zondag 26 december 2021

Christmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Irish Mist


Boxing Day – It’s time to round up our annual Christmas series. I had lots of fun exploring these spirits. Too bad Facebook was constantly trying to block my post in the last two weeks. Next year I’ll have to think of other vocabulary to avoid being jailed by the algorithms. To end our series, let’s mix up the easiest drink possible… just adding a bit of lemon juice to a liqueur.

Honey liqueurs are very popular. Irish Mist was originally created at the Tullamore distillery is one of the best known bottles in this category. Made with Irish whiskey, honey, herbs and spices. It was the very first commercial whisky-liqueur in Ireland. Let’s make the most simple sour possible. 

Simple Sour

Ingredients
50 ml Irish Mist Honey
15 ml Fresh lemon juice

Method
Add both ingredients to your shaker with ice. Shake for 10 seconds and strain in a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with citrus.

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 25 december 2021

Christmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Gwalarn Whisky


Next bottle for the Christmas series is - again - a whisky from a country that isn’t often related with whisky: France. Gwalarn Whisky is made at the Celtic Whisky Distillerie in Pleubian (Normandy). To create Gwalarn, the first premium Celtic Whisky brand, the cellar master carefully selected some of the most complex whiskies from across the Celtic world to carefully blend them with their own single malts. Slowly diluted with water from the distillery’s own spring. The result is a whisky with a French soul and Celtic roots. 

  • Nose: Elegant, frank, distinguished. Cereals, ripe fruits, vanilla on a slightly peaty background.
  • Palate: Fruity at first. Very clear vanilla. Peaty and salty. 
  • Finish : Peaty and salty. 

Cherish your Celtic roots.

Ingredients
50 ml Gwalarn Whisky
20 ml Fresh lemon juice
12 ml Monin Cherry syrup

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake for 15 seconds. Fine strain in a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with cherries. 

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

vrijdag 24 december 2021

Christmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Golden Eight Pear Liqueur


Just a few more posts to go in this edition of the Christmas series. We had to adapt the name because Facebook kept blocking the posts and even threw me in Facebook Jail for a day. 

Today’s bottle is without any doubt the most beautiful bottle for this year : Massenez Golden Eight Pear Liqueur

A very rich aroma of Williams pears. In the mouth more of those fresh pears, marmalade, caramel and vanilla. Aged for more than 8 years. Delicious to sip neat, but fantastic taste explosion in cocktails. I had the pleasure of tasting this fantastic liqueur before and was very happy to be able to play with it again. I decided on mixing flavours without any recipe in mind. The result was mindblowing delicious. You'll want a refill !!!

Infinite Gold

Ingredients50 ml Glenmorangie X whisky
20 ml Golden Eight Pear Liqueur
10 ml Insurgent Cold Drip coffee 

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake until the shakers gets really cold. Fine strain in a cognac glass. No garnish. Be amazed by the taste. 

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 23 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Cucielo Vermouth

I promised more authentic Italian bottles, so here we are. Very nice red and white vermouths by Cucielo. You can enjoy it neat, with ice or in any cocktail that calls for vermouth. Just perfect for simple highballs such as this one.

Cucielo Bianco is mostly influenced by artemisia, pink pepper, cardamom, green apple, elderflower and pomegranate. Cucielo Rosso is mostly influenced by artemisia, yarrow, Chinese gentian, Sicilian bitter oranges, vanilla pods and cloves.

Cucielo Highball

Ingredients
30 ml London Dry Gin
30 ml Cucielo vermouth di Torino (pick your choice, white or red)
60 ml tonic

Method
Build in a highball glass with lots of ice. Give it a few stirs. Garnish with citrus.

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 22 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Taylor's Port


Today’s bottle is a limited edition Taylor’s Port from the Historical Collection. The third bottling in this series was carefully put together with specially selected Ports from Taylor’s Tawny stocks, aged in seasoned oak Port pipes. Perfectly balanced Port wines with all the intensity and finesse derived from aging. The bottle shape for this special edition is a throwback to the bottles of the 18th century. 

  • Nose: Coffee, butterscotch and dried fruit, with notes of plum and raisin. Lighter notes of spice, nuts and wood. 
  • Mouth: Round flavours with smooth silky texture. Toffee and fruit which continue into the long, warming finish. 

