vrijdag 27 november 2020

An Apple a day...


This cocktail packed with autumn flavours was a bit tricky to create, it took some experimenting to get it right. Originally I wanted to use homemade apple butter as a sweetener, but this seems close to impossible. Still managed to create this slow sipper without juice.
Suggestions to use apple butter in drinks are still welcome 😉  

An apple a day…

Ingredients

25 ml Douglas Laing King of Scots whisky
25 ml Jim Beam Apple
25 ml Lecompte Calvados
10 ml Honey Syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Walnut bitters

Method
Stir together in a mixglass with lots of ice. Strain into a chilled cognac glass. 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.

maandag 23 november 2020

Autumn Gin sour


Temperatures are dropping, Saint Nicolas and Santa Claus are already on their way to bring your presents. Let’s do some more autumn drinks, before winter comes knocking on the door. 

Are you also looking forward to this festive season? We are in our final preparations to start the photoshoots for our annual end-of-year series. 

This Autumn Gin Sour is a tasty variation on Salvatore Calabrese’s Breakfast Martini.

Autumn Gin Sour

Ingredients
50 ml London Dry Gin
25 ml Lemon juice
25 ml Grand Marnier (or Cointreau Noir)
10 ml Simple Syrup (careful with this, depends on the sourness of the lemon)
1 bs Orange Marmalade (You need a good quality marmalade with lots of flavour)
1 egg white

Method
Put all ingredients in a shaker without ice. Shake vigorously to create foam. You can always add the spring of a strainer to really whisk up the foam. Add ice and shake again until the shaker is freezing cold. Double Strain in a fancy coupe. Garnish with edible flowers. 

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 november 2020

Turf Club N°2


Some days I just pick a book from my library and turn the pages until I see a cocktail I like… then I walk over to the homebar and prepare it. Yesterday I stirred this beauty from the book “It’s Gin o’clock” by Manuel Wouters. 

Turf Club N°2

Ingredients
60 ml Filliers Dry Gin 28
30 ml Forest Dry Vermouth
1 bs Absinthe
1 bs Maraschino liqueur
½ bs Orange bitters

Method
Stir together with lots of ice until perfectly cold and blended. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with star anise. 

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 14 november 2020

World Diabetes Day - Caribbean Vibes


Days are getting shorter and darker, time for a last #throwback to summer before we’re getting totally in the festive mood for the Christmas holidays. I’ve kept this this recipe on the side until today, because November 14 is #WorldDiabetesDay.

In this recipe I’m trying a few new things. As some of you might know, my dear foodblogging wife has diabetes so in our home we don’t use sugar, except for my drinks. I have tried safe sweeteners in cocktails before, but it just isn’t the same. For example, Stevia syrup adds a horrible taste to your drink, which you need to mask with other ingredients. In this recipe I’m trying the new liquid Ellphi sweetener (syrup), based on grains. It’s actually a pretty thick syrup for kitchen use, so I’m just using only a barspoon of it, just like you would do with maple syrup. Depending on demand, we might add this syrup to the Tineke's Cucina webshop soon. 

The Plantation rum is a Jamaica vintage I received as a sample. I had a quick neat taste and thought this would mix great with lime and something fruity. The result is a pretty strong rum cocktail with some serious Caribbean vibes 😉. 

Caribbean Vibes

Ingredients
40 ml Plantation Jamaica Vintage
20 ml Ron Colon high proof rum
20 ml lime juice
20 ml Aperol
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 bs Ellphi liquid sweetener

Method
Put everything in a shaker with crushed ice. Shake for 15 seconds and dirty-dump into your cocktail glass. Top up with some more crushed ice. Garnish with citrus and pineapple.

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 13 november 2020

Elephant Sour - Satao Gin


Well, this certainly put a smile on my face. Elephant Gin (=Satao Gin in the Benelux countries) has sent me a bottle of Gin with my name on it. Cool !

We’ve tested this brand before and remember the unusual African botanicals and the great story about the founders and the fact they still support organisations protecting wild elephants. 

Let’s do a tasty and simple cocktail which adds some extra fruit to the taste of this spirit. 

Elephant Sour

Ingredients
50 ml Satao Gin
15 ml Lime juice
15 ml Blood Orange juice
10 ml Simple Syrup

Method
Keep it very simple. Shake everything with lots of ice. Serve in a cocktail glass with fresh ice and a fresh cut of lemon. 

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 10 november 2020

Don Papa Old Fashioned


Last Tuesday I was invited to a webinar for the launch of the brand new Bleeding Heart Bitters, made by the distillers of Don Papa Rum. These bitters are based on calamansi citrus, the result is a very nice combination of bitter and fresh influences. 

Of course I had to try them in a variation on the oldest classic cocktail. Needless to say these bitters works excellent in combination with rum. 

Don Papa Old Fashioned

Ingredients
60 ml Don Papa Rum
15 ml Simple syrup
1 drop Maraschino
3 drops Bleeding Heart Calamansi Bitters

Method
Combine everything in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir until chilled and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Pinch the oils from an orange zest and add one to the glass. 

