A bold new distillery, a bold new venture from the Yorkshire Dales- with not a flap cap in sight !

 

Now I know what your thinking, thegrapewizard has now written a few articles on topics other than just grapes recently. So please let me reassure you: the grape is still my main passion and over the next few months I’ve a couple of fantastic interviews with your favourite big names, interesting small producers and distillers.   But before all that another topic I am passionate about is gin.  

We have all witnessed the recent meteoric rise of gin.  In 2009 Sipsmith (amongst others) began lobbying the government to challenge a law that required massive-sized stills for making ginand forbade small batch distilling. In March of 2009, after 18 months of negotiations, London’s first copper pot distillery in over 200 years was finally permitted to open. If it had not been for this bold step, many start-ups would not have ever had the chance to follow.  The Yorkshire Dales Distillery is one such company. 

The high, breathtaking views, swooping twists, hills and bends, and picture-postcard villages of the Dales evoke an era of a sleepy rural idyll, straight out of All Creatures Great and Small.  It is somehow quite surprising therefore to discover that an ultra modern business has sprung up in traditional England.  Tony and Sarah Brotherton’s business is situated just outside the historic market town of Richmond.  It is a family affair and their desire to both work and play in the industry has seen their small craft Distillery flourish.   Indeed Tony’s Grandparents were the original G&T fans that first inspired their passion for handcrafted homegrown quality.  Tony’s career in the British Army has also inspired the business to give back into the community by providing opportunities to train veterans, ex offenders, young people and the long term unemployed. 

In their pursuit of technical excellence in distillation, they produce London dry gins and vodka in very small batches using traditional techniques resulting in exceptionally smooth and unique flavours. Many of their botanicals are sourced locally: the Dales honey is sourced just a mile away from the distillery and then there is the unique and ancient water source from Swaledale.  Every bottle is hand bottled, labelled and signed and they also offer a bespoke distilling service for a number of private clients and businesses. 

Award winning

Recently the Yorkshire Dales Distillery won the Local Product of the Year 2018 category in the Flavours of Herriot Country Awards.  The judges described their products as “epic!!!”

Purple Ram London Dry Gin

Smooth and quadruple distilled and 100% vapour infused through select Yorkshire botanicals including artisan local honey.  Great served with Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water

On the nose; sweet spicy orange and cardamom with a delicate juniper finish. 

On the palette; clean cinnamon, orange and grapefruit. Delicate use of honeysuckle

Finish: A balanced Juniper finish with sweet nuts

Desert Ram Army Strength London Dry Gin

Made smooth and strong through quadruple distillation and 100% vapour infused with North African and Middle Eastern inspired botanicals.  Sit back into that comfy chair and imagine great times gone by. 

On the nose; Juniper and warm citrus, sweet peppermint and elegant pine characters

On the palette; Orange peel and cardamom. Wood and aromatic floral notes with candied rhubarb

Finish: Juniper and strawberry, with a hint of clove

Smokey Ram Yorkshire Vodka

Exceptionally smooth quadruple distilled vodka, 100% vapour infused through Yorkshire hay smoked peppercorns. Light and smokey with a gentle peppery feel.

On the nose; Rye flavours with a strong grassy note, pepper and light spice mixed with a touch of icing sugar

On the palette; Delicate evidence of white pepper and aniseed

Finish: Calm and delicate, evidence of a grain flavour

Wild Ram Yorkshire Berry London Dry Gin 

Use of Yorkshire berries and heather flowers give this quadruple distilled and 100% vapour infused a smooth, strong and warm character. Great served with Fever Tree Aromatic tonic.

On the nose; Red fruit and juniper with fragrant citrus 

On the palette; redcurrant, blackcurrant and plum juniper and a touch of pine. 

Finish: a sharp redcurrant morphs into strawberry cheesecake. Yum Yum!

Intrepid Ram Yorkshire Golden Rum 

The Caribbean meets the Yorkshire Dales!  Oak-aged in the Distillery and delicately infused with Yorkshire honey and heather. The demerara and chocolate finish is perfect for a Dark and Stormy cocktail.

On the nose: Bold oak and vanilla

On the palette: demerara and spice with a velvet chocolate finish

And now for the GW geeky stuff

Gin is an old spirit, dating back 600 years the trend today is for flavoursome botanical gins rather than the early juniper-led gins. 

Did you know that there are 3 types methods used to make gin 

Distilled gins

One shot distillation is the most traditional method and is preferred by craft distillers

Here a one shot producer distils either fermented sugar or a neutral spirit together with the juniper and the botanicals. Just the right amount of botanicals is steeped in the liquid like tea. Their essence is extracted by suspending the botanicals in a basket and exposed to the steam. Then just before the bottling the distiller adds water to cut the spirit to the proper proof 

This method requires more stills to produce even a fraction of what other Distilleries make but produces a better mouth feel and by exposing the liquid to the copper keeps unwanted sulphur compounds and acids out of the process 

Concentrate 

Distillers can stretch their gin.   Here the process produces bigger quantities by distilling a huge quantity of botanicals with just a small amount of liquid. The end result is a highly concentrated distillate to which the producer adds neutral spirits and water. 

