vrijdag 23 juli 2021

The Belafonte


It’s a big, big world and bartenders all around the globe create fantastic drinks. And of course they have to be creative and think of a catchy name for their drinks. Sometimes it happens that there are multiple drinks around the world that share the same name. This is one of those, The Belafonte.

The Belafonte is bests known as a ‘Spritz’ cocktail. A refreshing mix of 1,5 cl Gin, 1,5 cl Simple syrup, 2 cl fino sherry, 2 cl lemon juice. Just mix everything together in a large wineglass with lots of ice. Top with 7,5 cl cold Prosecco. Garnish with a basil leaf. 

This is NOT the Belafonte I’m mixing up today. I’m sharing a very easy-to-make typical Italian bitter style highball aperitif with the same name. It’s actually a variation on the “White Port & Tonic” that’s popular in Portugal. 

The Belafonte

Ingredients
30 ml Campari
30 ml Graham’s Blend Nr.5 white Port
Tonic

Method
Add the Campari and Port to your longdrink or highball glass with icecubes. Stir to mix and top with tonic. 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 juli 2021

Saint James VSOP Rum - Cocktail and cigar


Over the past years I’ve tried several brands of quality cigars, but my all-time favourite brand will always be the Cuban Romeo y Julieta, preferably the Short Churchill size. Last week I received a nice bottle of Saint James VSOP rum (43°) and the minute I opened the box, I wanted to pair it with a good cigar. So I jumped into my car and drove to one of my favourite spirit & cigar shops in my region, Huis Hardies in Mol.  

I picked up a few Romeo y Julieta cigars, but they were low stocked and didn’t have much choice in sizes. I had the salesguy advise me on some other brands that I didn’t really know. I ended up pairing my glass of rum with a CAO Pilón robusto extra (5x52).  

Nice to know : A “Pilón” is a layered stack of tobacco leaves that helps ferment the tobacco to maximize the flavor and color of the leaves.

Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Wrapper : Habano Ecuador

Very easy-smoking cigar that was just perfect in combination with slow sips of this rum. This cigars pairs very well with aged rum, but perhaps interesting to know for beer enthusiasts, it also pairs very well with a nice cool IPA beer. 

Of course I also wanted to use this rum in a cocktail. I always seem to have a problem with that. This is a very tasty aged rum that you really need to try neat. If you want to use it in a cocktail, don’t ruin it with too much juices and sugar etc. Rather just add some velvet sweetness and bitters and go for the Old Fashioned style. 

Saint James VSOP
Old Fashioned

Ingredients
60 ml Saint James VSOP Rum
15 ml Gonzalez Byass Nectar (PX Sherry)
1 dash of Cacao bitters

Method
Stir everything together with lots of ice. You can do this in a mixing glass or directly in your tumbler. Garnish with orange peel or 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.

zondag 18 juli 2021

Adonis 1884

After a busy week you are craving for a tasty drink, but let’s be honest… sometimes you are really tired and don’t want to make too much fuss. 

The Adonis is a very old cocktail recipe that will always do the trick. For this drink you will find different recipes. The Difford’s Guide recipe calls for a 2/1 ratio, but if you have a good quality vermouth, you should at least also give it a try with a 50/50 ratio too. 

Adonis 1884

Ingredients
60 ml Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
30 ml La Copa sweet vermouth
2 dashes of Angostura Orange bitters

Method
Add everything to a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir for 15 seconds and strain into a fancy wine or port glass. Garnish with a piece of orange peel… first give it a squeeze to spray some oils on the drink. 

P.S. I was out of fresh oranges, so had to use a dehydrated slice… nevertheless very tasty 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 12 juli 2021

Wild Strawberry Cosmo - Filliers Vodka


My wife has a couple of favorite cocktails. One of those is certainly the Cosmopolitan. This pink cocktail is a fruity sour, served like a Martini. The cocktail became famous by appearing in most episodes of the HBO hit-series ‘Sex & The City’.

