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Monthly Archives: October 2016

  • Vodka - The Renaissance Cocktail Spirit

    by Alex Turner

    There has been a lot written about vodka in the past year so I’m not going to revisit the debate. Instead I thought I would reflect on what vodka has contributed to the world of cocktails and how many great drinks have been overlooked in the pursuit of vintage and forgotten classics made with gin and rye whiskey.

    Vodka

    Growth of Vodka

    Vodka became popular due to its excellent mixing properties especially after the dark years of prohibition, the great depression and the Second World War, this was a time when poorly made and often toxic spirits deterred younger drinkers from ordering gin, whiskey and rum. Vodka’s clean, crisp flavour livened up anything it was mixed with as well as gave mundane ingredients a much needed kick up the derriere.

    Screwdriver Cocktail

    The Go to Spirit

    Post WW2 the humble orange juice became sublime when mixed with vodka and was christened the screwdriver and the apogee of the cocktail, the venerable Martini was transformed into a bright and delicate libation that delivered all the effects of a hydrogen bomb without the unpleasant fall out the morning after (bear in mind that the 1950’s was slightly obsessed with the atomic age). Throughout the 1950’s and all the way up until the 1990’s, vodka was the go to spirit when creating new drinks and it was these that guests in cocktail bars were ordering all over the world.

    Right up until the start of the 2000’s any list of the top ten drinks would feature mostly vodka as its base; drinks such as the Cosmopolitan, White Russian, Sea Breeze, Moscow Mule and Bloody Mary to name but a few. Even these days, the Espresso Martini, Porn Star Martini and French Martini are certainly in the running for most popular cocktails ordered in UK bars. That said, with the slight disinterest even distain that many bartenders now have for vodka means we may be entering a period where there are no new ‘classic’ vodka drinks being created.

    CocktailsPoster

    The Greats

    Before we read the last rites let us revisit some of the great vodka drinks you may have forgotten or overlooked when developing your new cocktail lists. The Espresso Martini is a mainstay on most lists, but how about another Bradsell classic?


    Russian Spring Punch

    A delightfully refreshing and joyous combination of Russian vodka, crème de cassis, lemon juice and left over sparkles (Dick was always maximising the margins).

    35ml Russian Vodka
    15ml Crème de Cassis
    20ml Lemon Juice
    1 bar spoon Caster Sugar
    Top with Champagne

    Build over lots of crushed ice in a sling glass and garnish with lemon slices and mint sprigs.


    Polish Martini

    The Polish Martini was another of Dick’s priceless contributions to the industry; a decadent mix of Bison grass vodka, honey vodka and apple juice, bet you’d forgotten about that one!

    25ml Bison Grass Vodka
    25ml Krupnik Honey Vodka
    25ml Clear Apple Juice (we didn’t have cloudy apples in the 90’s)

    Shake over cubed ice and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an apple chevron.


    Sea Breeze

    The Sea Breeze was a mainstay of the early 90’s cocktail list and when made with cranberry and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice is a great sharpener to revive a flagging guest after a long day’s toil. Its siblings the Madras and the bay breeze are both excellent, easy going long drinks.

    50ml Vodka
    50ml Cranberry juice
    75ml Fresh Grapefruit Juice

    Build over cubed ice in a hurricane glass (or a tall wine glass) and garnish with a lime wedge.


    Thankfully, a lot of bars are beginning to embrace some of the more frivolous drinks of the past, cocktails that eschew the worthiness of some of the recent staples of the cocktail list by chucking in cream, juices, liqueurs and garnishes that add appetite appeal to the drink. The great thing about vodka is it allows the other ingredients to shine by giving them a little nudge into the spotlight, unlike some more popular spirits that wrestle the mixers into submission and take all the glory!!

    Here is a selection of crowd pleasers (not for the lacto intolerant).

    The Flying Grasshopper

    Its creamy, it’s greeny, and it’s dreamy. It’s basically mint choc chip ice cream in a glass, garnish with a cube of mint Aero for the perfect retro cocktail.

    25ml Vodka
    15ml Green Crème de Menthe
    10ml Crème de Cacao Blanc
    50ml Half and Half (25ml Milk, 25ml Cream)

    Shake hard over cubed ice and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a cube of mint Aero.


    Screaming Banana Banshee

    Got a blender? Add half a banana, chocolate and banana liqueur and vodka, blend it all together and serve with a banana dolphin on the glass!

    25ml Vodka
    15ml Crème de Bananes
    10ml Crème de Cacao
    50ml Half and Half
    ½ a Banana

    Blend with crushed ice and serve in a tall wine glass, garnish with banana dolphin.