Cold Compound 

This method is the simplest method where any sort of real or artificial botanical is added to a neutral spirit provided juniper is already present. 

So it seems the Yorkshire Dales, renowned for more traditional aspects of life; the Flat cap, the Yorkshire puddings and a qwerky sense of dialect is also a place where new things are being born.  In my opinion The Yorkshire Dales Distillery is one to watch.  It is embryonic but it is also a breakthrough cottage industry company.  Since 2009 and the change in law the small producer has flourished: there are now over 500 gin producers- so standing out is the key. The Yorkshire Dales Distillery has a unique provenance and uses alternative ingredients. 

If you have want to know more or have any questions regarding this or any other of question please feel free to contact me at Jason@thegrapewizard.com or my website thegrapewizard.com or anywhere on social media where you see thegrapewizard.

Interview to come…. Watch this space!

Please sign up to my newsletter on thegrapewizard.com

http://www.yorkshiredalesdistillery.com

Eimverk Distillery Iceland

Eimverk Distillery Iceland

It’s the holidays and a short break is needed. Unfortunately I’ve chosen the wrong place to look for grapes as I am off to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. This is a breathtaking land of ice and fire: long winters, frozen lakes, spouting hot springs called geysers and big woolly jumpers which dot the otherworldly, volcanic landscape now familiar to all Game of Thrones fans.
 Around three-quarters of the island is barren of vegetation; plant life consists mainly of grassland, which is regularly grazed by sheep (sheep out number Icelanders almost 3 to 1).

Typical view of icelandic landscape

Fabulous vistas

Iceland’s national spirit is Brennivín. Its potency has earned it the nickname ‘black death’. It is a type of schnapps distilled from potato mash and caraway seeds and well known for washing down the taste of the putrefied-shark dish, hákarl. This spirit is only brewed in Iceland and only in one distillery!
 Imagine then my relief when I read that Iceland also has a booming craft distillery culture!!

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The Icelandic climate has only twice in recorded history allowed for decent amounts of grain – first during settlement times, and now, due to global warming. The early settlers grew and brewed barley into mead and ale, and after barley production died down, schnapps or potato vodka became the drinks of choice for Icelanders. Now, with barley production growing again, that equation has changed.
 I contacted Eimverk Distillery ahead of time and they invited me to visit on one of their afternoon distillery tours.

Arriving at the small distillery in an industrial estate on the outskirts of Reykjavik, I was greeted by CEO Halli Thorkelsson, an extremely personable, dry-witted, entrepreneur with a huge passion for his family run distillery.

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The distillery has already received critical acclaim for their gin named Vor, which got a Double Gold Award at the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

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But we’re not here to just to just praise their gin, we’re here to taste their whisky as well, which is the first of its kind to be made in Iceland.
 What a pioneering spirit they have!
 Halli and his brother Egill wanted to see if they could make their own whisky, just for the fun of it. So they started to experiment with a small still and after more than 160 different recipes, learning the ropes along the way, they found one in 2009 that their friend’s and family’s feedback was worth pursuing.

Everything , since then, has sprung from there.

THE GEEKY STUFF

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Eimverk gets most of their grain straight from the family farm. It’s 100% organic being exposed to nothing but the harsh Icelandic winter. With a shorter growing season, the barley with its low starch and sugar content, concentrates the flavours. The second ingredient, water, is a commodity that Iceland has in abundance and is so pure has no need to be treated – it comes straight from the tap!

Native botanicals


 Halli goes on to explain the inspiration behind their range of gins “Again we wanted to stay true to our heritage and only use native Icelandic ingredients. Vor, their small batch, barley-based, pot-distilled gin contains nine botanicals, wild picked Icelandic juniper, crowberries, birch leaves, thyme, Icelandic sea kelp and organically grown rhubarb and kale.

 

 

One variant is barrel-aged in first-fill virgin white oak barrels to give the gin a slightly woody, smokey character.

The surprise tipple of the day was their very pleasant `aquavit – Viti –

img_0741 dominated by caraway seeds and dill perfect as a digestif and awarded a Double Gold at the San Fransisco World Spirits competition.
 Pall, the charismatic, smooth-talking Sales and Marketing Manager took us through a wonderfully entertaining and informative tasting and tour.

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You get a real sense that the bold, pioneering, yet down to earth nature of Iceland is alive and kicking here at Eimverk. It’s still very early days for this young distillery so it would not be fair of me to compare its products to the more established distillers yet I do believe given time, these super-cool, passionate and friendly mavericks will mature into one of the Iceland’s main attractions.

