dinsdag 7 april 2020

Dirty White Dog

 
Since about two months ago, we have a small white puppy at home. Her name is Penny and she really loves to play in the garden. The result most of the times is that she’s not really white anymore and needs a bath.

When I was joking about this with my neighbour (who also has dogs) on WhatsApp, he sent me a GIF with a “Dirty White Dog” cocktail, which is a variation on the well-known classic, The Dirty Martini. I never heard of this variation before and immediately wanted to try this.

A dirty white dog is a spirit-forward cocktail with a strong base of clear unaged whisky-spirit (you can’t call it whisky until it has aged for at least 3 years). “New make” is another name for this. It’s also a nostalgic reminder of the Moonshine that was distilled illegally in the Appalachian forests at night.


In liqueur stores you should be able to find (or order) a few brands of unaged whisky-spirit. Ole Smoky 
is present in almost any liqueur store and some supermarkets, but also local brands like The Belgian Owl have bottles with their new make spirit.

Of course I adapted the recipe a bit to my personal taste. I have to admit this was one of the tastiest cocktails I have tried in months. Damn, this was good… why haven’t I tried this one before ?!

Dirty White Dog

Ingredients
5 cl Ole Smoky Moonshine
2 cl Forest Dry Vermouth
1 cl Olive Brine (the liquid from your jar of olives, mostly a mix of salt, vinegar and water)

Method
Add everything to your mixglass with lots of ice. Stir for 30 seconds. Strain in a chilled Martini glass. Add an olive.

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 april 2020

Médi-T - Cocktail for Caractère

 
A few days ago a representative of tour operator Caractère suggested to make a cocktail which would make people dream away to the holiday spots they love most. Lots of people will stay at home this summer because of the COVID-19 virus. Let’s soften the blow with a glass of pure sunshine.

That same evening I was enjoying a typical ‘south of France’ aperitif, Vylmer & Tonic
The question inspired me to upgrade that simple but tasty drink into a ‘real’ tasty cocktail. Fly away with me to the beach or coast of your choice.

During this #lockdown, you probably won’t have a lot of choice of bottles in your homebar, so I’m suggesting a few alternatives. It won’t be the exact same thing, but it will still be a tasty drink :
- If you don’t have Vylmer, try using Midi Apéritif, Aperol or even a Rosé vermouth.
- If you don’t have elderflower syrup, try using Fever-Tree Elderflower tonic and simple syrup. You will find both in most supermarkets.


Médi-T


Ingredients
4 cl Tequila Silver
2 cl Vylmer, Apéritif du Sud
2 cl Fresh lemon juice
1 cl Elderflower syrup

Tonic

Method
Bring all ingredients (except the tonic) together in a mixglass with lots of ice. Stir for 20 seconds and double strain in a nice cocktail glass with fresh ice. Top off with a little bit of tonic. Add a dried limewheel.


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 april 2020

Vylmer, Apéritif du Sud

 
Some days you don’t want to spend too much time fixing your drink, but Gin & Tonics can get a bit boring after a while. While Italy has a well-known range of vermouths and amari, the south of France also has a lot of wine-based aperitif liqueurs. This style of aperitifs also seems to inspire Belgian producers. A few months ago we tested Midi Apéritif Classic Red, today we open a bottle of Vylmer, Apéritif du Sud.

Vylmer is a product created by the Belgian Annelies Lefere, but produced in the Provence. This aperitif is based on rosé wines from the Luberon, with a selection of herbs and a distillate of sweet and bitter oranges. It’s barrel aged for 3 months to get the perfect balance. Vylmer can be served neat, on ice, mixed with tonic or prosecco… or in cocktails.


In our next article we will shake up a nice Mediterranean style cocktail that will sweep you all the way down to the beach or coast of your choice. Today we enjoy a nice and refreshing Vylmer & Tonic. If you’re used to adding 5 cl of Gin to your G&T, watch it because you’ll need a bit extra of this product !

Vylmer & Tonic

Ingredients
1 part Vylmer
1 part Tonic


Method
Add both in a glass with ice cubes. Give it one gentle stir to mix. Add a dried 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.

donderdag 2 april 2020

Cointreau Waldorf


Warning : Sweet cocktail alert !!!

Do you like sweet cocktails ? I really don’t.

If you don’t like drinks like Cointreau on ice, move on to another article. If you do like it, read on… it’s a tasty but rather sweet cocktail.

I know some of you really like sweet cocktails, so once in a blue moon I also post a sweeter recipe. Most sweet cocktails are what I’d call “spiked juices”, I really don’t want to share too much of those. Today I’m sharing an old classic which is a more boozy kind of sweeter drink. While the original Waldorf cocktail is based on rye whiskey, the “Cointreau Waldorf” is based on Cointreau orange-liqueur. It might be interesting to experiment with different curacao or triple sec brands.
 
This is a stirred cocktail with three sweet ingredients. And yes, I also go into diabetic shock just by reading this… but the vermouth also adds an interesting herbal touch to the recipe.