Disclaimer: All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

  


zondag 8 november 2020

Sherryweek 2020 : The special bottles


In my Gonzalez Byass delivery for this years edition of #sherryweek there were also three bottles outside of the normal range. I’m not going to use these for cocktails (which is of course perfectly possible). I want to enjoy them just as they are as a roundup of this fantastic week. 

We received two exceptional Fino sherry’s and an Amontillado VORS. 


Tio Pepe Fino
En Rama Edition 2019

The ‘En Rama’ is a special release which only comes to the market once a year. It’s an almost unfiltered edition (there is a very slight filtering to remove e.g. small chips from the cask), almost straight from the Solera casks.

In this edition 62 casks were handpicked for their exceptional bouquet. A nose of hay, dusty attics, wet grass, dough and yeasty apples. In the mouth lemon, salted almonds and roasted nuts. Very recognizable salty aftertaste. 

If your bar needs a fino sherry for a super-premium range of cocktails, look at this bottle. 


Fino Una Palma

The Palmas range of sherries is a very limited release of aged wines. They are bottled unfiltered and unclarified. There are 4 bottlings: Una, dos, tres or cuatro palmas. (Una palma is the youngest of these wines, it goes up in age)

The wine for this Una Palma edition was selected from rare casks which retained a delicate covering of flor despite spending 6 years of biological aging. Just three exceptional casks are selected from a total stock of over 20.000 casks of Fino sherry. Bottled unfiltered and unclarified this wine is dominated by the aroma of the yeasty flor, accompanied by the nutty character of the Palomino and notes of bread, honey and green apples. Powerful and extremely dry on the mouth. Pear and quinces with a salty and slightly bitter finish.

Exclusive sherry wine which can be served as an aperitif, but also enjoyed with fish, rice or pasta. It works extremely well with Asian cuisine. 


Del Duque Amontillado VORS

For old sherry wines there are two special age indications : VOS and VORS

VOS: certifies that the wine has an average age of more than 20 years. The word VOS comes from the Latin “Vinum Optimum Signatum” which means “Very old Sherry”.

VORS: certifies that the wine has a mean age over 30 years. The word VORS comes from “Very Old Rare Sherry” 

In 1835 Manuel Maria Gonzalez bought 16 barrels from the Duke of Medinaceli. These barrels are the base of the Del Duque Solera system, aging this very old amontillado. 

Del Duque is one of the VORS bottlings of Gonzalez Byass. This amontillado is produced exactly like the Viña AB amontillado from the normal range, minimum 4 years in the Tio Pepe Solera, followed by 6 years in a young Amontillado Solera. But after that it’s transferred again to the Del Duque Solera for another TWENTY years !!! This very long ageing results in a sherry with a dark golden colour. On the nose aromas of dried fruits and walnuts. On the palate very dry but also powerful. Very nice aftertaste. 

This delicate sherry should be enjoyed in a small white wine glass to really get the full bouquet of aromas. It can be paired with seafood, rice and small game. Or serve it as a high quality apero with some olives. 

Sherryweek 2020 was (again!) a great experience with these very flavorful sherry range of Gonzalez Byass, some great cocktail experiments and delicious foodpairings. This series was made possible with the help of Gonzalez Byass and distributor Cinoco. Thank you.


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.

Sherryweek 2020 : Gonzalez Byass Leonor


Next up for #Sherryweek : Gonzalez Byass Leonor, a Palo Cortado sherry.
The Palo Cortado is probably the weirdest type of sherry. The concept for this type of sherry was discovered ‘by accident’ when the flor had suddenly disappeared from a barrel. The aging process is a combination of both natural and ‘by oxidation’. In short, following fermentation to between 11% and 12%, the wine is fortified to 18% alcohol to enter the Leonor Solera. Adding this amount of alcohol will kill the flor. In the Leonor Solera the wine undergoes complete oxidation. The sherry remains in the American oak casks following the traditional Solera system for an average of 12 years. The name refers to the markings on the barrel. 

Due to its power and structure Palo Cortado is a perfect match for old cheese and strong meat such as venison. The power can also be used to make a serious slow-sipping cocktail 😉 

This drink is also my salute to the great Scottish actor, Sir Sean Connery, who passed away a couple of days ago.  

Easy Apero? Forget Whisky-cola. Try Palo Cortado & Cola !

P/C Martini

Ingredients
60 ml Belvedere Vodka
20 ml Gonzalez Byass Leonor (Palo Cortado)
10 ml Dry Vermouth

Method
Stir with lots of ice until the drink is really ice-cold. Strain into a prechilled Martiniglass. Garnish to your own personal taste with a twist of lemon, an olive or a pickled onion. 

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 november 2020

Sherryweek 2020 : Gonzalez Byass Nectar


The sweetest wine I ever tasted was Gonzalez Byass Pio X 1903, containing Moscatel Menundo wines from around the 1850s. The wine was never fortified, so it wasn’t sherry. It was so incredibly sweet, it almost hurt my teeth. On the second place for sweetest wines I’ve tasted you’ll definitely find a Pedro Ximénez sherry. Sherry varies from a bone-dry Fino to the very sweet Pedro Ximénez, also known as ‘PX’.

