s we’re a living canvas here and were literally painted on by the guests, who would then receive the same treatment (fortunately it was allowed to were overall and shoe-covers). This resulted in wildly decorated crowd that was indulged in the creative roots of Absolut Vodka.

Recipes can be found here , my favourite was the Absolut Pineapple Sting: 35 ml Absolut Vodka, 35 ml (fresh) pineapple juice, 70 ml tonic water. Stir with icecubes in a longdrink and garnish with fresh mint.

Posted on 21/10/2012 by Mistercocktail

One bottle in particular has been waiting for me to taste properly and that’s Bulldog gin. The bottle is pretty distinct amongst it’s competitors, not being transparent nor green nor blue. It is named after Sir Winston Churchill’s dog and produced in the UK, using 12 botanicals in total of which 9 are classic gin botanicals en 3 that are unique to this gin: Dragon-Eye, Poppy Seeds and Lotus Leaves. Visit their site to learn more about these, as well as some claims that it makes that lead me to a short nosing around on the interweb but it’s hard to track it all for being true or false. Here’s the claim to gluten-free, calories-per-shot (all gins are 65 – 70 cals/30 mls), vegan-friendly (but all gins on vegan.fm were declared vegan-friendly) and Kosher and I love this quote: “Botanicals are generally kosher; however, some of them, such as citrus peels, may come from Israel and therefore may not be kosher due to issues surrounding terumot, ma’aserot and shemittah.” But so far I haven’t found a gin claiming to use Israelian Lemons. But I’m not working as the NY Times Food Critic by all means, I’m just here to taste the stuff!

Bottle: Like the name suggests: masculine and tough, with a dog-collar just below the thick and heavy screwtop. The bottle is pitch-black with wide shoulders and a firm body, making it stand out amongst my other gins (or any other bottle I might add).
92/100

The Nose: juniper and fresh lemon with a hint of pepper. Slightly earthy yet floral.
91/100

The Contents: dry, yet soft juniper first with nice lemon. After that more sweetness: liquorice and cassia that form the middle part of the taste, together with floral notes of lavender and orris. It leaves a long taste behind and unlike the first taste, it’s not dry at all.  A long fruity taste keeps lingering in the back – I guess that should be the Dragon Eye, which is described as “first cousin to the Lychee”.
91/100

The mixability:
Fever Tree: strong bitter notes at first with slight fruity notes and more lemon towards the middle. The bitter notes remain there as well, although they ‘disappear’ after a few more sips. The mouth feel is a bit dryer than I expected with less sweeter notes in it then tasting it neat.

8.0/10

Fentiman’s: This tonic has loads of citric notes in it and combined with the Bulldog Gin it gives a very fresh taste. It never gets to the sweet side of the taste but more floral
8.5/10

Thomas Henry:  This mix stays on the more sweet and earthy side of the spectrum. Liquorice, Dragon Eye and Cassia are very present while more earthy notes from Angelica and Almond are in the middle and aftertaste. It stays in your mouth for a long time with lemon and floral notes lingering in the back. Nice.
9.0/10

1724: I needed four, five good sips of this mix to get an idea of the flavours. At first it felt like a bit of a bummer and it takes a long time to build up some character. The mouth feel is very good on the other hand with the sweetest aftertaste of all mixes, but not the longest. The taste disappears quite fast so not the best combination.
6.5/10

Overall: Bulldog is a gin for the more experienced gin-drinker, but it has a very nice angle with some unique botanicals. It sets itself apart with the packaging and fortunately the contents can match the expectations. The best mix for me was with Thomas Henry, as this compliments the botanicals in Bulldog best. Quite a nice gin and most certainly worth for you to try it!
Overall: 91/100 

Posted on 04/10/2012 by Mistercocktail

Last February I had a chance to talk with Tony Conigliaro, one of the most creative and highly regarded people in the bartending industry, and far beyond. This year has turned out to be an extremely succesful year for him and his team: winning the award for World’s Best New Hotelbar at Tales of the Cocktail, where he also was in the final 4 in the category World’s Best Cocktailbar with 69 Colebrook Row. He runs the world’s most cutting edge laboratory, Drink Factory fully dedicated to spirits. And he is about to open a new place in Paris with Thierry Daniel, founder of the Paris-based Cocktails & Spirits. And he got married and today even is his birthday.
Seemed like the perfect opportunity to publish the interview today.