How to improve such a tasty summer drink? I have experimented with multiple vodkas and even gins in the past… but a few weeks ago I received a box with 3 brand new vodkas from Filliers. And these bottles just scream “try me in a Cosmo”. One of those three variations is even suggested by Filliers to use in a “Wild Strawberry Cosmo” recipe. 

Filliers Vodka is distilled at the Filliers Distillery in Deinze. Most people know Filliers because of their excellent genever and gin, but they already started creating vodka in 2006, with the acquisition of the ‘Van Hoorebeke’ distillery. This distillery was established in 1792, creating the first Belgian grain genever and premium vodka with the brandname ‘Van Hoo’. 

For the Wild Strawberry Vodka, they enhance the original grain vodka with a distillate of Belgian wild strawberries. The vodka has a nose of wild strawberries and red cranberries. The natural flavour of strawberries balances well with the pure grain aromas. The aftertaste is long, fruity and dry. 

Wild Strawberry Cosmo (by Filliers)

Ingredients
50 ml Filliers Wild Strawberry Vodka
30 ml Cointreau
30 ml Cranberry juice
20 ml Lime juice

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake short but powerful. Strain into your pre-chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a strawberry. 

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 juli 2021

Blood Orange Smash - Teeling Whiskey


Most spirit producers share a couple of cocktail recipes on their website and social media. In most cases it are the obvious classics (Old Fashioned, Horse’s Neck, …), but in some cases they mixed up some interesting variations. 

During this summer I’m trying out some of those recipes and I’ll post the best of them. I’m starting with a suggestion from Teeling whiskey which was pretty tasty. 

Blood Orange Smash

Ingredients
45 ml Teeling Small Batch Whiskey
30 ml Fresh lemon juice
15 ml Fresh blood orange juice
15 ml Simple Syrup

Method
Add everything to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake hard and fine strain into your glass. I chose to serve it without ice in a large cognac 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 4 juli 2021

Let's have a Bourbon Between the Sheets


Happy #IndependenceDay to all my friends in the USA. 

Let’s celebrate with one of the strongest cocktails on the menu. Today I’m mixing up a Bourbon-version of the ‘Between the sheets’. When it‘s really hot or if you would like to have more than one drink, you might lower the ingredients from 30 to 20 ml each, which still gives you 60 ml of hard liqueur. The orange liqueur should balance out the lemon juice. If the lemons are still too sour for your taste, add just a tiny bit of simple syrup. 

Let’s have a Bourbon Between the Sheets

Ingredients
30 ml Casa Magdalena Ron Blanco (White rum)
30 ml Maker’s Mark Bourbon
30 ml Cointreau
22,50 ml fresh lemon juice

Method
Add everything to your shaker with lots of ice. Shake hard and fine strain in a chilled coupe. Lemon is the better garnish 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.

vrijdag 2 juli 2021

Amaretto Sour


In the European soccer competition tonight Belgium plays against Italy. Personally I don’t watch sports on TV at all, but I suppose most of you could use a recipe for a "quick and easy" cocktail… and why not, I’ll add some Italian flavors.

In my box with bottles that I still have to test, I found this nice bottle of Amaretto Florence. This Amaretto, produced at the Franciacorta Distillery has a very delicate profile. I compared it with other Amaretto bottles I had in my stock and the difference was very clear. Less overwhelming and more almond. More flavor is always good.  

A sour is one of the most popular base recipes, and it also works great for the Amaretto Sour. This is a low alcohol, slightly sweeter sour cocktail. 

Amaretto Sour

Ingredients
50 ml Amaretto
30 ml Lime juice
10 ml Simple syrup
1 dash of Angostura aromatical bitters

Method
Add everything to a shaker with lots of ice. Give it a good shake and strain in a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with orange.

Tip
You can choose to have this cocktail with or without eggwhite foam. I prefer this one without a foam layer. 

