zaterdag 17 april 2021

Not a Daiquiri


In earlier recipes I have already made connections between cachaça from Brazil and rum from the Caribbean. Cachaça and rum have similar roots, but the result in the bottle is pretty different. Somehow I really love the combination of the typical warm sweetness of rum and the more ‘grassy’ notes of cachaça. Another spirit which also has that ‘grassiness’ is Tequila. Let’s try a sour with a mix of Tequila and rum. To keep a link with Brazil, I’m using Weber Rum, produced by one of the better cachaça distillers. The result is something in between a Daiquiri and a Caipirinha 😉 

Not a Daiquiri

Ingredients
25 ml Sierra Antiguo Plata (100% Blue Agave)
25 ml Señor Weber Rum Blanco
25 ml Fresh Lime juice
10 ml Simple Syrup

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 15 minutes and strain in a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel. 

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

dinsdag 13 april 2021

Costa Sour - Duingin


This week I got a nice introduction to the gin-range headed by Duingin. Today I’ll focus on the leading bottle of the range, which is Duingin itself. This distilled gin is a real terroir product based on a maceration of Sea Buckthorn (in dutch: Duindoorn). These bright coloured berries grow in the dunes at the Belgian/Netherlands coast and have a very specific coastal flavor. I’ve seen lots of them at the Zwin Nature Parc between Knokke (B) and Cadzand (NL). 

On the nose this gin has the refreshing smell of Sea Buckthorn and Juniper berries. The very typical sweet-sour taste of the berries is well balanced in the mouth and is supported by a complex mix of herbs and spices. Primary botanicals are Sea Buckthorn and Lavender. 

Perfect serve: 5 cl Duingin, 15cl neutral Indian tonic and a slice of lime. 

When I read the story of this gin, I immediately wanted to mix it with Hierbas de las Dunas, the herbal liqueur produced by Michelin star chef Syrco Bakker. This Ibiza-style liqueur has a salty-sweet flavour and is made with the same Sea Buckthorn as one of the primary botanicals. The Duingin range also has 3 other gins (Ginger, Ginius and Oxygin). We’ll return with a couple of those later on. 

Costa Sour

Ingredients
40 ml Duingin
30 ml Hierbas de las Dunas
30 ml Lime juice
10 ml Simple Syrup
1 eggwhite

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker without ice. Shake hard to create some foam. Add ice and shake gently for 10 more seconds. Double strain in a pre-chilled coupe or 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.


 

donderdag 8 april 2021

Crazy Monkey by @sommthing.RAD


From the very start of my blogging adventures I always had a very clear mission in mind. It was January 2016 and more and more people were enjoying Gin & Tonics at home multiple times a week. I wanted to convince them to buy a few more bottles and experiment with easy but tasty homemade cocktails. This means I often have to ‘undress’ recipes which are too difficult, suggest different preparation methods or find alternatives for hard-to-find bottles etc. 

A while back I got a message from Amanda Greenbaum. She’s a mixologist, sommelier and winemaker from Malibu (California) with more or less the same mission. She published a nice cocktail book with easy recipes and wanted me to have a look at it. On the first page she’s already very cheeky with her statement : “This book is for all of the suckers who paid twenty dollars for a cocktail last night you could’ve made at home. It’s okay, we’ve all been there”

You can order the book from her website, it’s packed with tasty recipes. I selected this easy, but soooooo very tasty cocktail… 

Crazy Monkey

Ingredients
60 ml Dark Rum (I selected a nice bottle of El Ron Prohibido Solera 12)
15 ml Giffard Banane du Brésil  
30 ml Kahlua coffee liqueur

Method
I mixed everything together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strained it into a small tumbler with a nice block of clear ice. Garnish is optional, I used some tiny flowers to make it a bit more Instagrammable 😉 .