I saw this recipe as a suggestion in my local supermarket. I just had to try. It’s a low alcohol aperitif and basically a very fruity Cosmo-alternative. The deep fruit flavours of the Port are in the spotlight. 

Fruity Port Cosmo

Ingredients
60 ml Taylor’s Port
60 ml Cranberry juice
10 ml Cointreau

Method
Add everything to a shaker with lots of ice. Give it a good shake, when the shaker is cold, strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish is optional. 

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

dinsdag 21 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Needle Gin


The Gin hype is already a couple of years behind us. The result is that new gins that appear on the market these days are usually pretty good. For this edition of our Xmas Gifts Parade, I received a nice giftpack from Needle Gin. This spirit had its roots in Baden, in the middle of the German Black Forest. I expected a deep aroma of spruce needles, but it’s certainly not overwhelming. This is a good quality spirit with subtle notes of the forest. A nice bouquet of botanicals flavour this gin. Some of them are listed on the website: Juniper berries, lavender, ginger, sun-ripened lemons and oranges, pimento and cinnamon and of course a generous amount of hand-picked spruce needles… 

This bottle actually reminded me of my father, who used to drink spruce tea in winter to cure his cold. I think this gin will absolutely cure a mild cold too 😉.

No cocktail today, I enjoyed a nice and soothing Gin & Tonic. Just mix 50 ml Gin with 100 ml of tonic.

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

maandag 20 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Amaro Santa Maria al Monte


If you like Italy, you will also love a good quality amaro. You can drink it after dinner to settle your stomach, you can drink it neat, on ice, with a mixer or as an ingredient in many cocktails. A couple of years ago I was part of the press team for a big cocktail competition in Bologna. During that trip we visited a bar which had an incredible collection of amari. Il Marchese had more than 500 different amari behind the bar.  

Today I’m playing around with one of those authentic good quality amari: Santa Maria Al Monte Amaro

This amaro is still made by the original recipe created by Franciscan monks. The amaro is aged in oak barrels for a year before bottling. It has a very minthy flavour. Herbs and spices are more present than citrus. There is a definite kick of orange zest. Gentian is used as bitter agent. 

Amaro Sour

Ingredients
50 ml Santa Maria al Monte Amaro
25 ml Fresh lemon juice
10 ml Simple syrup

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake for 15 seconds and fine strain into a 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.

zaterdag 18 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Les Canailles Rhum Punch


Another intriguing bottle in this years’ Xmas Gifts Parade: Les Canailles Punch au Rhum Marseillais – CafĂ© Vanille. 
Not a rum, not a spiced rum, but a rum-punch that’s still being infused with coffee and vanilla. 

Say that again? Yes, it’s still being infused. When we hold up the bottle against the light we can see coffee beans and a nice big vanilla pod inside the bottle. It’s one of many flavours in the special series of Rhum punches at 32° alcohol.

When I pour myself a glass of punch, I experience mixed feelings. In the nose, I get mostly the typical “rubber and oil” aroma of the Rhum Agricole from Martinique. The coffee and vanilla are very subtle, almost hard to detect. But when I taste the punch, it’s an explosion of rum and vanilla in my mouth. I immediately know I want to mix a basic sour with this weird spirit. 

Coffee Canaille Sour

Ingredients
50 ml Les Canailles Rhum Punch Café Vanille
30 ml Fresh lemon juice
10 ml Simple syrup

Method
Add everything to a shaker with lots of ice. Give it a good shake, but not too long. When the shaker feels cold enough, fine strain into a tumbler with fresh ice. No garnish, serve with Christmas cookies.

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 17 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Starward Nova


Today’s spirit is not your average whisky. For starters, it’s the first Australian whisky I have tasted. Nova is Starward’s signature single malt, fully matured in Australian red wine barrels. The barrels are sourced from local wineries close to the distillery. These wineries produce great Australian shiraz, cabernet and pinot noir wines. The close proximity often leads to receiving barrels within hours of being emptied. This unique opportunity is used to ‘wet fill’ the barrels with new make spirit to access as much of the wine’s fruity character as possible. The result is a bold whisky, deliciously balanced and really made for sharing and mixing. 

  • Aroma: Bright flavours of red berries.
  • Palate: Like a red berry pudding covered in vanilla, caramel and spice. 
  • Finish: Long and balanced. The sweetness fades away while the flavour keeps going. 

The fruitiness inspires in the direction of a Manhattan-style drink. We don’t want to make it sweeter by using recipes with extra sugar or liqueur.

