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Monthly Archives: October 2015

  • Bourbon - The American Spirit

    September is national Bourbon month, to help you celebrate we've rounded up a number of the United States favourite whiskies and drinks

    Although not the first whiskey made in the United States, Bourbon is certainly the most popular, with exports tripling in the last ten years. Rye was the first grain to be distilled and sold as whiskey in the US and remained the most popular style right up until prohibition in 1920, in fact the majority of whiskey based cocktails from the pre-prohibition era the Manhattan, Old Fashioned were Rye not Bourbon based.

    It appears that when prohibition was repealed in the 1930’s the American drinker had gone off the taste of rye and now preferred the sweeter corn based whiskey from Kentucky and its neighbouring states.

    Conversely, following the Bourbon boom of the post war years the 70’s and 80’s were the white spirit years with vodka, gin, rum and Tequila taking over Bourbon’s sales and consigning it to be the spirit your grand-parents enjoyed!

    However in the last ten years or so Bourbon is back and interestingly, it is the more expensive brands that are driving the sales of Bourbon and especially the ones that are harder to find or are on strict allocation.

    Many consumers have had the more well-known brands available to them for a long time and are now keen to explore the category, and with the recent emergence of craft distilleries releasing new brands onto the market, they have the opportunity to try whiskey with an unusual production story or just a different flavour profile.

    Hudson Baby Bourbon

    A half-bottle of the splendidly-named Hudson Baby Bourbon - the first legal aged grain spirit to be produced in New York since prohibition ended over 75 years ago. Unusually for Bourbon, Hudson's spirit is manufactured in a potstill at the Tuthilltown Gristmill (a heritage site) and is aged in small new oak casks.

    Bulleit Bourbon is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey whose high-rye content and iconic frontier inspired bottle is a favourite among bartenders and mixologists across the world. When Tom Bulleit set out to make a Bourbon unlike any other, he was inspired by a recipe created by his great-great grandfather Augustus Bulleit more than 175 years ago.

    The Bull Old Fashioned

    A soothing stirred down Bulleit Bourbon old fashioned with smoky BBQ sauce.

    50ml Bulleit Bourbon

    15ml Smoky BBQ sauce

    5ml simple syrup

    3 dashes of Angostura Bitters

    Stir all ingredients until perfect dilution. Strain into iced rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist and paprika dust.

    Blanton's Special Reserve

    Blanton’s Special Reserve is ideal for those new to single barrel bourbons. A sweet taste profile with a floral nose and light undertones of vanilla and citrus make it perfect for a premium cocktail or served on the rocks.

    Old Forester

    Old Forester is the oldest Bourbon brand in continuous production, surviving even prohibition during which it was sold on a medicinal licence. The smash is an open-ended cocktail, freely variable and seasonally flexible. There must be ice, though you may strain it out if you prefer. There should be fruit in season, though you may use it simply as a garnish. There should be a spirit base, though you may use your spirit of choice. Mint is a classic choice, though many other herbs can work.You may want to water your smash down a little or add a spritz of seltzer. At its heart, the smash is a wonderfully forgiving and flexible drink.

    The Old Forester Bourbon Smash

    50ml Old Forester Classic 86 Proof Bourbon

    25ml lemon juice

    15ml sugar syrup

    8 mint sprigs.

    Shake and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and wedge of lemon.

     

    Bourbon like other American whiskey follows strict production rules, it must be 51% corn, it must be distilled to no more than 80% abv and it must be aged in new charred barrels and it cannot have anything added after distillation except limestone water. Unlike Scotch whisky there is no smokiness which can often put people off drinking whisky, corn is a sweet tasting grain and the maturation in American oak barrels (in the majority of cases) adds additional flavours of vanilla and coconut all of which are very appealing to many drinkers.

    The Muddled Creek

    2 parts Knob Creek Bourbon

    Ginger Ale to taste

    Splash of Triple Sec

    Muddled orange slice

    In a rock glass, muddle an orange slice. Fill the rocks glass with ice and add Knob Creek Bourbon and triple sec. Add just a splash of ginger ale to top up.

    Bourbon's ability to mix is also another reason why it has become popular again, with the growth in cocktails around the world and the interest in spirits with flavour has led many bartenders to use bourbon as the go to spirit for new cocktails. That said some of the oldest and most important mixed drinks are bourbon based such as the Mint julep and the whiskey sour.

    Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned

    Smooth, refined, rich and decadent. Woodford Reserve is further enhanced by the addition of sugar, bitters and fresh orange oils. The perfect partner for this American Classic.

    50ml Woodford Reserve

    10ml sugar syrup

    3 dashes of Angostura Bitters

    Stir slowly over cubed ice until diluted, garnish with an orange twist.

     

    Jim Beam Mint Julep

    1 part Jim Beam Bourbon

    Splash of water

    Pinch of granulated sugar

    Ice

    Fresh mint

    Dissolve the sugar in a splash of water. Fill the glass with ice and add Jim Beam Bourbon. Garnish the glass with sprigs of mint.

    Four Roses is a worldwide favourite, especially when creating mixed drinks with a sophisticated, contemporary flair. Hints of pear and apple compliment floral aromas and mix with a taste of honey and spice.

     

    Manhattan

    20ml Sweet Vermouth

    75ml Four Roses Bourbon

    Dash of Angostura Bitters

    2 or 3 ice cubes

    1 Maraschino cherry

    1 twist of orange peel

    Combine the vermouth, whiskey, bitters and ice in a mixing glass. Stir gently, don’t bruise the spirits and cloud the drink. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass and strain the whiskey mixture over the cherry. Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink to release the oils but don’t drop it in.

     

    The Black Feather

    Created by Josh Reynolds of Hawksmoor Spitalfields and winner of the 2014 UK Wild Turkey Cocktail competition.

    42.5ml Wild Turkey 81

    30ml Punt e Mes

    7.5ml Homemade smoked salted pineapple syrup

    Put all ingredients in a stirring beaker. Add cubed ice, and stir down with bar spoon until desired temperature is reached. Serve straight up in a classic coupette glass and garnish with a discarded lemon zest.

     

    Trace of The Gold Miners

    Created by Maxime Creusot of Steam & Rye

    40 ml Buffalo Trace Bourbon

    25 ml Apricot brandy

    25 ml Galliano Authentico

    3 dashes orange bitter

    25 ml vanilla syrup

    Flame the blend with bay leaves, cardamom, star anise, vanilla pod, cinnamon and a burst of orange zest. Fine strain into a lantern, add 20 ml of lemon juice, crushed ice and swizzle. Add an LED cubed and dry ice.

     

     

     

     

  • Happy Halloween!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Spice is the king with our collection of spooky wines for All Hallows' Eve. Despite the differing grapes and blends in each of these three wines, they have ripe fruit and deep spice in common, making them the perfect match for rich autumnal stews and slow-cooked roasts.

    We reckon the Hairy Biker's Beef Goulash would be a good bet...

    Bogle Phantom

    Phantom, Bogle’s mysterious apparition of ripe berry and relentless spice, returns to haunt wine lovers.   Full of concentration and intensity, this wine will tease, tantalise and linger long after the last sip is gone.

    d'Arenberg The Derelict Vineyard Grenache, McLaren Vale, 2010

    At a time when Grenache was considered un-fashionable Chester Osborn maintained a vigilant search for old vine McLaren Vale Grenache vineyards, showing faith in a variety that has been central to d’Arenberg since the very beginning. His search unveiled a number of old bush vine and poorly maintained trellised vineyards in various states of disrepair. Many of these ‘derelict’ vineyards were overgrown with native grasses and bracken ferns and weren’t being used for grape production—one was even being used to graze horses! Restoring these vineyards has been a time consuming labour of love, and while they still have a slightly dishevelled appearance they are back producing very low yields of exceptional fruit.

    The Dead Arm Shiraz, d'Arenberg, 2011

    Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often vines affected are severely pruned or replanted. One half, or an ‘arm’ of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity.

  • How craft distilling has changed the spirits market

    Made, bottled and marketed by groups of passionate individuals focussed on great quality and authenticity, Craft Spirits are driving sales in most categories.

    Craft distillation along with craft brewing is a movement that has risen from mostly the USA, however it is worth noting the UK has a craft distillation and brewing industry it’s just not as established as the US. One of the main reasons for the recent emergence in the US is due to their past history and specifically prohibition which is something we in the UK have not had to endure for hundreds of years.

