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Monthly Archives: March 2017

  • Charting the world of Irish spirits

    Ireland once dominated the world’s spirits trade, but fell out of favour in the early 1900s. Yet now is an intoxicating time for the small island, with the resurgence of craft distilleries and desire for local and boutique products throwing the market wide open for everything from vodka and gin, to new whiskey distilleries and the ubiquitous Irish Cream. The alcohol industry contributes €2 billion to the Irish economy and supports over 92,000 jobs and is the eighth-largest spirits producer in Europe.

    First some history – production peaked in the late 1800s with 88 distilleries producing around 12 million cases. Political unrest, prohibition in the US, and importantly, the failure of Irish distillers to innovate and embrace the Coffey still (ironically designed by an Irish distiller Aeneus Coffey) led to the nosedive of the industry with only two distillers left by the mid-1980s. Then the Irish whiskey industry started to awaken – by 2015 eight distilleries were in operation, with 32 now planned or producing and the optimistic Irish Whiskey Association targeting the export of 24 million cases per year by 2030.

    Smoother than Scotch, with the use of malted barley and rarely any peat, Irish whiskey is now booming with new releases such as Roe and Co and Glendalough coming out on a regular basis – an achievement that has been some time coming considering that the whiskey needs to be aged for a minimum of three years before release.

    Diageo-Roe-and-Co-e1485856237214-783x375

    Middleton produces the volume with the Jameson brand, and its many variants, alongside Bushmills and Paddys. However, more distilleries are coming into production with West Cork Distillers, Teeling, Dingle, The Shed, Blackwater and Glendalough amongst others jumping on the craft spirits trend to get the ball rolling. Many of the start-ups are buying in whiskey from closed distilleries and re-blending it in order to release product to the market now, whilst they create and refine their own offering.

    In a twist of modern-day marketing, it’s also worth noting that there are two Jameson distilleries, but Jameson is distilled at Middleton, and this quirk continues for other brands such as Tullamore Dew.

    The increasing popularity in the liquid from markets far and wide such as Japan and America, has seen some behemoths of the spirits world – Diageo and Pernod Ricard – investing millions to ensure and build on supply, and in creating new brands for a younger market. Diageo’s St James’ Gate Distillery in Dublin, to be built in an old building at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, is reportedly costing around €25 million to construct and has a capacity to produce half a million litres of liquid. Yet whiskey isn’t everything!

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    Poitin – pronounced pot-cheen is the once illegal, oft-shunned white spirit of the Emerald Isle, produced in small pot stills from locally available ingredients, and has come to the fore in recent years. Illegal until the late 1990s Poitin gained a Geographical Indicative Status (GI) from the EU in 2008. Bright, grassy, punchy – there are several words used to describe this liquid, which is essentially white whiskey, but it has garnered favour amongst enthusiasts and in cocktail bars. Further experimentation drawing from the whiskey world continues, with sherry barrel-aged, ‘mountain strength’ and even buried variants hitting the shelves from producers such as Glendalough and Ban Poitin.

    Irish Cream – always there in your parent’s drinks cabinet – is a creamy rich blend of Irish whiskey. It once heralded the end of Christmas Day by the fire, but the category continues to grow and develop with unusual flavour combinations becoming the plan of the action – Baileys Pumpkin anyone?

    Vodka – produced around the world from almost anything, and now coming to you direct from Ireland. As an example, Dingle producer vodka on the west coast, are creating a five-times distilled spirit with a sweet, creamy texture. Yet Dingle actually set out to be a whiskey producer – vodka, and lately gin, are being produced by a number of the new distilleries in Ireland as a way of experimenting with products, and also to keep the money coming in whilst they wait out the long three-year minimum before their whiskey is ready.

    Gin – no one can have escaped the gin boom of recent years, and in a similar vein to vodka, several new distilleries in Ireland are producing gin whilst waiting for their whiskey. However, there are also gin-specific distilleries in action. A key element it seems in Irish gin production is the use of, and search for flavour – rather than producing regular London Dry, we’re seeing strawberry gins, hopped gins, seaweed gin, alongside gins rested in barrels made from juniper wood for added oomph, and even gin distilled from whey (milk).

    The future is clearly bright for Irish spirits as more producers come to the market promoting regional, craft expressions of well-known categories.

  • The Perfect Pour

    Celebrate Mother's day with these gorgeous gin-based cocktails, perfect for the sunny days ahead...

    LABEL2-D31664NV_2 PINK & TONIC

    Why not try a refreshing Pink and Tonic. All you need is Pink Pepper Gin served with a deserving tonic over ice. Garnish with a spring of lavender, a grapefruit wedge and voila!

    A very round and aromatic gin - Pink Pepper is perfectly served neat or over ice, gradually revealing an intense freshness.

    Pink Pepper Gin

     

    bloom ginBLOOM PEAR BELLINI

    A true party pleaser. All you need is 25ml Bloom london Dry Gin shaken together with 10ml pear juice over crushed ice. Topped with chilled prosseco.

    A light, delicate and floral gin with a totally unique, slightly sweet taste created by a bespoke blend of 3 botanicals: honeysuckle, chamomile and pomelo.