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 juni 2021

Sunshine Lover 2.0


Two years ago I created the ‘Sunshine Lover’, a delicious highball cocktail with a base of Sierra Tequila. This summer, I wanted to improve that recipe. I like the typical grassy tones of Tequila, but already wondered what it would be like to also add a bit of warm rum flavor... without changing the recipe too much.

Señor Weber blanco rum is certainly no average blanco rum. For me it’s the perfect crossover between rum and cachaça. Weber Haus is one of Brazil’s best cachaça distillers, but they recently also started with their own range of rums. They have tons of knowledge on how to create tasty spirits from sugarcane juice. It’s definitely rum, but in the nose and mouth you will also recognize the typical cachaça grassy flavors. Don’t expect heavy agricole rum flavors, it really leans much more in the direction of cachaça, but with all the goodness of rum.

Sunshine Lover 2.0

Ingredients
30 ml Señor Weber Rum Blanco
30 ml Aperol
Fever-Tree Clementine tonic (You need about ¾ of a small bottle)

Method
Add the rum and Aperol directly into your glass with lots of ice. Give it a good stir. Top with Clementine tonic and give it two more gentle stirs. Garnish with dehydrated orange and a sprig of mint. Very easy… but also very tasty !!!

Summers are for highballs, or is it the other way around? For me the highball-definition is more about the drink than about the glass. I’m talking spirit and mixers. For glassware highballs are actually pretty easy. You can use a classic cocktail tumbler, a highball longdrink or the coppa glass you use for G&T's or Spritzes. Even a large wineglass will be just perfect. 

Extra !!!
This summer (during the months of July and August) you can also enjoy this cocktail at Paal 26 Grand Café.

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 17 juni 2021

Rum-Punch for the Best Neighbours in the world


We probably have the best neighbours in the world. Really, I mean it. That’s why my wife and I nominated Danny and Christel as “best neighbours” for #neighboursday.
Just one example? Last time we went on a summer vacation in Italy, we asked them if they could water our tomato-plants in the greenhouse while we were gone. But when we looked at our smartphones, we saw pictures of the neighbours mowing our lawn, removing weeds and fixing our entire garden. They don’t even own a lawnmower, they had to borrow one to do this since our garden shed was locked. Since I have hayfever and my wife has MS, this was a very big help for us. 

My wife and I both nominated them and they were selected as one of the 3 winners. Last weekend officials from the local government came to their house with gifts and flowers to thank them. My neighbours are fans of Double Strainger and joked that we probably needed a neighbours-cocktail to celebrate. 

Two days ago I saw a delicious rum-punch mixed by @delightfuldrinks and thought “That’s just perfect”. I mixed up two bottles of rum-punch and brought one to the neighbours. Very tasty, very boozy… and really simple to serve over ice. 

Big ‘Thank you’ to @delightfuldrinks. Visit their Instagram page for a video recipe.

The recipe is not in ounces or ml but in “parts”, easily scalable for your visitors or party. A part can be as little as 10 ml if you want a very small L.A. drink, it can also be a barrel or a truckload for large parties or festivals. If you use 40 ml as a part, the recipe below will already cover two to three servings (It’s what I used for the pictures). 

It’s a punch, so you really never drink this alone 😉 

Rum-Punch for the Best Neighbours in the world

Ingredients
2 parts Angostura Rum 1824 (Aged Rum)
2 parts Casa Magdalena Ron Blanco (White Rum)
2 parts Pineapple juice
1 part Lime juice
1 part Grapefruit juice
½ part Grenadine syrup
2 dashes Angostura aromatical bitters

Method
Add all ingredients into a bottle. Close and shake hard. Serve over ice. Garnish with a slice of dehydrated 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 14 juni 2021

Matusalem (3/3) - Orange is the new dark


It’s time for my second and last entry for the Matusalem friendly Foodpairing Competition. My first entry was a welcome-drink, this time I’ve created a very simple after-dinner drink. To complete the bar-serve I paired it with orangettes. Optional this drink also matches very well with a good quality Cuban cigar. 

