maandag 2 augustus 2021

Can I use chocolate for garnish ?


Garnishes don’t always have to be a fancy cut of lemon or orange. In the past years I’ve seen many different garnishes even including pastry and sugar decoration. I’m leaning toward the Japanese principle that a garnish needs to add something to the drink. If it’s only decoration, you can skip it. Last weekend I mixed up two quick aperitifs, that both had a nice benefit from a chocolate garnish. 

The first drink was a bit obvious, X-Gin & Tonic, where X-Gin of course is a chocolate infused premium gin. I garnished this one with dark Madagascar chocolate 67,4% by The Chocolate Nation. This chocolate is made with premium cacao from the red island. Very intense taste with tones of raspberry, juniper, apricot and banana. The juniper really blends the chocolate to the G&T. 

The second drink is a dessert-style Old Fashioned. 

Banana & Chocolate

Ingredients
60 ml Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie
20 ml Giffard Banane du Brésil
2 dashes Nut bitters

Method
Let’s make it simple. Fill up your tumbler with ice cubes, add all ingredients and give it a good stir. Garnish with chocolate. I could have used the same chocolate because of the banana tones, but instead I picked Milk Chocolate “Power” 40,7% by The Chocolate Nation. This chocolate has a powerful core and creamy caramel tones that mix well with the whisky. 

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 23 juli 2021

The Belafonte


It’s a big, big world and bartenders all around the globe create fantastic drinks. And of course they have to be creative and think of a catchy name for their drinks. Sometimes it happens that there are multiple drinks around the world that share the same name. This is one of those, The Belafonte.

The Belafonte is bests known as a ‘Spritz’ cocktail. A refreshing mix of 1,5 cl Gin, 1,5 cl Simple syrup, 2 cl fino sherry, 2 cl lemon juice. Just mix everything together in a large wineglass with lots of ice. Top with 7,5 cl cold Prosecco. Garnish with a basil leaf. 

This is NOT the Belafonte I’m mixing up today. I’m sharing a very easy-to-make typical Italian bitter style highball aperitif with the same name. It’s actually a variation on the “White Port & Tonic” that’s popular in Portugal. 

The Belafonte

Ingredients
30 ml Campari
30 ml Graham’s Blend Nr.5 white Port
Tonic

Method
Add the Campari and Port to your longdrink or highball glass with icecubes. Stir to mix and top with tonic. Garnish with a dehydrated orange slice. 

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 20 juli 2021

Saint James VSOP Rum - Cocktail and cigar


Over the past years I’ve tried several brands of quality cigars, but my all-time favourite brand will always be the Cuban Romeo y Julieta, preferably the Short Churchill size. Last week I received a nice bottle of Saint James VSOP rum (43°) and the minute I opened the box, I wanted to pair it with a good cigar. So I jumped into my car and drove to one of my favourite spirit & cigar shops in my region, Huis Hardies in Mol.  

I picked up a few Romeo y Julieta cigars, but they were low stocked and didn’t have much choice in sizes. I had the salesguy advise me on some other brands that I didn’t really know. I ended up pairing my glass of rum with a CAO Pilón robusto extra (5x52).  

Nice to know : A “Pilón” is a layered stack of tobacco leaves that helps ferment the tobacco to maximize the flavor and color of the leaves.

Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Wrapper : Habano Ecuador

Very easy-smoking cigar that was just perfect in combination with slow sips of this rum. This cigars pairs very well with aged rum, but perhaps interesting to know for beer enthusiasts, it also pairs very well with a nice cool IPA beer. 

Of course I also wanted to use this rum in a cocktail. I always seem to have a problem with that. This is a very tasty aged rum that you really need to try neat. If you want to use it in a cocktail, don’t ruin it with too much juices and sugar etc. Rather just add some velvet sweetness and bitters and go for the Old Fashioned style. 

Saint James VSOP
Old Fashioned

Ingredients
60 ml Saint James VSOP Rum
15 ml Gonzalez Byass Nectar (PX Sherry)
1 dash of Cacao bitters

Method
Stir everything together with lots of ice. You can do this in a mixing glass or directly in your tumbler. Garnish with orange peel or a dehydrated orange slice. 