Pedro Ximénez grapes are sundried which reduces the amount of water in  the grape, but maximises the taste. This sherry is dark and syrupy, with notes of dried fruit and tobacco. Also chocolate aromas. In the mouth caramel, honey, nuts, syrup, figs, chocolate and sultanas.  

Mixology Tips 

  • Using this sherry as a (partly) substitute for simple syrup in an old Fashioned will result in the softest, most silky Old Fashioned you have ever tasted. 
  • This super-sweet sherry is also a great mix with cold brew coffee. 

In this edition of #sherryweek, I take the challenge to serve it straight in a wineglass, in a delicious pairing with some carefully selected cheeses. Since this sherry is very sweet, you need a strong cheese to pair. You want strong and salty cheeses. A slight sour note is also welcome.  

I went to my local cheese experts at ‘t Kaasplankske Beringen and asked for their advice. These were the three cheeses that made the selection :    

  • Stilton Colston Basset : Blue cheese from a small Stilton cheese producer in Nottinghamshire, England. Always a winner in combination with sherry.
  • Epoisses : French cheese from the village with the same name in dept. Côte-d’Or. 
  • Grand Cru : A salty Alpine-style hard cheese.

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 6 november 2020

Sherryweek 2020 : Gonzalez Byass Cristina


A Medium sherry is a sweet oloroso sherry. A small addition of just 13% Pedro Ximénez adds a little sweetness. This means it’s less sweet than cream sherry, which has 25% of Pedro Ximénez. 

Gonzalez Byass Cristina is aged for 7 years in American oak, following the Solera system. It’s bright amber colored and has aromas of raisins, wood and figs. In the mouth hints of oak.

Serve slightly chilled as an aperitif with cheese or paté. Also works great in slightly sweeter or fruitier cocktails. 

Easy Apero? Medium sherry works very well in a mix with Ritchie Orange (orange lemonade) 

Shopaholic

Ingredients
30 ml Gonzalez Byass Cristina (Medium Sherry)
15 ml Cointreau
1 bs Campari 
Soda water

Method
Stir everything but the soda water together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Serve in an Old Fashioned glass with a big block of ice. Top off with soda water. Garnish with a dehydrated slice 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.

donderdag 5 november 2020

Sherryweek 2020 : Gonzalez Byass 1847 Cream


A cream sherry is a sweet sherry, a mixed type of sherry made with 75% Palomino grapes and 25% Pedro Ximénez grapes. It’s the sweetest sherry which still contains Palomino grapes. 

Gonzalez Byass 1847 Cream is in my opinion a sherry you really need to taste. It still has the typical nuttiness of a Palomino sherry, but the edge is softened by the sweet sundried PX grapes. It’s a dark and sophisticated sherry, aged for nine years. It’s soft and silky with lots of raisin and fig aromas. 

A cream sherry is the perfect companion for desserts and pates. It matches excellent with warm apple pie. In that same flavour-direction and with a little help from my foodblogging wife, we paired this sherry with homemade sugarfree apple beignets. You can find the recipe of this delicious dessert on our foodblog Tineke’s Cucina.

Easy Apero? Cream sherry is a perfect longdrink-mix with Ritchie Pompelmoes (grapefruit soda). 

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 4 november 2020

Sherryweek 2020 : Gonzalez Byass Viña AB


Our second bottle for #sherryweek is Gonzalez Byass Viña AB, which is an Amontillado sherry. Made from the same Palomino grapes as a Fino sherry, but aged 12 years in American oak, instead of 4 to 5 years for Fino sherry. This wine starts it’s life as Tio Pepe, but after 4 to 5 years in the Tio Pepe Solera, it’s transferred into the Viña AB Solera for another 8 years.

Viña AB is a young amontillado which has experienced both ageing under flor and oxidative ageing. On the nose typical Palomino aroma of hazelnuts and slight reminders of the yeast. On the palate subtle notes of oak. Aftertaste with slight saltiness and bitterness. 

Served in a small white wine glass and perfectly paired with clams, mussels, white meat, rice dishes, artichokes and asparagus. 

Easy apero : Viña AB & Tonic. 

Bamboo

Ingredients
45 ml Gonzalez Byass Viña AB (Amontillado sherry)
45 ml White vermouth
2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
2 dashes Angostura Orange bitters

Method
Stir together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain into a cocktailglass.
Garnish with a 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.

dinsdag 3 november 2020

Sherryweek 2020 : Gonzalez Byass Alfonso


Oloroso is probably one of the best known types of sherry. The casks which contained oloroso are very popular for whisky aging. Today we are mixing up a tasty cocktail with Alfonso, the ‘standard’ oloroso in the Gonzalez Byass range. 