Orangettes are candied orange peels covered in dark chocolate. These days you can find them in the candy-section of any supermarket, or you can level up and buy premium orangettes at Leonidas or Neuhaus chocolate stores 😉 

Orange is the new dark

Ingredients
60 ml Matusalem Gran Reserva 15
10 ml Gonzalez Byass Nectar (PX Sherry)
2 dashes Angostura cocoa bitters

Method
Add everything to a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir for 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled tumbler with a fresh block of ice. Garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel and pair with orangettes. 

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 11 juni 2021

Matusalem (2/3) - Welcome to the party


As promised a couple of days ago, I’m creating two bar-serves with Matusalem rum, both are entries for round two of the Matusalem Friendly Foodpairing Competition. (Competition entry = Instagram story). 

With this first entry I wanted to create the idea of a welcoming drink. It’s not a real aperitif, it’s really a “Welcome to the party” drink, probably served a couple of hours before food is offered. I paired the cocktail with a delicious macaron with cherry flavor. 

Welcome to the party

Ingredients
50 ml Matusalem Rum Insólito Wine Cask
20 ml Cointreau Noir
7 ml Honey Syrup
Crémant de Bourgogne (or another sparkling wine)
Macaron

Method
Add the rum, Cointreau and syrup to a tumbler with lots of ice. Stir for 15 seconds. Strain into your favourite Champagne glass. No garnish needed, serve with a Cherry macaron.  

Tip
If you don’t have Cointreau Noir, use 15 ml of “normal” Cointreau and 5 ml of Cognac. 
If you can’t find cherry macarons, try other red fruit flavors. 

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 9 juni 2021

Father's Day Sour - The London N°1


Next Sunday is Father’s Day in Belgium. You might have considered the classic choice for a boozy present (Gin of bubbly for women, but mostly dark spirits for men), but why not do the opposite this year? Men also like a refreshing and good quality Gin & Tonic to wet the appetite before firing up the BBQ. 

Of course a G&T might be a bit too easy for a new festive blogpost, so I tried to make it a bit tastier by adding some fruity sours. Don’t let the color fool you, this is not a sweet drink. This sour is a bitter and boozy aperitif most men will certainly appreciate. 

The base for my drink is The London N°1 Gin, distilled in copper pot stills in the heart of London and a stylish brother of the popular Mom Gin range. Gonzalez Byass is the brand owner. 

Father’s Day Sour

Ingredients
50 ml London N°1 Gin
30 ml Grapefruit juice
15 ml Maraschino liqueur (Max. 20 ml, for me 15 ml was already enough)
A dash of citrus bitters
Fever-Tree Premium Soda Water

Method
Add everything but the soda water to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake hard until the shaker feels really cold. Fine strain into a big coppa glass with fresh ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with grapefruit. 

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 7 juni 2021

Matusalem (1/3) - Cuba Libre Royale


I’m often invited to participate in online tastings, but a few weeks ago I attended one that was kind of special. The main idea of the webinar was “foodpairings with Matusalem rum”, based on a scientific analysis by a Belgian lab. Very intriguing. 

Matusalem was founded in Cuba in 1872, but when Castro came in charge, they fled the island and moved to the Dominican Republic. The tasting featured two bottles : Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 and the limited edition Ron Matusalem Insólito Wine Cask (which is actually a rosé rum!)

We all know our Rum & Coke or Cuba Libre, but Matusalem also takes this a step further. I’m sharing their modern edition of the Cuba Libre in this article. But first there’s a bit more to tell…

As a participant in this webinar, I was also invited to take part in a ‘friendly competition’ and enter foodpairing ideas for both rums. I was surprised to hear I made it to the second round. I received a box with both bottles and some extra stuff… and can now create both of my cocktail ideas and share them in the second round. You’ll see them both appear in the next days. But for now, let’s have a nice Cuba Libre Royale. Cheers!

