vrijdag 17 september 2021

The Unexpected Rosé Negroni


The #Negroniweek is the perfect moment to experiment with some variations on the iconic Negroni-recipe. You always need a tasty spirit, a wine-based aperitif and bitters. You need to balance the flavors to get the right result. In most cases, like the recipe below, even parts will be fine. In some cases you need a bit extra spirit, or a spirit with a slightly higher ABV to get things right. 

Today I’m mixing up a rum-based Negroni-style drink that’s light and very fruity.

The Unexpected Rosé Negroni

Ingredients
30 ml Matusalem Rum Insolito (aged rosé rum)
30 ml Leonce Vermouth
30 ml Aperol

Method
Do it like the Italians, add everything to a tumbler with icecubes and stir for 15 seconds. Garnish with orange peel or dehydrated orange.

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations. 

woensdag 15 september 2021

Negroniweek 2021 - Conte Negroni


Each year I try to include a bottled/premixed Negroni in my #Negroniweek posts. Last year I featured the Verhofstede Negroni, a complex mix of four (instead of three) of their existing products. At the start of this year I received a bottle of Conte Negroni, a brand new Belgian pre-mixed Negroni, which also has a great story. They created their own Gin,Vermouth and Bitters with the sole purpose of blending them together to create the best possible bottled Negroni. 

After a first tasting I decided this would be the bottled Negroni for this years’ edition of #Negroniweek. When I compare this drink to the better Negronis I’ve tasted in Italy… this one comes pretty close. It could use a slightly longer finish, but the flavor profile is excellent. 

The Negroni has a typical nose of bittersweet oranges, calamus root and quassia bark. A four week minimum barrel ageing enhances the flavors and really blends everything together.  
Always serve on ice and add an orange peel of a dehydrated orange slice to complete the drink.

The iconic Negroni is Italy’s Nr.1 aperitivo with strong bittersweet flavors. You like it or not. If you feel the bittersweet taste is too strong for you, you can always top your drink with a bit of tonic or Prosecco. The guys from Conte Negroni are suggesting a “Perfect Serve” highball by adding some Gemellii Bergamot Tonic. 

For the highball serve I used a biodegradable disposable cork straw from La Paille en Liege.  

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

maandag 13 september 2021

Negroniweek 2021 - Evan Williams Bottled In Bond


It’s Negroniweek again. Drink for a cause. Visit your favorite bar and have one the Negroni-style drinks on the menu. They will donate something for charity, for each Negroni sold during this week. 

Like former years, bloggers around the world will also promote this week and put this iconic Italian aperitif in the spotlights. And of course we’ll make a few delicious variations. As I like to keep things simple on my blog, I’m not going to work with infusions or handmade syrups etc. I’m going to share a pretty good bottled Negroni and I’ll mix up a couple of tasty variations on the original. 

Let’s start with a tasty Boulevardier. The gin is swapped for whisky, but for me this really needs to be a good quality Bourbon. From my recently received box of Heaven Hill whiskeys, I pick a bottle of Evan Williams Bottled in Bond.

This 100 proof version of the world's second largest selling Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is aged four years under U.S. Government Supervision to meet the exacting standards for Bottled-in-Bond. First enacted by Congress in 1897 and still on the books today, Bottled-in-Bond guarantees quality and assures consumers the product is bottled at exactly 100 proof, the product of one distilling season at one distillery, aged at least four years, and clearly labeled with name of the distillery who made it and Distilled Spirits Plant (D.S.P.) number in which it was made and bottled.

Evan Williams Boulevardier

Ingredients
30 ml Evan Williams Bottled in bond 100-proof
30 ml Campari
30 ml Cinzano Sweet vermouth

Method
Make this one like they do it in Italy. Fill your glass with icecubes, add all ingredients and stir until nice and cold. Garnish with a piece of orange peel (first extract the lovely oils on top of your drink) or a dehydrated orange slice. Enjoy !!!

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations. 

donderdag 9 september 2021

Keep it quiet... with Elijah Craig Bourbon


As promised, in this period I’m going to do lots of things with the American whiskey bottlings of Heaven Hill. A bottle that I was really looking forward to is this Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon.

With 78% Corn, 10% Rye and 12% malted barley this is a lovely and sweet Bourbon.  It’s a mix of 8 to 12 year old barrels, bottled at 47% alcohol (94 proof).

Complex aroma with lots of vanilla, sweet fruit and fresh mint. Smooth and warm in the mouth, wood, spice, smoke and nutmeg. Long sweet and slightly toasted finish.

This bourbon will work in most whiskey-cocktails, but I wanted a classy drink with unexpected flavors.

The cocktail for today is a Manhattan-style drink, but a lot fresher and fruitier. It’s a variation on the recipe of ‘The unnecessary noice’.

