zaterdag 19 september 2020

The Fake Barrel Aged Bottled Frozen Negroni


I have done this experiment before, but not for such a long time. So I’m very excited to see how it worked out. And I will combine it with something else I learned recently. 

On the first of April (I’m not joking) my wife was preserving some vegetables in the kitchen and sealing them in plastic bags. I thought to myself, why not repeat my fake barrel aging experiment…

So I went upstairs to my homebar and added the classical three ingredients for a Negroni into a plastic bag. I also added a few extra charred wood pieces of Jack Daniel’s barrels. I intended this experiment to “age” until June, when I could taste it for the #Negroniweek. But COVID-19 paralysed the world and #Negroniweek was postponed until the second half of September. I decided to keep the bag in the back of my fridge until it was time to taste it. 

So this is it. Three years ago I did this same experiment but only “aged” my cocktail for a month. This time I had it aging for 5,5 months. 

The day before the tasting I opened the bag and strained the cocktail through a coffee filter. The clean cocktail was poured into a small jar and put in the freezer for another night. 

Important remark : I didn’t add water to the recipe, so I’m still going to stir this cocktail with some ice in a mixing glass before serving. I want my Negroni to have a bit of dilution-water.  

What was the result of this “Fake barrel aged frozen bottled Negroni” ? At least it goes on record as the Negroni with the longest or craziest name ? ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Of course you immediately recognize the typical bold Negroni flavours, but after those first seconds you also notice the deeper layers. The oak and vanilla flavours of the Jack Daniels casks are clearly present. No sharp edges, but rounded and tasty… takes me right back to Italy !

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 15 september 2020

Negroniweek 2020 - Frozen Negroni


A few days ago I shared my Frozen bottled Martini experiment. At the same time I also put a Frozen Negroni in my freezer and waited for the #Negroniweek to get it out and taste it.

For this experiment I picked Hotel Starlino Rosso vermouth, made in Torino, Italy. While their Rosรฉ and Arancione aperitivos are aged in stainless steel containers, the Rosso vermouth is aged for 30 days in ex-bourbon barrels from Kentucky. This will add a warm, spicy aroma and flavour.   

People who follow my #drinkstagram adventures probably already know that I’m a sucker for all things vintage and retro. Just look at that great Starlino bottle and label. Isn’t it fantastic? It looks awesome on a vintage bar trolley. 

I really wanted to experience the effect of the freezing, so I didn’t go wild on the ingredients. 

Frozen Negroni

Ingredients
30 ml Campari https://www.campari.com/
30 ml Beefeater Gin https://www.beefeatergin.com/
30 ml Starlino Rosso Vermouth https://www.thestarlino.com/
20 ml water

Method
Add everything to a small bottle and put it in the freezer. Chill your Martini-glass or coupe. Add the cocktail straight from the bottle into the glass. Garnish with a (dried or fresh) slice of orange.

Can you still serve this Frozen Negroni in a tumbler with a big block of ice? Of course you can. The water in the bottle replaces the dilution when shaking or stirring. It doesn’t replace the ice in your glass. It’s your choice, but because it’s stone cold when served, I’d go for a nice coupe. 

Tip : Want something extra? Give your glass a rinse with a slight bit of Absinthe or anisette. 

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 14 september 2020

Negroniweek 2020 - Sbagliato Bianco



The #Negroniweek is an annual themeweek highlighting this iconic Italian cocktail, paired with a global fundraiser for charity. But we are still in 2020 and COVID-19 is still around. This year the activities will be limited to a digital-only event, raising money for organizations and initiatives that are providing relief for the hospitality industry, which have suffered immeasurable losses as a result of the global pandemic.


Of course cocktailbloggers and #drinkstagram influencers will post multiple delicious Negroni-style recipes and raise some extra attention for this initiative.

Traditionally the Negroniweek is always happening in June. Because of COVID-19 it was already postponed and is now happening this week 14 to 20 September.

During the year the Negroni cocktail is often featured on my timelines. We spend most of our summers in Italy and my Facebook and Instagram pages color red most of that period. In this themeweek I will share some of my fun experiments. Nevertheless I’ll stay true to the mission of my blog and keep it simple. If I can do this, so can you!

