Posted on 11/12/2012 by Mistercocktail

Now that I’ve got some time to try the other tonic waters with each different gin, I’m meeting old friends again. Tanqueray, one of the world’s leading gins, created by Charles Tanqueray in 1820 is now waiting for me to be tested with the 3 remaining tonic waters: Fentiman’s, Thomas Henry and 1724. Just like in last Sunday’s tasting with Bombay Sapphire, I’m curious how I will rate these gin & tonics considering the amount of specialty gins I’ve been tasting over the past few months. It’s not that my taste is spoiled, but if you’re spectrum of taste gets wider and more experienced there is always a chance that you keep comparing everything to that one perfect gin. It’s like buying a new suit: the one you like most is always the most expensive one and you keep comparing everything else with that perfect € 2000 suit.

It also made me reflect on what I’m actually rating: is it my own taste or the way the gin and tonic match? Letting your own taste lead you towards picking the best tasting g&t is very tempting, as it is the easiest to describe: you like it, you don’t or something in between (that’s some quality writing btw). But since my taste probably doesn’t reflect anyone else’s, this tasting needs to describe only the way the gin and the tonic waters mix together. I do throw in a personal note from time to time (yes, I know: everything I taste is personal anyway) but I try to describe the flavours I get in each mix as objective as possible and the rating below each mix is mostly how these 2 complement eachother. Each gin has another tonic to match and the more outspoken the taste of a gin is, the less likely you can match every tonic with it. There is of course a little bit of my taste in the verdict, so evertime you see a 9,5 it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best gin&tonic on the planet, it means that the g&t match (almost) perfectly and that I really like that mix.

So, how does Tanqueray mix with my tonic-panel?

1724: The gin is very dominant in the nose with loads of juniper. The taste is soft, yet firm and a bit floury. The middle part of the taste is more sweet, coming from the liquorice and the soft taste of 1724 really lets the botanicals in Tanqueray come out. The atertaste is slightly bitter with a salty edge.
8.5/10

Fever Tree: These 2 complement each other quite nicely: The angelica-notes come in from the gin, balancing the bitterness of the quinine very well. The natural sweetness of the tonic goes great with the citrus-notes that are quite dominant in the Tanqueray and together with the pleasantly sweet taste of liquorice it creates a very nice aftertaste.
8.0/10

Thomas Henry: The nose in this mix is very soft and the juniper and citrus stay very well balanced. Sipping this mix underlines how the sweet notes work perfectly together with the angelica and coriander. The tonic adds a lot of length to the Tanqueray in a very good way!
9.5/10

Fentiman’s: The opening is soft and floury with a gentle juniper and a nice bitter. The citrus is quite present, obviously, as both the gin and the tonic are citrus-heavy. It is a very fresh taste and not perfumed as sometimes can be the case with Fentiman’s.
8.5/10

Conclusion: the differences in rating are not too large between these tonic waters, indicating that Tanqueray is easily mixable. It is of course a much stronger gin than, let’s say, Bombay Sapphire, but both gins were created in a very different time. I was quite impressed by the mix with Thomas Henry and I gave it the best rating of these 4. Again, this means that the match just about perfectly ànd I like this mix even more that the other 3. I am very curious if any of my readers (anyone? Echo?) has conducted a similar tasting

Posted on 09/12/2012 by Mistercocktail

When I first started off with my G&T Sundays, I figured that I would rate just 1 tonic with a gin each Sunday. That would give me 52/4 = 13 gins tested. I soon realised that a) there are far more gins than that and b) my posts would become quite boring after a while (if not already). So I switched to testing 4 tonic waters each Sunday which would subsequently give me 52 * 4 = 208 G&T combinations. Admittedly, I couldn’t get through each session anywhere near sober so I had to skip quite a few Sundays. It takes good planning and preparation to execute such a tasting!

Today I decided to complete the Bombay Sapphire tasting. Since I already made a review of the spirit itself and of the combination with Fever Tree, I only had to try it with 1724, Thomas Henry and Fentiman’s. But I threw in a bottle of   Fever Tree just to see if I got it right the first time (spoiler alert: I did, so I just copied the previous text)

Since my tasting with Bombay Sapphire early March, I’ve learned about so many new gins that I was curious on how I would rate this gin now. It’s easy of course to say that it’s mainstream, almost a vodka or just plain boring. But when you put it in historical perspective it’s far from boring. Mainstream: up to a certain level, yes, but thanks to this brand we have been enjoying the revival of gin. Almost a vodka: not at all. Compared to a lot of gins it would be tempting to say so  but to me there’s still so many great flavours in Bombay Sapphire, that saying this doesn’t do any justice at all. And we all know that gins basically are flavoured vodka’s anyway. Boring: it does what it was meant to be doing from the very first start: get those vodka-people on board of the Gin-train. Of course time has kept up with the flavour of Bombay Sapphire with all these new gins that have been launched over the years. But if that makes Bombay Sapphire mainstream, than we’re all in a very good place!

Now on to the important part: the tasting.

1724: The nose is very fresh, with light juniper and some orange. A slight and lovely bitterness comes in when I started sipping and it has a sweet body. A long aftertaste with fresh notes which is slightly spicy follows. A great mix. The only thing is that it’s a bit too perfect, too easy. This combination just lacks that extra  bit of excitement, but these two match very well.
8.5/10

Fever Tree: The nice thing is that together these products become a very interesting mix, complementing each other nicely. Because the juniper is not so heavy in Bombay Sapphire, the upper tones in flavour are those of citrus, coming from the coriander and lemon in Bombay and also from the tonic itself. The bitter elements in Fever Tree are still there, and the sweet notes in Bombay Sapphire, like cinnamon and liquorice balance it out quite nicely. The smell of the two combined is especially nice: the vapour distillation of the gin delivers a light-bodied spirit, but with a strong nose. Fever Tree is well carbonated, so these aromas reach your nose before you take a sip – an extra dimension to the taste.
8.0/10

Thomas Henry: Balance. That’s the first word that comes to mind. The bubble in this tonic is not too strong so the nose is more gentle with a fresh citrus aroma. The first sip brings a floury, slightly silty taste (must be Orris and Angelica) with little juniper.  The middle of the taste is more sweet with liquorice and cassia and also here I get a bit of orange in the flavour. Aftertaste is pleasant and long with just  a hunch of bitterness
9.0/10

Fentiman’s: This tonic water is obviously too much for the delicate bouquet of Bombay Sapphire. A very strong nose and overpowering citrus in Fentiman’s just blow it out of the water/glass, leaving not enough to make a happy couple .
6.5/10

Conclusion: Thomas Henry is for Bombay Sapphire the best companion: well balanced, never overpowering and complimentary where necessary. It’s not just a good combination, but a great G&T in itself so very much the worth of pouring for oneself!

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