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 6 april 2021

Easy Greasy Bacon Old Fashioned


Any butcher will tell you fat holds most of the flavour in any meat. That’s the reason why fat-marbled Wagyu steaks are so delicious and why you really should have a nice layer of fat on any piece of roast. Adding fat to spirits is something which is not that uncommon in bars, it’s called “fat-washing the spirit” and it can be done with several spirits such as whisky, Bourbon, rum, … 

Today I’m talking about one of the most popular ‘fatty’ cocktails: The Bacon Old Fashioned. I’ll explain in short how it’s done in the bars, but I’ll also give you a quick and easy method to shake one up at home. 

In the bars the name is really not that accurate, because they will only use the liquid fat of the bacon to mix with Bourbon. Make sure to use greasy belly bacon to get enough liquid fat. Mix the fat and Bourbon in a jar and have it rest for a day to make sure the spirit absorbs all the delicious flavors (shake regularly). Next day refrigerate (or freeze) the mix, which will make the fat become solid again and it will split from the spirit. Get rid of the fat and pour the whiskey through a coffee filter to get your ready-to-use Bacon flavored whiskey. 

For measurements, I would suggest maximum 60 ml of liquid fat on a complete bottle of whiskey. 

So yes, it’s not that easy and it’s only rewarding if you make a batch of it. But I also have a pretty easy way of adding bacon taste to your whiskey(-cocktail). 

Easy Greasy Bacon Old Fashioned

Ingredients
60 ml Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
10 ml Honey Syrup (or Maple Syrup)
3 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
1 strip of grilled greasy bacon

Method
Cut your grilled strip of bacon in half lengthwise. Put the prettiest half aside for garnish, cut up the other half in small cubes. Add these to a shaker with ice, also add the whisky, honey syrup and bitters. Shake for 15 seconds. Fine strain in a tumbler with fresh ice. Notice the beautiful color. Garnish with the bacon strip. 

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 april 2021

Bruichladdich Black Art 1994 Ed 08-1 - A tasting with Nick Baeyens


Nick Baeyens is a Brand Ambassador for PHD (Progressive Hebridean Distillers), the makers of Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte, Octomore and the fantastic The Botanist Gin. Each time Nick invites us to a tasting, I know I’m up for something special. In the past we already deconstructed bottlings, tasted individual casks, shared a pot of mussels or went on a foraging walk at the Belgian/Dutch coastal border. This guy is a brand ambassador, bartender, forager, teacher, DJ,… that will always drag you into a new adventure. This week he invited me to a virtual tasting of a very exclusive bottling: Bruichladdich Black Art 1994 Edition 08.1 - 26 years.

“Decades have passed since this unpeated spirit ran from the stills in the ethereal, Victorian stillhouse. The stillmen who were present in 1994 would have no concept of its destiny; that it would eventually become the eighth iteration of the notorious Bruichladdich Black Art. This spirit would take many weaving journeys within our loch-side warehouses. Each cask it met has been identified and nurtured over time under the tenureship of the Head Distiller. All with one ultimate purpose in mind. Few responsibilities are as daunting as the composition of this cuvee. Lesser distillers would be unwilling to release their finest casks completely unaccounted for, totally in secret”. 

And of course Nick made this tasting – again – something to remember. 

Together with a pair of  whisky-samples, we received an intriguing treasure-chest filled with Black Art stuff... a deck of Tarot cards, candles, sage, wood, a ring and a silver necklace with a jewel. He invited Sofie Joan Wouters aka ‘Esmeralda’ to interrupt the webinar and take us on a journey for a very personal seance. 

A few more credits
The silver jewel we received was one of 15 unique designs, created for this occasion by Anaïs de KeyzerThe deck of Tarot cards was designed and illustrated by Lisa Sterle.

A big 'Thank You' to Nick for – again – a very adventurous tasting. And by the way, I really loved this whisky. Very unusual and with a slightly sweeter taste-profile for Bruichladdich, but totally the style of whisky I like to sip. 