Alfonso is made from 100% Palomino grapes, aged 8 years in American oak casks, following the traditional Solera-system. Most of the wine used for Alfonso comes from the second pressing of the grapes, so it has slightly more structure and body. The juice from the first press is always used for Tio Pepe Fino sherry. Following fermentation to between 11 and 12% alcohol, the wine is fortified to 18% alcohol. An empty space of 100 liter is left for the wine to interact with the oxygen. Oloroso is never under a flor, it ages with oxidation. The nose gets more hazelnuts and walnuts. As a result of the long aging there are subtle aromas of oak and spiced notes such as truffle and leather. Very flavourful sherry. 

Alfonso should be served in a white wine glass and paired with red meat and traditional stews. It’s a dry wine which combines very well with gelatinous meats such as oxtail and pork cheeks. 

I’ve chosen a simplified recipe for a known cocktail, paired with homemade deep fried crispy balls filled with a delicious paste of slow cooked beef. The recipe of the crispy balls can be found on my wife’s foodblog Tineke’s Cucina

Easy Apero? Oloroso Sherry mixes very well with Ginger Beer or Ginger-Ale.

Escape from Alcatraz

Ingredients
50 ml Tequila Silver
22,5 ml Alfonso Sherry (Oloroso)
15 ml Suze (Bitter)
1 barspoon of Agave syrup
2 dashes of Angostura Cocoa Bitters

Method
Stir all ingredients together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir for at least 20 seconds, the syrup needs some work to blend. Strain into a large cognac glass. No ice or garnish needed. Serve with a few of those crispy balls and a bit of sharp mustard. 

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 2 november 2020

Sherryweek 2020 : Tio Pepe


Two years ago I was invited at the González Byass bodega in Jerez to participate in #Sherrymaster2018, together with a group of wine-professionals. (Art1) (Art2)

During that week in the south of Spain we learned all the basics of sherry, while we could taste and experience it on the spot. We learned about the grapes in the middle of the vineyard, we learned about the casks in the dark warehouse. And we tasted lots of sherry, even straight from the Solera-casks.

This week is #sherryweek and since I was asked to share a few posts promoting this week, I’m trying to recollect some of the things I have learned during that unforgettable week in the sherry-region of Andalucía. This week I’ll be posting about delicious sherry wines, tasty cocktails made with a wide range of sherry wines, from the cork-dry Palomino Fino to the decadent and very sweet Pedro Ximénez. And last but not least I’ll also share a few great foodpairings. 

We will taste this beautiful range by González Byass : 

  • Tio Pepe Fino Dry
  • Cristina Medium Jerez-Xerez
  • Vina AB Amontillado
  • Alfonso Oloroso 
  • Solera 1847 Cream
  • Leonor Palo Cortado
  • Nectar Pedro Ximénez

Next to this ‘normal’ range we will also take a sip from these more exclusive beauty’s : 

  • Fino En Rama 2019
  • Fino Una Palma
  • Del Duque Amontillado VORS

We kick off #Sherryweek with a very easy aperitif, based on the flagship sherry of González Byass: Tio Pépe. This is the driest sherry in the normal range, made from 100% Palomino Fino grapes. Aged 4 to 5 years in American oak, following the traditional Solera system. For me this is the bottle that displays the most terroir. The grapes are grown on the typical Albarizo soil of Jerez, a white soil that contains 60% chalk, which is why it can hold moisture very well. I can still remember the white powder on our shoes after visiting the vineyards. Jerez has a warm micro climate and long hot summers with dry and hot winds blowing up from Africa. 

The grapes used for Tio Pepe are handpicked and transported to the production plant in small 15 Kg crates. Only the ‘first press’ of the grapes is used for Tio Pepe. Following fermentation to 11 to 12% alcohol, the wine is fortified to 15,5% alcohol. In the casks an empty space of 100 liters is always left for the yeast to grow it’s typical flor (a yeasty foam layer on top of the wine) and interact with the oxygen. This is what gives the sherry it’s unique nutty aroma and character. The wine remains “under the flor” for at least 4 years in a Solera system.  

There are two different production methods for sherry : Biological ageing and aging by oxidation. Biological aging means the flor will protect the sherry during maturation. “By oxidation” means we let the sherry interact with the oxygen, which normally would ruin the wine. In this controlled production method they let the wine age long enough so it develops into a new kind of balanced sherry. Oloroso is a good example of the oxidation method. But we start this series with Fino which is biologically aged sherry, protected by the flor layer during the entire process. It’s a taste you might need to get used to, because you really can’t compare it with anything else. Mixing it with tonic can lower the threshold.

All wines in this week’s series are produced by González Byass, one of the most important sherry producers in the world. Founded in 1835 and still in the hands of the González family. The head office is the bodega in Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia. 

Pepe Tonic 

Ingredients
70 ml Tio Pepe (Fino sherry)
200 ml San Pelegrino Tonic
2 drops of Angostura bitters

Method
Fill a longdrink with icecubes. Add the sherry and bitters. Top with tonic. Give it just one gentle stir. Garnish with lemon cuts. 

Tip:
Fino sherry is a perfect aperitif. I think I like the smell of fino even more than the taste. It‘s also an excellent companion for tapas. Works very well with nuts, olives and Jamon Iberico. Can also be served with seafood, fish, sushi or sashimi. I have tried adding a little bit of fino to a raw oyster… Absolutely delicious.  