P.S. The winner of the competition will receive a big bottle and nice stuff for the bar. Since I’m a blogger and don’t own a bar or restaurant, I’m actually participating just for fun 😉. My recipes for this content are cocktail serves paired with matching sweets, which you could actually serve in any cocktailbar. Keep your eye on this blog and sociale media. 

Cuba Libre Royale

Ingredients
50 ml Matusalem Gran Reserva 15
15 ml Fabri Cola Syrup
30 ml Club Soda
50 ml Crémant de Bourgogne (Or another good quality sparkling wine)

Method
Build the drink in a glass with enough ice and give it just a couple of gentle stirs. Garnish with lime or lemon. 

P.S. This nice glass was also a gift from Matusalem. It’s a design of Luigi Bormioli (Italy)

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

maandag 24 mei 2021

The One with the sidecar - Friends tribute


“How you doin’?”. Friends was without any doubt the most popular sitcom of the 90s (The series was originally broadcasted 1994-2004 with many reruns after that decade). It’s impossible to count the times I laughed out loud with Chandlers jokes or stupid things done by Joey, Rachel or Phoebe. A few months ago they announced a special ‘reunion’ show (The One Where They Get Back Together) with all the actors looking back on this great adventure. 

When I received a bunch of samples from the Lakes Distillery, I just had to make my own tribute drink with their blended whisky which is called ‘The One’. This is a blend of The Lakes Single Malt with malt whisky from Islay and Speyside and grain whisky from the Highlands. Stone fruit and spices in the nose, honey-roasted nuts, dried fruits and wood in the mouth. The Islay whisky adds a gentle smoky touch. Could that BE any better? 

About the cocktail… The Cosmopolitan was already taken by ‘Sex and the City’, so let’s release your inner Ross or Monica and go for another “Oh. My. God” (*) glorious coupe. 

The One with the sidecar

Ingredients
50 ml Lakes Distillery The One Signature Blend whisky
25 ml Clement Creole Shrubb (I you don’t have this, try a good quality Triple Sec or Curacao)
20 ml Lemon juice

Method
Add everything to a shaker with lots of ice. Give it a good shake and fine strain in a chilled coupe. Serve with copious apero bites. As much as possible because Joey doesn’t share food !!!

P.S. Delicious bites dish by De Schuur Holsbeek.

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.

(*) Read with nasal Janice voice.

woensdag 19 mei 2021

Dandelion in the sky - Hendrick's Lunar Gin


If there is one gin-brand that you could label as ‘iconic’, it must be Hendrick’s. This is the brand that ignited the gin hype with a cucumber and rose petal flavored gin. 

A few weeks ago they officially launched Hendrick’s Lunar Gin in our country. A new bottling with a slightly altered profile. This Limited Edition created by Master Distiller Lesley Gracie is full bodied and floral with a refined and herbal tail. The citrus works as a carrier to bring you the right experience. This gin is created to be enjoyed with Indian tonic or even ginger-ale. The typical cucumber garnish still works, but also black peppercorns could be nice. 


The official online launch event with Olga Leyers wasn’t really my stylish cup of Hendrick’s tea… but the gin and the cocktail suggestions inspired me to try an out-of-the-box recipe. What if I started from a recipe which is initially meant for Bourbon… and play with that until it’s just right for this gin. 

There are two ways to make an Old Fashioned. The right way (spirit, sugar and bitters) and the wrong or messy way (first muddling a slice of orange and a cherry in the glass). Yes, that second way is also a real option that was used throughout history. Never seen an episode of ‘Mad Men’? 

Normally I wouldn’t dream of doing that messy stuff, but by dissolving a spoon of marmalade in your drink, you’ll get that same extra fruity note. 

The dandelion marmalade was homemade by my foodblogging wife. The flowers were handpicked by my daughter ‘in the wild’… at a place where people don’t walk their dogs 😉. Of course I also made sure to have an ‘easy alternative’. 

Location, location, location… Just for once I didn’t mix this drink in my homebar. This shoot was done COVID-proof at ‘Paal 26’, a brasserie close to the highway where the bartenders really love Hendrick’s Gin. Manager Kristoff is a real cocktail-enthusiast, so this shoot could lead to more tasty projects together. Thanks for inviting me behind your bar !