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


woensdag 31 maart 2021

The Slightly Lower ABV Sazerac


I often mentioned that my Nr.1 recipe of choice is the Old Fashioned. It’s also a quick and easy way to experience how a spirit behaves in a cocktail. If that spirit is a brandy, cognac or rye whiskey I would probably go for a Sazerac style of drink which is actually a variation on the Old Fashioned. Why? Because these bold spirits work so well together with the extra anise flavors of this drink. 

No, Soberano is not the housebrand of my good friend Soberon, it’s a sweet Spanish brandy at only 36°. This is a product made by Gonzalez Byass, the producers of the best sherry wines. You can expect a soft and silky texture, with a full body. Lots of oak and roasted nuts. The name ‘Soberano’ is related to ‘Sovereign’ (in Spanish the v is often pronounced as a b), this brandy was created to highlight their relationship with the King of Spain. 

I received this bottle of Soberano Solera Brandy on the same day as a new bottle of Absente. It’s almost like a match made in heaven. This calls for an easy sipping Sazerac, slightly lower in alcohol. 

Henri Bardouin Absente is my favorite brand of Absinthe. I always have the 55° Absinthe in my homebar. This new flashy bottle (which looks absolutely stunning in any bar) is much lower in alcohol, only 26°. It would suit better in what we generally categorize as liqueurs. The 55° is also defined as a herbal liqueur, but with 55° it’s as strong as your base spirit. 

The Slightly Lower ABV Sazerac

Ingredients
60 ml Soberano Solera Brandy
10 ml Sugar syrup
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
A few ml of Absente 26° for a rinse

Method
Rinse the glass with Absinthe (Swirl it around, you want a thin coating of absinthe on the complete inside of your glass) and add icecubes. If you don’t use too much Absinthe, just leave it in the glass. It there’s too much Absinthe left on the bottom, discard it. Because this cocktail is a bit lower in alcohol, you could discard the icecubes too. If the glass and the cocktail are both cold enough, this should give you a perfect experience. I actually like my Sazeracs with a huge block of ice, which will cool the drink but won’t add much dilution. I was almost out of ice, so had to settle for the smaller cubes.

Stir the Soberano brandy with sugar and bitters in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain the cocktail into the chilled and rinsed tumbler. Garnish with 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.

vrijdag 26 maart 2021

Toy Revolver


How to simplify a cocktail that only has three ingredients? The Revolver is a lesser known variation on the Manhattan. It’s basically a mix of Bourbon and coffee liqueur with a few drops of orange bitters. The magic extra ingredients are a few drops of oil expressed from a piece of orange peel and warmed up with a lighter. Spectacular when done properly, and it absolutely adds an extra aroma dimension to your drink. Most home bartenders won’t bother because it’s a skill that really needs some practice. 

How can we simplify this in a way which also adds a more or less similar effect to the drink? We could add a mist of orange extract. This is extremely easy to make yourself. Do you ever eat oranges? Just add the orange peels to a closed jar with vodka. Let it rest for a couple of weeks. Strain and filter. Put it in a cheap spray-bottle

Toy Revolver

Ingredients
60 ml Bulleit Bourbon
15 ml Coffee liqueur
2 dashes of Orange bitters
Home-made orange vodka spray

Method
Stir together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain in a chilled coupe. Spray with the orange infused vodka. No garnish is really needed, but you can add a dehydrated orange wheel 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.


maandag 22 maart 2021

The Old Fashioned Mexican - El Ron Prohibida Reserva 22y


Question of the day: Cocktails with exclusive or expensive spirits – Yes or No?

A cocktail can only be as good as the ingredients. If you use poor quality ingredients, it will be much harder to get to a delicious result. For home use I would recommend to pick the ‘normal’ range of products, which is widely available in liqueur stores. Creating cocktails with high end spirits is a whole other ballgame. I have seen it done successful, for example with the ‘Green Club Card’ menu at Bar Burbure in Antwerp. They brought very clever variations on classic cocktails, but lifted up to the absolute maximum in flavour. Often they also paired it with a bite to create a complete taste experience.  