Whisky

 

Their Young malt is called Flóki, Rating (4/5*) named after the first settler in Iceland and has a toasty, buttery oak aroma and tastes of oak leather and brown bready maltiness with hints of caramel shortcake honey and vanilla.

Their most unusual take on whisky however comes in the form of their “Sheep Dung” Whisky. “We wanted to make a whisky to emulate the peaty flavours of Single Malt but in Iceland we do not have any peat” said Halli “ The water in the ground is almost permanently frozen so it cannot form. The early settlers used to burn sheep dung to generate warmth. This sh*t is really good sh*t!!” He says with a smile. The barley is smoked over the burning dung to give it sweet almost green smokey notes which compliment the intensity of the barley. You may even find vanilla and white pepper.

Three farms Bjamholt Farm Eimverk family farm where they smoke their sheep dung for the smoked barley reserve  , Porvaldseyri Farm and Sandholl Farm

 

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FLÓKI – ICELANDIC SINGLE MALT WHISKY. Rating (4/5*)The distillery , for the first time in Iceland , has a 3 year old Single Malt. Their Single Grain Icelandic Whisky was released in a limited bottling in November 2017. Carefully distilled and made from 100% Icelandic barley and matured on ex-Young Malt barrels which have been mellowed by the maturation of our Young Malt.

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3 year old Single Malt,Rating (4/5*) Single Grain Icelandic Whisky will be released in a limited bottling of our very first 3 year old casks in November 2017.

Carefully distilled and made from 100% Icelandic barley and matured on ex-Young Malt barrels which have been mellowed by the maturation of our Young Malt.

Gin

 

 

VOR – SMALL BATCH
 (L) Rating (5/5*) Vor, Icelandic for spring is a premium pot distilled gin from a 100% Icelandic barley base.

In a delicate third distillation native botanicals are added to perfect an authentic taste of Icelandic summer.  Juniper Berries, Rhubarb, Crowberries, Angelica Root, Birch Leaves, Creeping Thyme, Iceland Moss, Kale and Sweet Kelp 100% are all grown locally and complement each other to produce a fresh and vibrant gin

Vor is a New Western style Gin with heavy botanical notes that compliment the sharp notes of juniper and the sweetness from our barley base.

VOR GIN – BARREL AGED RESERVE
 (M) Rating (4/5*) A special reserve edition of Vor Small batch gin which has been aged on new wood american oak barrel for a sweet and smoky gin with intense botanical notes.

This is truly a whisky drinkers gin as it is made from a new whisky base which is then re-distilled with our selected native botanicals’ and oak rested for a period of 2 months.

Perfect for sipping neat on the rocks, for martini’s or for an intense gin and tonic.

VOR GIN – SLOE STYLE RESERVE
 (R) Rating (4/5*) Following the tradition of Sloe Gin making in UK we have developed an Icelandic variation by using the available native berries. mixing blueberry and crowberry juice for a sweet and subtle sloe style gin. Perfect for sipping neat or in various cocktails.

 

Viti Brennivin

 

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VÍTI – ICELANDIC PREMIUM AQUAVITE
 Aquavite Rating (5/5*) also called Brennivín in Iceland has a dominant flavour of caraway seeds and is the traditional spirit of Iceland.

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Víti is triple pot distilled using a small batch distilling unit. This method gives a truly unique spirit base from the Icelandic barley and allows all essential oils from the native botanicals to be carefully preserved during the distilling process.

Visit Aquavite for more info on Víti Brennivín.

 

 

 

So the tasting with Pall went through 3 whiskeys and 3 gins as well as the aquavit. I wasn’t quite expecting the sheep dung to taste as it did- slightly reminiscent of soil and not at all smokey. Probably a lesson that I learn from wine tasting is never believe what you’ve learnt or what your heart says – taste and assess.   The sheep dung whiskey was smooth with a gentle earthiness. This was a great addition to the distillery. The three year old (a first for 🇮🇸) was smooth also.

 

 

 

So as you can see from the photos that were taken over a four-day period Iceland is something else. You have all of natures wonders at your doorstep. Only 3 hours from London , probably 5 from New York and all set in spectacular scenery. Not many places encapsulate all that Iceland has to offer  – rugged landscape, world-class restaurants , cultured, cool and trendy and welcoming people. Surely a bucket list country.

 And don’t forget the Northern Lights!!! 

Music Pairing for Eimverk Distillery – Enjoy sitting in a club chair, a favourite glass and fill with Folk or Vor – relax and press play !

TGW

 

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Any questions about Wines and spirits  just contact me !

 

 

 

 

 

A toast to Sunderland’s finest! 

Years ago the North of England was regarded as one of the great areas for industry. Many thought that anywhere past Watford was ‘Grim’.  Coal was big business and raw materials were in high demand. It was a ‘golden age’.  These days the North of England seems to have lost most of that industry that made it prosperous.

 

Sunderland ( A shipbuilding town), in particular, was one of those such towns that had it all. Much of that is gone now but what remains is the stoic determination for something great again.  That dream, that desire, might just be becoming to fruition.