    Annihilator

    One cannot list classic vodka drinks without adding the White Russian, the Dude’s go to drink and the cousin of the Black Russian (for even more frolics create an Annihilator by adding cola to your white Russian!!)

    25ml Vodka
    25ml Coffee Liqueur
    25ml Half and Half
    Top with Cola

    Build over cubed ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a cocktail cherry.

    I do admit many of the drinks listed would not look out of place on a 1990’s cocktail list, a period usually referred to as the ‘dark ages’ of cocktails but as a veteran of the 90’s cocktail scene we certainly didn’t take ourselves or our drinks too seriously…………

  • Regal Rogue joins the Enotria&Coe porfolio

    Regal Rogue enters into new national distribution deal to drive the vermouth around the wine occasion!

    As vermouth takes a firm place on menus across the country, the newly formed Enotria&Coe is the perfect partner to develop Regal Rogue nationally as a wine aperitif.

    Regal Rogue was launched into the UK in 2014, back when there were just a handful of new world vermouth brands entering the market. Since then, there has been a huge resurgence in the category, with the timing being termed the ‘vermouth renaissance’. Both On and Off Trade are recognising the unique styles of vermouth for different occasions, and are showcasing these respective brands.

    Regal Rogue has a unique style created from the easy drinking new world Australian wine base, with a native Australian aromatic mix. The natural production process results in a quaffing style, with an average of 30% less sugar than traditional European brands.

    Entoria&Coe has established a fantastic national customer network with a national sales team that understand the crossover from wine into spirits, complementing the Regal Rogue signature serves from standalone aperitif to vermouth-led classic cocktails.

    Regal Rogue founder, Mark Ward said: “After two great years in the UK market, this is the perfect solution for us to integrate Regal Rogue around wine occasions whilst working with a highly respected team nationally. I’d like to thank the ID Brands team for their input over the last year, and I look forward to seeing where we go from here in our pursuit to turn vermouth upside down.”

    Enotria&Coe Buyer Carol Howard commented: “We are delighted to be working with Mark and the team at Regal Rogue.  The brand is everything you could wish for; unique, versatile, contemporary and ultimately fun. We’ve been supporting Mark since those first intrepid days in the UK when the Vermouth market was dominated by a handful of big brands and the category itself was small and in need of some inspiration. The Regal Rogue range has certainly inspired us and we look forward to helping Mark and the team in their pursuit to “turn vermouth upside down “.

  • Ferrari wins big at CSWWC

    ferrari

    We are delighted to announce that Ferrari Brut NV Trentodoc has cleaned up at the The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), receiving trophies for World Champion Classic Blanc de Blancs, and Best Italian Sparkling Wine.

    An extraordinary success for Ferrari's flagship product, which embodies the perfect combination between Trentino’s territory and Chardonnay grapes.

    Ferrari Brut’s triumph as best Blanc de Blancs in the World is the ultimate proof that Ferrari Winery took indeed the right direction in deciding to focus on a wine that enhances at best the features of the Chardonnay grapes grown on the mountains of Trentino, whose potential was spotted more than one century ago by visionary founder, Giulio Ferrari.

    The Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championship is an international contest organised by Tom Stevenson and dedicated exclusively to sparkling wines.

    About Ferrari

    Inspired by the example of Champagne and informed by his winemaking studies in Montpellier, Giulio Ferrari’s vision for the products which bear his name was unstinting: to make the finest Metodo Classico sparkling wines in Italy. A bold pledge in 1902, but to this day, the wines of Ferrari remain true to their original creator, persisting through the arrival of the Lunelli family as owners of the business in 1952. Owner of Trento’s best-known wine bar of the day, Bruno Lunelli was uniquely positioned to understand and persevere with the Ferrari dream, sourcing grapes from high in the Trentino hills and never compromising the painstaking Metodo Classico production methods.

    It’s an approach that has persisted through two more generations, with Gino, Franco and Mauro entering the business in 1969, and Bruno’s grandchildren, Matteo, Camilla and Marcello, following suit in 2005. This consistent philosophy has turned Giulio’s dream into reality, with Ferrari today acknowledged as the finest sparkling wine producer in the country, and a member of Altagamma, the high-end Italian association which also includes such luxury icons as Gucci, Versace and Valentino.

  • London Restaurant Festival – The Final Week

    This is it: the final week of London Restaurant Festival is here. So, with just six days of events left now’s the time to get out and explore the city, and discover some incredible food and wine experiences along the way.