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 28 oktober 2020

This is NOT a Cosmo : Label 5 Bourbon Barrel


Each whisky has its fans and there is certainly nothing wrong with more budget-friendly brands. Label 5 whisky recently introduced a new ex-bourbon barrel aged single grain bottling. Compared with the Label 5 Classic Black it has more vanilla and coconut tones. This whisky is perfect for cocktails and might be a good choice for bars. 

To demonstrate I’m mixing up a non-typical whisky cocktail 😉 

This is NOT a Cosmo !

Ingredients
50 ml Label 5 Bourbon Barrel
15 ml Cointreau
20 ml Cranberry juice
10 ml Lime juice
1 bs Simple Syrup (adjust to your taste, for me this is enough)
2 dashes Orange bitters

Method
Shake with lots of ice. Double strain into a pre-chilled Martini glass. 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.

zaterdag 24 oktober 2020

Old Fashioned Week 2020 : Rhum J.M. Fumée Volcanique


Let me start by stating “You love it or you hate it”. While your average rum is made from melasses (a by-product of the sugar industry), rhum agricole is made from the juice of sugar cane. It’s a bit less sweet and you get more raw flavours in the nose. Still, it won’t scare you, it’s just slightly different. This Rhum J.M. Fumée Volcanique bottling enhances those raw flavours by adding tons of smoke. I would recommend this bottle only for the real rum-lovers. Definitely not for anyone who is just starting to taste rum. Personally I can really appreciate the taste, but the smoky aroma is almost as heavy as an Islay whisky… I still have to get used to this for a rum. 

This rum has aged between 12 and 14 months in ex-Bourbon casks, which were heavily charred by Rhum J.M. The result is a very smoky aroma, salted butter and caramel. In the mouth notes of lime, sugar cane, honey and anise. A very special rum, which delivers a Rum Old Fashioned with a very smoky kick. 

I’ll try to lift up the typical casks influences by adding vanilla syrup. Also lifting up the typical cacao flavours of the rum by using the brand new cacao forastero bitters. You can find these bitters in the better liqueur store, alone or in a set of three together with “piment bondamanjak bitters” and “fleur d’atoumo bitters”. The cacao bitters are a maceration of roasted cocoa beans, peanuts, coffee, sarsaparilla branch, lime zest, vanilla pods and cinnamon sticks. The alcohol used for these bitters is white rum Agricole. 

Volcano Old Fashioned

Ingredients
60 ml Rhum J.M. Fumée Volcanique
10 ml Vanilla syrup
2 dashes Bitters J.M. Cacao Forastero

Method
Stir together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain into a tumbler with a block of fresh ice. Garnish with a dehydrated slice 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.

vrijdag 23 oktober 2020

Old Fashioned Week 2020 : El Ron Prohibido 12


As said earlier this week, we received two bottles of El Ron Prohibido on our homebar. The second bottle is the Solera 12 blended Mexican Rum. In the nose crushed walnuts, sugar and vanilla. Second comes raisin and prune. In the mouth lots of honey, chocolate and raisin. Just like the 15 Gran Reserva, this one also has lots of influence by the sweet raisin casks. You also get a bit a coffee and nutmeg. The coffee notes stay in the finish. I’m happy that I didn’t use this one for my ‘Rum & Coffee’ Old Fashioned, because it would be too much. 

The lighter and fresher notes inspired to add even more fruity notes in this cocktail. 

Mexican Old Fashioned

Ingredients
50 ml El Ron Prohibido Solera 12 Mexican Rum
20 ml World’s End Falernum (Rum based)
10 ml Simple syrup
2 dashes of Angostura Orange bitters

Method
Stir together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain into a tumbler with fresh ice.
Garnish with a dehydrated slice 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.

donderdag 22 oktober 2020

Old Fashioned Week 2020 : Ardbeg Wee Beastie


Probably the bottle that sparked my curiosity the most during this year’s #oldfashionedweek: Ardbeg Wee Beastie 5 years. Yes, that’s pretty young and I really wanted to experience how much of an Islay-beastie this dram could be. To my surprise this whisky sure kicks a punch. It’s the rawest and smokiest Ardbeg I have tasted. It didn’t disappoint at all. This brand new expression is the most recent addition to the Ardbeg Ultimate Range. 

Ardbeg Wee Beastie is matured in ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks. This dram absolutely activates your senses. Cracked black pepper is very dominant. Pine and smoke. In the mouth lots of chocolate, then tar and creosote. The Beast awakens. A hint of grilled meat and a tail of the salty Islay air. A whisky of 5 years is pretty young. You don’t have the mellowing effect of aging, hence the strong kick. This is an excellent base for a powerful smoky cocktail. 

Wee Beastie Old Fashioned

Ingredients
60 ml Ardbeg Wee Beastie 5
15 ml Honey syrup
10 ml Amaro Montenegro
2 dashes Walnut bitters

Method
Stir together in a mixing glass (all except the amaro) with lots of ice. Strain into your tumbler with a big block of ice. Add a float of Amaro on top. Garnish with a dehydrated orange slice. 

