donderdag 4 maart 2021

Magical cocktails with Illugin Gin


In the glass, most gins look pretty much the same. But they all have a very different bouquet of tastes and aromas. This Gin is different in every possible way. It’s not a London Dry Gin and it has a very sexy color, which changes while you mix your drink. 

Illugin is a new gin by a small company located at The Belgian coast. In a market that’s swamped with small batch gins, they wanted to launch a new Belgian gin. But it had to be a special one. A real eye catcher with a wonderful taste.  

The most important difference with the average gin in your supermarket : This is an Old Tom Distilled Gin. Slightly sweeter than a London Dry Gin, dryer than a Dutch Genever, but certainly not so sweet as some sticky Spanish gins. 

Illugin contains a selection of botanicals such as coriander, caraway, angelica root and blueberries. And here comes the magical part - Among the botanicals used to produce this gin, there’s also a flower that adds “color changing magic” to your drinks. Illugin markets this flower as a secret, but this isn’t the first color changing gin I’ve seen. The flower that’s responsible for this party trick is the Clitoria Ternatea, also known as the Blue Pea or Butterfly Pea, originally grown in Asia and used mainly in tea.

It’s really fun to play with and it will amaze your guests. The color changing happens easily by adding some citrus or tonic to your drink. This colorful gin doesn’t contain any artificial colorants, only natural botanicals. 

So this might not be the first Butterfly Pea Gin I’ve seen, it’s definitely one of the tastiest. I really love the taste and aroma of this Old Tom Gin and had lots of fun playing around with it. I used it in three serves this week, which were all pretty and delicious: I mixed up the obligatory Gin & Tonic (watch the cool video on Facebook and Instagram, it’s made with my smartphone by my 9y old daughter !!!). 

After that I also mixed up a Gin Sour and a Martinez. The Martinez is a classic recipe that really needs an Old Tom gin to get it 100% right. For the Gin & Tonic I used a 1/3 ratio with a neutral Indian Tonic. For both cocktails I’ll add the recipes below. 

Magical Gin Sour

Ingredients
50 ml Illugin Old Tom gin
30 ml Fresh lemon juice
10 ml Simple syrup
1 egg white

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with just ONE single icecube. Shake hard for 10 seconds.
Add more ice and shake again for 10 seconds to cool it down. Strain in a pre-chilled coupe. 


Magical Martinez

Ingredients
50 ml Illugin Old Tom Gin
25 ml Starlino sweet vermouth
7 ml Leonce Extra Dry vermouth
7 ml Maraschino liqueur
1 dash Angostura bitters

Method
Stir all ingredients together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain into a pre-chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry. 

If you can handle a slightly more difficult bar-skill, also express a piece of orange peel above the glass to spread some of those fantastic oils. Throw away the peel, don’t put it in your 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 22 februari 2021

Margarita Day 2021 - Velvet Margarita


Today is National Margarita Day !!!

For my dear friend Rhonda it’s probably the most important day of the year. For this years celebration I wanted to mix up a much softer and silkier Margarita. And for a while I was already thinking about doing a ‘Margarita on the rocks’. I combined both ideas in this new recipe. 

Velvet Margarita

Ingredients
30 ml Gonzalez Byass ViƱa AB (Amontillado sherry)
30 ml Tequila blanco
20 ml Triple Sec (Feel free to use Cointreau)
20 ml fresh lime juice
Barspoon Agave syrup

Method
Add everything to your shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 15 seconds and double-strain in a tumbler with a big rock of ice. Garnish with a cute little flower. (I was out of limes…) 

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 21 februari 2021

AmericaNA & NAgroni (Mocktails)


No drinks are more Italian than these two iconic aperitivo’s based on Campari : The Americano and the Negroni. Could we mix them without alcohol, while keeping those typical Italian flavours?

I have tried this before in the past, but newer and better non-alcoholic products tempt me to improve these drinks in yet another try …

For your next #mocktailmonday I’ll give you recipes for both drinks. If you’re not able to find a good quality NA Amaro, you could try Monin Bitter. But you might have to adjust the measurements in that case.   

The jury is still out on the AmericaNA, the result depends very much on the measurement of the tonic. (I tried first with soda water but that - really - didn’t work). The NAgroni has the right flavour-mix and is a true winner !!!

P.S. I received this nice pocket flask with Martini Vibrante NA with the "No compromise club" sticker in my mail. With this great new products indeed no compromises have to be made. You can have a nice and flavorful drink, without the need for alcohol. 

AmericaNA

Ingredients
45 ml The Bitter Note (NA Amaro)
45 ml Martini Vibrante Non Alcoholic (NA vermouth style aperitif)
Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic 

Method
Add the amaro and Martini directly in the glass. Don’t stir in a mixing glass, because you don’t want extra dilution. Add them to a tumbler with ice and top with tonic. Stir very gently during 5 seconds. Garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel. 