    This week, we’ve gone Italian, with a stable of premium winemakers in from the European powerhouse wine region.

    side_orders_660x383wine-3

    Top to Toe Italy: Master of Wine Seminar

    41 Portland Place

    Nodding to Enotria’s Italian heritage, we’ve pulled together a line-up of some of most exciting Italian producers for a seminar sure to delight a packed room of knowledge-thirsty students. Boasting the best Italian portfolio in the UK, we feel confident in our voice of authority on all things Italian wine. From classics such as Chianti and Barolo, to the intriguing wines from Sardinia and Sicily, during this seminar we’ll explore the diverse range of wine coming out of Italy, and learn from those who are on the frontline of some of the most prestigious and dynamic estates in the country.

    pop up taste

    Pop-Up Consumer Tastings

    Andaz, Liverpool Street

    We’ve packed the room with Italian producers for the final pop-up tastings of the festival. In keeping with previous events, punters will have an hour and a half to swirl, sniff amd sip their way around the room with the producers themselves. Whether you want to know more about how wine is actually made, or you’re interested in never-before heard stories straight from the estate, this is the place to do it. Of course, all this can be done with a glass of wine in hand.

    Our regular pop-up tasting will take place on Tuesday, with an exclusive tasting on Saturday for guests of London Restaurant Festival’s Ultimate Gastronomic Weekend – a two-day event where ticket holders will experience all the very best the festival has had to offer.

    Tuesday 25 October / Andaz Studio

    Ascheri

    Cecchi

    Umani Ronchi

    Ferrari

    Chiarli

    Botromagno

    Saturday 29 October / Andaz 1901 Wine Bar

    Cecchi

    Umani Ronchi

    Botromagno

    Ferrari

    Chiarli

    Vistorta

     

    rest hop

    Restaurant Hopping Tour

    Following the theme of the week, on our final Restaurant Hopping tours we’re setting off on an Inspired Italian Ciccheti tour through Soho. With a producer posted in each of our five locations, guests will enjoy authentic, simple and seasonal Italian food – think pasta, pizza and charcuterie – matched to perfection with a delicious glass of vino.

    Wednesday 26 October

    Cecchi – Mele e Pere

    Umani Ronchi – Polpo

    Ascheri – Vico

    Botromagno – Pizza Pilgrims

    Chiarli – Tozi

    Saturday 29 October

    Cecchi – Mele e Pere

    Umani Ronchi – Polpo

    Ferrari – Vico

    Botromagno – Pizza Pilgrims

    Vistorta – Tozi

     

    Festival Menus

    As part of London Restaurant Festival, hundreds of restaurants across the city have created bespoke festival menus, matched with wines from Enotria&Coe producers. It was a tough task, but here are two menus we’re most looking forward to.

    sanderson

    Ferrari – The Sanderson

    Thursday 27 October

    With vines cloaking the mountainous terrain in Trentino, Ferrari’s sparkling wines are hallmarked by elegance and complexity. With a commitment to innovation, sustainability and excellence, it’s no wonder the Italian producer’s bubbles are amongst the finest to come out of the north-east region of the country. For one night only, a selection of Ferrari’s finest wines will be served with everything from lobster bisque, to wild mushroom, toasted brioche and winter truffles.

    crab

    Cecchi – Crab Tavern

    Friday 28 October

    This Tuscan producer boasts an impressive portfolio of wines, which perfectly marry longevity with drinkability. Plus, they’re among the best value wines in the Enotria&Coe stable. This Friday, Cecchi will set up shop at Broadgate Circle’s Crab Shack, which is famed for their crab – in particular the Crab ‘n’ Waffle – but they also dish up plenty of other seafood including mussels, squid and octopus.

    eastway

    Andaz, Liverpool Street

    Located on Liverpool Street, Andaz Hotel has been a hive of festival activity these past couple of weeks. From wine tastings to panel discussions, hundreds of consumers have passed through the doors, to enjoy some of the best food and wine experiences we've programmed for the festival.

    In our final week,  we'll be hosting a pop-up wine-tasting evening Thursday at Andaz Eastway with Botromagno and Vistorta.

  • Day of the Dead

    Dia de muertos or the day of the dead is a Mexican festival that is similar to Halloween and unless you are still into trick or treating your neighbours the sensible choice would be to celebrate Dia de Muertos as this means you can eat tacos and drink tequila!!

    The festival is celebrated throughout Mexico and countries where there is a Mexican population (USA) and lasts for three days; 31st October to 2nd November. Families gather to remember and to pray for family members and friends who have died.