To enhance the fruitiness even further, I used Kiss My Blackberries vermouth. This is a blend of ripe blackberries, fresh white wine, refined distillates and a touch of fennel. Aromas of red fruits and anise take you straight to the south of France. 

Have yourself a Berry little Christmas

Ingredients

45 ml Starward Nova Single Malt Red Wine Barrel
20 ml Kiss my blackberries vermouth
1 dash of orange bitters

Method
Stir everything together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain in a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with cherries. 

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 16 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Boulard Calvados


Next up is a beautiful gift pack from Boulard. Two high-quality tumbler glasses are combined with a bottle of Boulard Calvados Pays D’Auge VSOP.

Most people don’t know this, but Calvados works very well as a fruity substitute for whisky in many cocktails. You can make Manhattan- or Boulevardier-style cocktails which will be just perfect. Today I’m choosing this Xmas style of Old Fashioned. Apple and cinnamon. 

Apple & Cinnamon

Ingredients
50 ml Boulard Calvados Pays d’Auge VSOP
10 ml Monin Cinnamon syrup
1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters

Method
Add everything to a tumbler with ice cubes. Stir for 15 seconds. Garnish with orange. Enjoy the beautiful flavours. 

Alternative method: You can also stir this drink in a mixing glass with lots of ice cubes, strain it in a tumbler with a big rock of clear ice. 

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

woensdag 15 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Carolans Irish Cream


Of course you can also have nice cocktails after dinner. Carolans Irish Cream is a fantastic base for such drinks. It works very good with coffee and/or cocoa flavours. 

Born in Ireland’s County Tipperary in 1978, Carolans takes its name from the legendary 17th century harpist, Turlough O’Carolan. Next to the regular Irish Cream, they also have bottles with salted caramel and Cold Brew editions. "The Dude" would love this.

Celtic Russian

Ingredients
30 ml Carolans Irish Cream
45 ml Filliers Vodka
22,5 ml CrĂšme de cacao

Method
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with lots of ice and give it a good shake. When it’s properly chilled, strain into your glass. Dust the drink with cocoa. 

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 14 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Nona Spritz


My friends and followers probably know I’m not really into mocktails. Not that I would hate missing the alcohol, but it’s very hard to create a good quality mocktail without the full bodied base that you get with a good quality spirit. One of the best spirit alternatives I have tasted during the last couple of years was Nona June. A juniper forward NA distillate that really works. The product is created by a 27 year old bio-engineer from Ghent. 

A few weeks ago Charlotte asked me if I wanted to taste a brand new product. It seems she’s also a fan of Spritzes and as a second product she created a tasty base for a spritz. The result is Nona Spritz, a tasty non-alcoholic spirit based on orange zest, blood oranges and gentian root. To adjust and tweak the flavour of this product, Charlotte got input from well known Chefs, sommeliers and cocktailbloggers. 

Nona Spritz

Ingredients
50 ml Nona Spritz
100 ml Tonic

Method
Add Nona Spritz and tonic to a highball or coppa glass with lots of ice.
Garnish with 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 13 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Caffo Red Bitter


We start the second week of Xmas Gifts Parade 201 and there’s a lot more coming your way. 

Lots of people like to drink or mix variations on the Negroni. The gin can be swapped for any other spirit, and there are many vermouth-style aperitifs available to give the cocktail a complete other taste. But the bitter element is not changed that often, which is a shame. There are so many good bitters and amari available, that will also change the drink. For this next cocktail I was searching for authentic Italian bitter, which I have found at Caffo. 

Caffo Red Bitter is a very flavourful and authentic Italian bitter, which will transfer your cocktail into a drink that will sweet you away to warm Italian summers.

Caffo Negroni

Ingredients
30 ml Caffo Red Bitter
30 ml Cinzano sweet vermouth
30 ml Gin

Method
Add all ingredients to a tumbler with ice. Stir to perfection. Add orange for garnish. Simple. Italian. Tasty. 

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 11 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Pama

Another delicious liqueur for today’s bottle at our Xmas Gifts Parade: Pama pomegranate liqueur. I was really waiting for Heaven Hill’s distributor to bring this bottle to the Belgian market. A liqueur with lots of potential for tasty drinks. 

Let’s start by mixing up another fruity take on the Negroni. 