Let’s kick off the #Negroniweek with an unusual version of this cocktail… it’s white, it’s sparkling and it’s bitter-forward. 

Sbagliato Bianco

Ingredients30 ml Suze30 ml White vermouthProsecco

MethodIf you are going to use a big block of ice in your glass, first add the Suze and vermouth to a mixing glass with lots of ice cubes. Stir for half a minute. Strain into a tumbler with fresh ice.

If you are going to use smaller ice cubes in your glass, add both ingredients directly into your tumbler with ice. Stir for half a minute. 

Add some good quality Prosecco and give it just one more single stir. Garnish with a piece of lemon. 

We seem to still have a few days of Indian summer here in Belgium. Enjoy your drink with a ray of sunshine ๐Ÿ˜‰  

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 13 september 2020

Frozen & Bottled Martini



Over the last few weeks I’ve seen a lot of bloggers experimenting with frozen cocktails. The concept is pretty easy : Add your ingredients to a small jar or bottle and put it in the freezer for at least one night. Serve straight from the bottle in the glass. Add some garnish and ready to serve. 


First of all, this is nothing new. It reminded me of the Dukes Martini, served at the Dukes Hotel in London. (Fun fact : I once worked for a company based at the same square!). They also freeze their gin (or vodka) and just add three dashes of vermouth in the glass. This special serve was invented in the mid-80s by Salvatore Calabrese and is also known as the Martini that will really get you drunk, because it holds as much alcohol as three normal Martinis. The bar has a two-drink maximum for this serve. In the world of spirits and cocktails Salvatore became known as ‘The Maestro’, he also invented the Breakfast Martini. 


Back to my homebar, where I also wanted to play around with this idea. Bottled cocktails have certain advantages. Because of the concept, the ingredients have more time to blend to perfection. Freezing the bottle will have some more influence. First, I really like my drinks very cold and I know I’m not the only one. Second, the effect of the alcohol will be slightly softened by the temperature. 

I decided to freeze two simple experiments: A Martini, but also a Negroni that I will taste during the upcoming #Negroniweek. 

When you serve a cocktail straight from the bottle, you will have no dilution from the ice because there will be no shaking or stirring. You need to compensate the lack of dilution by adding a little bit of water into your bottle. The amount of water will be depending on the ABV of the cocktail. A Martini or Manhattan will require a bit more water than a Negroni. 

Of course you will give the jar or bottle a quick shake before placing it in your freezer. James Bond’s “Shaken not stirred” could really work this way ๐Ÿ˜‰ 
The result ? This was really delicious. My kind of drink. I'm absolutely going to do this more often !!!

Frozen Martini


Ingredients
60 ml Broker’s Gin 20 ml Dry Vermouth35 ml water1 dash of Orange bitters

Method
Add everything to a small jar or bottle. Give it a shake and put it in the freezer. 
Chill your glass. Strain the cocktail straight from the bottle or jar into the glass. Garnish with an olive or lemon peel. 

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 5 september 2020

Italian Shandy

 
It’s been a while since I did a Michelada or beer-cocktail. Why not go for a Spritz-style shandy? It’s weekend after all. 

I’m not using juices or lemonades to mix with the beer, but bittersweet Italian aperitifs. The result is a very refreshing drink which is not too sweet at all.


Italian Shandy


Ingredients
4 cl Select Aperitivo
1,5 cl Averna
Italian Pilsner


Method
Fill up your beer glass with ice cubes. Add the Select and Averna to the glass. Add a bit of beer and give it a quick stir. Top with some more beer and garnish with a slice of orange. It alsmost looks like a beautiful Sunrise ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 2 september 2020

French Manhattan


Variations on classic cocktails sometimes really hit the right spots and in time, become classics themselves. Starting from the Manhattan, you have well known variations like the Dry Manhattan, the Rob Roy (or Scotch Manhattan) and the Reverse Manhattan. But have you already tasted the French Manhattan? 

You can make one by just adding orange liqueur, but I wanted to go for the real French touch with cognac instead of rye whiskey. 