Another interesting experiment would be to serve this drink on ice and go Americano style by adding some soda or tonic to lighten up the sweetness.

Cointreau Waldorf

Ingredients
60 ml Cointreau
30 ml Sweet vermouth
½ bs grenadine


Method
Stir the ingredients together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir for 30 seconds because you really want this cocktail to be very chilled. Strain in a prechilled coupe. Add 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 31 maart 2020

Gloomy Martini + How to upgrade your drink

 
“Ok, I understand how to make simple cocktails at home with 2 or 3 ingredients. Now how can I easily upgrade these cocktails, besides swapping ingredients for other brands ?”

Adding a few drops of cocktail bitters does miracles. Cocktail bitters are the salt and pepper of the bartender. Angostura bitters and Orange Bitters should be standard in any (home)bar, since they are mandatory ingredients in lots of classic cocktails. But there are so many different bitters on the market, absolutely worth a try. On this blog you will also find a few recipes for homemade bitters. It’s easier than it sounds.


Most cocktails have a sweet ingredient which is mostly a syrup, cordial or liqueur. There are endless possibilities in playing with flavours in either one of these. Adding a little bit of flavoured syrup can change your entire drink. Always be careful, don’t use too much because it will ruin your drink.


My favourite : Adding a herbal and/or anise flavour to your drink. I like to use a good quality Absinthe, but you can also use Pastis, Pernod, Anisette, Ouzo, Raki, …

And you can do this in many ways :
  • A rinse : Add a tiny bit of anise liqueur to your glass and swirl it around to add a thin layer to the inside of glass. Remove the rest.
  • A coating in ‘Double Strainger’ style : The same as a rinse, but I don’t remove the precious high quality liqueur. Never use too much or it will alter your recipe.
  • A mist or spray : Use a small spray bottle to add a mist of herbal flavours over your cocktail.
  • A float : Add a very thin layer of spirit on top of your drink. When the cocktail is already in your glass, add the extra layer by carefully pouring it over the backside of a barspoon. This method is also used for adding a float of heavily peated whisky on top of a sour (e.g. Penicillin)
As an example, I’ll share this delicious recipe for an upgraded Martini :
 
Gloomy Martini
 
Ingredients
5 cl Beefeater Gin
2 cl Forest Dry Vermouth
½ bs Grenadine
Absinthe float
 
Method
Bring the gin, vermouth and grenadine together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir for 20 seconds and strain in a Martini glass. Add the absinthe float on top over the back of your barspoon. 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.

zondag 29 maart 2020

Frozen Peach & Orange Margarita (Low Alcohol)

 
Most of the cocktails on this blog have a “healthy dose” of alcohol. Some days I’m in the mood for a tasty aperitif, but I don’t want too much alcohol. That should always be an option.

Today I’m sharing a very tasty low alcohol Margarita. I know it doesn’t look very sexy on photo, but it’s delicious !!! It looks like a smoothie, perfect disguise 😉 


It still has the Tequila and lime juice, but the Cointreau is swapped for orange juice.


Frozen Peach & Orange Margarita (Low Alcohol)


Ingredients

3 cl Tequila Silver
1 cup Frozen peaches
0,75 cup Orange juice
0,5 cup ice cubes
Juice of ½ lime
1 tsp honey


(1 Cup = 236,58 ml or 128 gram)

Method
Put everything in a blender. Blend until silky and smooth. Serve in Margarita glasses. No garnish needed. You could do a salt rim on the glass if you like.


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 25 maart 2020

Talisker Hot Chocolate

 
Spring is in the air, but nights still can be very cold. Thinking about the coming months and which herbs and flowers I might use in my drinks. And at the same time my thoughts wonder off to the foraging walk and Talisker event in Cadzand a few months ago.

Yesterday evening was probably the perfect moment for that last hot chocolate of this season. Spiked with some whisky of course 😉 

Talisker Hot Chocolate


Ingredients
3 cl Talisker whisky 10y
1 cl Amaro Montenegro
1 cl Sugar syrup
15 cl Whole milk
28 gr Cocoa powder
3 cl water


Method
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat until simmering, while stirring away any lumps from the cocoa powder. Pour into a mug.

If you like toasted marshmallows, go for it !

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 24 maart 2020

Corpse Reviver 2

 
Another great recipe to try at home is the Corpse Reviver. A very tasty recipe on which you can swap ingredients to make it your own cocktail. The first recipe in old cocktailbooks was based on brandy, the second version was based on gin. The vermouth was originally Kina Lillet, which isn’t on sale anymore (Yes, that’s the vermouth which was also in the original Vesper!).