Just look at neighbouring  Tynemouth and you might think your in Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds   Not only are fabulous independent shops on the high street but also the gastro-scene is flourishing. Posh shops everywhere and London prices – the only thing missing is the Hunter Welly’s !  Having looked out from Rileys Fish Shack (Below) just 2 weeks ago the gastro-scene had truly arrived!

TM The Grape Wizard

TM The Grape Wizard

Fish and Chips on the Beach – How Victorian and totally stress free

(No London life allowed here !)

 

™TheGrapeWizard.com – Turbot & Capers with Samphire YUM YUM

The creativity built out of 2 * 40ft containers is there to see – great food cooked to order and craft beer on tap.

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TM Rileys Fish Shack

carefully selected beer and ale from some of the regions favorite brewers including

Wylam Brewery,
Almasty Brewing Co
Three Kings Brewery
and
Allendale Brewery.

Good choice of wine also adds to the experience. Not only was the food good for the stomach but the experience was good for the soul   All fish 🐟 was unusual – even the ugly gurnard was on the menu.  Just shows you we don’t have to be reliant on cod and haddock all the time.!!

If there is a lesson here it is the determination of a business to showcase talent to the local economy in the hope of greater things. Such is the determination up in the North of England that other businesses have taken the step to modernise and become uber-cool in recent years –  Alnwick gardens, The Sage and the Baltic in Gateshead all benefiting from a revamp !

Even the Angel of the North champion’s optimism and the hope for the future !

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Then…. just the other day i was driving into Sunderland  and drove through a ‘suburb’ of Sunderland – Roker

 

and saw “Poetic License ” adorned on a hotel wall. Further investigation highlights a fabulous gin distillery.

It Achieved a Gin Masters Award and Gin of the Year Award 2015. Set up by a guy who worked in the hospitality industry. This is a Gin/s to try I thought!.

Here is the range

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 Northern Dry Gin £34.95 thefoodmarket.com

Juniper, Cardamom, Pepper, Citrus.

43.2% Vol.

Expect a big fistful of juniper that is complemented with green cardamom to warm the heart on an Autumnal evening . Undertones of lemon and eucalyptus together with Persian lime intensifies the citrus feel  GW score 4*

Good for Negroni and the sharp citrus flavour of a classic Gin Sour

Old Tom Gin £34.95 thefoodmarket.com

Juniper, Sweetness, Rose, Oak

41.6% Vol.

A sweeter and more peppery taste compared to the Dry Gin. Oak casks add a woody flavour and colour to the Gin. Rose petals infuse a distinct character to the sweetness as well as a rose gold tinge.

Mixing Tips:  Old Tom Gin suits subtle cocktail recipes. Ingredients like lavender and rose give it a good balance GW Score 3*

Graceful Vodka £32.50 MasterofMalt.com

Smooth, Pure, Subtle Sweetness.

40.4% Vol.

 a smooth spirit, to be sipped and savoured.

Created entirely from British wheat giving a velvety smooth texture,

Mixing Tips: Cocktails with a lighter citrus flavour = GIMLETS. Avoid mixers with too much acidic content try a dry Vodka Martini

Fireside Gin £34.95 Poetic License

Mulled Winter Fruit and Juniper

40.1% Vol.

This gin is a winter warmer, your granny’s favourite blanket on your knee. Very wintery.  Juniper, coriander and orris root give it its base flavours whilst a sweetness from dried winter fruits and a zingy freshness from clementine.

The mulling spice blend of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg gives a warming flavour reminiscent of your favourite seasonal treats, sure to warm you from the inside out!

Mixing Tips: Try Winter Cocktails – Poetic License  like it ” hot, served with ginger ale warmed through with a little honey and extra mulling spices.” Try It!

The citrus edge also makes a delicious white lady.”

They also do a whole host of seasonal stuff GW Score 4*

Click to see more of the Guys from P.L.

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Gracie – She does all the work and surely deserves a medal – at the very least a mention

Having tried the Northern Gin last night (22nd Sept 2017 ) I have to say it’s one of the most stand out gins I’ve tried   Up there with Herno Gin and  Icelandic Vor Gin . All too often gins can loose there distinct style and flavour. Poetic Licence Northern Gin seems to be spot on.

The growing market for sipping gins seems to be growing – using more richer flavours and combining that with your favourite music seems to enhance the experience.

Some of you may have noticed that I havn’t put up a blog for a few weeks. My father in law has been battling with a long term illness. Obviously this week is a little more personal than normal but it is only fitting to finish this weeks blog with a tribute to a man who lived and loved life.  Tom introduced me to many a fine whiskey in the company of Robert Zimmerman (click here to find out more!). . 