Experimenting with high end spirits is of course expensive. That’s why you need to limit the fails. Always start from a classic recipe and slightly adapt the recipe. I’ll give you a practical case. Let’s say we start with the father of all recipes, the Old Fashioned. This cocktail only contains a good quality spirit, sugar, bitters and ice. The sugar is the easiest part to adapt. In liqueur stores you will find a whole range of sugar syrups that you can try in your Old Fashioned. Swapping the simple syrup for honey or vanilla syrup will absolutely add something extra. These are both very safe tries with brown spirits, but if you use gin as your spirit, you could even try cucumber syrup. The sky is the limit. 

The same goes for bitters. Traditionally the Old Fashioned is made with a few dashes of Angostura Aromatic bitters, but you could easily swap this for other bitters that complement the flavors of the spirit. I have made some great Old Fashioned cocktails with walnut bitters or orange bitters. Adding 10 or 20 ml of Amaro is a similar variation. It adds a herbal touch to your drink. 

Another nice option is to cut back on the sugar and add some sweet sherry to the mix instead. This will add sweetness but also a nice silky layer. An Old Fashioned with some Pedro Ximenez sherry added is called a Velvet Old Fashioned.  

The new bottle on my home-bar today is a very nice Mexican rum, El Ron Prohibido Reserva 22y. If you like whisky, you know that 22 years is already pretty long. For Rum it’s even more impressive, because this spirit ages in a much warmer climate. A 22y old rum can be compared in aging with a 40y old whisky, at least!

I don’t want to spill too much of this rum, so I opted for a (safe!) nice and tasty Old Fashioned. 

The Old Fashioned Mexican

Ingredients
60 ml El Ron Prohibido Reserva 22y
10 ml Vanilla syrup
2 dashes Angostura Cocoa Bitters

Method
You can easily stir this one up directly in the glass. Or you can mix it in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain your drink into a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with a sweet amarena 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 18 maart 2021

The better half of the Reverse Headbutt - with Smeets Jenever


A daily shot of jenever is the secret recipe for a long and happy life. That’s the remedy that’s passed on from generation to generation. One of the real pioneer brands was Smeets. They started exactly 100 years ago in Hasselt. A couple of weeks ago Tom Smeets asked me if I was interested to receive an “experience box” with his new book around this famous shot of booze. Tom is the great-grandson of founder Gerard Smeets and now runs his own communication company. He is still very much involved in the jenever business started by his family. I received a nice giftbox with a book, a sample of jenever, a glass, a barspoon and even a ready-made cocktail. The cocktail was ‘Gerry’s Gimlet’, which I’m not going to discuss on the blog but I’ll throw a picture in the stories when I sample it. I decided to re-shake another nice cocktail from the ‘Jenever Revival’ book.

Let’s talk about Boilermakers, the typical drink where you serve a shot of whiskey next to your beer. I’m not talking about beer-cocktails like the Mexican Michelada, but two separate glasses in front of you. In Belgium and the Netherlands there is a similar tradition with a shot of unaged jenever and a pilsner beer. It’s called a headbutt. 

If you want to reverse this story, you have two problems to solve. You need a very tasty cocktail, which is strong enough to stand up against the beer. And you need a beer which doesn’t overpower the cocktail, but lifts it up. Bartender Jurgen Nobels developed his own version of this ‘Reverse Boilermaker’ for Smeets Jenever. It’s called the ‘Reverse Headbutt’ (or in Dutch ‘Omgekeerde Kopstoot’). 

Today I’m mostly interested in the cocktail-part of this drink (also because I don’t really like beer), but you can easily pair this cocktail with a 50 ml shot of dark Stout-beer to turn it into a ‘Reverse Headbutt’. The cocktail is an Old Fashioned style drink which adds multiple flavors to the Jenever, without really mixing (or messing) it up. It’s a spirit forward drink that lifts up and enhances the Jenever. 

The Better half of the Reverse Headbutt

Ingredients
60 ml Smeets Jenever
3 dashes Angostura Aromatic bitters
4 dashes Angostura Cocoa bitters 
1 barspoon of vanilla syrup

Method
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir for 15 seconds to cool and blend. Strain into a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with orange. 