NAgroni

Ingredients
30 ml The Bitter Note (NA Amaro)
30 ml Martini Vibrante Non Alcoholic (NA vermouth style aperitif)
30 ml Nona June (NA replacement for gin)

Method
Add all 3 ingredients directly in the glass. Don’t stir in a mixing glass, because you don’t want extra dilution. Just add them to your tumbler with ice and stir very gently for 5 seconds. Garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel. 

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 17 februari 2021

Amore Amaro


I really love amari. Ever since I visited the production plant of Amaro Montenegro in Bologna, the dark herbal liqueur became one of my favourite products. I use it for example to upgrade any Old Fashioned with aged (brown) spirit. It’s amazing how the amaro really uplifts the drink.
What I’ve never done before, is mixing a real amaro-forward cocktail. 

Damn, I now wonder why I waited this long. For this first try I used a Caribbean Amaro. This is my version of the "Amore Amaro", with Amaro di Angostura. 

Amore Amaro

Ingredients
30 ml Amaro di Angostura
15 ml Black Tears Spiced Rum
20 ml fresh lemon juice
20 ml Clement Creole Shrub

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 20 seconds and double strain into a nice coupe. Garnish with a dehydrated bloodorange wheel. 

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 13 februari 2021

Old Fashioned Valentine


An Old Fashioned is the father of all cocktails. It’s a simple mix of spirit, sugar, water and bitters. But nobody is holding a gun to your head to force you in using brown aged spirits. For this Valentine I’m mixing an Old Fashioned with a sweet gin : Siderit Hibiscus Gin

Personally, I don’t really like sweet gin, but in a recipe that uses sugar anyway… you just cut back a bit on the sugar and it’s a drink unlike any other Old Fashioned. Enjoy it with your loved ones.

Old Fashioned Valentine

Ingredients
50 ml Siderit Hibiscus Gin
7 ml Simple Syrup
2 dashes of citrus bitters

Method
It’s very easy to stir this one in the glass. Just add all ingredients to a tumbler with ice cubes and give it a good stir. Garnish with a small dehydrated Hibiscus flower. 

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 10 februari 2021

Gold Rush


We always try to stay focused on the mission of this blog : Easy to make cocktails, that you can make at home. If you already enjoy a refreshing Gin & Tonic now and then, you can also mix up these easy cocktails. It’s just ‘the next step’. For this purpose I often ‘simplify’ recipes I discover online or in old cocktail books. 

This ‘Gold Rush’ is a very tasty variation on the Whisky Sour. The recipe below is also slightly simplified, but I can promise it’s delicious. The honey always hits you in the aftertaste and the grapefruit bitters give it another direction compared to the original Whisky Sour. 

Are bitters hard to find? You can get them at most liqueur stores or order them online.

Gold Rush

Ingredients
50 ml Jack Daniel’s Old Nr. 7
30 ml fresh lemon juice
15 ml Honey syrup
2 dashes of grapefruit bitters
1 egg white

Method
Add all ingredients to your shaker with just one (1 !!!) ice cube. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds to develop some lovely foam. Open the shaker and add more ice. Shake gently for 10 more seconds until you feel the shaker getting really cold. Double Strain in a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with 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.

maandag 8 februari 2021

Red Grape Mocktail - Bel'Uva NA Aperitif


Our followers already know we are no big fans of Dry January and Tournee Minerale. But nothing wrong with a #mocktailmonday once in a while. Often enough I mix up a tasty mocktail, because I still have to pick up my daughter later that evening at the music academy. I’m very happy to see more and more decent and tasty alternatives hitting the market. In the past year we’ve tasted some excellent gin-, amaro- and vermouth replacements. Non-alcoholic beverages that can be used as real alternatives. You hardly taste the difference. 

Today I’m tasting a brand new non-alcoholic vermouth alternative, Bel’Uva Aperitif Humelus NA Red.

Bel’Uva is a new Belgian producer who creates beverages based on just two things : Belgian wine grapes and a selection of herbs and botanicals. They produce a range of 3 wine-based gins (Muscaris, Pinot Blanc and Cabernet Noir), vermouth and 2 non-alcoholic vermouth alternatives (Red and white). In this case of working with natural products non-alcoholic means less than 0,5% alcohol.  

The wine grapes have their origin in de Belgian region of Haspengouw : Domain Hoenshof and Jerom Winery. The first one is no stranger for Double Strainger, we have tasted their fruity Ice Wines a couple of years ago. For this new range they try to focus on sustainability by also using the ‘Pomage’, the residue of juice and peels which remain after pressing. The same residue which is used for the creation of Marc/Grappa in typical wine-countries. 

This new aperitif can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks… or in a fruity mocktail. 

Red Grape Mocktail

Ingredients
2 parts Bel’Uva Humelus Aperitif NA Red
1 part Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic
A good squeeze of lime

Method
Build in a highball glass with lots of ice. Give it a quick stir and garnish with a wedge of lime. I got the suggestion to also add a few raspberries, but for me this was too much. The wine and lime work perfect together. 

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.