Perhaps it is some sort of ‘poetic licence’ to have discovered a gin called ‘Old Tom’ made in his home town in the week he passed away. He is now immortalised

So here’s to you Tom  🍻 – You did a fabulous job as a Father, Mentor and a Guardian.  You are a true inspiration – an example of what all of us should be as individuals and you did it without trying. You will be sorely missed but never forgotten. Since beginning this blog and finishing it I am now sadly dedicating this piece to you.

Cheers !

cheers

This weeks music pairing 

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GW

GW Spirits Rating

  • 1* Not very interesting, boring branding, expensive cost price for product
  • 2*Branding improving, showing signs of some thing interesting. Good value for money
  • 3* Middle of the road product, not good value for money and not too expensive.    Simlar products on the market make it generic
  • 4*Unique in character and good value for money
  • 5* Inventive, unique in character, visually fabulous together with a favourable cost price

Copenhagen : No Danish bacon no Danish Pastries but what an even better find – Copenhagen Distillery

This week was my birthday  and thank you so much for sending me loads of cards !!!! All 3 of them arrived just in time. For everyone else a point to note is 13/08

My better half treated me to a four day trip to Copenhagen and what better way to spend it than allow a bit of business to creep in!!!

Copenhagen lies to the North of Europe and is probably one of the few places where the capital city is detached from the mainland.

http://www.visitcopenhagen.com

In fact if Denmark did Island 🌴 capitals they’d probably do the best in the world 🌎😜.  Only 2 hours on the plane from Heathrow it felt more like a commute to work than a mini holiday

 I was struck by the cleanliness of the airport , of the streets of the appearance and of the whole place. Danes are nothing but facidious.

The 4 day stay at the hotel

courtesy of http://www.greasemusical.dk

Very much corporate in style it was a shame there wasn’t more creature comforts – bijou and basic.  Still I wasn’t here to be Alex Polizzi.

But this was 2 minutes away ………

Nyhavn in Copenhagen, C or Shutterstock

As you can imagine Central Copenhagen is full of tourists and as such offers a varied choice of quality restaurants , however we found some fab places and i would highly recommend them  –  please click on the links below to find out more

A few that was visited were :

The Union Kitchen

In one of Copenhagen’s trendiest districts, Nyhavn, is Union Kitchen, where tattooed employees look like lead singers from rock bands , the colour scheme uber cool grey-on-grey, and the menu is homemade granola and toasted sourdough with cottage cheese, tomato, thyme and olive oil. FAB 5*

Atelier Sept

Atelier September  houses  a café, a boutique and a creative studio.

Chef and creator Frederik Bille serve natural food & artisan coffee, operating for breakfast & lunch as well as late afternoon. The back of the building is used as an artist studio for notable danish designers (Birgitte Due Madsen, Olga Bramsen, Stine Langvad and Jonas Trampedach.) Fab place to be for uber cool breakfasts.

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BROR

Two former Noma sous-chefs have joined forces and opened the restaurant BROR, which focuses mainly on the Nordic cuisine. Samuel Nutter and Victor Wågman have previously worked at the world-renowned Michelin-star restaurant Noma in Copenhagen. Now they have opened restaurant BROR in the heart of the Danish capital.
The word “bror” means brother in Danish and symbolises care, honesty and respect, which are the exact values that makes the restaurant.

The food is simple but good and is made with ingredients from the Northern European region.

Other places definitely worth a visit

  • Torvehallerne (Frederiksborggade 21) bring the Italian market right to Copenhagen. Find yourself a treat among the numerous food stalls.
  • Papirøen, or Copenhagen Street Food as it bills itself (Trangravsvej 14) offers loads of exotic food choices. Everything from Cuban and Korean to Lebanese and Japanese is in sale here. Stuff your face !!!!

but having enjoed all the healthy food and it was great food

it was time to get down to business !!!

I scoured the capital for a gin producer (as Denmark is too cold to grow grapes ) and found the fabulous Copenhagen distillery just to the southeast of the town centre

2016-11-21 What is next for Copenhagen Distillery 1 ny

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

 the guy’s ethos is …..

“At Copenhagen Distillery we believe in simplicity and balance. We pay respect to tradition, but it’s through design, experimentation and radical thinking that we propel ourselves into new and uncharted territories. From the distillation and discovery of tantalizing new flavors, to the design of the bottle, the entire experience of enjoying one of our spirits should be a pleasure for both the palate and the eye.”

extract from the www.copenhagendistillery.dk

It is an ethos that can be clearly seen. (As can the height differential between me and the Lead Distiller (Lasse Oznek))

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thegrapewizard.com

Small distilling tanks used for the production of all their products. This month sees the instillation of  Lasse’s baby. A German produced still (Complete with swans neck !)

Subscribe to the blog to receive updates of the Distilleries development mail the wizard !!