And there is more...
Oh yes, you might want to take a look at our Instagram. Normally I stopped doing contests or give-away's, but since I really like books with cocktail recipes… three lucky people will receive a Smeets Jenever experience box !!! 

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

maandag 15 maart 2021

Tropical Martini - Señor Weber Oro


Tikidrinks are popular all around the world. But in most cases, you either like ‘m or you don’t. If you don’t like tikidrinks, the prejudice is often “too much juices”. Let’s try to do tikidrinks in another style and keep it very simple with equal parts. 

A Martini-style drink always needs a good base spirit. For this one we picked Señor Weber Oro, a golden rum from Destilaria H. Weber in Brazil, a well known distillery for excellent Cachaça spirits. 

The Weber distillery launched two new rum products : Señor Weber Blanco and Señor Weber Oro. Made with sugarcane molasses, Blanco rests for a year in a stainless steel tank before bottling, while the Oro is rested in three woods, passing through barrels of amburana, balm and American oak.

Tropical Martini

Ingredients
30 ml Vanilla Vodka (You can make this yourself by throwing a vanilla pod in your bottle of vodka and let it sit for a few days)
30 ml Señor Weber Rum Oro
30 ml Clement Mahina Coco
A splash of pineapple juice (I actually squeezed a wedge of fresh pineapple)

Method

Add everything to your shaker with lots of ice and give it a good shake. Fine strain in a Martini glass and garnish with 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 12 maart 2021

Beachcomber on the rocks : Casa Magdalena rum


It’s Friday… let’s have a tasty cocktail tonight !!! 

This week I received a huge box with new spirits to test and sample in the next weeks. Almost half of the bottles are rums. And what’s even more rare, a couple of white rums. I think they might be the first white rums I ever received for testing. We have tested lots of aged and spiced rums in the last years. 

Let’s try a few classic recipes that really benefit from a high quality white rum.

The first bottle I’m using is Casa Magdalena Ron Blanco from Guatemala, made from Magdalena sugar cane, harvested by hand. You can taste earthiness and grassy aromas born from the rich ashes of the three volcanos surrounding the distillery : Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. The light golden color reminds that the rum was aged on American whisky barrels and filtered to remove the color. 

Beachcomber on the rocks

Ingredients
60 ml Casa Magdalena Ron Blanco
20 ml Triple Sec
20 ml Fresh lime juice
2 dashes Maraschino liqueur
2 drops of simple syrup

Method
Shake with lots of ice. Serve in a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with a flower and pineapple leaves. 

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

maandag 8 maart 2021

Jack's Whiskey Lemonade


By the end of last year I received a pretty large “Apero-giftbox” from Delhaize, handpicked by my Secret Santa, Matthias. I also got the opportunity to put together a box for Myriam, a great foodblogger. 

Of course I’m also mixing up cocktails with some of the ingredients. Today’s recipe is created by Hannah Van Ongevalle. Hannah is part of Belgium’s best known cocktail-dynasty, the Van Ongevalle’s from Knokke. After starting ‘The Pharmacy’ with her dad, she now runs her own ‘Tipsy Cake’ consultancy and owns ‘The Motel’, the best looking cocktail-kitchen in Belgium, which is also available for workshops. 

No reason at all to doubt her recipes, because a couple of years ago (2014), Hannah was awarded ‘Belgium’s Best Bartender’ at the prestigious Diageo competition. 

Jack’s Whiskey Lemonade

Ingredients
40 ml Jack Daniel’s Old nr.7
10 ml lemon juice
15 ml Triple Sec
10 ml Fino sherry
Fever Tree Ginger Ale

Method
You could just throw these ingredients together in a tumbler, but since one of the ingredients is lemon juice, the result might be a better after a shake. Add all ingredients, except the Ginger Ale, to your shaker with some icecubes. Shake for 15 seconds and strain into your cocktail glass. Add fresh ice. Top with a splash of Ginger Ale. Garnish with a 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 4 maart 2021

Magical cocktails with Illugin Gin


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Magical Gin Sour

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

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


Magical Martinez

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

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

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

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

maandag 22 februari 2021

Margarita Day 2021 - Velvet Margarita


Today is National Margarita Day !!!