Corpse Reviver 2


Ingredients
A few dashes of Absinthe (Don’t have Absinthe? Try Pernod, Raki, Ouzo or another anise liqueur)
2 cl Bombay Sapphire Gin
2 cl Cointreau
2 cl Forest vermouth white
2 cl fresh lemon juice

Method
Give the inside or your glass a nice coating with Absinthe. Don’t use too much so you don’t have to discard it. Such a shame to throw away good spirits. Did you notice how I called it a coating instead of a rinse 😉
 
Add all ingredients (except the absinthe) to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 20 seconds. Double strain in a nice coupe or antique wineglass. The original recipe asks for a neat serve in a prechilled coupe, but I also like to serve it in a wineglass with a large iceball. Add a dried limewheel. Don’t use fresh lime because it will be too dominant.

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 19 maart 2020

Kamikaze

 
If you really like cocktails, I bet you might also have seen the movie ‘Cocktail’ (1988) with Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown. Halfway through the movie, they are bartending in the very posh ‘Cell Block’ club when Brian Flanagan (played by Tom Cruise) jumps on top of the bar to recite the “Last Barman” poem : 

“I am the last barman poet
I see America drinking the fabulous cocktails I make
Americans getting stinky on something I stir or shake
The sex on the beach
The schnapps made from peach
The velvet hammer
The Alabama slammer
I make things with juice and froth
The pink squirrel
The three-toed sloth
I make drinks so sweet and snazzy
The iced tea
The kamikaze
The orgasm
The death spasm
The Singapore sling
The dingaling
America you've just been devoted to every flavour I’ve got
But if you want to get loaded
Why don't you just order a shot?”


I thought it would be a good idea to reshake one of the cocktails mentioned in this poem. I chose a vodka-based cocktail which I could describe as the macho version of a Cosmopolitan. Just take away the pink cranberry juice from the Cosmo and if needed, balance the sour of the lime with a bit of sugar. The official recipe is an even-parts cocktail with vodka, Triple Sec and lime juice. I’m going to do it just a little bit different.

Kamikaze

Ingredients
4,5 cl Vodka
2,5 cl Triple Sec or Cointreau
2,5 cl Fresh Lime juice
Optional : ½ bs sugarsyrup


Method
Add everything to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake during 20 to 30 seconds.
Double Strain in a Martini-glass or a fancy wineglass. Add a dried lime 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 17 maart 2020

Easy Sloppy Joe

 
Sometimes people tell me they think it's really hard making cocktails at home, using more than two ingredients. They refer to difficult recipes they see in bars, using special syrups, cordials, shrubs etc.

Well, there is absolutely no reason to be afraid because there are lots of easy recipes around, which will enable the home bartender to prepare some delicious cocktails. No special syrups or whatever… only ingredients you can find in any store. Let's try it !

Easy Sloppy Joe

Ingredients
22,5 ml Bacardi Rum Carta Blanca (white rum)
22,5 ml Forest Dry Vermouth
7,5 ml Cointreau
7,5 ml Grenadine
30 ml fresh lime juice

Method
Bring everything together in a shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 30 seconds and double strain in your glass. Most people love coupes for this cocktail, but I like my Sloppy Joe's in a tumbler with a big chunk of ice. Add a dried orange slice and 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 12 maart 2020

Blood Drop Cocktails

 
Each year I buy a bunch of blood oranges, to make some home-made dehydrated slices for my cocktails. When I have a few extra, I squeeze them for the delicious bloody red orange juice.

When juice of blood oranges is used in cocktails, they often use too much. I like cocktails with max. 15 ml of this juice in them. I call them ‘Blood Drop cocktails’. They work best in sour style cocktails.


Blood Drop Margarita

Ingredients
5 cl Tequila silver
1,5 cl Lime juice
1,5 cl Blood orange juice
3 cl Cointreau Blood Orange
Optional : ½ bsp Agave syrup


Method
Shake with lots of ice. Double strain in a Margarita glass. Add a cocktail cherry.






Blood Drop Sour

Ingredients
5 cl Deanston 15y whisky
1,5 cl Lemon juice
1,5 cl Blood orange juice
1,5 cl Honey syrup
1 dash Blood orange bitters


Method
Shake with lots of ice. Double strain in a tumbler with a big block of ice.
Add a dehydrated slice of blood 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.

zaterdag 7 maart 2020

Mount Gay Rum Experience

 
Wednesday evening I drove to the Indigo Hotel in Brussels to discover rums of a brand I hadn’t really tasted before. Maybe in a cocktail, but no proper tasting. Mount Gay is a distillery based on Barbados, a tiny island in the east of the Caribbean. It’s not just an average rum brand, it’s actually the oldest rum brand. The oldest rum on Barbados? No, it’s actually the oldest rum brand on this planet. Documents prove the distillery already existed in 1703. It’s probably much older, but these documents are the oldest legal proof of existence and there is no other rum distillery that old. It’s also the oldest distillery in the world (of any spirit!) which has produced spirit continuously until today. Most other distilleries have closed and re-opened a few times.

All the way from Barbados, brand ambassador Miguel Smith welcomed us to his Mount Gay Rum Experience in a bar filled with journalists, bartenders and industry professionals. We tasted four different bottles : Black Barrel, XO, 1703 and a very special pot still rum bottling which kicks a stronger punch.