French Manhattan

Ingredients
45 ml Remy Martin Cognac
45 ml Sweet French vermouth
7,5 ml Cointreau
1 dash orange bitters

Method
Add everything to a mixglass with lots of ice. Stir until perfectly blended and cold. Serve in a Martiniglass or coupe. Garnish with a candied amareno 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 24 augustus 2020

Italian Sazerac

 
Two years ago I was asked to join the press corps for the world finals of the Amaro Montenegro cocktail competition in Italy. One of the first things we did that week was visit the Montenegro Group production plant near Bologna. I can still remember the incredible smell of the macerating herbs for their amaro. But, maybe a bit to our surprise, the largest part of the factory is actually the distillery for another great product : Vecchia Romagna, the finest Italian brandy.

With this brandy I’m now treating myself to a delicious Sazerac.


Italian Sazerac


Ingredients
60 ml Vecchia Romagna brandy
10 ml Simple syrup
5-10 ml Absinthe
3 drops Absinthe bitters (or Peychaud’s bitters)


Method
Start by coating your glass with a bit of absinthe. How much Absinth is hard to say, because it depends on the size of your glass. I used a large Cognac glass for my drink, so I needed a bit more. Don’t discard the extra Absinthe, just leave it in the glass. Remember to swirl it around again before adding the rest of the cocktail.


Add your brandy, syrup and bitters to a mixglass with lots of ice. Stir for half a minute, swirl your glass and stir again for a few seconds. Strain into your glass.
No garnish needed, if you really want something add a twist of lemon. 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.

woensdag 19 augustus 2020

The Godfather


The result of your drink can really change by swapping the brand of your ingredients. That’s why the recipes you read on a cocktailblog are often the result of many attempts to get it just right. 

I was never a big fan of The Godfather. I love the movie, but the cocktail didn’t really do it for me. I wouldn’t even try the original even parts recipe. I made a Godfather once a few years ago with 50 ml Scottish whisky and 20 ml Amaretto DiSaronno. It was ok, but not really my taste. 


Three years later, I’m trying it again but more tuned to my personal taste. 


The Godfather

Ingredients

60 ml Maker’s Mark Bourbon
20 ml Amaretto Adriatico Roasted Almonds 


Method
Add both spirits to a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir for 20 seconds until it’s perfectly blended. Strain into a Martini glass. Add a cocktail cherry.

Serving the cooled drink in a Martiniglass is of course a big difference from the original tumbler with ice. Still, I liked this version more and loved the wonderful smell of roasted almonds at every sip.

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 4 augustus 2020

The Garibaldi - A two ingredient drink that separates average bartenders from mixologists

 
Today I’m going to talk about one of the most iconic Italian cocktails. No, it’s not the Aperol Spritz, Negroni or Americano. It’s actually one of the most popular and at the same time most simple summer drinks, enjoyed in many countries around the world. You only need two (or if you really want, three) ingredients for this drink : The Garibaldi, also known as the “Campari Orange”.

Now what is really the difference between a plain and simple Campari Orange… and the iconic Garibaldi ? It’s all a matter of bartending skills. This cocktail is really what separates the average pub-bartender from mixologists in high end cocktail bars.
While the average bartender will just add Campari and orange juice into a longdrink glass with a couple of icecubes and a slice of orange, the mixologist will create a drink that will really connect to your taste buds in a way comparable with enjoying a meal in a two-star restaurant.


Really ? With just those same two (or three) ingredients ? Yes.


A Garibaldi is always made with fresh orange juice, squeezed right at the moment when you prepare the cocktail. The juice is fine strained to get a clean liquid without any bits in it. Next is the magic trick that will transform the cocktail completely. The orange juice is blended at high speed to mix it with oxygen. Don’t add ice in your blender, just blend the orange juice. You really want a light, fluffy and frothy juice.


This drink was named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, who was a central figure in the unification of Italy. It’s also the flagship drink at Dante
, one of the world’s best bars. The best Garibaldi I personally ever had was at Il Marchese in Rome, a bar with over 500 different amaro-bottles on their backbar.
 
Now try for yourself and taste the difference !