    Día de Muertos: Mexican Calaveras, skulls pattern, Mexico City culture

    Kah Tequila has actually been designed and created to pay reverence and honour to Mexico and its people. The bottles are based on traditional Calaveras (skulls made from sugar) which are used in the Day of the Dead rituals to symbolize death and rebirth, each is a unique work of art, and reflects different South American cultural traditions. View Range Here >

    Mexico isn’t just about tequila these days, its cousin Mescal is now emerging as a credible alternative as is Sotol and hopefully they will soon be joined by Bacanora and Rascilla. Luckily, the category has benefited from the premiumisation of the global spirits industry with most brand owners realising that people no longer view tequila as a drink to be slammed with fizzy wine or ginger ale and they want to savour it and are happy to pay more for better quality liquid. This has led to the rise of the 100% agave tequila category and the demise of mixto tequila.

    Firstly, how’s your agave spirit range looking?

    It’s worth having another look at it again and seeing if you’ve got a good cross section of brands as well as styles. One or two blanco’s, one or two reposado’s and at least one anjeo should do. If your crowd (and bar team) are fans of tequila look to increase the range and start to add brands from different producers and areas; highland tequila tends to be fruiter whereas lowland tequila can be earthier and more peppery. Producers will choose to age certain brands for longer to achieve the desired taste profile with some choosing different cask finishes too. Don’t overlook Mescal, there are lots on the market now and most don’t have a worm in the bottom (which is a bit of a gimmick). It may have a flavour that some people find hard to swallow but once you discover a taste for the stuff it’s hard to break.

    Day of the Dead Skull Illustration Now you’ve got your range up to scratch here are some suggestions to get your bartenders mixing and your guests enjoying some Dia de Muertos drinks. Remember, this is a three day long festival so write them up on a blackboard so people can see them or better still print off a small menu card and offer them to every guest who walks through the door. ACLAMACIONES!!!


    Flaming GhostFlaming Ghost

    50ml Ghost Vodka
    20ml Vanilla Gomme
    20ml Fresh Lemon Juice
    15ml Rhubarb Liqueur
    Quarter of a Ghost Chilli
    Handful of Raspberries

    For those that like it hot. Mix ingredients and strain into a martini glass.


    El DiabloEl Diablo

    35ml Blanco Tequila
    15ml Crème de Cassis
    Ginger Ale

    Build over cubed ice in a highball glass and garnish with a lime wheel.

    They say the devil has the best tunes, well he’s got some fine drinks too.


    PalomaGrapefruit and Tequila Paloma Cocktail

    50ml Blanco Tequila
    Dash of Lime Juice
    75ml Pink Grapefruit Juice
    Top with Soda

    Build over cubed ice in a highball glass and garnish with a salted edge and a lime wheel or grapefruit slice.

    Paloma means dove in Spanish. In Mexico they make this drink with a grapefruit flavoured soda called Squirt, the closet equivalent in the UK is Ting.


    Smokey Bloody MariaSmokey Bloody Maria

    50ml Reposado Tequila
    15ml Lime Juice
    100ml Tomato Juice
    1 Bar spoon Smoked Chipotle Paste
    Dash Worcestershire Sauce
    Salt & Pepper

    Build over cubed ice in a highball glass and garnish with a smoked chilli and a lime wedge.

    A Bloody Mary with tequila and the smokiness of chipotle pepper paste which gives this drink a richer flavour and a bit of a kick.


    Tequila Old FashionedTequila Old Fashioned

    50ml Anjeo Tequila
    10ml Sugar Syrup
    Dash Angostura Bitters
    Dash of Orange Bitters

    Build over cubed ice and garnish with an orange and lime twist.

    A twist on the Old fashioned whiskey cocktail, a dash of mescal adds a nice smoky touch and is cheaper than a smoke gun.

  • Make it at home with Botromagno

    Facebook-

    Ingredients (four people)

    - 500g orecchiette (the traditional ear-shaped pasta of Puglia)

    - 1kg washed turnip greens without the stems

    - Garlic

    - 1 anchovy fillet

    - Salt

    - Chili pepper

    - Breadcrumbs

    Procedure

    Gently boil the turnip greens in salted water. When cooked, take out, keeping the water to cook the orecchiette in. In a large frying pan, gently brown the garlic in a little olive oil and then add the turnip greens and the anchovy fillet. Mix well and leave to cook for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile cook the orecchiette in the turnip green water until al dente. Drain, add to the frying pan and mix well for a couple of minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and a little chili pepper.

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