Pamagroni

Ingredients
30 ml Pama pomegranate liqueur
30 ml Martini Ambrato vermouth
30 ml Sorgin (grape-based Gin)

Method
Add even parts of all ingredients to a tumbler with ice. Stir for 15 seconds. Garnish with orange. 

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

vrijdag 10 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - HPNOTIQ


Probably the most intriguing bottle for this year’s edition of the Xmas Gifts Parade: HPNOTIQ Liqueur. This unbelievable eyecatcher is a premium liqueur of exotic fruit juices, French vodka and a touch of cognac. This liqueur is really made for mixing and will completely transform all your recipes.

With this flashy bottle we mix the simplest drink in this series. But I promise that after the Xmas series I will post more interesting and tasty recipes with this unique liqueur. 

HPNO & Cognac

Ingredients
50 ml HPNOTIQ Liqueur
50 ml Cognac

Method
Add both ingredients to a tumbler with lots of ice (I really hate those places where you get a tumbler with one tiny icecube that disappears before the waiter has turned his back). Stir to complete the magic. Add a dehydrated citrus 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.

donderdag 9 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Rhum Depaz Réserve Spéciale VSOP

Next up in our Xmas Gifts Parade is Rhum Depaz RĂ©serve SpĂ©ciale VSOP, a very old Rhum Agricole blend from Martinique, aged for at least 7 years in selected small oak casks. Depaz rums have always enjoyed sun-drenched lands between sea and volcano, with soils rich in ash from Mount PelĂ©e producing cane that offers a sugar content unrivalled anywhere in Martinique. Crushed immediately after growing, this sugar cane combined with Mount PelĂ©e spring water produces a hugely fresh juice. 

Delicate flavours of chocolate, vanilla, liquorice, dry-roasted fruit and tobacco. On the palate clean, powerful and fresh, prune notes and soft oak. A long satisfying finish adding a more peppery touch. 


Perfect pairings: Depaz RĂ©serve SpĂ©ciale VSOP is a wonderful match for the dinner table and will reveal its full character when paired with the spicy, sunny cuisine of Martinique: specifically spider crab cream with a sweet potato rouille, topped with avocado. 

With this fine rum, I wanted to show that a well-balanced cocktail with good quality old rum is also a good marriage for some nice antipasti. The classic “Between the sheets” recipe is just perfect. I mixed the rum with Spanish Soberano brandy, which is a bit lighter in alcohol, the result is a very tasty aperitif.  

Under a blanket

Ingredients
25 ml Rhum Depaz VSOP
25 ml Soberano Brandy
25 ml Cointreau
25 ml Fresh lemon juice
5 ml Simple Syrup

Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with lots of ice. Shake for 15 seconds and double strain into a chilled coupe. No garnish needed, serve with some good quality antipasti.

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 8 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Domaine de Canton


Our friends at Heaven Hill shipped a box with some of their best liqueurs. Perfect bottles for festive cocktail recipes. Domaine de Canton is a ginger liqueur with a Cognac alcohol-base. Baby ginger from Vietnam, hand cut, rinsed and dried for several days. Hand-selected Tahitian vanilla beans and Provencal honey are added in careful amounts. A very sweet, but flavourful liqueur that matches really good with Bourbon. Let’s try that in this Gold Rush cocktail. The original recipe was a bit too sour for me (and I do like my sours very sour...) so I added a bit of simple syrup. Adjust to your own taste.

Gold Rush

Ingredients
45 ml Elijah Craig Small Batch
30 ml Domaine de Canton
15 ml Fresh lemon juice
5-10 ml Simple syrup

Method
Add everything to your shaker with lots of ice. Give it a good shake and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with sweet cherries.

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 7 december 2021

Xmas Gifts Parade 2021 - Kick-off


It’s time to kick off our annual Xmas Gifts Parade. We are running a little bit behind with photoshoots, but we’ll try to publish a wonderful series of mouth-watering drinks between today and Christmas Eve. 

I always love a good start, today I’m not sharing just one tasty recipe with you. I’m sharing THREE tasty recipes. You want more? How about this: You will be able to enjoy all three of these drinks at Paal 26 Grand CafĂ© until the end of January. 

The first drink is a Rum Martinez, but without Maraschino liqueur. Let’s do it a bit different. 