The Garibaldi


Ingredients
45 ml Campari
120 ml Fresh orange juice, strained and blended
Optional : Max. 5 ml Simple Syrup


Method
Add two ice cubes into your longdrink glass. Add the Campari and half of your juice. Stir until perfectly mixed. Add another two or three icecubes and the rest of the juice. Don’t stir. Garnish with a nice orange wedge. Enjoy.


No two oranges are the same in taste. If you need a bit of sugar to counter the bitterness, add a little bit of simple syrup to your mix before you stir.


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 31 juli 2020

Black Tot Day 2020 - 50th Anniversary !!!

 
Black Tot Day was 31 July 1970, which is exactly 50 years ago today.
Elexir Distillers, the producer of Black Tot Rum, wants to celebrate this occasion with a 24h virtual Rum festival. Let's join the party !!!


Black tot Day was the day the British Navy were served the last of their famous rum rations. In 1970 it was voted in the UK Parliament to stop the rum ration given fears surrounding the more complex technology in operation across the Navy.


The remaining flagons of rum were stored for special occasions like the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Some flagons found their way to former officers and private collectors. Over the course of several years, Elixir Distillers co-founder Sukhinder Singh tracked down and purchased these last remaining flagons, and blended them together to create his ‘Black Tot Last Consignment’.


From that same distiller we received a bottle of “Finest Caribbean Black tot Rum”, so we could also raise our glass for this celebration. This rum is also inspired by the story of Navy rum and its pioneers of blending. This is a blend of some of the world’s finest rums, bottled without anything added or taken away. Bringing together the rich flavour profiles of Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica, this is a rum with tropical, coffee and chocolate notes.


For my first drink, I keep it simple because I imagine they didn’t have a lot of ingredients available on the ships in those days. For a second drink, I make my own variation on the official 50th anniversary cocktail. In total I’m giving you no less than three ideas to join the celebration.


Black Tot Old Fashioned

Ingredients
50 ml Black Tot Rum Finest Caribbean
10 ml Falernum (I used World’s End Falernum, available in your local liqueur store)
10 ml Cane sugar syrup
1 dash of Angostura bitters


Method
Add everything to a shaker with ice. Shake for 15 seconds and dirty dump into your highball glass. Add some more ice and a sprig of mint. Mine had mint flowers, which look incredibly sexy on the pic.

 
Want something more interesting and complex ?

BLACK TOT DAY - 50TH ANNIVERSARY COCKTAIL


Ingredients
50 ml Black Tot Rum Finest Caribbean
50 ml Pineapple juice
10 ml Yellow Chartreuse
10 ml Fresh Lime Juice
5 ml Simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Ginger Ale


Method
Pour ingredients (except the Ginger-Ale) together in a shaker with enough ice. Shake hard and double strain in your pre-chilled highball glass, with some nice shards of ice in it. Top with just a little splash of good quality ginger ale. Garnish with mint and lime.


But…


Even when you’re not really into rum cocktails, you should really try this rum neat or with a cube of ice.

Why not pair it with a delicious dessert with pineapple and fresh fruits, some ice-cream and… hey, you only live once… top it with some whipped cream and 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. For this article parts of the text was supplied by the producer of the base spirit.

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 bandรฉ (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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜Š

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Summer Sour


Ingredients
25 ml Angostura 1824 Rum
25 ml Pitรบ Cachaรงa
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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ‘Dorรฉ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰


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 ๐Ÿ˜‰
 
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.

vrijdag 12 juni 2020

Ardbeg Sour

 
In the past weeks we joined two great online Ardbeg events : Ardbeg Day and Ardbeg Hour (=whisky tasting). During the last event Brendan McCarron also shared his favourite Ardbeg cocktail recipe. Brendan calls it his own version of the Daiquiri, but for me that name really connects to rum. I’ll just call it the Ardbeg Sour.   

Ardbeg Sour

Ingredients
50 ml Ardbeg 10
20 ml cloudy apple juice
20 ml lime juice
10 ml Vanilla syrup

Method
All ingredients into the shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 30 seconds and strain into a tumbler with a big block of ice. Slainte !

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 9 juni 2020

Martini on the rocks

 
Warning : If you are a die-hard Martini-enthusiast and you already freak out completely when you hear James Bond order a Martini “shaken, not stirred” (*), you might need to take a pill to calm down before reading on.