The guys

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

Sune and Henrik produce an amazing array of products

Copenhagen-Distillery-Mexican-Coffee

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

MC

The distinct coffee liqueur is based on organic Mexican coffee beans. The coffee beans used are a mix of two different roasts: a very light roast that lends a higher acidity, and a medium dark roast that catches slightly bitter coffee notes. When combined the coffee distillates with cane sugar, green anise and a touch of grated organic lemon peel for a rich, bitter and slightly sweet experience.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Oak-Gin

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

OAK GIN

Borrowing from the process used to develop single malt whiskey, the Oak Gin is rested in small sherry oak casks to allow the combination of juniper, orange peel, and pepper to develop a unique, smooth and balanced flavor.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Dry-Gin

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

DRY GIN

 Copenhagen Dry Gin is a 100% honey spirit made from double distilled mead. It belongs to a very exclusive category of Single Botanical Gins, where juniper is the only botanical used.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Orange-Gin

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

ORANGE GIN

Inspired by the classic, early 20th-century orange gin. Instead of mimicking the gin of the past, its built on the tradition by using a mix of both sweet and bitter oranges. Combined with sweet prune, spicy long pepper, cardamom and juniper for a rich body. Orange Gin is a unique spin on a classic spirit.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Longpepper-Snaps

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

SNAPS

Indonesian Long Pepper

Indonesian Long Pepper Snaps is a fusion of the familiar and the exotic. It holds a powerful sweetness, sharp citrus tang and a spicy lingering aftertaste. It can be enjoyed straight, traditionally with a meal, or as a base for a startlingly unique cocktail experience.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Julesnaps

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

SNAPS

Julesnaps

A smooth and highly complex Snaps with all the aromas you associate with Christmas. A fine taste of oranges with tones of sweet prunes and cardamom.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Aquavit

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

Aquavit

Dill Anise Aquavit is an invigorating twist on this classic Scandinavian spirit. With dill as the primary flavor driver, complemented by notes of green anise and lemon peel, the Aquavit has a sharp citrus tang with a lingering aftertaste that is spicy and distinct.

This operation is all about craft and product. Not about brand.

Soon to be released into the UK. Stay tuned for details….

On top of every thing else of being Inventive, creative  uber cool and downright great guys they are now hosting a world first……

Spirikum_web_overlay

SPIRIKUM is the world’s first festival for lovers, makers and drinkers of Snaps and Aquavit.

At Spirikum, there will be spirit producers from all over Scandinavia and USA, who will bring samples of their Snaps and Aquavit.  5 of the best restaurants in Copenhagen making street food, and some of Copenhagen’s best brewers to come and serve their beers.

see the link for more info Spirikum

To sum up my time in Copenhagen it is a place of beauty, a place i didn’t expect

This week I have been very impressed with the experience of Denmark and Copenhagen. People are friendly the place is clean and the lifestyle is super healthy.  Bikes every where and microgreens on every plate. How is this destination not more popular. !!  It’s one of those places you glad you visited not one that was an effort to get to

As you would expect from Denmark 🇩🇰 two of the biggest exports to come from the Danes

are Danish bacon

thick-cut-bacon

and Danish pastries.

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could i find anyone selling them . nope. How can this be. 🤓

this weeks Music pairing = uber cool 😎

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

Bellhound Choir

 

From Montelauro to Ochio Rias – well almost!! Just a little closer and arguably a lot prettier ! 

Having spent a wonderful 2 weeks in Puglia 2 years ago I thought this time would be time repeating itself .  Puglia has grown to be one of my favourite places in the world. Gone are the glitzy sidewalks of California.  Gone are the elegant Parisian pavements. Even the mere hint of a passigiata is rarely seen.  I was here ( with the better half ) for a wedding down in the heart ❤️ of Italy. In a place where only locals go and in a place so tranquil you can hear a cat 🐱 tiptoe.

The wedding was for a good work friend of mine and his long suffering (now) wife  The hotel was fabulous and so was the hospitality. (Please visit the website : Montelauro)

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Monopoli

I did have a booking at grotto palazzese (Restaurant in the rocks) but having read the  reviews i saw that you would be paying premium rate just to have the chance of sitting at potentially 1 of 6 tables sea-side with overated food and super expensive bills  . The odds were against it we declined this time !. We had earlier in the week visited La sommita and that was out of this world (michelin starred and didnt dissapoint !)

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Because the Wallet was in meltdown we opted for this view from the terrace of the restaurant in Monopoli …

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Wasn’t a hard choice to make !!!

We settled for  Terrace restaurant . Fabulous setting and super great location. We watched the 🌅 and settled down to 3 courses. Being a seaside town we had a glorious choice of the best fish. What we got was very average  squid 🐙 and dishes that were a bit bland. It seems like this part of Italy has the sun and location but what lets them down is  the lack of specialist abilities that offer modern twist on cooking.  It’s not often I refuse food but this time too much of one thing made me feel 🤢. Great atmosphere,great location just ok food !

One thing Puglia has to its credit is the emerging cottage industry that is gin and olive oil and the very recent observation that Italian cooking is getting modern and sexy.