 
This was certainly not my first rum tasting, but I learned a few new things which really separate this rum from others. We started with the Black Barrel, looking at the rum and nosing it. We were instructed to put our noses deep into the glasses and inhale strongly. Whaaaaat ? Doesn’t that block your smell for the rest of the evening by such a kick in the face from the alcohol. Actually it didn’t. Miguel wanted us to experience this difference. The rum is so well balanced that the alcohol doesn’t hurt your senses. He taught us the perfect way to taste and sample rums, step by step adjusting your body to the spirit.


A couple of tips on tasting rum :


  • Step 1 is looking at the rum, step 2 is nosing. Please notice that the nose of the rum will probably change when it’s longer in contact with oxygen. Step 3 is sipping the rum. 
  • Always start with a small sip to adjust your body. When you’re ready, take a second sip to really explore the flavours.
  • Never swirl your glass. You will create a small cloud of alcohol on top of your rum, masking everything else. Don’t panic, just blow it away if you did. 
  • Don’t suck air with rum in your mouth. This is rum, not wine.
    I’d like to add that the same applies for tasting whisky. Keep your mouth shut and you’ll be able to handle the alcohol much better, while still tasting all the rest.
 
In all Mount Gay rums you will discover fresh vanilla (from the ex-bourbon casks), almond, banana and dark chocolate. The rums are slightly spicy, but not spiced. They are produced with an excellent quality of spring water, pumped up from deep below the surface of the distillery. No solera aging, no sugar added, no artificial flavouring. Aged in the tropical climate of Barbados. Made from fermented molasses. They distill in column and pot stills, were the rum of the column stills is more flavourful, while the rum from the pot stills is more aggressive and kicks a punch.
 
Our tasting
 
Mount Gay Black Barrel (Double Cask Blend) 
Woody and buttery notes. Great balance of dried fruit and spices, a sophisticated spirit with notes of gingerbread, lychee and toffee. Matured in ex-American whiskey barrels and finished in heavily charred ex-bourbon casks. Dry spirit with medium to long persistence. Perfect for mixing in cocktails.
 
Mount Gay XO (Triple cask blend) 
Small batch blend of selected mature rums. Aged between 5 and 17 years in American whiskey barrels, bourbon and Cognac casks.
Vanilla, oaky notes, dry spice, sweet caramel, fig and plum, dark chocolate.
Rounder, smoother and creamier than the Black Barrel. Complex and balanced with long persistence.
 
Mount Gay 1703 (Master Select) 
Delicate rum with sweet caramel, ripe banana, notes of oak and citrus. A mouthful of toffee, cherry, butterscotch and roasted nuts with oaky undertones. Long and delicate finish.
 
This is a limited yearly release with 10 to 30 year old rums distilled in both column and pot stills. Matured in charred ex-American whiskey barrels and deeply charred ex-bourbon casks.
 
This release counts 4663 numbered bottles at 43% ABV. This was my personal favourite of the four rums we tasted.
 

Mount Gay Pot Still Rum (Exclusive limited edition) 
A spicy kick, followed by dried fruits, dark chocolate and oak. Delicate, silky texture.
Warm butterscotch interlaced with rich mocha and toffee with underlying notes of plum.
Pot Still rum at 48% ABV. Best to sip neat or over a large rock of ice.
Limited release of 4920 bottles.

 
After the tasting, a small break and a few snacks, we could also sample Mount Gay Rum used as a base for two delicious cocktails, created by bartenders Tim Devriendt (The Cobbler, Gent) and Ruben Patoor (Café Theatre, Gent).



Thanks for the invitation. It certainly sparked my interest to experiment with this rum.


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 5 maart 2020

Tennessee Eagle

 
The real fans of this page probably know I’m also a long time collector of Jack Daniel's memorabilia. People often ask me why I don’t use more of Jack Daniel’s in my cocktails…
Let’s do another one, this is a variation on the Brooklyn Eagle.


Tennessee Eagle

Ingredients
6 cl Jack Daniel’s Old Nr. 7
3 cl Punt e Mes Sweet vermouth
15 ml Cointreau
15 ml fresh lime juice


Method
Add everything to a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously during 20 seconds. Fine strain in a tumbler with a nice block of ice.


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 1 maart 2020

Yellow Rose Whiskey Tasting

 
When I mention “Yellow Rose of Texas”, you probably think I’m talking about the song. But did you know it’s also the brand name of a small Houston based whiskey-distillery?
Just one mash tun, just one pot still, but they do have their own very specific ideas about their products. They are actually the first Houston based legal distillery, launched in 2010.

Last Thursday I was invited by Jan Visser to the Single Malt Whisky Shop 
in Geel to discover three different whiskey varieties of this brand, presented by Brand Ambassador Jason Macal.