In this article I’m talking about a new trend in American bars, or at least a revived trend: Martinis served on ice in a tumbler. Yes, read that again. On the positive side, your drink will stay cool much longer, on the negative side it will water down a little bit because ice will always do that. I tried it and actually liked it. I do like my drinks really cool.

I started from a Dry Martini recipe, because I also wanted to keep the color as transparent as possible. White vermouths often are a bit yellow. The result is a very clear drink in which the block of clear ice completely disappears. 

Martini on the rocks

Ingredients
60 ml Beefeater Gin
20 ml Forest Dry vermouth


Method
Stir the gin and vermouth in a mixglass with lots of ice until perfectly chilled. Strain into a tumbler with a big chunk of ice. Add an olive if you want. I kept it on the side to display the clearness of the drink.


(*) In my opinion James Bond likes his Martinis “shaken, not stirred” because he really wants more dilution. He needs to lower the alcohol to keep his mind clear to combat the villains.

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 3 juni 2020

Verhofstede Edelweiss Gin + 2 cocktails

 
This is our second blog in the series we do together with Foodbelgium.com – Links with promo’s and FREE items at the bottom of this article.

Are there still well-known classics that haven’t really been featured on this blog yet? How about this cool and refreshing Tom Collins with a nice base of Edelweiss gin ?
This gin by Verhofstede 
holds 20 botanicals and is produced with water from the Edelweiss source. The gin has floral and citrus notes and a nice and sweet finish. It received the silver medal on the Concours Mondial in Brussels.

Tom Collins


Ingredients
5 cl Verhofstede Edelweiss Gin
3 cl lemon juice
1,5 cl Simple Syrup
Perrier


Method
Shake the gin, lemon and sugar with lots of ice. Strain into a highball glass with fresh ice. Add soda water. I really like Perrier for this because it has just the right amount of bubbles. Garnish with fresh or dried lemon. Perfect drink to cool down on a hot day ๐Ÿ˜‰


And even more !!!
At our home we really like all things vintage and retro. That’s probably what I also like most about the Verhofstede spirits. They use old family recipes to create modern day drinks. Another Belgian company who does this is Ritchie
They have a range of vintage lemonades, which are very enjoyable and can now be found in several supermarkets.

The original lemonades dropped off the market in the 70s. Jan Verlinden, son of the former brewer, quit his marketing job in 2016, refreshed the old recipes (less sugar etc.) and brought them back to the market. They even have a natural coke without caramel or phosphor acid. Jan is the 4th generation running the brewery in Lubbeek, near Leuven.

The coke and the grapefruit lemonade both mix excellent with rum. I wanted to sample the orange lemonade and also give it a spike. This time it’s not a Gin Ricky, but a Gin Ritchie ๐Ÿ˜‰


Gin Ritchie


Ingredients
5 cl Verhofstede Edelweiss Gin
1 bottle of Ritchie Orange


Method
Add your gin to a tumbler with ice. Top up with Ritchie lemonade. Give it a single stir. Garnish with a dried orange slice. Cheers !


Buy now
Verhofstede Promopage 
  
Edelweiss Gin 20 CL (+ FREE apero mix)
 
Edelweiss Gin 50 CL (+ FREE Gimber)

 
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. Affiliate links present in this article.

maandag 1 juni 2020

Negroniweek postponed to september - Can we serve a tikidrink in Italian style ?

 
Normally the Negroniweek 2020 would have started today. Because of the COVID19 pandemic and the big challenges bars all around the world have to face when they reopen, the Negroniweek has been postponed.

Negroniweek 2020 will now take place September 14-20.
But just for fun and to keep spirits up, let’s do a Negroni-style drink with Campari, a nice spirit and a tastemaker ๐Ÿ˜‰

Why not try to do a crossover between a tikidrink and a traditional Italian aperitivo?
Is that even possible? Most tikidrinks are slightly messy, often served by ‘dirty dumping’ the content of the shaker into a large glass or tiki-mug. What if we create a very simple tikidrink, but serve it like a clean Italian aperitivo?


For the base of this drink I selected Bacardi Cuatro. First I had another try with World’s End Tiki rum, but I wasn’t 100% convinced by the result. I do however use some World’s End Falernum and finish with Campari.


