dinsdag 14 juli 2020

Chairman's Reserve Spice Lab Competition - Spicy Rum Old Fashioned

 
Most bartender competitions are more or less the same. The goal is to create a fantastic cocktail, using the product(s) of the organising producer. I was excited to see a completely different competition, launched by Chairman’s Reserve, a rum-brand from Saint Lucia Distillers, based on a small island with the same name south of Martinique in the Caribbean.

Next to their original Chairman’s Reserve Rum, they are also known for their tasty Spiced Rum. The exact recipe of this mix is of course a secret, but they based their ‘Spice Lab’ bartender competition on the skill of spicing up your rum.


Bartenders from nine countries (UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, China and Santa Lucia) could enter the competition and create their own spiced blend, starting from Chairman’s Reserve original Rum. This flagship product is a marriage of aged rums from coffey and pot stills. Each batch is matured separately in ex-bourbon casks. Later they are blended and rested in oak vats for an additional six months. The average age of the blend is five years. This rum has the typical richness of pot still rums, with aroma’s of cooked banana, caramelized fruits and spicy oak derived vanilla. Flavours of chocolate, golden raisin, tobacco and clove with a long and creamy finish.
The known spices used for their Spiced Rum are cinnamon, bois bandé (bark of Richeria Grandis), vanilla pods, nutmeg, cloves, mint, bay leaves, ginger, turmeric, garlic and several fruit syrups and essences.


On Santa Lucia each family has its own secret recipe to create spiced rums. From all the contestants in this competition, three winners will be selected who can produce their own limited edition of spiced rum, which will be marketed internationally.
In the first round the competing bartenders had to describe their vision of a spiced rum. From idea to serve. The selected bartenders from the first round then received a kit containing six spices, and room for a maximum of three extra spices to be added by themselves.


In the kit : cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla pods, almonds and orange peel. This second round will end in September, giving the bartenders enough time to perfect their spiced rum creation and promote it in their community.

Only the best creations will be selected for the third and final round : Three bartenders will be chosen and invited to Santa Lucia from the 17th to the 21st of November 2020 to create their own limited edition of Chairman’s Spiced Rum in collaboration with the R&D team. Part of the profits from this Limited Edition will be donated to local associations to help the hospitality community of Santa Lucia, deeply affected by the COVID19 crisis.
  
I was very lucky to receive the same kit to do my own experiments. I decided to add star anise and liquorice and mix it up to a nice Spicy Rum Old Fashioned. I added the rum and spices to a small jar and let it macerate for a few days. I removed the spices and had it rest for a few more days, before using it in my cocktail. The result was (for my personal taste)… absolutely delicious !


Spicy Rum Old Fashioned


Ingredients
50 ml Home-spiced Chairman’s Reserve Rum
10 ml Simple syrup
1 dash of nutty bitters
1 dash of orange bitters


Method
All ingredients can go directly into a bold tumbler. Stir with lots of ice. Add a cocktail cherry. Enjoy.


P.S. This drink also pairs fantastic with a good cigar !!!
 
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 juli 2020

Peaky Blinder Mojito

 
We’re in the #rumweek, but since our family holidays are coming closer, I don’t have the time to do a full series of drinks now. Nevertheless I’m going to do a few tasty rumdrinks this week. Inspired by the team of Whatz Hap, who added small bottles of Peaky Blinder Black Spiced Rum to the Father’s Day breakfast boxes last month, I decided to make a Peaky Blinder version of the classic Mojito. To my own surprise, after 551 blogarticles I never mixed a Mojito, so it was about time to create a variation on this true Cuban classic 😉

The rum is of course named after the popular TV series Peaky Blinders, telling the story of crimeboss Tommy Shelby and his family in the Birmingham of the roaring twenties. The Peaky Blinder Black Spiced Rum is blended with multiple herbs and spices, adding layers of oranges, nutmeg, vanilla and raisins.


Peaky Blinder Mojito

Ingredients
50 ml Peaky Blinder Black Spiced Rum
25 ml Perrier
1 Lime
10 Mint leaves
2 barspoons of cane sugar


Method
Add four parts of lime and 10 mintleaves into a large glass. Add the rum, sugar and soda. Muddle. Add crushed ice and stir to bring up the goodness. Garnish with a wedge of lime and a sprig of mint. I was lucky to find a few mintflowers in my garden.