The Drink Factory started as a blog, as a website, to communicate with people about what we  were doing and how we were doing that and to get feedback. It was bigger than just bartending, I was writing about it, but I was also asking questions about perfumery and all kinds of things. And slowly, slowly over the course of 5 years running, people started talking back, we started meeting new people and starting to set up new collaborations.

While Tony was setting up 69 Colebrook Row, he filled his house with all sorts of equipment. “The kitchen was kind of chock-a-block with stuff and after a while the lab got bigger than 69 Colebrook Row, so we moved to the current location in June 2011. That building is the old Pink Floyd recording studios, where they recorded The Wall. There’s still images of great bands covering the walls of the whole building. We fell in love with the history, with the location and realized it’s the perfect place to take all our creative ideas and push them to the max.”

When I had this interview in February of this year, they were still work in progress, but they had started working on the tasting area and to create an office space. It looked quite finished to me at that time already but fresh ingredients that were brought in made the place look like a forest-meets-lab: pine-branches were lined up at the walls, to be processed in their syrup for one of their signature drinks for The Zetter Town House. In the middle there is a long chest that holds numerous herbs, spices, roots, fruits and basically everything else that could possibly be used in a syrup, potion or concoction. Another eye-catcher is the large collection of vintage spirits.

By the entrance there was the lab itself: 2 rotavaps were in use to re-distill a red peppercorn-vodka at low pressure. It can distill at less than 1/10th of the normal pressure and it condenses when it runs through a spiral, chilled by antifreeze at – 20 degrees. It allows for a very accurate controlled procedure with the least damage to all the individual elements. Other intriguing equipment that fills up the kitchen include induction heaters, a vacuum-machine, and a Gastrovac.
“I remember that people came into my home kitchen and just stared at me like “what are you doing”. That was hilarious.”

My bartenders also work in the lab, not only from 69 CR, but also from Zetter Town House. We work with perfumers and people from the gin-industry, and we learn how to pull flavours apart,” while he samples me an extraction of Bulgarian Rose. Heavy scent comes out of a little jar, filling the space with the sweet smell of the rose.
“People are really interested in what we do: we see things out of the box. We see them from a creative point of view, not necessarily from an industrial point of view. We do a lot of research here for bars, for drinks companies, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.”

I noticed that there were a lot of ‘approved’ experiments, but I asked him if there were any experiments less succesfull. We were in a lab after all.
I don’t see any experiment ever ‘gone wrong’ I just learn something more with every distillation or extraction. If something doesn’t taste right, we can identify why it doesn’t. Sometimes we cannot get something to work within 2 years, but we just build up a library of knowledge.

“It’s not just about cocktails and flavours, but also about aroma’s and finding unexpected results.” He samples me then Mastic, a sort of chewing gum made from resin of the Mastic tree from Greece, which was used in drinks by the Romans. “We use it in a drink with honey, so we’ve got this in the menu that’s based on an old Roman Drink.”

Working with ingredients like this gives us the opportunity to create drinks that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. We are strong believers in putting flavours together that you don’t come across anywhere else in the world.”

Mr Conigliaro then shows me his vintage spirits collection, Campari from the 50’s 60’s, even from the1900s, and 1910, Moët & Chandon from 1940, to compare how spirits have evolved and changed. There are original Bokers bitters from 1890. We record everything we do, take photographs, writing down what comes in. There’s a very fine collection of vintage glassware. He also shows the new vessel for the Prairy Oyster (which was put on the menu last March), it was specially designed for him by a ceramicist, a fine example of how thouight out and well designed his drinks are.

He then mentions his book, which obviously has hit the shelves last summer.  “I can describe the book as a genealogy of my work for the last 12 years, from Isola to now. It is a creative history on where things are coming from and where they are going to: a fun catalogue of drinks and processes that we found that work very well.”