“Dandelion in the sky”
Old Fashioned

Ingredients
50 ml Hendrick’s Lunar gin
7,5 ml Simple Syrup
1 dash of Angostura Aromatical Bitters
1 dash of Angostura Orange bitters
1 barspoon of Dandelion marmalade

Method
You might be tempted to shake this drink instead of stirring, because of the marmalade. But actually that really doesn’t seem to work. You can stir this one directly in your tumbler, or in a mixing glass. 

Add the marmalade, sugar and bitters. Add a tiny splash of water if needed. Muddle the marmalade to get it liquid again, so it will mix better with the gin. Add gin and ice cubes. Stir for 15 seconds. Garnish with orange peel or a dehydrated orange wheel. Don’t use a cocktail cherry, it works well with bourbon but it’s no winner with gin.  

Dandelion Marmalade Recipe

Ingredients
200 Dandelion flowers
1 pack of jam sugar (2 Kg fruit for 1 Kg sugar)
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
900 ml water

Method
We only need the small yellow petals from the flowers. Pick them by hand and add to a pan with the orange and lemon juice. Add water until everything is under the surface (For us it was +- 900 ml.). Bring to the boil for 5 minutes. Cover and let it rest for 24 hours. 

Strain through a cheese cloth and mix the liquid with the jam sugar. Bring to the boil again and stir for the time mentioned on the pack of sugar. Pour the jam in sterilized marmalade jars. Close and let them cool down. 

Easy alternative : “Orange Moon” Old Fashioned

If you can’t make or find dandelion marmalade I would suggest to use a good quality orange marmalade instead. You can buy a jar of orange marmalade in any supermarket. But to keep the cocktail clean, I would stir it in a mixing glass and fine strain into your tumbler to remove the pieces of zest. 

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 13 mei 2021

Happy World Cocktail Day !!! - Green Martini


I’ve always been very much into everything retro and vintage. These days, my 70s childhood is already considered vintage too… and I have to admit I love it. The furniture and drinks from the 60s and 70s were fabulous. Even until the early 80s each bar served these flashy drinks based on Blue Curacao, Safari, Malibu, Passoa… and the liquid rockstar of every bar : Pisang Ambon. Even back then you could buy much better Banana liqueurs (e.g. Crème de Banane), but everyone wanted a flashy green drink. 

This week we also received a new bottle of gin. Drebbel Gin is a handcrafted London Dry gin from Holland. Distilled alcohol from French corn. Juniper from Macedonia, Orris Root from Italy, Coriander seeds from Morocco, Angelica root and fresh lemons from the south of Spain. Ginger and Liquorice from India and vanilla from Madagascar. Like any good London Dry gin you can enjoy this one neat, with a cube of ice or with a nice bitter tonic. I used it as the supporting spirit in this vintage Martini from my youth.  

For this years #WorldcocktailDay, let’s get nostalgic and hitchhike back to the 70s. Throw on some Abba or Beach Boys music on high volume and spin that disco-ball. I started from an old vodka cocktail recipe and adapted it for this boozy holiday. 

Green Martini

Ingredients
40 ml Drebbel Gin
40 ml Pisang Ambon
20 ml Lime juice
Vanilla aroma. 

Method
Add Pisang, gin and lime juice to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 10 seconds and fine strain in a Martini glass. Carefully add two drops of vanilla aroma on top. 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.

woensdag 12 mei 2021

Port of New York


My foodblogging better half loves to cook and bake. Some days she shouts from the kitchen to ask if I can use an eggwhite… That calls for a nice sour cocktail. 

A well-known variation of the Whisky Sour is the New York Sour. It’s more or less the same whisky sour, but with a red wine float carefully added on top. I mixed up another variation, switching the red wine for a nice and fruity red port. 