    Bloom Gin

     

    monkey 47GIN FIZZ

    Add Monkey 47 Gin, 30ml lemon juice and 10ml sugar syrup to the shaker, fill with ice cubes and shake vigorously for around 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled fizz glass or over ice into a highball glass and top up with 20ml of fresh soda water. We're sure this easy to make, refreshing cocktail will soon be one of your favorites!

    A curious gin from the Black Forest in Germany. Made with 47 (yes, really) botanicals and bottled at 47%.

    Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin 

     

    cotswolds ginAPPLE & BLACKBERRY CRUMBLE

    Forget baking! This delicious dessert cocktail showcases sweet and tart spring delights with a delicious crumble finish.

    Rim the martini glass with oat crumble. Muddle 8 blackberries in the shaker, fill with ice and add 45ml Cotswolds Dry Gin, 15ml cinnamon liqueur, 10ml lime juice, 50ml apple juice and 8ml almond syrup. Shake well and strain into a martini glass and embelish with apple & blackberry!

    A classic well-balanced juniper-led gin with crisp citrus and spice.

    Cotswolds Dry Gin

  • On the road with Les Somerville

    Earlier this year a group of Enotria&Coe Account Managers made the trip to Argentina, to see what all the fuss was really about. While they expected it’d be an eye-opening journey into the heart of the country’s most famed wine regions, they didn’t quite anticipate just how remarkable the food experience would be. To give us a taste of their gastronomic adventure, Enotria&Coe Director of Sales Scotland and NE, Les Somerville, put pen to paper.

    Les

    Food is a huge part of my life, this is clear through my developing waistband. The opportunity to be in Argentina and have a range of exceptional wine and cuisine was a dream come true. Yes, my preconception was Malbec and steak, but my eyes were opened to the regionality of both food and wine. This hit a true crescendo was when we visited the fantastic Espacio Trapiche, ‘Space Trapiche’ restaurant at the Trapiche winery in Mendoza.

    Where this restaurant and Mendoza-born chef Lucas Bustos had our full attention, was when he started the conversation with the wine, and not the food. It was a great experience as he got out a black marker pen and started writing on the massive glass windows that showed the panoramic view of the orchard and farm, where all the fruit and veg cultivated under biodynamic practices is harvested.

    IMG_1004Like any good wine tasting note, Lucas took us through the appearance, nose, structure, and finish. As he went through each stage, he’d ask us what food it made us think of, and what ingredients would complement the flavors, acidity, and weight of the wine. From here we ventured into the bountiful vegetable gardens, and started looking at what we could experiment with. Each group was given a different wine to play with, and as there were three groups one did starter, the other the main course, and finally dessert.

    It was fantastic to watch the groups trying the finished products, as each of the dishes were born from a truly collaborative process. As a lover of fire, I was so impressed with the outdoor cooking areas – all locally sourced felled and dried wood that’s burnt down to its embers. These embers are then moved under a grill plate that can be lowered and risen depending on the heat you want to impart on the cooking.les cooking class

    The style of food has gained a name of ‘mountain-range cuisine’. Everything is locally sourced, in fact the only thing that I could find that wasn’t from Mendoza was the glassware. All the wines were from the Trapiche winery made lovingly by Daniel Pi (head winemaker), the food was all sourced from the land, and the wood from a nearby forestry. Not many meals of this quality have such traceability.

    For a wine lover, using wine as the starting point when creating a menu was fantastic, and something I would love to see more restaurants experimenting with. The simplicity of grilling a carrot that you have pulled from the ground and getting a level of sweetness that matched the Chardonnay we were trying was just sublime. Simple food made with passion and understanding what each part of the dish brings to the table and glass.

    I won’t go through the full menu as the food envy could get dangerous. We might not be able to provide you with the food, but I will look at all of the wines we tried in a different way, and the learning for how I will marry food and wine will be with me forever more.

    Les (at least a stone heavier than when I left…)

  • In the kitchen with Lucas Bustos

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    We chat to Espacio Trapiche Head Chef, Lucas Bustos, to find out more about his passion for everything food and wine.

    How did you get into the food business?

    This is not a family tradition; rather, when I was young I thought it was a very fun profession to have good times, meet new friends, and travel the world.

    Tell us about your food philosophy Espacio Trapiche, and how does wine fit into the equation?

    Wine is the central idea; we take everything from wine. When you plant the vineyard, harvest the grapes, have the wine process under control, then you know the quality of the product you’re offering to your guest. We do the same in the kitchen, but we have a great farm and vegetable garden. Keep everything as local as possible, keep the terroir expression!

    Where do you find the inspiration to create your dishes?

    Most of times, the inspiration comes from the winery itself. I start looking for fragrances and flavors among the place, our market garden, our farm and then I go to the kitchen. There is always a glass of wine in the middle of the process.

    In your experience, what is the key difference between been a chef and a winery chef?

    Passion, I love wine. Incredibly, the best wines often don’t reach the kitchen, and aren’t involved in the cooking, so I choose to cook with and for the wine.