What an inspiration!

Liquorice Whisky Sour
Glassware: Large Coupette

Recipes:
50ml Baillie Nicol Jarvie
25ml Lemon Juice
15ml Liquorice Syrup
25ml Egg White
3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine Scotch with the lemon juice. Add the angostura and egg white to the shaker, dry shake.
Add ice to the shaker, shake and strain into Sour glass.

Posted on 20/09/2012 by Mistercocktail

Last month, I launched a crowdfunding campaign to look for fundings to publish my very own Mister Cocktail book. It will be a re-introduction of the great classic cocktails, based on a limited amount of spirits. This way you do not need to stock your bar with 50+ bottles in order to make some fancy drinks at home. Every cocktail will be accompanied by a nice dish or bite: good cocktails need to come with good food.

Participating in my book means that you’re actually giving a loan to me, through the platform of www.crowdaboutnow.com. Lending means getting it back with interest, and I’m offering a good 15 % interest on the loan. For higher amounts of funding there are some more interesting  rewards!

You can watch the video here:

Mister Cocktail

Besides the book, I’m working on a cocktailpack, which contains all the necessary tools to start working like a pro in your kitchen!

And it just keeps getting better, because I’m also working on a full website and mobile application. For that I have just acquired all the funds neccessary to develop this. it just takes a few months to make :)

Only thing is: the crowdfunding is just for people with a Dutch bankaccount. Mail me if you have any further questions! Albert@mistercocktail.net

Posted on 03/09/2012 by Mistercocktail

Since my last G&T Sunday review, I had tried several combinations during the summer. One of the gins that I had very pleasant experience with, was Caorunn Gin, so I was looking forward to tasting it in combinations with the 4 Tonic Waters. The bottle really stands out, especially the shape of it. Caorunn (read label for pronunciation) claims the Celtic heritage, since there’s some other famous gins being produced in Scotland and marketed as such (Hendrick’s, The Botanist and Old Raj being 3 of them). Next to 6 classic gin botanicals (Juniper, Lemonpeel, Coriander, Cassia, Orange Peel and Angelica) there are 5 ingredients specific to Caorunn. These are 5 botanicals that can be found in many parts of the world, but they have been used in Celtic medicine for ages: Rowan Berry, Bog Myrtle, Heather, Coul Blush Apple and Dandelion Leaf.

I found that the site of Caorunn Gin describes their heritage, production and ingredients very well and to-the-point. No need for me to rewrite or copy that, so make sure to check there!

The bottle: Both the 5-star symbol on the bottle and the shape of the bottle itself represent the 5 Celtic botanicals that are used in Caorunn Gin. It is quite a unique shape and it holds very nicely while working with it professionally. The neck is perfect for a hand to fit around it and swing the bottle upside-down to make a pour. The cork is also very well designed: thick and heavy with a wooden top.
95/100

The nose: Fresh pine and citrus are very strong when the spirit first hits your nose. To me this is an indication that it’s a gin that leans towards the classic gins, which turns out to be so, but there’s much more to it. Sweet fruity notes from the Rowan Berry (also the giver of the name Caorunn, which means berry in Celtic) and Coul Blush Apple appear directly after, giving it a very nice and specific character.
91/100

The contents: The first sip is, just like the nose, very fresh and full of juniper, pine and citrus: a walk in the woods. For a moment, the alcohol takes over a bit too much to lead to the middle part of the taste. This is much more sweet with a nice tingle on the sides of the tongue.

There’s a very long aftertaste, where a menthol-like coolness develops in your mouth (I suspect the Dandelion has this effect). Some very nice sweet notes appear in the end and here you can really taste the Heather and Bog Myrtle, at least I get some flavours that I can relate to from the description, since these are not in my standard palate. In Holland we have a type of liquorice that is based on Bay leaf which has a very comparable taste!
92/100 (97/1oo on just the aftertaste)

The mixability: Because of the 5 botanicals that are specific to Caorunn, it can serve as a base for some classic gin-drinks. Even more so, it can be an inspiration for a load of new drinks and I was curious to try Caorunn in my selection of Tonic Waters.