It seems in Texas whiskey-laws are stretched a bit to get as creative as possible with their spirits. We really enjoyed the talk about the history of the brand and their products. We got to taste three whiskeys, which will be the range launching in Europe right now. In the future they will probably also add single barrels, special cask finishes etc.


Yellow Rose Premium American Whiskey
(80 Proof)
We started the tasting with this blended whiskey, a mix of bourbon and light whiskey (=single grain, produced in a continuous still). In the USA you are actually allowed to add whatever alcohol to your blended whiskey, like unaged new make whiskey, vodka or even gin. Yellow Rose American Whiskey contains 100% whiskey.


This American Whiskey seems a bit sweeter than most whiskeys I have tasted before. Flavours of banana and caramel. This blended whiskey is often served with a mixer, which can be Coke or even (suggestion from Jason!) pineapple juice. It’s also a nice ‘first step’ whiskey to learn to appreciate whiskey.


Yellow Rose Rye Whiskey
(90 proof)
This whiskey is made with 95% rye and 5% malted barley and aged in new American oak barrels for 3 years.
Nose of green apples, pine, spearmint, cedar wood. You do get the spiciness which is typical for rye whiskey. Works very well for classic spirit forward cocktails such as an Old Fashioned. This was probably my least favourite of the three bottles, but don’t let that hold you back.


Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey
(92 Proof)
The mashbill on this whiskey surprised me the most. This whiskey is made from 100% corn. Not just “at least 51%” as stated in the law, but the full 100%.
Aged in small barrels with an alligator char (this is the Nr.4 Char – 55 seconds burn, which is the deepest char used in the whiskey industry), double pot distillation.

The spirit that goes into the barrels can be maximum 125 proof by law. A lot of producers try to get as high as possible, but it leaves a lot of bitterness. Yellow Rose fills its barrels at 114 proof which brings out more typical oak flavours like honey, vanilla, caramel.

At the warehouse in Houston (without climate control!) it gets 35 to 40° Celsius during the day at a 90 to 100% humidity. The climate is totally different from Kentucky, Tennessee or Scotland. The barrels constantly expand and shrink with an extreme high Angel’s Share, 15% yearly for each barrel. In Scotland this is only 3 to 5%. The barrels are stored upright on pallets, 4 to 5 levels high. The main reason is the lack of space. As mentioned above, it’s a small company.

At the end of the tasting we also got served a refreshing Horse’s Neck cocktail, based on the Outlaw Bourbon. And we also got to put our teeth in real Texas style hamburgers.


Thanks for the invitation. It was a very nice introduction to this brand. The bourbon is definitely a premium product which is quite unique at 100% corn. The American Whiskey is much sweeter than most whiskeys, which just might balance out other strong flavours in a cocktail. Could be interesting to try in a Manhattan or even a Boulevardier?

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 27 februari 2020

Rum Manhattan

 
Depending on the vermouth of your choice, the Manhattan can be a really bitter cocktail. I know people who love spirit forward cocktails, but just don’t like Manhattans for this reason. What if I tell you there is a very easy way to solve this problem ? Just swap the whiskey for a good quality rum !

The Rum Manhattan is a tasty and very easy sipping cocktail. Still spirit forward, but the rum makes it smoother than ever. The typical chocolate flavours of the rum will balance out the bitterness.

Rum Manhattan

Ingredients
6 cl Ron Barcelo
3 cl Punt e Mes sweet vermouth
½ bsp Angostura bitters

Method
Sit everything together in a large glass with lots of ice. Serve in a nice coupe and add a sweet 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 februari 2020

Happy Bartender Day - Le dernier mot

 
Today is “World Bartender Day”, which motivated me to search for a classic cocktail, which is still rather unknown by the general public. Some of those cocktails are still very popular among bartenders, who create their own tasty variations. 

“The Last Word” is definitely one of those cocktails, build around gin and green Chartreuse. The original recipe dates back to the prohibition and was created at the Detroit Athletic Club. Today it’s a popular Bartenders’ cocktail.

This cocktail recipe is easy to recreate at home because it’s an “equal parts” cocktail with gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and fresh lime juice.

Of course we create our own variation, switching the Chartreuse for a more artisanal herbal liqueur. And no, it’s not green anymore either 😉

Le dernier mot

Ingredients
3 cl HTK Gin
3 cl Aurian Genepi
3 cl Bols Maraschino Liqueur
3 cl Fresh Lime juice

Method
Shake with lots of ice and double strain in a stylish coupe or wine glass. Add a sprig of thyme.

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 22 februari 2020

Happy Margarita Day !!!

 
Today is Margarita Day, Instagram will be swept with variations on this tasty sour-style Tequila cocktail all day long. Since the start of this blog I have made lots of Margarita cocktails, including juices from strawberries, melon, cucumber, … everything is possible. My friend Rhonda (The Margarita Mum) has already a couple of thousand (Yes, you read that right !) recipes online in her search for the perfect Margarita.

Today I’m going for a tasty variation on the classic recipe, but without all that fruity stuff.