On Double Strainger we always try to keep recipes as easy as possible, with bottles you’ll be able to find in any supermarket or liqueur store. Another threshold might be a bottle that you really never use. You won’t buy a “special” bottle for just one single cocktail recipe. Today I’m going to eliminate the bottle of Maraschino liqueur from the Martinez recipe. I have re-balanced the flavours to get the taste right. The bottle that I use as a substitute is a cherry syrup. You will absolutely use the rest of this bottle. You can mix it with soda for your kids or even pour it over your ice cream. Be careful, I used Monin Cherry Syrup which is very liquid and is intended for use in drinks. If you buy a cherry syrup which is much thicker, you need to adjust the quantity otherwise it will be too sweet.  

For all three recipes in this article I was looking for a rum that’s just a little bit sweeter and spicier than the average rum. I’ve selected two bottles that will really work. The first is Zacapa Rum from Guatemala. I’ve used it many times before and it has that special sweetness that really works for this style of drinks. Another great bottle is Rumbullion spiced rum, a rum with a fantastic taste created by the producers of the well-known Bathtub Gin. 

This award-winning spiced rum is a blend of Caribbean rum, Madagascar vanilla, orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. It’s rich and complex and really fits what I had in mind for the end-of-year holidays. This is the rum you want to sip around the Christmas tree.

  • Nose: Sweet Madagascar vanilla, cola, cloves and cinnamon. This is Christmas in a glass.
  • Taste: Sweet, spice, orange, clove, honey, cola. An explosion of flavours.
  • Finish: Long finish with creamy vanilla.

The cinnamon, vanilla and cloves also work fantastic for the other two cocktails I had in mind. Enhancing the flavour with some extra cinnamon syrup had the exact result I was looking for. I kept the recipe for the Spice 75 pretty sour, because I personally like it this way. If you want slightly more sweetness, add another 5 ml of syrup.

Rum Martinez

Ingredients
45 ml Rum
22 ml Pinguino Sweet vermouth
10 ml Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
10 ml Monin Cherry Syrup
2 dashes Orange bitters

Method
Add everything to your shaker. Give it a good shake for 10 seconds. Strain in a chilled coupe or Champagne flute. Garnish is optional, you could add a sweet cherry.



Spice 75

Ingredients
40 ml Rum
10 ml Monin Cinnamon Syrup
20 ml Lime Juice
Prosecco

Method
Add everything but the Prosecco to a shaker with lots of ice. Give it a good shake for 12 seconds. Fine strain in a Champagne glass. Top with Prosecco. Give it just one gentle stir. 



Xmas Old Fashioned

In
gredients

50 ml Rum
10 ml Monin Cinnamon Syrup
Dash of nut bitters

Method
Build in a tumbler glass with lots of ice. Stir in the glass. Garnish with orange. Pair it with a few of those small cinnamon cookies or a piece of black 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 30 november 2021

Ernesto Bartender Tool Advent Calendar


How cool is this? My friends at Lidl have sent me this great Bartender Tool Advent Calendar. Tomorrow is the official start of the Advent period, each day I get to open a small door which will contain a nice bartender tool. 

I've seen many advent calendars in the past containing small samples of wine, whisky, rum, gin or other nice spirits... but this is really my first Bartender Tool Calendar. I love it, a great gift for all cocktail enthusiasts and a nice teaser toward our Xmas Gifts Parade.

Tomorrow I'll start opening the doors and sharing the contents daily in my Instagram stories. When all doors are open I'll use them to create a 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.

donderdag 25 november 2021

Pardon my peach


When I spotted a cocktail recipe with cognac and peach on a good friends’ Instagram, I just knew that I had to make a simple drink in that same direction. But balancing the flavours, I ended up using Rye Whiskey as a base instead of Cognac. A switch which is often suggested in spirit-forward drinks such as e.g. the Sazerac. To stay true to the vision and mission of my blog, I drastically cut down on ingredients, the result was a pretty nice drink packed with flavour. 

Pardon my peach

Ingredients
40 ml Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey
15 ml Peche Melba
15 ml Fresh lemon juice
7 ml Campari
7 ml Orgeat syrup

Method
Add everything to a shaker with lots of ice. Give it a hard shake and double strain in a vintage wineglass. No garnish.

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 20 november 2021

Poison Apple


Sometimes I spot a recipe that seems so easy it’s hard to believe it can actually be tasty. This ‘Poison Apple’ I saw on the social media of Jack Daniel’s is a good example of such a recipe. It’s an extremely easy but tasty low alcohol drink that will surprise you. 