This absolutely is not the same drink as a New York Sour. Port is a bit heavier and richer than red wine, so it won’t stay on top as a nice float… it will turn your drink into something that almost reminded me of a psychedelic 70s lava lamp 😉. 

So, this drink might not look like a million dollars, but the taste is excellent. At first I was in doubt to use it for the blog, but my wife actually loved the strange look of it. So here it is…  

Port of New York

Ingredients
50 ml Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie
30 ml Lemon juice
10 ml Honey syrup
Eggwhite
A splash of Graham’s Six Grapes Port

Method
Add everything but the port to a shaker without ice. Give it a good dryshake. Add some ice and shake again to cool the drink. Double Strain in a tumbler with fresh ice. Add a splash of port wine on top. 

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 7 mei 2021

Fruit Basket for Mother's Day - Mom Gin


Mom Gin is certainly a well-known brand on this blog. It was probably one of the very first bottles I ever received for my blog, to create a cocktail for Mother’s Day. This year, a Dutch press agency asked if I could do that again. They send us a bottle and asked to create a new cocktail for this year’s Mother’s Day. Yes, this Sunday is Mother’s Day, so hurry up if you forgot about it 😉 – Posting this a few days earlier so you still have time to get the ingredients for this delicious drink !!!

Mom Gin is owned by Gonzalez Byass and is distilled in the UK. It’s a 4x distilled premium gin with red berries and exotic botanicals. I would not label it as a sweet gin, the result is a very aromatic and fruity spirit. In the nose lots of red berries, strawberries, raspberries, lemon and coriander. The same fruity notes come back in the mouth, together with some cherry and liquorice. I want to build further on those fruity notes and really go all the way with fruity flavors.

My mom passed away many years ago, but I’ll make this drink for my wife, who’s also a fantastic mother to our daughter. 

Fruit Basket

Ingredients
60 ml Mom Gin
40 ml Pineapple juice
20 ml Orange juice
20 ml Lime Juice 
5 ml Mango puree

Method
Add everything to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake hard for 15 seconds, strain in a coppa glass with fresh ice. Serve with strawberries and a kiss 😉 #HappyMothersDay 

Tip
I’m always a fan of keeping things simple. In some supermarkets you can find a mixed juice with pineapple, orange and mango that’s pretty close to the right measures for this drink. If you buy a pack of those, you only have to add Gin and lime juice. 

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

dinsdag 4 mei 2021

Experiment : Rum & Cola, but without the cola - Caracas Nectar


Sometimes it seems like things just happen to complete your story… By accident I didn’t receive the normal “sample kit” for the new Caracas Nectar Rum. I received a “distributors kit” which also included four aroma-samples that help you detect the most important aromas in this rum. The four main aromas that you can find in Caracas Nectar are : Banana, Cola, Cacao and fig

In non-Covid years on the first of May we always visit the “Radio 2 Garden Day”, a huge plants-fair where we buy a bunch of herb-plants directly from the producers. Because of COVID-measures, this event couldn’t take place this year, so we drove directly to the plantation of our favorite herbs-producer: Sanguisorba in Ranst. 

Bart Belmans has a true passion for herbs and grows lots of forgotten and medicinal herbs, next to your everyday mint and strawberry.

One of the special herbs I discovered in the greenhouses was the “Artimesia Abrotanum Maritima”, also known as the “Cola-herb”. This plant from the Absinthe-family smells exactly like cola and you can even use it to add subtle flavors to drinks. 

Let’s try a unique experiment. I’m going to make a ‘Rum & Cola’, which contains no cola at all. There is the cola-aroma in the rum itself and the intense cola-aroma of the herbal garnish. Tasting is actually 90% smell and 10% taste. In this drink you sip the rum, but your senses will experience the aroma of ‘Rum & Cola’. Your mind will be tricked into believing you’re tasting a ‘Rum & Cola’.

Does it really taste like a ‘Rum & Cola’? Of course not, but it really screws your mind because there is that hint of cola in the rum and the smell of cola in the garnish. It’s almost like a mental cocktail. What a great and fun experience. I think I will repeat this experiment in a few weeks when the plant has grown and I can cut off more garnish. You need a nice bush of this herb on top of your drink to get the right effect. 