P.S. If you have a small bottle like mine, don’t pour it in the glass but plant it in the ice to serve. Stir it up a little before you drink.
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 juli 2020

Catch up on those lost apero-moments #inhaalzomer

 
The COVID19 virus has disabled the economy and our lives worldwide for several months. It’s interesting to see how organisations and companies handle this situation.

Supermarket Delhaize launched a great campaign, motivating us to ‘catch up’ on all those lost apero-moments during the lockdown. Let’s spend this summer having several great apero-moments with our small bubbles of friends and family in our homes and gardens. How could you ever disagree on that 😊

A few weeks ago they have sent me a totebag with a few nice surprises : A bottle of gin, a few mixers and a bottled cocktail and mocktail, mixed by Star-tender Hannah Van Ongevalle. They also added some coupons for snacks, to pick up at the local supermarket.

I decided to create a fun apero-moment with our neighbours, followed by a tasty BBQ.

For your inspiration, I’ll share what was in the bottles :

Apero Sur L’Herbe (Cocktail)

Ingredients
Gin
Lemon Juice
Peach-Cherry-Vanilla syrup
Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic


Crispy Carole (Mocktail)


Ingredients
Lemon juice
Non-alcoholic gin-style spirit
Camomille-star anise syrup
Fever Tree Ginger Beer


Spread the idea : Catch up on your lost apero-moments too !


#ecobelgisch #inhaalzomer


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.

zaterdag 4 juli 2020

Easy & tasty summer cocktail : Summer Sour

 
Each summer I try to create a new tasty summercocktail. Last year it was the Sunshine Lover, which also made it to the menu of cocktailbar Coaster.

This year I created a summer drink in the style of the Caipirinha de Jerez 
I posted earlier, but added some blood orange juice for a complete makeover. Let’s say it’s a delicious crossover between a Caipirinha and a Daiquiri, with a big splash of sunshine 😉 

Summer Sour


Ingredients
25 ml Angostura 1824 Rum
25 ml Pitú Cachaça
15 ml Fresh lime juice
15 ml Blood orange juice
15 ml simple syrup


Method
Shake with lots of ice. Double strain in a cocktail glass with a big block of ice. Garnish with a dried piece of orange or a cocktail cherry. Pick your choice. Enjoy on a hot sunny terrace. Works pretty good with insalata caprese bites.


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.

vrijdag 26 juni 2020

Scallywag - The Stray Dog goes to Italy

 
It’s hot, I would love to be in Italy right now and I really love this Douglas Laing Speyside malt blend. That’s three excuses to mix up one more cocktail based on Scallywag 😉

This whisky has a very recognizable flavour from the sherry casks and I just want to enhance this a little bit more. Some people add a tiny bit of tonic to Negroni-style drinks to take the sharp edge off the bitterness. I did the same with some dry fino sherry. The result is a Boulevardier with a nice sherry-touch.


The Stray Dog goes to Italy


Ingredients
30 ml Campari
45 ml Scallywag Blended Malt Whisky
30 ml Cinzano sweet vermouth
10 ml Tio Pepe Fino sherry


Method
Stir everything together in a large mixglass with lots of ice. Strain into a tumbler with a big block of ice. Add a piece of orange (fresh or dried). Salute !


Tip
I paired this tasty cocktail with a piece of ‘Doré de Lathuy’ Bio-cheese. This is cheese from the Ardennes, made from raw cow milk. This pairing was suggested by cheese master Peter Verbruggen


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 23 juni 2020

The Stray Dog Returns - Scallywag

 
It’s more or less a year ago that I first played around with Douglas Laing’s Speyside blended malt. Since Speyside is my favourite Scottish Whisky region, I really need to use this great blend more often in tasty cocktails.

Scallywag is a blended malt whisky on 46% alcohol. With casks retrieved from Macallan, Mortlach, Glenrothes, and a few more distilleries. They have a tasty combination of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks. The color, taste and flavour of this whisky do give the impression that lots of sherry casks were used.