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

Velvet Margarita

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

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

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

zondag 21 februari 2021

AmericaNA & NAgroni (Mocktails)


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

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

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

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

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

AmericaNA

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

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


NAgroni

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

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

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

woensdag 17 februari 2021

Amore Amaro


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

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

Amore Amaro

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

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

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


zaterdag 13 februari 2021

Old Fashioned Valentine


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

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

Old Fashioned Valentine

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

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

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

woensdag 10 februari 2021

Gold Rush


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

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

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

Gold Rush

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

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

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

maandag 8 februari 2021

Red Grape Mocktail - Bel'Uva NA Aperitif


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

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

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

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

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

Red Grape Mocktail

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

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

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

donderdag 4 februari 2021

Pick Me !!!


Today let’s do a variation on a variation… starting from my all-time favorite cocktail, the Old Fashioned. I’m doing a tasty variation on the Pickerell, a nice Winter-style Old Fashioned. 

If you don’t know this variation yet, these are the ingredients for the Pickerell: 

60 ml WhistlePig 12-Year old Rye Whiskey
2 dashes Bogart’s Bitters
8 dashes Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
Bar spoon of WhistlePig Maple Syrup

And now my own variation... 

Pick Me !!!

Ingredients
60 ml Scallywag – Douglas Laing Blended Speyside Malt
15 ml Amaro Montenegro
6 dashes Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
Barspoon of good quality Maple Syrup

Method
Sit everything together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain into a chilled tumbler with a big rock of ice. Express a piece of orange peel over the drink, but don’t add the peel to your drink. Garnish with a sweet amarena 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 1 februari 2021

A friend of an Old Pal - Starlino Vermouth


Starlino vermouth was one of the better new products I tested last year. I was looking to use it in a Negroni-style variation, but focusing on the herbal flavour of the vermouth. Somehow for me it worked very well with Rye Whiskey. So I did this crossover between an Old Pal (Rye Whiskey, Dry Vermouth and Campari) and a Boulevardier (Bourbon, sweet vermouth and Campari).
I really liked the result, maybe you also need to try it ! 

A friend of an Old Pal

Ingredients
30 ml Campari
30 ml Starlino vermouth
30 ml Rye whiskey
3 drops of Absinthe bitters

Method
Stir everything but the bitters together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Add a big shunk of ice into your tumbler and add three drops of bitters on top of your ice. Strain the drink into your tumbler. Garnish with a dehydrated blood orange slice. 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.

maandag 25 januari 2021

Burns Night - Timorous Beastie


January 25 is the birthday of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns. Each year we celebrate Burns Night with whisky, poems, bagpipe music and (because I don’t have any haggis, neeps and tatties myself tonight) a YouTube video of the traditional ‘Address to a haggis’. If you've never seen this before, search for some more on YouTube. They are very entertaining. 

A beautiful whisky to celebrate this day is Timorous Beastie, one of the Remarkable Malts from Douglas Laing. Why? Because this whisky is named after a mouse which appears in Robert Burns’ poem “To a mouse”. 

This whisky is a blend of Highland whisky from Dalmore, Glen Garioch, Glengoyne and others, matured in ex-Bourbon barrels for a big, sweet and spicy flavour profile. We raise our glass to a man who contributed a great lot to Scottish culture.

P.S. This is also a great whisky for an Old Fashioned. Just add sugar, bitters and an orange peel.

Slàinte mhath.