    To give some idea of the impact prohibition had on the distilling industry in the US we need to go back to the turn of the 20th century when distilling was so common and spirit manufacture so widespread that Kentucky alone there were 37 operating distilleries. When nationwide prohibition started in 1920 nearly every one of these distilleries was shut down and as stills were made from precious copper they were dismantled, melted down and made into other more useful things. Some distilleries did survive and were used to distil medicinal whiskey but these could be counted on the fingers of two hands!!

    When prohibition was repealed in 1933 America slowly started to distil again but many of the smaller distilleries were bought by their richer contemporaries leading to the emergence of the big brand owners producing lots of spirits especially whiskies in one distillery.

    Fast forward to the beginning of the 21st century and things have started to change; where regulation used to be strict it is now more relaxed with the federal government and state legislators keen to support local business and market local produce. New York state is one such example, around ten years ago they reduced the cost of a distillation license from $65,000 to $1,500 which encouraged many enthusiastic home distillers to invest in equipment that meant they could commercial production. This coupled with the emergence of the ‘craft’ cocktail movement in the US and the growth of the small scale brewing industry has given distillers more confidence and consumers more appetite for smaller albeit lightly more expensive brands to try.

    New York Distilling Company Limited

    Some of the most notable pioneers of the US craft distilling movement include the New York Distilling Company (see right) who produce brands such as Dorothy Parker Gin and Perry’s Tot Gin. Others include the Hudson Bay Distillery also in New York state which make Bourbon and rye whiskies.

    One thing the big brands and the little brands have in common is their unfailing commitment to achieving perfection, whether it is a million case brand with million case economics or a five thousand case brand with one or two guys distilling, bottling, marketing and distributing it themselves.

    The UK too has also started its own craft distilling movement with new distilleries emerging regularly and new brands popping up daily. We have also seen some relaxation in the regulations over the last few years with gin being a spirit that has benefitted significantly from this.

    Have a look at our website to get an idea of the amount of new gins that have come onto the market in the last few years. Many of these are being made by small operators with an eye for detail and passion for creating the best possible liquid.

  • Autumn Portfolio Tasting - Bath - Thursday 22nd October

    See you tomorrow at our Autumn Portfolio Tasting!

    Thursday 22nd October, Bath Assembly Rooms

    What is it about?

    At Enotria, our love of food and wine is at the heart of everything we do, and we want to share our love of wine and flavour with the wonderful people of Bath.

    We have spent 40 years sourcing inspiration from across the globe, and have built a portfolio of wineries which encapsulates every part of the wonderfully varied world of wine – from small artisan producers to established iconic names, from classic regions to truly pioneering winemakers. We believe in building long-term partnerships with our producers and with you; our industry-leading marketing, training and graphic design teams are here to work with you to build your business and excite your customers. We pride ourselves on being the UK’s best premium supplier, and are committed to being an innovative and versatile partner to your business with a tailored portfolio, and channel and marketing solutions to meet all your needs.

    Who will be there?

    Champagne Jacquart, Taittinger, Ridgeview, Ste Michelle & Stags Leap, Bertani, Ixsir, Yealands, Peller, Riscal and Santa Ana to name a few.  Our local sales team have also curated an exciting and inpisring list of "Enotria Selects" wines to see you through the festive season and beyond.

     

  • Winter is coming...

    A Siberian Swan has landed in the UK: apparently a signal that the coming winter will be harsh and unforgiving.

    In which case - ramp up the central heating, sweep the chimneys, stock the larder and (most importantly) fill the cellar with plenty of wholesome, hearty reds to see you through the cold, hard months ahead.

    Perhaps slightly melodramatic but nonetheless we reckon it would be wise to get ahead of the game with some big, bold, carniverous reds to match the season's hearty roasts.

    2012 Harmonie Cornas, Domaine Guy Farge

    Dark ruby with very densely furled aromas of blueberry, violets, a hint of bacon and wet gravel. Cornas power and complexity on the palate with extremely well-knit elegance for one so young (as Guy says "it's not an old war horse"). Layers of very fine tannins show pedigree, but also extreme drinkability. Long finish.

    2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Martin Meinert

    Dense deep fresh red colour. The nose shows red berries, typical Cabernet herbs, spicy toasty oak and tobacco. Mouth filling and weighty but not clumsy on the palate, finishes crisp and lingering.

    2012 Selección de Familia Cabernet Franc, Humberto Canale

    The wine is bright ruby in colour with purple reflections. On the nose this wine is bursting with and intense mix of ripe red berries combined with hints of spice, jam, honey and vanilla. It is full bodied with rich jammy fruit flavours, soft tannins and a long finish.