( Cucini Komera)

 

Late on in the week long holiday we stayed in a lovely apartment hosted by Albergo diffuse –  A stones throw from all the action of Monopoli

We even found through chatting to locals that there was a guy who was making gin out of olive oil EVO Gin

Wine 🍷 we bought primitivo a lovely gin (with cinnemon )& negramaro

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(All three will be tasted and reported on , i promise )

but here are the links in the meantime

Quota 29

Jerry Thomas project

Polvanera

 So after a busy week  which felt like a 2 week holiday we were ready to return to the uk.

In essence this holiday could be life changing. A lot of love was felt for this region but is this experience mearly just a dream or will we jump off into the unkown , only time will tell. Reading between the lines i think what will happen is that this event contributed to what’s about to happen   Enriching the soul ( and I’m not spiritual) is becoming a central part to most people’s lives as we grow ever more stressed at the day to day .9-5

Apologies for short blog this week

Jason

 

World Gin week- delayed because I’m on holiday drinking Amalfi Gin & Tonic in Italia !

I could make this as dry as gin itself but I’ll try and compact 300 years into a blog post and make it easy to read !!!

A few points of history  (The geeky bit )

  • A Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius

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(Here he is ! 😜)

…is often falsely credited with the invention of gin around 1650.  Here is why:

  • The first ever literary reference to jenever  ( original term for gin)  was in a play “The Duke of Milan” (1623), when Sylvius would have been nine!
  • English soldiers in 1585 were already drinking jenever for its calming effects before battle, from which “Dutch Courage” is believed to have originated.
  • The earliest known reference to jenever appears in the 13th century encyclopaedic work Der Naturen Bloeme (Bruges),
  • And the earliest printed recipe for jenever dating from 16th century work Een Constelijck Distileerboec (Antwerp).

Gin emerged in England in varying forms as of the early 17th century, When William of Orange,

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(these guys don’t do anything for the Alpha Males!!)

Ruler of the Dutch Republic, occupied the British throne with his wife Mary – gin became vastly more popular, particularly in it’s crude, inferior forms, where it was more likely to be flavoured with turpentine as an alternative to juniper.

The formation by King Charles I of the Worshipful Company of Distillers (WCD), where members had the sole right to distil spirits in London and Westminster and up to twenty-one miles beyond improved both the quality of gin and its image; it also helped English agriculture by using surplus corn and barley. Anyone could now distil by simply posting a notice in public and just waiting ten days (if only it were so simple nowadays!).  Sometimes gin was distributed to workers as part of their wages and soon the volume sold daily exceeded that of beer and ale, which was more expensive anyway.

In 1729, an excise licence of £20 was introduced and two shillings per gallon duty was levied. In addition to which, retailers now required a licence. This almost suppressed good gin but it was the quantity consumed of bad spirits which continued to rise.😪

In 1730 London had over 7,000 shops that sold only spirits.

William Hogarth in his ‘Gin Lane’, an engraving depicting gin drinking at the time portrays a scene of idleness, vice and misery, leading to madness and death. Typical of the time and showcases how bad it must of been!

See below

Gin-lane ART 2

The Gin Riots

The problem was tackled by introducing The Gin Act in 1736, which made gin prohibitively expensive. A licence to retail gin cost £50 and duty was raised fivefold to £1 per gallon with the smallest quantity you could buy retail being two gallons. The Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and Dr. Samuel Johnson were among those who opposed the Act since they considered it could not be enforced against the will of the common people. They were right. Riots broke out. About this time, 11 million gallons of gin were distilled in London, which was over 20 times the 1690 figure and has been estimated to be the equivalent of 14 gallons for each adult male. But within six years of the Gin Act being introduced, only two distillers took out licences, yet, over the same period of time, production rose by almost fifty per cent.

The Gin Act, finally recognised as unenforceable, was repealed in 1742 and a new policy, which distillers helped to draft was introduced: reasonably high prices, reasonable excise duties and licensed retailers under the supervision of magistrates.  Still applicable today.

These changes led to more respectable firms embarking on the business of distilling and retailing gin and it became the drink of high quality, which it has since remained.

Gin had been known as ‘Mother’s Milk’ from the 1820s but later in the century it became known as ‘Mother’s Ruin’, a description perhaps originating from the earlier ‘Blue Ruin’ of the prohibition era in the previous century.

As reforms took effect, so the gin production process became more refined. Gin evolved to become a delicate balance of  elegance and began its ascent into high society.

Ok you get the picture…

Jump forward to 2009 and HMRC receives applications for not one, but two microdistilleries in London: Sipsmith in Hammersmith, and Sacred in Highgate. There was a problem, however. HMRC didn’t know how to deal with them.  Licences had not been issued in such a long time that the process was somewhat outdated

 

After much to-ing and fro-ing, the licences were dispatched, and the two craft distilleries were in business.