Fever Tree: Before I added the apple in this G&T, I could already taste the apple in it. The citrus notes were much gentler and the strong juniper was less dominant. The addition of apple makes this mix nice and extra fruity, but in my opinion it could use just a little more citrusflavours now.
9/10

Fentiman’s: This tonic is strong in bitter- and citrusnotes, so obviously this is a completely different mix. The bubble in Fentiman’s in much stronger, giving the mix the taste of apple much faster while it emphasises the lemon and coriander in Caorunn much better.
9.5/10

Thomas Henry: This combination is quite sweet and it works very well with Caorunn. I think the pleasantly sweet notes of the heather play a big role here, leaving a long and pleasantly sweet aftertaste.
9/10

1724: The most delicate of these tonic waters is 1724 and it leaves a lot of room for the Caorunn to move around. I just feel that the quinine in this tonic water dominates the taste, making it a little dry with very little citrus left in the taste.
8.5/10

Overall: This is a very nice gin to stock in your home-bar. If you are looking for one special gin, this is certainly one to take home with you. It mixes very well and I enjoyed it neat at least as much as in a g&t. The mix with Fentiman’s was the best-balanced combination, but differences in taste might lead you to other mixers no doubt. As things usually go.
92/100

Posted on 29/07/2012 by Mistercocktail

When asked about their favourite cocktailbar, most people will name their preferred hang-out or perhaps the bar that is best known in their area. Most people don’t travel to visit special bars in other countries. Very unlike the good people in the drinks-industry: bartenders, big companies, journalists all visit cities around the world, not so much for the great architecture and culture, but for visiting other bars. And of course, as in any industry, things need to be put in perspective and be compared to eachother in order to say which is truly The Best.

Each year, the world’s largest event that fully revolves around spirits and cocktails is held in New Orleans. It’s called Tales of the Cocktail and is like the who-is-who in the world of creating spirits and mixing drinks.

One of the highlights of this booze-filled week are the Spirited Awards, the amazing awardshow that could be called the Oscar’s of the drinks-industry. Winning such an award is a great honour and competition is fierce in each category. Most awards are deserved by working very hard for years on end, although I believe no-one aims to win this award: the people in this industry do this for the love for spirits and of course for the hospitality industry. After all, the final outcome must be a satisfied customer, so without any you will never pick up one of these very much sought-after cristal plates.

The outcome of the 10th Spirited Awards, that were held yesterday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, New Orleans reveal once again that travelling to London is a very good idea! I mean fish, chips, cup o’ tea, bad food, worst weather, Mary f*ckin’ Poppins London! Cocktails now must be added to this list.

World’s Best Cocktailbar: The Connaught

World’s Best Hotelbar: Artesian

World’s Best Cocktailmenu: Callooh Callay

World’s Best New Cocktailbar: The Zetter Townhouse

World’s Best Drinksselection: Salvatore at Playboy Club

World’s Best International Bartender: Alex Kratena (Artesian Bar)

Other awards that were handed out (watch the links below, you’ll like them!)
Best American Bartender: Joaquin Simo
Best American Cocktailbar: The Varnish in LA
Best restaurant/bar: Slanted Door, in San Fransisco
Best New Product: Cognac Pierre Ferrand 1840 Formula
Best Cocktailwriting: David Wondrich
Best Non-book Publication: Liquor.com
Best New Cocktailbook: PDT Cocktail Book – Jim Meehan
Best American Brand Ambassador: Jim Ryan
best International Brand Ambassador: Angus Winchester
Best Barmentor: Steve Olson
Best High Volume Cocktailbar: Eastern Standard, Boston

One special award was given to Gaz Regan, for he received the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award. Gaz (formerly known as Gary) is an absolute legend in this industry and author of numerous book, including the book that all bartenders should have read: The Joy of Mixology. A post on twitter quoted him upon receiving the award: “I’m 60 years old, I have 40 more years to go, mother f*ckers.” Rockstar!

Congratulations to all winners, and to my readers: I hope you can visit one of these bars soon!