  • Color : Rich and dark
  • Nose : Richly spiced, vanilla, sherry, oak
  • Mouth : Strong whisky with herbs, warm red fruits, Christmas pudding and dark chocolate
  • Finish : Orange peel, apple, pear, tobacco and fruitcake


Last year I have sent the Stray Dog to the Big Apple, in a tasty variation on the Manhattan which I paired with some great cheese. It’s about time to take the next step and bring the Stray Dog back to Scotland for another variation on the Manhattan, adding even more flavours.

The Stray Dog returns

Ingredients
45 ml Scallywag Speyside Blended Malt
20 ml Cinzano sweet vermouth
15 ml Conker Cold Brew Coffee liqueur
20 ml Lemon juice
1 dash Angostura bitters


Method
Add all ingredients in your shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 20 seconds and double strain into a pre-chilled coupe. Add a cocktail cherry. Enjoy it out in the rain, don’t forget your umbrella 😉


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 15 juni 2020

(FAIL!!!) The Iceberg

 
Let me reveal one of the hidden secrets of booze-blogging. When we publish a recipe for a cocktail, do we always create or reshake the drink in just one go? Of course not.

I only publish a recipe (and the photos) when I’m satisfied with the result, even when only the taste needs a bit of tweaking and the problem doesn’t really show on the Instagram photo. If I’m not happy, it’s not posted online.

 
When I’m not satisfied, it’s because something just isn’t right. Maybe the cocktail isn’t perfectly balanced and I need to tweak the recipe. Or maybe I’m not really convinced by one of the ingredients and want to swap it for another ingredient and try again (recently I did this with a bottle of rum)
. Or maybe (not that often, stop laughing!) I made a stupid mistake in the execution making the cocktail.

Sometimes it's not possible to have another try… A while back I already made a list of reasons why bloggers don’t like small samples. 
Let me repeat it shortly, because the former article was in Dutch :
  • Small samples are often only 20 or 30 ml, while you need at least 45 to 50 ml as a base for a cocktail. 
  • When we are creating a cocktail based on a new spirit, sometimes we need multiple takes to just ‘get it right’. If we only have 30 or even 50 ml of the new spirit, we only have one single shot to get it right. If we fail, there is no second chance and no article or post. 
  • Last but not least, a sample tube or mini-bottle is not really sexy on our Instagram photo. For the same reason we hate photographing ‘almost empty’ bottles. A normal size and almost full bottle is always sexy and very recognizable for our followers.
Earlier this week I tried to reshake a more or less classic German cocktail : The Iceberg. This tasty ‘bitter forward’ cocktail is not difficult to make at all, still I succeeded in screwing it up big time.
 
Recently I bought a new mini-blender for my homebar. I was looking for a nice and easy recipe to test the blender. The even parts cocktail “The Iceberg” would be just perfect. Problem: My new blender seems to be A LOT better than the old one. The crushed ice didn’t know what hit it.. in just 4 or 5 seconds the ice was completely vanished. The result was a nice and tasty creamy drink, but no iceberg at all. I added some extra icecubes to the Margarita glass to make it an acceptable drink, but my perfect Instagram photo was completely ruined. And I couldn’t go for a second try because my bottle of tequila was empty and it was the only reposado Tequila in my homebar. Yes, I know that’s a shame. I decided to use this experience for a FAIL-article 😉
 
My advice : if your blender can handle crushing icecubes, the result will be much better. I’ve made lots of Frozen Daiquiris and Frozen Margaritas in the past summers, always using small icecubes with a perfect crushed result.
 
The Iceberg
 
Ingredients
30 ml Tequila reposado (Medium-aged tequila)
30 ml Orgeat Syrup
1 mini-bottle of Underberg
25 ml lemon juice
 
Method
All ingredients in your blender with 1 cup of crushed ice. But I would REALLY recommend icecubes instead, unless you also want to risk screwing up the drink. Blend until it’s smooth as a slushy. Serve in a Margarita- or Martini-glass. Add a metal straw and the empty Underberg-bottle. Cheers !
 
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.