    Costilla de hereford ahumada, pur+¬ de papas espunta y romeroWhat does the wine bring into the food?

    Depth, complexity of flavors, the kitchen with wine has another dimension.

    You have one last meal, what would you be drinking and eating?

    Fish and chardonnay!!!! Turbot and burgundy!!

    What do you love most about your job?

    Wine, friends, creativity, great places, and no routine.

    If you weren't working as a chef, what would your 'Plan B' be?

    Architecture is one thing that I really love in all its ways.

    Espacio Trapiche’s star dishes:

    • Ravioli
    • Rib of slow cooked beef, potatoes and vegetables
    • Filet with vegetables harvested from the garden
    • Pork cooked for eight hours, with mashed corn and glazed potatoes
  • St Patrick’s Day delights

    St Patrick’s Day – the day for celebrating the Emerald Isle with green clothes, green parties, green drinks…

    Green drinks are not for the faint hearted – oft coming sugary-sweet or somewhat raw, and almost neon in colour but they are out in abundance on March 17th – although Ireland has given us more to drink than just something viridescent.

     

    Irish Buck

    Irish Buck

    A simple twist on a classic Moscow Mule.

    50ml Irish Whiskey | 10ml fresh squeezed lime juice | Ginger Ale

    Served over ice in a tumbler, topped with ginger ale, and garnished with lime wedges.

     

    Miss Moonshine

    Something with a little fire at it’s heart.

    50ml Poitin | 20ml Lillet Blanc | 10ml Suze d’Autrefois | 10ml St germain | 10ml Rosemary Syrup | 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

    Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled coupe/cocktail glass. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and twist of lemon.

     

    Last Word

    An Focal Deireanach (The Last Word)

    One of the few great cocktails to come out of immediately pre-Prohibition America, created by a Vaudeville (that’s stand up to you and I) star in Detroit, given an Irish twist to embrace the light green hue of the drink.

    30ml Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin | 20ml Green Chartreuse | 20ml Maraschino | 20ml Lime Juice | 3 sprigs thyme

    Shake hard with ice and fine strain into a chilled coupe/cocktail glass. Garnish with a thyme sprig.

     

    Feeney’s-Salted-Caramel-Milkshake

    Feeney’s Salted Caramel Milkshake

    This devilishly decadent shake is just the ticket for those with a hankering for something on the sweeter side.

    30ml Feeney’s Irish Cream | 20ml The Dubliner Honeycomb Liqueur | 1-2 ½ scoops of vanilla ice cream (sweet double cream or fresh whole milk) | A pinch of sea salt

    Blend all the ingredients and serve in a milk bottle over crushed ice. 

     

    For the sore head the morning after an Irish Coffee always awakens the senses, but use slightly cooled coffee to remove the bitterness; or for those more adventurous infuse, poitin with rosemary sprigs and fresh red chillies to use as the base for a Bloody Mary with a difference.

  • The tasting event of the year

    saatchi-galleryFor one day only, Enotria&Coe is taking over the Saatchi Gallery for our Annual Tasting, held on Wednesday 29th March.

    Customers will be treated to an unrivalled selection of premium wines, spirits and Champagnes under one roof and an opportunity to revisit, reinvigorate and re-energise their lists from an exciting portfolio that continues to evolve and grow under the leadership of Enotria&Coe’s Buying and Retail Director, Jon Pepper MW. 

    This year, we'll be pouring hundreds of wines from our portfolio, and are delighted that over 100 producers from around the world will be flying in from all corners of the globe, eager to share their knowledge and passion for their wines and estates.

    We're dedicating an entire gallery to fabulous fizz from around the world, allowing visitors to explore a hugely comprehensive selection of sparklers, and to top it all off, there will be over 55 stellar spirits brand owners on hand to showcase the breadth and depth of the UK’s leading range of spirits and liqueurs, and to provide inspiration for the very best spirits and cocktail lists.

    CEO Troy Christensen said: “Customers have fed back to us that they want a portfolio tasting, our producer partners are incredibly keen to meet customers and prospects alike, and so we’re delighted to bring our expertise and passion together to host an event of this scale in the country’s capital. The team has been working behind the scenes, ahead of what’s set to be our biggest, most boundary-pushing flagship event to date.”

    He continued, “The UK market is facing perilous times, as financial and political volatility challenges even the best operators. Yet it is clear that those establishments who engage consumers through the effective activation of premium wine and spirits will be the winners. We are excited to support our customers and suppliers in building these strategies, and our annual tasting is a hugely important part of that process.”

    With hundreds of producers packing out nine galleries across two floors of Saatchi Gallery, this is also the perfect opportunity to meet the makers behind what is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most comprehensive drinks portfolios.

    This year, we'll also be launching a raft of exciting new producers that have recently joined the Enotria&Coe stable: two Rioja producers –Ramón Bilbao and Sierra Cantabria – and from Argentina, the country’s first South Atlantic Ocean producer, Costa Y Pampa, will be showcasing their wines for the first time on UK shores.

    Interested? Well now's the time to register; simply click here to get your ticket. 

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