    2012 Carménère Reserva, Viña Falernia

    Fairly deep red with a pale rim. Very sweet ripeness on the nose, possibly red gooseberry jam and a hint of green pepper. Ripe fruit on palate with soft texture.

    2012 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Poliziano

    A well structured wine with an intense perfume of juicy, ripe fruit and a rich palate, with just the right amount of tannin.

    2012 Crasto Douro Superior, Quinta do Crasto

    Lifted aromas of fresh Douro red forests fruits, very well combined with elegant bush and spice characters. Excellent approach, with upfront red fruits leading to a solid structure with fresh and elegant tannins. Great acidity, developing to a pleasant, well balanced and persistent finish.

     

     

     

  • How London became the Cocktail Capital of the World

    Alex Turner traces the development of London's cocktail bars and shows how our capital city continues to contribute to the global cocktail scene with some classic recipes.

    As October is the month that sees the 5th London Cocktail week I thought it would a good time to look at London’s contribution to the global cocktail scene. At this year’s Tales of the Cocktail London was home to Best International bar (Artesian) Best International Hotel bar (Beaufort @ The Savoy), Best New International bar (Dandelyan) and Best International bar (Blind Pig) which underlines London’s importance.

    There have always been cocktail bars in London but in the early days these were mostly confined to five star hotels and therefore didn’t have the reach that bars in New York or Los Angeles had. It was pretty much impossible to get anything other than a snowball or a bloody Mary in a pub or a restaurant up until the 1970’s but as the drinking public started to travel a bit more with the advent of cheaper worldwide travel the more they sampled cocktails in the USA and other parts of the world. London’s restaurant scene also started to evolve around this time and they started to add cocktails to their drinks list and many of the early trail blazers started to tend bar.

    It was really the 1990’s that saw the boom in cocktails in London, venues like the Atlantic Bar & Grill, Che, Alphabet, Met Bar and later on the LAB bar all came onto the scene all had talented cocktail makers and put cocktails at the top of their offer. And as the people of London started to drink cocktails, more and more bars opened and more and more talented young bloods began their careers. There have been a number of key figures that have transcended the generations and still exercise a huge influence over the industry. Salvatore Calabrese and Peter Dorelli both veterans of the five star hotel scene continue to create world class drinks and inspire bartenders to continue and develop their careers.

    Dick Bradsell, the godfather of modern mixology (although he won’t be pleased with the epithet) is probably the most influential living bartender outside of the USA and his drinks become more popular every year. These three and many more have inspired young bartenders to join the industry, develop themselves and start to influence those around them and long may this continue. Now we move into the second decade of the 21st century, London is arguably the most influential city when it comes to innovation (go visit White Lyan in Hoxton), talent (go visit any of the LCC bars) and great drinks. London Cocktail Week is a great opportunity to sample some of the best drinks made by the best bartenders the world has to offer.

    London has been the birthplace of many classic cocktails and is a small selection of some of the most well known.....

    Corpse Reviver No 2 (Harry Craddock c 1930)

    1 part gin 1 part Cointreau 1 part Kina Lillet (or Lillet blanc) 1 part lemon juice Dash of Absinthe

    Shake over cubed ice, strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist

     

    Bramble (Dick Bradsell 1980’s)

    35ml Gin 20ml lemon juice 15ml Sugar syrup 15ml Crème de mure

    Shake over cubed ice, strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed and lace with crème de mure. Garnish with a blackberry and lemon twist

     

    Breakfast Martini (Salvatore Calabrese 1990’s)

    35ml Gin 15ml Triple sec 15ml Lemon juice 1 bar spoon of fine orange marmalade

    Shake over cubed ice and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass, garnish with an orange twist

     

     

    Espresso Martini aka Pharmaceutical Stimulant (Dick Bradsell 1990’s)

    35ml Vodka 15ml Coffee liqueur 25ml Espresso coffee Dash of sugar syrupShake over cubed ice and strain into a pre-chilled martini glass. Garnish with three coffee beans

     

    Pornstar Martini (Douglas Ankrah c 2002)

    35ml Vanilla vodka 15ml Passionfruit liqueur 15ml Lime juice Dash Vanilla sugar syrup ½ Passionfruit

    Shake over cubed ice, strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with ½ passion fruit, serve with a shot glass of Prosecco

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