Keep it quiet

Ingredients
50 ml Elijah Craig
22,5 ml Aperol
Abinthe (just for the rinse)
A splash of Lillet Blanc

Method
First add some Absinthe to your Martini glass, swirl it around and add some ice to chill the glass.

Add all other ingredients to a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir for 10 to 12 seconds. Discard the ice from the glass and strain your cocktail. Garnish with a piece of orange peel or a cocktail cherry. 

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

dinsdag 7 september 2021

Evan Williams Black


In April I co-hosted a ‘Bourbon town’ masterclass about the whiskey-range of Heaven Hill. A recording can still be found on our blogpages (select ‘More’ in the top menu). A couple of weeks ago I received a huge box with all the bottles from this range. In the next weeks I’ll be playing, experimenting, sampling and tasting this great whiskey. 

I’m starting with the entry-level bottle: Evan Williams Black. This is a nice no-nonsense bourbon that every whisky enthusiast will love to sip. 
  • Mashbill : 78% Corn, 12% Malted barley and 10% Rye.
  • Bottled at 43% Alcohol (86 Proof) which is a bit higher than most competitors in this price range. 
  • Light aroma with deep vanilla and even some mint. 
  • Taste : Notes of oak, brown sugar and caramel
  • Medium to long finish.
You can enjoy this bourbon neat, with ice, with soda, with ginger-ale or ginger beer. Even with cola if you want. 

I decided to taste it neat with a few nice slices of Eifel sirloin steak and fries. Perfect combination. (And yes, it’s really possible to drink whiskey with a meal… I just wouldn’t recommend to do it every day 😉)

About the meat: Eifel cattle are a typical beef breed that’s kept on the large herb pastures of the mid-Eifel. My supplier sources this meat from farms near St-Vith in the German-speaking part of our country. 

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

maandag 6 september 2021

Gault & Millau Regional Guide for Knokke-Heist


The city of Knokke-Heist did something no other Belgian city has done before. They launched their own regional Gault & Millau guide. Today I received a copy in the mail and I have to say… I actually like it better than the well-known annual yellow bible with all the best restaurants.

Next to the best restaurants and POP addresses, they also list a selection of the best artisans, food shops, chocolatiers and (cocktail-)bars. And even more, since the Zwin region really glues Knokke and Cadzand together, they also list the best places on the other side of the border. 

The guide is distributed free to everyone in Knokke, but you can also buy your copy at the tourist info and local bookshops. 

Cocktailbars like The Pharmacy, Cicciolina or Mr. Panda are not to be missed. If you also visit the other side, I can recommend stopping at Blueness. They also serve fantastic cocktails to combine with the Asian-style bites !

P.S. Congrats to cocktail-godfather Jan Van Ongevalle for getting his brand new restaurant Ugly Duckling already listed in the guide.

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations. 

donderdag 2 september 2021

An American in Beringen


The end of summer is near, autumn is just around the corner, but we still try to catch those last rays of sunlight and combine them with delicious highball cocktails. Slightly lower in ABV and very refreshing. 

This recipe is a variation on one of Italy’s most famous bitter aperitifs, the Americano, with a base of Pinguino vermouth. This is a local product made in Paal-Beringen (Belgium) by Chef Wim Schoofs. 

For this recipe I’ve experimented with several measurements. For my personal taste this 30/30 mix had the best result. As said before in another blogpost, Pinguino is a premium vermouth, made with herbs and spices from all around the world. It’s just perfect in a highball with tonic. But when you use it as an ingredient for a real cocktail, in my opinion it develops deeper flavours more like an amaro. What I concluded from my experiments for this drink is that if you use maximum 30 ml you will keep the leash on it and it adds everything you expect from a super-premium vermouth. When you add more than 30 ml the ‘amaro-style’ horsepower starts to break loose which is a totally different experience. In this drink I really wanted the best possible vermouth-flavors I could get from this bottle. Compared to the original Americano, it just needed a little extra punch, which I added by swapping the soda water for Pink Pepper tonic. 

An American in Beringen

Ingredients
30 ml Pinguino vermouth
30 ml Campari
Schweppes Premium Mixer – Pink pepper tonic

Method
You can serve this drink in many styles. Negroni-style in an old Fashioned glass, aperitivo-style in a highball or … why the hell not, Spritz-wise in a big Coppa-glass with lots of ice. 

Add both Campari and vermouth to your glass with lots of ice. Give it a few stirs to mix. Add tonic and give it just a few more very gentle stirs. You don’t want to remove the bubbly. Garnish with a wedge of orange. Enjoy !!!

P.S. Next month, for a limited time, this drink will be on the suggestions menu at Paal 26 Grand Café in Beringen. 

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. This blogpost is a paid partnership with Paal 26 Grand Café.