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 23 januari 2021

NC'Nean Clover Club


In Belgium Nc’Nean is still a lesser known whisky distiller. I think we need to change that because they do have a great story and even The Guardian says it’s one of the Top10 distilleries to visit when you can (… because it’s a bit remote). NC’Nean is the UK’s first ever organic whisky distiller. They love to create experimental spirits and pioneer with sustainable production. The distillery is located at the Scottish west coast. Across the water on the Isle of Mull lies Tobermory, another one of my favourite distillers who also produce a delicious gin. 

Back to NC’Nean. The first products they made were not whisky, but botanical spirit and an aged botanical spirit. This also started yeast experiments, because they didn’t want to use the exact same yeast as all other distillers. The Botanical Spirit originated as the ‘new make’ for their whisky (it needs to age for at least 3 years before you can call it whisky), but was enhanced with locally grown herbs and spices. One of those spices is juniper, but still you also can’t call it a gin because it doesn’t tick all the boxes for those regulations. The spirit is somewhere in between gin and unaged whisky. 

NC’Nean is an abbreviation for Neachneohain, the Gaelic queen of spirits. In the back of my ‘to do’ cabinet I found a bottle of NC’Nean Botanical Spirit from Batch 1, on the bottle the name was still spelled NCN’Ean. It seems the name was changed later on because it was too hard to pronounce. Well, it’s still not so easy, is it? Let’s make a nice drink with this spirit. 

You could use this botanical spirit as if it was a gin. Mix it with a premium tonic, a splash of bitters and garnish with grapefruit. Or use it in a tasty cocktail like this variation on the classic ‘Clover Club’. 


NC’Nean Clover Club

Ingredients
50 ml NC’Nean Botanical Spirit
25 ml Fresh lemon juice
20 ml Raspberry syrup
1 eggwhite

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with just one (1!) ice cube. Shake hard to develop some nice foam. Then shake again with some more ice for just 10 seconds. Strain in a chilled coupe. Garnish if you please, but I think it’s overrated for this one. 


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

dinsdag 19 januari 2021

Port Sangaree - Graham's 2Oy old Tawny


A few weeks ago I shared the recipe for the ‘Port Garibaldi’ highball cocktail with a base of Graham’s Six Grapes Port. Today I’m using another bottle from this great brand : Graham’s 20y Tawny. And again I’m going to use a recipe by Master Mixologist Ran Van Ongevalle.
Please do enjoy this delicious slow-sipping after-dinner cocktail. 

Port Sangaree

Ingredients
60 ml Graham’s 20y Tawny
30 ml Remy Martin 1738 Cognac
Mint leaves

Method
Muddle 3 mint leaves slightly on the bottom of your mixing glass. Add both the Port and Cognac and stir with ice. 

Double strain (Hey, that sounds familiar) into your cocktail glass with fresh ice. Garnish with fresh mint. 

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 15 januari 2021

Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured


A new bottle of Deanston whisky came to our office and the label states in very large writing “Kentucky Cask Matured”. This does raise an eyebrow, because most Scotch whisky is matured in ex-bourbon barrels (sometimes finished in other casks) and most of those ex-bourbon barrels are sourced from Kentucky. So let's neglect the shiny marketing and look at what's in the bottle. 

The color of this whisky is light golden, indicating that it’s still a young whisky. Lots of fruit in the nose. Not very exciting in the mouth. A bit of honey, butter and dough. Hints of fruit. 

Conclusion, it’s certainly not a bad whisky, but I have tasted better already from Deanston. I guess this whisky will appeal most to people who enjoy a refreshing longdrink in the evening. It does have that alcohol-kick which works pretty good with mixers like coke or ginger-ale. I mixed up a simple Horse’s Neck and absolutely liked it. If you want to enjoy a better Deanston dram in this price range, I would recommend the Deanston Virgin Oak, bottled at 46,3% instead of 40% which gives it a lot more body. 

Deanston Horse’s Neck

Ingredients
50 ml Deanston Kentucky Cask matured
120 ml Fever-Tree Ginger-Ale
A lime wedge
A dash of walnut bitters

Method
Build this drink in your longdrink or highball glass. Add ice cubes to your longdrink, add the whisky and bitters. Pinch the juice from a lime wedge. Top with Ginger-Ale. Give it one quick stir. Garnish with a dehydrated lime wedge. 