Frozen Margarita 2020

Ingredients
5 cl El Domador Tequila Reposado
2 cl Sierra Tequila Liqueur
2 cl Cointreau Noir
3 cl Fresh Limejuice

Method
Put everything together in a blender with 4 or 5 icecubes. Blend until you get a texture of a melting sorbet. Pour into a Margarita glass. Salty rim optional.

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 20 februari 2020

Clover Club

 
Next to well-known classics such as the Manhattan or Old Fashioned, there are also a range of lesser known classics. Some of those are easy to prepare and very tasty. The Clover Club is definitely one of those.

The cocktail carries the same name as the popular Clover Club in Brooklyn where it originated.

Clover Club

Ingredients
45 ml Gin
15 ml Dry vermouth
15 ml fresh lemonjuice
15 ml Raspberry syrup
10 ml eggwhite

Method
Put all ingredients in a shaker without ice. Shake vigorously, add ice and shake again. Double strain into a nice coupe. You can add a raspberry if you want.

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 11 februari 2020

Emozioni di Emilia-Romagna : A cocktail based on Vecchia Romagna brandy

 
I really admire bloggers who post new cocktail recipes each and every day. I guess I’m not creative enough for that kind of dedication, or I just don’t have enough time. But I’m always looking around for inspiration. I get inspired by something I read or something I’ve seen, … or even by some nice glassware. I picked up a new glass at my local liqueur store. It’s shaped more or less like a fancy cognac glass, so I wanted to use it right away for a cognac or brandy based cocktail.

I really love whisky and bourbon, but I’m not a really big fan of cognac or brandy. But, when used in a perfectly balanced cocktail (e.g. a Sazerac), I really appreciate the complexity of this grape-based spirits.


In 2018 I was part of the international press team for the global finals of the Amaro Montenegro Vero Bartender competition in Bologna
. Already on the first day of our stay, we visited the production plant of Amaro Montenegro, which is also the production facility of Vecchia Romagna, a real Italian brandy. This is the brandy I’m going to use for my cocktail today.

My recipe is a simplified version of the ‘East India’ cocktail. I wanted to make sure you can replicate this cocktail at home. If you don’t own a barspoon, just use a teaspoon. You can buy the bitters and syrup at any liqueur store.

Emozioni di Emilia-Romagna

Ingredients
6 cl Brandy Vecchia Romagna Classica (If you don’t have it, use your favourite brandy or cognac, this will however alter the resulting taste)
1 bsp Maraschino liqueur
1 bsp Orange Curaçao (If you don’t have this orange liqueur, use Cointreau)
1 bsp Angostura bitters
1 bsp Raspberry syrup

Method
Put everything together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir together for about 20 seconds. Strain into a cognac glass. Garnish is optional, but you could use some 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.

donderdag 6 februari 2020

Game of Thrones - Six Kingdoms - Mortlach 15

 
I feel a bit like a vegetarian at a steakhouse BBQ-festival, because I haven’t seen one single episode of Game of Thrones. Nevertheless I’m writing about an exclusive whisky bottle, which is the final bottle added to the earlier released eight bottle range created for this popular TV series. It’s the gold labelled ‘cherry on the cake’.

The “Six Kingdoms - Mortlach 15” is the premium whisky chosen to complete this limited edition series. Earlier releases in this range were limited editions of Cardhu, Dalwhinnie, Lagavullin, Singleton, Clynelish, Royal Lochnagar, Talisker and Oban.


Six Kingdoms is inspired by the grand finale of the TV show and pays tribute to the fate of the fictional continent of Westeros. Other bloggers will probably tell you more about the GoT-part of this story, but I’m more interested in what’s in this bottle. This whisky was matured in ex-sherry casks and finished in American ex-bourbon barrels. Yes, you read that right, it’s more or less the opposite of what most distillers do. Expect a fruity but bold whisky with notes of vanilla and different spices. Mortlach whisky is also one of the ingredients of the Johnnie Walker blends. A beautiful “end” to this limited edition range.


Another important “end” last month was the Brexit. The Brits finally succeeded in leaving the EU. I don’t think it was their brightest idea ever, but I guess they won’t bother for my opinion. It did made me think of Churchill a few times, because he once did ground breaking work for the foundation of the current Europe and its institutions.


And this inspired me to shake up a variation on the classic Churchill cocktail, originally created by Joe Gilmore at the American Bar (Savoy) in London 😉


GoT your Visa, Mr. Churchill ?


Ingredients
4 cl Game of Thrones - Six Kingdoms Mortlach 15
1 cl Punt e Mes Sweet vermouth
1 cl Cointreau
1 cl fresh lime juice


Method
Bring everything together in a shaker with ice. Shake for about 20 seconds to cool and blend. Fine strain into a cognac glass. A quality cigar is optional.