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.

zondag 18 juli 2021

Adonis 1884

After a busy week you are craving for a tasty drink, but let’s be honest… sometimes you are really tired and don’t want to make too much fuss. 

The Adonis is a very old cocktail recipe that will always do the trick. For this drink you will find different recipes. The Difford’s Guide recipe calls for a 2/1 ratio, but if you have a good quality vermouth, you should at least also give it a try with a 50/50 ratio too. 

Adonis 1884

Ingredients
60 ml Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
30 ml La Copa sweet vermouth
2 dashes of Angostura Orange bitters

Method
Add everything to a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir for 15 seconds and strain into a fancy wine or port glass. Garnish with a piece of orange peel… first give it a squeeze to spray some oils on the drink. 

P.S. I was out of fresh oranges, so had to use a dehydrated slice… nevertheless very tasty 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 12 juli 2021

Wild Strawberry Cosmo - Filliers Vodka


My wife has a couple of favorite cocktails. One of those is certainly the Cosmopolitan. This pink cocktail is a fruity sour, served like a Martini. The cocktail became famous by appearing in most episodes of the HBO hit-series ‘Sex & The City’.

How to improve such a tasty summer drink? I have experimented with multiple vodkas and even gins in the past… but a few weeks ago I received a box with 3 brand new vodkas from Filliers. And these bottles just scream “try me in a Cosmo”. One of those three variations is even suggested by Filliers to use in a “Wild Strawberry Cosmo” recipe. 

Filliers Vodka is distilled at the Filliers Distillery in Deinze. Most people know Filliers because of their excellent genever and gin, but they already started creating vodka in 2006, with the acquisition of the ‘Van Hoorebeke’ distillery. This distillery was established in 1792, creating the first Belgian grain genever and premium vodka with the brandname ‘Van Hoo’. 

For the Wild Strawberry Vodka, they enhance the original grain vodka with a distillate of Belgian wild strawberries. The vodka has a nose of wild strawberries and red cranberries. The natural flavour of strawberries balances well with the pure grain aromas. The aftertaste is long, fruity and dry. 

Wild Strawberry Cosmo (by Filliers)

Ingredients
50 ml Filliers Wild Strawberry Vodka
30 ml Cointreau
30 ml Cranberry juice
20 ml Lime juice

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake short but powerful. Strain into your pre-chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a strawberry. 

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 8 juli 2021

Blood Orange Smash - Teeling Whiskey


Most spirit producers share a couple of cocktail recipes on their website and social media. In most cases it are the obvious classics (Old Fashioned, Horse’s Neck, …), but in some cases they mixed up some interesting variations. 

During this summer I’m trying out some of those recipes and I’ll post the best of them. I’m starting with a suggestion from Teeling whiskey which was pretty tasty. 

Blood Orange Smash

Ingredients
45 ml Teeling Small Batch Whiskey
30 ml Fresh lemon juice
15 ml Fresh blood orange juice
15 ml Simple Syrup

Method
Add everything to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake hard and fine strain into your glass. I chose to serve it without ice in a large cognac glass. 

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.

zondag 4 juli 2021

Let's have a Bourbon Between the Sheets


Happy #IndependenceDay to all my friends in the USA. 

Let’s celebrate with one of the strongest cocktails on the menu. Today I’m mixing up a Bourbon-version of the ‘Between the sheets’. When it‘s really hot or if you would like to have more than one drink, you might lower the ingredients from 30 to 20 ml each, which still gives you 60 ml of hard liqueur. The orange liqueur should balance out the lemon juice. If the lemons are still too sour for your taste, add just a tiny bit of simple syrup. 

Let’s have a Bourbon Between the Sheets

Ingredients
30 ml Casa Magdalena Ron Blanco (White rum)
30 ml Maker’s Mark Bourbon
30 ml Cointreau
22,50 ml fresh lemon juice

Method
Add everything to your shaker with lots of ice. Shake hard and fine strain in a chilled coupe. Lemon is the better garnish for this one. 

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.