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

dinsdag 20 oktober 2020

Old Fashioned Week 2020 : El Ron Prohibido 15


If you drink rum in the morning, you’re not an alcoholic but a pirate 😉 

If you take a glance at the fantastic bottles of El Ron Prohibido, you really start to feel like Jack Sparrow. These bottles could easily be props for a new ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie. 

El Ron Prohibido is Mexican rum produced by Cervecera Mexicana distillery using the well-known Solera system which is used for several brands of rum and sherry. In the Solera system new rum is mixed with older rums. Instead of ex-bourbon barrels, they use ex-wine barrels for aging. 

Two of their dark rums landed on our homebar and they really do not disappoint. For the first cocktail based on this rum, I opened the 15 solera edition. This rum has tones of sweet caramel, nuts, wood, raisins and plums. It has a spicy finish. The raisin wine casks have left a deep influence in this rum, which really makes it different from most Caribbean rums. This is a perfect dessert rum, which might be the rum I was looking for to blend with coffee liqueur. 

Rum & Coffee Old Fashioned

Ingredients
50 ml El Ron Prohibido Solera 15 Gran Reserva
20 ml Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
7 ml Simple syrup
1 or 2 dashes of Angostura Orange bitters

Method
Stir together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain into a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with a dehydrated slice 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

maandag 19 oktober 2020

Old Fashioned Week 2020 : Sakurao Gin


We already had a Japanese whisky in this years edition of the Old Fashioned Week, but because today is also #internationalgintonicday I’m mixing one up with a base of Japanese Gin. And I bet gin would be the last thing on your mind when I tell you I’m experimenting with something from Hiroshima. 

Sakurao Dry Gin is made with 9 fresh local botanicals from Hiroshima (green lemon, sweet navel oranges, sweet summer oranges, yuzu, bitter dai dai oranges, Japanese cypress, green tea, aka shiso and ginger) and 5 imported botanicals such as juniper berries and coriander seeds.  

This gin has lots of citrus notes (lemon and yuzu), but also aromas from Japanese cypress and oyster shells. The typical Japanese flavours comes from cherry blossoms, which we also remember from the excellent Roku Gin. In this case the cherry blossoms also gave the name to the gin. Sakura is also the symbol of Sakurao, where the distillery is located. 

Maybe it’s not that very common to use gin for an Old Fashioned, but it’s absolutely possible. The botanicals used in the gin add an extra herbal dimension to the cocktail. For this drink I noticed the strong citrus flavours and added more fruity notes. The result is a very fruity Old Fashioned that doesn’t look like an Old Fashioned at all 😉.  

Sakurao Old Fashioned

Ingredients
60 ml Sakurao Dry Gin
15 ml Rhurbarb Liqueur
2 dashes cranberry bitters

Method
Stir everything together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain into a nice wineglass. This drink has strong flavours, it really doesn’t need a garnish. A nice flower might be a good option, but I didn’t have any available…  

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.


zondag 18 oktober 2020

Old Fashioned Week 2020 : Togouchi whisky


I’ve always had a weird relationship with Japanese whisky. The early bottles just didn’t do it for me and it was only after a masterclass of Suntory’s Toki and Hibiki whisky bottlings that I became interested. 

Recently I received a bottle of Togouchi Premium Blended Japanese Whisky. Of course I have nothing against blended whisky. In the UK the blended malt bottlings of Douglas Laing and Monkey Shoulder are extremely tasty. Togouchi uses a blend of Scottish malt and Canadian grain. At the Chugoku Jozo distillery they don’t age this whisky in warehouses, but in tunnels in Togouchi were it’s always 15°. This reminds us of course of the many caves we visited in the Champagne region. 

A first sip from this bottle wasn’t really extravert or exciting. But it did have that typical Japanese peachy flavour which is always more floral and fruity than Scottish whisky. In the mouth it has a lot of butter and caramel. Also fruit and nuts. I decided to try a very fruity Asian style of Old Fashioned for this one. 

Togouchi Old Fashioned

Ingredients
60 ml Togouchi Blended Whisky
15 ml Marie Brizard Litchi Liqueur 
2 dashes Grapefruit bitters

Method
Stir everything together in a mixglass with lots of ice. Strain into a tumbler with a big block of ice. Add a dehydrated lemon 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.

vrijdag 16 oktober 2020

Old Fashioned Week 2020 : Belvedere Vodka


Just like the #negroniweek, the #oldfashionedweek is an annual theme week highlighting iconic drinks and raising money for charity. This year both initiatives are supporting the hospitality industry which was knocked down pretty bad by the COVID19 virus. 

This year there seems to be some discussion about the exact dates for #oldfashionedweek. One of the official websites still states November 1 to 10, but doesn’t seem to be updated for this year’s events. Several other websites seem to start today (October 16 to 25). Since this year I will also be an ambassador for #sherryweek (November 2 to 8), the October-week works best for me to showcase some delicious Old Fashioned style cocktails. 