Only two ingredients, so this is the easiest it will ever get. I was out of Jack Daniel’s Apple (what almost never happens) but found a bottle of Jim Beam Apple in the back of my home bar.

Poison Apple

Ingredients
45 ml Jim Beam Apple or Jack Daniel’s Apple
60 ml Cranberry juice

Method
Add both ingredients to a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir for 15 seconds and strain into a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with a wedge of an apple. 

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 november 2021

The Corleone


The core of my activities as a drinksblogger (=a hobby that got a little bit out of hand…) is searching for interesting cocktail recipes, often forgotten old classics, and experimenting with those recipes to give them a modern update. That was also the idea with this beauty today.

The original recipe was of course ‘The Godfather’ (50/50 whisky and amaretto), but I saw a recipe online using cola as a mixer to top off the drink, which inspired me to use cola syrup instead of cola. This result in a more balanced drink with subtle tones added to a good quality whiskey. It’s almost like a special kind of Old Fashioned.

As a base for this drink I selected Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2013. This is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon put on oak in December 2013. Handpicked by the Master Distiller and bottled as a single barrel on 29 January 2021 at 86,6 Proof (43,3 % ABV).

The Corleone

Ingredients
50 ml Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage whiskey
10 ml Amaretto Adriatico Roasted Almonds 
10 ml Cola Syrup

Method
Add everything to a mixing glass with lots of ice. Give it a good stir for 15 seconds. Strain into a Cognac glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

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

woensdag 10 november 2021

Pineapple Sour


Pineapple is just an ingredient for tiki-rum cocktails, isn’t it?
That’s probably a fixed idea in many people’s minds. But actually pineapple mixes very well with lots of spirits. I love to add a splash to my whisky sour. It adds a nice fruity touch. 

I picked a special kind of whisky for this drink: Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon, probably the most unique bottle from Heaven Hill Distillers. It's a Bourbon, which means the mashbill needs to have at least 51% of corn. But instead of using rye as the secondary grain, for this whiskey they use wheat. From all wheated Bourbons that exist today (actually just a handful), this one is probably the "most wheated".

Most other wheated Bourbon: 70% Corn, 16% wheat, 14% malted barley.
Larceny wheated Bourbon: 68% Corn, 20% wheat, 12% malted barley.
This results in a softer and rounder character. 
Bottled at 92 Proof this a spirit that works very well in cocktails. 

  • Aroma: Bread, butterscotch.
  • Taste: Butter, caramel, honey.
  • Finish: Long gentle finish.

Pineapple Sour

Ingredients
50 ml Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon
10 ml Simple syrup
15 ml lime juice
15 ml pineapple juice

Method
Add everything to a shaker with enough ice. Shake hard for 15 seconds. Strain in a tumbler with fresh ice. Add a cocktail cherry. 

Note: No real need for egg white or aquafaba in this sour. The pineapple will automatically create a natural (thin) foamy layer on top of 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.

zondag 7 november 2021

Old Fashioned Week 2021 : Rum & Rye


Tomorrow I have a busy day ahead, so let's round up #oldfashionedweek with this delicious drink based on a mix of Rum and Rye. I got a little bit inspired by drinks I saw on the Instagram page of my friend Matthias. I experimented a bit with different bottles, but these two premium spirits blended nicely.

Saint James VSOP is a pure cane rum aged for 4 years on new American oak barrels and selected ex-Bourbon oak barrels. The combination results in a good balance and a deep and lively intensity. Lots of vanilla, cinnamon and candied fruits. 

Pikesville is a straight rye whiskey by Heaven Hill Distillery, produced in Kentucky. Lots of flavours in this spirit. Cacao, sweet liquorice, vanilla, crĂšme caramel. Then it gets fruity and the more spicy notes come to the front. Rye, oak and cloves. Lots of cinnamon and apricot in the finish.   

Rum & Rye Old Fashioned

Ingredients
30 ml Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey
30 ml Saint James Rum VSOP
10 ml Simple Syrup
2 dashes of Angostura Aromatic bitters
2 dashes of Angostura Orange bitters

Method
Make it the American way, quick and dirty. Add everything to a tumbler with ice cubes. Stir for 15 seconds. Garnish with orange. 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.

vrijdag 5 november 2021

Old Fashioned Week 2021 : Johnnie Walker


One of the most frequent questions I get is “Should you also use the better and more expensive spirits for cocktails? Isn’t that a shame for those finely crafted liquids?”.