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 januari 2020

Tournée Minérale : Sober Sour

 
Sober October, Dry January, Tournée Minérale, … I’m not a big fan of these temporary prohibition periods, which also involve some peer pressure. I think it’s always better (and healthier!) to use some common sense and enjoy quality drinks responsibly all year long. Does that mean I never drink non-alcoholic drinks as an aperitif ? Of course not. My daughter has a lot of “after school activities” and just like any other parent I often have to be her personal taxi-driver. On those days I mostly enjoy non-alcohol or low-alcohol drinks.

Until a few years ago this meant having to settle for a softdrink or juice. This had changed. For those of you who are looking for a real alternative to popular spirits, in the last two years a whole new range of NA spirits appeared on the Belgian market.
For me a mocktail is never a mix of juices. For me a mocktail is exactly what it says, a drink that looks and tastes like a real cocktail. If I don’t tell you it’s a mocktail, you would probably think there is alcohol in it.


In earlier articles we already created drinks with NA spirits from Seedlip, Nona, Nudo, The Bitter Note, … brands you really should give a try. I often hear remarks about ‘high priced flavoured water’, but if you take into account that these products contain several separate distillates and oils which are pretty expensive to produce, you might reconsider that thought. In my opinion gin is also often overpriced, because it doesn’t need to be aged like whisky. But the production process of gin and these NA spirits seem to be equally expensive. Just to be complete, just like not all gins are high quality, also not all NA spirits are high quality. I have tasted NA spirits which are basically water with a slight hint of lemon.

 
Today I combined two premium NA brands to create a sour-style cocktail.


Sober Sour

Ingredients
5 cl Nona June (NA Spirit with a taste similar to gin)
2 cl The Bitter Note (NA amaro)
3 cl fresh squeezed lemonjuice
2 cl vanilla syrup


Method
Add everything to a shaker with ice. Shake for 15 seconds. Fine-strain into a coupe. Some dried melon completes the picture.


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 29 januari 2020

Amaretto Adriatico

 
We all know amaretto, the sweet Italian liqueur. But have you ever tasted white amaretto ? When I saw this product being used in an Instagram post, I replied that I had never seen this before. Shortly after I had a conversation with Amaretto Adriatico and learned this was indeed a brand new and unique product. Two bottles were delivered to our office for test. 
It took a few experiments to learn how to balance the flavour and strength, but it worked out pretty good. These amaretti are low in alcohol, but packed with flavour of the handpicked almonds from Puglia. I’ll share some cocktails with both bottles :

  • Amaretto Adriatico Bianco – Crushed almonds (16% alcohol)
  • Amaretto Adriatico Natural – Roasted almonds (28% alcohol)
Amaretto is a very versatile product to use in drinks. You can serve it neat, on the rocks or even add some ginger ale or ginger beer for a refreshing highball.
Why not try a sour with some lemon juice and egg white ? Or why not add some bourbon or whisky to that sour ? Why not add some amaretto to your coffee ? It all works.
 
But what I really wanted to do was make a few variations on the Godfather cocktail. Traditionally this is a very easy to prepare 50/50 drink with whisky and amaretto.
 
I’ll make you a cocktail you can’t refuse
 
Ingredients
2 cl Santa Teresa rum
2 cl RCS High proof rum
4 cl Amaretto Adriatico Roasted almonds
 
Method
For this drink we wanted a rum which is low on the typical chocolate flavours, but with slightly more vegetal flavours. Santa Teresa is just perfect for this. We also added high proof rum to boost the base of the cocktail.
 
Stir together for 15 seconds in a large glass with ice. Strain in an Old Fashioned glass with a large block of ice. Add a dried lemonwheel.
 
 

La Madrina

Ingredients
5 cl Filliers Genever (unaged) – You can also use a good quality vodka instead
4 cl Amaretto Adriatico Bianco


Method
Amaretto Adriatico Bianco is a very low ABV liqueur. You can easily sip it with ice in a tumbler.


We added some genever to boost it up a little. It remains an easy-sipping and very refreshing cocktail.

Stir together for no longer than 10 seconds in a large glass with ice (or stir in the glass – your choice). Serve in a tumbler with a large block of clear ice. No garnish needed.


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 24 januari 2020

4 Years of Double Strainger - The People

Today marks the 4th birthday of Double Strainger, the blog, Facebook- and Instagram on cocktails and spirits. What an incredible journey it has been. So much more than I would have ever imagined.

Some drinksblogs are run by bartenders or ex-bartenders, but I haven’t been behind a bar other than 5 months in the early 90s. Some bloggers have the advantage of their young age and interact with the youth of this world. I’m 51 and only mix drinks for me, my wife and the occasional visitor in our home.

So I never could have imagined that more than 32000 people would follow my journey. I could never have imagined that distillers from all around the world would get in touch to have me test their products.

This year I decided to switch to English as the main language on all channels, to broaden the horizon. So far this seems to be the right decision. This year I hope to bring you more and maybe even better articles on drinks, spirits and visits to special drinksevents.
It has always been my mission to grow the interest for cocktails by the general public. Make them at home or enjoy them in quality bars. Double Strainger targets those families who already enjoy a nice Gin & Tonic before dinner, and want to push them to the next step… a delicious cocktail.