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 11 januari 2021

Ceder's Cucumber Delight


Most of our followers should know by now that I’m not a big fan of prohibition months like ‘Sober October’, ‘Dry January’ or ‘Tournee Minerale’. I still believe in enjoying tasty drinks all year long, but with moderation. Use some common sense when enjoying your favourite spirit or cocktail. 

But even then, some days alcohol is not really an option because I still have to drive to a meeting or need to pick up my daughter from her violin lessons. On such days a nice mocktail can be enjoyed. I do like non-alcoholic vermouth-style aperitifs and non-alcoholic Gin-replacements. Today I’m talking about Ceder’s Crisp, which is a non-alcoholic gin-replacement. It’s distilled with Swedish water and South-African botanicals such as juniper, lemon, cucumber and camomile. Ceder’s also has three other flavours available. 

Ceder’s & Tonic

50 ml Ceder’s Crisp
150 ml Premium Tonic
Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a sprig of mint

To be really honest when I smelled and tasted the pure liquid, I really didn’t get the juniper. The cucumber was much too overwhelming. I did get a hint of the camomile however. I decided to work with this and enhance the cucumber into a drink that would be really perfect at lunchtime. 

Ceder’s Cucumber Delight

Ingredients
50 ml Ceder’s Crisp
15 ml Lime juice
15 ml Lemon juice
10 ml House of Broughton Natural Cucumber syrup
10 ml Martini Floreale (Non alcoholic vermouth)

Method
First coat the inside of your glass with a few strips of cucumber. Fill up with ice cubes. 

Shake everything together with lots of ice. Strain into you cocktail glass.
Garnish with fresh mint. 

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 7 januari 2021

Deep Chocolate Negroni


It’s been a while since I did something with X-Gin, the chocolate flavored gin which my wife likes so much. While she’s having her X-Gin & Tonic, I want to stir up a real chocoholic after-dinner cocktail.

Deep Chocolate Negroni

Ingredients
30 ml X-Gin
25 ml Sweet vermouth
25 ml Campari
10 ml Marie Brizard Chocolat Royal (Chocolate liqueur)
1 dash Angostura Cocoa Bitters

Method
Stir together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain in a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with cocoa nibs and optionally serve with an After Eight chocolate. 

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 5 januari 2021

Singapore Sling


Let's start the year with a more complex cocktail, before we return to our mission of easy cocktails that everyone can make at home.

In classic cocktails you have “old classics” and “modern classics”, but in both you have the “more common” classics and the “maybe not so common” classics. These are the cocktails that you definitely have heard of and you’ve seen them appear on the menu of your favorite cocktail bar… but in reality it’s a drink you haven’t really tasted that often. While you probably have tasted several glasses with a Whisky Sour, Old Fashioned or Daiquiri, I bet you haven’t tasted that much Singapore Slings. Am I right? 

The Singapore Sling is a recipe which is easily tweakable, so they will taste slightly different each time you sip them in a bar. The Singapore Sling was created in the early 1900s at the bar of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The oldest recipe in my book collection only mentions lemon juice, Dry Gin, cherry brandy and soda water. Benedictine was optional. The recipe has evolved a bit since that time… 

Too many ingredients? I’m pretty sure you can order this great cocktail for home delivery from many cocktailbars. It’s also available from the BarBasille cocktail-webshop. 

Singapore Sling

Ingredients
30 ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
20 ml Cherry Heering 
10 ml Benedictine 
10 ml Cointreau
1 dash Angostura bitters
30 ml Pineapple juice
15 ml Lemon juice
10 ml Grenadine

Method
Shake all ingredients with enough ice for 15-20 seconds. Strain in a chilled cocktailglass with fresh ice. Garnish with pineapple, mint, cocktail cherry… or a flower. For me a flower refers best to the old Singapore. 

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.