By the way: Italians do love their tikidrinks too. The best tikibar I have visited until today, was probably an Italian bar, Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna. The totally crazy pirates of Tortuga Bar in Durbuy are pretty high on my personal list too.

Tiki in Italia

Ingredients
50 ml Bacardi Cuatro
20 ml World’s End Falernum
20 ml Campari
10 ml Simple syrup
Tonic


Method
Add rum, falernum, sugar and Campari to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 20 seconds and strain into your favourite tumbler with a clean block of ice.
Top off with a few dashes of tonic to take the edge off. Add a single amareno 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.

donderdag 28 mei 2020

Are you ready for Ardbeg Day 2020 ?

 
This morning we welcomed a very special visitor at our offices. Maria Papadopoulou, brand manager for Glenmorangie and Ardbegcame by to drop off a few bottles and invite us to participate in Ardbeg Day 2020.

Do you like Ardbeg? In one of the bistros I frequently visit, I usually drink a cocktail with a strong base of Ardbeg, which is described in the menu with “It’s like licking an ashtray” ๐Ÿ˜‰. So yes, Ardbeg is peated whisky from Islay. 


Usually held on the final Saturday of Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt (Fรจis รŒle), Ardbeg Day is a global, annual celebration of all things Ardbeg. This year, with the festival sadly cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Ardbeg is taking its celebrations online, and inviting malt whisky lovers everywhere to join them as they toast two incredible decades of the Ardbeg Committee. They are all set for the biggest day in their virtual whisky calendar as the team prepares to beam the party right into the living rooms, studies, spare bedrooms and garages of Ardbeggians everywhere. Tune in to the Ardbeg Facebook page next Saturday, 30th May at 20h. It will be a two hour event and we expect a lot !!!


And after the event ?

Just one week later, Saturday 6th June, we will participate in Ardbeg Hour, the online whisky-tasting which will be broadcasted live on YouTube. Hense the bottles which were delivered today ๐Ÿ˜‰.

Brendan Mc Carron, Head of Maturing Whisky Stocks will guide us through these Ardbeg expressions:
  • Ardbeg 10Y Old
  • Ardbeg An Oa
  • Ardbeg Corryvreckan
  • Ardbeg Blaaack (=feisty Limited Edition bottled in celebration of the Ardbeg Committee’s 20th Anniversary)
After the event we will post a link to the recorded session on our Facebook page. Looking forward to both these events !

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.

Verhofstede Hop Jenever - Dry Gibson

 
Great news !!! I have teamed up with foodbelgium.com – This is a webshop with authentic Belgian food and drinks. They have asked me to test some of the bottles on their “Jenever, liqueur and distillates” pages. All products we will be testing in the next weeks and months can be purchased through direct links in the articles, often with free extra’s or specials promotions for our followers.

In this first article we got to play around with Verhofstede Hop Jenever. This local distiller 
started creating this product in 1961 by an old family recipe, based on the wild hops growing around their property. The hops create a silky finish for this traditional jenever. Did you know that jenever existed 200 years before the first mentioning of cognac… and that jenever is the more complex predecessor of gin?

To highlight the silky finish, we didn’t want to mask it too much with other flavours. Our first thought was a Dry Martini, but I was afraid the umami taste of the olive would change the taste too much. I picked a Dry Gibson instead, swapping the olive for a pickled onion. I used a can of pickled onions, pickled with barrel aged apple vinegar.


Pickled Martinis are real bartenders’ drinks. Very complex taste. The Dry Gibson just might be the easiest first babysteps toward this ‘pickled’ direction. It’s a fresh and silky Martini-style cocktail that will be loved by most spirit-forward enthusiasts.


Dry Gibson


Ingredients
6 cl Verhofstede Hop Jenever
2 cl Forest Dry vermouth


Method
Add the Jenever and vermouth to a mixglass with lots of ice. Stir for 20 seconds and strain into a chilled Martiniglass. Add a pickled onion.


Buy Now
Verhofstede Promopage 
  
Hop Jenever 20 CL (+ FREE apero mix) 
 
Hop Jenever 70 CL (+ FREE Gimber)

 
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.