Each year I’m happy to promote this week and publish some tasty recipes myself. For this first drink I’m looking back at the Belvedere Vodka tasting I joined a few weeks ago, led by Global Brand Ambassador Mike Foster. Belvedere is a Polish brand, where they have a DOP for vodka. Only natural products. In the bottle is the result of purified water, grain (rye) and fire to distil. 

The new Heritage 176 bottle is a mix of the well-known Belvedere vodka with a vintage-style malted rye spirit. They use a centuries-old malting rye technique, which includes steeping, sprouting and heating the rye in kilns up to 176 degrees. Yes, that’s what the name refers to. 

The result is a rich and full bodied taste with vanilla, clotted cream, honey, walnut, … certainly not your average vodka. Serve it over ice with a lemon twist… or use it as a base for a delicious cocktail. 

Heritage Style (Belvedere Heritage 176 Signature Cocktail)

Ingredients
60 ml Belvedere Heritage 176
5 ml Honey syrup
2 dashes Walnut bitters

Method
Stir together for 20 seconds in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain in a tumbler with a big block of ice. Garnish with a lemon twist. 

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 11 oktober 2020

Bitters: The Salt & Pepper in your bar


Ask any Chef which two ingredients he really can’t miss in the kitchen and the answer will probably be “salt and pepper”. A meal without seasoning is boring and flat. Of course the Chef won’t limit himself to those two seasonings, but he will have an array of herbs and spices to use as his personal touch to the dishes and recipes. 

The same applies for bartenders and cocktails. And even when you are making cocktails at home, you really should invest in a few tiny bottles of liquid seasoning. Of course I’m talking about cocktail bitters. Just a few drops of bitters will complete your cocktail. And you can buy them in most liqueur stores. I’ll share with you what I have in the ‘bitters box’ on my homebar. 

Let’s start with the absolute salt and pepper of the cocktail world. The two bitters that you really can NOT be without, because they are essential ingredients for sooooooo many classic cocktails: 

The classical aromatic bitters are the ultimate bitters you need for the best known classic cocktails and the Angostura bottle with the oversized label is still my favourite. Orange bitters you will find from many brands and each one of them will taste slightly different. You might even be tempted to add a few more to your herbs cabinet to have a variety. In my bitters box I have three extra bottles : 

And just like the herbs cabinet in your kitchen, you can start building your own collection of herbal and fruity bitters. I’ll show you mine (if you show me yours ???): 

Extra dash bottles or sprays that might come in handy for some cocktails : 

Last but not least, you really need to add a few kitchen classics too, you’ll need them for spicy cocktails like a Bloody Mary or Michelada. Again, these three are currently in my box : 

I know a lot of bartenders are also reading my blogs. If you can think of just one bitter I absolutely need to add to my (home bar!) collection, please shout and tell me why I need it !!!



woensdag 7 oktober 2020

This is not a banana split (70s disco style cocktail)


I’m still not sure what it is exactly, but something in this Spytail Ginger rum reminds me of something I tasted during my teenage years. This inspired me to mix up a real tacky 70s disco-style drink. And you know what? I actually loved it. Think Saturday Night Fever, Beach Boys, Donna Summer... Shake that booty and have one of these.

The base for this drink is Spytail ginger Rum, but I’ve added some vodka to lift it up a little. I have split the banana liqueur (pun very much intended) to get this special result. 

This is not a banana split

Ingredients
40 ml Spytail Ginger Rum
10 ml Belvedere Vodka
20 ml Fresh lime juice
7,5 ml Giffard Banane du Brésil (Modern style banana liqueur with a hint of cognac)
7,5 ml Pisang Ambon (70s disco style banana liqueur, based on an old Indonesian recipe)
1 dash of chocolate bitters

Method
Bring everything together in a shaker with lots of ice and shake it for at least 20 seconds. Double strain in the most ‘70s disco’ glass you own. Add a sticky 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.

donderdag 1 oktober 2020

Verhofstede Negroni


The Negroni is a very tasty Italian Aperitivo. But there are many reasons why bartenders really love this iconic drink. The ingredients are easily replaceable by other products and each swap creates a new delicious Italian style drink. Each bar can have their own take on this cocktail. 

Gin can be replaced by whisky, rum, mezcal, … whatever spirit you desire. You can even swap it for a good quality Prosecco and have a delicious Sbagliato. There is a whole wide world of vermouths to play with and even the Campari can be swapped for any other bitter or amaro. 

If you want it really easy, you can buy premixed bottled Negroni at your liqueur store. Each year I try to included a good quality bottled Negroni in my posts for the #negroniweek. During the last editions we tested the bottled Negroni from Cockney’s and Belroy’s. This year, due to logistical problems the bottle didn’t arrive on time to be included in the themeweek. But since the iconic Negroni is a tasty cocktail we can easily enjoy all around the year, I decided to publish it anyway. This year we selected a nice bottle of Verhofstede Negroni

You could say this is a pretty alternative bottling. For starters it’s a mix of four ingredients instead of three. Each of the ingredients is produced by Verhofstede and also available in their webshop. The spirit is Edelweiss Gin, which we’ve tested before and has a very nice herbal flavour. The bitter components are a bittersweet vermout and Tante Andrée 35 (a dark herbal bitter). The fruitiness comes in by the Solé orange liqueur (made with Spanish oranges) which softens the drink. The result is a very elegant and silky Negroni. 