I can understand why people ask this question, but let’s compare it with the work of a Chef in a fine dining restaurant. Do they cook their fantastic dishes with high-quality ingredients? Or do they use cheap stuff? 

I do agree that some spirits are absolutely outstanding and that you should at least try them neat to experience the full aroma and taste. But I don’t see any objection to using them in a well-balanced recipe. The Old Fashioned is a perfect example of a recipe that always puts the spotlight on the base spirit. 

”And what about blended whisky?”. In every liqueur store, you will find cheap blends that are mostly sold to mix with cola. But you will also find the better kind of blends, in most cases, they are blends of just a few excellent malts. 

Johnnie Walker is one of the best known blended whisky brands in the world. The range starts with the (cheap) Red Label that’s behind almost every bar in this world, but they also have better quality blends in the Black, Gold and Blue Label. 

Recently Johnnie Walker opened a new flagship store in the heart of whisky-making Scotland called Johnnie Walker Princes Street. Do visit the website, they did a nice job in creating this experience. I joined the online press launch a month ago. This week I received a special bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label Princes Street Edition.

Princes Street Old Fashioned

Ingredients
60 ml Johnnie Walker Black Label
10 ml Simple Syrup
2 dashes of Angostura Aromatic bitters

Method
Add whisky, syrup and bitters to a tumbler with ice cubes. Stir for 15 seconds. Twist an orange peel over the glass to express the oils. Garnish with orange, toasted rosemary or a blood orange 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.

donderdag 4 november 2021

Old Fashioned Week 2021 : Candy Old Fashioned with Jack Daniel's


The annual Old Fashioned Week is probably my favourite week of the year. For my friends at Paal 26 Grand CafĂ© I created a small selection of Jack Daniel’s drinks for this week. The ‘Candy Old Fashioned’ is one of the most fun drinks you’ll ever taste. It’s like a carnival, mardi gras and Disneyland mixed together into one delicious sweet drink. 

Candy Old Fashioned

Ingredients
50 ml Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
10 ml Monin Popcorn Syrup
1 dash of Nutty bitters (I used walnut bitters, other nut bitters are also fine)

Method
Just add everything to a tumbler with ice cubes and stir. Garnish with orange or a cherry. Serve with some fresh sweet popcorn. 

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

woensdag 3 november 2021

Old Fashioned Week 2021 : Ardbeg


When you’re creating a schedule for Old Fashioned Week with a focus on different styles of whisky, you just can’t ignore Islay. Today’s Old Fashioned is the peatiest and most smoky one for this week. It might even cure your cold. 

Ardberg Old Fashioned

Ingredients
60 ml Ardbeg 10y
10 ml Ginger Syrup
3 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Method
Stir everything together in a mixing glass with lots of ice. Strain in a tumbler with fresh ice cubes. Add a cherry. Or not. This drink is bold enough to stand out. 

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 2 november 2021

Old Fashioned Week 2021 : Yoichi


During this edition of Old Fashioned Week, I want to use whisk(e)y from all over the world. This week I’m stirring the oldest cocktail recipe with spirits from Scotland, America and Japan. I try to serve them in a style that is typical for their country. 

Let’s have a look at Japan. This country is a long and narrow island with lots of coastlines. This should be the perfect environment for a smoky coastal whisky. 

Nikka Yoichi Single Malt whisky is distilled by Nikka in Japan. Since 1934 they distil Single Malt at the Nikka Hokkaido Yoichi distillery. They blend several batches to create a nice balanced spirit. They distil in a very traditional way with fire and coal. In this Single Malt, you will detect smoke and peat, but also dark chocolate, nutmeg and dried fruit. In the nose lemon, fresh-baked bread and vanilla. It’s soft and sweet, clouded with some smoke. The finish has a saline touch. 

So, what’s the Japanese style? Clean drinks, clear ice, no fancy garnishes. Every aspect of the drink needs to contribute to the taste and aroma. Keep it simple.