In these four years I have learned a lot. As a drinksblogger you constantly build your knowledge and train your palate. This adventure would be impossible without the continuous support from distillers, producers, distributors, P.R. agencies and bar owners. Thank you very much to make this possible !


PEOPLE


The biggest advantage of this amazing adventure ? The many friendships I grew and the fantastic people I met in the global hospitality industry.

I had the incredible advantage to meet industry-icons like Antonio Flores and Richard Paterson, two of the very best blenders/distillers in the world.

I have also met founders of premium spirit brands like Fred Laing or Tom Bulleit.

I have spent time with top bartenders such as Salvatore Calabrese, Peter Dorelli, Luca Picchi, Marian Beke, Remy Savage and many more.

I have grown friendships with Belgian bartenders and bar owners like Jan, Hannah, Ran, Max, Jurgen, Stef, Didier, Kasper, Manuel and many more. I even got to meet chefs like Pepe, Nick, Syrco, Dominique, Bart, … people who have an incredible passion for taste and flavour.

Thank you for allowing me to stroll inside your industry. I hope to discover many more tastes and flavours and share them in my articles.

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 20 januari 2020

Blue Monday 2020

 
Today is not only my wife’s birthday, it’s also ‘Blue Monday’, the most depressing day of the year. Just to be clear, both occasions are not linked 😉

If you need a boost later today, you might try this slightly updated version of the Blue Monday cocktail.

Blue Monday

Ingredients
4,5 cl Belroy’s Vodka
1,5 cl Dry Curaçao
1 barspoon Blue Curaçao

Method
Stir together in a large glass with lots of ice. This is a pretty strong cocktail, so it won’t hurt to get a bit of dilution. Strain in a Martini glass and add a twist of 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.

zaterdag 18 januari 2020

High proof Rum : Ron Colón Salvadoreño

 
The most fun part of being a drinksblogger ? These things happen once in a while : I received a big box, unannounced, no sender on the box, two bottles and some fancy bartools inside. Intrigued.

Two bottles of rum from El Salvador : Ron Colón Salvadoreño
. Much higher proof than average (111 Proof – 55,5°). On the website it says that this brand is born from the idea that all you really need in life is some simple things: true friends, good coffee and a perfect high proof rum.

RCS seems to be a collaboration between several people from the bar industry :
Thurman Wise @ThurmanWise / Pepijn Janssens AKA @HighProofHeadShot / Felicity Gransden AKA @Fliss_On_Tour / Chris Rehberger and his Berlin based team at @DoubleStandardsAgency / Andres Trigueros and his family at @JagsHeadsCoffee / Tobias Jegenstam from @BartendersBible and 46social


High proof rum was originally invented to make it easier to transport the barrels or rum on a boat. By diluting the rum on arrival they could transport much more rum in each shipment. But of course bartenders started playing with it and noticed that the higher proof is an extra tool to balance your cocktail. This much stronger base softens the punch from citrus and sugar. It also holds its base much better against really strong flavours such as coffee.

 
Which brings us back to these two bottles, because one of the bottles is a coffee infused rum. Now I’m even more intrigued. This one will definitely be tested first. This rum certainly packs a punch. The higher proof does it’s thing. The coffee-aroma is also intense, but only shows up in the aftertaste. Beautiful spirit. Each sip takes you on a journey through rum and chocolate… and ends which coffee.

 
I would never think of using coffee or a coffee liqueur in a Daiquiri.
But how about this coffee infused rum ? It works and it inspires for more experiments !


RCS Coffee Daiquiri

Ingredients
5 cl RCS coffee infused rum
3 cl Fresh limejuice
1,5 cl Sugarsyrup


Method
Shake with ice, strain in a tumbler with a big block of clear ice. Add a dried orangewheel.



So, what would happen if we lift up the coffee taste with some coffee liqueur ? Wow, that was a pretty good outcome, but of course you do need to love coffee for this one !


The recipe might seem a bit sweet, but the high proof rum takes care of that. Very nice drink, I’ll make this one again for sure.


R&C Negroni

Ingredients
2,5 cl RCS Coffee infused rum
2,5 cl Conker Cold Brew liqueur
2,5 cl Amaro Montenegro
2,5 cl Sweet vermouth


Method
Stir together in a mixing glass with ice. Strain in a tumbler with a big block of ice. Add a dried orangewheel.



The second bottle was the high proof rum. I think we can soften the punch by creating a variation on Velvet old Fashioned with it, and make it a bit more interesting by adding some amaro.

Tipsy Velvet

Ingredients
5 cl RSC High proof rum
2 cl Amaro di Angostura
1,5 cl Gonzalez Byass Nectar (PX Sherry)
2 dashes Angostura Orange bitters


Method
Stir together in a mixing glass with ice. Strain in a tumbler with a big block of ice. Add 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.