Serve on ice in an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with orange. 

You can buy this bottle at your local liqueur store or directly from their webshop

Our friends at Foodbelgium also have a few interesting promotions for Verhofstede products. 

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 25 september 2020

Autumn is coming


A new season has started, October is just around the corner. Most cocktailbars are preparing for their new menu. Dark evenings call for dark spirits, slightly stronger ‘slow sipping’ cocktails and typical autumn ingredients such as apple, pear, nuts, cinnamon, … 

Let’s do that too 😉

I’m using Spytail Ginger Rum as the base for this drink. Don’t let the ‘ginger’ scare you because it’s certainly not overwhelming. It’s a subtle flavour in a tasty rum. Spytail is a French rum brand, known for having their rum aged on cognac barrels. We tested their ‘normal’ rum a while back, this time we’re playing with the ginger infused rum. 



Autumn is coming

Ingredients
40 ml Spytail Ginger Rum
20 ml Ron Colon Salvadoreno high proof rum
10 ml Vanilla syrup
20 ml Cloudy apple juice
Cinnamon and nutmeg

Method
Put the rum, syrup and juice in a shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 20 seconds. Strain in a tumbler with a nice block of ice. Grate some cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Garnish with a large cinnamon stick. 

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 23 september 2020

The Wet & Dry Martini


When it comes to Martinis, I like them either dry or dirty. And when I like them dry, I really mean dry. Not like Winston Churchill who only glanced at the vermouth-bottle from across the room, but still pretty dry. 

Usually I make my Martinis with a dry vermouth, but for this one I really wanted to experiment with sherry, which is of course a very dry fortified wine. It took me a while to get it right and it was another blogger, Matthias, who gave me the ‘split wine’ tip that solved my problem. 

It doesn’t matter if you want your Martini wet or dry, adjust the measures between gin and wines as you please. But do try mixing sherry and vermouth. It works like a charm in this ‘Wet & Dry Martini’.

Wet because you can make it as wet as you want (=using more wines), dry because we are using dry vermouth and a pretty dry sherry. 

The Wet & Dry Martini

Ingredients
60 ml London Dry Gin
10 ml Dry vermouth
10 ml Amontillado sherry
1 dash orange bitters

Method
Stir in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Long enough, you really want this drink to be cold. 
Strain in a prechilled Martini glass. Add a single olive or lemon twist. 

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 22 september 2020

Glenmorangie - A Tale of Cake + Pairing with éclair !!!


Dr. Bill Lumsden, Master Whisky Maker at Glenmorangie, aged some of his whisky on Tokaj barrels (=the famous Hongarian dessert wine) resulting in a true taste-bomb for your sweet tooth : Honey, vanilla, passion fruit, pear, … It threw him back to his childhood years and the cakes he made with his grandmother. This whisky is absolutely perfect to pair with a nice piece of cake. The distillery worked with Dominique Ansel, the French pâtissier who invented the cronut. 

Back to Belgium – A couple of weeks ago I was lucky to receive a 50ml sample of this brand new whisky. But because it was just a small sample, I was also very limited in options. When I pour it in a glass, the empty bottle isn’t sexy anymore. And it’s really not enough whisky to do some cocktail experiments. Inspired by the story of the creation of this whisky, I decided to go for a pretty Instagram picture of the sample together with a nice piece of cake. I was thinking about the fantastic éclairs my local baker had sold back in June during the ‘Week of the éclair’. So I asked him if he could still make those… the answer was no.  

But Peter is not your average baker. He likes challenges, he likes whisky and he is very passionate about taste. 

I sparked his interest with this story and he suggested creating a brand new éclair with some of this whisky in the filling. Now that’s an awesome idea. I contacted the P.R. agency and managed to get him another small sample of the whisky. 

A few days later he came back with this: 

“A Tale of Cake” Eclair – By Peter Bosmans

This éclair has a delicious filling of salty caramel, roasted almond flakes and a cake that also has roasted almond flakes in its mix. The cake is sauced with Glenmorangie ‘A Tale of Cake’ whisky and sugar syrup. On top of the cake there is a mousse of passionfruit and mango. To finish the top part of the éclair is decorated with gold spray and sponge cake. It looks absolutely amazing. 

The different flavours of the filling match the flavours of the whisky. The colors match the colors of the bottle and box. That’s what I call a perfect pairing. 

And yes, this éclair absolutely tastes as good as it looks. 

I hope this can inspire some others to also create stuff like this 😊 

Bakkerij Bosbroek  
Peter & Katrien Bosmans-Vandebroek
Kroonstraat 46
3581 Beverlo
Belgium

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.