 

Sipsmith Website                                 Sacred Gin Website

Ian Hart of Sacred – who cold distills his gins, vodka and vermouths using his laboratory set up in his living room – remembers how difficult it was in the early days. ‘Back in 2009 when we and Sipsmith started, people had only really heard about Gordon’s, Beefeater, Tanqueray… the idea that there was a two-man band operating out of their house was very unusual, and it was a real uphill struggle to start with. But it’s a lot easier now, because there’s a lot more enthusiasm for new artisan gins.’

The UK has come a long way since 2009 – HMRC are now prepared and willing to work with new craft distillers to help get them set up with the required licences, and this step change has had a positive effect.

‘There was a wave of craft distillers starting up in America, and that really inspired what happened in the UK – the first wave was Chase [in Herefordshire], Sipsmith and Sacred,’ says Jamie Baxter, master distiller at COLD, who used to be the distiller at Chase. ‘We’re part of the second wave that’s coming through at the moment, and the third wave is just about to start.’

 

 

VESPER MARTINI

 

Now onto drinking the stuff.  One of the best ways to appreciate its unique characteristics is in a classic Martini.  My favourite is The Vesper which according to Ian Fleming Is 007’s cocktail of choice, shaken not stirred naturally:

“Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”
-Casino Royale, Chapter 7

 

Gin-lane ART 5

GIN 50 cl and Tonic 1 measure of gin and three of tonic 150cl

and because I am writing this from Italy here is the Italian way of drinking it:

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NEGRONI

1 oz. dry gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. vermouth rosso
cocktail glass

So what ever you do this week  what ever gin you choose  just enjoy yourself and dont let anyone tell you there are set rules for what gin goes.  Of course enjoy the classics but there are so many to choose from nowadays, all with their own aromatic and distinctive character. It would be a shame to stop at Gordon’s, Tanqueray or even Sipsmith.  It may not turn out to be your forever favourite but it just might be! That’s the fun of discovering something new.  I for one am on the hunt this week for a local Apuglian gin – I might find a blinder or I might not but the enjoying the experience is what counts!

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Please send me photos of you gin pick today to thegrapewizard@gmail.com  Salute!!

See these fab links for more stuff

World Gin Awards 2017

Best London Gin Bars

Best Gins in NYC

Famous Gin moments in the movies,tv and books

Tiger Gin – Big brave and ready to take on the world – and that’s only JJ Lawrence

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If ever there was David and Goliath moment . This was it!  An event of a global super brand taking on a minnow And loosing ! (High court battle against Heineken) 😀

Tiger Gin had a problem on its hands and Heineken though it could squash the annoying little bug 🐜 and protect their brand. Heineken had argued that “tiger gin” and “tiger 🐯 beer ” were  too closely linked and that one would damage the image of the other.  The judges in the court case overthrew Heineken’s objections and the end result was that Tiger Gin got its name and I get to try this product to see what all the fuss is about.

JJ Lawrence (owner of Tiger Gin) followed his passion and produced a new class of luxury British Spirit using only the finest botanicals and spices, carefully chosen from the best harvests from around the world.

A formula that gives the taste a smooth and sweet feel.

Distilled and bottled in the UK.

It was named TIGER GIN  due to the long drawn out fight with JJ and the courageous actions for the little guy to take on a global company.

tiger 41/6/17 Setting up the fabulous Gin !

Having won a legal battle in the High Court, this Shropshire gin is the ‘baby’ of a Shropshire lad – JJ Lawrence. It is crafted in England by artisan master distillers using traditional methods, and proudly presented in a unique bottle with great care and affection. Working alongside a local distiller they have created a unique, complex formula. which results in a great tasting, smooth, sweet gin.

Below (if you’ve never seen them are the ingredients for TG.)

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 Angelica root

cassia bark

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cinnamon bark

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ground nutmeg

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lemon peel

liquorice root


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orange peel

orris root

The taste test.

Aroma : Strong Juniper and a zesty lemon drizzle cake citrus

To taste, Strong juniper and liquorice fill the mouth – slightly sweet. Coriander seed, cinnamon and cassia bring a waxy lemon finish.

Tiger is classically styled gin to taste as the gin slides down the throat easily . Rich juniper enhances the classic G&T taste and in terms of a cocktail. In terms of a cocktail, the liquid makes for a lovely, traditional Martini.

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One thing that is mysterious is …. who is JJ Lawrence. A quick search of the internet shows little evidence of the man/ or woman behind this fabulous product.  Maybe that the way it’s supposed to happen ,  maybe the brand speaks louder than the people behind it.

Any info on the man the myth is greatly appreciated .

Music Pairing :  Ludivico Einaudi  – Elements

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So to sum up upon tasting the gin i was very surprised at how much a couple of slices of oranges made to the drink . very much a big citrus punch juniper came through like a steamroller but all ingredients are symbiotic and harmonize the overall character of the product. A must have addition in any cocktail cabinet