Nikka Old Fashioned

Ingredients
50 ml Yoichi whisky
15 ml Gonzalez Byass Cristina Medium Sherry
5 ml Rose syrup
1 dash (or approx.. 4 drops) of Calamansi citrus bitters (If you don’t have these, use grapefruit bitters, those are available at most liqueur stores)

Method
For the Japanese style Old Fashioned, we are serving this drink on a large rock of clear ice. This means we’ll first stir the cocktail in a mixing glass with lots of ice cubes. Keep it simple with the garnish, I used a piece of dehydrated 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 1 november 2021

Old Fashioned Week 2021 : Timorous Beastie


It’s always a bit unclear what the exact dates are for Old Fashioned Week. The leading whiskey brands that support this theme week seem to pick their weeks slightly different. In the past, it always used to be the first week of November. Since that’s also pretty convenient for me (Autumn holidays) I’ll share a series of Old Fashioned drinks in the next days. Prepare for some tasty easy-to-mix and spirit-forward cocktails. In the last years, I did a mix of whisky, rum and other spirits. This year my focus will be mainly on whisk(e)y from Scotland, USA and Japan. 

Old Fashioned Week in short: Thousands of bars and restaurants all over the world will put the spotlight on the “father of all cocktails” while donating a small percentage of the revenue on these drinks to charity. Very often they pick a local charity, so I can highly recommend supporting this action week. 

Let’s kick off this year’s Old Fashioned Week with a real Scottish drink. The base spirit for this drink is Timorous Beastie, a blended malt whisky by Douglas Laing. This blend is a mix of Highland malt whiskies from distilleries such as Dalmore, Glen Garioch, Glengoyne and more. As we all know, the Scottish Highlands are the real heart of Scotland. If you want to add a bit of atmosphere, try this special version of Scotland The Brave

Red Tartan Old Fashioned

Ingredients
60 ml Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie
10 ml Simple syrup
2 dashes of walnut bitters

Method
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir for 15 seconds and strain in a tumbler with fresh ice. Garnish with a maraschino 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.

vrijdag 29 oktober 2021

Green Vesper


The Old Fashioned Week is just around the corner. Next week we’ll publish a series of delicious Old Fashioned recipes. But for now… it’s almost Halloween and Dia de Muertos. Let’s have a Vesper that could have been mixed by Morticia Addams herself. And yes, it’s a green drink.  Don’t worry, you won’t need a tail of a rat or an eye of a toad to prepare this one. 

Compared to the original James Bond recipe for the Vesper, in this recipe the Kina Lillet is substituted by Absinthe and gin is the leading spirit. I’m posting this as a base recipe, which you can use for further experiments.

Green Vesper

Ingredients
0,5 parts Absinthe
1 part good quality grain Vodka
3 parts Sorgin Gin

Method
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with lots of ice. Stir it for 15 seconds and strain it into a chilled Martini glass. Let’s keep it simple. Use a smaller type of glass and forget the garnish (ok, a lemon twist is possible if you really insist). If you want to add a spooky touch, get some of those plastic (or edible) spiders to decorate 😉 

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 21 oktober 2021

Cuberdon Gin: A hero in sustainability


Sometimes a bottle of booze can really give you the wrong idea. My food-blogging wife went to a press event for the launch of a new cookbook and brought home a bottle of Cuberdon Gin in the giftbag, made by Holy Water Gin. In case you don’t know a Cuberdon: it’s a popular sweet from the region of Ghent, the taste is extremely sweet and fruity. 

At first, I thought the gin would be terribly sweet too, but I was wrong. It’s a very floral gin, the Cuberdon is mainly in the aroma. The gin is made with juniper, coriander, cardamom seeds, Cuberdon, angelica root, orris root, orange peel and lavender.

It’s a nice gin, but this time I can tell much more about the bottle. Since we all have to think a bit more about sustainability, this brand did something extraordinary with their bottle. Minimising their ecological footprint is a primary goal for this brand. The bottle doesn’t have a label glued to the glass, but the info about the gin is printed on a paper label that is hanging loose on the bottle. You can easily remove it and reuse the bottle for something else. It’s a beautiful vintage bottle that looks stunning on any home bar or bar cart. You can reuse it for any other liquid, or transform it into a mood light. You can also reuse the bottle as a candle holder and the stopper will also fit on Champagne bottles. The paper label at last can be reused as a bookmark. 

I tasted the gin neat to explore aroma and taste. Next, I made a delicious Gin & Tonic with Grapefruit & Rosemary tonic by The London Essence. At last, I also mixed up a Gin Sour with freshly squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup. With a good base spirit, you don’t need to do crazy things. Just a basic recipe will give you a nice drink to 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.