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 30 april 2021

Bardot en Saint-Tropez - Maman Brigitte Rum


Last week I watched the product presentation of ‘Maman Brigitte’, a blended rum by (R)asta Morris, the independent bottling brand of Bert Bruyneel. We also got some cocktail suggestions by Noa Van Ongevalle, leading lady of cocktailbar The Pharmacy in Knokke. 

Maman Brigitte is a blend of 8yo Barbados rum, 5yo Dominican rum and 3yo Jamaican rum.

The Foursquare Barbados rum really puts its mark on the flavour profile of this blend. I don’t taste a very typical sweet rum flavour. The first dominant aroma is against all expectations citrus. This opens lots of opportunities for a nice fruity summer cocktail. The Dominican rum adds herbal and spicy notes. The Jamaican rum adds ‘funkiness’ due to the high amount of esters*. (Esters are natural compounds that are created through chemical reactions during the fermentation process when yeast mixes with molasse)

The character “Maman Brigitte” is a Goddess in the Voodoo legends of Haiti. She was the wife of Baron Samedi. She’s a goddess of life, death, justice, motherhood, fertility, cemeteries, crosses, gravestones, women, souls of deceased relatives, obscenities and passion. But of course there have been lots of famous Brigitte’s throughout history, so I picked my own choice for this delicious summer cocktail. I made one of these for my wife and when I asked her the next day what she wanted to drink, she replied “The same as yesterday”. 

P.S. During the online masterclass, Noa mixed up a tasty Zombie cocktail with 50 ml Maman Brigitte, 30 ml lime juice and 20 ml homemade falernum syrup. 

Bardot en Saint-Tropez

Ingredients
45 ml Maman Brigitte Blended rum
30 ml Triple Sec
40 ml Pineapple Juice
30 ml Lime juice

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 10 seconds, double strain in a 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.

dinsdag 27 april 2021

Graham's Port & Tonic


It’s springtime and we’re counting down the weeks to summer. Pubs and bars will also soon be allowed to re-open. Bring on those refreshing, fruity summer drinks. 

Gin & Tonic is still one of the most popular drinks, but maybe gin isn’t 100% your thing? 
Would you rather have a similar refreshing drink which has much more fruity flavors? 
Why not try a Port & Tonic.

Port & Tonic

Ingredients
50 ml Graham’s Blend Nr. 5 White Port
100 ml Indian tonic

Method
Add the port to a longdrink or coppa glass with lots of ice. Top with tonic and give it just one good stir. Garnish with a half slice of dehydrated grapefruit.

More
If you want some more flavors, try adding some fresh mint and lime 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.

zaterdag 24 april 2021

Marama Origins Indonesia Rum


Some bottles sound so mysterious, I really need to taste them pure to experience the taste and aroma to the fullest. On the bottle of this Marama Origins Indonesia it says “Spirit drink, made with spiced rum, distilled in Indonesia”. Let’s be honest, this is not your average bottle of rum. 

I would probably just call it a “spiced rum”, made from Indonesian sugar cane and distilled in a continuous column still. The taste is also pretty different from your usual rum, because they use plants and fruits that are typical for Indonesia. Vanilla and Galanga root are the primary botanicals. 

Presented in a beautiful bottle we see a dark amber colored rum with aromas of spices and ginger, next to fruity notes of dried fruits like plums and raisins. In the mouth it’s a pretty sweet rum, with a refreshing citrus touch.  

I enjoyed a glass of this spirit, pure with a big block of ice. Next, I also tried a very simple sour with 25 ml of lemon and 10 ml of simple syrup. This would pair pretty good with a nice piece of dark chocolate.

The result was very different from any other rum (or Daiquiri) I’ve tasted before, but certainly tasty. If you want to taste a very different kind of rum, you might give this a shot 😉 

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 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.